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Full text of "The panchronicon"




ity of California 
hern Regional 
rary Facility 



STEELE-MACKAYE 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



THE PANCHRONICON 



THE 

PANCHRONICON 



BY 

HAROLD STEELE MACKAYE 



NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 
1904 



COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY 
CHAKLES SCKIBNER'S SONS 



Published, April, 1904 




CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP . . l 

II. A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON . .23 

III. A NOCTURNAL EVASION 38 

IV. A CHANGE OF PLAN 58 

V. DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE . . .86 

VI. SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME . . 103 
VII. NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS . . .123 
VIII. How FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAIL 
IFFS. .... ... 157 

IX. PHOSBE AT THE PEACOCK INN . . . .179 

X. How THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER . 208 

XI. THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD . 242 

XII. How SHAKESPEARE WROTE His PLAYS . 258 

XIII. How THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE . . 277 

XIV. THE FATE OF SIR PERCEVALL'S SUIT . . 297 
XV. How REBECCA RETURNED TO NEWINGTON . 317 

XVI. How SIR GUY KEPT His TRYST . . .324 
XVII. REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD . 340 



1521 436 



THE PANCHRONICON 

CHAPTEE I 

THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

THE two sisters were together in their garden. 

Rebecca Wise, turned forty and growing slightly 
gray at the temples, was moving slowly from one of 
her precious plants to the next, leaning over each to 
pinch off a dead leaf or count the buds. It was the 
historic month of May, 1898, and May is the paradise 
of flower lovers. 

Phoebe was eighteen years younger than her sister, 
and the beauty of the village. Indeed, many declared 
their belief that the whole State of New Hampshire 
did not contain her equal. 

She was seated on the steps of the veranda that 
skirted the little white cottage, and the absent gaze 
of her frank blue eyes was directed through the gate 
at the foot of the little path bordered by white rose 
bushes. In her lap was a bundle of papers yellowed 
by age and an ivory miniature, evidently taken from 
the carved wooden box at her side. 

Presently Rebecca straightened her back with a 
slight grimace and looked toward her sister, holding 

1 



THE PANCHRONICON 

her mold-covered hands and fingers spread away from 
her. 

"Well," she inquired, "hev ye found anythin'?" 

Phoebe brought her gaze back from infinity and 
replied: 

"No, I ain't. Only that one letter where Isaac 
Burton writes her that the players have come to 
town." 

"I don't see what good them letters'll do ye in the 
Shakespeare class, then." 

Rebecca spoke listlessly more interested in her 
garden than in her sister's search. 

"I don't know," Phoebe rejoined, dreamily. "It's 
awful funny but whenever I take out these old 
letters there comes over me the feelin' that I'm 'way 
off in a strange country and I feel like somebody 
else." 

Rebecca looked up anxiously from her work. 

"Them sort o' philanderin' notions are foolish, 
Phoebe," she said, and flicked a caterpillar over the 
fence. 

Phoebe gave herself a little shake and began to tie 
up the papers. 

"That's so," she replied. "But they will come 
when I get these out, an' I got 'em out thinkin^ the' 
might be somethin' about Shakespeare in 'em for our 
class." 

She paused and looked wistfully at the letters 
again. 

"Oh!" she cried, "how I do wonder if he was 
2 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

among those players at the Peacock Inn that day! 
You know 'players' is what they called play-actors 
in those days, and he was a play-actor, they say." 

"Did he live very far back, then?" said Rebecca, 
wishing to appear interested, but really intent upon 
a new sprout at the foot of the lilac-bush. 

"Yes, three hundred years ago. Three of these 
letters has a date in 1598 exactly." 

There was a long silence, and at length Rebecca 
looked up from the ground to ascertain its cause. 
She frowned and drew her aching back stiffly straight 
again. 

"Everlastin'ly lookin' at that pictur'!" she ex 
claimed. "I declare to goodness, Phoebe Wise, folks'll 
think you're vain as a pouter pigeon." 

Phosbe laughed merrily, tossed the letters into the 
box and leaped to her feet. The miniature at which 
she had been gazing was still in her hands. 

"Folks'll never see me lookin' at it, Rebecca only 
you," she said. 

Then with a coaxing tone and looking with appeal 
ing archness at her sister, she went on: 

"Is it really like me, Rebecca ? Honest true ?" 

The elder woman merely grunted and moved on 
to the next bed, and Phoebe, with another laugh, ran 
lightly into the house. 

A few moments later she reappeared at the front 
door with consternation on her face. 

"Land o' goodness, Rebecca!" she cried, "do you 
know what time it is? Near onto one o'clock, an' 

3 



THE PANCHRONICON 

I've got to be at the Shakespeare class at half past. 
We'll have to dish up dinner right this minute, and 
I don't see how I can change my dress after it an' 
help with the dishes too." 

She whisked into the house again, and Rebecca fol 
lowed her as rapidly as possible. 

She was very proud of her baby sister, proud of 
her having been "clear through high school/' and 
proud of her eminence in the local literary society. 
There was certainly something inspiring in having 
a sister who was first corresponding secretary of the 
Women's Peltonville Association for the Study of 
Shakespearian History and Literature; and it was 
simply wonderful how much poetry she could repeat 
from the pages of her favorite author. 

Peltonville Center, New Hampshire, was one of 
those groups of neatly kept houses surrounding a 
prettily shaded, triangular common which seem to be 
characteristic of New England. Standing two miles 
from the nearest railway station, this little settlement 
possessed its own combined store and post-office, from 
whose narrow veranda one might watch the rising 
generation playing Saturday base-ball on the grassy 
triangle. 

The traditional old meeting-house stood on the op 
posite side of the common, facing the store. The 
good old days of brimstone theology were past, and 
the descendants of the godly Puritans who raised this 
steeple "in the fear of the Lord," being now deprived 

4 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

of their chief source of fear, found Sunday meet 
ings a bore, and a village pastor an unnecessary 
luxury. 

Indeed, there seemed little need of pastoral admoni 
tion in such a town as Peltonville Center. There was 
a grimly commonplace and universal goodness every 
where, and the village was only saved from uncon 
sciousness of its own perfection by the individual 
shortcomings of one of its citizens. Fortunately for 
the general self-complacence, however, the necessary 
revealing contrast was found in him. 

Copernicus Droop was overfond of the bottle, and 
in spite of the prohibition laws of his State, he proved 
himself a blessed example and warning by a too fre 
quent and unmistakable intoxication in public. He 
was gentle and even apologetic in his cups, but he was 
clearly a "slave of rum" and his mission was there 
fore fulfilled. 

On this first of May, 1898, a number of idle young 
men sat in a row on the edge of the store veranda. 
Some were whittling, some making aimless marks in 
the dust with a stick. All leaned limply forward, 
with their elbows on their knees. 

It was clearly not a Sunday, for the meeting-house 
was open, and from time to time, one or perhaps two 
young women together passed into the cool and silent 
room. The loungers at the store let none escape their 
notice, and the name of each damsel was passed down 
the line in an undertone as its owner entered the 
church. 

5 



THE PANCHRONICON 

A lantern-jawed young farmer at the end of the 
row slowly brushed the shavings from his clothes and 
remarked : 

"Thet's the secon' meetin' of the Shekspeare class 
this month, ain't it?" 

"Yep, an' there'll be two more afore the summer 
boarders comes up " 

The second speaker would have continued, but he 
was here interrupted by a third, who whispered 
loudly : 

"Say, fellers, there goes Copernicus." 

All eyes were raised and unanimously followed the 
shabby figure which had just emerged from behind 
the church and now started into the road leading 
away from the common toward the north. 

"Walks pretty straight fer him, don't he?" snick 
ered the first speaker. 

"He's not ben tight fer two days." 

"Bet ye a jack-knife he'll be spreein' it fer all he's 
wuth to-morrow." 

Fortunately these comments did not reach the ears 
of their object, who, all unconscious of the interest 
which he inspired, made good his way at a fairly 
rapid pace. 

Presently he stopped. 

With muslin skirts swaying, hair rumpled, and fair 
young face flushed with exertion, Phoebe Wise was 
hurrying toward the common. She was almost run 
ning in her haste, for she was late and the Shake 
speare class was a momentous institution. 

6 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

"Oh, say, Cousin Phoebe," was the man's greeting, 
"can you tell me ef yer sister's to home?" 

The young girl came to a sudden full stop in her 
surprise. This cousinly greeting from the village 
reprobate was as exciting and as inexplicable as it was 
unheard of. 

"Why, Mr. Droop!" she exclaimed, "I I I 
s'pose so." 

The truth was the truth, after all. But it was 
hard on Kebecca. What could this man want with 
her sister? 

Droop nodded and passed on. 

"Thank ye. Don't stop fer me," he said. 

Phrebe moved forward slowly, watching Copernicus 
over her shoulder. She noted his steady steps and 
pale face and, reassured, resumed her flying progress 
with redoubled vigor. After all, Kebecca was forty- 
two years old and well able to take care of herself. 

Meanwhile, Rebecca Wise, having carefully wrung 
out her dishcloth, poured out the water and swept the 
little sink, was slowly untying her kitchen apron, full 
of a thankful sense of the quiet hour before her 
wherein to knit and muse beside the front window of 
her little parlor. 

In the centre of this room there stood a wide, round 
table, bearing a large kerosene-lamp and the week's 
mending. At the back and opposite the two win 
dows stood the well-blacked, shiny, air-tight stove. 
Above this was a wooden mantel, painted to imitate 
marble, whereon were deposited two photographs, 

7 



THE PANCHRONICON 

four curious Chinese shells, and a plaster cross to 
which there clung a very plaster young woman in 
scant attire, the whole being marked "Rock of Ages" 
in gilt letters at the base. 

Horse-hair furniture in all the glory of endless 
"tidies" was arranged against walls bedight with 
a rainbow-like wilderness of morning-glories. The 
ceiling was of white plaster, and the floor was painted 
white and decked here and there with knitted rag- 
carpets, on whose Joseph's-coated surfaces Rebecca 
loved to gaze when in retrospective mood. In those 
humble floor-coverings her knowing eyes recognized 
her first clocked stockings and Phoebe's baby cloak. 
There was her brother Robert's wool tippet em 
balmed in loving loops with the remnants of his wife's 
best Sunday-go-to-meetin' ribbons. These two had 
long been dead, but their sister's loving eyes recre 
ated them in rag-carpet dreams wherein she lived 
again those by-gone days. 

Rebecca had just seated herself and was unrolling 
her work, when her eyes caught a glimpse of a man's 
form through the window. He had passed into her 
gate and was approaching the door. She leaned for 
ward for a good look and then dropped back into her 
chair with a gasp of surprise. 

"Copernicus Droop!" she exclaimed, "did you ever!" 

She sat in rigid astonishment until she heard his 
timid knock, followed by the sound of shoes vigor 
ously wiped upon the door-mat. 

"Well, come! Thet's a comfort!" she thought. 
8 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

"He won't muss the carpet" and she rose to admit 
her visitor. 

"Good mornin'," said Droop, timidly. "I seen 
Cousin Phoebe a-runnin' down the road, an' I sorter 
thought I'd run in an' see how you was." 

"Come right in," said Kebecca, in non-committal 
tones. She shut the door and followed him into the 
parlor. 

"Here, give me yer hat," she continued. "Set 
right there. How be ye ?" 

Droop obeyed. In a few moments the two were 
seated facing each other, and Rebecca's needles were 
already busy. There was an interval of awkward 
silence. 

"Well, what did ye come fer?" 

It was Rebecca who broke the spell. In her usual 
downright fashion, she came to the point at once. 
She thought it as well he should know that she was 
not deceived by his polite pretence of casual friendly 
interest. 

Droop settled forward with elbows on his knees and 
brought his finger-tips carefully and accurately to 
gether. He found this action amazingly promotive 
of verbal accuracy. 

"Well, Cousin Rebecca," he began, slowly, "I'm 
lookin' fer a partner." He paused, considering how 
to proceed. 

The spinster let her hands drop in speechless won 
der. The audacity of the man! He to her a pro 
posal! At her age! From him! 

9 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Fortunately the next few words disclosed her 
error, and she blushed for it as she lifted her work 
again, turning nearer the window as if for better 
light. 

"Yes," Droop proceeded, "I've a little business 
plan, an' it needs capital an' a partner." 

He waited, but there was no response. 

"Capital an' a partner," he repeated, "an' intelli 
gence an' ambition. So I come to you." 

Rebecca turned toward him again, scarcely less 
surprised now than before. 

"To me ! D'ye mean to say ye've me in yer mind 
fer a partner with capital?" 

Droop nodded slowly and compressed his lips. 

"Well, I want to know!" she exclaimed, helplessly. 

"Oh, I know you ain't overly rich right now," 
said Droop, apologetically; "but it warn't no secret 
thet ye might hev hed Joe Chandler ef ye hadn't ben 
so shifty in yer mind an' fell betwixt two stools an' 
Lord knows Joe Chandler was as rich as as Peter 
Craigin down to Keene pretty nigh." 

Again Rebecca blushed, but this time in anger. 

"See here, Copernicus Droop " she began. 

"Oh, I don't mean nothin' mean, now," he insisted, 
earnestly. "I'm jest leadin' up to the pint sorter 
natural like breakin' the thing easy, ye know." 

"What air you a-drivin' at?" 

Droop shifted uneasily in his seat and ran his finger 
around inside of his collar before he replied: 

"Ye see, it's sorter hard to explain. It's this way. 
10 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

I hev a mighty fine plan in my mind founded on a 
mixin' up of astronomical considerations with prior 
inventions ' ' 

"Mister Droop!" exclaimed his hostess, gazing se 
verely into his eyes, "ef you think I'll let you go to 
drinkin' rum till " 

"Honest to goodness, Miss Wise, I've not teched a 
drop!" cried Droop, leaping to his feet and leaning 
forward quickly. "You may smell my breath ef " 

A violent push sent him back to his chair. 

"Thet'll do, Mr. Droop. I'll undertake to believe 
ye fer once, but I'll thank ye to speak plain English." 

"I'll do my best," he sighed, plaintively. "I don't 
blame ye fer not takin' to it quick. I didn't myself 
at first. Well here. Ye see ye know " 

He paused and swallowed hard, gazing at the ceil 
ing for inspiration. Then he burst out suddenly: 

"Ye know the graphophone an' the kodak and the 
biograph an' all them things what ye can see down 
to Keene?" 

Rebecca nodded slowly, with suspicion still in her 
eye. 

"Well, the's a heap o' things ben invented since 
the Centennial of 1876. Don't you s'pose they've 
made hills o' money out o' them things with patents 
an' all?" 

"Of course." 

"An' don't you s'pose that ef anybody in 1876 was 
to up an' bring out sech inventions all at once he'd 
be bigger than all the other inventors put together!" 

11 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Rebecca slowly pushed her needle through her 
hair, which was a sign of thoughtfulness. 

"Wai, o' course," she said, at length, "ef anybody 
hed aben smart enough to've invented all them things 
in 1876 he'd aben a pretty big man, I guess." 

Droop edged forward eagerly. 

"An' s'posen' that you hed married Joe Chandler 
back in 1876, an' you was rich enough to back up 
an inventor like that, an' he come to you an' offered 
to give you half ef you'd up an' help him put 'em on 
the market, an' s'posen' " 

"What the land sake's the use o' s'posin'?" Re 
becca cried, sharply. "This is 1898, an' I ain't mar 
ried, thanks be to goodness!" 

"Ah, but ye could be, ef we was in 1876! There, 
there I know what you want to say but 'taint so! 
What would ye say ef I was to tell ye that all ye've 
got to do is jest to get into a machine I've got an' I 
can take ye back to 1876 in next to no time! What 
would ye say " 

"I'd say ye was tighter'n a boiled owl, Copernicus 
Droop." 

"But I ain't, I ain't!" he almost screamed. "I tell 
ye I hevn't teched liquor fer two days. I've re 
formed. Ef ye won't smell my breath " 

"Then you're plum crazy," she interrupted. 

"No, nor crazy either," he insisted. "Why, the 
whole principle of it is so awful simple! Ef you'd 
ben to high school, now, an' knew astronomy an' all, 
you'd see right through it like nothin'." 

12 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

"Well, then, you c'n explain it to them as hez ben 
to high school, an' that's sister Phoebe. Here she 
comes now." 

She went at once to the door to admit the new 
comer. Her visitor, watching the pretty younger 
sister as she stepped in, rosy and full of life, could not 
but remark the contrast between the two women. 

"Twenty-two years makes a heap o' difference!" 
he muttered. "But Kebecca was jest as pretty her 
self, back in 1876." 

"Look, Kebecca!" cried Phoebe, as she entered the 
door, "here's a new book Mrs. Bolton lent me to-day. 
All about Bacon writing Shakespeare's plays, an' how 
Bacon was a son of Queen Elizabeth. Do you s'pose 
he really did?" 

"Oh, don't ask me, child!" was the nervous reply. 
"Mr. Droop's in the parlor." 

Phoebe had forgotten her short interview with 
Droop, and she now snatched off her hat in surprise 
and followed her elder sister, nodding to their visitor 
as she entered. 

"Set down, both o' ye," said Eebecca. "Now, 
then, Mr. Droop, perhaps you'll explain." 

Rebecca was far more mystified and interested 
than she cared to admit. Her brusque manner was 
therefore much exaggerated a dissimulation which 
troubled her conscience, which was decidedly of the 
tenderest New England brand. 

Poor Copernicus experienced a sense of relief as 
he turned his eyes to those of the younger sister. She 

13 



THE PANCHRONICON 

felt that Rebecca's manner was distinctly cold, and 
her own expression was the more cordial in compen 
sation. 

"Why, Miss Phoebe," he said, eagerly, "I've ben 
tellin' your sister about my plan to go back to the 
Centennial year 1876, ye know." 

"To to what, Mr. Droop?" 

Phoebe's polite cordiality gave place to amazed con 
sternation. Droop raised a deprecating hand. 

"Now don't you go to think I'm tight or gone 
crazy. You'll understand it, fer you've ben to high 
school. Now see! What is it makes the days go 
by ain't it the daily revolution of the sun?" 

Phoebe put on what her sister always called "that 
schoolmarm look" and replied: 

"Why, it's the turning round of the earth on its 
axis once in " 

"Yes yes It's all one all one," Droop broke 
in, eagerly. "To put it another way, it comes from 
the sun cuttin' meridians, don't it?" 

Rebecca, who found this technical and figurative 
expression beyond her, paused in her knitting and 
looked anxiously at Phoebe, to see how she would take 
it. After a moment of thought, the young woman 
admitted her visitor's premises. 

"Very good! An' you know 's well 's I do, Miss 
Phoebe, that ef a man travels round the world the 
same way 's the sun, he ketches up on time a whole 
day when he gets all the way round. In other words, 
the folks that stays at home lives jest one day more 

14 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

than the feller that goes round the world that way. 
Am I right?" 

"Of course." 

Droop glanced triumphantly at Rebecca. This tre 
mendous admission on her learned young sister's part 
stripped her of all pretended coldness. Her deep 
interest was evident now in her whole pose and ex 
pression. 

"Now, then, jest follow me close," Droop contin 
ued, sitting far forward in his chair and pointing his 
speech with a thin forefinger on his open palm. 

"Ef a feller was to whirl clear round the world an' 
cut all the meridians in the same direction as the sun, 
an' he made the whole trip around jest as quick as 
the sun did time wouldn't change a mite fer him, 
would it?" 

Phoebe gasped at the suggestion. 

"Why, I should think of course " 

She stopped and put her hand to her head in be 
wilderment. 

"Et's a sure thing!" Droop exclaimed, earnestly. 
"You've said yerself that the folks who stayed to 
home would live one day longer than the fellow that 
went round. Now, ef that feller travelled round as 
fast as the sun, the stay-at-homes would only be one 
day older by the time he got back ain't that a fact?" 

Both sisters nodded. 

"Well, an' the traveller would be one day younger 
than they'd be. An' ain't that jest no older at all 
than when he started?" 

15 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"My goodness! Mr. Droop!" Phoebe replied > 
feebly. "I never thought of that." 

"Well, ain't it so?" 

"Of course leastways why, it must be!" 

"All right, then!" 

Droop rose triumphantly to his feet, overcome by 
his feelings. 

"Follow out that same reasonin' to the bitter end!" 
he cried, "an' what will happen ef that traveller 
whirls round, cuttin' meridians jest twice as fast as 
the sun goin' the same way?" 

He paused, but there was no reply. 

"Why, as sure as shootin', I tell ye, that feller will 
get jest one day younger fer every two whirls round!" 

There was a long and momentous silence. The 
tremendous suggestion had for the moment bereft 
both women of all reasoning faculty. 

At length the younger sister ventured upon a prac 
tical objection. 

"But how's he goin' to whirl round as fast as that, 
Mr. Droop?" she said. 

Droop smiled indulgently. 

"Et does sound outlandish, when ye think how big 
the world is. But what if ye go to the North Pole? 
Ain't all the twenty-four meridians jammed up close 
together round that part of the globe?" 

"Thet's so," murmured Rebecca, "I've seen it 
many's the time on the map in Phoebe's geography 
book." 

"Sure enough," Droop rejoined. "Then ain't it 
16 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

clear that ef a feller'll jest take a grip on the North 
Pole an' go whirlin' round it, he'll be cuttin' me 
ridians as fast as a hay-chopper? Won't he see the 
sun gettin' left behind an' whirlin' the other way 
from what it does in nature ? An' ef the sun goes the 
other way round, ain't it sure to unwind all the time 
thet it's ben a-rollin' up?" 

Kebecca's ball of yarn fell from her lap at this, 
and, as she followed it with her eyes, she seemed to 
see a practical demonstration of Droop's marvellous 
theory. 

Phoebe felt all the tremendous force of Droop's 
logic, and she flushed with excitement. One last 
practical objection was obvious, however. 

"The thing must be all right, Mr. Droop," she 
said ; "an' come to think of it, this must be the reason 
so many folks have tried to reach the North Pole. 
But it never has been reached yet, an' how are you 
a-goin' to do it?" 

"You think it never hez," Copernicus replied. 
"The fact is, though, that I've ben there." 

"You!" Phoebe cried. 

"And is there a pole there?" Rebecca asked, 
eagerly. 

"The's a pole there, an' I've swung round it, too," 
Droop replied, sitting again with a new and delightful 
sense of no longer being unwelcome. 

"Here's how 'twas. About a year ago there come 
to my back door a strange-lookin' man who'd hurt his 
foot some way. I took him in an' fixed him up 

17 



THE PANCHRONICON 

you know I studied for a doctor once an' while he 
was bein' fixed up, he sorter took a fancy to me an' 
he begun to give me the story of his life. He said he 
was born in the year 2582, an' had ben takin' what 
he called a historical trip into the past ages. He went 
on at a great rate like that, an' I thought he was jest 
wanderin' in his mind with the fever, so I humored 
him. But he saw through me, an' he wouldn't take 
no but I should go down into Burnham's swamp with 
him to see how he'd done it. 

"Well, down we went, and right spang in the 
thickest of the bushes an' muck we come across the 
queerest lookin' machine that ever ye see! 

"Right there an' then he told me all the scientific 
talk about time an' astronomy thet I've told you, an' 
then he tuck me into the thing. Fust thing I knew 
he give a yank to a lever in the machinery an' there 
was a big jerk thet near threw me on the back o' my 
head. I looked out, an' there we was a-flyin' over the 
country through the air fer the North Pole !" 

"There, now!" cried Eebecca, "didn't Si Wilkins' 
boy Sam say he seen a comet in broad daylight last 
Juno?" 

"Thet was us," Droop admitted. 

"And not a soul believed him," Pho3be remarked. 

"Well," continued Droop, "to make a long story 
short, thet future-man whirled me a few times 'round 
the North Pole unwound jest five weeks o' time, 
an' back we come to Peltonville a-hummin' !" 

"And then?" cried the two women together. 
18 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

"Ef you'll believe me, there we was back to the 
day he fust come an' fust thing I knew, thet future- 
man was a-comin' up to my back door, same ez before, 
a-beggin' to hev his foot fixed. It was hard on him, 
but I was convinced fer keeps." 

Copernicus shook his head sadly, with retrospective 
sadness. 

"An' where is the future-man now?" Phoebe asked. 

"Tuk cold on his lungs at the North Pole," said 
Droop, solemnly. "Hed pneumonia an' up'n died." 

"But there warn't nobody round heerd of him 
except you," said Rebecca. "Who buried him?" 

"Ah, thet's one o' the beauties o' the hull busi 
ness. He'd showed me all the ropes on his machine 
his Panchronicon, as he called it an' so I up'n 
flew round the North Pole the opposite way as soon's 
he passed away, till I'd made up the five weeks we'd 
lost. Then when I got back it was five weeks after 
his funeral, an' I didn't hev to bother about it." 

The two sisters looked at each other, quite over 
come with admiration. 

"My land!" Rebecca murmured, gathering up her 
yarn and knitting again. "Sence they've invented 
them X-rays an' took to picturin' folks' insides, I kin 
believe anythin'." 

"You don't hev to take my word fer it," Droop 
exclaimed. "Ef you'll come right along with me this 
blessed minute, I'll show you the machine right 
now." 

"I'd jest love to see it," said Rebecca, her coldness 
19 



THE PANCHRONICON 

all forgotten, "but it's mos' too late fer this afternoon. 
There's the supper to get, you know, an' " 

"But the plan, Rebecca," Phoebe cried. "You've 
forgotten that I haven't heard Mr. Droop's plan." 

"I wish 't you'd call me 'Cousin Copernicus,' " said 
Droop, earnestly. "You know I've sworn off quit 
drinkin' now." 

Phoebe blushed at his novel proposal and insisted 
on the previous question. 

"But what is the plan?" she said. 

"Why, my idea is this, Cousin Phoebe. I want we 
should all go back to 1876 again. Thet's the year 
your sister could hev married Joe Chandler ef she'd 
wanted to." 

Rebecca murmured something unintelligible, blush 
ing furiously, with her eyes riveted to her knitting. 
Phoebe looked surprised. 

"You know you could, Cousin Rebecca," Droop 
insisted. "Now what I say is, let's go back there. 
I'll invent the graphophone, the kodak, the vitascope, 
an' Milliken's cough syrup an' a lot of other big mod 
ern inventions. Rebecca'll marry Chandler, an' she 
an' her husband can back up my big inventions with 
capital. Why, Cousin Phoebe," he cried, with enthu 
siasm, "we'll all hev a million apiece!" 

The sentimental side of Droop's plan first monopo 
lized Phoebe's attention. 

"Rebecca Wise!" she exclaimed, turning with 
mock severity to face her sister. "Why is it I've 
never heard tell about this love affair before now? 

20 



THE THEORY OF COPERNICUS DROOP 

Why, Joe Chandler's just a fine man. Is it you that 
broke his heart an' made him an old bachelor all his 
life?" 

Rebecca must have dropped a stitch, for she turned 
toward the window again and brought her knitting 
very close to her face. 

"What brought ye so early to home, Phrebe?" she 
said. "Warn't there no Shakespeare meetin' to 
day?" 

"No. Mis' Beecher was to lead, an' she's been 
taken sick, so I came right home. But you can't 
sneak out of answerin' me like that, Miss Slyboots," 
Phoebe continued, in high spirits. 

Seating herself on the arm of her sister's chair, 
she put her arms about her neck and, bending over, 
whispered: 

"Tell me honest, now, Rebecca, did Joe Chandler 
ever propose to you?" 

"No, he never did!" the elder sister exclaimed, 
rising suddenly. 

"Now, Mr. Droop," she continued, "your hull plan 
is jest too absurd to think of " 

Droop tried to expostulate, but she raised her voice, 
speaking more quickly. 

"An' you come 'round again after supper an' we'll 
tell ye what we've decided," she concluded. 

The humor of this reply was lost on Copernicus, 
but he moved toward the door with a sense of dis 
tinct encouragement. 

"Remember the rumpus we'll make with all them 
21 



THE PANCHRONICON 

inventions," Droop called back as he walked toward 
the gate, "think of the money we'll make!" 

But Rebecca was thinking of something very dif 
ferent as she stood at the front door gazing with 
softened eyes at the pasture and woods beyond the 
road. She seemed to see a self-willed girl breaking 
her own heart and another's rather than acknowledge 
a silly error. She was wondering if that had really 
been Rebecca Wise. She felt again all the old be 
witching heart-pangs, sweetened and mellowed by 
time, and she wondered if she were now really Re 
becca Wise. 



22 



CHAPTEK H 

A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

AT precisely eight o'clock that evening, a knock 
was again heard at the door of the Wise home, and 
Droop was admitted by the younger sister. She did 
not speak, and her face was invisible in the dark hall. 
The visitor turned to the right and entered the par 
lor, followed by his young hostess. Rebecca was sit 
ting by the lamp, sewing. As she looked up and 
nodded, Droop saw that her features expressed only 
gloomy severity. He turned in consternation and 
caught sight for the first time of Phoebe's face. Her 
eyes and pretty nose were red and her mouth was 
drawn into a curve of plaintive rebellion. 

"Set down, Mr. Droop. Give me yer hat," she 
said ; and there was a suspicious catch in her voice. 

The visitor seated himself by the centre-table be 
side the lamp and sat slowly rubbing his hands, the 
while he gazed mournfully from one to the other of 
the silent sisters. Phoebe sat on the long horse-hair 
"settle," and played moodily with the tassel hanging 
at its head. 

There was a long pause. Each of the women 
seemed bent on forcing the other to break the silence. 

23 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Poor Droop felt that his plans were doomed, and 
he dared not urge either woman to speech, lest he 
hear the death-sentence of his hopes. Finally, how 
ever, the awkward silence became unbearable. 

"Well?" he said, inquiringly, still rubbing his 
hands. 

"Well," Kebecca exclaimed, "it seems it's not to 
be done," and she looked reproachfully at Phoebe. 

The words fulfilled his fears, but the tone and 
glance produced a thrill of hope. It was evident that 
Rebecca at least favored his plans. 

Turning now to the younger sister, Droop asked, 
in a melancholy tone: 

"Don't you want to get rich, Cousin Phoebe?" 

"Rich me!" she replied, indignantly. "A mighty 
lot of riches it'll bring me, won't it? That's just what 
riles me so! You an' Rebecca just think of nothin' 
but your own selves. You never stop to think of 
me!" 

Droop opened his eyes very wide indeed, and Re 
becca said, earnestly: 

"Phoebe, you know you ain't got any call to say 
sech a thing!" 

"Oh, haven't I?" cried Phoabe, in broken accents. 
"Did either of you think what would happen to me 
if we all went back to 18Y6 ? Two years old ! That's 
what I'd be ! A little toddling baby, like Susan Mel- 
lick's Annie! Put to bed before supper carried 
about in everybody's arms fed on a bottle and 
and perhaps and perhaps getting spanked!" 

24 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

With the last word, Phoebe burst into tears of 
mingled grief and mortification and rushed from the 
room. 

The others dared not meet each other's guilty eyes. 
Droop gazed about the room in painful indecision. 
He could not bear to give up all hope, and yet this 
unforeseen objection really seemed a very serious 
one. To leave the younger sister behind was out of 
the question. On the other hand, the consequences 
of the opposite course were well, painful to her at 
least. 

In his nervousness he unconsciously grasped a 
small object on the table upon which his left hand 
had been lying. It was a miniature daintily painted 
on ivory. He looked vacantly upon it; his mind at 
first quite absent from his eyes. But as he gazed, 
something familiar in the lovely face depicted there 
fixed his attention. Before long he was examining 
the picture with the greatest interest. 

"Well, now!" he exclaimed, at length. "Ain't 
that pretty! Looks jest like her, too. When was 
that tuck, Miss Wise?" 

"That ain't Phcebe," said Rebecca, dejectedly. 

"Ain't Phoebe!" Droop cried, in amazement. 
"Why, it's the finest likeness why but it must 
be yer sister!" 

"Well, 'tain't. Thet pictur is jest three hundred 
years old." 

"Three hundred " he began then very slowly, 
"Well, now, do tell!" he said. 

25 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Phoebe's got the old letter that tells about it. 
The's a lot of 'em in that little carved-wood box 
there. They say it come over in the Mayflower." 

Droop could not take his eyes from the picture. 
The likeness was perfect. Here was the pretty youth 
ful oval of her face the same playful blue eye 
the sensitive red lips seeming about to sparkle into 
a smile even the golden brown mist of hair that 
hid the delicately turned ear! 

Then Droop suddenly remembered his plans, and 
with his hand he dropped the picture as his mind dis 
missed it. He rose and looked about for his hat. 

"Ye wouldn't want to come back to '76 with me 
an' leave Cousin Phrebe behind, would ye?" he sug 
gested, dismally. 

"What!" cried Rebecca, giving vent to her pent-up 
feelings, "an' never see my sister again! Why, I'd 
hev to come livin' along up behind her, and, all I 
could do, I'd never catch up with her never! You'd 
ought to be ashamed to stand there an' think o' sech a 
thing, Copernicus Droop!" 

For some time he stood with bent head and shoul 
ders, twirling his hat between his fingers. At length 
he straightened up suddenly and moved toward the 
door. 

"Well," he said, "the' isn't any use you seein' the 
Panchronicon now, is the' ?" 

"What's it like, Mr. Droop?" Rebecca inquired. 

He paused helpless before the very thought of de 
scription. 

26 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

"Oh," he said, weakly, "et's like et's a why 
Oh, it's a machine!" 

"Hez it got wings?" 

"Not exactly wings," he began, then, more ear 
nestly, "why don't ye come and see it, anyway! 
It can't do ye any harm to jest look at it!" 

Rebecca dropped her hands into her lap and re 
plied, with a hesitating manner: 

"I'd like to fust rate it must be an awful queer 
machine! But I don't get much time fer traipsin* 
'round now days." 

"Why can't ye come right along now?" Droop 
asked, eagerly. "It's dry as a bone underfoot down 
in the swamp now. The's ben no rain in a long 
time." 

She pondered some time before replying. Her 
first impulse was to reject the proposal as preposter 
ous. The hour seemed very ill chosen. Rebecca was 
not accustomed to leaving home for any purpose at 
night, and she was extremely conservative. 

On the other hand, she felt that only under cover 
of the darkness could she consent to go anywhere in 
company with the village reprobate. Every tongue 
in the place would be set wagging were she seen 
walking with Copernicus Droop. She had not herself 
known how strong was the curiosity which his star 
tling theories and incredible story had awakened in 
her. She looked up at her visitor with indecision in 
her eyes. 

"I don't see how I could go now," she said. "Be- 
27 



THE PANCHRONICON 

sides, it's mos' too dark to see the thing, ain't 
it?" 

"Not a mite," he replied, confidently. "The's 
lights inside I can turn on, an' we'll see the hull thing 
better'n by daylight." 

Then, as she still remained undecided, he con 
tinued, in an undertone: 

"Cousin Phoebe's up in her room, ain't she? Ye 
might not get another chance so easy." 

He had guessed instinctively that, under the cir 
cumstances, Rebecca preferred not revealing to 
Phoebe her own continued interest in the wonderful 
machine. 

The suggestion was vital. Phoebe was in all prob 
ability sulking in her own bedroom, and in that event 
would not quit it for an hour. It seemed now or 
never. 

Rebecca rolled up her knitting work and rose to 
her feet. 

"Jest wait here a spell," she said, rapidly. "I 
won't be a minute!" 

Shortly afterward, two swiftly moving, shadowy 
figures emerged from the little white gate and turned 
into a dark lane made more gloomy by overhanging 
maples. This was the shortest route to Burnham's 
swamp. 

Copernicus was now more hopeful. He could not 
but feel that, if the elder sister came face to face with 
his marvellous machine, good must result for his 

28 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

plans. Rebecca walked with nervous haste, dreading 
Phoebe's possible discovery of this most unconven 
tional conduct. 

The night was moonless, and the two stumbled and 
groped their way down the lane at a pace whose slow 
ness exasperated Rebecca. 

"Ef I'd a-known!" she exclaimed, under her 
breath. 

"We're 'most there, Cousin Rebecca," said Coper 
nicus, with deprecating softness. "Here, give me 
holt o' yer hand while we climb over the wall. Here's 
Burnham's swamp right now." 

Accepting the proffered aid, Rebecca found her 
self in the midst of a thicket of bushes, many of 
which were thorny and all of which seemed bent 
upon repelling nocturnal adventurers. 

Droop, going ahead, did his best to draw aside the 
obstinate twigs, and Rebecca followed him with half- 
averted head, lifting her skirts and walking side- 
wise. 

" 'Mighty lucky, 'tain't wet weather!" she mum 
bled. 

At that moment her guide stood still. 

"There!" he exclaimed, in a low, half -awed voice. 

Rebecca stopped and gazed about. A little to the 
right the dark gray of the sky was cut by a looming 
black mass of uncertain form. 

It looked like the crouching phantom of some 
shapeless sea-monster. Rebecca half expected to see 
it dissolve like a wind-driven fog. 

29 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Their physical sight could distinguish nothing of 
the outer characteristics of this mysterious structure; 
but for this very reason, the imagination was the 
more active. Rebecca, with all her directness of 
nature and commonplace experience, felt in this un 
wonted presence that sense of awed mystery which 
she would have called a "creepy feeling." 

What unknown and incomprehensible forces were 
locked within that formless mass? By what manner 
of race as yet unborn had its elements been brought 
together no, no would they be brought together? 
How assume a comfortable mental attitude toward 
this creation whose present existence so long ante 
dated its own origin? 

One sentiment, at least, Rebecca could entertain 
with hearty consistency. Curiosity asserted its su 
premacy over every other feeling. 

"Can't we get into the thing, an' light a candle or 
suthin'?" she said. 

"Of course we can," said Droop. "That's what I 
brought ye here fer. Take holt o' my hand an' lift 
yer feet, or you'll stumble." 

Leading his companion by the hand, Copernicus 
approached the dark form, moving with great cau 
tion over the clumps of grassy turf. Presently he 
reached the side of the machine. Rebecca heard him 
strike it with his hand two or three times, as though 
groping for something. Then she was drawn forward 
again, and suddenly found herself entering an in 
visible doorway. She stumbled on the threshold and 

30 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

flung out her free hand for support. She clutched 
at a hand-rail that seemed to lead spirally upward. 

Droop's voice came out of the blackness. 

"Jest wait here a minute," he said. "I'll go up 
an' turn on the light." 

She heard him climbing a short flight of stairs, and 
a few moments later a flood of light streamed from 
a doorway above her head, amply lighting the little 
hallway in which Rebecca was standing. 

The hand-rail to which she was already clinging 
skirted the iron stairs leading to the light, and she 
started at once up this narrow spiral. 

She was met at the door by Copernicus, who was 
smiling with a proud complacency. 

"Wai, Cousin Rebecca," he said, with a sweeping 
gesture indicating their general surroundings, "what 
d'ye think o' this?" 

They were standing at the head of a sort of com 
panion-way in a roomy antechamber much resem 
bling the general cabin of a luxurious old-time sail 
ing-packet. The top of the stairs was placed between 
two windows in one side wall of the machine, through 
which there was just then entering a gentle breeze. 
Two similar openings faced these in the opposite side 
wall, and under each of the four windows there 
was a long wooden bench carrying a flat mattress 
cushion. 

In the middle of the room, on a square deep-piled 
rug, stood a table covered with a red cloth and sur 
rounded by three or four solid-looking upholstered 

31 



THE PANCHRONICON 

chairs. Here were some books and papers, and di 
rectly over the table a handsome electric chandelier 
hung from the ceiling of dark-wood panels. This 
was the source of their present illumination. 

"This here's the settin'-room," Droop explained. 
"An' these are the state-rooms that's what he called 
'em." 

He walked toward two doors in one of the end 
walls and, opening one of them, turned the switch of 
the lamp within. 

"'Lectric lights in it, like down to Keene," Re 
becca remarked, approaching the cabin and peer 
ing in. 

She saw a small bedroom comfortably furnished. 
The carpet was apparently new, and on the taste 
fully papered walls hung a number of small oil-paint 
ings. 

Droop opened the other door. 

"They're both alike," he said. 

Rebecca glanced into the second apartment, which 
was indeed the counterpart of its companion. 

"Well, it wouldn't do no harm to sweep an' beat 
these carpets!" she exclaimed. Then, slipping her 
forefinger gingerly over the edge of a chair: "Look 
at that dust!" she said, severely, holding up her hand 
for inspection. 

But Droop had bustled off to another part of the 
room. 

"Here's lockers under these window-seats," he ex 
plained, with a dignified wave of the hand. "Here's 

32 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

books an' maps in this set o' shelves. Here's a small 
planner that plays itself when you turn on the elec 
tricity " 

There was a stumbling crash and a suppressed cry 
at the foot of the stairs. 

With his heart in his mouth, Droop leaped to the 
chandelier and turned out the lights; then rushed to 
the state-rooms and was about to turn their switches 
as well, when a familiar voice greeted their ears from 
below 

"Don't be scared it's only Phoebe." 

"What ever possessed " began Rebecca, in a low 
tone. 

But at that moment Phoebe's head appeared over 
the stair rail in the light shed from the two state 
rooms. 

"Won't you light up again, Mr. Droop?" she said, 
merrily, smiling the while into her sister's crestfallen 
face. "I heard you two leavin' the house, an' I just 
guessed what you'd be up to. So I followed you 
down here." 

She dropped into one of the chairs beside the table 
just as Droop relighted the lamps. 

With one slender hand resting upon the table, she 
looked up into Droop's face and went on: 

"I was havin' a dreadful time, stumbling over 
stocks an' stones at every step, till suddenly there was 
quite a light struck my face, and first I knew I was 
lookin' right into your lighted windows. I guess 
we'll have a pleasant meetin' here of all the folks in 

33 



THE PANCHRONICON 

town pretty soon not to mention the skeeters, 
which are comin' right early this year!" 

"Lands sakes!" cried Rebecca. 

"There now!" exclaimed Copernicus, bustling 
toward the windows, "I must be a nateral born fool!" 

Phoebe laughed in high spirits at thought of her 
prank, while Droop closed the tight iron shutters at 
each window, thus confining every ray of light. 

Rebecca seated herself opposite Phoebe and looked 
severely straight before her with her hands folded 
in her lap. She was ashamed of her curiosity and 
much chagrined at being discovered in this uncon 
ventional situation by her younger sister. 

Phoebe gazed about her and, having taken in the 
general aspect of the antechamber in which they were 
assembled, she explored the two state-rooms. Thence 
she returned for a more detailed survey. Droop fol 
lowed her about explaining everything, but Rebecca 
remained unmoved. 

"What's all those dials on the wall, Mr. Droop?" 
asked the younger sister. 

"I wish't you'd call me Cousin Copernicus," said 
Droop, appealingly. 

Phoebe ran up very close to a large steel dial-plate 
covered with figures. 

"Now what the land is this for?" she exclaimed. 

"Thet," said Droop, slowly, "is an indicator of 
height above ground and tells yer direction." 

"And what d'ye do with this little handle?" 

"Why, you set that for north or west or any other 
34 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

way, an' the hull machine keeps headed that way 
until ye change it." 

"Oh, is that the rudder?" 

"No, that is fer settin' jest one course fer a long 
ride like's ef we was goin' north to the pole, ye 
know. The rudder's in here, 'long with the other 
machinery." 

He walked to one of the two doors which faced the 
state-rooms. 

Phrebe followed him and found herself in the pres 
ence of a bewildering array of controlling and guid 
ing handles gauges test cocks meters and indica 
tors. She was quite overawed, and listened with a 
new respect for her distant relative as he explained 
the uses of the various instruments. It was evident 
that he had quite mastered the significance of each 
implement. 

When Droop had completed his lecture, Phoebe 
found that she understood the uses of three of the 
levers. The rest was a mystery to her. 

"This is the starting-lever," she said. "This steers, 
and this reverses. Is that it?" 

"That's correct," said Droop, "an' if " 

She cut him short by whisking out of the room. 

"What drives the thing?" she asked, as he meekly 
followed her. 

"Oh, the's power storage an' all kinds o' works 
down below stairs." 

"An' what's this room for?" she asked, opening the 
door next the engine-room. 

35 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Thet's the kitchen an' butler's pantry," said 
Droop. "It's mighty finely fitted up, I tell ye. That 
future-man was what ye call a conusure. My, but he 
could cook up fine victuals!" 

Rebecca found this temptation stronger than her 
ill humor, and she rose with alacrity and followed her 
companions into the now brightly lighted kitchen. 

Here the appointments were the completest pos 
sible, and, after she and Phcebe had mastered the 
theory of the electric range, they agreed that they 
had never seen such a satisfactory equipment. 

Phoebe stood in the middle of the room and looked 
about her with kindling eyes. The novelty of this 
adventure had intoxicated her. Rebecca's enthusiasm 
was repeated threefold in the more youthful bosom 
of her sister. 

"My!" she cried, "wouldn't it be lovely if we could 
make this our house down here for a while! What 
would the Mellicks an' the Tituses an' " 

"They'd take us for a lunatic asylum," Rebecca 
exclaimed, severely. 

Phoebe considered a moment and then gravely re 
plied: 

"Yes, I s'pose they would." 

Copernicus was pacing slowly up and down from 
range to china-closet and back, rubbing his hands 
slowly over each other. 

"I wish't you'd try to see ef ye couldn't change 
yer mind, Cousin Phoebe," he said, earnestly. "Jest 
think of all there is in this extrordnery vessel what 

36 



A VISIT TO THE PANCHRONICON 

with kitchen an' little cunnin' state-rooms what 
with the hull machinery an' all it's a sinful waste 
to leave it all to rot away down in this here swamp 
when we might all go back to the Centennial an' 
get rich as as Solomon's temple!" 

Phoebe led the way in silence to the outer room 
again, and Droop carefully extinguished the lights in 
the kitchen and engine-room. 

As the three stood together under the main chan 
delier their faces were the exponents of three differ 
ent moods. 

Droop was wistful anxious. 

Rebecca looked grimly regretful. 

In Phoebe's eyes there shone a cheerful light but 
her expression was enigmatic. 

"Now let's go home," she said, briskly. "I've 
got somethin' that I want to talk to Rebecca about. 
Can't you call in to-morrow mornin', Mr. Droop?" 

"Don't ye believe ye might change yer mind?" he 
asked, mournfully. 

"We'll be through with the breakfast an' have 
things set to rights by eight o'clock," said Phoebe. 



37 



CHAPTER in 

A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

PROMPTLY at the appointed time, Copernicus Droop 
might have been seen approaching the white cottage. 
Still nursing a faint hope, he walked with nervous 
rapidity, mumbling and gesticulating in his excite 
ment. He attracted but little attention. His erratic 
movements were credited to his usual potations, and 
no one whom he passed even gave him a second 
glance. 

bearing the house he saw Phoebe leaning out of 
one of the second-story windows. She had been gaz 
ing westward toward Burnham's swamp, but she 
caught sight of Droop and nodded brightly to him. 
Then she drew in her head and pulled down the win 
dow. 

Phoebe opened the door as Copernicus entered the 
garden gate, and it was at once apparent that her 
buoyant mood was still upon her, for she actually 
offered her hand to her visitor as he stood at the 
threshold wiping his feet. 

"Good mornin'," she said. "I've ben tryin' to see 
if I could find the Panchronicon out of my window. 
It's just wonderful how well it's hidden in the 
bushes." 

38 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

She led him to the parlor and offered him a seat. 

"Where's Cousin Rebecca?" he said, as he care 
fully placed his hat on the floor beside his chair. 

Phcebe seated herself opposite to her visitor with 
her back to the windows, so that her face was in 
shadow. 

"Rebecca's upstairs," she replied. 

Then, after a moment's pause: "She's packin' up," 
she said. 

Droop straightened up excitedly. 

"What packin'!" he cried. "Hev ye decided ye'll 
go, then?" 

"Well," said Phoabe, slowly, "we have an' an' 
we haven't." 

"What d'ye mean?" 

"Why, Mr. Droop, it's just like this," she ex 
claimed, leaning forward confidentially. "Ye see, 
Rebecca an' I are both just plumb crazy to try that 
wonderful plan of cuttin' meridians at the North 
Pole an' we're wild fer a ride on that queer kind 
of a boat or whatever ye call it. At the same time, 
Rebecca has to acknowledge that it's askin' too much 
of me to go back to two years old an' live like a baby. 
For one thing, I wouldn't have a thing to wear." 

"But ye might make some clothes before ye start," 
Droop suggested. 

"Mr. Droop!" Phoebe exclaimed, severely, "what 
do you s'pose folks would say if Rebecca and I was to 
set to work makin' baby clothes two old maids like 
us?" 

39 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Droop looked down in confusion and plucked at 
the edge of his coat. 

"Phoebe Wise, you're only just tryin' to be smart 
fer argument!" 

This sentence was delivered with a suddenness 
which was startling. Droop looked up with a jump 
to find Rebecca standing at the door with a pile of 
clean sheets on her arm. 

She was gazing sternly at Phoebe, who appeared 
somewhat disconcerted. 

"You know 's well 's I do," continued the elder 
sister, "that every one o' your baby clothes is folded 
an' put away as good as new in the attic." 

Phoebe rallied quickly and repelled this attack with 
spirit. 

"Well, I don't care. They'll stay right where they 
are, Rebecca," she answered, with irritation. "You 
know we settled it last night that I wasn't to be pes 
tered about goin' back to 1876!" 

"That's true," was the reply, "but don't you be 
givin' such fool reasons for it. It's really just because 
you're afraid o' bein' whipped an' put to bed an' 
goodness knows, you deserve it!" 

With this, Rebecca turned grimly and went into 
the garden to hang the sheets up for an airing. 

There was a moment's awkward pause, and then 
Phoebe broke the silence. 

"Our plan's this, Mr. Droop," she said, "an' I hope 
you'll agree. We want to have you take us to the 
North Pole and unwind about six years. That'll 

40 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

take us back before the World's Fair in Chicago, 
when I was eighteen years old, an' we can see fer 
ourselves how it feels to be livin' backward an' grow- 
in' younger instead of older every minute." 

"But what's the good of that?" Droop asked, quer 
ulously. "I ain't goin' to do it jest fer fun. I'm 
growin' too old to waste time that way. My plan 
was to make money with all them inventions." 

"Well, an' why can't ye?" she replied, coaxingly. 
"There's that X-ray invention, now. Why couldn't 
you show that at the World's Fair an' get a patent 
fer it?" 

"I don't understand that business," he replied, 
sharply. "Besides I can't get one o' them X-ray ma 
chines they cost a heap." 

This was a blow to Phosbe's plan and she fell 
silent, thinking deeply. She had foreseen that Droop 
would take only a mercenary view of the matter 
and had relied upon the X-ray to provide him with 
a motive. But if he refused this, what was she 
to do? 

Suddenly her face lighted up. 

"I've got it!" she cried. "You know those movin' 
picture boxes ye see down to Keene, where ye turn 
a handle and a lot of photograph cards fly along like 
rufflin' the leaves of a book. Why, it just makes 
things look alive, Mr. Droop. I'm sure those weren't 
thought of six years ago. They're span spinter new. 
Why won't they do?" 

"I ain't got one o' those either," Droop grumbled. 
41 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"I've got a kodak an' a graphophone an* a lot o' Mil- 
liken's cough syrup with the recipe " 

"Why there!" cried Phoebe, exultantly. "Milli- 
ken's cough syrup is only four years old, ain't it ?" 

Droop did not reply, but his silence was a virtual 
assent. 

"The's a mint o' money in that you know there 
is, Mr. Droop," she urged. "Why, I guess Mr. Milli- 
ken must have two or three millions, hasn't he?" 

Rebecca returned at this moment and seated her 
self on the haircloth settle, nodding silently to Droop. 

"What's about Mr. Milliken's money, Phoebe?" 
she asked. 

"Why Mr. Droop says the X-ray is no good because 
it costs a heap and he hasn't got a machine fer it an' 
I was tellin' him that Milliken's cough syrup was just 
as good for that wasn't invented six years ago, 
an' " 

"Phoebe Wise, what do you mean!" exclaimed Re 
becca. "Why, it would be jest like robbery to take 
Mr. Milliken's syrup, an' palm it off as Mr. Droop's. 
I'm surprised at ye!" 

This attack upon the ethical plane struck Phoebe 
speechless. She blushed and stammered, but had no 
reply to make. The seeming defeat really concealed 
a victory, however, for it instantly converted Coper 
nicus into an ally. 

"You don't understand the thing, Cousin Re 
becca," he said, gently but firmly. "Ye see ef we 
go six years back, it'll be a time when Mr. Milliken 

42 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

hadn't ever thought of his cough syrup. How could 
we be robbin' him of somethin' he hasn't got?" 

Rebecca looked confused for a moment, but was 
not to be so easily convinced. 

" 'Tain't somethin' he ain't thought of," she said, 
stoutly. "He's makin' money out of it, an' ef we 
get back before him, why, when time comes agin for 
him to invent it he won't have it to invent. I'm sure 
that's jest as bad as robbin' him, ain't it?" 

Phrebe looked anxiously at Copernicus and was 
much pleased to find him apparently unmoved. 

"Why, you certainly don't understand this yet," he 
insisted. "Milliken ain't agoin' back six years with 
us, is he? He'll jest go right along livin' as he's ben 
doin'." 

"What!" Eebecca exclaimed. "Will he be livin' 
in one time an' we be livin' in another both at the 
same She stopped. What was she saying ! 

"No no !" replied Copernicus. "He'll go on liv 
in'. That's what he will do. We'll go on havin' 
lived. Or to put it different we have gone on livin' 
after we get back six years to 1892. Ye see, we 
really have past all the six years so the's no harm 
in it. Milliken won't be hurt." 

Rebecca glanced at Phoebe, in whose face she 
found her own perplexity reflected. Then, throw 
ing out her hands, as though pushing away her 
crowding mental obstructions, she cried: 

"There there! I can't get the hang of it. It's 
too much for me!" 

43 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Oh, when you've done it once it'll be all easy 
and clear," said Droop, soothingly. 

Phoebe looked hopefully into his face. 

"Will you take us, Mr. Droop?" she asked. 

"Oh, I s'pose I'll hev to." 

"An' only unwind six years?" 

"Yes jest six years." 

She jumped up excitedly. 

"Then I'll be ofl to my packin'!" 

She ran to the door and, pausing here, turned again 
to their visitor. 

"Can we start to-night, Mr. Droop?" 

"Yes, indeed!" he replied. "The sooner the bet 
ter." 

"That's splendid!" she cried, and ran quickly up 
the stairs. 

The two older people sat for a while in melancholy 
silence, looking down. Each had hoped for more 
than this. Copernicus tried to convince himself that 
the profit from the cough syrup would comfort him 
for his disappointment. Rebecca dismissed with a 
sigh the dreams which she had allowed herself to enter 
tain those bright fictions centering on Joe Chandler 
not the subdued old bachelor of 1898, but the jolly 
young fellow of the famous Centennial year. 

At length Eebecca looked up and said: 

"After all, Mr. Droop, come to think of it, you've 
no call to take us with ye. I can't do ye any good 
goin' back only six years." 

"Yes ye can," said Droop. "I'll need somebody 
44 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

to help me keep house in the Panchronicon. I ain't 
no hand at cookin' an' all, an' besides, it'll be mighty 
lonely without anybody in there." 

"Well," she rejoined, rising, "I'll jest go up an* 
finish my packin'." 

"An' I'll go tend to mine." 

As they parted at the front door, it was arranged 
that Droop was to bring a wheelbarrow after supper 
and transport the sisters' belongings, preparatory to 
their departure. 

The rest of the day was spent in preparation for 
the momentous voyage. Phoebe went to the little 
bank at Peltonville station and withdrew the entire 
savings of herself and sister, much to the astonish 
ment and concern of the cashier. She walked all 
the way to the bank and back alone, for it was obvi 
ously necessary to avoid inconvenient questions. 

When the two sisters stood in their little dining- 
room with the heap of greenbacks on the table be 
fore them, Rebecca was attacked by another con 
scientious scruple. 

"I don't hardly know as we're doin' right, Phoebe," 
she said, shaking her head dubiously. "When we 
get back to 1892 we'd ought to find some money in 
the bank already. Ef we hev this with us, too, seems 
to me we'll hev more'n we're entitled to. Ain't it 
a good deal like cheatin' the bank?" 

"Mercy, no !" Phoebe exclaimed, pettishly. "You're 
forever raisin' some trouble like that! Ain't this 
our money?" 

45 



THE PANCHRONICON 



"Yes but- 



"Well, then, what's the use o' talkin' 'bout it? 
Just wait till we can mention your trouble to Mr. 
Droop. He'll have a good answer for you." 

"But s'posin' he can't answer it?" Kebecca in 
sisted. 

"Well, if he can't we can give back the difference 
to the bank." 

So saying, Phoebe took her share of the bills and 
quickly left the room. 

"I've got lots of things to do before night," she 
remarked. 

At promptly half-past nine all the lights in the 
house were extinguished, and the two sisters sat to 
gether in the dark parlor awaiting Copernicus. It 
was Rebecca who had insisted on putting out the 
lights. 

"Ef folks was to see lights here so late in the 
night," she said, "they'd suspicion somethin' an' they 
might even call in." 

Phoebe admitted the justness of this reasoning, and 
they had both directed every endeavor to complet 
ing all their arrangements before their accustomed 
bed-time. 

It was not long after this that a stealthy step was 
heard on the gravel path and Phoebe hurried to the 
door. Copernicus came in with a low word of greet 
ing and followed the ghostly shadow of his hostess 
into the parlor. 

The three stood together in the dark and con- 
46 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

versed in an undertone^ like so many conspirators 
surrounded by spies. 

"Hev ye got everythin' ready?" Droop asked. 

"Yes," said Phoebe. "The's only two little trunks 
for you. Did you bring the wheelbarrow?" 

"Yep I left it outside the gate. 'Twould hev 
made a lot of noise on the gravel inside." 

"That's right," said Phoebe. "I guess you'll not 
have any trouble to carry both o' those trunks at 
once. We haven't packed only a few things, 'cause 
I expect we'll find all our old duds ready for us in 
1892, won't we?" 

"Why, 'f course," said Droop. 

"But how 'bout linen sheets an' table-cloths an' 
all?" said Rebecca. "We'll need some o' them on 
the trip, won't we?" 

"I've got a hull slew o' them things in the Pan- 
chronicon," said Copernicus. "Ye won't hev to 
bother a bit about sech things." 

"How long do you s'pose it'll take to make the 
trip," asked Phoebe. "I mean by the clock? We 
won't have to do any washing on the way, will we?" 

"I don't see how we can," Rebecca broke in. 
" The's not a blessed tub on the hull machine." 

"No, no," said Droop, reassuringly. "We'll make 
a bee-line for the pole, an' we'll go 'bout three times 
as fast as a lightnin' express train. We'd ought to 
reach there in about twenty-four hours, I guess. 
Then we'll take it easy cuttin' meridians, so's not 

to suffer from side weight, an' " 

47 



THE PANCHRONICON 

''Side weight!" exclaimed the two women to 
gether. 

"Yes," said Droop. "That's a complaint ye get 
ef ye unwind the time too fast. Ye see, growin' 
young isn't a thing folks is used to, an' it disgrum- 
mages the hull constitution ef ye grow young too 
fast. Well, 's I was a-sayin', I guess it'll take 'bout 
eighteen hours by the clock to cut back six years. 
Thet's by the clock, ye understand. As a matter 
of fact, of course, we'll be just six years less'n no 
time in finishin' the trip." 

"Well," said Phoebe, briskly, "that's no kind o' 
reason fer dawdlin' about it now. Let's be startin'." 

"Where's the trunks?" said Droop. 

The trunks were pointed out, and with very little 
trouble Copernicus put them onto the barrow. He 
then came to the door for his last instructions. 

" 'S any thin' more ?" he asked. 

"No," said Kebecca. "We'll bring on our special 
duds in our arms. We'll wait a spell an' come on 
separate." 

The door was carefully closed and they soon heard 
the slight creak of the weighted wheel as Droop set 
off with the trunks for Burnham's swamp. 

"Now, then," said Phosbe, bustling into the par 
lor, "let's get our things all together ready to start. 
Have ye got your satchel with the money in it?" 

Rebecca gently slapped a black leather bag hang 
ing at her side. 

"Here 'tis," she said. 

48 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

"Let's see," Phoebe went on. "Here's my box with 
the letters an' miniature, here's the box with the 
jewelry, an' here's that book Mrs. Bolton gave me 
about Bacon writin' Shakespeare." 

"Whatever air ye takin' that old book fer, 
Phoebe?" 

"Why, to read on the train I mean on the way, 
ye know. We'll likely find it pretty pokey in that 
one room all day." 

"I don't know what ye mean by 'all day,' " Re 
becca exclaimed in a discouraged tone. "So far's I 
see, th'ain't goin' to be any days. What'll it feel 
like livin' backward that way? D'ye guess it'll 
make us feel sick, like ridin' backward in the cars?" 

"Don't ask me," Phoebe exclaimed, despairingly. 
" 'F I knew what 'twas like, perhaps I wouldn't feel 
so like goin'." 

She straightened herself suddenly and stood rigid. 

"Hark!" she exclaimed. "Is that Mr. Droop corn- 
in' back, d'you s'pose?" 

There were distinctly audible footsteps on the 
path. 

Phoebe came out into the hall on tiptoe and stood 
beside her sister. 

There was a knock on the door. The two sisters 
gripped each other's arms excitedly. 

"'Taint Copernicus!" Eebecca whispered very 
low. 

The knock was repeated; rather louder this time. 
Then 

49 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Miss Wise Miss Wise are ye to home?" 

It was a woman's voice. 

"Sarah Allen!" Phoebe exclaimed under her 
breath. 

"Whatever shall we do?" Rebecca replied. 

"Miss Wise," the voice repeated, and then their 
visitor knocked again, much more loudly. 

"I'll go to the door," exclaimed Phoebe. 

"But " 

"I must. She'll raise the whole town if I don't." 

So saying, Phoebe walked noisily to the door and 
unlocked it. 

"Is that you, Mis' Allen?" she asked. 

The door was opened, and Phoebe found herself 
face to face with a short, light woman whose white 
garments shone gray in the night. 

"Why, you're up'n dressed!" exclaimed Mrs. Al 
len. She did not offer to enter, but went on excit 
edly: 

"Miss Phoebe," she said, "d'you know I b'lieve 
you've ben robbed." 

"What!" 

"Yes; on'y a minute ago I was a-comin' up the 
road from M'ria Payson's you know she's right 
sick an' I've ben givin' her massidge an' what sh'd 
I see but a man comin' out o' your gate with suthin' 
on his shoulder. I couldn't see who 'twas, an' he was 
so quiet an' sneaky without a light that I jest slipped 
behind a tree. You know I've ben dreadful skeery 
ever sence Tom was brought home with his arm 

50 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

broke after a fight with a strange man in the dark. 
Well, this man to-night he put the bundle or what 
not into a wheelbarrow an' set off quiet as a mouse. 
He went off down that way, an' says I to myself, 
'It's a robber ben burglin' at the Wise's house/ says 
I, an' I come straight here to see ef ye was both 
murdered or what. Air ye all right? Hez he broken 
yer door? Hev ye missed anythin'?" 

As the little woman paused for breath, Phoebe 
seized her opportunity. 

"Did you say he went off to the north, Mis' Allen?" 
she said, with feigned excitement. 

"Yes." 

"Oh, dear oh, dear !" cried Phoebe, wringing her 
hands. "Didn't I say I heard a noise I told you I 
heard a burglar, Rebecca," she went on, hysterically, 
turning to her sister. 

"Is Miss Rebecca there?" asked Mrs. Allen. 

Rebecca came forward in silence. She was quite 
nonplussed. To tell the truth, Phoebe's sudden out 
burst was as great a tax upon her nerves as Mrs. 
Allen's unwelcome visit. Surely Phoebe had said 
nothing about a burglar! It was Droop that Mrs. 
Allen had seen of course it was. She dared not 
say so in their visitor's presence, but she wondered 
mightily at Phoebe's apparent perturbation. 

Phoebe guessed her sister's mental confusion, and 
she sought to draw Mrs. Allen's attention to herself 
to avoid the betrayal of their plans which would cer 
tainly follow Rebecca's joining the conversation. 

51 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Mis' Allen," she exclaimed, excitedly, "the's just 
one thing to be done. Won't you run 's quick 's ever 
you can to Si Pray, an' ask him to bring his gun? 
You won't meet the burglar 'cause he's gone the 
other way. Rebecca 'nd I'll jest wait here for you 
an' Si. I'll get some hot water from the kitchen, 
in case the burglar should come back while you're 
gone. Oh, please will you do it?" 

"Course I will," was the nervous reply. This hint 
of the possible return of the robbers made an imme 
diate retreat seem very desirable. "I'll go right now. 
Won't be gone a minute. Lock your door now 
quick!" 

She turned and sped down the path. She had not 
reached the gate before Phoebe walked rapidly into 
the parlor. 

"Quick quick!" she panted, frantically gathering 
up her belongings. "Get your duds an' come along." 

"But what d'you " 

"Come come come!" cried Phoebe. "Come 
quick or they'll all be here. Gun and all!" 

With her arm full of bundles, Phoebe rushed back 
through the hall and out of the front door. Eebecca 
followed her, drawn along by the fiery momentum 
of her sister. 

"Lock the front door, Rebecca," Phoebe cried. 
Then, as she reached the gate and found it fastened: 
"Here, I can't undo the gate. My hands are full. 
Oh, do hurry, Rebecca! We haven't a minute!" 

The elder sister locked the front door and started 
52 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

down the path in such a nervous fever that she left 
the key in the lock. Half way to the gate she paused. 

"Come on come on!" Phoebe cried, stamping her 
foot. 

"My land!" stammered Rebecca. "I've forgot 
everythin' !" She started back, running with short, 
unaccustomed steps. 

"My umbrella!" she gasped. "My recipes my 
slips!" 

Phoebe was speechless with anger and apprehen 
sion at this delay, and Rebecca was therefore allowed 
to re-enter the house without objection. 

In a short time she reappeared carrying an um 
brella, two flower-pots, and a folded newspaper. 

"There!" she panted, as she came up to her sister 
and opened the gate. "Now I guess I've got every 
thing" 

Silently and swiftly the two women sped north 
ward, following the imaginary burglar, while the de 
voted Mrs. Allen ran breathless in the opposite direc 
tion for Si Pray and his gun. 

"We'll hev to go more careful here," said Re 
becca as they turned into the lane leading down to 
the swamp. 

With many a stumble and some scratches they 
moved more slowly down the rutted track until at 
length they reached the point where they were to 
turn into the swamp. 

Here the sisters leaned against the wall to rest 
and recover breath. 

53 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"My goodness, but that was a narrow escape!" 
murmured Phoebe. 

"Yes," said Rebecca, with reproachful sadness; 
"but I'm afraid you paid a heavy price fer it, 
Phoebe!" 

"What do you mean?" 

"Why, 's fur 's I could make out, you told Mis' Al 
len a deliberate wrong story, Phoebe Wise." 

"What did I say?" said Phcebe, in shocked surprise. 

"You said you hed told me you'd heerd a bur 
glar!" 

"Did I say that? Those very words?" 

"Why, you know you did." 

"Wasn't it a question, Rebecca?" Phoebe insisted. 
"Didn't I ask you ef I hadn't told you I heard a 
burglar?" 

"No, it was a plain downright wrong story, Phoebe, 
an' you needn't to try to sneak out of it." 

Phoebe was silent for a few moments, and then 
Rebecca heard her laugh. It was a very little, rip 
pling thing but it was genuine there was real 
light-heartedness behind it. 

"Phoebe Wise!" exclaimed Rebecca, "how ken you 
laugh so ? I wouldn't hev the weight of sech a thing 
on my mind fer a good deal." 

"Well, Rebecca," tittered her sister, "I didn't have 
it on my mind yesterday, did I?" 

"Course not but " 

"An' won't it be yesterday for us mighty soon 
yes, an' a heap longer ago than that?" 

54 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

She laughed again merrily and began to climb 
over the wall, a proceeding not rendered easier by 
the various articles in her hands. 

A few minutes later the two women had joined 
Copernicus within his mysterious machine and were 
standing in the brightly lighted antechamber at the 
head of the stairs. 

"Well well!" cried Droop, as he caught sight of 
the two women for the first time in the light. 
"Where ever did ye get them funny dresses? Why, 
your sleeves is all puffed out near the shoulders!" 

"These are some of our old dresses," said Rebecca. 
"They was made in 1891, an' we thought they'd 
prob'bly be more in the fashion back in 1892 when 
we get there than our newer dresses." 

"Never mind our dresses, Mr. Droop," said Phoebe. 
"Where can we put down all these things? My arms 
are breakin' off." 

"Eight here, Cousin Phoebe." 

Droop bustled over to the state-rooms, opening 
both the doors at once. 

"Here's a room apiece fer ye. Take yer choice." 

"Oh, but where'll you sleep?" said Phoebe. 
"P'raps Rebecca and I'd better have one room to 
gether." 

"Not a bit of it," said Droop. "I'll sleep on one 
o' them settles under the windows. They're real 
comfortable." 

"Well just as you say." 

The sisters entered their rooms and deposited their 
55 



THE PANCHRONICON 

bundles, but Phoebe returned at once and called to 
Droop, who had started down the stairs. 

"Mr. Droop, you've got to start right straight off. 
Mrs. Allen knows 't you've carried off the trunk and 
she's comin' after us with Si Pray an' a gun." 

Just then they heard the loud barking of a dog. 
He was apparently running rapidly down the lane. 

"Sakes alive!" cried Phcebe, in alarm. "Slam to 
that door, Copernicus Droop! Si has let his dog 
loose an' he's on your tracks!" 

The baying was repeated now much nearer. 
Droop clattered frantically down the stairs, and shut 
the door with a bang. At the next moment a heavy 
body leaped against it, and a man's voice was heard 
close at hand. 

"Sic um, Touser, sic um! Where is he, boy?" 

Up the stairs went Copernicus two steps at a time. 
He dashed into the anteroom, pale and breathless. 

"Lie down on the floor!" he shouted. "Lie down 
or ye'll get throwed down. I'm agoin' to start her!" 

By this time he had opened the engine-room door. 

The two women promptly lay flat on their backs 
on the carpet. 

Droop braced himself firmly and had just grasped 
the starting lever when a cry from Rebecca arrested 
him. 

"Copernicus Droop hold on!" she cried. 

He turned to her, his face full of anxious fear. 
Rebecca lay on her back with her hands at her sides, 
but her head was raised stiffly from the floor. 

56 



A NOCTURNAL EVASION 

"Copernicus Droop," she said, solemnly, "hev ye 
brought any rum aboard with ye ? 'Cause if ye have 
I won't " 

She never concluded, for at this moment her head 
was jerked back sharply against the floor by a tre 
mendous upward leap of the machine. 

There was a hissing roar as of a thousand rockets, 
and even as Rebecca was wondering, half stunned, 
why she saw so many jumping lights, Si Pray gazed 
open-mouthed at the ascension of a mysterious dark 
body apparently aimed at the sky. 

The Panchronicon had started. 



57 



CHAPTEK IV 

A CHANGE OF PLAN 

IT was long after their bed-time and the two sis 
ters were utterly exhausted; but as the mysterious 
structure within which they lay glided northward 
between heaven and earth with the speed of a 
meteor, Rebecca and Phoebe long courted sleep in 
vain. 

The excitement of their past adventures, the un 
real wonder of their present situation, the bewilder 
ing possibilities and impossibilities of their future 
plans all these conspired to banish sleep until long 
past midnight. It was not until, speeding due north 
with the unswerving obedience of a magnet, their 
vessel was sailing far above the waters of the upper 
Saguenay, that they at length sank to rest. 

They were awakened next morning by a knocking 
upon Rebecca's door. 

"It's pretty nigh eight-thirty," Droop cried. "I've 
got the kettle on the range, but I don't know what 
to do nex'." 

"What! Why! Who! Where! Sakes! what's 
this*" 

Rebecca sat up in bed, unable to place herself. 
58 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"It's pretty nigh half-past eight," Copernicus re 
peated. "Long after breakfast-time. I'm hungry!" 

By this time Phoebe was wide awake. 

"All right !" she cried. "We'll come in a minute." 

Then Rebecca knew where she was or rather 
realized that she did not know. But fortunately a 
duty was awaiting her in the kitchen and this stead 
ied a mind which seemed to her to need some sup 
port in the midst of these unwonted happenings. 

Phoebe was the first to leave her bedroom. She 
had dressed with frantic speed. In her haste to get 
to the windows and see the world from the sky, she 
had secured her hair very imperfectly, and Droop 
was favored with a charming display of bright locks, 
picturesquely disarranged. 

"Good-mornin', Cousin Phoebe," he said, with his 
suavest manner. 

"Good-morning, Mr. Droop," Phoebe replied. 
"Where are we? Is everything all right?" 

She made straight for one of the windows the 
iron shutters of which were now open. 

"I wish't you'd call me Cousin Copernicus," Droop 
remarked. 

"Oh oh! What a beautiful world!" 

Phoebe leaned her face close to the glass and gazed 
spell-bound at the wonderful landscape spread be 
fore her. 

The whole atmosphere seemed filled with a clear, 
cold sunlight whose brilliance irradiated the giant 
sphere of earth so far away. 

59 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Directly below and to the right of their course, 
as far as she could see, there was one vast expanse 
of dark blue sea, gilded dazzlingly over one portion 
where the sun's beams were reflected. Far ahead to 
the north and as far behind them the sea was bor 
dered with the fantastic curves of a faint blue coast 
dotted and lined with the shadows of many a hill 
and mountain. It was a map on which she was gazing. 
Nature's own map the only perfect chart in the 
world. 

So new so intensely, almost painfully, beautiful 
was this scene that Phoebe stood transfixed fasci 
nated. She did not even think of speaking. 

The scene was not so new to Droop and besides 
he was a prey to an insistent appetite. His mental 
energies, therefore, sought expression in speech. 

Approaching Phoebe's side, he said: 

"Mighty pretty, ain't it?" 

She did not reply, so he continued: 

"That water right under us is Hudson Strait. 
The ocean to the right is the Atlantic. Ye can see 
Hudson's Bay off to the left out o' one o' them win^ 
dows. I've ben lookin' it up on the map." 

He strolled toward the table, as if inviting Phoebe 
to see his chart which lay there unrolled. She did 
not follow him. 

"Yes," he continued, "that's Hudson Strait, and 
we're four miles high, an' that's all I'll tell ye till I 
have my breakfast." 

He gazed wistfully at Phoebe, who did not move 
60 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

or speak, but let her eyes wander in awed delight 
over the wonders thus brought before them. 

Just then Rebecca emerged from her room. 

"Good-mornin'," she said. "I guess I'm late." 

"Good-mornin', Cousin Rebecca; I guess ye are a 
mite late. Cousin Phoebe won't move so I'm sayin' 
we're four miles high an' right over Hudson Strait, 
an' that's all I'll tell ye till I get my breakfast." 

"Goodness me!" exclaimed Rebecca. "Ain't that 
mos' too high, Mr. Droop?" She hurried to the win 
dow and looked out. 

"Sakes alive!" she gasped. 

She was silent for a moment, awed in her turn by 
the immensity of the prospect. 

"Why but it's all water underneath!" she ex 
claimed at last. "Ef we was to fall now, we'd be 
drowned!" 

"Now don't you be a mite skeert," said Droop, 
with reassuring politeness. "We've ben scootin' 
along like this all night an' an' the fact is, I've got 
the kettle on p'raps it's b'iled over." 

Rebecca turned from the window at once and 
made for the kitchen. 

"Phoebe," she said, briskly, "you set the table now 
an' I'll hev breakfast ready in a twinklin'." 

Reluctantly Phoebe left the window and Droop 
soon had the satisfaction of sauntering back and 
forth between kitchen and dining-table in pleased 
supervision of the progress of both. 

In due time a simple but substantial breakfast 
61 



THE PANCHRONICON 

was in readiness, and the three travellers were seated 
around the table partaking of the meal each in his 
own way. 

Droop was business-like, almost enthusiastic, in his 
voracious hunger. Rebecca ate moderately and 
without haste, precisely as though seated in the little 
Peltonville cottage. Phoebe ate but little. She was 
overcome by the wonders she had seen, realizing for 
the first time the marvellous situation in which she 
found herself. 

It was not until the table was cleared and the two 
women were busy with the dishes that conversation 
was resumed. Droop sat with his chair tilted back 
ward against the kitchen wall enjoying a quiet satis 
faction with his lot and a kindly mental attitude 
toward all men. 

He glanced through the kitchen door at the barom 
eter on the wall in the outer room. 

"We've climbed near a mile since before break 
fast," he remarked. 

Rebecca paused before hanging up the soap-shaker. 

"Look here, Mr. Droop," she said, anxiously, "we 
are mos' too high a'ready, I think. S'posin' we was 
to fall down. Where do you s'pose we'd be?" 

"Why, Rebecca," said Phrebe, laughing, "do you 
suppose five miles is any worse than four? I guess 
we'd be killed by falling one mile jest as quick as 
five." 

"Quicker!" Droop exclaimed. "Considerable 
quicker, Cousin Rebecca, fer it would take us a 

62 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

good deal longer to fall five miles than it would 
one." 

"But what ever's the use o' keepin' on a-climbin' ?" 

"Why, that's the nature of this machine," he re 
plied. "Ye see, it runs on the rocket principle by 
spurtin' out gases. Ef we want to go up off the 
ground we squirt out under the machine an' that 
gives us a h'ist. Then, when we get 'way up high, 
we spread out a pair o' big wings like and start the 
propeller at the stern end o' the thing. Now them 
wings on'y holds us up by bein' inclined a mite in 
front, and consequence is we're mighty apt to climb 
a little right 'long." 

"Well, but won't we get too high?" suggested 
Phoebe. "Ain't the air too thin up very high?" 

"Of course, we mustn't go too high," Droop con 
ceded, "an' I was just a-thinkin' it wouldn't go amiss 
to let down a spell." 

He rose and started for the engine-room. 

"How do you let down?" Phoebe asked, pausing 
in her work. 

"Why, I jest turn the wings horizontal, ye know, 
an' then we sink very slow till I incline 'em up 
again." 

He disappeared. Phoebe gave the last of the dishes 
a brief touch of the dish-towel and then ran into the 
main room to watch the barometer. 

She was much interested to observe a gradual but 
continual decrease in their altitude. She walked to 
the window but could see no apparent change, save 

63 



THE PANCHRONICON 

that they had now passed the sea and only the blue 
land with silver streaks of river and indigo hill shad 
ows was beneath them. 

"How fast do you s'pose we're flyin', Mr. Droop?" 
she asked. 

"There's the speed indicator," he said, pointing to 
one of the dials on the wall. "Ye see it says we're 
a-hummin' along at about one hundred an' thirty 
miles an hour." 

"My gracious!" cried Phrebe. "What if we was 
to hit something!" 

"Nothin' to hit," said Droop, with a smile. "Ye 
see, the's no sort o' use goin' any slower, an' besides, 
this quick travellin' keeps us warm." 

"Why, how's that?" 

"The sides o' the machine rubbin' on the air," said 
Droop. 

"That's so," Phrebe replied. "That's what heats 
up meteors so awful hot, ain't it?" 

Rebecca came out of the kitchen at this moment. 

"I must say ye wasn't particler about gettin' all 
the pans to rights 'fore ye left the kitchen, Phrebe. 
Ben makin' the beds?" 

"Land, no, Rebecca!" said Phosbe, blushing guilt- 

ay. 

"Well, there!" 

Rebecca said no more, but her set lips and puck 
ered forehead spoke much of displeasure as she 
stalked across to the state-rooms. 

"Well, I declare to goodness!" she cried, as she 
64 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

opened her door. "Ye hevn't even opened the win 
dow to air the rooms!" 

Phoebe looked quite miserable at thought of her 
remissness, but Copernicus came bravely to the 
rescue. 

"The windows can't be opened, Cousin Rebecca," 
he said. "Ef ye was to open one, 'twould blow yer 
head's bald as an egg in a minute." 

"What!" 

"Yes," said Phoebe, briskly, "I couldn't air the 
beds an' make 'em because we're going one hundred 
and thirty odd miles an hour, Rebecca." 

"D'you mean to tell me, Copernicus Droop," cried 
the outraged spinster, "that I've got to go 'thout 
airin' my bed?" 

"No, no," Copernicus said, soothingly. "The's 
special arrangements to keep ventilation goin'. Jest 
leave the bed open half the day an' it'll be all 
aired." 

Rebecca looked far from pleased at this. 

"I declare, ef I'd known of all these doin's," she 
muttered. 

Unable to remain idle, she set to work "putting 
things to rights," as she called it, while Phoebe took 
her book to the west window and was soon lost in 
certain modern theories concerning the Baconian 
authorship of Shakespeare's works. 

"Is these duds yourn, Mr. Droop?" asked Rebecca, 
sharply, pointing to a motley collection of goods piled 
in one corner of the main room. 

65 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Yes," Droop replied, coming quickly to her side. 
"Them's some of the inventions I'm carryin' along." 

He stooped and gathered up a number of boxes 
and bundles in his arms. Then he stood up and 
looked about him as though seeking a safe place for 
their deposit. 

"That's all right," said Rebecca. "Ye can put 'em 
right back, Mr. Droop. I jest wanted to see whether 
the' was much dust back in there." 

Droop replaced his goods with a sigh of relief. 
One box he retained, however, and, placing it upon 
the table, proceeded to unpack it. 

Rebecca now turned her attention to her own be 
longings. Lifting one of her precious flower-pots 
carefully, she looked all about for a more suitable 
location for her plants. 

"Phcebe," she exclaimed at length, "where ever 
can I set my slips? They ought to be in the sun 
there by the east window, but it'll dirt up the cov- 
erin' of the settle." 

Phoebe looked up from her book. 

"Why don't ye spread out that newspaper you 
brought with you?" she said. 

Rebecca shook her head. 

"No," she replied, "I couldn't do thet. The's a 
lot o' fine receipes in there I never could make my 
sweet pickle as good as thet recipe in the New York 
paper thet Molly sent me." 

Phoebe laid down her book and walked over to her 
sister's side. 

66 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"Oh, the' must be some part of it you can use, 
Rebecca," she said. "Land sakes!" she continued, 
laughing. "Why, it's the whole of the New York 
World for a Sunday pictures an' all! Here take 
this advertisin' piece an' spread it out so." 

She tore off a portion of the voluminous paper 
and carefully spread it out on one of the eastern 
settles. 

"Whatever did you bring those slips with you for?" 
she asked. 

Rebecca deposited the flower-pots carefully in the 
sun and slapped her hands across each other to re 
move the dust on them. 

"One o' them is off my best honeysuckle thet come 
from a slip thet Sam Mellick brought from Japan 
in 1894. This geranium come off a plant thet was 
given me by Arabella Slade, 'fore she died in 1896, 
an' she cut it off'n a geranium thet come from a lot 
thet Joe Chandler's father raised from slips cut off 
of some plants down to Boston in the ground that 
used to belong to our great-grandfather Wilkins 'fore 
the Revolution." 

This train of reasoning seemed satisfactory, and 
Phoebe turned to resume her book. 

Copernicus intercepted her as she passed the table. 

"What d'ye think o' this little phonograph, Cousin 
Phoebe?" he said. 

One of Droop's boxes stood open and beside it 
Phoebe saw a phonograph with the usual spring mo 
tor and brass megaphone. 

67 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"I paid twenty-five fer that, secon' hand, down to 
Keene," said the proud owner. 

"There!" exclaimed Phoebe. "I've always wanted 
to know how those things worked. I've heard 'em, 
you know, but I've never worked one." 

"It's real easy," said Droop, quite delighted to 
find Phoebe so interested. "Ye see, when it's wound 
up, all ye hev to do is to slip one o' these wax cylin 
ders on here so." 

He adjusted the cylinder, dropped the stylus and 
pushed the starting lever. 

Instantly the stentorian announcement rang out 
from the megaphone. 

"The Last Rose of Summer Sola Sung by Si- 
gnora Casta Diva Edison Record!" 

"Goodness gracious sakes alive !" cried Rebecca, 
turning in affright. "Who's that?" 

Her two companions raised their right hands in a 
simultaneous appeal for silence. Then the song began. 

With open eyes and mouth, the amazed Rebecca 
drew slowly nearer, and finally took her stand di 
rectly in front of the megaphone. 

The song ended and Copernicus stopped the motor. 

"Oh, ain't it lovely!" Phoebe cried. 

"Well I'll be switched!" Rebecca exclaimed, 
with slow emphasis. "Can it sing anythin' else?" 

"Didn't you never hear one afore, Cousin Re 
becca?" Droop asked. 

"I never did," she replied. "What on the face 
of the green airth does it?" 

68 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"Have ye any funny ones?" Phoebe asked, quickly, 
fearful of receiving a long scientific lecture. 

"Yes," said Droop. "Here's a nigger minstrels. 
The's some jokes in it." 

The loud preliminary announcement made Re 
becca jump again, but while the music and the songs 
and jokes were delivered, she stood earnestly atten 
tive throughout, while her companions grinned and 
giggled alternately. 

"Is thet all ?" she asked at the conclusion. 

"Thet's all," said Droop, as he removed the cyl 
inder. 

"Well, I don't see nothin' funny 'bout it," she said, 
plaintively. 

Droop's pride was touched. 

"Ah, but that ain't all it can do!" he cried. "Here's 
a blank cylinder. You jest talk at the machine while 
it's runnin', an' it'll talk back all you say." 

This was too much for Rebecca's credulity, and 
Droop could not induce her to talk into the trum 
pet. 

"You can't make a fool o' me, Copernicus Droop," 
she exclaimed. 

"You try, Cousin Phoebe," he said at last. 

Phoebe looked dubiously at her sister as though 
half of opinion that her shrewd example should be 
followed. 

"You sure it'll do it?" she asked. 

"Certain!" cried Copernicus, nodding his head 
with violence. 

69 



THE PANCHRONICON 

She stood a moment leaning over with her pretty 
lips close to the trumpet. 

Then she straightened up with a face of comical 
despair. 

"I don't know what to say," she exclaimed. 

Droop stopped the motor and looked about the 
room. Suddenly his eyes brightened. 

"There," he cried, pointing to the book Phoebe 
had been reading, "read suthin' out o' that into 
it." 

Phoebe opened the book at random, and as Droop 
started the motor again she read the following lines 
slowly and distinctly into the trumpet: 

"It is thus made clear from the indubitable evi 
dence of the plays themselves that Francis Bacon 
wrote the immortal works falsely ascribed to "Will 
iam Shakespeare, and that the gigantic genius of this 
man was the result of the possession of royal blood. 
In this unacknowledged son of Elizabeth Tudor, 
Queen of England, was made manifest to all coun 
tries and for all centuries the glorious powers inher 
ent in the regal blood of England." 

"That'll do," said Droop. "Now jest hear it talk 
back." 

He substituted the repeating stylus for the record 
ing point and set the motor in motion once more. 
To the complete stupefaction of Rebecca, the repe 
tition of Phoebe's words was perfect. 

"Why ! It's Phoebe's voice," she began, but Phoebe 
broke in upon her suddenly. 

70 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"Why, see the hills on each side of us, Mr. Droop," 
she cried. 

Droop glanced out and leaped a foot from the 
ground. 

"Goramighty!" he screamed, "she'll strike!" He 
dashed to the engine-room and threw up the forward 
edges of the aeroplanes. Instantly the vessel swooped 
upward and the hills Phoebe had seen appeared to 
drop into some great abyss. 

The two women ran to a window and saw that 
they were over a bleak and rocky island covered with 
ice and snow. 

Droop came to their side, quite pale with fright. 

"Great Moses!" he exclaimed. "I warn't more'n 
jest in time, I tell ye! We was a-settlin' fast. A 
little more'n we'd ha' struck " He snapped the 
fingers of both hands and made a gesture expressive 
of the complete destruction which would have re 
sulted. 

"I tell you what, Mr. Droop," said Rebecca, stern 
ly, but with a little shake in her voice, "you've got 
to jest tend to business and navigate this thing we're 
a-ridin' on. You can't work and play too. Don't 
you say anythin' more to Phoebe or me till we get 
to the pole. What time'll that be?" 

"About six or half-past, I expect," said Droop, 
humbly. "But I don't see how I can be workin' all 
the time. The machine don't need it, an', besides, 
I've got to eat, haven't I?" 

"When it comes time fer your victuals, Phoebe'll 
71 



THE PANCHRONICON 

watch the windows an' the little clocks on the wall 
while I feed ye. But don't open yer head agin now, 
only fer necessary talkin' an' eatin', till we get there. 
I don't want any smash-ups 'round here." 

Copernicus found it expedient to obey these in 
structions, and under Eebecca's watchful generalship 
he was obliged to pace back and forth from engine- 
room to window while Phosbe read and her sister 
knitted. So passed the remainder of the day, save 
when at dinner-time the famished man was relieved 
by his young lieutenant. 

Immediately after supper, however, they all three 
posted themselves at the windows, on the lookout for 
the North Pole. Droop slowed down the propeller, 
and the aeroplanes being thus rendered less effective 
they slowly descended. 

They were passing over an endless plain of rough 
and ragged ice. In every direction all the way to 
the horizon nothing could be seen but the glare of 
white. 

"How'll you know when we get there?" asked 
Phoebe. 

Droop glanced apprehensively at Rebecca and re 
plied in a whisper: 

"We'll see the pole a-stickin' up. We can't go 
wrong, you know. The Panchronicon is fixed to 
guide itself allus due north." 

"You don't need to whisper speak right up, Mr. 
Droop," said Rebecca, sharply. 

Copernicus started, looked nervously about and 
72 



A CHANGE OP PLAN 

then stared out of the window northward with a very 
business-like frown. 

"Is the' really an' truly a pole there?" Phcebe asked. 

"Yes," said Droop, shortly. 

"An' can ye see the meridians jammed together 
like in the geographies?" asked Rebecca. 

"No," said Droop, "no, indeed at least, I didn't 
see any." 

"Why, Rebecca," said Phoebe, "the meridians are 
only conventional signs, you know. They don't " 

"Hallo!" Droop cried, suddenly, "what's that?" 
He raised a spyglass with which he had hitherto been 
playing and directed it northward for a few seconds. 
Then he turned with a look of relief on his face. 

"It's the pole!" he exclaimed. 

Phosbe snatched the spyglass and applied it to her 
eye. 

Yes, on the horizon she could discern a thin black 
line, rising vertically from the plain of ice. Even 
as she looked it seemed to be nearer, so rapid was 
their progress. 

Droop went to the engine-room, lessened speed 
and brought the aeroplanes to the horizontal. He 
could look directly forward through a thick glass port 
directly over the starting-handle. Gradually the 
great machine settled lower and lower. It was now 
running quite slowly and the aeroplanes acted only 
as parachutes as they glided still forward toward the 
black upright line. 

In silence the three waited for the approaching 
73 



THE PANCHRONICON 

end of this first stage of their journey. A few hun 
dred yards south of their goal they seemed about to 
alight, but Droop slightly inclined the aeroplanes 
and speeded up the propeller a little. Their vessel 
swept gently upward and northward again, like a 
gull rising from the sea. Then Droop let it settle 
again. Just as they were about to fall rather vio 
lently upon the solid mass of ice below them, he 
projected a relatively small volume of gas from be 
neath the structure. Its reaction eased their de 
scent, and they settled down without noise or shock. 

They had arrived! 

Copernicus came forward to the window and 
pointed to a tall, stout steel pole projecting from the 
ice a few yards to the right of the vessel. 

"Thet, neighbors, is the North Pole !" he said, with 
a sweeping wave of the hand. 

For some minutes the three voyagers stood in si 
lence gazing through the window at the famous pole. 
This, then, was the goal of so much heroic endeav 
or! It was to reach this complete opposite of all 
that is ordinarily attractive that countless ambitious 
men had suffered that so many had died! 

"Well!" exclaimed Rebecca at length. "I be 
switched ef I see what there is fer so many folks to 
make sech a fuss about!" 

Droop scratched his head thoughtfully and made 
no reply. Surely it would have been hard to point 
out any charms in the endless plain of opaque ice 
hummocks, unrelieved save by that gaunt steel pole. 

74 ' 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"Where's the open sea?" Rebecca asked, after a 
few moments' pause. "Dr. Kane said the' was an 
open sea up here." 

"Oh, Dr. Kane!" said Droop, contemptuously. 
"He's no 'count fer modern facts." 

"What I can't understand," said Phoebe, "is how 
it comes that, if nobody's ever been up here, they 
all seem to know there's a North Pole here." 

"That's a fact," Rebecca exclaimed. "How'd they 
know about it ? The' ain't anythin' in the Bible 'bout 
it, is the'?" 

Droop looked more cheerful at this and answered 
briskly: 

"Oh, they don't know 'bout it. Ye see, that pole 
there ain't a nat'ral product of the soil at all. Et's 
the future man done that the man who invented 
this Panchronicon and brought me up here before. 
He told me how that he stuck that post in there to 
help him run this machine 'round and 'round fer 
cuttin' meridians." 

"Oh!" exclaimed both sisters together. 

"Yes" Droop continued. "D'ye see thet big iron 
ring 'round the pole, lyin' on the ground?" 

"I don't see any ground," said Rebecca, ruefully. 

"Well, on the ice, then. Don't ye see it lyin' 
black there against the snow?" 

"Yes yes, I see it," said Phoebe. 

"Well, that's what I'm goin' to hitch the holdin' 
rope on to. You'll see how it's done presently." 

He glanced at the clock. 
75 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Seven o'clock," lie said. "I guessed mighty close 
when I said 'twould take us twenty hours. "We left 
Peltonville at ten-thirty last night." 

"Seven o'clock!" cried Eebecca. "So 'tis. Why, 
what's the matter with the sun. Ain't it goin' to 
set at all?" 

"Not much !" said Droop, chuckling. "Sim don't 
set up here, Cousin Kebecca. Not until winter-time, 
an' then et stays set till summer again." 

"Well!" was the breathless reply. "An' where in 
creation does it go when it stays set?" 

"Why, Rebecca," exclaimed Phoebe, "the sun is 
south of the equator in winter, you know." 

"Shinin' on the South Pole then," Droop added, 
nodding. 

For a moment Rebecca looked from one to the 
other of her companions, and then, realizing the ne 
cessity of keeping her mind within its accustomed 
sphere, she changed the subject. 

"Come now the' ain't any wind to blow us away 
now, I hope. Let's open our windows an' air out 
those state-rooms." 

She started toward her door. 

"Hold on!" cried Droop, extending his arm to stop 
her. "You don't want to fall down dead o' cold, 
do ye?" 

"What!" 

"Don't you know what a North Pole is like fer 
weather an' sich?" Droop continued. "Why, Cousin 
Rebecca, it's mos' any 'mount below zero outside. 

76 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

Don't you open a window not a tiny crack if ye 
don't want to freeze solid in a second." 

"There!" Rebecca exclaimed. "You do provoke 
me beyond anythin', Copernicus Droop! Ef I'd 
a-knowed the kind o' way we'd had to live why, 
there! It's wuss'n pigs!" 

She marched indignantly into her room and closed 
the door. A moment later she put out her head. 

"Phoebe Wise," she said, "if you take my advice, 
you'll make your bed an' tidy yer room at once. 
Ain't any use waitin' any longer fer a chance to 
air." 

Phoebe smiled and moved toward her own door. 

"Thet's a good idea," said Droop. "You fix yer 
rooms an' I'll do some figurin'. Ye see I've got to 
figur out how long it'll take us to get back six years. 
I've a notion it'll take about eighteen hours, but I 
ain't certain sure." 

Poor Rebecca set to work in her rooms with far 
from enviable feelings. Her curiosity had been 
largely satisfied and the unwonted conditions were 
proving very trying indeed. Could she have set out 
with the prospect of returning to those magical days 
of youth and courtship, as Droop had originally pro 
posed, the end would have justified the means. But 
they could not do this now if they would, for Phoebe 
had left her baby clothes behind. Thus her disap 
pointment added to her burdens, and she found her 
self wishing that she had never left her comfortable 
home, however amazing had been her adventures. . 

77 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"I could'v aired my bed at least," she muttered, 
as she turned the mattress of her couch in the soli 
tude of her chamber. 

She found the long-accustomed details of cham 
ber work a comfort and solace, and, as she finally 
gazed about the tidy room at her completed work, 
she felt far more contented with her lot than she 
had felt before beginning. 

"I guess I'll go help Phoebe," she thought. "The 
girl is that slow!" 

As she came from her room she found Copernicus 
leaning over the table, one hand buried in his hair 
and the other wielding a pencil. He was absorbed 
in arithmetical calculations. 

She did not disturb him, but turned and entered 
Phoebe's room without the formality of knocking. 
As she opened the door, there was a sharp clatter, 
as of a door or lid slamming. 

"Who's there?" cried Phoebe, sharply. 

She was seated on the floor in front of her trunk, 
and she looked up at her sister with a flushed and 
startled face. 

"Oh, it's you!" she said, guiltily. 

Rebecca glanced at the bed. 

It had not been touched. 

"Well, I declare!" Rebecca exclaimed. "Ain't 
you ever agoin' to fix up your room, Phcebe 
Wise?" 

"Oh, in a minute, Rebecca. I was just agoin' over 
my trunk a minute." 

78 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

She leaned back against the foot of the bed, and 
folding her hands gazed pensively into vacancy, while 
Rebecca stared at her in astonishment. 

"Do you know," Phoebe went on, "I've ben think- 
in' it's awful mean not to give you a chance to go 
back to 1876, Rebecca. Joe Chandler's a mighty 
fine man!" 

Rebecca gave vent to an unintelligible murmur 
and turned to Phoebe's bed. She grasped the mat 
tress and gave it a vicious shake as she turned it over. 
She was probably only transferring to this inoffen 
sive article a process which she would gladly have 
applied elsewhere. 

There was a long silence while Rebecca resent 
fully drew the sheets into proper position, smoothed 
them with swift pats and caressings, and tucked them 
neatly under at head and sides. Then came a soft, 
apologetic voice. 

"Rebecca!" 

The spinster made no reply but applied herself to 
a mathematically accurate adjustment of the top 
edge of the upper sheet. 

"Rebecca!" 

The second call was a little louder than the first, 
and there was a queer half-sobbing, half-laughing 
catch in the speaker's voice that commanded atten 
tion. 

Rebecca looked up. 

Phoebe was still sitting on the floor beside her 
trunk, but the trunk was open now and the young 

79 



THE PANCHRONICON 

woman's rosy face was peering with, a pathetic smile 
over a what! could it be! 

Rebecca leaned forward in amazement. 

Yes, it was! In Phoebe's outstretched hands was 
the dearest possible little baby's undergarment all 
of cambric, with narrow ribbons at the neck. 

For a few seconds the two sisters looked at each 
other over this unexpected barrier. Then Phoebe's 
lips quivered into a pathetic curve and she buried 
her face in the little garment, laughing and crying 
at once. 

Rebecca dropped helplessly into a chair. 

"Phoebe Martin Wise!" she exclaimed. "Do you 
mean hev you brought ?" 

She fell silent, and then, darting at her sister, she 
took her head in her hands and deposited a sudden 
kiss on the smooth bright gold-brown hair and 
whisked out of Phoebe's room and into her own. 

In the meantime Copernicus was too deeply ab 
sorbed in his calculations to notice these comings and 
goings. Apparently he had been led into the most 
abstruse mathematical regions. Nothing short of 
the triple integration of transcendental functions 
should have been adequate to produce those lines 
of anxious care in his face as he slowly covered sheet 
after sheet with figures. 

He was at length startled from his preoccupation 
by a gentle voice at his side. 

"Can't I help, Mr. Droop?" 

It was Phoebe, who, having made all right in her 
80 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

room and washed all traces of tears from her face, 
had come to note Droop's progress. 

Dazed, he raised his head and looked unexpect 
edly into a lovely face made the more attractive by 
an expression only given by a sense of duty un 
selfishly done. 

"I I wish'd you'd call me Cousin Copernicus," 
he said for the fifth time. 

She picked up one of the sheets on which he had 
been scribbling as though she had not heard him, 
and said: 

"Why, dear me ! How comes it you have so much 
figurin' to do?" 

"Well," he began, in a querulous tone, "it beats 
all creation how many things a feller has to work 
out at once! Ye see, I've got a rope forty foot long 
that's got to tie the Panchronicon to the North Pole 
while we swing 'round to cut meridians. Now, then, 
the question is, How many times an hour shall we 
swing 'round to get to 1892, an' how long's it goin' 
to take an' how fast must I make the old thing hum 
along?" 

"But you said eighteen hours by the clock would 
do it." " 

"Well, I jest guessed at that by the time the fu 
ture man an' I took to go back five weeks, ye know. 
But I can't seem to figur it out right." 

Phoebe seated herself at the table and took up a 
blank sheet of paper. 

"Please lend me your pencil," she said. "Now, 
81 



THE PANCHRONICON 

then, every time you whirl once 'round the pole to 
westward you lose one day, don't you?" 

"That's it," said Droop, cheerfully. "Cuttin' 
twenty-four meridians " 

"And how many days in twenty-two years?" Phoebe 
broke in. 

"You mean in six years." 

"Why, no," she replied, glancing at Droop with 
a mischievous smile, "it's twenty-two years back to 
1876, ain't it?" 

"To "76 why, but " 

He caught sight of her face and stopped short. 

There came a pleased voice from one of the state 
rooms. 

"Yes, we've decided to go all the way back, Mr. 
Droop." 

It was Rebecca. 

She came forward and stood beside her sister, 
placing one hand affectionately upon her shoulder. 

Droop leaned back in his chair with both hands 
on the edge of the table. 

"Goin' all the way! Why, but then " 

He leaped to his feet with a radiant face. 

"Great Jumpin' Jerusha !" he cried. 

Slapping his thigh he began to pace excitedly up 
and down. 

"Why, then, we'll get all the big inventions out 
kodak an' phonograph and all. We'll marry Joe 
Chandler an' set things agoin' in two shakes f er mill 
ions." 

82 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

"Eight thousand and thirty-five," said Phoebe in 
a quiet voice, putting her pencil to her lips. "We'll 
have to whirl round the pole eight thousand and 
thirty-five times." 

"Whose goin' to keep count?" asked Rebecca, 
cheerfully. Ah, how different it all seemed now! 
Every dry detail was of interest. 

Phoebe looked up at Droop, who now resumed his 
seat, somewhat sobered. 

"Don't have to keep count," he replied. "See 
that indicator?" he continued, pointing to a dial in 
the ceiling which had not been noticed before. "That 
reads May 3, 1898, now, don't it? Well, it's fixed 
to keep always tellin' the right date. It counts the 
whirls we make an' keeps tabs on every day we go 
backward. Any time all ye hev to do is to read that 
thing an' it'll tell ye jest what day 'tis." 

"Then what do you want to calculate how often 
to whirl round?" asked Phcebe, in disgusted tones. 

"Well, ye see I want to plan out how long it'll 
take," Droop replied. "I want to go slow so as to 
avoid side weight but I don't want to go too slow." 

"I see," said Phcebe. "Well, then, how many 
times a minute did the future man take you when 
you whirled back five weeks?" 

" 'Bout two times a minute." 

"That's one hundred and twenty times every hour. 
Did you feel much side weight then?" 

"Scarcely any." 

"Well, let's see. Divide eight thousand and thir- 
83 



THE PANCHRONICON 

tj-five whirls by one hundred and twenty, an' you 
get sixty-seven hours. So that, ef we go at that rate 
it'll be two days and nineteen hours 'fore we get 
back to 1876." 

"Don't talk about days," Droop objected. "It's 
sixty-seven hours by the clock but it's twenty-two 
years less than no time in days, ye know." 

"Sixty-seven hours," said Phoebe. "Well, that 
ain't so bad, is it? Why not go round twice a min 
ute?" 

"We can't air our beds fer three days, Phoebe," 
said Rebecca. 

"But if we go much faster, we'll all be sick with 
this side weight trouble that Mr. Droop tells 
about." 

"I vote fer twice a minute," said Droop. And so 
twice a minute was adopted. 

"Air ye goin' to start to-night, Mr. Droop?" asked 
Rebecca.^ 

"Well, no," he replied. "I think it's best to wait 
till to-morrow. Ye see, the power that runs the 
Panchronicon is got out o' the sunlight that falls on 
it. Of course, we're not all run out o' power by a 
good lot, but we've used considerable, an' I think 
it's a little mite safer to lie still fer a few hours here 
an 'take in power from the sun. Ye see, it'll shine 
steady on us all night, an' we'll store up enough 
power to be sure o' reachin' 1ST 6 in one clip." 

"Well," said Rebecca, "ef thet's the plan, I'm goin' 
to bed right now. It's after eight o'clock, an' I didn't 

84 



A CHANGE OF PLAN 

get to sleep las' night till goodness knows when. 
Good-night! Hedn't you better go, too, Phoebe?" 

"I guess I will," said Phoebe, turning to Coperni 
cus. "Good-night, Mr. Droop." 

"Good-night, Cousin Phoebe good-night, Cousin 
Rebecca. I'll go to bed myself, I b'lieve." 

The two doors were closed and Droop proceeded 
to draw the steel shutters in order to produce arti 
ficially the gloom not vouchsafed by a too-persistent 
sun. 

In half an hour all were asleep within the now 
motionless conveyance. 



85 



CHAPTER V 

DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

ALL were up betimes when the faithful clock an 
nounced that it ought to be morning. As for the 
sun, as though resenting the liberties about to be 
taken by these adventurers with its normal functions, 
it refused to set, and was found by the three travel 
lers at the same altitude as the night before. 

Promptly after breakfast Droop proceeded to don 
a suit of furs which he drew from a cupboard within 
the engine-room. 

"Ye'd better hev suthin' hot ready when I come in 
again," he said. "I 'xpect I'll be nigh froze to death." 

He drew on a huge cap of bear's fur which ex 
tended from his crown to his shoulders. There was 
a small hole in front which exposed only his nose 
and eyes. 

"My, but you do look just like a pictur of Kris 
Kringle!" laughed Phoebe. "Don't he, Rebecca?" 

Rebecca came to the kitchen door wiping a dish 
with slow circular movements of her towel. 

"I don't guess you'll freeze very much with all 
that on," she remarked. 

"Thet shows you don't know what seventy or eighty 
below zero means," said a muffled voice from within 

86 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

the fur cap. "You'll hev suthin' hot, won't ye?" 
Droop continued, looking appealingly at Phoebe. 

"The'll be a pot o' good hot tea," she said. "That'll 
warm you all right." 

Droop thought of something more stimulating and 
fragrant, but said nothing as he returned to the cup 
board. Here he drew forth an apparently endless 
piece of stout rope. This he wound in a thick coil 
and hung over his head. 

"Now, then," he said, "when I get down you shet 
the door at the top of the stairs tight, coz jest's soon's 
I open the outside door, thet hall's goin' to freeze 
up solid." 

"All right!" said Phoebe. "I'll see to it." 

Droop descended the stairs with a heavy tread, 
and as he reached the foot Phoabe closed the upper 
door, which she now noticed was provided with 
weather-strips. 

Then the two women stood at the windows on the 
right-hand side of the vessel and watched Droop as 
he walked toward the pole. He raised the huge iron 
ring, snapping over it a special coupling hook fixed 
to the end of the rope. 

Then he backed toward the vessel, unrolling the 
coil of rope as he moved away from the pole. Evi 
dently they were within the forty-foot limit from 
the pole, for Droop had some rope to spare when 
he at length reached under the machine to attach 
the end to a ring which the sisters could not see. 

He emerged from beneath the bulging side of the 
87 



THE PANCHRONICON 

vessel swinging his arms and blowing a mighty vol 
ume of steam, which turned to snow as it left him. 
As he made directly for the entrance again, Phoebe 
ran to the kitchen. 

"Poor man, he'll be perished!" she exclaimed. 

As Droop entered the room, bringing with him a 
bitter atmosphere, Phcebe appeared with a large cup 
of hot tea. 

"Here, Mr. Droop," she said, "drink this quick!" 

Copernicus pulled off his cap and sat down to drink 
his tea without a word. When he had finished it, he 
pulled back his chair with a sigh. 

"Whillikins! But 'twas cold!" he exclaimed. 
"Seems mos' like heaven to get into a nice warm 
room like this!" 

"An' did ye get every thin' done right?" Kebecca 
asked. 

"I guess I did," he said, emphatically. "I don't 
want to take no two bites out o' that kind o' cherry." 

He rose and proceeded to remove his fur coverings. 

"Goin' to start right now?" said Phoebe. 

"Might's well, I guess." 

He proceeded to the engine-room, followed by 
Phcebe, who watched his actions with the greatest 
interest. 

"What you doin' with that handle?" she asked. 

"That sets the airyplane on the uptilt. I'm only 
settin' it a mite jest 'nough to keep the machine 
from sinkin' down when we get to movin'." 

"How are you goin' to lift us up?" 
88 



"Just let out a mite o' gas below," said Droop. 
He suited the action to the word, and, with a tremen 
dous hissing beneath it, the vessel rose slowly. 

Droop pulled the starting lever and they moved 
forward with increasing speed. When they had gath 
ered way, he shut off the gas escape and carefully 
readjusted the aeroplanes until the machine as a 
whole moved horizontally. 

There was felt a slight jerk as they reached the 
end of the rope, and then they began to move in a 
circle from east to west. 

Phoebe glanced at the clock. 

"Just five minutes past eight," she said. 

The sun was pouring its beams into the right-hand 
windows when they started, but the shafts of light 
now began to sweep circularly across the floor, and 
in a few moments, as they faced the sun, it ceased 
to shine in from the right. Immediately afterward 
it shone in at the left-hand windows and circled slow 
ly around until again they were in shadow with the 
sun behind them. 

Droop took out his watch and timed their revolu 
tions by the sun's progress from window to window. 

" 'Bout one to the minute," he remarked. "Guess 
I'll speed her up a mite." 

Carefully he regulated the speed, timing their 
revolutions accurately. 

"There !" he said at length. "I guess that's pretty 
nigh two to the minute. D'ye feel any side weight?" 
he said, addressing his companions. 

89 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"No," said Rebecca. 

Phoebe shook her head. 

"You manage right well, Mr. Droop," she said. 
"You must have practised a good deal." 

"Oh, not much," he replied, greatly pleased. "The 
future man showed me how to work it three four 
times. It's simple 'nough when ye understand the 
principles." 

These remarks brought a new idea to Rebecca's 
mind. 

"Why, Mr. Droop," she exclaimed, "whatever's the 
use o' you goin' back to 1876! "Why don't ye jest 
set up as the inventor o' this machine? I'm sure 
thet ought to make yer everlastin' fortune !" 

"Oh, I thought o' that," he said. "But it's one 
thing to know how to work a thing an' it's a sight 
different to know how it's made an' all that. The 
future man tried to explain all the new scientific 
principles that was mixed into it fer makin' power 
an' all but I couldn't understand that part at 
all." 

"An' besides," exclaimed Phoebe, "it's a heap more 
fun to be the only ones can use the thing, I think." 

"Yes seems like fun's all we're thinkin' of," said 
Rebecca, rising and moving toward the kitchen. 
"We're jest settin' round doin' nothin'. I'll finish 
with the breakfast things if you'll put to rights and 
dust, Phoebe. We can't make beds till night with 
the windows tight shut." 

These suggestions were followed by the two worn- 
90 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

en, while Droop, picking up the newspaper which 
Rebecca had brought, sat down to read. 

After a long term, of quiet reading, his attention 
was distracted by Rebecca's voice. 

"I declare to goodness, Phoebe!" she was saying. 
"Seems 's if every chance you get, you go to readin' 
those old letters." 

"Well, the's one or two that's spelled so funny and 
written so badly that I haven't been able yet to read 
them," Phoebe replied. 

Droop looked over his paper. Phoebe and her sis 
ter were seated near one of the windows on the oppo 
site side. 

"P'raps I could help ye, Cousin Phcebe," he said. 
"I've got mighty strong eyesight." 

"Oh, 'tain't a question of eyesight," Phoebe re 
plied, laughing. 

"Oh, I see," said Droop, smiling slyly, "letters 
from some young feller, eh?" 

He winked knowingly at Rebecca, who drew her 
self up indignantly and looked severely down at her 
knitting. 

Phoebe blushed, but replied quite calmly: 

"Yes some of them from a young man, but they 
weren't any of them written to me." 

"No?" said Droop. "Who was they to 'f I may 
ask?" 

"They were all written to this lady." 

Phcebe held something out for Droop's inspection, 
and he walked over to take it. 

91 



THE PANCHRONICON 

He recognized at once the miniature on ivory 
which he had seen once before in Peltonville. 

"Well," he said, taking the portrait from her and 
eying it with his head on one side, "if ye hadn't said 
'twasn't you, I'd certainly a-thought 'twas. I'd mos' 
sworn 'twas your photygraph, Cousin Phoebe. Who 
is it, anyway?" 

"It isn't anybody," she replied, "but it was Mis 
tress Mary Burton of Burton Hall. I'm one of her 
descendants, an' these are some letters she had with 
her in this funny old carved box when she disap 
peared with her lover. They fled to Holland and 
were married there, the story goes, an' one o' their 
children came over in the early days o' New England. 
He brought the letters an' the picture with him." 

"Well, now! I want to know!" exclaimed Droop, 
in great admiration. " 'Twouldn't be perlite, I 
s'pose, to ask to hear some o' them letters ?" 

"Would you like to hear some of them?" Phoebe 
asked. 

"I would fer a fact," he replied. 

"Well, bring your chair over here and I'll read 
you one," she said. 

Droop seated himself near the two sisters and 
Phoebe unfolded a large and rather rough sheet of 
paper, yellow with age, on which Droop perceived 
a bold scrawl in a faded ink. 

"This seems to have been from Mary Burton's 
father," Phoebe said. "I don't think he can have 
been a very nice man. This is what he says: 

92 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

" 'Dear Poll' horrid nickname, isn't it?" 

"Seems so to me," said Droop. 

" 'Dear Poll I'm starting behind the grays for 
London, on my way, as you know ere this, to be 
knighted by her Majesty. I send this ahead by Greg 
ory on Bess she being fast enow for my purpose 
which is to get thee straight out of the grip of 
that' " 

Phoebe hesitated. 

"He uses a bad word there," she said, in a low 
tone. "I'll go on and leave that out." 

"Yes, do," said Droop. 

" 'That aunt of thine,' " she continued, read 
ing. " 'I know her tricks and I learn how she hath 
suffered that' " 

"There's another," said Phoebe. 

"Skip it," said Droop, gravely. 

" That milk-and-water popinjay to come 

courting my Poll. So see you follow Gregory, mis 
tress, and without wait or parley come with him to 
the Peacock Inn, where I lie to-night. The grays 
are in fine fettle and thy black mare grows too fat 
for want of exercise. Thy mother-in-law commands 
thy instant return with Gregory, having much busi 
ness forward with preparing gowns and fallals against 
our presentation to her Majesty.' ' 

"It is signed 'Isaac Burton,' " said Phcebe, "and 
see, the paper was sealed with a steel gauntlet." 

Droop examined the seal carefully and then re 
turned it, saying: 

93 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Looks to me like a bunch of 'sparagus tumbled 
over on one side." 

Phoebe laughed. 

"But what always interests me most in this letter 
is the postscript," she said. "It reads: 'Thy mother 
thinks thou wilt make better speed if I make thee 
to know that the players thou wottest of " 

"What's a 'wottest?" said Droop, in puzzled 
tones. 

"Wottest means knowest haven't you read 
Shakespeare?" 

"No," said Droop. 

" 'The players thou wottest of are to stop at the 
Peacock, and will be giving some sport there.' 

"Now, those players always interest me," Phoebe 
continued. "Somehow I can't help but believe that 
William Shakespeare " 

"Fiddle ends!" Rebecca interrupted. "I've heard 
that talk fifty-leven times an' I'm pinin' fer relief. 
Mr. Droop, would you mind tellin' us what the time 
o' year is now. Seems to me that sun has whirled 
in an' out o' that window 'nough times to bring us 
back to the days o' creation." 

Droop consulted the date indicator and announced 
that it was now September 5, 1897. 

"Not a year yet !" cried the two women together. 

"Why, no," said Copernicus. "Ye see, we are 
takin' about three hours to lose a year." 

"Fer the lands sakes!" cried Rebecca. "Can't we 
go a little faster?" 

94 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

"My gracious, yes!" said Droop. "But I'm 'fraid 
o' the side weight fer ye." 

"I'd rather hev side weight than wait forever," 
said Rebecca, with a grim smile. 

"D'ye think ye could stand a little more speed, 
Cousin Phoebe?" said Droop. 

"We might try," she replied. 

"Well, let's try, then," he said, and turned prompt 
ly to the engine-room. 

Very soon the difference in speed was felt, and 
as they found themselves travelling more rapidly in 
a circle, the centrifugal force now became distinctly 
perceptible. 

The two women found themselves obliged to lean 
somewhat toward the central pole to counteract this 
tendency, and as Copernicus emerged from the en 
gine-room he came toward the others at a decided 
angle to the floor. 

"There! now ye feel the side weight," he ex 
claimed. 

"My, ain't it funny!" exclaimed Rebecca. "Thet's 
the way I've felt afore now when the cars was goin' 
round a curve kinder topplin' like." 

"Why, that is the centrifugal force," Phoebe said, 
with dignity. 

"It's the side weight that's what I call it," Droop 
replied, obstinately, and for some time there was 
silence. 

"How many years back are we makin' by the hour 
now, Mr. Droop?" Rebecca asked at length. 

95 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Jest a little over two hours fer a year now," he 
replied. 

"Well," said Rebecca, in a discontented tone, "I 
think the old Panchronicle is rayther a slow actin' 
concern, considerin' th' amount o' side weight it 
makes. I declare I'm mos' tired out leanin' over to 
one side, like old man Titus's paralytic cow." 

Phoebe laughed and Droop replied: 

"If ye can't stand it or set it, why lay, Cousin 
Rebecca. The's good settles all 'round." 

With manifestly injured feelings Droop hunted 
up a book and sat down to read in silence. The 
Panchronicon was his pet and he did not relish its 
being thus contemned. 

The remainder of the morning was spent in almost 
completely silent work or reading. Droop scarce 
took his eyes from his book. Phoebe spent part of 
the time deep in the Baconian work and part of the 
time contemplating the monotonous landscape. Re 
becca was dreaming of her future past or her past 
future, while her knitting grew steadily upon its 
needles. 

The midday meal was duly prepared and disposed 
of, and, as the afternoon wore away, the three travel 
lers began to examine the date indicator and to ask 
themselves surreptitiously whether or not they act 
ually felt any younger. They took sly peeps at each 
other's faces to observe, if possible, any signs of re 
turning youth. 

By supper-time there was certainly a less aged air 
96 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

about each of the three and the elders inwardly con 
gratulated themselves upon the unmistakable effects 
of another twelve hours. 

Not long after the supper dishes had been washed, 
Rebecca took Phoebe aside and said: 

"Phoebe, it seems to me you'd ought to be goin' 
to bed right soon, now. You're only 'bout eighteen 
years old at present, an' you'll certainly begin to 
grow smaller again very soon. It wouldn't hardly 
be respectable fer ye to do yer shrinkin' out here." 

This view of the probabilities had not yet struck 
Phoebe. 

"Why, no!" she exclaimed, rather startled. "I 
I don't know 's I thought about it. But I certainly 
don't want Mr. Droop to see me when my clothes 
begin to hang loose." 

Then a new problem presented itself. 

"Come to think of it, Rebecca," she said, dolefully, 
"what'll I do all the time between full-grown and 
baby size? I didn't bring anything but the littlest 
clothes, you know." 

"Thet's so," said Rebecca, thoughtfully. Then, 
after a pause : "I don't see but ye'll hev to stay abed, 
Phoebe, till we get to th' end," she said, sympathet 
ically. 

"There it is," said Phcebe, crossly. "Gettin' sent 
to bed a'ready even before I expected it." 

"But 'tain't that, Phoebe," said Rebecca, with great 
concern. '1 ain't sendin' ye to bed but but 
whatever else can ye do with a man in the house!" 

97 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Phoebe replied, with a toss of her chin. 

She crossed the room and held out her hand to 
Droop. 

"Good-night, Mr. Droop," she said. 

Surprised at this sudden demonstration of friend 
ship, he took her hand and tipped his head to one 
side as he looked into her face. 

"Next time you see me, I don't suppose you'll know 
me, I'll be so little," she said, trying to laugh. 

"I I wish't you'd call me Cousin Copernicus," 
he said, coaxingly. 

"Well, p'raps I will when I see ye again," she re 
plied, freeing her hand with a slight effort. 

Rebecca retired shortly after her sister and Coper 
nicus was once more left alone. He rubbed his hands 
slowly, with a sense of satisfaction, and glanced at 
the date dial. 

"July 2, 1892," he said to himself. "I'm only thir 
ty-four years old. Don't feel any older than that, 
either." 

He walked deliberately to the shutters, closed 
them and turned on the electric light. Surrounded 
thus by the wonted conditions of night, it was not 
long before he began to yawn. He removed his coat 
and shoes and lay back in an easy chair to meditate 
at ease. He faced toward the pole so that the "side 
weight" would tend to press him gently backward 
into his chair and therefore not annoy him by calling 
for constant opposing effort. 

He soon dozed off and was whisked through a quick 
98 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

succession of fantastic dreams. Then he awoke sud 
denly, and as though someone had spoken to him. 
Listening intently, he only heard the low murmur 
of the machinery below and the ticking of the many 
clocks and indicators all about him. 

He closed his eyes, intending to take up that last 
dream where he had been interrupted. He recol 
lected that he had been on the very point of some 
delightful consummation, but just what it was he 
could not recall. 

Sleep evaded him, however. His mind reverted 
to the all-important question of the recovered years. 
He began to plan again. 

This time he should not make his former mistakes. 
No he would not only make immense wealth 
promptly with the great inventions, he would give 
up liquor forever. It would be so easy in 1876, for 
he had never taken up the unfortunate habit until 
1888. 

Then rich, young, sober, he would seek out a 
charming, rosy, good-natured girl something of the 
type of Phoebe, for instance. They would be mar 
ried and 

He got up at this and looked at the clock. It was 
after midnight. He looked at the date indicator. 
It said October 9, 1890. 

"Well, come!" he thought. "The old Panchron- 
icon is a steady vessel. She's keepin' right on." 

He put on his shoes again, for something made him 
nervous and he wished to walk up and down. 

99 



THE PANCHRONICON 

The first thing he did after his shoes were donned 
was to gaze at himself in the mirror. 

"Don't look any younger," he thought, "but I feel 
so." He walked across the room once or twice. 

"Shucks!" he exclaimed. "Couldn't expect to look 
younger in these old duds, an' at this time o' night, 
too tired like I am." 

For some time he walked up and down, keeping 
his eyes resolutely from the date indicator. Finally 
he threw himself down in the chair again and closed 
his eyes, nervous and exhausted. He did not feel 
sleepy, but he must have dozed, for the next time 
he looked at the clock it was half-past one. 

He put out the light and crossed to a settle. Here 
he lay at full length courting sleep. When he awoke, 
he thought, refreshed and alert, he would show his 
youth unmistakably. 

But sleep would not return. He tried every posi 
tion, every trick for propitiating Morpheus. All in 
vain. 

At length he rose again and turned on the light. 
It was two-fifteen. This time he could not resist 
looking at the date indicator. 

It said September 30, 1889. 

Again he looked into the glass. 

"My, but I'm nervous!" he thought as he turned 
away, disappointed. "I look older than ever!" 

As he paced the floor there all alone, he began to 
doubt for the first time the success of his plan. 

"It must work right!" he said aloud. "Didn't I 
100 



DROOP'S THEORY IN PRACTICE 

go back five weeks with that future man? Didn't 
he " 

A fearful thought struck him. Had he perhaps 
made a mistake? Had they been cutting meridians 
the wrong way? 

But no; the indicator could not be wrong, and that 
registered a constantly earlier date. 

"Ah, I know!" he suddenly exclaimed. "I'll ask 
Cousin Phrebe." 

He reflected a moment. Yes the idea was a good 
one. She would be only fifteen years old by this 
time, and must certainly have changed to an extent 
of which he was at his age incapable. Besides, she 
had been asleep, and nervous insomnia could not be 
responsible for retarding the evidences of youth in 
her case. His agony of dread lest this great experi 
ment fail made him bold. 

He walked directly to Pho3be's door and knocked 
first softly, then more loudly. 

"Cousin PlHfibe Cousin Phrebe," he said. 

After a few calls and knockings, there came a 
sleepy reply from within. 

"Well what who is it?" 

"It's Cousin Copernicus," he said. "Please tell 
me. Hev ye shrunk any yet?" 

"What how?" The tones were very sleepy in 
deed. 

"Hev ye shrunk any yet? Are ye growin' littler 
in there? Oh, please feel fer the footboard with 
yer toe!" 

101 



THE PANCHRONICON 

He waited and heard a rustling as of someone 
moving in bed. 

"Did ye feel the footboard?" he asked. 

"Yes kicked it good now let me sleep." She 
was ill-natured with much drowsiness. 

Poor Droop staggered away from the door as 
though he had been struck. 

All had failed, then. They were circling uselessly. 
Those inventions would never be his. The golden 
dreams he had been nursing oh, impossible ! It was 
unbearable ! 

He put both hands to his head and walked across 
the room. He paused half-consciously before a small 
closet partly hidden in the wall. 

With an instinctive movement, he touched a spring 
and the door slid back. He drew from the cupboard 
thus revealed two bottles and a glass and returned 
to seat himself at the table. 

A half an hour later the Panchronicon, circling 
in the outer brightness and silence, contained three 
unconscious travellers, and one of them sat with his 
arms flung across the table supporting his head, and 
beside him an empty bottle. 



102 



CHAPTER VI 



Rebecca was the first of the three to waken. Over 
her small window she had hung a black shawl to keep 
out the light, and upon this screen were thrown re 
current flashes of sunlight. 

"Still a-swingin'," she murmured. "Wonder how 
fur back we be now!" 

She was herself surprised at the eagerness she felt 
to observe at last the results of their extraordinary 
attempt. 

She rose quickly and was very soon ready to leave 
her room. She was longing to see Phoebe Phcebe 
as she had been when a girl. 

Opening her door, she was astonished to find the 
lamps of the main room aglow and to see Copernicus 
in his shirt-sleeves, asleep with his head on the table. 

As she stepped out of her own room, her senses 
were offended by the odor of alcohol. With horror 
she realized that rum, the spirit of all the sources of 
evil, had found its way into their abode. 

She entertained so violent a repugnance for liquors 
and for men under their influence that she could not 
bring herself to approach Copernicus. 

"He's gone an' got drunk again," she muttered, 
103 



THE PANCHRONICON 

glaring with helpless anger at the bottles and then 
at him. 

"Mister Droop! Copernicus Droop!" she cried in 
a high, sharp voice. 

There was no reply. 

She looked about her for something to prod him 
with. There was an arm-chair on casters beside her 
door. She drew this to her and pushed it with all 
her might toward the unconscious man. 

The chair struck violently against Droop's seat, 
and even caused his body to sway slightly, but he 
still slept and gave no sign. 

"That settles it!" she exclaimed, with mingled dis 
gust and alarm in her face. 

"What's the matter?" 

It was Phoebe who called. 

"It's me," said Rebecca. "Can I come in?" 

"Yes." 

Rebecca walked into Phoebe's room, which she 
found darkened like her own. Her sister was in bed. 

"What ever happened to you?" Phoebe asked. 
"Sounded as though ye'd fallen down or somethin'." 

Rebecca stood stiffly with her back to the closed 
door, her hands folded before her. 

"Copernicus Droop is tight! Dead drunk!" she 
exclaimed, with a shaking voice. 

"Drunk!" cried Phoebe. "Lands sakes! an' " 
She looked about her with alarm. "Then what's hap 
pened to the machine?" she asked. 

"Whirlin', whirlin', same as ever! Cuttin' merid- 
104 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

ians or sausage meat fer all I care. I jest wish to 
goodness an' all creation I'd never ben sech a plumb 
born nateral fool as to oh, wouldn't I like to jest 
shake that man!" she broke out, letting her anger 
gain the upper hand. 

Then Phoebe recalled their situation and their ex 
pectations of the night before. 

"Why, then I ought to be gettin' little pretty fast," 
she said, feeling her arms. "I don't see 's I've shrunk 
a mite, hev I?" 

"No more'n I hev!" Rebecca exclaimed, hotly. 
"Nor you won't, nuther. Ye might jest's well make 
up yer mind to it thet the whole business is foolish 
folderols. We're a nice couple o' geese, we are, to 
come out here to play 'Here we go round the mul 
berry bush' with the North Pole an' all along of 
a shif'less, notorious slave o' rum!" 

She plumped herself into a chair and glared at 
the darkened window as though fascinated by those 
ever-returning flashes of sunlight. 

"Well well well!" murmured Phcebe. 

She was much disappointed, and yet somehow she 
could not avoid a certain pleasure in the thought 
that at least there was no fear of a return to child 
hood. 

"But what're we goin' to do?" she asked at length. 
"If Mr. Droop's so tight he can't manage the ma 
chine, what'll we do. Here we are tied up to the 
North Pole " 

"Oh, drat the old Panchronicon!" cried Rebecca. 
105 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Then rising in her wrath, she continued with ener 
gy : "The's one thing I'm goin' to do right this blessed 
minute. I'm goin' to draw a hull bucket o' cold 
water an' throw it over that mis' able critter in there ! 
Think o' him sleepin' on the table the table as we 
eat our victuals on!" 

"JSTo no. Don't try to wake him up first!" cried 
Phoebe. "Let's have breakfast we can have it in 
the kitchen an' then you can douse him afterward. 
Just think of the wipin' an' cleanin' we'll have to do 
after it. We'll be starved if we wait breakfast for 
all that ruction!" 

Rebecca reflected a moment. Then: 

"I guess ye're right, Phoebe," she said. "My, won't 
that carpet look a sight! I'll go right an' fix up some- 
thin' to eat, though goodness knows, I'm not hun 
gry." 

She left Phoebe to dress and made a wide circuit 
to avoid even approaching the table on her way to 
the kitchen. Not long afterward she was followed 
by her sister, who took a similar roundabout path, 
for Phoebe was quite as much in horror of drink and 
drinkers as Rebecca. 

She glanced at the date indicator as she passed it. 

"My sakes!" she said, as she entered the kitchen, 
"it's March 25, 1887. Why, then's the time that I 
had the measles so bad. Don't you remember when 
I was thirteen years old an' Dr. " 

Rebecca broke in with a snort. 

"Eighty-seven grandmothers!" she exclaimed. 
106 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

"Don't you get to frettin' 'bout gettin' the measles 
or anything else, Phoebe only sof'nin' of the brain 
I guess we've both got that right bad!" 

"I don't know 'bout that," Phoebe replied, as she 
began to set the small table for two. "I believe we're 
gettin' back, after all, Rebecca. The's one thing sure. 
Everybody knows that ye lose a day every time you 
go round the world once from east to west, an' I'm 
sure we've gone round often enough to lose years. 
I believe that indicator's all right." 

"We've not ben goin' round the world, though," 
Rebecca replied. "That's the p'int. This old iron 
clothes-pole out here ain't the hull world, I can tell 
ye!" 

"Well, but all the meridians " 

"Oh, bother yer meridians! I ain't seen one o' 
the things yet nor you hevn't, either, Phoebe 
Wise!" 

Phoebe was not convinced. It seemed not at all 
unreasonable, after all, that they should lose time 
without undergoing any physical change. She con 
cluded to argue the matter no further, however. 

Their meal was eaten in silence. As they rose to 
clear the table, Phoebe said: 

"Th' ain't any use of goin' back to 1876 now, is 
there, Rebecca. Though I do s'pose it won't make 
any difference to Mr. Droop. He can bring out his 
inventions an' " 

"Not with my money, or Joe Chandler's, either," 
Rebecca declared, firmly. "Not as Joe'd ask me to 

107 



THE PANCHRONICON 

marry him now. He'd as soon think o' marryin' his 
grandmother." 

"Then what's the use o' goin' back any further. 
We might 's well stop the machine right now, so 's 
not to have so many more turns to wind up again." 

"Fiddlesticks !" Rebecca exclaimed. "Don't you 
fret about that! Don't I tell ye it's folderol! 
Tell ye what ye can do, though. Open them shut 
ters out there an' let in some sunlight. I've inore'n 
half a mind to open a window, too. Thet smell o' 
rum in there makes me sick." 

"We'd freeze to death in a minute if we tried it," 
said Phoebe, as she entered the main room. 

She went to each of the four windows and opened 
all the shutters, avoiding in the meantime even a 
glance at the middle of the room. She did not for 
get the date indicator, however. 

"Merry Christmas!" she cried, with a little laugh. 
"It's Christmas-day, 1886, Rebecca." 

The engine-room door was open. Perhaps it was 
a sign of her returning youth, but the fact is her 
fingers itched to get at those bright, tempting brass 
and steel handles. Droop had explained their uses 
and she felt sure she could manage the machinery. 
What a delightful thing it would be to feel the Pan- 
chronicon obeying her hand ! 

"Really, Rebecca," she exclaimed, "if we're not 
going back to '76 after all, I think it's a dreadful 
waste of time for us to be throwin' away six months 
every hour this way." 

108 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

" 'Twon't be long," Rebecca replied, as she turned 
the hot water into her dishpan. "You come in here 
an' help wash these dishes, an' ef I don't soon wake 
up that mis'able " She did not trust herself fur 
ther, but tightly compressed her lips and confined 
her rising choler. 

"Why, Rebecca Wise," said Phoebe, "you know 
it will be hours before that man's got sense enough 
to run this machine. I'm goin' to stop it myself, 
right now." 

Rebecca had just taken a hot plate from her pan, 
but she paused ere setting it down, alarmed at Phoe 
be's temerity. 

"Don't you dast to dream o' sech a thing, Phoebe!" 
she cried, with frightened earnestness. 

But Phoebe was confident, and crossed the thresh 
old with a little laugh. 

"Why, Rebecca, what you scared of?" she said. 
"It's just as easy as that see!" 

She pulled the starting lever. 

The next instant found her flying out into the 
middle of the main room following Droop, the table, 
and all the movable furniture. In the kitchen there 
was a wild scream and a crash of crockery as Rebecca 
was thrown against the rear partition. 

Phoebe had pulled the lever the wrong way and 
the Panchronicon was swiftly reaching full speed. 

"Heavens and airth!" cried Rebecca. 

"Whatever in gracious " began the dismayed 
Phoebe. 

109 



THE PANCHRONICON 

She broke off in renewed terror as she found her 
self pushed by an irresistible force to the side of the 
room. 

"Here here!" she heard from the kitchen. 
"What's this a-pullin'? Land o' promise, Phoebe, 
come quick! I've got a stroke!" 

"I can't come !" wailed Phoebe. "I'm jammed tight 
up against the wall. It's as though I was nailed 
to it." 

"Oh, why why did ye touch that machinery!" 
cried Rebecca, and then said no more. 

The speed indicator pointed to one hundred and 
seventy-five miles an hour. They were making one 
revolution around the pole each second and they 
were helpless. 

As she found herself pushed outward by the im 
mensely increased centrifugal force, Phoebe found it 
possible to seat herself upon one of the settles, and 
she now sat with her back pressed firmly against the 
south wall of the room, only able by a strong effort 
to raise her head. 

She turned to the right and found that Droop had 
found a couch on the floor under the table and chairs 
at the rear of the room, also against the south wall. 

In the kitchen Rebecca had crouched down as she 
found herself forced outward, and she now sat dazed 
on the kitchen floor surrounded by the fragments 
of their breakfast all glued to the wall as tightly 
as herself. 

"Oh, dear oh, dear!" she cried, closing her eyes. 
110 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

"Copernicus Droop said that side weight would be 
terrible if we travelled too fast. Why, I'm so heavy 
sideways I feel like as if I weighed 497| pounds like 
that fat woman in the circus down to Keene." 

"So do I," Phoebe said, "only I'm so dizzy, too, I 
can hardly think." 

"Shet your eyes, like me," said Rebecca. 

"I would only I can't keep 'em off the North Pole 
there," said Phoebe, as she gazed fascinated through 
the north window opposite. 

"Why, what's the matter with the child!" Rebecca 
exclaimed, in alarm. "Air ye struck silly, Phoebe?" 

"No, but I guess you'd want to watch it too if you 
could see that ring we're tied to spinnin' round right 
close to the top of the pole. There there !" she con 
tinued, shrilly. "It'll fly right off in another minute ! 
There! Oh, dear!" 

Their attachment did indeed appear precarious. 
The increased speed acting through the inclined aero 
plane had caused the vessel to rise sharply, and the 
rope had raised the ring by which it was attached 
to the pole until it came in contact with the steel 
ball at the top, when it could rise no farther. Here 
the iron ring was grinding against and under the 
retaining ball which alone prevented its slipping off 
the top of the pole. 

"I don't see's we'd be any wuss off ef we did come 
loose," said Rebecca, with eyes still closed. "At least 
we wouldn't be gummed here ez tight's if the walls 
was fly-paper." 

Ill 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"No, but we'd fly off at a tangent into infinite 
space, Rebecca Wise," Phoebe said, sharply. 

"Where's that?" asked her sister. "I'll engage 
'tain't any wuss place than the North Pole." 

"Why, it's off into the ether. There isn't any 
air there or anythin'. An' they say it's fifty times 
colder than the North Pole." 

"Who's ben there?" 

"Why, nobody " Phoebe began. 

"Then let's drop it," snapped Rebecca. "Dr. Kane 
said the' was an open sea at the North Pole an' 
I'm sick o' bein' told about places nobody's ever ben 
to before." 

Phoebe was somewhat offended at this and there 
was a long silence, during which she became more 
reassured touching the danger of breaking away 
from the Pole. Soon she, too, was able to shut 
her eyes. 

The silence was broken by a meek voice from un 
der the table. 

"Would you mind settin' off my chist?" said Droop. 

There was no answer and he opened his eyes. His 
bewilderment and surprise were intense when he dis 
covered his situation. 

Shutting his eyes again, he remarked: 

"What you flashin' that bright light in my eyes 
so often for?" 

Phoebe gave vent to a gentle sniff of contempt. 

"My my my!" Droop continued, in meek 
amazement. "I s'pose I must hev taken two whole 

112 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

bottles. I never, never felt so heavy's this before! 
What's the old Pan lyin' on it's side fer?" 

" 'Tain't on its side," snapped Phoebe. "The old 
thing's run away, Copernicus Droop, an' it's all your 
fault." There was a quiver in her voice. 

"Run away!" said Droop, opening his eyes again. 
"Where to?" 

"Nowheres jest whirlin'. Only it's goin' a mile 
a second, I do believe an' it'll fly off the pole soon 
an' an' we'll all be killed!" she cried, bursting 
into tears. 

She dragged her hands with great difficulty to her 
face against which she found them pressed with con 
siderable energy. Crying under these circumstances 
was so very unusual and uncomfortable that she soon 
gave it up. 

"Oh, I see! It's the side weight holds me here. 
Where are you?" 

There was no reply, so he turned his head and 
eyes this way and that until at length he spied Phoebe 
on the settle, farther forward. 

"Am I under the table ?" he said. "Where's Cousin 
Rebecca? Was she pressed out through the wall?" 

"I'm out here in the kitchen, Copernicus Droop," 
she cried. "I wish to goodness you'd ben pressed in 
through the walls of the lock-up 'fore ever ye brought 
me'n Phoebe into this mess. Ef you're a man or 
half one, you'll go and stop this pesky old Panchron- 
icle an' give us a chance to move." 

"How can I go?" he cried, peevishly. "What the 
113 



THE PANCHRONICON 

lands sakes did you go an' make the machine run 
away for? Couldn't ye leave the machinery alone?" 

"I didn't touch your old machine!" cried Rebecca. 
"Phoebe thought we'd be twisted back of our first 
birthday ef the thing wasn't stopped, an' she pulled 
the handle the wrong way, that's all!" 

Droop rolled his eyes about eagerly for a glimpse 
of the date indicator. 

"What's the date, Cousin Phoebe?" he asked. 

"April 4, 1884 no, April 3d 2d oh, dear, it's 
goin' back so fast I can't tell ye the truth about it!" 

"Early in 1884," Droop repeated, in awe-struck 
accents. "An' we're a-whirlin' off one day every 
second just about one year in six minutes. Great 
Criminy crickets! When was you born, Cousin 
Phoebe?" 

"Second of April, 1874." 

"Ten years. One year in six minutes gives ye 
jest one hour to live. Then you'll go out bang! 
like a candle. I'll go next, and Cousin Rebecca 
last." 

"Well!" exclaimed Rebecca, angrily, "ef I can hev 
the pleasure o' bein' rid o' you, Copernicus Droop, 
it'll be cheap at the price but the's no sech luck. 
Ef you think ye can fool us any more with yer twad 
dle 'bout cuttin' meridians, ye're mistaken that's 
all I can say." 

Droop was making desperate efforts to climb along 
the floor and reach the engine-room, but, although 
by dint of gigantic struggles he managed to make 

114 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

his way a few feet, he was then obliged to pause for 
breath, whereupon he slid gently and ignominiously 
back to his nook under the table. 

Here he found himself in contact with a corked 
bottle. He looked at it and felt comforted. At least 
he had access to forgetfulness whenever he pleased 
to seek it. 

The two women found it wisest to lie quiet and 
speak but little. The combined rotary movement 
and sense of weight were nervously disturbing, and 
for a long time no one of the three spoke. Only once 
in the middle of the forenoon did Phoebe address 
Droop. 

"Whatever will be the end o' this?" she said. 

"Why, we'll keep on whirlin' till the power gives 
out," he replied. "Ye hevn't much time to live now, 
hev ye?" 

With a throb of fear felt for the first time, Phoebe 
looked at the indicator. 

"It's May, 1874," she said. 

"Jest a month thirty seconds," he said, sadly. 

"Copernicus Droop, do you mean it?" screamed 
Rebecca from the kitchen. 

"Unless the power gives out before then," he re 
plied. "I don't suppose ye want to make yer will, 
do ye?" 

"Stuff!" said Phoebe, bravely, but her gaze was 
fixed anxiously on the indicator, now fast approach 
ing the 2d of April. 

"Oh, dear! 'F I could only see ye, Phoebe!" cried 
115 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Rebecca. "I know he's a mis'able deceivin' man, but 
if if oh, Phoebe, can't ye holler!" 

"It's April 8th good-bye!" Phoebe said, faintly. 

"Phoebe Phoebe!" 

"Hurray hurray! It's March 31st, and here I 
am!" 

Phoebe tried to clap her hands, but the effort was 
in vain. 

"I allus said it was folderol," said Rebecca, sternly. 
"Oh, but I'd like to throw somethin' at that Coper 
nicus Droop!" 

"Come to think of it," said Droop, "that future 
man must hev come back long, long before his birth- 
day." 

"Why didn't ye say that sooner?" cried Rebecca. 

There was no further conversation until long after 
ward, when Rebecca suddenly remarked: 

"Aren't ye hungry, Phoebe?" 

"Why, it's gettin' along to dinner-time, ain't it?" 
she replied. "I don't see, though, how I'm to get 
any victuals, do you?" 

"Why, the's bread an' other scraps slammed up 
against the wall here all round me," said Rebecca. 
"Couldn't we fix some way to get some of 'em to ye?" 

Phoebe looked anxiously about and finally caught 
sight of her sister's knitting work near at hand. It 
proved to be just within reach, and by slow degrees 
and much effort she brought it into her lap within 
easy reach of both her heavy hands. 

"Oh, dear!" she said, "I feel 's if both my arms 
116 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

had turned to lead. Here, Rebecca, I'm goin' to see 
if I can roll your ball o' yarn along the floor through 
the kitchen door. The centrifugal force will bring 
it to you. Then you can cut the yarn an' tie some- 
thin' on the end for me to eat an' I'll haul it back 
through the door." 

"That's jest the thing, Phoebe. Go on I'm 
ready." 

The theory seemed excellent, as Rebecca had fort 
unately been working with a very tough flaxen yarn ; 
but so great was the apparent weight of Phoebe's 
arms that it was only after a long series of trials end 
ing in failures that she finally succeeded. 

"I've got it!" cried Rebecca, triumphantly. "Now, 
then, I've got a slice of ham and two slices of 
bread " 

"Don't send ham," said Phoebe. "I'd be sure to 
eat it if I had it, an' 'twould make me fearful dry. 
I'm sure I don't see how I'm to get any water in 
here." 

"Thet's so," said Rebecca. "Well, here's an apple 
and two slices of bread." 

"Are you keepin' enough for yourself, Rebecca?" 

"Enough an' to spare," she replied. "Now, then 
all ready! Pull 'em along!" 

Phoebe obeyed and soon had secured possession of 
the frugal meal which Rebecca had been able to con 
vey to her. 

She offered a portion of her ration to Droop, but 
he declined it, saying he had no appetite. He had 

117 



THE PANCHRONICON 

lapsed into a kind of waking reverie and scarce knew 
what was going on about him. 

The two women also were somewhat stupefied by 
the continual rotation and their enforced immobility. 
They spoke but seldom and must have dozed fre 
quently, for Phrebe was much surprised to find, on 
looking at the clock, that it was half-past five. 

She glanced at the date indicator. 

"Why, Rebecca!" she cried. "Here 'tis Novem 
ber, 1804!" 

"My land!" cried Rebecca, forgetting her scepti 
cism. "What do you s'pose they're doin' in New 
Hampshire now, Phcebe?" 

"It's 'bout election time, Rebecca. They're prob 
ably votin' for Adams or Madison or somebody like 
that." 

"My stars!" said Rebecca. "What ever shall we 
do ef this old machine goes on back of the Revolu 
tion! I should hate to go back an' worry through 
all them terrible times." 

"We'll be lucky if we stop there," said Pho2be. 
"I only hope to gracious we won't go back to Colum 
bus or King Alfred." 

"Oh, I hope not!" said Rebecca, with a shudder. 
"Folks ud think we was crazy to be talkin' 'bout 
America then." 

Phoebe tried to toss her head. 

"If 'twas in Alfred's time," she said, "they couldn't 
understand what we was talkin' about." 

"Phcebe Wise! What do you mean?" 
118 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

"I mean just that. There wasn't any English lan 
guage then. Besides who's to say the old thing 
won't whirl us back to the days of the Greeks an' 
Romans? We could see Socrates and Pericles and 
Croesus and " 

"Oh, I'd love to see Croesus!" Rebecca broke in. 
"He's the richest man that ever lived !" 

"Yes and perhaps we'll go back of then and see 
Abraham and Noah." 

"Ef we could see Noah, 'twould be worth while," 
said Rebecca. "Joe Forrest said he didn't believe 
about the flood. He said Noah couldn't hev packed 
all them animals in tight enough to hev got 'em all 
in the Ark. I'd like mighty well if I could ask Noah 
himself 'bout it." 

"He couldn't understand ye," said Phoebe. "All 
he spoke was Hebrew, ye know." 

"Oh!" exclaimed Rebecca. Then, after a pause: 
"S'pose we went back to the tower of Babel. Couldn't 
we find the folks that was struck with the English 
language an' get one of 'em to go back an' speak to 
Noah?" 

"What good would that do? If he was struck with 
English he wouldn't know Hebrew any more. That's 
what made But there!" she exclaimed, "what nin 
nies we are!" 

There was a long pause. After many minutes, 
Rebecca asked one more question. 

"Do you s'pose the flood would come up as fur's 
this, Phoebe?" 

119 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"I don't know, Rebecca. The Bible says the whole 
earth, you know." 

And so passed the slow hours. When they were not 
dozing they were either nibbling frugally the scant 
fare in reach or conversing by short snatches at long 
intervals. 

For thirty hours had they thus whirled ceaselessly 
around that circle, when Phrebe, glancing through 
the window at the ring to which their rope was at 
tached, noticed that its constant rubbing against the 
ball at the top of the pole had worn it nearly through. 

"My goodness, Rebecca!" she cried. "I believe 
we're goin' off at a tangent in a minute." 

"What? How?" 

"The ring on the pole is nigh worn out. I believe 
it'll break in a minute." 

"If it breaks we'll move straight an' get rid o' this 
side weight, won't we?" 

"Yes but goodness only knows where we'll fly 
to." 

"Why ain't Mr. Droop there? If the side weight 
goes, he can get into the engine-room an' let us down 
easy." 

"That's so!" cried Phrebe. "Oh, won't it be grand 
to stand still a minute after all this traipsin' around 
and around! Mr. Droop," she continued, "do you 
hear? You'd better be gettin' ready to take hold 
an' stop the Panchronicon, 'cause we're goin' to break 
loose in half no time." 

There was no reply. Nor could any calling or 
120 



SHIPWRECKED ON THE SANDS OF TIME 

pleading elicit an answer. Droop had yielded to his 
thirst and was again sleeping the sleep of the un- 
regenerate. 

"Oh, Rebecca, what Oh oo oo!" 

There was a loud scream from both the sisters as 
the iron ring, worn through by long rubbing, finally 
snapped asunder. 

The tremendous pressure was suddenly lifted, and 
the two women were free. 

With a single impulse, they flew toward the kitchen 
door and fell into each other's arms. 

The Panchronicon had gone off at a tangent at 
last! 

"Oh, Rebecca Rebecca!" cried Phoebe, in tears. 
"I was afraid I'd never see you again!" 

Rebecca cried a little too, and patted her sister's 
shoulder in silence a moment. 

"There, deary!" she said, after awhile. "Now let's 
set down an' hev a good cup o' tea. Then we can go 
to bed comfortable." 

"But, Rebecca," said Phoebe, stepping back and 
wiping her eyes, "what shall we do about the Pan 
chronicon? We're jest makin' fer Infinite Space, or 
somewheres, as fast as we can go." 

"Can't help it, Phoebe. Ye sha'n't touch a thing 
in that engine-room this day not while I'm here. 
Ye might blow us up the nex' time. No I guess 
we'll jest hev to trust in the Lord. He brought us 
into this pickle, an' it's fer Him to see us out of it." 

With this comforting reflection the two sisters 
121 



THE PANCHRONICON 

brewed a pot of tea, and after partaking of the re 
freshing decoction, went to their respective beds. 

"I declare, I'm dog tired !" said Eebecca. 

"So'm I," said Phcebe. 

Those were their last words for many hours. 



122 



CHAPTER VII 

NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

How long they slept after their extraordinary ex 
perience with the runaway air-ship neither Rebecca 
nor Phoebe ever knew; but when they awoke all was 
still, and it was evidently dark outside, for no ray 
of light found its way past the hangings they had 
placed over their windows. 

There was something uncanny in the total silence. 
Even the noise of the machinery was stilled, and the 
two sisters dressed together in Rebecca's room for 
company's sake. 

"Do you suppose we've arrived in Infinite Space 
yet?" Rebecca asked. 

"It's still enough fer it," Phoebe replied, in a low 
voice. "But I don't hear the Panchronicon's machin 
ery any more. It must have run down entirely, 
wherever we are." 

At that moment there was borne faintly to their 
ears the distant crowing of a cock. 

"Well, there!" said Rebecca, with an expression 
of immense relief, "I don't believe the's any hens 
an' roosters in Infinite Space, is the'?" 

Phoebe laughed and shook her head as she ran to 
123 



THE PANCHRONICON 

the window. She drew aside the shawl hanging be 
fore the glass and peered out. 

The first gleams of dawn were dispelling the night, 
and against a dark gray sky she saw the branches of 
thickly crowding trees. 

Dropping the shawl, she turned eagerly to her sis 
ter. 

"Rebecca Wise!" she exclaimed. "As sure as 
you're alive, we're back safe on the ground again. 
We're in the woods." 

"Mos' likely Putnam's wood lot," said Rebecca, 
with great satisfaction as she finally adjusted her 
cameo brooch. "Gracious! Won't I be glad to see 
all the folks again!" 

She pushed open her door and, followed by Phoebe, 
entered the main room. Here all was gloom, but 
they could hear Droop's breathing, and knew that he 
was still sleeping under the table in the corner. 

"For the lands sakes! Let's get out in the fresh 
air," Rebecca exclaimed as she groped her way toward 
the stairs. "You keep a-holt o' me, Phoebe. That's 
right. We'll get out o' here an' make rabbit tracks 
fer home, I tell ye. We can come back later for our 
duds when that mis'able specimen is sober fer awhile 
again." 

Slowly the two made their way down the winding 
stairs to the lower hall, where, after much fumbling, 
they found the door handle and lock. 

As they emerged from the prison that had so long 
confined them, a cool morning zephyr swept their 

124 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

faces, bringing with it once more the well-known 
voice of distant chanticleer. 

They walked across the springing turf a few yards 
and were then able to make out the looming black 
mass of some building beyond the end of the air-ship. 

"Goodness!" Rebecca whispered. "This ain't Pel- 
tonville, Phrebe. There ain't a house in the town 
as high as that, 'less it's the meetin'-house, an' 'tain't 
the right shape fer that." 

They advanced stealthily toward the newly dis 
covered building, in which not a single light was to 
be seen. 

"In good sooth," Phoebe exclaimed, putting one 
hand on her sister's arm, "it hath an air of witch 
craft! Dost not feel cold chills in thee, Rebecca?" 

Rebecca stopped short, stiff with amazement. 

"What's come over ye?" she asked, trying to peer 
into her sister's face. "Whatever makes ye talk like 
that, child?" 

Phrebe laughed nervously and, taking her sister's 
arm, pressed close up to her. 

"I don't know, dear. Did I speak funny?" she 
asked. 

"Why you know you did. What's the use o' tryin' 
to scare a body with gibberish? This place is creepy 
'nough now." 

As she spoke, they reached the door of the strange 
building. They could see that it stood open, and 
even as they paused near the threshold another puff 
of air passed them, and they heard a door squeak 
on its rusty hinges. 

125 



THE PANCHRONICON 

They stood and listened breathlessly, peering into 
the dark interior whence there was borne to their 
nostrils a musty odor. A large bat whisked across 
the opening, and as they started back alarmed he 
returned with swift zig-zag cuts and vanished ghost 
like into the house. 

"It's deserted," whispered Rebecca. 

"Perhaps it's haunted," Phcebe replied. 

"Well, we needn't go in, I guess," said Rebecca, 
turning from the door and starting briskly away. 
"Come on this way, Phoebe look out fer the trees 
lands! Did y'ever see so many?" 

A few steps brought them to a high brick wall, 
against which flowers, weeds, and vines grew rank 
together. They followed this wall, walking more 
rapidly, for the day was breaking in earnest and 
groping was needless now. Presently they came to 
a spot where the wall was broken away, leaving an 
opening just broad enough to admit a man's body. 
Rebecca squeezed boldly through and Phoebe fol 
lowed her, rather for company's sake than with any 
curiosity to see what was beyond. 

They found themselves in a sort of open common, 
stretching to the edge of a broad roadway about a 
hundred yards from where they stood. On the other 
side of the road a cluster of gabled cottages was 
visible against the faint rose tint of the eastern 
sky. 

As Phoebe came to her sister's side, she clutched 
her arm excitedly: 

126 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

"Rebecca!" she exclaimed. "'Tis Newington, as 
true as I live! Newington and Blackmail Street!" 

Suddenly she sat down in the grass and hid her 
face in her hands. 

"What d'ye mean?" said Rebecca, looking down 
at her sister with a puzzled expression. "Where's 
Newington I never heerd tell of Blackman Street. 
Air ye thinkin' of Boston, or 

Phoebe interrupted her by leaping to her feet and 
starting back to the opening in the wall. 

"Come back, Rebecca!" she exclaimed. "Come 
back quick!" 

Rebecca followed her sister in some alarm. Phoebe 
must have been taken suddenly ill, she thought. Per 
haps they had reached one of those regions infected 
by fevers of which she had heard from time to time. 

In silence the two women hurried back to the Pan- 
chronicon, whose uncouth form was now quite plain 
ly visible behind the trees into the midst of which 
it had fallen when the power stored within it was 
exhausted. 

Not until they were safely seated in Rebecca's 
room did Phoebe speak again. 

"There!" she exclaimed, as she dropped to a seat 
on the edge of the bed, "I declare to goodness, Re 
becca, I don't know what to make of it!" 

"What is it? What ails ye?" said Rebecca, anx 
iously. 

"Why, I don't believe I'm myself, Rebecca. I've 
been here before. I know that village out there, 

127 



and and it's all I can do to talk same's I've always 
been used to. I'm wanting to talk like like I did 
awhile back." 

"It's all right! It's all right!" said Rebecca, sooth 
ingly. "Th' ain't nothing the matter with you, 
deary. Ye've ben shet up here with side weight an' 
what not so long o' course you're not yerself." 

She bustled about pretending to set things to 
rights, but her heart was heavy with apprehension. 
She thought that Phoebe was in the first stages of 
delirium. 

"Not myself! No," said Phoebe. "No the fact 
is, I'm somebody else !" 

At this Rebecca straightened up and cast one hor 
rified glance at her sister. Then she turned and be 
gan to put on her bonnet and jacket. Her mind was 
made up. Phoebe was delirious and they must seek 
a doctor at once. 

"Get your things on, Phoebe," she said, striving 
to appear calm. "Put on your things an' come out 
with me. Let's see if we can't take a little exercise." 

Phoebe arose obediently and went to her room. 
They were neither of them very long about their 
preparations, and by the time the sun was actually 
rising, the two women were leaving the air-ship for 
the second time, Phoebe carrying the precious carved 
box and Rebecca her satchel and umbrella. 

"What you bringin' that everlastin' packet o' 
letters for?" Rebecca asked, as they reached the 
opening in the wall. 

128 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

"I want to have it out in the light," Phoebe re 
plied. "I want to see something." 

Outside of the brick wall she paused and opened 
the box. It was empty. 

"I thought so!" she said. 

"Why, ye've brought the box 'thout the letters, 
Phoebe," said Rebecca. "You're not agoin' back for 
them, air ye?" 

"No," Phoebe replied, " 'twouldn't do any good. 
Rebecca. They aren't there." 

She dropped the box in the grass and looked wist 
fully about her. 

"Not there!" said Rebecca, nonplussed. "Why, 
who'd take 'em?" 

"Nobody. They haven't been written yet." 

"Not not " Rebecca gasped for a moment and 
then hurried toward the road. "Come on!" she cried. 

Surely, she thought surely they must find a doc 
tor without delay. 

But before they reached the road, Rebecca was 
glad to pause again and take advantage of a friendly 
bush from whose cover she might gaze without being 
herself observed. 

The broad highway which but so short a time ago 
was quite deserted, was now occupied by a double 
line of bustling people young and old men, 
women, and children. Those travelling toward their 
left, to the north, were principally men and boys, 
although now and then a pair of loud-voiced girls 
passed northward with male companions. Those who 

129 



THE PANCHRONICON 

were travelling southward were the younger ones, 
and often whole families together. Among these 
the women predominated. 

All of these people were laughing calling rough 
jokes back and forth singing, running, jumping, 
and dancing, till the whole roadway appeared a merry 
Bedlam. 

"Must be a county fair near here!" exclaimed Re 
becca. "But will ye listen to the gibberish an' see 
their clothes!" 

Indeed, the language and the costumes were most 
perplexing to good New England ears and eyes, and 
Rebecca knew not whether to advance or to retreat. 

The women all wore very wide and rather short 
skirts, the petticoat worn exposed up to where a full 
over-skirt or flounce gave emphasis to their hips. The 
elder ones wore long-sleeved jackets and high- 
crowned hats, while the young ones wore what looked 
like low-necked jerseys tied together in front and 
their braided hair hung from uncovered crowns. 

The men wore short breeches, some full trunk 
hose, some tighter but puffed; their jackets were of 
many fashions, from the long-skirted open coats of 
the elders to the smart doublets or shirts of the 
young men. 

The children were dressed like the adults, and 
most of them wore wreaths and garlands of flowers, 
while in the hands of many were baskets full of 
posies. 

Phoebe gazed from her sister's side with the keen- 
ISO 



est delight, saying nothing, but turning her eyes 
hither and thither as though afraid of losing the least 
detail of the scene. 

Presently two young girls approached, each with 
a basket in her hand. They moved slowly over the 
grass, stopping constantly to pick the violets under 
their feet. They were so engrossed in their task and 
in their conversation that they failed to notice the 
two sisters half hidden by the shrubbery. 

"Nay nay!" the taller of the two was saying, "I 
tell thee he made oath to't, Cicely. Knew ye ever 
Master Stephen to be forsworn?" 

"A lover's oaths truly!" laughed the other. 
"Why, they be made for breaking. I doubt not he 
hath made a like vow to a score of silly wenches ere 
this, coz!" 

"Thou dost him wrong, Cicely. An he keep not 
the tryst, 'twill only be " 

" 'Twill only be thy first misprision, eh ?" 

"Marry, then " 

Here their words were lost as they continued to 
move farther away, still disputing together. 

"Well!" exclaimed Rebecca, turning to Phoebe. 
"Now I know where we've ben carried to. This is 
the Holy Land Jerusalem or Bethlehem or Canaan 
or some sech place. Thou thee thy ! Did ye hear 
those girls talkin' Bible language, Phosbe?" 

Phcebe shook her head and was about to reply 
when there was a loud clamour of many tongues from 
the road near by. 

131 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"The May-pole! The May-pole!" and someone 
started a roaring song in which hundreds soon joined. 
The sisters could not distinguish the words, but the 
volume of sound was tremendous. 

There was the tramp of many rushing feet and a 
Babel of cries behind them. They turned to see a 
party of twenty gayly clad young men bearing down 
upon them, carrying a mighty May-pole crowned with 
flowers and streaming with colored ribbons. 

Around these and following after were three or 
four score merry lads and lasses, all running and 
capering, shouting and dancing, singly or in groups, 
hand in hand. 

In a trice Rebecca found herself clinging to Phoebe 
with whom she was borne onward helpless by the 
mad throng. 

The new-comers were clad in all sorts of fantastic 
garbs, and many of them were masked. Phoebe and 
her sister were therefore not conspicuous in their 
long scant black skirts and cloth jackets with balloon 
sleeves. Their costumes were taken for disguises, 
and as they were swallowed up in the mad throng 
they were looked on as fellow revellers. 

Had Rebecca been alone, she would probably have 
succeeded in time in working her way out of this un 
welcome crowd, but to her amazement, no sooner 
had they been surrounded by the young roysterers 
than Phoebe, breaking her long silence, seized her 
sister by the hand and began laughing, dancing, and 
running with the best of them. To crown all, what 

132 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

was Rebecca's surprise to hear her sister singing word 
for word the madcap song of the others, as though 
she had known these words all her life. She did not 
even skip those parts that made Rebecca blush. 

It was incredible monstrous impossible! Phoe 
be, the sweet, modest, gentle, prudish Phoebe, singing 
a questionable song in a whirl of roystering Jerusa- 
lemites! 

Up the broad road they danced up to the north 
ward, all men making way for them as, with hand 
bag and umbrella flying in her left hand, she was 
dragged forward on an indecorous run by Phoebe, 
who held her tightly by the right. 

On ever on, past wayside inn and many a lane 
and garden, house and hedge. Over the stones and 
ruts, choking in clouds of dust. 

Once Rebecca stumbled and a great gawky fellow 
caught her around the waist to prevent her falling. 

"Lips pay forfeit for tripping feet, lass!" he cried, 
and kissed her with a sounding smack. 

Furious and blushing, she swung her hand-bag in 
a circle and brought it down upon the ravisher's head. 

"Take that, you everlastin' rascal, you!" she 
gasped. 

The bumpkin dodged with a laugh and disappeared 
in the crowd and dust, cuffing, pushing, scuffling, hug 
ging, and kissing quite heedless of small rebuffs. 

When they had proceeded thus until Rebecca 
thought there was nothing left for it but to fall in 
her tracks and be trampled to death, the whole crowd 

133 



THE PANCHRONICON 

came suddenly to a halt, and the young men began 
to erect the May-pole in the midst of a shaded green 
on one side of the main road. 

Rebecca stood, angry and breathless, trying to 
flick the dust off her bag with her handkerchief, 
while Phoebe, at her side, her eyes bright and cheeks 
rosy, showed her pretty teeth in a broad smile of 
pleasure, the while she tried to restore some order 
to her hair. As for her hat, that had long ago been 
lost. 

"I declare I declare to goodness!" panted Rebec 
ca, "ef anybody'd told me ez you, Phoebe "Wise, would 
take on so so like like a a " 

"Like any Zanny's light-o-love," Phoebe broke in, 
her bosom heaving with the violence of her exercise. 
"But prithee, sweet, chide me not. From this on 
shall I be chaste, demure, and sober as an abbess in 
a play. But oh! but oh!" she cried, stretching her 
arms high over her head, " 'twas a goodly frolic, sis ! 
I felt a three-centuries' fasting lust for it, in good 
sooth !" 

Rebecca clutched her sister by the arm and shook 
her. 

"Phoebe Wise Phoebe Wise!" she cried, looking 
anxiously into her face, "wake up now wake up! 
What in the universal airth " 

A loud shout cut her short, and the two sisters 
turned amazed. 

"The bull! The bull!" 

There was an opening in the crowd as four men 
134 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

approached leading and driving a huge angry bull, 
which was secured by a ring in his nose to which ropes 
were attached. Another man followed, dragged for 
ward by three fierce bull-dogs in a leash. 

The bull was quickly tied to a stout post in the 
street, and the crowd formed a circle closely sur 
rounding the bull-ring. It was the famous bull-ring 
of Blackman Street in Southwark. 

A moment later the dogs were freed, and amid 
their hoarse baying and growling and the deep roar 
ing of their adversary, the baiting began the chief 
sport of high and low in the merry days of good 
Queen Bess. 

The sisters found themselves in the front of the 
throng surrounding the raging beasts, and, before she 
knew it, Rebecca saw one of the dogs caught on the 
horns of the bull and tossed, yelping and bleeding, 
into the air. 

For one moment she stood aghast in the midst of 
the delighted crowd of shouting onlookers. Then 
she turned and fiercely elbowed her way outward, 
followed by her sister. 

"Come 'long come 'long, Phoebe!" she cried. 
"We'll soon put a stop to this! I'll find the select 
men o' this town an' see ef this cruelty to animals 
is agoin' on right here in open daylight. I guess 
the's laws o' some kind here, ef it is Bethlehem or 
Babylon!" 

Hot with indignation, the still protesting woman 
reached the outskirts of the throng and looked about 

135 



THE PANCHRONICON 

her. Close at hand a tall, swaggering fellow was 
loafing about. He was dressed in yellow from head 
to foot, save where his doublet and hose were slashed 
with dirty red at elbows, shoulders, and hips. A 
dirty ruff was around his neck, and on his head he 
wore a great shapeless hat peaked up in front. 

"Hey, mister!" cried Eebecca, addressing this 
worthy. "Can you tell me where I can find one o' 
the selectmen?" 

The stranger paused in his walk and glanced first 
at Rebecca and then, with evidently increased inter 
est, at Phoebe. 

"Selectmen?" he asked. "Who hath selected them, 
dame?" 

He gazed quizzically at the excited woman. 

"Now you needn't be funny 'bout it," Rebecca 
cried, "fer I'm not goin' to take any impidence. You 
know who I mean by the selectmen jest's well as I 
do. I'd be obliged to ye ef ye'd tell me the way 
an' drop that Bible talk good every-day English is 
good enough fer me!" 

"In good sooth, dame," he replied, " 'tis not every 
day I hear such English as yours." 

He paused a moment in thought. This was May 
day a season of revelry and good-natured practical 
joking. This woman was evidently quizzing him, so 
it behooved him to repay her in kind. 

"But a truce to quips and quillets, say I," he con 
tinued. " 'Twill do me much pleasure an your lady 
ship will follow me to the selectman. As it happens, 

136 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

his honor is even now holding court near London 
Bridge." 

"London Bridge!" gasped Rebecca. "Why, Lon 
don ain't a Bible country, is it ?" 

Deigning no notice to a query which he did not 
understand, the young fellow set off to northward, 
followed closely by the two women. 

"Keep close to him, Phoebe," said Rebecca, warn- 
ingly. "Ef we should lose the man in all this rabble 
o' folks we would not find him in a hurry." 

"Thou seest, sweet sister," Phoebe replied, " 'tis 
indeed our beloved city of London. Did I not tell 
thee yon village was Newington, and here we be now 
in Southwark, close to London Bridge." 

Rebecca had forgotten her sister's ailment in the 
fierce indignation which the bull-baiting had aroused. 
But now she was brought back to her own personal 
fears and aims with a rude shock by the strange lan 
guage Phoebe held. 

She leaped forward eagerly and touched their 
guide's shoulder. 

"Hey, mister!" she exclaimed, "I'd be obliged to 
ye if ye'd show us the house o' the nearest doctor 
before we see the selectman." 

The man stopped short in the middle of the street, 
with a cunning leer on his face. The change of pur 
pose supported his belief that a May-day jest was for 
ward. 

"Call me plain Jock Dean, mistress," he said. 
"And now tell me further, wilt have a doctor of laws, 

137 



THE PANCHRONICON 

of divinity, or of physic. We be in a merry mood 
and a generous to-day, and will fetch forth bachelors, 
masters, doctors, proctors, and all degrees from Ox 
ford, Cambridge, or London at a wink's notice. So 
say your will." 

Rebecca would have returned a sharp reply to this 
banter, but she was very anxious to find a physician 
for Phoebe, and so thought it best to take a coaxing 
course. 

"What I want's a doctor," she said. "I think my 
sister's got the shakes or suthin', an' I must take her 
to the doctor. Now look here you look like a nice 
kind of a young man. I know it's some kind of an 
tiques and horribles day 'round here, an' all the folks 
hes on funny clothes and does nothin' on'y joke a 
body. But let's drop comical talk jest fer a minute 
an' get down to sense, eh?" 

She spoke pleadingly, and for a moment Jock 
looked puzzled. He only understood a portion of 
what she was saying, but he realized that she was 
in some sort of trouble. 

"Why bait the man with silly questions, Rebecca," 
Phoebe broke in. "A truce to this silly talk of apothe 
caries. I have no need of surgeons, I. My good 
fellow," she continued, addressing Jock with an air 
of condescension that dumfounded her sister, "is not 
yonder the Southwark pillory?" 

"Ay, mistress," he replied, with a grin. "It's there 
you may see the selectman your serving-maid in 
quired for." 

138 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

Rebecca gasped and clinched her hands fiercely 
on her bag and umbrella. 

"Serving-maid!" she cried. 

"Ahoy whoop room! Yi ki yi!" 

A swarm of small white animals ran wildly past 
them from behind, and after them came a howling, 
laughing, scrambling mob that filled the street. 
Someone had loosed a few score rabbits for the de 
light of the rabble. 

There was no time for reflection. With one ac 
cord, Jock and the two women ran with all speed 
toward the pillory and the bridge, driven forward 
by the crowd behind them. To have held their 
ground would have been to risk broken bones at least. 

Fortunately the hunted beasts turned sharply to 
the right and left at the first cross street, and soon 
the three human fugitives could halt and draw 
breath. 

They found themselves in the outskirts of a crowd 
surrounding the pillory, and above the heads of those 
in front they could see a huge red face under a 
thatch of tousled hair protruding stiffly through a 
hole in a beam supported at right angles to a vertical 
post about five feet high. On each side of the head 
a large and dirty hand hung through an appropriate 
opening in the beam. 

Under the prisoner's head was hung an account 
of his misdeeds, placed there by some of his cronies. 
These crimes were in the nature of certain breaches 
of public decorum and decency, the details of which 

139 



THE PANCHRONICON 

the bystanders were discussing with relish and good- 
humor. 

"Let's get out o' here," said Rebecca, suddenly, 
when the purport of what she heard pierced her nine 
teenth-century understanding. "These folks beat 
me!" 

She turned, grasping Phoebe's arm to enforce her 
request, but she found that others had crowded in 
behind them and had hemmed them in. This would 
not have deterred her but, unaccountably, Phosbe did 
not seem inclined to move. 

"Nay nay!" she said. " 'Tis a wanton wastrel, 
and he well deserves the pillory. But, Rebecca, I've 
a mind to see what observance these people will give 
the varlet. Last time I saw one pilloried, alas ! they 
slew him with shards and paving-stones. This fellow 
is liker to be pelted with nosegays, methinks." 

"Mercy me, Phoebe ! Whatever what oh, good 
ness gracious grandmother, child!" Poor Rebecca 
could find only exclamations wherein to express her 
feelings. She began to wonder if she were dreaming. 

At this moment a sprightly, dashing lad, in ragged 
clothing and bareheaded, sprang to the platform be 
side the prisoner and waved his arms for silence. 

There were cries of "Hear hear !" "Look at Bait 
ing Will!" "Ho ho bully rook!" "Sh-sh-h!" 

After a time the tumult subsided so that Baiting 
Will could make himself heard. He was evidently 
a well-known street wag, for his remarks were re 
ceived with frequent laughter and vocal applause. 

140 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

"Hear ye hear ye all good folk and merry!" he 
shouted. "Here ye see the liege lord of all May 
merry-makers. Hail to the King of the May, my 
bully boys!" 

"Ho ho! All hail!" 

"Hurrah crown him, crown him!" 

"The King of the May forever!" 

By dint of bawling for silence till he was red in 
the face, the speaker at length made himself heard 
again. 

"What say ye, my good hearts shall we have a 
double coronation? Where's the quean will be his 
consort? Bring her forward, lads. We'll crown the 
twain." 

This proposal was greeted with a roar of laughter 
and approval, and a number of slattern women 
showing the effects of strong ale in their faces 
stepped boldly forward as competitors for corona 
tion. 

But again Baiting Will waved his arms for a 
chance to speak. 

"Nay, my merry lads and lasses," he cried, "it were 
not meet to wed our gracious lord the king without 
giving him a chance to choose his queen!" 

He leaned his ear close to the grinning head, pre 
tending to listen a moment. Then, standing for 
ward, he cried: 

"His gracious and sovereign majesty hath bid me 
proclaim his choice. He bids ye send him up for 
queen yon buxom dame in the black doublet and un- 

141 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ruffed neck her wi' the black wand and outland 
scrip." 

He pointed directly at Rebecca. She turned white 
and started to push her way out of the crowd, but 
those behind her joined hands, laughing and shout 
ing: "A queen a queen!" 

Two or three stout fellows from just beneath the 
pillory elbowed their way to her side and grasped 
her arms. 

She struggled and shrieked in affright. 

Phoebe with indignant face seized the arm of the 
man nearest her and pulled lustily to free her sister. 

"Stand aside, you knaves!" she cried, hotly. 
"Know your betters and keep your greasy hands 
for the sluttish queans of Southwark streets!" 

The lads only grinned and tightened their hold. 
Rebecca was struggling fiercely and in silence, save 
for an occasional shriek of fear. 

Phoebe raised her voice. 

"Good people, will ye see a lady tousled by knavish 
street brawlers ! What ho a rescue a Burton a 
Burton a rescue ho!" 

Her voice rose high above the coarse laughter and 
chatter of the crowd. 

"What's this? Who calls?" 

The crowd parted to right and left with screams 
and imprecations, and on a sudden two horsemen 
reined up their steeds beside the sisters. 

"Back, ye knaves! Unhand the lady!" cried the 
younger of the two, striking out with his whip at the 
heads of Rebecca's captors. 

142 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

Putting up their hands to ward off these blows, 
the fellows hastily retreated a few steps, leaving Re 
becca and Phoabe standing alone. 

"What's here!" cried the young man. "God warn 
us, an it be not fair Mistress Burton herself!" 

He leaped from his horse, and with the bridle in 
one hand and his high-crowned hat in the other, he 
advanced, bowing toward the sisters. 

He was a strongly built young man of middle 
height. His smooth face, broad brow, and pleasant 
eyes were lighted up by a happy smile wherein were 
shown a set of strong white teeth all too rare in the 
England of his time. His abundant blond hair was 
cut short on top, but hung down on each side, curling 
slightly over his ears. He wore a full-skirted, long- 
sleeved jerkin secured by a long row of many small 
buttons down the front. A loose lace collar lay flat 
over his shoulders and chest. His French hose was 
black, and from the tops of his riding-boots there 
protruded an edging of white lace. 

He wore a long sword with a plain scabbard and 
hilt, and on his hands were black gloves, well scented. 

Pho2be's face wore a smile of pleased recognition, 
and she stretched forth her right hand as the cavalier 
approached. 

"You come in good time, Sir Guy!" she said. 

"In very sooth, most fair, most mellific damsel, 
your unworthy servitor was erring enchanted in the 
paradise of your divine idea when that the horrific 
alarum did wend its fear-begetting course through 

143 



THE PANCHRONICON 

the labyrinthine corridors of his auricular senso- 
ries." 

Phoebe laughed, half in amusement half in soft 
content. Then she turned to Rebecca, who stood 
with wide-open eyes and mouth contemplating this 
strange apparition. 

"Be not confounded, sweetheart," she said. "Have 
I not told thee I have ta'en on another's self. Come 
thou art none the less dear, nor I less thine own." 

She stepped forward and put her hand gently on 
her sister's. 

Rebecca looked with troubled eyes into Phoebe's 
face and said, timidly: 

"Won't ye go to a doctor's with me, Phoebe?" 

There was a rude clatter of hoofs as the elder of 
the new-comers trotted past the two women and, with 
his whip drove back the advancing crowd, which had 
begun to close in upon them again. 

"You were best mount and away with the ladies, 
Sir Guy," he said. "Yon scurvy loons are in poor 
humor for dalliance." 

With a graceful gesture, Sir Guy invited Phoebe 
to approach his horse. She obeyed, and stepping 
upon his hand found herself instantly seated before 
his saddle. She seemed to find the seat familiar, and 
her heart beat with a pleasure she could scarce ex 
plain when, a moment later, the handsome cavalier 
swung into place behind her and put one arm about 
her waist to steady her. 

Rebecca started forward, terror-stricken. 
144 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

"Phoebe Phoebe !" she cried. "Ye wouldn't leave 
me here I" 

"Nay nay!" said a gruff but kindly voice at her 
side. "Here, gi'e us your hand, dame, step on my 
foot, and up behind you go." 

Sir Guy's horse was turning to go, and in her panic 
Rebecca awaited no second bidding, but scrambled 
quickly though clumsily to a seat behind the serving- 
man. 

They were all four soon free of the crowd and out 
of danger, thanks to the universal respect for rank 
and the essential good nature of the May-day gath 
ering. 

The horses assumed an easy ambling gait, a sort 
of single step which was far more comfortable than 
Rebecca had feared she would find it. 

The relief of deliverance from the rude mob be 
hind her gave Rebecca courage, and she gazed about 
with some interest. 

On either side of the street the houses, which hith 
erto had stood apart with gardens and orchards be 
tween them, were now set close together, with the 
wide eaves of their sharp gables touching over nar 
row and dark alleyways. The architecture was un 
like anything she had ever seen, the walls being built 
with the beams showing outside and the windows of 
many small diamond-shaped panes. 

They had only proceeded a few yards when Re 
becca saw the glint of sunbeams on water before them 
and found that they were approaching a great square 

145 



THE PANCHRONICON 

tower, surmounted by numberless poles bearing form 
less round masses at their ends. 

With one arm around her companion to steady 
herself, she held her umbrella and bag tightly in 
her free hand. Now she pointed upward with her 
umbrella and said: 

"Do you mind tellin' me, mister, what's thet fruit 
they're a-dryin' up on thet meetin'-house ?" 

The horseman glanced upward for a moment and 
then replied, with something of wonder in his voice : 

"Why, those are men's heads, dame. Know you 
not London Bridge and the traitors' poles yet?" 

"Oh, good land!" said the horrified woman, and 
shut her mouth tightly. Evidently England was not 
the sort of country she had pictured it. 

They rode into a long tunnel under the stones of 
this massive tower and emerged to find themselves 
upon the bridge. Again and again did they pass 
under round-arched tunnels bored, as it were, through 
gloomy buildings six or seven stories high. These 
covered the bridge from end to end, and they 
swarmed with a squalid humanity, if one might judge 
from the calls and cries that resounded in the vaulted 
passageways and interior courts. 

As they finally came out from beneath the last 
great rookery, the sisters found themselves in Lon 
don, the great and busy city of four hundred thou 
sand inhabitants. 

They were on New Fish Street, and their nostrils 
gave them witness of its name at once. Farther up 

146 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

the slight ascent before them they met other and far 
worse smells, and Rebecca was disgusted. 

"Where are we goin'?" she asked. 

"Why, to your mistress' residence, of course." 

Rebecca was on the point of objecting to this char 
acterization of her sister, but she thought better of 
it ere she spoke. After all, if these men had done 
all this kindness by reason of a mistake, she needed 
not to correct them. 

The street up which they were proceeding opened 
into Gracechurch Street, leading still up the hill and 
away from the Thames. It was a fairly broad high 
way, but totally unpaved, and disgraced by a ditch 
or "kennel" into which found their way the ill-smell 
ing slops thrown from the windows and doors of the 
abutting houses. 

"Good land o' Goshen!" Rebecca exclaimed at last. 
"Why in goodness' name does all the folks throw 
sech messes out in the street?" 

"Why, where would you have them throw them, 
dame?" asked her companion, in surprise. "Are ye 
outlandish bred that ye put me such questions?" 

"Not much!" she retorted, hotly. "It's you folks 
that's outlandish. Why, where I come from they 
hev sewers in the city streets an' pavements an' side 
walks an' trolley cars. Guess I've ben to Keene, an' 
I ought to know." 

She tossed her head with the air of one who has 
said something conclusive. 

The man held his peace for a moment, dumfound- 
147 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ed. Then he laughed heartily, with head thrown 
back. 

"That's what comes of a kittenish hoyden for a 
mistress. Abroad too early, dame, and strong ale 
before sunrise! These have stolen away your wits 
and made ye hold strange discourse. Sewers side- 
walkers forsooth troll carries, ho ho!" 

Rebecca grew red with fury. She released her 
hold to thump her companion twice on the arm and 
nearly fell from the horse in consequence. 

"You great rascal!" she cried, indignantly. "How 
dare ye talk 'bout drinkin' ale! D'you s'pose I'd 
touch the nasty stuff? Me a member of the Wom 
an's Christian Temperance Union ! Me a Daughter 
of Temperance an' wearin' the blue ribbon! You'd 
ought to be ashamed, that's what you ought!" 

But the servant continued to laugh quietly and 
Rebecca raged within. Oh how she hated to have 
to sit thus close behind a man who had so insulted 
her! Clinging to him, too! Clinging for dear life 
to a man who accused her of drinking ale ! 

They turned to the left into Leadenhall Street and 
Bucklesbury, where the two women sniffed with de 
lighted relief the spicy odor of the herbs exposed 
on every hand for sale. They left Gresham's Royal 
Exchange on the right, and shortly afterward stopped 
before the door of one of the many well-to-do houses 
of that quarter. 

Sir Guy and the two women dismounted, and, 
while the groom held the horses, the others ap- 

148 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

preached the building before which they had 
paused. 

Rebecca was about to address Phoebe, whose blush 
ing face was beaming with pleasure, when the door 
was suddenly thrown open and a happy-looking bux 
om woman of advanced middle age appeared. 

"Well well well!" she cried, holding up her fat 
hands in mock amazement. "Out upon thee, Polly, 
for a light-headed wench! What sneaking out to 
an early tryst! Fie, girl!" 

"Now, good mine aunt," Phoebe broke in, with a 
smile and a curtsey, "no tryst have I kept, in sooth. 
Sir Guy is my witness that he found me quite by 
chance." 

"In very truth, good Mistress Goldsmith," said the 
knight, "it was but the very bounteous guerdon of 
fair Dame Fortune that in the auspicious forthcom 
ing of my steed I found the inexpressible delectancy 
of my so great discovery!" 

He bowed as he gave back one step and kissed his 
hand toward Phoebe. 

"All one all one," said Dame Goldsmith, laugh 
ing as she held out her hand to Phoebe. "My good 
man hath a homily prepared for you, mistress, and 
the substance of it runneth on the folly of early 
rising on a May-day morning." 

Phoebe held forth her hand to the knight, who 
kissed it with a flourish, hat in hand. 

"Shall I hear from thee soon?" she said, in an un 
dertone. 

149 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Forthwith, most fairly beautiful most gracious 
rare!" he replied. 

Then, leaping on his horse, he dashed down the 
street at a mad gallop, followed closely by his groom. 

Rebecca stood stupefied, gazing first at one and 
then at the other, till she was rudely brought to her 
senses by no other than Dame Goldsmith herself. 

"What, Rebecca !" she exclaimed. "Hast break 
fasted, woman what?" 

"Ay, aunt," Phoebe broke in, hurriedly. "Rebecca 
must to my chamber to tire me ere I see mine uncle. 
Prithee temper the fury of his homily, sweet aunt." 

Taking the dame's extended hand, she suffered 
herself to be led within, followed by Rebecca, too 
amazed to speak. 

On entering the street door they found themselves 
in a large hall, at the farther end of which a bright 
wood fire was burning, despite the season. A black 
oak table was on one side of the room against the 
wall, upon which were to be seen a number of earthen 
beakers and a great silver jug or tankard. A carved 
and cushioned settle stood against the opposite wall, 
and besides two comfortable arm-chairs at the two 
chimney-corners there were two or three heavy chairs 
of antique pattern standing here and there. The 
floor was covered with newly gathered fresh-smelling 
rushes. 

A wide staircase led to the right, and to this Phoebe 
turned at once as though she had always lived there. 

"Hast heard from my father yet ?" she asked, paus- 
150 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

ing upon the first stair and addressing Dame Gold 
smith. 

"Nay, girl. Not so much as a word. I trow he'll 
have but little to say to me. Ay ay a humorous 
limb, thy father, lass." 

She swept out of the room with a toss of the head, 
and Phoebe smiled as she turned to climb the stairs. 
Immediately she turned again and held out one hand 
to Rebecca. 

"Come along, Rebecca. Let's run 'long up," she 
said, relapsing into her old manner. 

She led the way without hesitation to a large, light 
bedroom, the front of which hung over the street. 
Here, too, the floor was covered with sweet rushes, 
a fact which Rebecca seemed to resent. 

"Why the lands sakes do you suppose these Lon 
don folks dump weeds on their floors?" she asked. 
"An' look there at those two beds, still unmade and 
all tumbled disgraceful!" 

"Why, there's where we slept last night, Rebecca," 
said Phoebe, laughing as she dropped into a chair. 
"As for the floors," she continued, "they're always 
that way when folks ain't mighty rich. The lords 
and all have carpets and rugs." 

Rebecca, stepping very high to avoid stumbling 
in the rushes, moved over to the dressing-table and 
proceeded to remove her outer wraps, having first 
deposited her bag and umbrella on a chair. 

"I don't see how in gracious you know so much 
about it," she remarked, querulously. " 'Pon my 

151 



THE PANCHRONICON 

word, you acted with that young jackanapes an' that 
fat old lady downstairs jest's ef you'd allus known 
em." 

"Well, so I have," Phoebe replied, smiling. "I 
knew them all nearly three hundred years before 
you were born, Rebecca Wise." 

Rebecca dropped into a chair and looked helplessly 
at her sister with her arms hanging at her sides. 

"Phoebe Wise " she began. 

"No, not now!" Phoebe exclaimed, stopping her 
sister with a gesture. "You must call me Mistress 
Mary. I'm Mary Burton, daughter of Isaac Burton, 
soon to be Sir Isaac Burton, of Burton Hall. You 
are my dear old tiring-woman my sometime nurse 
and thou must needs yield me the respect and obe 
dience as well as the love thou owest, thou fond old 
darling!" 

The younger woman threw her arms about the 
other's neck and kissed her repeatedly. 

Rebecca sat mute and impassive, making no re 
turn. 

"Seems as though I ought to wake up soon now," 
she muttered, weakly. 

"Come, Rebecca," Phoebe exclaimed, briskly, step 
ping to a high, carved wardrobe beside her bed, "this 
merry-making habit wearies me. Let us don a fitter 
attire. Come lend a hand, dearie be quick!" 

Rebecca sat quite still, watching her sister as she 
proceeded to change her garments, taking from ward 
robe and tiring chest her wide skirts, long-sleeved 

152 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

jacket, and striped under-vest with a promptitude 
and readiness that showed perfect familiarity with 
her surroundings. 

"There," thought Rebecca, "I have it ! She's been 
reading those old letters and looking at that ivory 
picture so long she thinks that she's the girl in the 
picture herself, now. Yes, that's it. Mary Burton 
was the name!" 

When Phoebe was new-dressed, her sister could 
not but acknowledge inwardly that the queer clothes 
were mightily becoming. She appeared the beau 
ideal of a merry, light-hearted, healthy girl from 
the country. 

On one point, however, Rebecca could not refrain 
from expostulating. 

"Look a-here, Phoebe," she said, in a scandalized 
voice, as she rose and faced her sister, "ain't you goin' 
to put on somethin' over your chest? That ain't 
decent the way you've got yerself fixed now!" 

"Nonsense!" cried Phoebe, with a mischievous 
twinkle in her eye. "Wouldst have me cover my 
breast like a married woman! Look to thine own 
attire. Come, where hast put it?" 

Rebecca put her hands on her hips and looked into 
her sister's face with a stern determination. 

"Ef you think I'm agoin' to put on play-actor 
clothes an' go round lookin' indecent, Phoebe Wise, 
why, you're mistaken 'cause I ain't so there!" 

"Nay, nurse !" Phoebe exclaimed, earnestly. " 'Tis 
the costume thou art wearing now that is mummer's 

153 



THE PANCHRONICON 

weeds. Come, sweet come ! They'll not yield tliee 
admittance below else." 

She concluded with a warning inflection, and shook 
her finger affectionately at her sister. 

Rebecca opened her mouth several times and 
closed it again in despair ere she could find a reply. 
At length she seated herself slowly, folded her arms, 
and said: 

"They can do jest whatever they please downstairs, 
Phoebe. As fer me, I'd sooner be seen in my night 
gown than in the flighty, flitter-scatter duds the 
women 'round here wear. Not. but you look good 
enough in 'em, if you'd cover your chest, but play- 
actin' is meant for young folks not fer old maids 
like me." 

"Nay but " 

"What the lands sakes d'ye holler neigh all the 
time fer? I'm not agoin' to neigh, an' you might 's 
well make up your mind to't." 

Phoebe bit her lips and then, after a moment's 
hesitation, turned to the door. 

"Well, well! E'en have it thy way!" she said. 

Followed by Rebecca, the younger woman de 
scended the stairs. As she reached the entrance hall, 
she stopped short at sight of a tall, heavy man stand 
ing beside the table across the room with his face 
buried in a great stone mug. 

He had dropped his flat round hat upon the table, 
and his long hair fell in a sort of bush to his wide, 
white-frilled ruff. He wore a long-skirted, loose coat 

154 



NEW TIES AND OLD RELATIONS 

of green cloth with yellow fringe, provided with 
large side-pockets, but without a belt. The sleeves 
were loose, but brought in tightly at the wrists by 
yellow bands. His green hose were of the short and 
tight French pattern, and he wore red stockings and 
pointed shoes of Spanish leather. 

As he removed the cup with a deep sigh of satis 
faction, there was revealed a large, cheerful red face 
with a hooked nose between bushy brows overhang 
ing large blue eyes. 

Phrebe stood upon the lowest stair in smiling silence 
and with folded hands as he caught her eye. 

"Ha, thou jade!" cried Master Goldsmith, for he 
it was. "Wilt give me the slip of a May-day morn!" 

He set down his cup with a loud bang and strode 
over to the staircase, shaking his finger playfully at 
his niece. 

Rebecca had just time to notice that his long, full 
beard and mustache were decked with two or three 
spots of froth when, to her great indignation, Phoebe 
was folded in his arms and soundly kissed on both 
cheeks. 

"There, lass!" he chuckled, as he stepped back, 
rubbing his hands. "I told thy aunt I'd make thee 
do penance for thy folly." 

Phrebe wiped her cheeks with her handkerchief 
and tipped her head impudently at the cheerful rav- 
isher. 

"Now, God mend your manners, uncle!" she ex 
claimed. "What ! Bedew my cheeks with the froth 

155 



THE PANCHRONICON 

of good ale on your beard while my throat lacks the 
good body o't! Why, I'm burned up wi' thirst!" 

"Good lack!" cried the goldsmith, turning briskly 
to the table. "Had ye no drink when ye first re 
turned, then?" 

He poured a smaller cupful of foaming ale from 
the great silver jug and brought it to Phoebe. 

Rebecca clutched the stair-rail for support, and, 
with eyes ready to start from her head, she leaned 
forward, incredulous, as Phoebe took the cup from 
the merchant's hand. 

Then she could keep silence no longer. 

"Phoebe Wise!" she screamed, "be you goin* to 
drink ALE!" 

JSTo words can do justice to the awful emphasis 
which she laid upon that last dread word. 

Phoebe turned and looked up roguishly at her sis 
ter, who was still half-way up the stairs. The young 
girl's left hand leaned on her uncle's arm, while with 
her right she extended the cup in salutation. 

"Here's thy good health, nurse and to our better 
acquaintance," she laughed. 

Rebecca uttered one short scream and fled up to 
their bed-room. She had seen the impossible. Her 
sister Phoebe with her face buried in a mug of ale ! 



156 



CHAPTER VIII 

HOW FEANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

It was at about this time that Copernicus Droop 
finally awakened. He lay perfectly still for a min 
ute or two, wondering where he was and what had 
happened. Then he began to mutter to himself. 

"Machinery's stopped, so we're on dry land," he 
said. Then, starting up on one elbow, he listened 
intently. 

Within the air-ship all was perfect silence, but 
from without there came in faintly occasional symp 
toms of life the bark of a dog, a loud laugh, the 
cry of a child. 

Droop slowly came to his feet and gazed about. 
A faint gleam of daylight found its way past the 
closed shutters. He raised the blinds and blinked 
as he gazed out into a perfect thicket of trees and 
shrubbery, beyond which here and there he thought 
he could distinguish a high brick wall. 

"Well, we're in the country, anyhow!" he mut 
tered. 

He turned and consulted the date indicator in the 
ceiling. 

"May 1, 1598," he said. "Great Jonah! but we 
157 



THE PANCHRONICON 

hev whirled back fer keeps! I s'pose we jest whirled 
till she broke loose." 

He gazed about him and observed that the two 
state-room doors were open. He walked over and 
looked in. 

"I wonder where them women went," he said. 
"Seems like they were in a tremendous hurry 'bout 
gettin' way. Lucky 'tain't a city we're in, 'cause 
they might'v got lost in the city." 

After an attempt to improve his somewhat rum 
pled exterior, he made his way down the stairs and 
out into the garden. Once here, he quickly discov 
ered the building which had arrested the attention 
of the two women, but it being now broad daylight, 
he was able thoroughly to satisfy himself that chance 
had brought the Panchronicon into the deserted gar 
den of a deserted mansion. 

"Wai, we'll be private an' cosy here till the Pan 
chronicon hez time to store up more force," he said 
out loud. 

Strolling forward, he skirted the high wall, and 
ere long discovered the very opening through which 
the sisters had passed at sunrise. 

Stepping through the breach, he found himself, 
as they had done, near the main London highway 
in Newington village. The hurly-burly of sunrise 
had abated by this time, for wellnigh all the vil 
lagers were absent celebrating the day around 
their respective May-poles or at bear or bull-bait 
ing. 

158 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

With his hands behind him, he walked soberly up 
and down for a few minutes, carefully surveying the 
pretty wooden houses, the church in the distance, and 
the stones of the churchyard on the green hill-slope 
beyond. The architecture was not entirely unfamil 
iar. He had seen such in books, he felt sure, but he 
could not positively identify it. Was it Kussian, 
Japanese, or Italian? 

Suddenly a distant cry came to his ears. 

"Hi Lizzie Lizzie, wench ! Come, drive the pig 
out o' the cabbages!" 

He stopped short and slapped his thigh. 

"English!" he exclaimed. " 'Tain't America, 
that's dead sure. Then it's England. England in 
1598," he continued, scratching his head. "Let's see. 
Who in Sam Hill was runnin' things in 1598? Rich 
ard Coor de Lion Henry Eight no or was it Joan 
of Arc? Be darned ef I know!" 

He looked about him again and selected a neigh 
boring house which he thought promised informa 
tion. 

He went to the front door and knocked. There 
was no reply, despite many attempts to arouse the 
inmates. 

"Might ha' known," he muttered, and started 
around the house, where he found a side door half 
hidden beneath the projection of an upper story. 

Here his efforts were rewarded at last by the ap 
pearance of a very old woman in a peaked hat and 
coif, apparently on the point of going out. 

159 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Looks like a witch in the story-books," he 
thought, but his spoken comment was more polite. 

"Good-mornin', ma'am," he said. "Would you be 
so kind as to tell me the name of this town?" 

"This be Newington," she replied, in a high, 
cracked voice. 

"Newington," he replied, with a nod and a smile 
intended to express complete enlightenment. "Ah, 
yes Newington. Quite a town!" 

"Is that all you'd be askin', young man?" said the 
old woman, a little suspiciously, eyeing his strange 
garb. 

"Why, yes no that is, can you tell me how far 
it is to London?" This was the only English city of 
which he had any knowledge, so he naturally sought 
to identify his locality by reference to it. 

"Lunnun," said the woman. "Oh, it'll be a matter 
of a mile or better!" 

Droop was startled, but highly pleased. Here was 
luck indeed. 

"Thank you, ma'am," he said. "Good-mornin'," 
and with a cheerful nod, he made off. 

The fact is that this information opened up a new 
field of enterprise and hope. At once there leaped 
into his mind an improved revival of his original 
plan. If he could have made a fortune with his great 
inventions in 1876, what might he not accomplish 
by the same means in 1598! He pictured to him 
self the delight of the ancient worthies when they 
heard the rag-time airs and minstrel jokes produced 
by his phonograph. 

160 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

"By hockey!" he exclaimed, in irrepressible de 
light, "I'll make their gol darned eyes pop out!" 

As he marched up and down in the deserted gar 
den, hidden by the friendly brick wall, he bitterly 
regretted that he had limited himself to so few mod 
ern inventions. 

"Ef I'd only known I was comin' this fur back !" 
he exclaimed, as he talked to himself that he might 
feel less lonely. "Ef I'd only known, I could hev 
brought a heap of other things jest's well as not. 
Might hev taught 'em 'bout telegraphin' an' tele 
phones. Could ha' given 'em steam-engines an' par 
lor matches. By ginger!" he exclaimed, "I b'lieve 
I've got some parlor matches. Great Jehosaphat! 
Won't I get rich!" 

But at this a new difficulty presented itself to his 
mind. He foresaw no trouble in procuring patents 
for his inventions, but how about the capital for their 
exploitation? Presumably this was quite as neces 
sary here in England as it would have been in Amer 
ica in 1876. Unfortunately, his original plan was 
impossible of fulfilment. Rebecca had failed him 
as a capitalist. Besides, she and Phrebe had both 
completely disappeared. 

It was long before he saw his way out of this diffi 
culty, but by dint of persistent pondering he finally 
lit upon a plan. 

He had brought with him a camera, several hun 
dred plates, and a complete developing and printing 
outfit. He determined to set up as a professional 

161 



THE PANCHRONICON 

photographer. His living would cost him nothing, 
as the Panchronicon was well stored with provisions. 
To judge by his surroundings, his privacy would prob 
ably be respected. Then, by setting up as a photog 
rapher he would at least earn a small amount of 
current coin and perhaps attract some rich and pow 
erful backer by the novelty and excellence of his 
process. On this chance he relied for procuring the 
capital which was undoubtedly necessary for his 
purpose. 

By noon of the next day he had begun operations, 
having taken two or three views of familiar scenes 
in the neighborhood, which he affixed as samples 
to a large cardboard sign on which he had printed, 
in large type: 



AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER 

THE ONLY ONE IN EXISTENCE 

Step up and have your picture taken 



This sign he nailed to a tree near the road which 
he made his headquarters. He preferred to keep the 
location and nature of his abode a secret, and so spent 
his days under his tree or sitting in the porch of some 
neighboring house, for he was not long in making 
friends, and his marvellous tales made him very 
popular. 

It was difficult for him to fix a price at first, not 
162 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

being acquainted with the coin of the realm, but he 
put his whole mind to the acquisition of reliable in 
formation on this point, and his native shrewdness 
brought him success. 

He found that it was wisest for every reason to 
let it be believed that the pictures were produced 
by hand. The camera, he explained, was a mere aid 
to accuracy of observation and memory in reproduc 
tion of what he saw through it. Thus he was able 
to command much higher prices for the excellence 
and perfection of his work and, had he but known it, 
further avoided suspicion of witchcraft which would 
probably have attached to him had he let it be known 
that the camera really produced the picture. 

In the course of his daily gossip with neighbors 
and with the customers, rustic and urban, who were 
attracted by his fame, he soon learned that "Good 
Queen Bess" ruled the land, and his speech grad 
ually took on a tinge of the Elizabethan manner and 
vocabulary which, mingling with his native New 
England idioms, produced a very picturesque effect. 

It was a warm night some weeks after Droop had 
"hung out his shingle" as a professional photographer 
that he sat in the main room of the Panchronicon, 
reading for perhaps the twentieth time Phoebe's fa 
mous book on Bacon and Shakespeare, which she had 
left behind. The other books on hand he found too 
dry, and he whiled away his idle hours with this in 
valuable historic work, feeling that its tone was in 
harmony with his recent experiences. 

163 



THE PANCHRONICON 

So to-night he was reading with the shutters tight 
ly closed to prevent attracting the gaze of outsiders. 
No one had yet discovered his residence, and he had 
flattered himself that it would remain permanently 
a secret. 

His surprise and consternation were great, there 
fore, when he was suddenly disturbed in his reading 
by a gentle knocking on the door at the foot of the 
stairs. 

"Great Jonah!" he exclaimed, closing his book and 
cocking his head to listen. "Now, who wonder ef 
it's Cousin Rebecca or Phoebe!" 

The knock was repeated. 

"Why, 'f course 'tis!" he said. "Couldn't be any 
body else. Funny they never come back sooner!" 

He laid his book upon the table and started down 
the stairs just as the knocking was heard for the 
third time. 

"Comin' comin'!" he cried. "Save the pieces!" 

He threw open the door and started back in alarm 
as there entered a strange man wrapped in a black 
cloak, which he held so as to completely hide his 
features. 

The new-comer sprang into the little hallway and 
hastily closed the door behind him. 

"Close in the light, friend," he said. 

Then, glancing about him, he ascended the stairs 
and entered the main room above. 

Droop followed him closely, rubbing his hand 
through his hair in perplexity. This intrusion threat- 

164 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

ened to spoil his plans. It would never do to have 
the neighbors swarming around the Panchronicon. 

The stranger threw off his cloak on entering the 
upper room and turned to face his host. 

"I owe you sincere acknowledgment of thanks, 
good sir," he said, gravely. 

He appeared to be about thirty-five years of age,' 
a man of medium stature, dark of hair and eyes, with 
a pale, intellectual face and a close-clipped beard. 
His entire apparel was black, save for his well- 
starched ruff of moderate depth and the lace ruffles 
at his wrists. 

"Wai, I dunno," Droop retorted. "Marry, an I 
hed known as thou wast not an acquaintance 

"You would not have given me admittance?" 

The calm, dark eyes gazed with disconcerting 
steadiness into Droop's face. 

"Oh well I ain't sayin' " 

"I hope I have not intruded to your hurt or seri 
ous confusion, friend," said the stranger, glancing 
about him. "To tell the very truth, your hospitable 
shelter hath offered itself in the hour of need." 

"What doth it raineth eh?" 

"Oh, no!" 

"What can I do fer ye? Take a seat," said Droop, 
as the stranger dropped into a chair. "Thou know- 
est, forsooth, that I don't take photygraphs at night 
marry, no!" 

"Are you, then, the new limner who makes pic 
tures by aid of the box and glass?" 

165 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Yea that's what I am," said Droop. 

"I was ignorant of the location of your dwelling. 
Indeed, it is pure accident a trick of Fortune that 
hath brought me to your door to-night." 

Droop seated himself and directed an interrogative 
gaze at his visitor. 

"My name's Droop Copernicus Droop," he said. 
"An' you " 

"My name is Francis Bacon, Master Droop your 
servitor," he bowed slightly. 

Droop started up stiff and straight in his chair. 

"Francis Bacon!" he exclaimed. "What! Not 
the one as wrote Shakespeare?" 

"Shakespeare Shakespeare!" said the stranger, 
in a slow, puzzled tone. "I do admit having made 
some humble essays in writing certain modest com 
mentaries upon human motives and relations 
but, in good sooth, the title you have named, 
Master Droop, is unknown to me. Shakespeare 
Shakespeare. Pray, sir, is it a homily or an 
essay?" 

"Why, ye see, et's as fur's I know it's a man 
a sorter poet or genius or play-writin' man," said 
Droop, somewhat confused. 

"A man a poet a genius?" Bacon repeated, 
gravely. "Then, prithee, friend, how meant you in 
saying you thought me him who had written Shake 
speare? Can a man a poet be written?" 

"Nay verily in good sooth marry, no!" stut 
tered Droop. "What they mean is thet 'twas you 

166 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

wrote the things Shakespeare put his name to you 
did, didn't you?" 

"Ahem!" said the stranger, with dubious slowness. 
"A poet a genius, you say? And I understand that 
I am reputed to have been the true author of eh?" 

"Yes, indeed yea la!" exclaimed Droop, now 
sadly confused. 

"Might I ask the name of some work imputed to 
me, and which this this Shake eh " 

"Shakespeare." 

"Ay, this Shakespeare hath impudently claimed 
for his own credit and reputation?" 

"Well why suffer me jest wait a minute," 
said Droop. He clutched the book he had been 
reading and opened it at random. "Here," he said. 
" 'Love's Labor's Lost,' for instance." 

"What!" exclaimed Bacon, starting indignantly to 
his feet. " 'Tis but a sennight I saw this same dull 
nonsense played by the Lord Chamberlain's players. 
'Love's Labor's " he broke off and repressed his 
choler with some effort. Then in a slow, grave voice 
he continued : "Why, sir, you have been sadly abused. 
Surely the few essays I have made in the field of 
letters may stand my warrant that I should not so 
demean myself as is implied in this repute of me. 
Pray tell me, sir, who are they that so besmirch my 
reputation as to impute to my poor authority the 
pitiful lines of this rascal player?" 

"Why, in very truth marry, it's in that book. 
It was printed in Chicago." 

167 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Bacon glanced contemptuously at the volume with 
out deigning to open it. 

"And prithee, Master Droop, where may Chicago 
be?" 

"Why it was in no ! I mean it will be oh, darn 
it all! Chicago's in Illinois." 

"Illinois yes and Illinois?" Bacon's dark eyes 
were turned in grave question upon his companion. 

"Why, that's in America, ye know." 

"Oh !" said Bacon. Then, with a sigh of great 
relief: "Ah!" he exclaimed. 

"Yea, verily in sooth or or thereabouts," said 
Droop, not knowing what to say. 

"Ah, in America! A land of heathen savages 
red-skinned hunters of men. Yes yes! 'Twere not 
impossible such persons might so misapprehend my 
powers. 'Twould lie well within their shallow in 
capacities, methinks, to impute to Francis Bacon, 
Barrister of Gray's Inn, Member of Parliament for 
Melcombe, Reversionary Clerk of the Star Chamber, 
the friend of the Earl of Essex to impute to me, I 
say, these frothings of a villain player this Shake 
eh? What?" 

"Shakespeare." 

Ay." 

Bacon paced placidly up and down for a few mo 
ments, while Droop followed him apologetically with 
his eyes. Evidently this was a most important per 
sonage. It behooved him to conciliate such a power 
as this. Who could tell! Perhaps this friend of 

168 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

the Earl of Essex might be the capitalist for whom 
he was in search. 

For some time Master Bacon paced back and forth 
in silence, evidently wrapped in his own thoughts. 
In the -meantime Droop's hopes rose higher and 
higher, and at length he could no longer contain 
himself. 

"Why, Master Bacon," he said, "I'm clean sur 
prised yea, marry, am I that anybody could hev 
ben sech a fool a eh? Well, a loon what? as 
to hev said you wrote Shakespeare. You're a man 
o' science that's what you are. You don't concern 
yourself with no trumpery poetry. I can see that 
stickin' out." 

Bacon was startled and examined himself hur 
riedly. 

"What!" he exclaimed, "what is sticking out, 
friend?" 

"Oh, I was jest sayin' it in the sense of the word!" 
said Droop, apologetically. "What I mean is, it's 
clear that you're not a triflin' poet, but a man of 
science eh?" 

"Why, no. I do claim some capacity in the di 
viner nights of lyric letters, friend. You are not 
to despise poetry. Nay rather contemn those who 
bring scorn to the name of poet vain writ 
ers for filthy pence fellows like this same Shakes 
peare." 

"Yes that's what I meant," said Droop, anxious 
to come to the point. "But your high-water mark 

169 



THE PANCHRONICON 

is science philosophy all that. Now, you're some- 
thin' of a capitalist, too, I surmise." 

He paused expectant. 

"A what, friend?" 

"Why, you're in some Trust er other, ain't ye? 
Member of Congress I mean Parlyinent friend of 
Lord What's-'is-name Clerk of the Star suthin' or 
other. Guess you're pretty middlin' rich, ain't ye?" 

Bacon's face grew long at these words, and he 
seated himself in evident melancholy. 

"Why, to speak truth, friend," he said, "I find 
myself at this moment in serious straits. Indeed, 'tis 
an affair of a debt that hath driven me thus to your 
door." 

"A debt!" said Droop, his heart sinking. 

"Ay. The plain truth is, that at this moment I 
am followed by two bailiffs bearers of an execu 
tion of arrest upon my person. 'Twas to evade these 
fellows that I entered this deserted garden, leaving 
my horse without. 'Tis for this cause I am here. 
Now, Master Droop, you know the whole truth." 

"Great Jonah!" said Droop, helplessly. "But 
didn't you say you had friends?" 

''None better, Master Droop. My uncle is Lord 
Burleigh Lord High Treasurer to her Gracious 
Majesty. My patron is the Earl of Essex " 

"Why don't they give ye a lift?" 

Bacon's face grew graver. 

"Essex is away," he said. "On his return my ne 
cessities will be speedily relieved. As for mine uncle, 

170 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

to him have I applied; but his lordship lives in the 
sunshine of her Majesty's smiles, and he cannot be 
too sudden in aid of Francis Bacon for fear of losing 
the Queen's favor else." 

"Why so?" 

"A long tale of politics, friend. A speech made 
by me in Parliament in opposing monopolies." 

"Oh!" said Droop, dismally. "You're down on 
monopolies, air ye?" 

Bacon turned a wary eye upon his companion. 

"Why ask you this?" he said. 

"Why, only to " He paused. "To say sooth," 
he continued, with sudden resolution, "I want to get 
a monopoly myself two or three of 'em. I've got 
some Al inventions here, an' I want to get 'em pat 
ented. I thought, perhaps, you or your friends might 
help me." 

"Ah!" Bacon exclaimed, with awakening interest. 
"You seek my influence in furtherance of these de 
signs. Do I apprehend you?" 

'That's jest it," said Droop. 

"And what would be the ahem the recognition 
which " 

"Why, you'd git a quarter interest in the hull busi 
ness," said Droop, hopefully. "That is, provided 
you've got the inflooence, ye know." 

"Too slight too slight for Francis Bacon, Mastei 
Droop." 

Copernicus thought rapidly for a minute or two. 
Then he pretended indifference. 

171 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Oh, very good!" he said. "I'll take up with Sir 
Thomas Thingumbob WhatV'is-naine." 

Bacon pretended to accept the decision and 
changed the subject. 

"Xow permit me to approach the theme of my 
immediate need,'' he said. "These bailiffs without 
they must be evaded. May I have your assistance, 
friend, in this matter?" 

"Why what can I do?" 

"Pray observe me with all attention," Bacon be 
gan. "These my habiliments are of the latest fashion 
and of rich texture. Your habit is, if I may so speak, 
of inferior fashion and substance. I will exchange 
my habit for yours on this condition that you 
mount my horse forthwith and ride away. The 
moon is bright and you will be pursued at once by 
these scurvy bailiffs. Lead them astray, Master 
Droop, to the southward, whilst I slip away to Lon 
don in your attire, wherein I feel sure no man will 
recognize me. Once in London, there is a friend 
of mine one Master Isaac Burton who is hourly 
expected and from whom I count upon having some 
advances to stand me in present stead. What say 
you? Will you accept new clothing and rich for 
old and worn?" 

Droop approached his visitor and slowly examined 
his clothing, gravely feeling the stuff between thumb 
and finger and even putting his hand inside the 
doublet to feel the lining. Bacon's outraged dignity 
struggled within him with the sense of his necessity. 

172 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

Finally, just as he was about to give violent expres 
sion to his impatience, Droop stepped back and took 
in the general effect with one eye closed and his head 
cocked on one side. 

"Jest turn round, will ye I** he said, with a whirl 
ing movement of the hand, "an* let me see how it 
looks in the back?" 

Biting his lipe, the furious barrister turned about 
and walked away. 

"Needs must where the devil drives," he mut 
tered. 

Droop shook his head dismally. 

"Marry, come up!" he exclaimed. "I guess I can't 
make the bargain, friend Bacon." 

"But why?" 

"I don't like the cut o' them clothes. Fd look 
rideec'lous in 'em. Besides, the's too much risk in 
it, Bacon, my boy," he said, familiarly, throwing 
himself into the arm-chair and stretching out his legs 
comfortably. "Ef the knaves was to catch me an* 
find out the trick Fd played 'em, why, sure as a gun, 
they'd put me in the lock-up an' try me fer stealin* 
your duds your habiliments." 

"Xay, then," Bacon exclaimed, eagerly, "Fll give 
you a writing, Master Droop, certifying that the 
clothes were sold to yon for a consideration. That 
will hold you blameless. What say you?" 

"What about the horse and the saddle and bridle f 

"These are borrowed from a friend, Master 
Droop," said Bacon. "These rascals know this, else 
had they seized them in execution." 

1Y3 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Ah, but won't they seize your clothes, Brother 
Bacon?" said Droop, slyly. 

"Tay that were unlawful. A man's attire is free 
from process of execution." 

"I'll tell ye wherein I'll go ye," said Droop, with 
sudden animation. "You give me that certificate, 
that bill of sale, you mentioned, and also a first-class 
letter to some lord or political chap with a pull at 
the Patent Office, an' I'll change clothes with ye an' 
fool them bailiff chaps." 

"I'll e'en take your former offer, then," said Ba 
con, with a sigh. "One fourth part of all profits was 
the proposal, was it not?" 

"Oh, that's all off!" said Droop, grandly, with a 
wave of the hand. "If I go out an' risk my neck in 
them skin-tight duds o' yourn, I get the hull profits 
an' you get to London safe an' sound in these New 
Hampshire pants." 

"'But, good sir " 

"Take it or leave it, friend." 

"Well," said Bacon, angrily, after a few moments' 
hesitation, "have your will. Give me ink, pen, and 
paper." 

These being produced, the barrister curiously ex 
amined the wooden penholder and steel pen. 

"Why, Master Droop," he said, "from what un 
known bird have you plucked forth this feather?" 

"Feather!" Droop exclaimed. "What feather?" 

"Why this?" Bacon held up the pen and holder. 

"That ain't a feather. It's a pen-holder an' a steel 
174 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

pen, man. Say!" he exclaimed, leaning forward 
suddenly. "Ye hain't ben drinkin', hev ye?" 

To this Bacon only replied by a dignified stare and 
turned in silence to the table. 

"Which you agoin' to write first," said Droop, con 
siderately dropping the question he had raised. 

"The bill of sale." 

"All right. I'd like to have ye put the one about 
the patent real strong. I don't want to fail on the 
fust try, you know." 

Bacon made no reply, but dipped his pen and set 
to work. In due time the two documents were in 
dited and carefully signed. 

"This letter is addressed to my uncle, Lord Bur- 
leigh," said Bacon. "He is at the Palace at Green 
wich, with the Queen." 

"Shall I hev to take it to him myself?" 

"Assuredly." 

"Might hev trouble findin' him, I should think," 
said Droop. 

"Mayhap. On more thought, 'twere better you 
had a guide. I know a worthy gentleman one of 
the Queen's harbingers. Take you this letter to him, 
for which purpose I will e'en leave it unsealed that 
he may read it. He will conduct you to mine uncle, 
for he hath free access to the court." 

"What's his name?" 

"Sir Percevall Hart. His is the demesne with the 
high tower of burnt bricks, near the west end of 
Tower Street. But stay! 'Twere better you did 

1T5 



THE PANCHRONICON 

seek him at the Boar's Head Tavern in East- 
cheap." 

"Sir Percevall Hart Boar's Head Eastcheap. 
That's in London City, I s'pose." 

"Yes yes," said Bacon, impatiently. "Any watch 
man or passer-by will direct you. Now, sir, 'tis for 
you to fulfil your promise." 

"All right," said Droop. "It's my innin's so here 
goes." 

In a few minutes the two men had changed their 
costumes and stood looking at each other with a very 
evident disrelish of their respective situations. 

Droop held his chin high in the air to avoid con 
tact with the stiff ruff, while his companion turned 
up the collar of his nineteenth-century coat and held 
it together in front as though he feared taking cold. 

"Why, Master Droop," said Bacon, glancing down 
in surprise at his friend's nether extremities, "what 
giveth that unwonted spiral look to your legs ? They 
be ribbed as with grievous weals." 

Droop tried to look down, but his wide ruff pre 
vented him. So he put one foot on the table and, 
bringing his leg to the horizontal, gazed dismally 
down upon it. 

"Gosh all hemlock them's my underdrawers!" he 
exclaimed. "These here ding-busted long socks o' 
yourn air so all-fired tight the blamed drawers hez 
hiked up in ridges all round! Makes me look like 
a bunch o' bananas in a bag!" he said, crossly. 

"Well well a truce to trivial complaints," said 
176 



HOW FRANCIS BACON CHEATED THE BAILIFFS 

Bacon, hurriedly, fearful that Droop might with 
draw his consent to the rescue. "Here are my cloak 
and hat, friend; and now away, I pray you, and re 
member ride to southward, that I may have a clear 
field to London." 

Droop donned the hat and cloak and gazed at him 
self sorrowfully in the glass. 

"Darned ef I don't look like a cross 'tween a Fili 
pino and a crazy cowboy!" he muttered. 

"And think you I have not suffered in the ex 
change, Master Droop?" said Bacon, reproachfully. 
"In very truth, I were not worse found had I shrunk 
en one half within mine own doublet!" 

After some further urging, Droop was induced to 
descend the stairs, and soon the two men stood to 
gether at the breach in the brick wall. They heard 
the low whinnying of a horse close at hand. 

"That is my steed," Bacon whispered. "You must 
mount with instant speed and away with all haste 
to the south, Master Droop." 

"D'ye think I won't split these darned pants and 
tight socks?" said Droop. 

"Hush, friend, hush!" Bacon exclaimed. "The 
bailiffs must not know we are here till they see you 
mount and away. Nay nay fear not. The hose 
and stockings will hold right securely, I warrant you." 

"Well, so long!" said Droop, and the next moment 
he was in the saddle. "G'lang there! Geet ap!" 
he shouted, slapping the horse's neck with his bridle. 

With a snort of surprise, the horse plunged for- 
177 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ward dashing across the moonlit field. A moment 
later, Bacon saw two other horses leap forward in 
pursuit from the dark cover of a neighboring grove. 
"Good!" he exclaimed. "The lure hath taken!" 
Then leaning over he rubbed his shins ruefully. 
"How the night wind doth ascend within this bar 
barous hose!" he grumbled. 



178 



CHAPTER IX 

PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

While Copernicus Droop was acquiring fame and 
fortune as a photographer, Rebecca and Phoebe were 
leading a quiet life in the city. 

Phoebe was perfectly happy. For her this was the 
natural continuation of a visit which her father, 
Isaac Burton, had very unwillingly permitted her 
to pay to her dead mother's sister, Dame Goldsmith. 
She was very fond of both her aunt and uncle, and 
they petted and indulged her in every possible way. 

Her chief source of happiness lay in the fact that 
the Goldsmiths favored the suit of Sir Guy Fenton, 
with whom she found herself deeply in love from the 
moment when he had so opportunely arrived to res 
cue the sisters from the rude horse-play of the South- 
wark mob. 

Poor Rebecca, on the other hand, found herself 
in a most unpleasant predicament. She had shut 
herself up in her room on the first day of her arrival 
on discovering that her new hosts were ale drinkers, 
and she had insisted upon perpetuating this imprison 
ment when she had discovered that she would only 
be accepted on the footing of a servant. 

179 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Phoebe, who remembered Rebecca both as her 
nineteenth-century sister and as her sixteenth-cen 
tury nurse and tiring-woman, thought this determina 
tion the best compromise under the circumstances, 
and explained to her aunt that Rebecca was subject 
to recurring fits of delusion, and that it was necessary 
at such times to humor her in all things. 

On the very day of the visit of Francis Bacon to 
the Panchronicon, the two sisters were sitting to 
gether in their bed-room. Rebecca was at her knit 
ting by the window and Phoebe was rereading a letter 
for the twentieth time, smiling now and then as she 
read. 

" 'Pears to amuse ye some," said Rebecca, dryly, 
looking into her sister's rosy face. "How'd it come ? 
I ain't seen the postman sence we've ben here. 
Seems to me they ain't up to Keene here in London. 
We hed a postman twice a day at Cousin Jane's 
house." 

"No, 'twas the flesher's lad brought it," said 
Phoebe. 

Rebecca grunted crossly. 

"I wish the land sake ye'd say 'butcher' when ye 
mean butcher, Phoebe," she said. 

"Well, the butcher's boy, then, Miss Particular!" 
said Phoebe, saucily. 

Rebecca's face brightened. 

"My! It does sound good to hear ye talk good 
Yankee talk, Phoebe," she said. "Ye hevn't dropped 
yer play-actin' lingo fer days and days." 

180 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

"Oh, 'tis over hard to remember, sis!" said Phoebe, 
carelessly. "But tell me, would it be unmaidenly, 
think you, were I to grant Sir Guy a private meeting 
without the house?" 

"Which means would I think ye was wrong to 
spark with that high-falutin man out o' doors, eh?" 

"Yes say it so an thou wilt," said Phoebe, shyly. 

"Why, ef you're goin' to keep comp'ny with him 
'tall, I sh'd think ye'd go off with him by yerself. 
Thet's the way sensible folks do at least, I b'lieve 
so," she added, blushing. 

"Aunt Martha hath given me free permission to 
see Sir Guy when I will," Phoebe continued. "But 
she hath been full circumspect, and ever keepeth 
within ear-shot." 

"Humph!" snapped Rebecca. "Y'ain't got any 
Aunt Martha's fur's I know, but ef ye mean that 
fat, beer-drinkin' woman downstairs, why, 'tain't any 
of her concern, an' I'd tell her so, too." 

Phoebe twirled her letter between her fingers and 
gazed pensively smiling out of the window. There 
was a long pause, which was finally broken by Re 
becca. 

"What's the letter 'bout, anyway?" she said. "Is 
it from the guy?" 

"You mean Sir Guy," said Phoebe, in injured tones. 

"Oh, well, sir or ma'am! Did he write it?" 

"Why, truth to tell," said Phoebe, slipping the note 
into her bosom, " 'Tis but one of the letters I read 
to thee from yon carved box, Rebecca." 

181 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"My sakes that!" cried her sister. "How'd the 
butcher's boy find it? You don't s'pose he stole it 
out o' the Panchronicle, do ye?" 

"Lord warrant us, sis, no! 'Twas writ this very 
day. What o'clock is it?" 

She ran to the window and looked down the street 
toward the clock on the Royal Exchange. 

"Three i' the afternoon/' she muttered. "The 
time is short. Shall I? Shall I not?" 

"Talkin' o' letters," said Rebecca, suddenly, "I 
wish'd you take one down to the Post-Office fer me, 
Phoebe." She rose and went to a drawer in the dress 
ing-table. "Here's one 't I wrote to Cousin Jane in 
Keene. I thought she might be worried about where 
we'd got to, an' so I've written an' told her we're 
in London." 

"The Post-Office " Phoebe began, laughingly. 
Then she checked herself. Why undeceive her 
sister? Here was the excuse she had been 
seeking. 

"Yes; an' I told her more'n that," Rebecca con 
tinued. "I told her that jest's soon as the Panchron 
icle hed got rested and got its breath, we'd set off 
quick fer home you an' me. Thet's so, ain't it, 
Phoebe ?" she concluded, with plaintive anxiety in her 
voice. 

"I'll take the letter right along," said Phoebe, with 
sudden determination. 

But Rebecca would not at once relax her hold on 
the envelope. 

182 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

"That's so, ain't it, dearie?" she insisted. "Won't 
we make fer home as soon's we can?" 

"Sis," said Phoebe, gravely, "an I be not deeply 
in error, thou art right. Now give me the letter." 

Rebecca relinquished the paper with a sigh of re 
lief, then looked up in surprise at Phoebe, who was 
laughing aloud. 

"Why, here's a five-cent stamp, as I live!" she 
cried. "Where did it come from?" 

"I hed it in my satchel," said Rebecca. "Ain't 
that the right postage?" 

"Yes yes," said Phoebe, still laughing. "And now 
for the Post-Office!" 

She donned her coif and high-crowned hat with 
silver braid, and leaned over Rebecca, who had seat 
ed herself, to give her a good-by kiss. 

"Great sakes!" exclaimed Rebecca, as she received 
the unaccustomed greeting. "You do look fer all 
the world like one o' the Salem witches in Peter 
Parley's history, Phoebe." 

With a light foot and a lighter heart for all its 
beating, Phoebe ran down the street unperceived 
from the house. 

"Bishopsgate!" she sang under her breath. "The 
missive named Bishopsgate. He'll meet me within 
the grove outside the city wall." 

Her feet seemed to know the way, which was not 
over long, and she arrived without mishap at the 
gate. 

Here she was amazed to see two elderly men, evi- 
183 



THE PANCHRONICON 

dently merchants, for they were dressed much like 
her uncle the goldsmith, approach two gayly dressed 
gentlemen and, stopping them on the street, proceed 
to measure their swords and the width of their ex 
travagant ruffs with two yardsticks. 

The four were so preoccupied with this ceremony 
that she slipped past them without attracting the 
disagreeable attention she might otherwise have re 
ceived. 

As she passed, the beruffled gentlemen were laugh 
ing, and she heard one of them say: 

"God buy you, friends, our ruffs and bilbos have 
had careful measurement, I warrant you." 

"Right careful, in sooth," said one of those with 
the yardsticks. "They come within a hair's breadth 
of her Majesty's prohibition." 

Phoebe had scant time for wonder at this, for she 
saw in a grove not a hundred yards beyond the gate 
the trappings of a horse, and near by what seemed 
a human figure, motionless, under a tree. 

Making a circuit before entering the grove, she 
came up behind the waiting figure, far enough within 
the grove to be quite invisible from the highway. 

She hesitated for some time ere she felt certain 
that it was indeed Sir Guy who stood before her. He 
was dressed in the extreme of fashion, and she fan 
cied that she could smell the perfumes he wore, as 
they were borne on the soft breeze blowing toward 
her. 

His hair fell in curls on either side from beneath 
184 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

a splendid murrey French, hat, the crown of which 
was wound about with a gold cable, the brim being 
heavy with gold twist and spangles. His flat soft 
ruff, composed of many layers of lace, hung over a 
thick blue satin doublet, slashed with rose-colored 
taffeta and embroidered with pearls, the front of 
which was brought to a point hanging over the front 
of his hose in what was known as a peascod shape. 
The tight French hose was also of blue satin, ver 
tically slashed with rose. His riding-boots were of 
soft brown Spanish leather and his stockings of pearl- 
gray silk. A pearl-gray mantle lined with rose-col 
ored taffeta was fastened at the neck, under the 
ruff, and fell in elegant folds over his left arm, half 
concealing the hand resting upon the richly jewelled 
hilt of a sword whose scabbard was of black velvet. 

"God ild us!" Phoebe exclaimed in low tones. 
"What foppery have we here!" 

Then, slipping behind a tree, she clapped her 
hands. 

Guy turned his head and gazed about in wonder, 
for no one was visible. Phoebe puckered her lips 
and whistled softly twice. Then, as her lover darted 
forward in redoubled amazement, she stepped into 
view, and smiled demurely upon him with hands 
folded before her. 

The young knight leaped forward, and, dropping 
on one knee, carried her hand rapturously to his 
lips. 

"Now sink the orbed sun!" he exclaimed. "For 
185 



THE PANCHRONICON 

behold a fairer cometh, whose love-darting eyes do 
slay the night, rendering bright day eternate!" 

Smiling roguishly down into his face, Phoebe shook 
her head and replied : 

"You are full of pretty phrases. Have you not 
been acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conned 
them out of rings?" 

For an instant the young man was disconcerted. 
Then rising, he said: 

"Nay, from the rings regardant of thine eyes I 
learned my speech. What are golden rings to these?" 

"Why, how much better is thy speech when it 
ringeth true," said Phoebe. "Thy speech of greeting 
was conned with much pains from the cold book of 
prior calculation, and so I answered you from a poet's 
play. I would you loved me!" 

"Loved thee, oh, divine enchantress too cruel- 
lovely captress of my dole-breathing heart!" 

"Tut tut tut !" she broke in, stamping her foot. 
"Thou dost it badly, Sir Guy. A truce to Euphuistic 
word-coining and phrase-shifting! Wilt show thy 
love in all sadness, say!" 

"In any way or sad or gay!" 

"Then prithee, good knight, stand on thy head by 
yonder tree." 

The cavalier stepped back and gazed into his lady's 
face as though he thought her mad. 

"Stand on my head!" he exclaimed, slowly. 

Phoebe laughed merrily and clapped her hands. 

"Good my persuasion!" she rippled. "See how 
186 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

thou art shaken into thyself, man. What! No 
phrase of lackadaisical rapture! Why, I looked to 
see thee invert thine incorporate satin in an airy 
rhapsody upheld and kept unruffled by some fan 
tastical twist of thine imagination. Oh, Fancy 
Fancy! Couldst not e'en sustain thy knight cap-a- 
pie!" and she laughed the harder as she saw her 
lover's face grow longer and longer. 

"Why, mistress," he began, soberly, "these quips 
and jests ill become a lover's tryst, methinks " 

"As ill as paint and scent and ear-rings as foppish 
attire and fantastical phrases do become an honest 
lover," said Phoebe, indignantly. "Dost think that 
Mary Burton prizes these weary labyrinthine sen 
tences all hay and wool, like the monstrous swell 
ing of trunk hose? Far better can I read in Master 
Lilly's books. Thinkest thou I came hither to smell 
civet? Nay I love better the honest odor of cab 
bages in mine aunt's kitchen! And all this finery 
this lace this satin and this pearl embroid 
ery ' 

"In God His name!" the knight broke in, stamping 
his foot. "Dost take me for a little half-weaned 
knave, that I'll learn how to dress me of a woman? 
An you like not my speech, mistress " 

Phoebe cut him short, putting her hand on his 
mouth. 

Then she leaned her shoulder against a tree, and 
looking up saucily into his face: 

"Now, don't get mad!" she said. 
187 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Mad mad!" said Sir Guy, with a puzzled look. 
"An this be madness, mistress, then is her Majesty's 
whole court a madhouse." 

"Well, young man," Phoebe replied, with her prim 
New England manner, "if you want to marry me, 
you'll have to come and live in a country where they 
don't have queens, and you'll work in your shirt 
sleeves like an honest man. You might just's well 
understand that first as last." 

The knight moved back a step, with an injured 
expression on his face. 

"Nay, then," he said, "an thou mock me with un 
couth phrases, Mary, I'd best be going." 

"Perhaps you'd better, Guy." 

With a reproachful glance, but holding his head 
proudly, the young man mounted his horse. 

"He hath a noble air on horseback," Phoebe said 
to herself, and she smiled. 

The young man saw the smile and took courage. 

He urged his horse forward to her side. 

"Mary!" he exclaimed, tenderly. 

"Fare thee well!" she replied, coolly, and turned 
her back. 

He bit his lip, clinched his hand, and without an 
other word, struck fiercely with his spurs. With a 
snort of pain, the horse bounded forward, and Phoebe 
found herself alone in the grove. 

She gazed wistfully after the horseman and 
clasped her hands in silence for a few moments. 
Then, at thought of the letter she knew he was soon 

188 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

to write the letter she had often seen in the carved 
box she smiled again and, patting her skirts, stepped 
forth merrily from the edge of the grove. 

"After all, 'twill teach the silly lad better man 
ners!" she said. 

Scarcely had she reached the highway again when 
she heard a man's voice calling in hearty tones. 

"Well met, Mistress Mary! I looked well to find 
you near for I take it 'twas Sir Guy passed me a 
minute gone, spurring as 'twere a shame to see." 

She looked up and saw a stout, middle-aged coun 
tryman on horseback, holding a folded paper in his 
hand. 

"Oh, 'tis thou, Gregory !" she said, coolly. "Mend 
thy manners, man, and keep thy place." 

The man grinned. 

"For my place, Mistress Mary," he said, "I doubt 
you know not where your place be." 

She looked up with a frown of angry surprise. 

"Up here behind me on young Bess," he grinned. 
"See, here's your father's letter, mistress." 

She took the paper with one hand while with the 
other she patted the soft nose of the mare, who was 
bending her head around to find her mistress. 

"Good Bess good old mare!" she said, gently, 
gazing pensively at the letter. 

How well she knew every wrinkle in that paper, 
every curve in the clumsy superscription. Full well 
she knew its contents, too ; for had she not read this 
very note to Copernicus Droop at the North Pole? 

189 



THE PANCHRONICON 

However, partly that he might not be set to asking 
questions, partly in curiosity, she unfolded the paper. 

"DEAK POLL" it began "I'm starting behind the 
grays for London on my way to be knighted by her 
Majesty. I send this ahead by Gregory on Bess, she 
being fast enow for my purpose, which is to get thee 
out of the clutches of that ungodly aunt of thine. I 
know her tricks, and I learn how she hath suffered 
that damned milk-and-water popinjay to come court 
ing my Poll. So see you follow Gregory, mistress, 
and without wait or parley come with him to the 
Peacock Inn, where I lie to-night. 

"The grays are in fine fettle, and thy black mare 
grows too fat for want of exercise. Thy mother-in- 
law commands thy instant return with Gregory, hav 
ing much business forward with preparing gowns 
and fal lals against our presentation to her Majesty. 
Thy father, Isaac Burton, of Burton Hall. 

"Thy mother thinks thou wilt make better speed 
if I make thee to know that the players thou wottest 
of are to stop at the Peacock Inn and will be giving 
some sport there." 

"The players!" she exclaimed, eagerly. "Be these 
the Lord Chamberlain's men?" she asked. "Is there 
not among them one Will Shakespeare, Gregory? 
What play give they to-night?" 

"All one to me, mistress," said Gregory, slowly 
dismounting. "There be players at the Peacock, for 

190 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

the kitchen wench told me of them as I stopped there 
for a pint; but be they the Lord Chamberlain's or 
the Queen's, I cannot tell." 

"Do they play at the Shoreditch Theatre or at the 
inn, good Gregory?" 

"I' faith I know not, mistress," he replied, bracing 
his brawny right hand, palm up, at his knee. 

Mechanically she put one foot into his palm and 
sprang lightly upon the pillion behind the groom's 
saddle. 

As they turned and started at a jog trot northward, 
she remembered her sister and her new-found aunt. 

"Hold hold, Gregory!" she cried. "What of Re 
becca? What of my aunt my gowns?" 

"I am to send an ostler from the Peacock for your 
nurse and clothing, mistress," said Gregory. "My 
orders was not to wait for aught, but bring you back 
instant quickly wheresoever I found you." After a 
pause he went on with a grin: "I doubt I came late, 
hows'ever. Sir Guy hath had his say, I'm thinkin' !" 
and he chuckled audibly. 

"Now you mind your own business, Gregory!" said 
Phoebe, sharply. 

His face fell, and during the rest of their ride he 
maintained a rigid silence. 

The next morning found Phoebe sitting in her 
room in the Peacock Inn, silently meditating in an 
effort to establish order in the chaos of her mind. 
Her hands lay passively in her lap, and between her 

191 



THE PANCHRONICON 

fingers was an open sheet of paper whose crisp folds 
showed it to be a letter. 

Daily contact with the people, customs, dress, and 
tongue of Elizabethan England was fast giving to 
her memories of the nineteenth century the dim 
seeming of a dream. As she came successively into 
contact with each new-old acquaintance, he took his 
place in her heart and mind full grown completely 
equipped with all the associations, loves, and antip 
athies of long familiarity. 

Gregory had brought her to the inn the night be 
fore, and here she had received the boisterous wel 
come of old Isaac Burton and the cooler greeting of 
his dame, her step-mother. They took their places 
in her heart, and she was not surprised to find it by 
no means a high one. The old lady was overbearing 
and far from loving toward Mistress Mary, as Phoebe 
began to call herself. As for Isaac Burton, he 
seemed quite subject to his wife's will, and Phoebe 
found herself greatly estranged from him. 

That first afternoon, however, had transported her 
into a paradise the joys of which even Dame Burton 
could not spoil. 

Sitting in one of the exterior galleries overlook 
ing the courtyard of the inn, Phoebe had witnessed 
a play given on a rough staging erected in the 
open air. 

The play was "The Merchant of Venice," and who 
can tell the thrills that tingled through Phoebe's 
frame as, with dry lips and a beating heart, she gazed 

192 



PHGEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

down upon Shylock. Behind that great false beard 
was the face of England's mightiest poet. That wig 
concealed the noble forehead so revered by high and 
low in the home she had left behind. 

She was Phoebe Wise, and only Phoebe, that after 
noon, enjoying to the full the privilege which chance 
had thrown in her way. And now, the morning 
after, she went over it all again in memory. She 
rehearsed mentally every gesture and intonation of 
the poet-actor, upon whom alone she had riveted her 
attention throughout the play, following him in 
thought, even when he was not on the stage. 

Sitting there in her room, she smiled as she re 
membered with what a start of surprise she had rec 
ognized one among the groundlings in front of the 
stage after the performance. It was Sir Guy, very 
plainly dressed and gazing fixedly upon her. Doubt 
less he had been there during the entire play, waiting 
in vain for one sign of recognition. But Shylock had 
held her spellbound, and even for her lover she had 
been blind. 

She felt a little touch of pity and compunction as 
she remembered these things, and suddenly she lifted 
to her lips the letter she was holding. 

"Poor boy!" she murmured. Then, shaking her 
head with a smile: "I wonder how his letter found 
my room!" she said. 

She rose, and, going to the window where the light 
was stronger, flattened out the missive and read it 
again : 

193 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"My DEAR, DEAR MARY dear to me ever, e'en in 
thy displeasure have I fallen, then, so low in thy 
sight! May I not be forgiven, sweet girl, or shall 
I ever stand as I have this day, gazing upward in 
vain for the dear glance my fault hath forfeited? 

"In sober truth, dear heart, I hate myself for what 
I was. What a sad mummery of lisping nothings 
was my speech and what a vanity was my attire! 
Thou wast right, Mary, but oh ! with what a ruthless 
hand didst thou tear the veil from mine eyes! I 
have seen my fault and will amend it, but oh! tell 
me it was thy love and not thine anger that hath 
prompted thee. And yet why didst thou avert 
thine eyes from me this even? Sweet speak but 
a word write but a line give some assurance, dear, 
of pardon to him who is forever thine in the bonds 
of love." 

She folded the letter slowly and slipped it into 
the bosom of her dress with a smile on her lips and 
a far-away look in her eyes. She had known this 
letter almost by heart before she received it. Had 
it not been one of her New England collection? 
Foreknowledge of it had emboldened her to rebuke 
her lover when she met him by the Bishopsgate 
and yet it had been a surprise and a sweet novelty 
to her when she had found it on her dressing-table 
the night before. 

At length she turned slowly from the window and 
said softly: 

194 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

"Guy's a good fellow, and I'm a lucky girl!" 

There was a quick thumping of heavy feet on the 
landing, and a moment later a young country girl 
entered. It was Betty, one of the serving girls 
whom Dame Burton had brought with her to Lon 
don. 

The lass dropped a clumsy courtesy, and said: 

"Mistress bade me tell ye, Miss Mary, she would 
fain have ye wait on her at once. She's in the inn 
parlor." Then, after a pause: "Sure she hath matter 
of moment for ye, I warrant, or she'd not look so 
solemn satisfied." 

Phoebe was strongly tempted to decline this per 
emptory invitation, but curiosity threw its weight 
into the balance with complaisance, and with a dig 
nified lift of the chin she turned to the door. 

"Show the way, Betty," she said. 

Through several long corridors full of perplexing 
turns and varied by many a little flight of steps, the 
two young women made their way to the principal 
parlor of the inn, where they found Mistress Burton 
standing expectantly before a slow log fire. 

Phoebe's worthy step-mother was a dame of middle 
age, ruddy, black-haired, and stout. Her loud voice 
and sudden movements betrayed a great fund of a 
certain coarse energy, and, as her step-daughter now 
entered the parlor, she was fanning her flushed face 
with an open letter. Her expression was one of tri 
umph only half-concealed by ill-assumed commisera 
tion. 

195 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Aha, lass!" she cried, as she caught sight of 
Phoebe, "art here, then? Here are news in sooth 
news for " She broke off and turned sharply upon 
Betty, who stood by the door with mouth and ears 
wide open. 

"Leave the room, Betty!" she exclaimed. "Am I 
to have every lazy jade in London prying and eaves 
dropping? Trot look alive!" 

She strode toward the reluctant maid and, with a 
good-natured push, hastened her exit. Then, closing 
the door, she turned again toward Phoebe, who had 
seated herself by the fire. 

"Well, Polly," she resumed, "art still bent on thy 
foppish lover, lass? Not mended since yesternight 
-what?" 

A cool slow inclination of Phoebe's head was the 
sole response. 

"Out and alas!" the dame continued, tossing her 
head with mingled pique and triumph. " 'Tis a sad 
day for thee and thine, then ! This Sir Guy of thine 
is as good as dead, girl! Thy popinjay is a traitor, 
and his crimes have found him out!" 

"A traitor!" 

Phoebe stood erect with one hand on her heart. 

Dame Burton repressed a smile and continued with 
a slow shake of the head: 

"Ay, girl; a traitor to her blessed Majesty the 
Queen. His brother hath been discovered in traitor 
ous correspondence with the rebel O'Neill, and is on 
his way to the Tower. Sir Guy's arrest hath been 

196 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

ordered, and the two brothers will lose their heads 
together." 

Very pale, Phoebe stood with hands tight clasped 
before her. 

"Where have you learned this, mother?" she said. 

"Where but here!" the dame replied, shaking the 
open sheet she held in her hand. "Thy Cousin Percy, 
secretary to my good Lord Burleigh, he hath de 
spatched me this writing here, which good Master 
Portman did read to me but now." 

"Let me see it." 

As Phoebe read the confirmation of her step 
mother's ill news, she tried to persuade herself that 
it was but the fabrication of a jealous rival, for this 
Percy was also an aspirant to her hand. But it 
proved too circumstantial to admit of this construc 
tion, and her first fears were confirmed. 

"Ye see," said Dame Burton, as she received the 
note again, "the provost guard is on the lad's track, 
and with a warrant. I told thee thy wilful ways 
would lead but to sorrow, Poll!" 

Phoebe heard only the first sentence of this speech. 
Her mind was possessed by one idea. She must warn 
her lover. Mechanically she turned away, forgetful 
of her companion, and passing through the door with 
ever quicker steps, left her step-mother gazing after 
her in speechless indignation. 

Phoebe's movements were of necessity aimless at 
first. Ignorant of Sir Guy's present abiding-place, 
knowing of no one who could reach him, she wan- 

197 



THE PANCHRONICON 

dered blindly forward, up one hall and down another 
without a distinct immediate plan and mentally par 
alyzed with dread. 

The sick pain of fear the longing to reach her 
lover's side these were the first disturbers of her 
peace since her return into this strange yet familiar 
life of the past. Now for the first time she was learn 
ing how vital was the hold of a sincere and deep love. 
The thought of harm to him the fear of losing him 
these swept her being clear of all small coquetries 
and maiden wiles, leaving room only for the strong, 
true, sensitive love of an anxious woman. Over and 
over again she whispered as she walked: 

"Oh, Guy Guy! Where shall I find you? What 
shall I do!" 

She had wandered long through the mazes of the 
quaint old caravansary ere she found an exit. At 
length she turned a sharp corner and found herself 
at the top of a short flight of steps leading to a door 
which opened upon the main outer court. At that 
moment a new thought leaped into her mind and 
she stopped abruptly, a rush of warm color mantling 
on her cheeks. 

Then, with a sigh of content, she sank down upon 
the top step of the flight she had reached and gently 
shook her head, smiling. 

"Too much Mary Burton, Miss Phoebe!" she mur 
mured. 

She had recollected her precious box of letters. 
Of these there was one which made it entirely clear 

198 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

that Mary Burton and her lover were destined to 
escape this peril; for it was written from him to her 
after their flight from England. All her fears fell 
away, and she was left free to taste the sweetness 
of the new revelation without the bitterness in which 
that revelation had had its source. 

Very dear to Phcebe in after life was the memory 
of the few moments which followed. With her mind 
free from every apprehension, she leaned her shoul 
der to the wall and turned her inward sight in 
charmed contemplation upon the new treasure her 
heart had found. 

How small, how trifling appeared what she had 
until then called her love! Her new-found depth 
and height of tender devotion even frightened her 
a little, and she forced a little laugh to avert the 
tears. 

Through the open door her eyes registered in 
memory the casual movements without, while her 
consciousness was occupied only with her soul's ex 
perience. But soon this period of blissful inaction 
was sharply terminated. Her still watching eyes 
brought her a message so incongruous with her im 
mediate surroundings as to shake her out of her 
waking dream. She became suddenly conscious of 
a nineteenth-century intruder amid her almost me 
dieval surroundings. 

All attention now, she sat quickly upright and 
looked out again. Yes there could be no mistake 
Copernicus Droop had passed the door and was 

199 



THE PANCHRONICON 

approaching the principal entrance of the inn on the 
other side of the courtyard. 

Phcebe ran quickly to the door and, protecting her 
eyes with one hand from the flood of brilliant sun 
light, she called eagerly after the retreating figure. 

"Mr. Droop Mr. Droop!" 

The figure turned just as Phoebe became conscious 
of a small crowd of street loafers who had thronged 
curiously about the courtyard entrance, staring at 
the new-comer's outlandish garb. She saw the grin 
ning faces turn toward her at sound of her voice, and 
she shrank back into the hallway to evade their gaze. 

The man to whom she had called re-crossed the 
courtyard with eager steps. There was something 
strange in his gait and carriage, but the strong sun 
light behind him made his image indistinct, and be 
sides, Phosbe was accustomed to eccentricities on the 
part of this somewhat disreputable acquaintance. 

Her astonishment was therefore complete when, 
on removing his hat as he entered the hallway, this 
man in New England attire proved to be a complete 
stranger. 

Evidently the gentleman had suffered much from 
the rudeness of his unwelcome followers, for his face 
was flushed and his manner constrained and nervous. 
Bowing slightly, he stood erect just within the door. 

"Did you do me the honor of a summons, mis 
tress?" said he. 

The look of amazement on Pho3be's face made 
him bite his lips with increase of annoyance, for he 

200 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

saw in her emotion only renewed evidence of the 
ridicule to which he had subjected himself. 

"I I crave pardon !" Phoebe stammered. "I fear 
I took you for another, sir." 

"For one Copernicus Droop, an I mistake not!" 

"Do you know him?" she faltered in amazement. 

"I have met him to my sorrow, mistress. "Tis 
the first time and the last, I vow, that Francis Bacon 
hath dealt with mountebanks !" 

"Francis Bacon!" cried Phoebe, delight and curi 
osity now added to puzzled amazement. "Is it possi 
ble that I see before me Sir Francis Bacon or rather 
Lord Yerulam, I believe." She dropped a courtesy, 
to which he returned a grave bow. 

"Nay, good mistress," he replied. "Neither knight 
nor lord am I, but only plain Francis Bacon, barris 
ter, and Secretary of the Star Chamber." 

"Oh!" Phoebe exclaimed, "not yet, I see." 

Then, as a look of grave inquiry settled over Ba 
con's features, she continued eagerly: "Enough of 
your additions, good Master Bacon. 'Twere better 
I offered my congratulations, sir, than prated of these 
lesser matters." 

"Congratulations! Good lady, you speak in rid 
dles!" 

Smiling, she shook her head at him, looking mean 
ingly into his eyes. 

"Oh, think not all are ignorant of what you have 
so ably hidden, Master Bacon," she said. "Can it 
be that the author of that wondrous play I saw here 

201 



THE PANCHRONICON 

given but yesternight can be content to hide his name 
behind that of a too greatly favored player?" 

"Play, mistress!" Bacon exclaimed. "Why, here 
be more soothsaying manners from a fairer speaker 
but still as dark as the uncouth ravings of that 
fellow that that Droop." 

"Nay nay!" Phoebe insisted. "You need fear no 
tattling, sir. I will keep your secret though in 
very truth, were I in your worship's place, 'twould 
go hard but the whole world should know my 
glory!" 

"Secret glory!" Bacon exclaimed. "In all con 
science, mistress, I beg you will make more clear 
the matter in question. Of what play speak you? 
Wherein doth it concern Francis Bacon?" 

"To speak plainly, then, sir, I saw your play of 
the vengeful Jew and good Master Antonio. What ! 
Have I struck home!" 

She leaned against the wall with her hands behind 
her and looked up at him triumphantly. To her con 
fusion, no answering gleam illumined the young 
man's darkling eyes. 

"Struck home!" he exclaimed, shaking his head 
querulously. "Perhaps but where? Do you per 
chance make a mock of me, Mistress Mistress ?" 

She replied to the inquiry in his manner and tone 
with disappointment in her voice: 

"Mistress Mary Burton, sir, at your service." 

Bacon started back a step and a new and eager 
light leaped into his eyes. 

202 



PHCEBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

"The daughter of Isaac Burton?" he cried, "soon 
to be Sir Isaac?" 

"The same, sir. Do you know my father?" 

"Ay, indeed. 'Twas to seek him I came hither." 

Then, starting forward, Bacon poured forth in 
eager accents a full account of his meeting with 
Droop in the deserted grove of how they two had 
conspired to evade the bailiffs, and of his reasons for 
borrowing Droop's clothing. 

"Conceive, then, my plight, dear lady," he con 
cluded, "when, on reaching London, I found that the 
few coins which remained to me had been left in the 
clothes which I gave to this Droop, and I have come 
hither to implore the temporary aid of your good 
father." 

"But he hath gone into London, Master Bacon," 
said Phoebe. "It is most like he will not return ere 
to-morrow even." 

Droop's hat dropped from Bacon's relaxed grasp 
and he seemed to wilt in his speechless despair. 

Phoebe's sympathy was awakened at once, but her 
anxiety to know more of the all-important question 
of authorship was perhaps the keenest of her emo 
tions. 

"Why," she exclaimed, " 'tis a little matter that 
needs not my father, methinks. If ten pounds will 
serve you, I should deem it an honor to provide 
them." 

Kevived by hope, he drew himself up briskly as 
he replied: 

203 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Why, 'twill do marvellous well, Mistress Mary 
marvellous well nor shall repayment be delayed, 
upon my honor!" 

"Nay, call it a fee," she replied, "and give me, I 
beg of you, a legal opinion in return." 

Bacon stooped to pick up the hat, from which he 
brushed the dust with his hand as he replied, with 
dubious slowness, looking down: 

"Why, in sooth, mistress, I am used to gain a 
greater honorarium. As a barrister of repute, mine 
opinions in writing " 

"Ah, then, I fear my means are too small!" Phoebe 
broke in, with a smile. " "Pis a pity, too, for the 
matter is simple, I verily believe." 

Bacon saw that he must retract or lose all, and he 
went on with some haste : 

"Perchance 'tis not an opinion in writing that is 
required," he said. 

"Nay nay; your spoken word will suffice, Master 
Bacon." 

"In that case, then " 

She drew ten gold pieces from her purse and 
dropped them into his extended palm. Then, seat 
ing herself upon a bench against the wall hard by, 
she said: 

"The case is this: If a certain merchant borrow 
a large sum from a Jew in expectation of the speedy 
arrival of a certain argosy of great treasure, and if 
the merchant give his bond for the sum, the penalty 
of the bond being one pound of flesh from the body 

204 



PH(EBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

of the merchant, and if then the argosies founder 
and the bond be forfeit, may the Jew recover the 
pound of flesh and cut it from the body of the mer 
chant?" 

As she concluded, Phoebe leaned forward and 
watched her companion's face earnestly, hoping that 
he would betray his hidden interest in this Shake 
spearian problem by some look or sign. 

The face into which she gazed was grave and judi 
cial and the reply was a ready one. 

"Assuredly not! Such a bond were contrary to 
public policy and void ab initio. The case is not one 
for hesitancy; 'tis clear and certain. No court in 
Christendom would for a moment lend audience to 
the Jew. Why, to uphold the bond were to license 
murder. True, the victim hath to this consented; 
but 'tis doctrine full well proven and determined, 
that no man can give valid consent to his own mur 
der. Were this otherwise, suicide were clearly law 
ful." 

"Oh!" Phoebe exclaimed, as this new view of the 
subject was presented to her. "Then the Duke of 
Venice " 

She broke off and hurried into new questioning. 

"Another opinion hath been given me," she said. 
" 'Twas urged that the Jew could have his pound of 
flesh, for so said the bond, but that he might shed 
no blood in the cutting, blood not being men 
tioned in the bond, and that his goods were for 
feit did he cut more or less than a pound, by so 

205 



THE PANCHRONICON 

much as the weight of a hair. Think you this be 
law?" 

Still could she see no shadow in Bacon's face be 
traying consciousness that there was more in her 
words than met the ear. 

"No no!" he replied, somewhat contemptuously. 
"If that A make promise of a chose tangible to B 
and the promise fall due, B may have not only that 
which was promised, but all such matters and things 
accessory as must, by the very nature of the agreed 
transfer, be attached to the thing promised. As, if 
I sell a calf, I may not object to his removal because, 
forsooth, some portion of earth from my land cling- 
eth to his hoofs. So blood is included in the word 
'flesh' where 'twere impossible to deliver the flesh 
without some blood. As for that quibble of nor 
more nor less, why, 'tis the debtor's place to deliver 
his promise. If he himself cut off too much, he in 
jures himself, if too little he hath not made good 
his covenant." 

Complete conviction seemed to spring upon 
Phoebe, as though it had been something visible to 
startle her. It shook off her old English self for a 
moment, and she leaped to her feet, exclaiming: 

"Well, there now ! That settles that ! I guess if 
anybody wrote Shakespeare, it wasn't Bacon!" 

The astonishment almost alarm in her com 
panion's face filled her with amusement, and her 
happy laugh rang through the echoing halls. 

"Many, many gracious thanks, good Master 
206 



PH(EBE AT THE PEACOCK INN 

Bacon!" she exclaimed. "Right well have you earned 
your honorarium. And now, ere you depart, may 
I make bold to urge one last request?" 

With a bow the young man expressed his acqui 
escence. 

"If I mistake not, you will return forthwith to 
Master Droop, to the end that you may regain your 
proper garb, will you not?" 

"That is my intention." 

"Then I pray you, good Master Bacon, deliver 
this message to Master Droop from one Phoebe Wise, 
an acquaintance of his whom I know well. Tell him 
he must have all in readiness for flight and must not 
leave his abode until she come. May I rely on your 
faithful repetition of this to him?" 

"Assuredly. I shall forget no word of the message 
wherewith I am so honored." 

"Tell him that it is a matter of life and death, sir 
of life and death!" 

She held out her hand. Bacon pressed his lips to 
the dainty fingers and then, jamming the hard Derby 
hat as far down over his long locks as possible, he 
stepped forth once more into the courtyard. 



20T 



CHAPTER X 

HOW THE QUEEN BEAD HER NEWSPAPEB 

For Rebecca, left alone in the goldsmiths' city 
house, the past night and day had been a period of 
perplexity. She had been saved from any serious 
anxiety by the arrival of a messenger soon after 
Phoebe's departure, who had brought her word that 
her "mistress" was safe in the Peacock Inn, and had 
left a verbal message commanding her to come with 
him at once to rejoin her. 

This command she naturally refused to comply 
with, and sent word to the much-puzzled man-servant 
that she wasn't to be "bossed around" by her young 
er sister, and that if Phoebe wanted to see her she 
knew where to find her. This message was deliv 
ered to old Mistress Burton, who refrained from 
repeating it to her step-daughter. For her own 
ends, she thought it best to keep Mistress Mary 
from her nurse, whose influence seemed invariably 
opposed to her own. 

Left thus alone, Rebecca had had a hitherto un 
equalled opportunity for reflection, and the result 
of her deliberations was most practical. Whatever 
might be said of the inhabitants of London in gen- 

208 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

eral, it was clear to her mind that poor Phoebe was 
mentally unbalanced. 

The only remedy was to lure her into the Pan- 
chronicon, and regain the distant home they ought 
never to have left. 

The first step to be taken was therefore to rejoin 
Copernicus and see that all was in readiness. It was 
her intention then to seek her sister and, by humor 
ing her delusion and exercising an appropriately be 
nevolent cunning, to induce her to enter the convey 
ance which had brought them both into this disas 
trous complication. The latter part of this pro 
gramme was not definitely formed in her mind, and 
when she sought to give it shape she found herself 
appalled both by its difficulties and by the probable 
twists that her conscience would have to undergo in 
putting her plan into practice. 

"Well, well!" she exclaimed at length. "I'll cross 
that bridge when I come to it. The fust thing is 
to find Copernicus Droop." 

It was at about eleven o'clock in the morning of 
the day after Phoebe's departure that Rebecca came 
to this audible conclusion, and she arose at once to 
don her jacket and bonnet. This accomplished, she 
gathered up her precious satchel and umbrella and 
approached her bed-room window to observe the 
weather. 

She had scarcely fixed her eyes upon the muddy 
streets below her when she uttered a cry of amaze 
ment. 

209 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Good gracious alive! Ef there ain't Copernicus 
right this minute!" 

Out through the inner hall and down the stairs 
she hurried with short, shuffling steps, impatient of 
the clinging rushes on the floor. Speechless she ran 
past good Mistress Goldsmith, who called after her 
in vain. The only reply was the slam of the front 
door. 

Once in the street, Rebecca glanced sharply up and 
down. The man she sought was not in sight, but 
she shrewdly counted upon his having turned into 
Leadenhall Street, toward which she had seen him 
walking. Thither she hurried, and to her infinite 
gratification she saw, about a hundred yards ahead, 
the unmistakable trousers, coat, and Derby hat so 
familiar on the person of Copernicus Droop. 

"Hey!" she cried. "Hey, there, Mister Droop! 
Copernicus Droop!" 

She ended with a shrill, far-carrying, long-drawn 
call that sounded much like a "whoop." Evidently 
he heard her, for he started, looked over his shoul 
der, and then set off with redoubled speed, as though 
anxious to avoid her. 

She stopped short for a moment, paralyzed with 
astonishment. 

"Well!" she exclaimed. "If I ever! I suppose 
it's a case of 'the wicked flee,' but he can't get away 
from me as easy 's that." 

And then began a race the like of which was never 
seen before. In advance, Francis Bacon scurried 

210 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

forward as fast as he dared without running, dread 
ing the added publicity his rapid progress was sure 
to bring upon him, yet dreading even more to be 
overtaken by this amazing female apparition, in 
whose accents and intonation he recognized another 
of the Droop species. 

Behind Bacon came Rebecca, conspicuous enough 
in her prim New England gown and bonneted head, 
but doubly remarkable as she skipped from stone to 
stone to avoid the mud and filth of the unpaved 
streets, and swinging in one hand her little black 
satchel and in the other her faithful umbrella. 

From time to time she called aloud: "Hey, stop 
there! Copernicus Droop! Stop, I say! It's only 
Rebecca Wise!" 

The race would have been a short one, indeed, 
had she not found it impossible to ignore the puddles, 
rubbish heaps, and other obstacles which half-filled 
the streets and obstructed her path at every turn. 
Bacon, who was accustomed to these conditions 
and had no impeding skirts to check him, managed, 
therefore, to hold his own without actually run 
ning. 

These two were not long left to themselves. Such 
a progress could not take place in the heart of Eng 
land's capital without forming in its train an ever 
growing suite of the idle and curious. Ere long a 
rabble of street-walkers, beggars, pick-pockets, and 
loafers were stamping behind Rebecca, repeating her 
shrill appeals with coarse variations, and assailing her 

211 



THE PANCHRONICON 

with jokes which, fortunately for her, were worded 
in terms which her New England ears could not com 
prehend. 

In this order the two strangely clad beings hur 
ried down toward the Thames; he in the hope of 
finding a waterman who should carry him beyond 
the reach of his dreaded persecutors; she counting 
upon the river, which she knew to lie somewhere 
ahead, to check the supposed Copernicus in his obsti 
nate flight. 

To the right they turned, through St. Clement's 
Lane into Crooked Lane, and the ever-growing mob 
clattered noisily after them, shouting and laughing 
a gleeful chorus to her occasional solo. 

Leaving Eastcheap and its grimy tenements, they 
emerged from New Fish Street and saw the gleam 
of the river ahead of them. 

At this moment one of the following crowd, more 
enterprising than his fellows, ran close up behind 
Rebecca and, clutching the edge of her jacket, sought 
to restrain her. 

"Toll, lass, toll!" he shouted. "Who gave thee 
leave to run races in London streets?" 

Rebecca became suddenly fully conscious for the 
first time of the sensation she had created. Stop 
ping short, she swung herself free and looked her 
bold assailant fairly in the face. 

"Well, young feller," she said, with icy dignity, 
"what can I do fer you?" 

The loafer fell back as she turned, and when she 
212 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

had spoken, he turned in mock alarm and fled, crying 
as he ran: 

"Save us save us! Ugly and old as a witch, I 
trow!" 

Those in the background caught his final words 
and set up a new cry which boded Rebecca no good. 

"A witch a witch! Seize her! Stone her!" 

As they now hung back momentarily in a new 
dread, self-created in their superstitious minds, Re 
becca turned again to the chase, but was sorely put 
out to find that her pause had given the supposed 
Droop the advantage of a considerable gain. He 
was now not far from the river side. Hoping he 
could go no farther, she set off once more in pursuit, 
observing silence in order to save her breath. 

She would apparently have need of it to save her 
self, for the stragglers in her wake were now impelled 
by a more dangerous motive than mere curiosity or 
mischief. The cry of "Witch" had awakened cruel 
depths in their breasts, and they pressed forward in 
close ranks with less noise and greater menace than 
before. 

Two or three rough fellows paused to kick stones 
loose from the clay of the streets, and in a few mo 
ments the all-unconscious Rebecca would have found 
herself in a really terrible predicament but for an 
accident seemingly without bearing upon her circum 
stances. 

Without warning, someone in the upper story of 
one of the houses near by threw from a window a 

213 



pail of dirty water, which fell with a startling splash 
a few feet in front of Rebecca. 

She stopped in alarm and looked up severely. 

"I declare to goodness! I b'lieve the folks in this 
town are all plumb crazy! Sech doin's! The idea 
of throwin' slops out onto the road ! Why, the Ka- 
nucks wouldn't do that in New Hampshire!" 

Slipping her bag onto her left wrist, she loosened 
the band of her umbrella and shook the ribs free. 

"Lucky I brought my umbrella!" she exclaimed. 
"I guess it'll be safer fer me to h'ist this, ef things is 
goin' to come out o' windows!" 

All unknown to her, two or three of the rabble 
behind her were in the act of poising themselves with 
great stones in their hands, and their muscles were 
stiffening for a cast when, just in the nick of time, 
the obstinate snap yielded, and with a jerk the um 
brella spread itself. 

Turning the wide-spread gloria skyward, Rebecca 
hurried forward once more, still bent upon overtak 
ing Copernicus Droop. 

That simple act saved her. 

A mere inactive witch was one thing a thing 
scarce distinguishable from any other old woman. 
But this transformation of a black wand into a wide- 
spreading tent was so obviously the result of magic, 
that it was self-evident they had to do with a witch 
in full defensive and offensive state. 

Stones fell from deadened hands and the threaten 
ing growls and cries were lost in a unanimous gasp 

214 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

of alarm. A moment's pause and then utter rout. 
There was a mad stampede and in a trice the street 
was empty. Rebecca was alone under that inoffen 
sive guardian umbrella. 

To her grief, she found no one on the river's brim. 
He whom she sought was half-way across, his con 
veyance the only wherry in sight, apparently. Hav 
ing passed beyond the houses, Rebecca now folded 
her umbrella and looked carefully about her. To 
her great relief, she caught sight of a man's figure 
recumbent on a stone bench near at hand. A pair 
of oars lay by him and betrayed his vocation. 

She stepped promptly to his side and prodded him 
with her umbrella. 

"Here, mister!" she cried. "Wake up, please. 
What do you charge for ferryin' folks across the 
river?" 

The waterman sat up, rubbed his eyes and yawned. 
Then, without looking at his fare, he led the way 
to his boat without reply. He was chary of words, 
and after all, did not all the world know what to 
pay for conveyance to South wark? 

Rebecca gazed after him for a moment and then, 
shaking her head pityingly, she murmured : 

"Tut tut! Deef an' dumb, poor man! Dear, 
dear!" 

To hesitate was to lose all hope of overtaking the 
obstinate Copernicus. So, first pointing vigorously 
after the retreating boat with closed umbrella, and 
with many winks and nods which she supposed sup- 

215 



THE PANCHRONICON 

plied full meaning to her gestures, she stepped into 
the wherry, and the two at once glided out on the 
placid bosom of the Thames. 

Far different was the spectacle that greeted her 
then from that which may now be witnessed near 
London Bridge. In those days that bridge was alone 
visible, not far to the East, and the tide that moves 
now so darkly between stone embankments beneath 
a myriad of grimy steamers, then flowed brightly 
between low banks and wooden wharves, bearing a 
gliding fleet of sailing-vessels. To the south were 
the fields and woods of the open country, save where 
loomed the low frame houses and the green-stained 
wharves of Southwark village. Behind Rebecca was 
a vast huddle of frame buildings, none higher than 
three stories, sharp of gable overhanging narrow 
streets, while here a tower and there a steeple stood 
sentinel over the common herd. To the east the 
four great stone cylinders of the Tower, frowning 
over the moving world at their feet, loomed grimly 
then as now. 

Rebecca had fixed her eyes at first with a fasci 
nated stare on this mighty mass of building, pene 
trated by a chill of fear, although ignorant of its 
tragic significance. Turning after a minute or two 
from contemplation of that gloomy monument of 
tyrannical power, she gazed eagerly forward again, 
bent upon keeping sight of the man she was 
pursuing. 

He and his boat had disappeared, but her disap- 
216 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

pointment was at once lost in admiring stupefaction 
as she gazed upon a magnificent craft bearing across 
the bows of her boat and coming from the direction 
of Westminster. 

The hull, painted white, was ornamented with a 
bold arabesque of gilding which seemed to flow nat 
urally in graceful lines from the garment of a golden 
image of Victory mounted high on the towering 
prow. 

From the deck at the front and back rose two large 
cabins whose sides were all of brilliant glass set be 
tween narrow panels on which were paintings, which 
Rebecca could not clearly distinguish from where 
she was sitting. 

At the waist, between and below the cabins, ten 
oars protruded from each side of the barge, flash 
ing rhythmically as they swept forward together, 
seeming to sprinkle drops of sunlight into the 
river. 

The splendor of this apparition, contrasting as it 
did with the small and somewhat dingy craft other 
wise visible above the bridge, gave a new direction 
to Rebecca's thoughts and forced from her an almost 
involuntary exclamation. 

"For the lands sakes!" she murmured. "Whoever 
in the world carries on in sech style 's that!" 

The waterman looked over his shoulder, and no 
sooner caught sight of the glittering barge than, with 
a powerful push of his oars, he backed water and 
brought his little boat to a stand. 

217 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"The Queen!" he exclaimed. 

Rebecca glanced at the boatman with slightly 
raised brows. 

"Thought you was deef an' dumb," she said. Then, 
turning once more to the still approaching barge, she 
continued: "An' so thet's Queen Victoria's ship, is 
it?" 

"Victoria!" growled the waterman. "Ye seem as 
odd in speech as in dress, mistress. Who gave ye 
license to miscall our glorious sovereign?" 

Rebecca's brows were knit in a thoughtful frown 
and she scarce knew what her companion said. The 
approach of the Queen suggested a new plan of ac 
tion. She had heard of queens as all-powerful rulers, 
women whose commands would be obeyed at once 
and without question, in small and personal things 
as in matters of greater moment. Of Queen Vic 
toria, too, some accounts had reached her, and all 
had been in confirmation of that ruler's justice and 
goodness of heart. 

Rebecca's new plan was therefore to appeal at once 
to this benign sovereign for aid, entreat her to com 
mand the Burtons to release Phoebe and to order 
Copernicus Droop to carry both sisters back to their 
New England home. This course recommended it 
self strongly to the strictly honest Rebecca, because 
it eliminated at once all necessity for "humoring" 
Phoebe's madness, with its implied subterfuges and 
equivocations. The moment was propitious for mak 
ing an attempt which could at least do no harm, she 

218 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

thought. She determined to carry out the plan 
which had occurred to her. 

Standing up in the boat: "What's the Queen's last 
name?" she asked. 

"Be seated, woman!" growled the waterman, who 
was growing uneasy at sight of the increasing eccen 
tricity of his fare. "The Queen's name is Elizabeth, 
as well ye know," he concluded, more gently. He 
hoped to soothe the woman's frenzy by concessions. 

"Now, mister," said Rebecca, severely, "don't you 
be sassy to me, fer I won't stand it. Of course, I 
don't want her first name she ain't hired help. 
What's the Queen's family name quick!" 

The waterman, now convinced that his fare was a 
lunatic, could think of naught better than to use 
soothing tones and to reply promptly, however ab 
surd her questions. "I' faith," he said, in a mild 
voice, "I' faith, mistress, her Gracious Majesty is of 
the line of Tudor. Methought " 

But he broke off in horror. 

Waving her umbrella high above her head, Re 
becca, still standing upright in the boat, was calling 
at the top of her voice : 

"Hallo there! Mrs. Tudor! Stop the ship, will 
ye! I want to speak to Mrs. Tudor a minute!" 

All nature seemed to shiver and shrink in silence 
at this enormous breach of etiquette to use a mild 
term. Involuntarily the ten pairs of oars in the 
royal barge hung in mid-air, paralyzed by that sud 
den outrage. The great, glittering structure, im- 

219 



THE PANCHRONICON 

pelled by momentum, glided forward directly under 
the bows of Rebecca's boat and not a hundred yards 
away. 

Again Rebecca's cry was borne shrill and clear 
across the water. 

"Hallo! Hallo there! Ain't Mrs. Tudor on the 
ship? I want to speak to her!" Then, turning to 
the stupefied and trembling waterman: 

"Why don't you row, you? What's the matter, 
anyway? Don't ye see they've stopped to wait fer 
us?" 

Someone spoke within the after cabin. The com 
mand was repeated in gruff tones by a man's voice, 
and the ten pairs of oars fell as one into the water 
and were held rigid to check the progress of the 
barge. 

"Wherry, ahoy!" a hail came from the deck. 

"Ay, ay, sir!" the waterman cried. 

"Come alongside!" 

"Ay, ay, sir!" 

Pale and weak with dread, the boatman pulled as 
well as he could toward the splendid vessel ahead, 
while Rebecca resumed her seat, quite satisfied that 
all was as it should be. 

A few strokes of the oars brought them to the 
barge's side, and Rebecca's waterman threw a rope 
to one of the crew. 

A young man in uniform glowered down upon 
them, and to him the waterman turned, pulling off 
his cap and speaking with the utmost humility. 

220 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

"The jade is moon-struck, your worship!" he ex 
claimed, eagerly. "I would not for a thousand 
pound 

"Moon-struck!" snapped the lieutenant. "Who 
gave thee commission to ferry madmen, fellow?" 

The poor waterman, at his wits' end, was about 
to reply when Rebecca interposed. 

"Young man," she said, standing up, "I'll thank 
you to 'tend to business. Is Mrs. Victoria Tudor at 
home?" 

At this moment a young gentleman, magnificently 
apparelled, stepped forth from the after cabin and 
approached the man in uniform. 

"Lieutenant," he said, "her Majesty commands 
that the woman be brought before her in person. 
As for you," he continued, turning to the waterman, 
"return whence you came, and choose your fares bet 
ter henceforth." 

Two of the barge's crew extended each a hand 
to Rebecca. 

"Bend onto that, Poll!" said one, grinning. 

"Well, I declare!" exclaimed Rebecca. "I never 
see sech impident help in all my born days! Ain't 
ye got any steps for a body to climb?" 

A second gorgeously dressed attendant backed 
hastily out of the cabin. 

"Look alive!" he said, peremptorily. "Her Majes 
ty waxes impatient. Where is the woman?" 

"Ay, ay, sir!" replied the sailors. "Here she be!" 

They leaned far forward and, grasping the aston- 
221 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ished Rebecca each by a shoulder, lifted her quickly 
over the rail. 

The first gentleman messenger beckoned to her 
and started toward the cabin. 

"Follow me!" he said, curtly. 

Rebecca straightened her skirt and bonnet, shook 
her umbrella, and turned quietly to the rail, fumbling 
with the catch of her bag. 

"I pity yer manners, young man!" she said, cold 
ly. Then, with some dismay: 

"Here you, mister, don't ye want yer money?" 

But the waterman, only too glad to escape at all 
from being involved in her fate, was pulling back to 
the northern shore as fast as his boat would go. 

"Suit yourself," said Rebecca, simply. "Saves me 
a dime, I guess." 

Turning then to the impatient gentleman waiting 
at the door: 

"Guess you're one o' the family, ain't ye? Is your 
ma in, young man?" 

Fortunately her full meaning was not compre 
hended, and the person addressed contented himself 
with drawing aside the heavy curtain of cloth of gold 
and motioning to Rebecca to precede him. 

She nodded graciously and passed into the cabin. 

"That's better," she said, with an ingratiating 
smile. "Good manners never did a mite o' harm, 
did they?" 

Before following her, the messenger turned again 
to the young lieutenant. 

222 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

"Give way!" lie said. 

At once the sweeps fell together, and the great 
barge resumed its course down the river. 

As Rebecca entered the glass and gold enclosure, 
she was at first quite dazzled by the crowd of gor 
geously arrayed courtiers who stood in two compact 
groups on either side of her. Young and old alike, all 
these men of the sword and cloak seemed vying one 
with another for precedence in magnificence and 
foppery. The rarest silks of every hue peeped forth 
through slashed velvets and satins whose rustling 
masses bedecked men of every age and figure. Paint 
ed faces and ringed ears everywhere topped snowy 
ruffles deep and wide, while in every hand, 
scented gloves, fans, or like toys amused the idle 
fingers. 

In the background Rebecca was only vaguely con 
scious of a group of ladies in dresses of comparatively 
sober pattern and color; but seated upon a luxurious 
cushioned bench just in front of the others, one of 
her sex struck Rebecca at once as the very centre 
and climax of the magnificence that surrounded her. 

Here sat Elizabeth, the vain, proud, tempestuous 
daughter of "bluff King Hal." Already an old 
woman, she yet affected the dress and carriage of 
young maidenhood, possessing unimpaired the van 
ity of a youthful beauty, and, despite her growing 
ugliness, commanding the gallant attentions that 
gratified and supported that vanity. 

Her face, somewhat long and thin, was carefully 
223 



THE PANCHRONICON 

painted, but not so successfully as to hide the many 
wrinkles traced there by her sixty-five years. Her 
few blackened teeth and her false red hair seemed 
to be mocked by the transcendent lustre of the rich 
pearl pendants in her ears. Her thin lips, hooked 
nose, and small black eyes betokened suppressed an 
ger as she glared upon her admiring visitor; but, far 
from being alarmed by the Queen's expression, Re 
becca was only divided between her admiration of 
her magnificent apparel and blushing uneasiness at 
sight of the frankly uncovered bosom which Eliza 
beth exhibited by right of her spinsterhood. Re 
becca remembered ever afterward how she wished 
that "all those men" would sink through the floor 
of the cabin. 

The Queen was at first both angry at the unheard- 
of language Rebecca had used, and curious to see 
what manner of woman dared so to express herself. 
But now that she set eyes upon the outlandish garb 
of her prisoner, her curiosity grew at the expense of 
her wrath, and she sat silent for some time while 
her little black eyes sought to explore the inmost 
depths of Rebecca's mind. 

Rebecca, for her part, was quite unconscious of 
having infringed any of the rules of courtly eti 
quette, and, without expressing her belief in her 
complete social equality with the Queen or anyone 
else present, was so entirely convinced of this equal 
ity that she would have deemed a statement of it 
ridiculously superfluous. 

224 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

For a few moments she stood in the middle of the 
open space immediately before the Queen, partly 
dazed and bewildered into silence, partly expectant 
of some remark from her hostess. 

At length, observing the grimly rigid aspect of 
the silent Queen, Rebecca straightened herself prim 
ly and remarked, with her most formal air: "I s'pose 
you are the Queen, ma'am. You seem to be havin' 
a little party jest now. I hope I'm not intruding 
but to tell ye the truth, Mrs. Tudor, I've got into 
a pretty pickle and I want to ask a little favor of 
you." ' 

She looked about to right and left as though in 
search of something. 

"Don't seem to be any chairs around, only yours," 
she continued. Then, with a quick gesture of the 
hand: "No, don't get up. Set right still now. One 
o* your friends here can get me a chair, I guess," and 
she looked very meaningly into the face of a foppish 
young courtier who stood near her, twisting his thin 
yellow beard. 

At this moment the rising wonder of the Queen 
reached a climax, and she burst into speech with char 
acteristic emphasis. 

"What the good jere!" she cried. "Hath some 
far planet sent us a messenger. The dame is loyal 
in all her fantasy. Say, my Lord of Nottingham, 
hath the woman a frenzy, think you?" 

The gentleman addressed stood near the Queen 
and was conspicuous for his noble air. His prominent 

225 



THE PANCHRONICON 

gray eyes under rounded brows lighted up a long, 
oval face surmounted by a high, bald forehead. The 
long nose was aquiline, and the generous, full-lipped 
mouth was only half hidden by a neatly trimmed 
full blond beard. Rebecca noticed his dress particu 
larly as he stepped forward at the Queen's summons, 
and marvelled at the two doublets and heavy cape 
coat over which hung a massive gold chain support 
ing the brilliant star of some order. She wondered 
how he could breathe with that stiff ruff close up 
under his chin and inclined downward from back to 
front. 

Dropping on one knee, Nottingham began his re 
ply to the Queen's inquiry, though ere he finished 
his sentence he rose to his feet again at a gracious 
sign from his royal mistress. 

"May it please your Majesty," he said, "I would 
humbly crave leave to remove the prisoner from a 
presence she hath nor wit nor will to reverence. Ju 
dicial inquiry, in form appointed, may better deter 
mine than my poor judgment whether she be mad 
or bewitched." 

This solemn questioning of her sanity produced 
in Rebecca's mind a teasing compound of wrath and 
uneasiness. These people seemed to find something 
fundamentally irregular in her behavior. What 
could it be? The situation was intolerable, and she 
set to work in her straightforward, energetic way to 
bring it to an end. 

Stepping briskly up to the astonished Earl of Not- 
226 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

tingham, she planted herself firmly before him, turn 
ing her back upon Elizabeth. 

"Now look a-here, Mr. Nottingham," she said, se 
verely, "I'd like to know what in the world you see 
that's queer about me or my ways. What's the mat 
ter, anyway? I came here to make a quiet call on 
that lady," here she pointed at the Queen with her 
umbrella, "and instead of anybody bringin' a chair, 
or sayin' 'How d'ye do,' the whole raft of ye hev 
done nothin' but stare or call me loony. I s'pose 
you're mad because I've interrupted your party, but 
didn't that man there invite me in? Ef you're all 
so dreadful particler, I'll jest get out o' here till Mrs. 
Tudor can see me private. I'll set outside, ef I can 
find a chair." 

With an air of offended dignity she stalked toward 
the door, but turned ere she had gone ten steps and 
continued, addressing the assembled company col 
lectively : 

"As fer bein' loony, I can tell you this. Ef you 
was where I come from in America, they'd say every 
blessed one of ye was crazy as a hen with her head 
off." 

"America!" exclaimed the Queen, as a new 
thought struck her. "America! Tell me, dame, 
come you from the New World?" 

"That's what it's sometimes called in the geogra 
phies," Rebecca stiffly replied. "I come from Pelton- 
ville, New Hampshire, myself. Perhaps I'd ought 
to introduce myself. My name's Rebecca Wise, 

227- 



THE PANCHRONICON 

daughter of Wilmot and Nancy Wise, both de 
ceased." 

She concluded her sentence with more of gracious- 
ness than she had shown in the beginning, and the 
Queen, now fully convinced of the innocent sincerity 
of her visitor, showed a countenance of half-amused, 
half-eager interest. 

"Why, Sir Walter," she cried, "this cometh within 
your province, methinks. If that this good woman 
be an American, you should be best able to parley 
with her and learn her will." 

A dark-haired, stern-visaged man of middle height, 
dressed less extravagantly than his fellows, acknowl 
edged this address by advancing and bending one 
knee to the deck. Here was no longer the gay young 
courtier who so gallantly spoiled a handsome cloak 
to save his sovereign's shoes, but the Raleigh who 
had fought a hundred battles for the same mistress 
and had tasted the bitterness of her jealous cruelty 
in reward. 

There was in his pose and manner, however, much 
of that old grace which had first endeared him to 
Elizabeth, and even now served to fix her fickle favor. 

"Most fair and gracious Majesty," he said in a low, 
well-modulated voice, turning upward a seeming fas 
cinated eye, "what Walter Raleigh hath learned of 
any special knowledge his sovereign hath taught him, 
and all that he is is hers of right." 

" "Tis well, my good knight," said Elizabeth, beck 
oning with her slender finger that he might rise. 

228 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

"We know your true devotion and require now this 
service, that you question this stranger in her own 
tongue concerning her errand here and her quality 
and estate at home." 

As Raleigh rose and advanced toward Rebecca, 
without turning away from the Queen, the half-be 
wildered American brought the end of her umbrella 
sharply down upon the floor with a gesture of impa 
tience. 

"What everlastin' play-actin' ways!" she snapped. 
Then, addressing Sir Walter: "Say, Mr. Walter," she 
continued, "ef you can't walk only sideways, you 
needn't trouble to travel clear over here to me. I'll 
come to you." 

Suiting the action to the word, Rebecca stepped 
briskly forward until she stood in front of the rather 
crestfallen courtier. 

He rallied promptly, however, and marshalling by 
an effort all he could remember of the language of 
the red man, he addressed the astonished Rebecca 
in that tongue. 

"What's that?" she said. 

Again Sir Walter poured forth an unintelligible 
torrent of syllables which completed Rebecca's dis 
gust. 

With a pitying smile, she folded her hands across 
her stomach. 

"Who's loony now?" she said, quietly. 

Raleigh gazed helplessly from Rebecca to the 
Queen and back again from the Queen to Rebecca. 

229 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Elizabeth, who had but imperfectly heard what 
had passed between the two, leaned forward impa 
tiently. 

"What says she, Raleigh?" she demanded. "Doth 
she give a good account?" 

"Good my liege," said Raleigh, with a despairing 
gesture, "an the dame be from America, her tribe 
and race must needs be a distant one, placed remote 
from the coast. The natives of the Floridas " 

"Florida!" exclaimed Rebecca. "What you talkin' 
about, anyway? That's away down South. I come 
from New Hampshire, I tell you." 

"Know you that region, Raleigh?" said the Queen, 
anxiously. 

Raleigh shook his head with a thoughtful expres 
sion. 

"Way, your Majesty," he replied. "And if I might 
venture to hint my doubts He paused. 

"Well, go on, man go on!" said the Queen, im 
patiently. 

"I would observe that the name is an English one, 
and 'tis scarce credible that in America, where our 
tongue is unknown, any region can be named for an 
English county." 

"Land sakes!" exclaimed Rebecca, in growing 
amazement. "Don't know English! Why don't 
I talk as good English as any of ye? You 
don't have to talk Bible talk to speak English, I sh'd 
hope!" 

Elizabeth frowned and settled back in her chair, 
230 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

turning her piercing eyes once more upon her mys 
terious visitor. 

"Your judgment is most sound, Sir Walter," she 
said. "In sooth, 'twere passing strange were our 
own tongue to be found among the savages of the 
New World! What have ye to say to this, mis 
tress?" 

Rebecca turned her eyes from one to the other of 
the bystanders, doubtful at first whether or not they 
were all in a conspiracy to mock her. Her good 
sense told her that this was wellnigh impossible, and 
she finally came to the conclusion that sheer igno 
rance was the only explanation. 

"Well, well!" she exclaimed at last. "I've heerd 
tell about how simple Britishers was, but this beats 
all ! Do you reely mean to tell me," she continued, 
vehemently nodding her head at the Queen, "that 
you think the's nothin' but Indians in America?" 

A murmur of indignation spread through the as 
sembly caused by language and manners so little 
suited to the address of royalty. 

"The woman hath lost her wits!" said the Queen, 
dryly. 

"There 'tis again!" said Rebecca, testily. "Why, 
ef it comes to talk of simpletons and the like, I guess 
the pot can't call the kettle black!" 

Elizabeth gripped the arm of her chair and leaned 
forward angrily, while two or three gentlemen ad 
vanced, watching their mistress for the first sign of 
a command. At the same moment, a triumphant 

231 



THE PANCHRONICON 

thought occurred to Rebecca, and, dropping her um 
brella, she opened her satchel with both hands. 

"Ye needn't to get mad, Mrs. Tudor," she said. "I 
didn't mean any offence, but I guess you wouldn't 
like to be called a lunatic yerself. See here," she 
continued, dragging forth a section of the newspaper 
which she had brought with her, "ef you folks won't 
believe my word, jest look at this! It's all here in 
the newspaper right in print. There!" 

She held the paper high where all might see, and 
with one accord Queen and courtiers craned forward 
eagerly, burning with curiosity at sight of the printed 
columns interspersed with nineteenth-century illus 
trations. 

Rebecca stepped forward and handed the paper 
to the Queen, and then, drawing forth another sec 
tion from her bag, she carried it to the bewildered 
Raleigh, who took it like one in a trance. 

For some time no one spoke. Elizabeth turned 
the paper this way and that, reading a bit here and 
a bit there, and gazing spellbound upon the enig 
matic pictures. 

Having completely mastered the situation, Re 
becca now found time to consider her comfort. Far 
on one side, near the door through which she had 
entered, there stood a youth of perhaps sixteen, clad 
in the somewhat fantastic garb of a page. Having 
picked up her umbrella, Rebecca approached this 
youth and said in a sharp whisper: 

"Couldn't you get me a chair, sonny?" 
232 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

The lad disappeared with startling promptitude, 
but he did not return. It was an agony of perplexity 
and shyness which had moved him, not a willingness 
to serve. 

Rebecca gazed about at the etiquette-bound men 
and women around her and muttered, with an indig 
nant snort and toss of the head: 

"Set o' decorated haystacks !" 

Then, with head held high and a frigid "Beg par 
don, mister!" she elbowed her way through the dense 
throng of gentlemen-in-waiting and seated herself on 
the bench arranged along the side of the cabin. 

"Oof!" she exclaimed. "Feel 's though my legs 
would drop clear off!" 

At length the Queen looked up. 

"Why, what now!" she exclaimed. "Whither hath 
the strange woman gone?" 

A tall man dressed in black and gold stepped for 
ward and dropped upon one knee. He had a long, 
humorous face, with high cheek bones, a straight, 
good-humored mouth, with a high mustache well off 
the lip and a pointed beard. The eyes, set far apart, 
twinkled with the light of fun as he awaited permis 
sion to speak. 

"Well, my Lord of Southampton," said the Queen, 
kindly, "I doubt some gay mischief be afoot. Your 
face tells me as much, my lord." 

"Nay, my liege," was the humble reply. "Can my 
face so far forget the duty owed to Royalty as to 
speak thus, not being first admitted to discourse!" 

233 



Elizabeth smiled and replied: 

"Even so, my lord, but we forgive the offence if 
that your face hath spoken truth. Know you aught 
of the strange woman? Pray be standing." 

The earl arose and replied: 

"Of her rank and station, she must be a queen at 
least, or she doth forget herself. This may your 
Majesty confirm if but these your Majesty's servants 
be commanded to cross the room." 

Elizabeth, puzzled, bowed her head slightly, and 
the courtiers behind whom Rebecca had sought rest 
walked with one accord to the other side of the cabin, 
revealing to the astonished eyes of the Queen her 
visitor quietly seated upon the bench. 

Rebecca nodded with a pleased look. 

"Well, there!" she exclaimed. "Much obliged to 
you all. That's certainly better." 

"Dame," said Elizabeth, sternly, "is this the re 
spect you show to them above you in America?" 

"Above me !" said Rebecca, straightening up stiffly. 
"There ain't anybody put above me at home, I can 
tell you. Ef the' was, I'd put 'em down mighty 
quick, I guess." 

Elizabeth raised her brows and, leaning toward 
the lord treasurer, who stood at her side, she said in 
an undertone: 

"This must be some sovereign princess in her own 
country, my lord. How comes it I have not had 
earlier intelligence of her arrival in this realm?" 

Lord Burleigh bowed profoundly and mumbled 
234 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

something about its being out of his immediate prov 
ince he would have investigation made etc., etc. 

The Queen cut him short a little impatiently. 

"Let it be done, my lord," she said. 

Then turning to Rebecca, she continued: 

"Our welcome is somewhat tardy, but none the less 
sincere. England hath e'er been friendly to the 
American, and you had been more fittingly received 
had our informants been less negligent." 

Here the Queen shot a glance at poor Sir Walter 
Raleigh, who now seemed the personification of dis 
comfiture. 

"By what name are you called?" Elizabeth con 
tinued. 

"Wise," said Rebecca, very graciously, "Rebecca 
Wise." 

"Lady Rebecca, will you sit nearer ?" 

Instantly one of the pages sprang forward with a 
low chair, which, in obedience to a sign from the 
Queen, he placed at her right hand. 

"Why, I'd be right pleased," said Rebecca. "That 
is, if the other folks don't mind," she continued, look 
ing around. "I don't want to spile your party." 

So saying, she advanced and sat beside the Queen, 
who now turned once more to the luckless Raleigh. 

"Well, Sir Walter," she said, "what say you now? 
You have the printed proof. Can you make aught 
of it? How comes it that in all your fine travels in 
the New World you have heard no English spoken?" 

"Oh, I dare say 'tain't his fault!" said Rebecca, 
235 



THE PANCHRONICON 

indulgently. "I'm told they have a mighty queer 
way o' talkin' down South, where he's ben. Comes 
o' bein' brought up with darkies, ye know." 

Elizabeth took up the newspaper once more. 

"Was this printed in your realm, Lady Rebecca?" 
she asked. 

"Hey!" 

Elizabeth started haughtily, but recollected her 
self and repeated : 

"Was this leaf printed in your country?" 

"Oh, yes yes, indeed! Down to New York. 
Pretty big paper, ain't it?" 

"Not voluminous alone, but right puzzling to 
plain English minds," said the Queen, scanning the 
paper severely. "Instance this." 

Slowly she read the opening lines of a market re 
port: 

"The bulls received a solar-plexus blow yesterday 
when it was reported that the C. R. and L. directors 
had resigned in a body owing to the extensive strikes." 

"What words are these?" Elizabeth exclaimed in 
a despairing tone. "What is a plexus of the sun, and 
how doth it blow on a bull?" 

Rebecca jumped up and brought her head close to 
the Queen's, peering over the paper which she held. 
She read and reread the paragraph in question and 
finally resumed her chair, slowly shaking her head. 

"I guess that's the Wall Street talk I've heerd tell 
of," she said. "I don't understand that kind myself." 

"Why, Sir Walter," Elizabeth exclaimed, triumph- 
236 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

antly, "here have we two separate tribes at least, 
each speaking its proper dialect. Can it be that you 
have heard no word of these before?" 

"Even so, my liege," was the dejected reply, "the 
tribes of the North are known to no man as yet." 

"Passing strange!" mused the Queen, running a 
critical eye over the printed page before her. "Your 
talk, and that of others, hath been only of wild, cop 
per-colored savages, living in rude huts and wearing 
only skins. Sure such as these have not types and 
printing-presses! What is this book, Lady Rebecca?" 

"That's a newspaper, ma'am. Don't you have 'em 
in London? They come out every day an' people 
pay a penny apiece fer 'em." 

Elizabeth flashed a stern glance upon her visitor. 

" 'Twere best not go too far, my lady," she said, 
harshly. "E'en traveller's tales must in some sort 
ape the truth at least. Now, prithee, to what end 
is such a pamphlet printed why, 'tis endless!" 

"I'll shet right up, Mis' Tudor, ef ye think I'm 
tellin' wrong stories," said Rebecca, indignantly. 
"Thet's a newspaper an' thet's all there is to it." 

Elizabeth evaded the issue and turned now to the 
illustrations. 

"These be quaint-wondrous images!" she said. 
"Pray, what now may this be? Some fantastic rev 
erie limned for amusement?" 

Rebecca jumped up again and peered over the 
Queen's shoulder. 

"Why, thet's a picture of the troops marchin' down 
237 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Broadway, in New York City. See, it's all explained 
in print underneath it." 

"But these men carry arquebuses and wear a liv 
ery. And these temples to what false gods are they 
setup?" 

"False gods!" exclaimed Rebecca. "Bless your 
simple heart, those ain't temples. They're jest the 
buildin's where the men hev their offices." 

Elizabeth sat in mute contemplation, vainly seek 
ing to realize it all. 

"My lords!" she burst forth suddenly, casting the 
paper violently to the floor, "or this be rank forgery 
and fraud or else have we been strangely deceived." 

She frowned at Sir Walter, who dropped his 
eyes. 

" "Tis not to be believed that such vast cities and 
great armies habited by peoples polite and learned 
may be found across the sea and no report of it come 
to them that visit there. How comes it that we must 
await so strange a chance as this to learn such weighty 
news?" 

She paused and only silence ensued. 

Rebecca stooped and recovered the paper, which 
in falling had opened so as to expose new matter. 

"Don't be surprised," she said, soothingly. "I 
allus did hear that Britishers knew mighty little 
'bout America." 

Still frowning, Elizabeth mechanically stretched 
forth her hand and Rebecca gave her the paper. The 
Queen glanced at the sheet and her face lost its stern 

238 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

aspect as she eagerly brought the print nearer to 
her eyes. 

"Why, what now!" she exclaimed. "God mend us, 
here have we strange attire! Is this a woman of 
your tribe, my lady?" 

Rebecca looked and blushed. Then, in an uneasy 
tone, she said: 

"That's jest an advertisement fer a new corset, 
Mis' Tudor. I never did see how folks ever allowed 
sech things to be printed 'tain't respectable!" 

"A corset, call you it! And these, then?" 

"Oh, those are the styles, the fashions ! That's the 
fashion page, ye know. That's where they tell all 
about what the rich folks down to New York are 
wearin'." 

There was a murmur and a rustle among the la 
dies-in-waiting, who had hitherto made no sign, and 
upon the Queen's cheek there spread an added tinge, 
betokening a high degree of interest and gratifica 
tion. 

"Ah!" she sighed, and glanced pleasantly over her 
shoulder, "here be matters of moment, indeed! 
Your Grace of Devonshire, what say you to this?" 

Eagerly the elderly lady so addressed stepped for 
ward and made a low reverence. 

"Look look here, ladies all!" Elizabeth contin 
ued, with a tremor of excitement in her voice. "Saw 
you ever such an array as this?" 

With one accord the whole bevy of assembled la 
dies pressed forward, trembling with delighted antici- 

239 



THE PANCHRONICON 

pation. A fashion sheet and from the New World! 
What wonder they were moved! 

Her Majesty was about to begin perusal of one of 
the fascinating paragraphs wherein were described 
those marvellous fashion-plates when there was a 
cry outside of "Way 'nough!" and a moment later 
the smart young lieutenant who had before accosted 
Rebecca entered and stood at attention. 

Elizabeth looked up and frowned slightly. Fold 
ing the paper carefully, she called to Sir Walter, 
who still held in his unconscious hand the other sec 
tion of the paper. 

"Bring hither yon sheet, Sir Walter," she cried. 
"Perchance there may be further intelligence of this 
sort therein. We will peruse both pamphlets at our 
leisure anon." 

Then, turning to the Lord High Admiral: 

"My Lord of Nottingham," she said, "you may 
depart. Your duties await you without. Let it be 
the charge of your Grace," she continued, addressing 
the Duchess of Devonshire, "to attend her Highness 
the Lady Rebecca. See that she be maintained as 
suits her rank, and let her be near our person that 
we may not lose aught of her society." 

The ceremony of landing prevented further dis 
course between Rebecca and the Queen, and it was 
with the greatest interest that the stranger observed 
every detail of the formal function. 

Peering through the glass sides of the cabin, Re 
becca could see the landing wharf, thronged with 

240 



HOW THE QUEEN READ HER NEWSPAPER 

servants and magnificently dressed officers, while be 
yond there loomed a long, two-storied white stone 
building, with a round-arched entrance flanked by 
two towers. This was Greenwich Palace, a favorite 
summer residence of the Queen. 



241 



CHAPTER XI 

THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOARDS HEAD 

When Francis Bacon, having evaded Rebecca's 
mistaken pursuit, reached the deserted grove in 
which the Panchronicon still rested, he found to his 
dismay that Droop was absent. 

Copernicus was not the man to let the grass grow 
under his feet, and he had set off that morning with 
his letter of introduction to seek Sir Percevall Hart, 
the Queen's knight harbinger. 

He had determined to begin with moderation, or 
in other words to ask at first for only two patents. 
The first of these was to cover the phonograph. The 
second was to give him a monopoly of bicycles. 

Accordingly he set forth fully equipped, carrying 
a box of records over his shoulder by a strap and his 
well-oiled bicycle trundling along beside him, with 
a phonograph and small megaphone hung on the 
handle-bar. He thought it best to avoid remark by 
not riding his wheel, being shrewdly mindful of the 
popular prejudice against witchcraft. Thanks to his 
exchange with Master Bacon, he feared no comment 
upon his garb. A pint flask, well filled, was concealed 
within his garments, and thus armed against even 

242 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

melancholy itself, he set forth fearlessly upon his 
quest. 

Droop had set out from the Panchronicon in the 
middle of the forenoon, but, as he was obliged to 
distribute a large number of photographs among his 
customers before going to London, it was not until 
some time after Bacon had crossed the river and 
Kebecca had departed with the Queen that he found 
himself on London Bridge. 

On reaching the London side, he stood awhile in 
the ill-smelling street near the fish markets gazing 
about him in quest of someone from whom he might 
ask his way. 

"Let's see!" he mused. "Bacon said Sir Percevall 
Hart, Boar's Head Tavern, Eastcheap. First thing 
to find is Eastcheap, I guess. Hullo there, forsooth!" 
he cried, addressing a baker's boy who was shuffling 
by with his basket on his head. "Hullo there, boy 
knave! What's the shortest cut to Eastcheap?" 

The lad stopped and stared hard at the bright 
wheels. He seemed thinking hard. 

"What mean you, master, by a cut?" he said, at 
length. 

"Oh, pshaw bother!" Droop exclaimed. "Jest 
tell me the way to Eastcheap, wilt thee?" 

The boy pointed straight north up New Fish 
Street. 

"Eastcheap is yonder," he said, and turned away. 

"Well, that's somethin'," muttered Droop, "Gives 
me a start, anyway." 

243 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Following the route pointed out, he retraced the 
very course along which earlier in the day Rebecca 
had proceeded in the opposite direction, thinking she 
saw him ahead of her. By dint of making numerous 
inquiries, he found himself at length in a region of 
squalid residences and second-rate shops and ale 
houses, in the midst of which he finally discovered 
the Boar's Head Tavern. 

The entrance was by a dark archway, overhung 
by the upper stories of the building, down which he 
could see a reddish glow coming and going, now faint 
now bright, against the dead wall to the left. Pass 
ing cautiously down this passage, he soon found that 
the glow was projected through a half -curtained 
window to the right, and was caused by the dancing 
light of a pleasant fire of logs within. 

He thought it wise to reconnoitre before proceed 
ing farther, and, peeping through the small leaded 
panes, he found he could survey the entire apart 
ment. 

The room into which Droop stood gazing was the 
common tap-room of the inn, at that moment appar 
ently the scene of a brisk altercation. 

To the left of the great brick fireplace, a large 
pewter mug in his right hand, an immensely fat man 
was seated. He was clad as became a cavalier, al 
though in sober colors, and his attitude was sugges 
tive of defence, his head being drawn far back to 
avoid contact with a closed fist held suggestively be 
fore his face. The fist was that of a woman who. 

244 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

standing before the fire with her other hand resting 
on her hip, was evidently delivering her sentiments 
in no gentle terms. 

A long table, black with age and use, stood paral 
lel to the right-hand wall, and behind this three men 
were sitting with mugs before them, eying the dis 
putants with evident interest. To the left a large 
space was devoted to three or four bulky casks, and 
here an aproned drawer sat astride of a rush-bottomed 
chair, grinning delightedly and exchanging nods and 
winks from time to time with an impish, undersized 
lad who lay on his stomach on a wine-butt with his 
head craning forward over the edge. 

Only an occasional word reached the watcher at 
the window, but among these few he recognized a 
number which were far more forcible than decent. 
He drew back, shook his head, and then slowly re 
turned to the door and looked up. 

Yes he had made no mistake. Above his head 
there swung the sign of the Boar's Head. And yet 
was it likely or even possible that Sir Percevall 
Hart could make such a vulgar haunt as this his 
headquarters? Sir Percevall the Queen's harbin 
ger and the friend of the Prime Minister ! 

With a sinking heart and a face clouded with anx 
iety, Droop propped his bicycle against the wall 
within the passage and resolutely raised the heavy 
latch. 

To his surprise, instead of the torrent of words 
which he had expected to hear when he opened the 

245 



THE PANCHRONICON 

door, complete silence reigned as he entered. The 
fat man in the chair by the fire was still leaning back 
ward, but his tankard was now inverted above his 
head, and a glance showed that his companions at 
the long table were similarly employed. 

Copernicus turned about and closed the door very 
carefully, unwilling to break the profound silence. 
Then he tiptoed his way to the fire, and leaning for 
ward rubbed his hands before the crackling logs, 
nervously conscious of six pairs of eyes concentrated 
upon his back. Droop was not unfamiliar with the 
bar-rooms of such a city as Boston, but he found an 
Elizabethan tavern a very different sort of place. So, 
although already warmer than desirable, he could 
only stand half bent before a fire all too hot and 
wonder what he should do next. 

Finally he mustered courage enough to turn about 
and survey with shamefaced mien the tavern interior. 
As he turned the four guests dropped their eyes with 
painful unanimity and the drawer fell to scouring 
a pewter mug with his apron. Only the boy perched 
on the cask kept his eyes obstinately fixed on the 
stranger. 

Droop now noticed for the first time that behind 
the casks there was a snug recess containing a table 
and two well-worn benches, evidently intended for 
the entertainment of guests desirous of a tete-a-tete. 

Thither he at once directed his steps, and seating 
himself upon one of the benches, looked about him 
for a bell. He could hear the three men at the long 

246 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

table whispering busily, and could see that they had 
their heads together. 

The fat man stirred in his chair with a rolling 
motion. 

"Drawer!" he called. 

"Here!" cried the drawer, bustling up to the fire. 

"A second tankard of that same sack, boy. Bustle, 
bustle!" 

"I must first to my mistress, sir," was the reply. 
"Nothing for credit, sir, save by permission." 

"A pox upon thee !" growled the thirsty man. "On 
thee and thy mistress, too!" 

Muttering and shaking his head, the ponderous 
guest stretched forth his legs, closed his eyes, and 
composed himself for a nap. 

The drawer tipped a wink to the grinning pot-boy 
on the cask, and then bustled over to Droop's table, 
which he proceeded to wipe vigorously with his apron. 

"Did you call, sir?" he said. 

"Yes," said Copernicus. "Bring me a schooner of 
light lager." 

The drawer's busy apron hand stopped at once and 
its owner leaned hard on the table. 

"What command gave you, sir?" he said. 

"Marry a schooner of lager light, forsooth!" 
Droop repeated. 

"Cry you mercy, sir," said the drawer, straighten 
ing up, "this be the Boar's Head Tavern, sir. What 
may your worship require by way of food and 
drink?" 

247 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"These old-timers beat all creation for ignorance," 
muttered Droop. Then, looking up into the man's 
face, he called for one drink after another, watch 
ing hopefully for some sign of answering intelli 
gence. 

"Give me a Scotch high-ball. No? Then a gin 
sling. Hot Tom and Jerry, then. Marry, an egg 
flip, i' faith ! Ain't got 'em? Get me a brandy smash 
a sherry cobbler a gin rickey rock and rye a 
whisky sour a mint julep ! What ! Nothin' ? What 
in thunder do ye sell, then?" 

The drawer scratched his head, and then grinned 
suddenly and gave vent to a dry laugh. 

"Well said! Well said, master! The jest is a 
merry one call me a Jew else !" Then, sobering 
as briskly as he had taken to laughing: "Will you 
have a cup of sack, master, to settle the stomach 
after fasting or a drop of Canary or Xeres or a 
mug of ale, perchance " 

"That's right, by my halidom!" Droop broke in. 
"Bring me some ale, waiter." 

The drawer whisked away and returned in a few 
moments with a huge power tankard topped with a 
snowy foam. 

"That's the stuff!" said Droop, smacking his lips. 
He half-emptied the beaker, and then, turning to the 
drawer: 

"Can you tell me," he said, "if I can find a man 
by the name of Hart here Sir Percevall Hart?" 

"Sir Percevall," said the drawer, in an undertone. 
248 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

"Why, there's your man, master. The fat knight 
snoring by yon fire." 

"What!" exclaimed Droop. "The man who" 
He broke off and stared awhile in silence. Finally, 
shaking his head: "Never would have thought it!" 
he said. 

Copernicus lapsed into meditation and the drawer 
withdrew. At length Droop roused himself with a 
shake. 

"Won't do no good to set here doin' nothin'," he 
muttered. Then, swallowing the remainder of his 
ale, he drew his letter of introduction from his pocket 
and walked back to the fireplace. 

The knight, who was not sleeping very soundly, 
slightly opened one eye, and to his surprise, beheld 
a letter which Droop held almost under his nose. 

Sitting up straight and now fully awake, Sir Per- 
cevall stared first at Copernicus and then at the 
letter. 

"A letter!" he exclaimed. "For me?" 

"Verily, yea," Droop replied, very politely. 

The knight opened the letter slowly and turned 
so that the light from a window fell full upon it. 

"What's here!" he exclaimed. "This direction is 
to my Lord Burleigh." 

"Yep oh, yes, yea!" said Droop, confusedly. 
"But you was to read it peruse it, you wot Bacon 
said as much. He said you knew the lord and could 
take me around, forsooth, and sorter interduce me, 



ye see." 



249 



THE PANCHRONICON 

With leisurely gravity, Sir Percevall slowly read 
the note, and then, returning it with a polite gest 
ure: 

"This letter hath reference to certain monopolies," 
he said. "My cousin Bacon doth write in high terms 
of your skill and high merit, Master Master " 

"Droop, sir. Copernicus Droop's my name." 

"Ah, yes! And the service you require ? I beg 
your indulgence, but, sooth to say, being nigh starved 
of late in this tavern of ill repute, my poor wits have 
grown fat. I am slow of apprehension, Master 
Wither " 

"Droop, sir Droop." 

"Kay cry you mercy Master Droop." 

"Why, now, Sir Percy," said Copernicus, with oily 
grace, "ef you wouldn't mind, I'd be proud ef you'd 
set down over yonder, perchance, and have a glass 
with me. We'd be more private then, and I could 
make this hull business clear to ye. What say ye, 
sir?" 

"Why, there's my hand, Master Dupe Droop," 
said the knight, his face brightening mightily. "Five 
yards are a mile for a man of my girth, Master 
Droop, but praise God such words as these of yours 
cheer my heart to still greater deeds than faring a 
mile afoot." 

Slowly and painfully the corpulent knight drew 
himself to his feet, and with one hand bearing affec 
tionately but heavily on Droop's shoulder, he shuffled 
over to the recess and seated himself. 

250 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

''What ho, there! Drawer!" he shouted, as soon 
as they were comfortably disposed face to face. 

"Anon, sir, anon!" came the familiar reply, and 
the drawer, who had just served two new guests at 
the long table, now hurried over to the nook behind 
the casks. 

"A quart of sack, villain!" said Sir Percevall. 

"And for you, sir?" said the drawer, turning to 
Droop. 

"Yes, yea, bring me the same." He had no idea 
what sack was, but he felt that in all probability it 
was a mild beverage, or no one would order a quart 
at once. 

"And this same letter, now," Sir Percevall began. 
"To warn you truly, friend, this matter of monopo 
lies hath something of an ill savor in the public mind. 
What with sweet wines, salt, hides, vinegar, iron, oil, 
lead, yarn, glass, and what not in monopoly, men 
cry out that they are robbed and the Queen's ad 
visers turn pale at the very word." 

He interrupted himself to give his attention to the 
wine which had just been placed before him. 

"To better acquaintance!" he said, and the two 
drank deep together. 

Droop smacked his lips critically and turned up 
his eyes for greater abstraction. The wine was pleas 
ant to the palate, he thought, but well it wasn't 
whiskey. 

"Of this letter, now," the knight resumed, anxious 
to discover his own advantage in Droop's plans. 

251 



THE PANCHRONICON 

" 'Twere vain for you, a stranger to the Lord High 
Treasurer, to accost him with it. A very circum 
spect and pragmatical old lord, believe me. Not every 
man hath admittance to him, I promise ye. As for 
me, why, God 'ild you, man! 'twas but yesterday a 
fortnight Burleigh slapped me o' the shoulder and 
said: 'Percevall, ye grow fat, you rogue on the 
word of a Cecil!' Oh, trust me, Master Droop; my 
lord much affects my conversation!" 

"Is that a fact?" said Droop, admiringly. "It cer 
tainly ain't done your conversation any harm to be 
affected that way." 

"Oh, then, an you jest, Master " 

"Not a mite!" exclaimed Copernicus, anxiously. 
"Verily, nay, friend. Trust me never!" 

"Or never trust thee!' quoth the knight, with a 
twinkle in his eye. 

Droop took refuge in his wine, and Sir Percevall 
imitating him, the two emptied their cups together 
and sighed with a simultaneous content. 

"That's not bad swizzle," said Droop, patronizing 
ly. "But, as fer me, give me whiskey every time !" 

"Whiskey!" said the knight with interest. "Nay, 
methought I knew every vintage and brew, each label 
and brand from Rhine to the Canaries. But this 
name, Master Droop, I own I never heard. Whiskey, 
say you?" 

/ */ 

"Well, now, do tell!" said Droop, drawing forth 
his flask of nineteenth-century rye, "never heerd o' 
whiskey, eh? Never tasted it, either, I s'pose?" 

252 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

"How should I taste it, man, not knowing its very 
name?" 

"Verily, thou sayest sooth!" said Droop. Then, 
glancing all about him: "Ain't there any smaller 
glasses 'round here?" 

"Drawer ho, drawer, I say!" roared the knight. 

"Here, sir here ! What is your pleasure ?" 

"The pleasure is to come, rogue! Fetch hither 
two of yon scurvy glass thimbles you wot of. Hostess 
calls them cordial glasses. Haste now! Scramble, 
varlet!" 

When the two small glasses were brought, Droop 
uncorked his flask and poured each full to the brim. 

"Th' ain't any seltzer in this one-hoss town," he 
said, "so I can't make ye a high-ball. We'll jest hev 
to drink it straight, Sir Knight. Here's luck ! Drink 
hearty!" and with a jerk of hand and head he tossed 
the spirits down his throat at a gulp and smacked his 
lips as he set down his glass. 

Sir Percevall followed his friend's movements with 
a careful eye and imitated him as exactly as possible, 
but he did not escape a coughing fit, from which he 
emerged with a purple face and tear-filled eyes. 

"Have another?" said Droop, cheerfully. 

"A plague on queezy gullets!" growled the knight. 
"Your spirits sought two ways at once, Master Droop, 
and like any other half-minded equivocal transaction, 
contention was the outcome. But for the whiskey, 
mind you why, it hath won old Sir Percevall's 
heart. Zounds, man! Scarce two fingers of it, and 

253 



THE PANCHRONICON 

yet I feel the wanton laugh in me already. Good 
fellows need good company, my master! So pour 
me his fellow! So so !" 

They drank again, and this time the more cautious 
knight escaped all painful consequences. 

"Look you, Master Droop," said the delighted old 
toper, leaning back against the wall as he beamed 
across the table at his companion, "look you! An 
you have a butt of this same brew, Sir Percevall 
Hart is your slave, your scullion, your foot-boy! 
Why, man, 'tis the elixir of life ! It warms a body 
like a maid's first kiss! Whence had you it?" 

"Oh, they make it by the million gallons a year 
where I come from," Droop replied. "Have another. 
Take it with hot water and sugar I mean honey." 

The advice was followed, and while they sipped 
the enlivening decoction, Copernicus explained his 
plans touching the patenting of his phonograph and 
bicycle. When he concluded his relation, the knight 
leaned back and gazed at him with an affectionate 
squint. 

"See, now, bully rook, if I take you," he said. 
"It behooves you to have fair inductance at court. 
For this ye come to Sir Percevall Hart, her Majesty's 
harbinger and though he says so himself a good 
friend to Cecil. Now, mark me, lad. Naught do I 
know or care of thy 'funny craft' or 'bicycle.' Master 
Bacon is a philosopher and you have here his certifi 
cate. Say I well what?" 

He paused and Droop nodded. 
254 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

"Good and so to better. Naught care I, or know 
I, or should or could I trow, being a man of poetical 
turn and no base mechanic no offence meant to 
yourself, Master Droop. But this I do say and now 
mark me well I say and dare maintain it (and all 
shall tell ye that is a fair maintenance and a good 
champion), that for a sure and favorable inductance 
to the favors of the court there's no man living takes 
the wall o' Percevall Hart, Knight!" 

"Bacon told me as much," said Droop. 

"And he told thee well, my master. Frank is a 
good lad, though vain, and his palm itcheth. So to 
terms, eh? Now, methinks 'twere but equity and 
good fellowship for two such as we are to go snacks, 
eh? Cut through the middle even halves, bully 
even halves ! How say you?" 

"You don't mean," said Droop, "that you'd want 
half the profits, jest fer introducin' me to Lord 
What's-is-name, do ye?" 

"With a small retainer, of course, to bind fast. 
Say oh, a matter of twenty gold angels or so." 

"Why, blame your confounded overstretched 
skin!" cried Droop, hotly, "I'd sooner drop the hull 
darn thing! You must take me fer a nat'ral born 
fool, I guess!" 

"Nay, then 'twixt friends," said the knight, 
soothingly. " 'Twixt friends, say we remit one half 
the profits. Procure me but the angels, Master 
Droop, and drop the remainder." 

"As many devils sooner!" said Droop, indignantly. 
"I'll take my pigs to another market." 

255 



THE PANCHRONICON 

He rose and beckoned to the drawer. 

"Kay, then, why so choleric!" pleaded the knight, 
leaning anxiously across the table. "What terms do 
ye offer, Master Droop? Come, man, give a show of 
reason now name your terms." 

It was to this point that Copernicus had counted 
upon bringing the helpless knight, who was far from 
a match for a Yankee. He had driven his own 
bargain with Bacon, and he now resolved that Ba 
con's friend should fare no better. In pursuit of 
this plan, he moved from his seat with a sour face. 

"I don't feel much like takin' up with a man who 
tries to do me," he grumbled, shaking his head and 
beckoning again to the drawer. 

"Do thee, man do thee!" cried the knight. 
"Why, an I do thee good, what cause for grief?" 
Spreading forth his two fat hands, he continued: 
"Spake I not fairly? An my offer be not to thy 
taste say thine own say. What the devil, man; 
must we quarrel perforce?" 

Droop scratched his head and seemed to hesitate. 
Finally he slapped the table with his open hand and 
cried with a burst of generosity: 

"I'll tell ye what I will do. I've got two quart 
bottles of that same ripe whiskey, and I'll give 'em 
both to ye the day the Queen gives me my patents!" 

"Nay nay!" said the knight, straightening him 
self with dignity. " 'Twere a mere fool's prank at 
such terms!" 

"Oh, all right!" cried Droop, turning away. 
256 



THE FAT KNIGHT AT THE BOAR'S HEAD 

"Hold hold! Not so fast!" cried Sir Percevall. 
But Copernicus merely slapped his hat on his head 
and started toward the door. 

Sir Percevall leaned over the table in flushed des 
peration. 

"Listen, friend!" he cried. "Wilt make a jolly 
night of it in the bargain?" 

Droop stopped and turned to his companion. 

"D'ye mean right now?" 

A nod was the reply. 

"And you'll take my offer if I do?" 

The knight sat upright and slapped the table. 

"On my honor!" he cried. 

"Then it's a go!" said Droop. 



257 



CHAPTEE XII 

HOW SHAKESPEARE WBOTE HIS PLAYS 

As Francis Bacon returned to London from the 
Peacock, Phoebe had stood at the foot of the steps 
leading into the courtyard and watched him depart. 
She little foresaw the strange adventure into which 
he was destined to lead her sister. Indeed, her 
thoughts were too fully occupied with another to 
give admittance to Rebecca's image. 

Her lover was in danger danger to his life and 
honor. She knew he was to be saved, yet was not 
free from anxiety, for she felt that it was to be her 
task to save him. To this end she had sent Bacon 
with his message to Copernicus. She believed now 
that a retreat was ready for young Fenton. How 
would her confidence have been shaken could she 
have known that Copernicus had already left the 
Panchronicon and that Bacon had been sent in vain ! 

In ignorance of this, she stood now at the foot of 
the stairs and let her thoughts wander back to the 
day before, dwelling with tenderness upon the mem 
ory of her lover's patient attendance upon her in 
that group of rustic groundlings. With a self-re- 

258 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

proachful ache at the heart she pictured herself as 
she had sat far up in the gallery gazing downward 
with every faculty centred upon the stage, while he, 
thinking only of her 

She started and looked quickly to right and left. 
Why, it was here, almost upon these very stones, that 
he had stood. Here she had seen him for one mo 
ment at the last as she was leaving her seat. He 
was leaning upon a rude wooden post. She sought 
it with her eyes and soon caught sight of it not ten 
feet away. 

Then she noticed for the first time that she was 
not alone. A young fellow in the garb of a hostler 
stood almost where Guy had been the day before. 
He paid no attention to Phoebe, for he was appar 
ently deeply preoccupied in carving some device 
upon the very post against which Guy had leaned. 

Already occupied with her own tenderness, she 
was quick to conclude that here, too, was a lover, 
busy with some emblem of affection. Had not Or 
lando cut Rosalind's name into the bark of many a 
helpless tree? 

Clasping her hands behind her, she smiled at the 
lad with head thrown back. 

"A wager, lad!" she cried. "Two shillings to a 
groat thou art cutting a love-token!" 

The fellow looked up and tried to hide his knife. 
Then, grinning, he replied: 

"I'll no take your challenge, mistress. Yet, i' good 
faith, 'tis but to crown another's work." 

259 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Then, pointing with his blade: 

"See where he hath carved letters four," he con 
tinued. "Wi' love-links, too. A watched un yes- 
tre'en, whiles the play was forward. A do but carve 
a heart wi' an arrow in't." 

She blushed suddenly, wondering if it were Guy 
who had done this. Stepping to the side of the sta 
ble-boy, she examined the post. 

The letters were in pairs. They were M. B. and 
G. F. 

Her feeling bubbled over in a little half-stifled 
laugh. 

"Silly!" she exclaimed. Then to the boy: "Know 
you him who cut the letters?" she asked, with af 
fected indifference. 

"Nay, mistress," he replied, falling again to his 
work, "but he be a rare un wi' the bottle." 

"The bottle!" Phoebe exclaimed, in amazement. 
Then quite sternly : "Thou beliest him, knave ! No 
more sober " She checked herself, suddenly con 
scious of her indiscretion. 

"Why, how knowest his habits?" she asked, more 
quietly. 

"A saw un, mistress, sitting in the kitchen wi' 
two bottles o' Spanish wine. Ask the player else." 

"The player! What player?" 

"Him as was drinking wi' him. Each cracked his 
bottle, and 'twas nip and tuck which should call first 
for the second." 

So Guy had spent the evening those hours when 
260 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

she was tenderly dreaming of him with love renewed 
drinking and carousing with some dissolute actor! 

Within her Phoebe Wise and Mary Burton strug 
gled for mastery of her opinion. 

What more natural than that a poor lad, tired 
with waiting on his feet for hours for one look from 
the mistress who disdained him, should seek to for 
get his troubles quaffing good wine in the company 
of some witty player? This was Mary's view. 

What! To leave the presence of his sweetheart 
the girl to whom he had just written that penitent 
letter to go fresh from the inspiration of all that 
should uplift a lover, and befuddle his brains with 
"rum," gossiping with some coarse-grained barn 
stormer! So Phoebe railed. 

"Who was the player?" she asked, sharply. 

"Him as wore the long white beard," said the boy. 
"The Jew, to wit. Eh, but a got his cess, the run- 
nion!" 

"Shylock!" she cried, in spite of herself. 

So this was the gossiping barn-stormer, the disso 
lute actor. Will Shakespeare it was with whom her 
Guy had spent the evening ! Phoebe Wise could but 
capitulate, and Mary Burton took for a time triumph 
ant possession of the heart that was Guy Fenton's. 

"Have the players left the Peacock?" she asked, 
eagerly. 

"Nay, mistress, know you not that they play to 
night at the home of Sir William Percy?" 

"Then they are here, at the inn, boy?" 
261 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"A saw him that played the Jew i' the garden not 
a half hour since. He's wont to wander there and 
mutter the words of the play. I'll warrant him there 
now, mistress." 

Here, indeed, was good fortune ! Shakespeare was 
in the garden. He should tell her where to find Guy 
that she might warn him. Quickly she turned away 
and hurried out of the yard and around the north L, 
beyond which was the garden, laid out with ancient 
hedges and long beds of old-fashioned flowers. 

Now this same garden was the chief pride of the 
neighborhood, the more especially that gardens were 
but seldom found attached to inns in those days. 
Here there had been a partly successful attempt to 
imitate Italian landscape gardening; but the elabo 
rately arranged paths, beds, and parterres, with their 
white statues and fountains, lost their effectiveness 
closed in as they were by high walls of vine-covered 
brick. It was rumored that once a stately peacock 
had here once flaunted his gorgeous plumage, giving 
his name to the inn itself but this legend rested 
upon little real evidence. 

When Phrebe reached the entrance to the main 
walk she stopped and looked anxiously about her. 
Nowhere could she see or hear anyone. Sadly disap 
pointed, she moved slowly forward, glancing quickly 
to right and left, still hoping that he whom she sought 
had not utterly departed. 

She reached a small stone basin surmounted by a 
statue of Plenty, whose inverted horn suggested a 

262 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

copious stream long since choked up. Behind the 
fountain there was a stone bench with a high back. 
Peeping behind this, Phoebe found that a second seat 
was placed beyond the back, inviting a seclusion 
whose expected purpose was distinctly suggested by 
a sly little Cupid on a pedestal, holding one forefinger 
to his smiling lips. 

At this moment Phoebe was conscious of a distant 
mumbling to her left, and, glancing quickly in that 
direction, she saw a plainly dressed, bareheaded man 
of medium height just turning into the main walk 
out of a by-path, where he had been hidden from 
view by a thick hedge of privet. His eyes were 
turned upon some slips of paper which he held in 
one hand. 

Could this be he? Shakespeare! The immortal 
Prince of Poets ! 

To Mary Burton, the approach of a mere player 
would have given little concern. But Phoebe Wise, 
better knowing his unrivalled rank, was seized with 
a violent attack of diffidence, and in an instant she 
dodged behind the stone seat and sat in hiding with 
a beating heart. 

The steps of the new-comer slowly approached. 
Phoebe knew not whether pleasure or a painful fear 
were stronger within her. Here was indeed the cul 
mination of her strange adventure ! There, beyond 
the stone which mercifully concealed her, He was 
approaching the wondrous Master Mind of litera 
ture. 

263 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Would lie go by unheeding? Could she let him 
pass on without one glance one word? And yet, 
how address him? How dare to show her face? 

The slow steps ceased and at the same time he 
fell silent. She could picture him gazing with un 
conscious eyes at the fountain while within he lis 
tened to the Genius that prompted his majestic 
works. Again the gravel creaked, and then she knew 
that he had seated himself on the other bench. The 
two were sitting back to back with only a stone par 
tition between them. 

To her own surprise, the diffidence which had op 
pressed her seemed now to be gradually passing off. 
She still realized the privilege she enjoyed in thus 
sharing his seat, but perhaps Mary Burton was gain 
ing her head as well as her heart, for she positively 
began to think of leaving her concealment, contem 
plating almost unmoved a meeting with her demi 
god. 

Then he spoke. 

"The infant first then the school-boy," he mut 
tered. "So far good ! The third age m m m " 
There was a pause before he proceeded, slowly and 
distinctly: 

" Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, 
Sighing his heart out in a woful ballad 

m m m Ah ! 

Made to his mistress' eyebrow." 
264 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

He chuckled audibly a moment, and then, speaking 
a little louder: 

"Fenton to the life, poor lad!" he said. 

Phoebe sat up very straight with a startled move 
ment. Oh, to think of it! That she should have 
forgotten Sir Guy! To have sought Will Shake 
speare for the sole purpose of tracing her threatened 
lover and then to forget him for a simple name 
a mere celebrity ! 

Unconscious of the small inward drama so near 
at hand, the playwright proceeded with his compo 
sition. 

" 'Sighing his heart out,' " he mused. "Nay, that 
were too strong a touch for Jacques. Lighter 
lighter." Then, after a moment of thought: "Ay 
ay !" he chuckled. " 'Sighing like furnace' poor 
Fenton ! How like a very furnace in his dolor ! Yet 
did he justice to the Canary. So so! To go back 
now: 

" Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, 
Sighing like furnace with a woful ballad 
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. " 

'Twill pass, in sooth, 'twill pass!" 

Lightly Phoebe climbed onto the bench and peeped 
over the back. She looked down sidewise upon the 
author, who was writing rapidly in an illegible hand 
upon one of his paper slips. 

There was the head so familiar to us all the 
domelike brow, the long hair hanging over the ears. 

265 



THE PANCHRONICON 

This she could see, but of his face only the outline 
of his left cheek was visible. Strange and unex 
pected to herself was the light-hearted calm with 
which, now that she really saw him, she could con 
template the great poet. 

He ceased writing and leaned against the back, 
gazing straight ahead. 

"The third age past, what then? Why the soldier, 
i' faith the soldier " 

" Full of strange oaths " 

came a mischievous whisper from an invisible 
source 

" and bearded like the pard. 
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, 
Seeking the bubble reputation 
Even in the cannon's mouth." 

For a moment the poet sat as though paralyzed 
with astonishment. Then rising, he turned and faced 
the daring girl. 

Now she saw the face so well remembered and yet 
how little known before. Kound it was and smooth, 
save for the small, well-trimmed mustache above the 
beautifully moulded mouth and chin sensitive yet 
firm. But above all, the splendid eyes! Eyes of 
uncertain color that seemed to Phoebe mirrors of 
universal life, yet just now full of a perplexed ad 
miration. 

For she was herself the centre of a picture well 
266 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

fitted to arrest a poet's attention. Her merry face 
was peering over the smooth white stone, with four 
pink finger-tips on each side clinging for greater se 
curity. Behind her a cherry-tree was dropping its 
snowy blossoms, and two or three had fallen un 
heeded upon her wavy brown hair, making a charm 
ing frame for the young eyes and tender lips whose 
smiling harmony seemed to sing with arrant roguish- 
ness. 

With a trilling laugh, half-suppressed, she spoke 
at last. 

"A penny for your thoughts, Master Shakespeare !" 
she said. 

The mood of the astonished player had quickly 
yielded to the girl's compelling smile, and his fine 
lips opened upon a firm line of teeth. 

" 'Show me first your penny,' " he quoted. 

"I'll owe you it." 

He laughed and shook his head. 

"That would I not my thoughts, damsel." 

"Pay them, then. Pay straightway!" she pouted, 
"and see the account be fair." 

"Nay, then," he replied, bowing half-mockingly, 
"an the accountant be so passing fair, must not the 
account suffer in the comparison?" 

The face disappeared for a moment, and then 
Phrebe emerged from behind the stone rampart, 
dusting her hands off daintily one against the 
other. 

"Did not your wit exceed your gallantry, sir," she 
267 



THE PANCHRONICON 

said, courtesying slightly, "I had had my answer 
sooner." 

Shakespeare was somewhat taken aback to see a 
developed young woman, evidently of gentle birth, 
where he had thought to find the mere prank-loving 
child of some neighboring cottager. Instantly his 
manner changed. Bowing courteously, he stepped 
forward and began in a deferential voice: 

"Kay, then, fair mistress, an I had known " 

"Tut tut!" she interrupted, astonished at her own 
boldness. "You thought me a chit, sir. Let it pass. 
Pray what think you of my lines?" 

"They seemed the whisper of a present muse," he 
said, gayly, but with conviction in his voice. " 'Twas 
in the very mood of Jacques, my lady a melancholy 
fellow by profession 

"Holding that light which another might presently 
approve" she broke in "and praise bestowing on 
ill deserts in the mere wantonness of a cynic wit! 
What! doth the cap fit?" 

The amazement in her companion's face was irre 
sistible, and Phoebe burst forth into a spontaneous 
laugh of purest merriment. 

" 'A hit a hit a very palpable hit !' " she quoted, 
clapping her hands in her glee. 

"Were not witches an eldritch race," said Shake 
speare, "you, mistress, might well lie under grave 
suspicion." 

"What what! Do I not fit the wizened stamp 
of Macbeth's sisters three?" 

268 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

Shakespeare flung out his arms with a gesture of 
despair. 

"Yet more and deeper mystery!" he cried. "My 
half-formed plots half-finished scraps the clear 
analysis of souls whose only life is here!" he tapped 
his forehead. "Say, good lady, has Will Shakespeare 
spoken, perchance, in sleep yet e'en so, how 
could " 

He broke off and coming to her side, spoke ear 
nestly in lowered tones. 

"Tell me. Have you the fabled power to read the 
soul? Naught else explains your speech." 

"Tell me, sir, first the truth," said Phrebe. "In all 
sadness, Master Shakespeare, have you had aught 
from Francis Bacon? I mean by way of aid in writ 
ing or e'en of mere suggestion?" 

"Bacon Francis Bacon," said he, evidently at a 
loss. "There was one Nicholas Bacon " 

"Nay, 'tis of his son I speak." 

"Then, in good sooth, I can but answer 'No,' mis 
tress; since that I knew not even that this Nicholas 
had a son." 

Phoebe heaved a sigh of relief and then went on 
with a partial return of her former spirit. 

"Then all's well!" she exclaimed. "I am a muse 
well pleased; and now, an you will, Pll teach you 
straight more verses for your play." 

"As you like it," said Shakespeare, bowing, half- 
amused and wholly mystified. 

"Good!" she retorted, brightly. " ' As You Like 
269 



THE PANCHRONICON 

It' shall you name the piece, that henceforth this our 
conversation you may bear in mind." 

Smiling, he took up his papers and wrote across 
the top of one of them "As You Like It" in large 
characters. 

"Now write as I shall bid you," Phoebe said. 
"Pray be seated, good my pupil, come." 

Then, seated there by Phoebe's side, the poet com 
mitted to paper the whole of Jacques's speech on "The 
Seven Ages," just as Phoebe spoke it from her mem 
ory of the Shakespeare club at home. 

When he ceased scribbling, he leaned forward with 
elbows on his knees and ran his eyes slowly and won- 
deringly over each line in turn, whispering the 
words destined to become so famous. Phoebe leaned 
a little away from her companion, resting one hand 
on the bench, while she watched his face with a smile 
that slowly melted to the mood of dreamy meditation. 
They sat thus alone in silence for some time, so still 
that a wren, alighting on the path, hopped pecking 
among the stones at their very feet. 

At length the poet, without other change in posi 
tion, turned his head and looked searchingly and 
seriously into the young girl's eyes. What amazing 
quality was it that stamped its impress upon the 
maiden's face a something he had never seen or 
dreamed of? Even a Shakespeare could give no 
name to that spirit of the future out of which she 
had come. 

"Is it then true?" he said, in an undertone. "Doth 
270 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

the muse live ? Not a mere prompting inward sense, 
but in bodily semblance visiting the poet's eye? Or 
art thou a creature of Fancy's colors blended, feign 
ing reality?" 

Never before had the glamour of her situation so 
penetrated her to whom these words were addressed. 
She was choked by an irrepressible sob that was half 
a laugh, and a film of moisture obscured her vision. 
With a sudden movement, she seized the poet's hand 
and pressed it to her lips. Then, half-ashamed, she 
rose and turned away to toy with the foliage of a 
shrub that stood beside the path. 

"Nay, then!" Shakespeare cried, with something 
like relief in his voice, "you are no insubstantial spirit, 
damsel. Yet would I fain more clearly comprehend 
thee!" 

There was a minute's pause ere Phoebe turned 
toward the speaker, that spirit of mischief dancing 
again in her eyes and on her lips. 

"I am Mary Burton, of Burton Hall," she 
said. 

"Oh !" he exclaimed. And then again : "Oh !" with 
much of understanding and something of disappoint 
ment. 

"Is all clear now?" she asked, roguishly. 

Shakespeare rose, and, shaking one finger playfully 
at her, he said: 

"Most clear is this that Sir Guy knows well to 
choose in love; although, an I read you aright, my 
Mistress Mockery, his wife is like to prove passing 

271 



THE PANCHRONICON 

mettlesome. For the rest, your lover knows poor 
Will Shakespeare's secrets his Macbeth and half- 
written Hamlet. 'Tis with these you have made so 
bold to-day! My muse, in sooth! Oh, fie fie!" 
And he shook his head, laughing. 

"Indeed! In very sooth!" said Phoebe, with merry 
sarcasm. "And was it, then, Guy who brought me 
these same lines of Jacques the melancholy?" And 
she pointed to the papers in his hand. 

"Nay, there I grant you," said the poet, shaking 
his head, while the puzzled expression crept once 
more into his face. 

"Ay, there, and in more than this!" Phoebe ex 
claimed. "You have spoken of Hamlet, Master 
Shakespeare. Guy hath told me something of that 
tragedy. This Prince of Denmark is a most un 
happy wight, if I mistake not. Doth he not once 
turn to thought of self-murder?" 

"Ay, mistress. I have given Sir Guy my thoughts 
on the theme of Hamlet, and have told him I planned 
a speech wherein should be made patent Hamlet's 
desperate weariness of life, sickened by brooding on 
his mother's infamy." 

" 'To be or not to be, that is the question,' " quoted 
Phoebe. "Kuns it not so?" 

"This passes!" cried Shakespeare, once more all 
amazement. "I told not this to your friend!" 

"Nor did I from Guy receive it," said Phoebe. 
"Tell me, Master Shakespeare, have you yet brought 
that speech to its term?" 

272 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

"No," he replied, "nor have I found the task an 
easy one. Much have I written, but 'tis all too 
slight. Can you complete these lines, think you?" 

"My life upon it!" she cried, eagerly. 

He shook his head, smiling incredulously. 

"You scarce know what you promise," he said. 
"Can one so young a damsel, too sound to its bit 
ter deeps the soul of Hamlet !" 

"Think you so?" Phoebe replied, her eyes sparkling. 
"Then what say you to a bargain, Master Shake 
speare? You know where Sir Guy Fenton may be 
found?" 

"Ay, right well! 'Tis a matter of one hour's ride." 

"So I thought," she said. "Hear, then, mine offer. 
I must perforce convey a message straight that 
touches the life and honor of Sir Guy. To send my 
servant were over-dangerous, for there may be 
watchers on my going and coming. "Will "you go, 
sir, without delay, if that I speak for you the miss 
ing lines completing young Hamlet's soliloquy?" 

Shakespeare looked into her face for a few mo 
ments in silence. 

"Why, truly," he said at last, "I have here present 
business with my fellow-player Burbidge." He 
paused, and then, yielding to the pleading in her 
eyes: "Yet call it a bargain, mistress," he said. 
"Speak me the lines I lack and straightway will I 
take your word to Sir Guy." 

"Now blessings on thee !" cried Phrebe. "Give me 
straight the line you last have written." 

273 



THE PANCHRONICON 

At once the poet began: 

"When he himself might his quietus make- 



"With a bare bodkin" broke in the excited girl. 
"Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat be 
neath a weary life, but that the thought of something 
after death the undiscovered country from whose 
bourne no traveller returns puzzles the will, and 
makes us rather bear the ills we have than fly to 
others that we know not of. Thus conscience does 
make cowards of us all, and so the native hue of 
resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of 
thought, and enterprises of great pith and moment 
by this regard their currents turn awry and lose the 
name of action." 

"No more no more!" cried Shakespeare, in an 
ecstasy. "More than completely hast thou made thy 
bargain good, damsel unmatchable ! What ! Can it 
be ! Why here have we the very impress of young 
Hamlet's soul 'To grunt and sweat beneath a weary 
life' feel you not there compunction and disgust, 
seeing in life no cleanly burden, but a 'fardel' truly, 
borne on the greasy shoulders of filthy slaves!" 

He turned and paced back and forth upon the 
gravel, repeating without mistake and with gestures 
and accents inimitable the lines which Phoebe had 
dictated. She watched him, listening attentively, 
conscious that what she saw and heard, though given 
in a moment, were to be carried with her forever; 
convinced as well that she was for something in this, 
and thankful while half afraid. 

274 



HOW SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS PLAYS 

Reaching the end of the soliloquy, Shakespeare 
turned to the maiden, who was still standing, backed 
by the warm color of a group of peonies. 

"N~ay, but tell me, damsel," he cried, appealingly. 
"Explain this power! Art thou, indeed, no other 
than Mary Burton?" 

How refuse this request? And yet what explan 
ation would be believed? Perhaps, if she had time, 
she thought, some intelligible account of the truth 
would occur to her. 

"And have you forgot your bargain so soon?" she 
said, reproachfully shaking her head. "Away, friend, 
away! Indeed, the matter is urgent and grave. If, 
when you return, you will ask for Mary Burton, 
knowing your task fulfilled, she may make clear for 
you what now must rest in mystery." 

"You say well," he replied. "Give me your mes 
sage, and count fully on Will Shakespeare to carry 
it with all despatch and secrecy." 

Phoebe's face grew grave as she thought of all that 
depended on her messenger. She stepped closer to 
her companion and glanced to right and left to make 
sure they were still alone. Then, drawing from her 
finger a plain gold ring, she offered it to her com 
panion, who took it as she spoke. 

"If you will show this to Sir Guy," she said, "he 
will know that the case is serious. It beareth writing 
within the circle 'Sois fidele' do you see?" 

"Be faithful ay." 

" 'Twill be an admonition for you both," said 
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THE PANCHRONICON 

Phoebe, with a faint smile. "Tell him to be in the 
lane behind the Peacock garden at sunset to-morrow 
even with two good horses, one for himself and one 
for me. Tell him to come alone and to travel by 
back ways. Bid him in my name in God's name 
lie close till then, trusting in me that there is need. 
Tell him to obey now, that later he may have the 
right to command." 

"Good!" said Shakespeare. "And now good-by 
until we meet again." 

A parting pressure of the hand, and he turned to 
go to the stables. She stood by the fountain musing, 
her eyes fixed on the entrance gate of the garden 
until at length a horseman galloped past. He rose 
in his stirrups and waved his hand. She ran forward, 
swept by a sudden dread of his loss, waving her hands 
in a passionate adieu. 

When she reached the gate no one was in sight. 



276 



CHAPTER XIII 

HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

On Rebecca's arrival with the royal attendants at 
Greenwich Palace, the Queen had ordered that she 
be given a splendid suite of apartments for her own 
use, and that she be constantly attended by a number 
of young gentlewomen assigned to her establishment. 
The news soon spread through the palace that an 
American princess or empress had arrived, and she 
was treated in every way on the footing of a sort of 
inferior royalty. Elizabeth invited her to share 
every meal with her, and took delight in her ac 
counts of the manners and customs of the American 
aborigines. 

As for Rebecca, she finally yielded to the con 
viction that Elizabeth was not Victoria, and found 
it expedient to study her companions with a view to 
avoiding gross breaches of etiquette. Of these, the 
first which she corrected was addressing Elizabeth as 
"Mrs. Tudor." 

In twenty-four hours the shrewd and resourceful 
New England woman was able to learn many things, 
and she rapidly found her bearings among the strange 

277 



THE PANCHRONICON 

people and stranger institutions by which she was 
surrounded. 

Seated in her own "presence chamber," as she 
called it, surrounded by her civil and assiduous at 
tendants, she discovered a charm in being constantly 
taken care of which was heightened by the contrast 
which it presented with her usually independent 
habits of life. The pleasing effect of novelty had 
never more strongly impressed her. 

Her anxiety in Phoebe's behalf had been dispelled 
when she learned that Isaac Burton was expected at 
the palace, and was to bring his family with him. 
With diplomatic shrewdness, she resolved to improve 
every opportunity to win the Queen's favor, in order 
that when the time came she might have the benefit 
of her authority in removing her younger sister from 
her pretended relatives. 

It was about five in the afternoon of the day suc 
ceeding her adventure on the Thames, and Rebecca 
sat near a window overlooking the entrance court. 
She was completing the knitting upon which she had 
been engaged when Droop made his first memorable 
call on her in Peltonville. 

On either side of Rebecca, but on stools set some 
what lower than her chair, were her two favorites, 
the Lady Clarissa Bray, daughter of Walter Bray, 
Lord Hunsforth, and the Honorable Lady Margaret 
Welsh, daughter of the Earl of March. 

Clarissa was employed in embroidering a stom 
acher whose green, gold, and russet set off her dark 

278 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

curls very agreeably. The Lady Margaret was play 
ing a soft Italian air upon the cithern, which she 
managed with excellent taste, to the entertainment 
of her temporary mistress and her half dozen at 
tendants. 

Rebecca's needles moved in time with the graceful 
measure of the music, while her head nodded in uni 
son, and she smiled now and then. 

As the air was concluded she let her hands sink 
for a moment into her lap, turning to bend an approv 
ing look upon the fair young musician. 

"There, now!" she said. "I declare, Miss Mar 
garet, that's real sweet music. I'm much obliged to 
ye, I'm sure." 

Margaret arose and courtesied, blushing. 

"Would your Highness that I play again?" she 
asked. 

"No, thank ye," said Rebecca, resuming her knit 
ting. "The's no sort o' use in drivin' folks to death 
as are kind to ye. Sit right down an' rest now, an' 
I'll tell ye all a story thet hez a bearin' right on that 
point." 

She turned to the four maids of honor seated be 
hind her. 

"Now you girls can jest 's well come an' set in 
front o' me while I'm talkin'. I'll like it a heap 
better, I'm sure." 

With great diffidence on the part of her attendants, 
and after much coaxing on Rebecca's part, this change 
was accomplished. The idea of being seated in the 

279 



THE PANCHRONICON 

presence of royalty was in itself quite distasteful to 
these young courtiers, but upon this Rebecca had 
insisted from the first. It made her feel tired, she 
said, to see people standing continually on their feet. 

"Well," she began, when all were disposed to their 
satisfaction, "it all happened in my country, ye know. 
'Twas 'bout ten years ago now, I guess or rather 
then I mean it will be " 

Clarissa's wondering eyes caught the speaker's at 
tention and she coughed. 

"Never mind when 'twas," she went on. "Ye see, 
things are very different here time as well 's the 
rest. However, 'long 'bout then, my cousin Ann 
Slocum took a notion to 'nvite me down to Keene 
fer a little visit. Phoebe thet's my sister she said 
I could go jest 's well 's not, an' so I went. The fust 
night I was there, when dinner was over, of course 
I offered to wash up the dishes, seein' 

An involuntary and unanimous gasp of amazement 
from her fair auditors cut Rebecca short at this point. 

"Well," she said, a little anxiously, "what's the 
matter? Anythin' wrong?" 

The Lady Clarissa ventured to voice the general 
sentiment. 

"Did we hear aright, your Highness?" she asked. 
"Said you 'wash up the dishes'?" 

"Oh!" said Rebecca, conscious for the first time of 
her slip, "did that puzzle ye?" 

"Do queens and princesses perform menial offices 
in America?" asked the Honorable Lady Margaret. 

280 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

Short as was the time allowed, it had sufficed for 
Rebecca to compose a form of words which should 
not wound her conscience by direct falsehood, while 
not undeceiving her hearers as to her rank. 

"Why, to tell ye the truth," she said, in a semi- 
confidential manner, "all the queens and princesses 
there are in America wash the dishes after dinner." 

There was some whispering among the girls at this, 
and Rebecca's ears caught the expressions "passing 
strange" and "most wonderful" more than once. 

She waited until the first excitement thus produced 
had subsided and then proceeded. 

"Of course Cousin Ann hadn't no objection, an' 
so I went into the kitchen. When we got through, 
blest ef she didn't ask me to wash out the dish-towels 
while she filled the lamps! Now " 

The growing amazement in the round, open eyes 
and shaking curls of her audience brought Rebecca 
once more to a standstill. Evidently some further 
explanation of this unwonted state of things would 
be expected. To gain time for further invention, 
Rebecca rose and carried her knitting to the window 
as though to pick up a stitch. Mechanically she 
glanced down into the court-yard, where there was 
now a large assemblage, and uttered an exclamation 
of astonishment. 

"Gracious alive!" she cried. "If there ain't a bi 
cycle! Well, well, don't that look nat'ral, now! 
Makes me feel homesick." 

She turned to her companions, each of whom was 
281 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ceremoniously standing, but all showing clearly in 
their faces the curiosity which consumed them. 

"Come 'long!" said Rebecca, smiling. "Come one 
and all ! I'm blest ef ye don't make me think of Si 
Fray's dog waitin' to be whistled fer when Si goes 
out to walk." 

The obedience to this summons was prompt and 
willing, and Rebecca turned again to observe those 
who came with the mysterious bicycle. 

"Land o' sunshine!" she exclaimed, "did ye ever 
see sech a fat man as that! Do any of you girls 
know who 'tis?" 

" 'Tis Sir Percevall Hart, harbinger to the Queen, 
I ween," Clarissa replied. 

"Gracious!" said Rebecca, anxiously. "I do hope 
now he ain't bringin' any very bad news!" 

"Wherefore should he, your Highness?" said Cla 
rissa. 

"Why, if he's a harbinger of woe ain't that what 
they call 'em?" she spoke, with some timidity. 

"Nay," said the Lady Margaret. "Sir Percevall 
is reputed a wit and a pleasant companion, your 
Highness. He is harbinger to the Queen." 

"An' who's the man with him in black togs an' 
rumpled stockin's?" said Rebecca. "The one holdin' 
the bicycle?" 

"Mean you him holding the two bright wheels, 
your Highness?" 

"Yes." 

Lady Margaret could not answer, nor could any 
282 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

of the other attendants. Could Rebecca have had 
a more advantageous view of the stranger, she would 
herself have been the only one in the palace to rec 
ognize him. She could only see his hat and his 
borrowed clothes, however, and her curiosity re 
mained unsatisfied. 

"That looks like Copernicus Droop's wheel," she 
muttered. "I wonder ef somebody's ben an' stole 
it while he was away. 'Twould serve him right fer 
givin' me the slip." 

Then turning to Lady Margaret again, she con 
tinued : 

"Would you mind runnin' down to ask who that 
man is, Miss Margaret? Seems to me I know that 
bicycle." 

Courtesying in silence, the maid backed out of the 
room and hurried down the stairs quite afire with the 
eagerness of her curiosity. This strange, bright- 
wheeled thing to which the American princess so 
easily applied a name, could only be some wonderful 
product of the New World. She was overjoyed at 
the thought that she was to be the first to closely 
examine and perhaps to touch this curiosity. 

Her plans were delayed, however, for when she 
reached the court-yard she found herself restrained 
by a row of men with halberds, one of whom in 
formed her that her Majesty was returning from 
chapel. 

The Queen and her retinue were obliged to pass 
across the courtyard on the way to the apartment 

283 



THE PANCHRONICON 

where Elizabeth was to take her evening meal. Her 
progress at such times was magnificently accompa 
nied, and was often much delayed by her stopping 
to notice her favorites as she passed them, and even 
at times to receive petitions. 

Copernicus, who, as we have seen, had just arrived, 
was inclined to bewail the interruption caused by this 
procession, but his companion insisted that, on the 
contrary, all was for the best. 

"Why, man," said he, "Dame Fortune hath us in 
her good books for a surety. What ! Could we have 
planned all better had we willed it? To meet the 
Queen in progress from chapel ! 'Twill go hard but 
Sir Percevall shall win his suit and you, Master 
Droop, your monopolies. Mark me now mark me 
well!" 

So saying, the fat knight advanced and joined one 
of the long lines of courtiers already forming a hedge 
on each side of the direct way which the Queen was 
to traverse. Droop, leaning his bicycle against the 
palace wall and taking in his hands his phonograph 
and box of cylinders, placed himself behind his 
guide and watched the proceedings with eager cu 
riosity. 

A door opened at one end of the lane between the 
two courtiers and there appeared the first of a long 
procession of splendidly apparelled gentlemen-in- 
waiting, walking bareheaded two by two. Of these, 
the first were simple untitled knights and gentlemen. 
These were followed by barons, then earls, and lastly 

284 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

knights of the garter, each gentleman vying with 
the others in richness of apparel and lavish display 
of collars, orders, jewelled scabbards, and heavy 
chains of gold. 

Behind these there came three abreast. These 
were the Lord High Chancellor, in wig and robes, 
carrying the Great Seal of England in a red silk bag. 
On his right walked a gentleman carrying the golden 
sceptre, jewelled and quaintly worked, while he on 
the left carried the sword of state, point up, in a red 
scabbard, studded with golden fleur-de-lis. 

A few steps behind this imposing escort came the 
Queen, with a small but richly covered prayer-book 
in her hand. She looked very majestic on this occa 
sion, being dressed in white silk bordered with pearls 
of the size of beans, over which was thrown a mantle 
of black silk shot with silver threads. An oblong 
collar of jewelled gold lay upon her otherwise bare 
bosom. 

The Queen's train was very long and was carried 
by a marchioness, whose plain attire set off the mag 
nificence of royalty. 

As Elizabeth proceeded across the yard, she spoke 
to one by-stander or another, and Droop, looking on, 
made up his mind that the rule was that anyone to 
whom she addressed a word, or even a look, should 
drop forthwith to his knees and so remain until she 
had passed, unless she pleased to extend her hand 
to raise him up. 

On each side of this main procession there was a 
285 



THE PANCHRONICON 

single file of five and twenty gentlemen pensioners, 
each carrying a gilt battle-axe. 

The remainder of the procession consisted of a 
train of court ladies all dressed in white and nearly 
destitute of ornaments. Evidently the Royal Virgin 
would suffer no rivalry in dress from those of her 
own sex. 

Just behind Elizabeth and to one side, in such a 
position as to be within easy reach for consultation, 
walked the Lord High Treasurer, William Cecil, 
Baron of Burleigh. It was to this nobleman that 
his nephew, Erancis Bacon, had addressed the letter 
which he had given to Copernicus Droop. 

By dint of much squeezing and pushing, Sir Perce- 
vall made his way to the front of the waiting line, 
and, as Elizabeth approached, he dropped painfully 
to his knees, and, with hat in hand, gazed earnestly 
into the Queen's face, not daring to speak first, but 
with a petition writ large in every feature. 

Now, Elizabeth was most jealous of her dignity, 
and valued her own favors very highly. In her eyes 
it was downright impertinence at a time like this 
for anyone to solicit the honor of her attention by 
kneeling before he was noticed. 

Knowing this, Burleigh, who recognized the 
knight and wished him well, motioned to him ear 
nestly to rise. Alarmed, Sir Percevall made a des 
perate effort to obey the hint, and, despite his huge 
bulk, would perhaps have succeeded in regaining his 
feet without attracting the notice of the Queen but 

286 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

for the impatient movement of the crowd behind 
him. Unfortunately, however, he had but half risen 
when the bustling multitude moved forward a little 
against his expansive rear. The result was disas 
trous. 

Sir Percevall lost his balance, and, feeling himself 
toppling, threw his hands out forward with a cry and 
fell flat on his face. 

Elizabeth was at this moment addressing a few 
gracious words to a white-haired courtier, who 
kneeled among those gathered on the right of her 
line of progress. Startled by the loud cry of the 
falling knight, she turned swiftly and saw at her 
feet a man of monstrous girth struggling in vain 
to raise his unwieldy form. His plumed hat had 
rolled to some distance, exposing a bald head with 
two gray tufts over the ears. His sword stood on 
its hilt, with point in air, and his short, fat legs made 
quick alternate efforts to bend beneath him efforts 
which the fleshy knees successfully resisted. 

The helpless, jerking limbs, the broad, rolling 
body, and the mixture of expletives and frantic apol 
ogies poured forth by the prostrate knight turned the 
Queen's first ready alarm to irrepressible laughter, 
in which the by-standers joined to their great relief. 
Droop alone was grave, for he could only see in this 
accident the ruin of his plans. 

"Tow, by the rood!" cried the Queen, as soon as 
she could speak distinctly, "fain would we see your 
face, good gentleman. Of all our subjects, not one 

287 



THE PANCHRONICON 

doth us such low obeisance!" Then, beckoning to 
those of her gentleman pensioners who stood nearest : 

"Kaise us yon mighty subject of ours, whose great 
ness we might in our majesty brook but ill did not 
his humble bearing proclaim a loyal submission." 

Four gentlemen, dropping their gilt axes, hastened 
to Sir Percevall's aid, raising him by the arms and 
shoulders. 

"Enough enough, lads!" cried the knight, when 
they had got him to his knees. "Let it not be said 
that Sir Percevall Hart dared to tempt erect the 
dreadful glance of majesty. Here let him lowly 
bend beneath the eyes that erstwhile laid him low." 

Still holding him, the four gentlemen turned their 
eyes to the Queen for orders, and Sir Percevall, 
clasping his mud-stained hands, addressed himself 
directly to Elizabeth, in whose still laughing face he 
foresaw success. 

"O Majesty of England!" he cried. "Marvel not 
at this my sudden fall for when, with more than 
royal glory is linked the potency of virgin loveliness, 
who can withstand!" 

"Why, how now, Sir Knight !" said Elizabeth, ban- 
teringly. "Are we less lovely or less awful now than 
a moment since? You seem at least one half re 
stored." 

"Nay, your Majesty," was the reply. " 'Tis his 
sovereign's will and high command that stiffens poor 
Percy's limbs, and in obedience only that he finds 
strength to present his suit." 

288 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

"A suit!" she exclaimed. "Pride cometh before 
a fall, 'tis said. Then, in sooth, by the rule of con 
traries, a fall should presage humility's reward. 
"What says my Lord Baron?" 

She turned to Burleigh, who smiled and, bowing, 
replied: 

"So witty a flight to so sound a conclusion Cecil 
could not have winged alone, but where majesty 
teacheth wisdom, who shall refuse it!" 

" 'Tis well!" said Elizabeth, more soberly. "Eise, 
Sir Knight, and, when that we have supped, seek 
audience again. An the petition be in reason, 'twill 
not suffer for the fall you have had." 

With this speech, Sir Percevall's first audience 
ended, and it was with a happy face that he suffered 
himself to be helped to his feet by the four gentle 
men who had first been sent to his aid. 

As the Queen resumed her progress and entered 
the apartments wherein she was to prepare for her 
evening meal, there resounded through the palace 
the ringing notes of trumpets and the musical boom 
ing of a kettle-drum. 

In a large antechamber immediately outside of the 
room where the Queen was to sup there was placed 
a splendidly carved table of black oak, and here were 
made all the preparations for her repast, accompanied 
by the usual ceremonies. 

Moving to the sound of trumpets and drum, two 
gentlemen entered the room, the first bearing a rod 
and the second a table-cloth. Advancing one behind 

289 



THE PANCHRONICON 

the other, they kneeled three times between the door 
and table, apparently expressing the deepest venera 
tion. Having spread the table, they retired back 
ward, not forgetting to repeat the genuflections as 
performed on their approach. 

These first two were followed immediately by two 
other gentlemen, the first with a rod and the other 
carrying a salt-seller, plates, and bread. These arti 
cles were carried to the table with the same cere 
mony as had attended the spreading of the cloth. 

Next there entered a young lady, whose coronet 
indicated the rank of countess and whose uncovered 
bosom proclaimed the unmarried state. She was ac 
companied by a married lady of lower rank, carrying 
a knife. The Countess rubbed the plates with bread 
and salt, and then the two ladies stood awhile by the 
table, awaiting the arrival of the supper. 

Finally there entered, one at a time, twenty-four 
yeomen of the guard, the tallest and handsomest 
men in the royal service, bareheaded and clothed in 
scarlet coats, with roses embroidered in gold thread 
on their backs. Each yeoman carried a separate spe 
cial dish intended for the royal repast, and, as each 
approached the table, the lady with the knife cut off 
and placed in his mouth a portion of the food which 
he was carrying. After depositing their dishes upon 
the table, the yeomen departed and the maids of 
honor then approached and carried the dishes into 
the inner room, where the Queen sat at her 
supper. 

290 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

Of all those who thus advanced to the table and 
departed walking backward, none omitted the rever 
ent kneelings, nor did anyone concerned in all this 
ceremony speak a word until it was concluded. Al 
though the Queen was actually absent, in fiction she 
was present, and it was to this fiction that so much 
reverence was paid. 

Shortly after the commencement of these prepara 
tions, Droop and his guide appeared among other 
petitioners and other lookers-on around the door 
ways. Copernicus carried his phonographic appara 
tus, but the bicycle had been left in the court-yard 
in the care of a man-at-arms. 

"Jiminy!" said Droop, looking curiously about 
him, "ain't this A No. 1, though! Et must be fun 
to be a queen, eh, Percevall?" 

"To speak truly, my lad," said the knight, "there 
is something too much of bravery and pomp in the 
accidents of royalty. What ! Can a king unbend 
be merry a good fellow with his equals? No ! And 
would you or I barter this freedom for a crown?" 
He shook his head. "Which think you passed the 
merrier night or the Queen (God's blessing on her) 
or you and I?" 

Droop paid little heed to his companion, for his 
eyes were busy with the unwonted scene before him. 

"Well, now!" he exclaimed. "Look there, Sir 
Knight. See how the old lady digs out a piece o' 
that pie and pokes it into that lord's mouth! He 
must be mighty hungry! I'm darned ef I'd thought 

291 



THE PANCHRONICON 

they'd hev let him hev his grub before the Queen 
and out of her own dish, too!" 

"Nay, Brother Droop," said the Englishman, "this 
custom hath its origin in the necessary precaution 
of our sovereign. Who knows but that poison be in 
this food ! Have not a score of scurvy plots been laid 
against her life? 'Tis well to test what is meant for 
the use of majesty." 

Droop whistled low. 

"Thet's the wrinkle, eh?" he said. "I don't guess 
I'd be much tempted to take a job here as a taster, 
then! Hello!" he said. "Why, they're takin' the 
victuals out o' the room. What's that f er ? Did they 
find p'ison in 'em?" 

Sir Percevall did not reply. His attention had 
been caught by the arrival of a strangely dressed 
woman, apparently attended by six maids of honor. 

Turning to a gentleman at his elbow: 

"Can you tell me, sir," he said, "who is yonder 
stranger in outlandish apparel?" 

Following the speaker's eyes, the gentleman stared 
for a few moments and then replied : 

"Marry, sir, it can but be the American princess 
with her retinue. They say that her Majesty much 
affects this strange new-comer." 

It was, indeed, Rebecca who, in response to an 
invitation brought by a page in the Queen's livery, 
was on the way to take supper with Elizabeth. On 
her arrival at the anteroom door, an attendant went 
in before the Queen to announce her presence; and, 

292 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

while awaiting admission, Rebecca gazed about her 
with a curiosity still unsatisfied. 

"There, now," she was saying, " 'twas suttenly 
too bad to send you off on a wild-goose chase, Miss 
Margaret. Ef you could hev found the man, I'd hev 
ben glad, though." 

At that very moment, a voice close beside her 
made her start violently. 

"Well well! I declare! Rebecca Wise, how 
do you do!" 

She turned and saw him of whom she was at that 
moment speaking, and lo ! to her amazement, it was 
Copernicus Droop who held out his right hand. 

"Copernicus Droop!" she gasped. Then, remem 
bering her adventure of the previous day, she went 
on coldly, without noticing the proffered hand: "Ye 
seem right glad to see me now, Mr. Droop." 

Droop was taken aback at her manner and at the 
sarcastic emphasis laid upon the word "now." 

"Why why of course," he stammered. "I 
thought you was lost." 

"Lost!" she cried, indignantly. "Lost! Why, you 
know right well I chased you up one street and down 
the other all the mornin' yesterday. You tried to 
lose me, Mr. Droop and now you find me again, 
you see. Oh, yes, you must be glad to see me !" 

Droop was at first all astonishment at this accu 
sation, but in a few moments he guessed the true 
state of the case. Without delay he explained the 
exchange of clothes, and had no difficulty in persuad- 

293 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ing Rebecca that it was Francis Bacon whom she 
had pursued by mistake. 

"Poor young man!" Rebecca exclaimed, in a low 
voice of contrition. "Why, he must hev took me 
fer a lunatic!" 

Then she suddenly recollected her young attend 
ants, and turned so as to bring them on one hand 
and Droop on the other. 

"Young ladies," she said, primly, "this here's Mr. 
Copernicus Droop, from America." 

With one accord the six girls dropped their eyes 
and courtesied low. 

"Mr. Droop," Rebecca continued, as she indicated 
one of the girls after the other with her forefinger, 
"make you acquainted with Miss Clarissa, Miss Mar 
garet, Miss Maria, Miss Gertrude, Miss Evelina, and 
Miss Dorothy. They've got sech tangled-up last 
names, I declare I can't keep 'em in my head. Mr. 
Droop's the same rank I am," she concluded, address 
ing the girls. 

Droop fidgeted and bowed six awkward bows with 
eyes riveted to the ground. He had never been a 
ladies' man, and this unexpected presentation was a 
doubly trying ordeal. 

There was a murmur of "your Highness" from the 
courtesying young women which convinced the 
abashed Yankee that he was being mocked, and this 
impression was deepened by the ill-suppressed gig 
gles occasioned by the sight of his sadly rumpled 
hose. His confusion was complete. 

294 



HOW THE FAT KNIGHT DID HOMAGE 

"Now, tell me," said Rebecca, curiously, "what 
ever brought you up here? Hev ye some errand 
with the Queen?" 

"Yes," said Droop. "My friend and me came up 
here to get a patent. Say," he exclaimed, brighten 
ing up with startling suddenness, "praps you know 
the racket got the inside track, eh?" 

"Inside track!" 

"Yes. Don't you know the Patent Examiner 
or Commissioner, or Lord High Thingummy that 
runs the Patent Office here? I hate to bother the 
Queen about sech things! Goodness knows, I'd 
never ha' thought o' troublin' President McKinley 
about patents!" 

Rebecca shook her head. 

"I'm blest ef I know the fust thing about it," she 
declared. "Ef you take my advice, you'll not bother 
Miss, Elizabeth 'bout your old patents." 

At this moment the page returned. 

"Her Majesty awaits your Royal Highness with 
in," he said, bowing deeply. 

Droop's jaws fell apart and his eyes opened wide. 

"Royal Highness!" he murmured. 

"Well, I've got to go now," said Rebecca, smiling 
at her friend's astonishment. "But don't you go 'way 
fer a while yet. I'll try an' get the Queen to let 
you in soon. I want to talk with you 'bout lots of 
things." 

In a moment she was gone, leaving Copernicus 
rooted to the floor and dumb with amazement. 

295 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Someone touched his elbow and, turning, he saw 
Sir Percevall, with the light of triumph on his fat 
face. 

"Fortune's smiles have turned to mere laughter, 
my lad," he said, chuckling. "This American prin 
cess hath the Queen's good-will. How the fiend's 
name came you acquainted?" 



296 



CHAPTER XIV 



In the inner chamber, Elizabeth was seated at a 
small table, at the opposite end of which sat Rebecca. 
Burleigh, Nottingham, and two or three other great 
lords stood near at hand, while one dish after an 
other was brought in from the outer room by maids 
of honor. 

Standing to the right of the Queen's chair was a 
dark man of foreign aspect, wearing the robes of a 
Doctor of Laws. In his hand was Rebecca's copy of 
the New York World, which he was perusing with 
an expression of the utmost perplexity. 

"Well, Master Guido," said the Queen, "what 
make you of it?" 

"Maesta eccellentissima " the scholar began. 

"Nay nay. Speak good plain English, man," 
said the Queen. "The Lady Rebecca hath no Ital 
ian." 

Messer Guido bowed and began again, speaking 
with a scarcely perceptible accent. 

"Most Excellent Majesty, I have but begun perusal 
of this document. It promiseth matter for ten good 

297 



THE PANCHRONICON 

years' research in the comparison of parts, interpre 
tation of phrases, identifying customs, manners, 
dress, and the like." 

"Nay, then," said the Queen, "with the help of 
the Lady Rebecca, 'twill be no weighty task, me- 
thinks. My lady, why partake you not of the pasty?" 
she said, turning to Rebecca. "Hath it not a very 
proper savor?" 

"My, yes," Rebecca replied; "it's mighty good pie! 
Somehow, though, pie don't lay very good with me 
these days. Ye don't happen to have any tea, do 
ye?" 

"Tea!" 

"If I may venture " said Guido, eagerly. 

"Speak, Messer Guido." 

"Why, it would appear, your Majesty, that tea is 
a sort of stuff for dresses silk, belike." 

"Stuff for dresses!" said Rebecca. "Stuff and non 
sense! Why, tea's a drink!" 

"A beverage! Then how explain you this?" the 
Italian cried, triumphantly. Lifting the newspaper, 
he read from it the following passage : "The illustra 
tion shows a charming tea-gown, a creation of Mme. 
Decollete." 

"You see, Maesta your Majesty it is clear. A 
'tea-gown' is shown in the drawing a gown made 
of tea." 

Rebecca had opened her mouth to overwhelm the 
poor savant with the truth when a page entered and 
stood before the Queen. 

298 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

"Well, sirrah," said Elizabeth, "what is your 
message?" 

"Sir Percevall Hart craves an audience, your 
Majesty, for himself and his American friend and 
client." 

"Another American!" exclaimed the Queen. 

"Copernicus Droop!" cried Rebecca. 

"Know you Sir Percevall's friend, Lady Rebecca?" 
asked Elizabeth. 

"Why, yes, your Majesty. He and I came over 
together from Peltonville. I believe he's after a 
patent." 

"A patent? What mean you? Doth he ask for 
a patent of nobility a title? Can this be the s^iit 
of the fat knight?" 

"I don't know," said Rebecca. " 'Tain't nothin' 
'bout nobility, I'm sure, though. It's a patent on a 
phonograph, I b'lieve." 

"Know you aught of this, my lord?" said Elizabeth, 
turning to Burleigh. 

"Why, yes, your Majesty. I have to-day received 
from Sir Percevall Hart a letter written by my 
nephew, Francis Bacon " 

"Bacon! What! Ay methinks we know some 
what of this same Francis," said the Queen, grimly. 
"A member of Parliament, is he not?" 

"Even so, your Majesty," said Burleigh, some 
what crestfallen. "From this letter I learn," he con 
tinued, while Elizabeth shook her head, "that this 

American a Master Dupe, I believe " 

299 



THE PANCHRONICON 

no Droop!" cried Rebecca. "Copernicus 
Droop." 

The baron bowed. 

"That this Master Droop desires the grant of a 
monopoly in " 

"A monopoly!" cried Elizabeth. "What! This 
independent young barrister this parliamentary 
meddler in opposition, forsooth! He craveth a mo 
nopoly? God's death! A monopoly in all the impu 
dence in this our realm is of a surety this fellow's 
right! We grant it we grant it. Let the papers 
be drawn forthwith!" 

The baron bent before the storm and, bowing, 
remained silent. Rebecca, however, could scarce see 
the justice of the Queen's position. 

"Well, but look here, your Majesty," she said. 
"'Tain't Mr. Bacon as wants this patent; it's Mr. 
Droop. Mr. Bacon only gave him a letter to Mr. 
Burleigh here." 

Astonishment was depicted in every face save in 
that of the Queen, whose little eyes were now turned 
upon her sister sovereign in anger. 

"Harkye, Lady Rebecca!" she exclaimed. "Is it 
the custom to take the Queen to task in your realm?" 

Rebecca's reply came pat. The type was prepared 
beforehand, and she answered now with a clear con 
science. 

"Why, of course. We talk jest as we feel like to 
all the queens there is in my country." 

The equivocation in this reply must have struck 
300 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

the Queen, for she said, without taking her eyes 
from Rebecca's face: 

"And, prithee, Lady Rebecca, how many queens be 
there in America? We begin to doubt if royalty be 
known there." 

Again Messer Guido evinced signs of an anxious 
desire to speak, and Rebecca shrewdly took advan 
tage of this at once. 

"Messer Guido can tell you all 'bout that, I guess," 
she said. 

Elizabeth turned her eyes to the savant. 

"What knowledge have you of this, learned doc 
tor?" she asked, coldly. 

"Why, your Majesty," said Guido, with delighted 
zeal, "the case is plain. Will your Majesty but look 
at this drawing on one of the inner pages of the 
printed document brought by the Lady Rebecca? 
Behold the effigy of a powder canister, with the 
words 'Royal Baking Powder' thereon. This would 
appear evidence that in America gunpowder is 
known and is used by the sovereigns of the various 
tribes. Here again we see 'The Royal Corset,' and 
there 'Crown Shirts.' Can it be doubted that the 
Americans have royal governors?" 

The Queen's face cleared a little at this, and Guido 
proceeded with increased animation: 

"Behold further upon the front page, your Maj 
esty, the effigy of a man wearing a round crown 
with a peak or projecting shelf over the eyes. Un 
der this we read the legend 'The Czar of the Tender- 

301 



THE PANCHRONICON 

loin.' Now, your Majesty will remember that the 
ruler of Muscovy is termed the Czar. The Tender 
loin signifieth, doubtless, some order, akin, per 
chance, to the Garter." 

"This hath a plausible bent, Messer Guido," said 
Elizabeth, with more good-nature. "Lady Rebecca, 
can you better explain this matter of the Czar?" 

"No, indeed," Rebecca replied, with perfect truth, 
blister Guido must have a fine mind to understand 
things like that!" 

"In sooth, good Messer Guido," said Elizabeth, 
with a smile, "your research and power of logic do 
you great credit. We doubt not to learn more of 
these new empires from your learned pains than ever 
from Raleigh, Drake, and the other travellers whose 
dull wits go but to the surface of things. But, Lord 
warrant us!" she continued, "here standeth our page, 
having as yet no answer. Go, sirrah, and bid Sir 
Percevall and this great American to our presence 
straight." 

Then, turning again to Guido, she said: 

"Messer Guido, we enjoin it upon your learning 
that you do make a note of the petition of this Amer 
ican, as well as of those things which he may answer 
in explanation of his design." 

With a bow, Guido stepped to one side and, care 
fully folding the newspaper, drew from his bosom 
his tablets and prepared to obey. 

All eyes turned curiously to the door as it opened 
to admit the two suitors, who were followed by the 

302 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

page. Sir Percevall, with plumed hat in one hand 
and sword hilt in the other, advanced ponderously, 
bowing low at every other step. Droop hurriedly 
deposited his two boxes upon the floor and followed 
his monitor, closely imitating his every step and gest 
ure. Having no sword, he thought it best to put 
his left hand into his bosom, an attitude which he 
recollected in a picture of Daniel Webster. 

The fat knight was about to kneel to kiss the royal 
hand, but Elizabeth, smiling, detained him. 

"Nay, nay!" she said. "You, Sir Percevall, have 
paid your debt of homage in advance for a twelve 
month. He who kisses the dust at our feet hath 
knelt for ten." Then, turning to Droop, who was 
down on both knees, with his hand still in his breast : 
"What now!" she exclaimed. "Hath your hand suf 
fered some mischance, Sir American, that you hide 
it in your bosom?" 

<r N"ot a mite not a mite!" Droop stuttered, 
quickly extending the member in question, "^ay, 
your Majesty in sooth, no my hand beeth all 
right!" 

"We learn from the Lord Treasurer," said Eliza 
beth, addressing Sir Percevall, "that your petition 
hath reference to a monopoly. Know you not, Sir 
Knight, that these be parlous days for making of 
new monopolies? Our subjects murmur, and 'tis said 
that we have already been too generous with these 
great gifts. Have you considered of this?" 

liege," said Sir Percevall, "these things have 
303 



THE PANCHRONICON 

we considered. Nor would we tempt this awful Pres 
ence with petitions looking to tax further the public 
patience. But, please your Majesty, Master Droop, 
my client here," indicating the still kneeling man 
with a sweeping gesture, "hath brought into being 
an instrument, or rather two instruments, of marvel 
lous fashion and of powers strange. Of these your 
Majesty's subjects have had hitherto no knowledge, 
and it is in the making and selling of these within 
this realm that we do here crave a right of monopoly 
under the Great Seal." 

"Excuse me, forsooth, your Majesty," Droop broke 
in, "but would thou mind if I get up, my liege?" 

"Nay, rise, rise, Master Droop!" exclaimed the 
Queen, smothering a laugh. "We find matter for 
favor in your sponsor's speech. Can you more fully 
state the nature of this petition?" 

"Yes, ma'am your Majesty," said Droop, rising 
and dusting off his knees. "I am the inventor of a 
couple of things, forsooth, that are away ahead of the 
age. Marry, yes! I call 'em a bicycle and a phono 
graph." 

"Well, did you ever!" murmured Rebecca, amazed 
at this impudent claim to invention. 

Messer Guido paused in his writing and began to 
unfold his precious American newspaper, while 
Droop went on, encouraged by the attentive curios 
ity which he had evidently excited in the Queen. 

"Now, the bicycle or the bike, fer short is a 
kind of a wagon or vehycle, you wot. When you 

304 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

mount on it, you can trundle yerself along like all 
possessed " 

"Gramercy!" broke in the Queen, in a tone of 
irritation. "What have we here! We must have 
plain English, Master Droop. American idioms are 
unknown to us." 

As Droop opened his mouth to reply, Guido 
stepped forward with a great rustling of paper. 

"May it please your Gracious Majesty " he pant 
ed, eagerly. 

"Speak, Messer Guido." 

"I would fain question this gentleman, your Maj 
esty, touching certain things contained herein." He 
shook the paper at arm's length and glared at Droop, 
who returned the look with a calm eye. 

"You may proceed, sir," said Elizabeth. 

"Why, Master Droop, you that are the inventor 
of this same 'bicycle,' how explain you this?" 

He thrust the paper under Droop's nose, pointing 
to an advertisement therein. 

"Here," he continued, "here have we a picture 
bearing the legend, 'Baltimore Bicycle Buy No 
Other' " He paused, but before Copernicus could 
speak he went on breathlessly: "And look on this, 
Master Droop see here here! Another drawing, 
this time with the legend, 'Edison's Phonographs.' 
How comes it that you have invented these things? 
Can you invent on this 21st day of May, in the year 
of our Lord 1598, what was here set forth as early 
as as " he turned the paper back to the first page, 

305 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"as early as April " he stopped, turned pale, and 
choked. Droop looked mildly triumphant. 

"Well well!" cried Elizabeth, "hast lost thy 
voice, man?" 

"My liege," murmured the bewildered savant, 
"the date this document " 

"Is dated in 1898," said Droop, solemnly. "This 
here bike and phonograph won't be invented by any 
one else for three hundred years yet." 

Elizabeth frowned angrily and grasped the arms 
of her chair in an access of wrath which, after a 
pause, found vent in a torrent of words : 

"Now, by God's death, my masters, you will find 
it ill jesting in this presence! What in the fiend's 
name! Think ye, Elizabeth of England may be 
tricked and cozened made game of by a scurvy 
Italian bookworm and a witless " 

The adjectives and expletives which followed may 
not be reported here. As the storm of words pro 
gressed, growing more violent in its continuance, 
Droop stood open-mouthed, not comprehending the 
cause of this tirade. Of the others, but one pre 
served his wits at this moment of danger. 

Sir Percevall, well aware that the Queen's fury, 
unless checked, would produce his and his client's 
ruin, determined to divert this flood of emotion into 
a new channel. With the insight of genius, the fat 
knight realized that only a woman's curiosity could 
avert a queen's rage, and with what speed he could 
he stumbled backward to where Droop had left his 

306 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEVALL'S SUIT 

exhibits. He lifted the box containing the phono 
graph and, taking the instrument out, held it on 
the palm of his huge left hand and bent his eyes upon 
it in humble and resigned contemplation. 

The quick roving eye of the angry Queen caught 
sight of this queer assemblage of cogs, levers, and 
cylinder, and for the first time her too-ready tongue 
tripped. She looked away and recovered herself to 
the end of the sentence. She could not resist an 
other look, however, and this time her words came 
more slowly. She paused wavered and then fixed 
her gaze in silence upon the enigmatical device. 
There was a unanimous smothered sigh as the by 
standers recognized their good fortune. Guido, 
frightened half to death, slipped unobserved out of 
a side door, and was never seen at Greenwich again. 
Nor has that fatal newspaper been heard from since. 

"What may that be, Sir Percevall?" the Queen 
inquired at length, settling back in her chair as com 
fortably as her ruff would permit. 

"This, my liege, is the phonograph," said the 
knight, straightening himself proudly. 

"An my Greek be not at fault," said the Queen, 
"this name should purport a writer of sound." 

Sir Percevall's face fell. He was no Greek scholar, 
and this query pushed him hard. Fortunately for 
him, Elizabeth turned to Droop as she concluded 
her sentence. 

"Hath your invention this intent, Master Droop?" 
she said. 

307 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Verily, I guess you've hit it I wot that's right!" 
stammered the still frightened man. 

A very audible murmur of admiration passed from 
one to another of the assembled courtiers and ladies- 
in-waiting. These expressions reached the ears of 
the Queen, for whom they were indeed intended, 
and the consciousness of her acumen restored Eliza 
beth entirely to good-humor. 

"The conceit is very novel, is it not, my lord?" 
she said, turning to Baron Burleigh. 

"Novel, indeed, and passing marvellous if achieved, 
your Majesty," was the suave reply. 

"How write you sounds with this device, Master 
Droop?" she asked. 

"Why, thusly, ma'am your Majesty," said Droop, 
with renewed courage. "One speaketh, you wot 
talketh-like into this hole this aperture." He 
turned and pointed to the mouth-piece of the instru 
ment, which was still in Sir Percevall's hands. "Hev- 
in' done this, you wot, this little pin-like pricketh or 
scratcheth the wax, an' the next time you go over 
the thing, there you are!" 

Conscious of the lameness of this explanation, 
Droop hurried on, hoping to forestall further ques 
tions. 

"Let me show ye, my liege, how she works, in 
sooth," he said, taking the phonograph from the 
knight. Looking all about, he could see nothing at 
hand whereon to conveniently rest the device. 

"Marry, you wouldn't mind ef I was to set this 
308 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

right here on your table, would ye, my liege?" he 
asked. 

Permission was graciously accorded, and, deposit 
ing the phonograph, Droop hurried back to get his 
records. Holding a wax cylinder in one hand, he 
proceeded. 

"Now, your Majesty can graciously gaze on this 
wax cylinder," he said. "On here we hev scrawled 
written a tune played by a cornet. It is 'Home, 
Sweet Home.' Ye've heerd it, no doubt?" 

"Nay, the title is not familiar," said the Queen, 
looking about her. With one accord, the courtiers 
shook their heads in corroboration. 

"Is that so ? Well, well ! Why, every boy and 
gal in America knows that tune well!" said Droop. 

He adjusted the cylinder and a small brass mega 
phone, and, having wound the motor, pressed the 
starting-button. Almost at once a stentorian voice 
rang through the apartment: 

"Home, Sweet Home Cornet Solo By Signer 
Paolo Morituri Edison Record." 

The sudden voice, issuing from the dead revolving 
cylinder, was so unexpected and startling that several 
of the ladies screamed and at least one gentleman 
pensioner put his hand to his sword-hilt. Elizabeth 
herself started bolt upright and turned pale under 
her rouge as she clutched the arms of her chair. Be 
fore she could express her feelings the cornet solo 
began, and the entire audience gradually resumed its 
wonted serenity before the close of the air. 

309 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"Marvellous beyond telling!" exclaimed Elizabeth, 
in delight. "Why, this contrivance of yours, Master 
Droop, shall make your name and fortune through 
out our realm. Have you many such ingenious gen 
tlemen in your kingdom, Lady Rebecca?" 

"Oh, dear me, yes!" said Rebecca, somewhat con 
temptuously. "Copernicus Droop ain't nobody in 
America." 

Droop glanced reproachfully at his compatriot, 
but concluded not to give expression to his feelings. 
Accordingly, he very quickly substituted another 
cylinder, and turned again to the Queen. 

"Now, your Majesty," said he, "here's a comic 
monologue. I tell you, verily, it's a side-splitter!" 

"What may a side-splitter be, Master Droop?" 

"Why, in sooth, somethin' almighty funny, you 
know make a feller laugh, you wot." 

Elizabeth nodded and, with a smile of anticipation, 
which was copied by all present, prepared to be 
amused. 

Alas! The monologue was an account of how a 
farmer got the best of a bunco steerer in ISTew York 
City, and was delivered in the esoteric dialect of the 
Bowery. It was not long before willing smiles gave 
place to long-drawn faces of comic bewilder 
ment, and, although Copernicus set his best exam 
ple by artificial grins and pretended inward laugh 
ter, he could evoke naught but silence and bored 
looks. 

"Marry, sir," said Elizabeth, when the monologue 
310 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEVALL'S SUIT 

was at an end, "this needs be some speech of an 
American empire other than that you come from. 
Could you make aught of it, Lady Rebecca?" 

"Nothin' on airth!" was the reply. "Only a word 
now an' then about a farmer an' somethin' about 
hayseed." 

"Now, here's a reg'lar bird!" said Droop, hastily, 
as he put in a new cylinder. 

"Can you thus record e'en the voices of fowls?" 
said the Queen, with renewed interest. 

Hopeless of explaining, Droop bowed and touched 
the starting-button. The announcement came at 
once. 

"Liberty Bells March Edison Record," and after 
a few preliminary flourishes, a large brass band could 
be heard in full career. 

This proved far more pleasing to the Queen and 
her suite. 

"So God mend us, a merry tune and full of har 
mony!" said the Queen. 

"But that ain't all, your Majesty," said Droop. 
"Here's a blank cylinder, now." He adjusted it as 
he spoke and unceremoniously pushed the instrument 
close to the Queen. "Here," he said, "jest you talk 
anythin' you want to in there and you'll see suthin' 
funny, I'll bet ye !" He was thoroughly warmed to 
his work now, and the little court etiquette which 
he had acquired dropped from him entirely. 

The Queen's eager interest had been so aroused 
that she was unconscious of his too familiar manner. 

311 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Leaning over the phonograph as Droop started the 
motor, she looked about her and said, with a titter: 
"What shall we say? Weighty words should grace 
so great an occasion, my lords." 

"Oh, say the Declaration of Independence or the 
'Charge of the Light Brigade'!" Droop exclaimed. 
"Any o' them things in the school-books!" 

Elizabeth saw that the empty cylinder was passing 
uselessly and wasted no time in discussion, but began 
to declaim some verses of Horace. 

"M m m " exclaimed Droop, doubtfully. "I 
don't know as this phonograph will work on Latin 
an' Greek!" 

The Queen completed her quotation and, sitting 
back again in her chair: 

"Now, Master Droop, we have done our part," she 
said. 

Droop readjusted the repeating diaphragm and 
started the motor once more. There were two or 
three squeaks and then an affected little chuckle. 

"What shall we say?" it began. "Weighty words 
should grace so great an occasion, my lords." 

Elizabeth laughed a little hysterically to hear her 
unstudied phrase repeated, and then, with a look of 
awe, listened to the repetition of the verses she had 
recited. 

"Can any voice be so repeated?" she asked, seri 
ously, when this record was completed. 

"Anyone ye please any ye please!" said the de 
lighted promoter, visions of uncounted wealth danc- 

312 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEVALL'S SUIT 

ing in his head. "Now, here's a few words was 
spoken on a cylinder jest two or three weeks ago 
by Miss Wise," he continued, hunting through his 
stock of records. "Ah, here it is! It's all 'bout 
Mister Bacon I daresay you know him." The 
Queen looked a little stern at this. "Tells all 'bout 
him, I believe. I ferget jest what it said, but we 
can soon see." 

The cylinder was that before which Phoebe had 
read an extract from the volume on Bacon's sup 
posed parentage and his writings while she was at the 
North Pole. Little did Droop conceive what a train 
he was unconsciously lighting as he adjusted the 
cylinder in place. As he said, he had forgotten the 
exact purport of the extract in question, but, even 
had he recollected it, he would probably have so little 
understood its terrific import that his course would 
have been the same. Ignorant of his danger, he 
pushed the starting-button and looked pleasantly at 
the Queen, whose dislike of anything having to do 
with Francis Bacon had already brought a frown to 
her face. 

All too exactly the fateful mechanism ground out 
the very words and voice of Phoebe : 

"It is thus made clear from the indubitable evi 
dence of the plays themselves, that Francis Bacon 
wrote the immortal works falsely ascribed to William 
Shakespeare, and that the gigantic genius of this man 
was the result of the possession of royal blood. In 

313 



THE PANCHRONICON 

this unacknowledged son of Elizabeth Tudor, Queen 
of England, was made manifest to all countries and 
for all centuries the glorious powers inherent in the 
regal blood of England." 

As the fearful meaning of these words was devel 
oped by the machine, amazement gave place to con 
sternation in those present and consternation to ab 
ject terror. Each fear-palsied courtier looked with 
pale face to right and left as though to seek escape. 
The fat knight, hitherto all complacency, listening 
to this brazen traducer of the Queen's virgin honor, 
seemed to shrink within himself, and his very cloth 
ing hung loose upon him. 

Droop and Rebecca, ignorant of the true bearing 
of the spoken words, gazed in amazement from one 
to another until, glancing at the Queen, their eyes 
remained fixed and fascinated. 

The unthinkable insult implied in the words re 
peated was trebled in force by being spoken thus 
publicly and in calm accents to her very face. She 
the daughter of Henry the Eighth; she Eliza 
beth of England the Virgin Queen to be thus 
coolly proclaimed the mother of this upstart bar 
rister! 

As a cyclone approaches, silent and terrific, visible 
only in the swift swirling changes of a livid and 
blackened sky, so the fatal passion in that imperial 
bosom was known at first only in the gleaming of her 
black eyes beneath contorted brows and the spas- 

314 



THE FATE OF SIR PERCEV ALL'S SUIT 

modic changes that swept over the pale red-painted 
face. 

The danger thus portended was clear even to the 
bewildered Droop, and, before the instrument had 
said its say, he began to slip very quietly toward the 
door. 

As the speech ended, Elizabeth emitted a growl 
that grew into a shriek of fury, and, with her hair 
actually rising on her head, she threw herself bodily 
upon the offending phonograph. 

In her two hands she raised the instrument above 
her, and with a maniac's force hurled it full at the 
head of Copernicus Droop. 

Instinctively he dodged, and the mass of wood and 
steel crashed against the door of the chamber, burst 
ing it open and causing the two guards without to 
fall back. 

Droop saw his chance and took it. Turning, with 
a yell he dashed past the guards and across the ante 
chamber to the main entrance-hall. The Queen, 
choked with passion, could only gasp and point her 
hand frantically after the fleeing man, but at once 
her gentlemen, drawing their swords, rushed in a 
body from the room with cries of "Treason treason! 
Stop him! Catch him!" 

Down the main hallway and out into the silent 
court-yard Droop fled on the wings of fear, pursued 
by a shouting throng, growing every moment larger. 

As he emerged into the yard a sentry tried to 
stop him, but, with a single side spring, the Yankee 

315 



THE PANCHRONICON 

eluded this danger and flung himself upon his bicycle, 
which he found leaning against the palace wall. 

"Close the gates! Trap him!" was the cry, and 
the ponderous iron gates swung together with a clang. 
But just one second before they closed, the narrow 
bicycle, with its terror-stricken burden, slipped 
through into the street beyond and turned sharply 
to the west, gaining speed every instant. Droop had 
escaped for the moment, and now bent every effort 
upon reaching the Pan^chronicon in safety. 

Then, as the tumult of futile chase faded into si 
lence behind the straining fugitive, there might have 
been seen whirling through the ancient streets of 
London a weird and wondrous vision. 

Perched on a whirl of spokes gleaming in the moon 
light, a lean black figure in rumpled hose, with flying 
cloak, slipped ghostlike through the narrow streets 
at incredible speed. Many a footpad or belated 
townsman, warned by the mystic tinkle of a spectral 
bell, had turned with a start, to faint or run at sight 
of this uncanny traveller. 

His hat was gone and his close-cropped head bent 
low over the handle-bars. The skin-tight stockings 
had split from thigh to heel, mud flew from the tires, 
beplastering the luckless figure from nape to waist, 
and still, without pause, he pushed onward, ever on 
ward, for London Bridge, for Southwark, and for 
safety. The way was tortuous, dark and unfamiliar, 
but it was for life or death, and Copernicus Droop 
was game. 

316 



CHAPTER XV 

HOW EEBECCA KETUKNED TO NEWINGTON 

Within the palace all was confusion and dismay. 
Only a very few knew the cause of this riot which 
had burst so suddenly upon the wonted peace of the 
place, and those few never in all their lives gave ut 
terance to what they had learned. 

Within the presence chamber Elizabeth lay on the 
floor in a swoon, surrounded by her women only. 
Among these was Rebecca, whose one thought was 
now to devise some plan for overtaking Droop. From 
the window she had witnessed his flight, and she had 
guessed his destination. She felt sure that if Droop 
reached the Panchronicon alone, he would depart 
alone, and then what was to become of Phoebe and 
herself? 

Just as the Queen's eyes were opening and her 
face began to show a return of her passion with recol 
lection of its cause, Rebecca had an inspiration, and 
with the promptitude of a desperate resolution, she 
acted upon it. 

"Look a-here, your Majesty!" she said, vigorously, 
"let me speak alone with you a minute and I'll save 
you a lot of trouble. I know where that man keeps 
more of them machines." 

317 



THE PANCHRONICON 

This was a new idea to Elizabeth, who had de 
stroyed, as she supposed, the only existing specimen 
of the malignant instrument. 

With a gesture she sent her attendants to the op 
posite end of the room. 

"Now speak, woman! What would you counsel?" 
she said. 

"Why, this," said Rebecca, hurriedly. "You don't 
want any more o' them things talkin' all over Lon 
don, I'm sure." 

A groan that was half a growl broke from the 
sorely tried sovereign. 

"Of course you don't. Well I told you him and 
I come from America together. I know where he 
keeps all his phonograph things, and I know how to 
get there. But you must be quick or else he'll get 
there fust and take 'em away." 

"You speak truly, Lady Rebecca," said the Queen. 
"How would you go by what conveyance? Will 
you have horses men-at-arms?" 

tc No, indeed!" was the reply. "Jest let me hev a 
swift boat, with plenty o' men to row it, so 's to go 
real fast. Then I'll want a carryall or a buggy in 
Southwark " 

"A carryall a buggy!" Elizabeth broke in. 
"What may these be?" 

"Oh, any kind of a carriage, you know, 'cause I'll 
hev to ride some distance into the country." 

"But why such haste?" asked the Queen. "Had 
this American a horse?" 

318 



HOW REBECCA RETURNED TO NEWINGTON 

"He had a bicycle an' that's wuss," said Rebecca. 
"But ef I can start right away and take a short cut 
by the river while he finds his way through all them 
dirty, dark streets, I'll get there fust an' get the rest 
of his phonographs." 

"Your wit is nimble and methinks most sound," 
said the Queen, decisively. Then, turning to the 
group of ladies, she continued: 

"Send us our chamberlain, my Lady Temple, and 
delay not, we charge you!" 

In ten minutes Rebecca found herself once more 
upon the dark, still river, watching the slippery 
writhings of the moonbeams' path. She was alone, 
save for the ten stalwart rowers and two officers ; but 
in one hand was her faithful umbrella, while in the 
other she felt the welcome weight of her precious 
satchel. 

The barge cut its way swiftly up the river in 
silence save for the occasional exclamations of the 
officers urging the willing oarsmen to their utmost 
speed. 

Far ahead to the right the huge bulk of the Tower 
of London loomed in clumsy power against the deep 
dark blue of the moonlit sky. Rebecca knew that 
London Bridge lay not far beyond that landmark, 
although it was as yet invisible. For London Bridge 
she was bound, and it seemed to her impatience that 
the lumbering vessel would never reach that goal. 

She stood up and strained her eyes through the 
darkness, trying to see the laboring forms of the 

319 



THE PANCHRONICON 

rowers in the shadow of the boat's side, but only the 
creak of the thole-pins and the steady recurrent 
splash and tinkle from the dripping oars told of their 
labor. 

"Air ye goin' as fast as ye can?" she called. "Mr. 
Droop'll get there fust ef ye ain't real spry." 

"If spry be active, mistress," said a voice from 
the darkness aft, "then should you find naught here 
amiss. Right lusty workers, these, I promise you! 
Roundly, men, and a shilling each if we do win the 
race!" 

"Ay ay, sir!" came the willing response, and Re 
becca, satisfied that they could do no more, seated 
herself again, to wait as best she might. 

At length, to her great delight, there arose from 
the darkness ahead an uneven line of denser black, 
and at a warning from one of the officers the boat 
proceeded more cautiously. Rebecca's heart beat 
high as they passed under one of the low stone arches 
of the famous bridge and their strokes resounded in 
ringing echoes from every side. 

Having passed to the upper side of the bridge, the 
boat was headed for the south shore, and in a few 
moments Rebecca saw that they had reached the side 
of a wooden wharf which stood a little higher than 
their deck. One of the officers leaped ashore with 
the end of a rope in his hand, and quickly secured 
the vessel. As he did so a faint light was seen pro 
ceeding toward them, and they heard the steps of a 
half dozen men advancing on the sounding planks. 

320 



HOW REBECCA RETURNED TO NEWINGTON 

It was the watch, and the light shone from a prim 
itive lantern with sides of horn scraped thin. 

"Who goes there?" cried a gruff voice. 

"The Queen's barge in the service of her Maj 
esty," was the reply. 

The watchman who carried the lantern satisfied 
himself that this account was correct, and then asked 
if he could be of service. 

"Tell me, fellow," said he who had landed, "hast 
seen one pass the bridge to-night astride of two 
wheels, one before the other, riding post-haste?" 

There was a long pause as the watchman sought 
to comprehend this extraordinary question. 

"Come come!" cried the officer, who had re 
mained on the boat. "Canst not say yes or no, man?" 

"Ay, can I, master!" was the reply. "But you had 
as well ask had I seen a witch riding across the moon 
on a broomstick. We have no been asleep to dream 
of flying wheels." 

"Well well!" said he who had landed. "Go you 
now straight and stand at the bridge head. We shall 
follow anon." 

The watch moved slowly away and Rebecca was 
helped ashore by the last speaker. 

"Our speed hath brought us hither in advance, 
my lady," he said. "Now shall we doubtless come 
in before the fugitive." 

"Well, I hope so!" said Rebecca. Then, with a 
smothered cry: "Oh, Land o' Goshen! I've dropped 
my umbrella!" 

321 



THE PANCHRONICON 

They stooped together and groped about on the 
wharf in silence for a few moments. The landing 
was encumbered with lumber and stones for build 
ing, and, as the moon was just then covered by a 
thick cloud, the search was difficult. 

"I declare, ain't this provokin'!" Kebecca cried, 
at length. 

"These beams and blocks impede us," said the offi 
cer. "We must have light, perforce. Ho there! 
The watch, ho! Bring your Ian thorn!" 

"Why, 'tain't worth while to trouble the watch 
man," said Eebecca. "I'll jest strike a light my 
self." 

She fumbled in her satchel and found a card of 
old-fashioned silent country matches, well tipped 
with odorous sulphur. The officer at her side saw 
nothing of her movements, and his first knowledge 
of her intention was the sudden and mysterious ap 
pearance of a bluish flame close beside him and the 
tingle of burning brimstone in his nostrils. 

With a wild yell, he leaped into the air and then, 
half crazed by fear, tumbled into the boat and cut 
the mooring-rope with his sword. 

"Cast off cast off!" he screamed. "Give way, 
lads, in God's name ! A witch a witch! Cast off!" 

A gentle breeze off the shore carried the sulphur 
ous fumes directly over the boat, and these, together 
with their officer's terror-stricken tones and the sight 
of that uncanny, sourceless light, struck the crew 
with panic. Fiercely and in sad confusion did they 

322 



HOW REBECCA RETURNED TO NEWINGTON 

push and pull with boat-hook and oar to escape from 
that unhallowed vicinity, and, even after they were 
well out in the stream, it was with the frenzy of 
superstitious horror that they bent their stout backs 
to their oars and glided swiftly down stream toward 
Greenwich. 

As for Rebecca comprehending nothing of the 
cause of this commotion at first she stood with open 
mouth, immovable as a statue, watching the depart 
ure of her escort until the flame reached her fingers. 
Then, with a little shriek of pain, she flicked the 
burnt wood into the river. 

"Well, if I ever!" she exclaimed. "I'm blest ef 
I don't b'lieve those ninnies was scared at a match!" 

Shaking her head, she broke a second match from 
her card, struck it, and when it burned clear, stooped 
to seek her umbrella. It was lying between two 
beams almost at her feet, and she grasped it thank 
fully just as her light was blown out by the breeze. 

Then, with groping feet, she made her way care 
fully toward the inshore end of the wharf, and soon 
found herself in the streets of Southwark, between 
London Bridge and the pillory. From this point she 
knew her way to the grove where the Panchronicon 
had landed, and thither she now turned a resolute 
face, walking as swiftly as she dared by the light of 
the now unobscured moon. 

"If Copernicus Droop ketches up with me," she 
muttered, "I'll make him stop ef I hev to poke my 
umbrella in his spokes." 

323 



CHAPTER XVI 

HOW SIB GUY KEPT HIS TEYST 

For one hour before sunset of that same day 
Phoebe had been patiently waiting alone behind the 
east wall of the inn garden. As she had expected, 
her step-mother had accompanied her father to Lon 
don that afternoon, and she found herself free for 
the time of their watchfulness. She did not know 
that this apparent carelessness was based upon knowl 
edge of another surveillance more strict and secret, 
and therefore more effective than their own. 

The shadow of the wall within which she was 
standing lengthened more and more rapidly, until, 
as the sun touched the western horizon, the whole 
countryside to the east was obscured. 

Phrebe moved out into the middle of the road 
which ran parallel to the garden wall and looked 
longingly toward the north. A few rods away, the 
road curved to the right between apple-trees whose 
blossoms gleamed more pink with the touch of the 
setting sun. 

"Nothing no one yet!" she murmured. "Oh, 
Guy, if not for love, could you not haste for life!" 

As though in answer to her exclamation, there 
came to her ears a faint tapping of horses' hoofs, and 

324 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

a few moments later three horsemen turned the cor 
ner and bore down upon her. 

One glance was enough to show her that Guy was 
not one of the group, and Phoebe leaped back into 
the shadow of the wall. She felt that she must not 
be seen watching here alone by anyone. As she stood 
beneath the fringe of trees that stood outside of the 
garden wall, she looked about for means of better 
concealment, and quickly noticed a narrow slit in the 
high brick enclosure, just wide enough for a man to 
enter. It had been barred with iron, but two of the 
bars had fallen from their sockets, leaving an aper 
ture which looked large enough to admit a slender 
girl. 

Phosbe felt instinctively that the approaching 
riders were unfriendly in their purpose and, without 
pausing to weigh reasons, she quickly scrambled 
through this accidental passage, not without tearing 
her dress. 

She found herself within the garden and not far 
from the very seat where she had hidden from Will 
Shakespeare. How different her situation now, she 
thought. Not diffidence, but fear, was now her 
motive fear for the man she loved and whom she 
alone could save. 

While she listened there, half choked by the beat 
ing of her own heart, she heard the three cavaliers 
beyond the wall. Their horses were walking now, 
and the three conversed together in easily audible 
tones. 

325 



THE PANCHRONICON 

"My life on it, Will," said one, " 'twas here the 
wench took cover!" 

"Thine eyes are dusty, Jack," replied a deep voice. 
" 'Twas farther on, was it not, Harry?" 

The horses stopped. 

"Ay you are i' the right, Will," was the answer. 
"By the same token, how could the lass be here and 
we not see her? There's naught to hide a cat withal." 

"Nay nay!" said Will. "Count upon it, Jack, 
the maid fled beyond the turn yonder. Come on, 
lads!" 

"I'll not stir hence !" said Jack, obstinately. "Who 
finds the girl, catches the traitor, too. Go you two 
farther, an ye will. Jack Bartley seeks here." 

"Let it be e'en so, Will," said Harry, the third 
speaker. "Dismount we here, you and me. Jack 
shall tie the nags to yon tree and seek where he will. 
Do you and I creep onward afoot. So shall the maid, 
hearing no footfall, be caught unaware." 

"Have it so!" said Will. 

Phoebe heard the three dismount and, trembling 
with apprehension, listened anxiously for knowledge 
of what she dared not seek to see. 

She heard the slow walk of the three horses, short 
ly interrupted, and she knew that they were being 
tethered. Then there was a murmur of voices and 
silence. 

This was the most agonizing moment of that event 
ful night for Phoebe. Strain her ears as she might, 
naught could she hear but the shake of a bridle, the 

326 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

stamp of an occasional hoof, and the cropping of 
grass. The next few seconds seemed an hour of 
miserable uncertainty and suspense. She knew now 
that she was watched, that perhaps her plans were 
fully known, and all hope for her lover seemed past. 
She had called him hither and he would walk alone 
and unaided into the arms of these three merce 
naries. 

She clasped her hands and looked desperately 
about her as though for inspiration. To the right 
an open sward led the eye to the out-buildings sur 
rounding the inn. To the left a dense thicket of 
trees and bushes shut in the view. 

Suddenly she started violently. Her ear had 
caught the snapping of a twig close at hand, beyond 
the concealing wall. At the next moment she saw 
a stealthy hand slip past the opening by which she 
had entered, and the top of a man's hat appeared. 

Like a rabbit that runs to cover, she turned noise 
lessly and dashed into the friendly thicket. Here 
she stopped with her hand on her heart and glanced 
wildly about her. Well she knew that her conceal 
ment here could be but momentary. Where next 
could she find shelter? 

A heap of refuse, stones and dirt, leaves and sticks, 
was heaped against that portion of the wall, and at 
sight of this a desperate plan crossed her mind. 

"'Tis that or nothing!" she whispered, and, still 
under cover of the shrubbery, she hurried toward the 
rubbish heap. 

327 



THE PANCHRONICON 

In the meantime, Jack, whose quick eye had de 
scried that ancient opening in the wall, perceived by 
neither of his companions, was standing just within 
the wall gazing about for some clue to his prey's 
location. 

Phoebe leaped upon the refuse heap and scrambled 
to the top. To her dismay, there was a great crash 
ing of dead wood as she sank nearly to her knees in 
the accumulated rubbish. 

Jack uttered a loud exclamation of triumph and 
leaped toward the thicket. Poor Phoebe heard his 
cry, and for an instant all seemed hopeless. But 
hers was a brave young soul, and, far from fainting 
in her despair, a new vigor possessed her. 

Grasping the limb of a tree beside her, she drew 
herself up until, with one foot she found a firm rest 
on the top of the wall. Then, forgetting her tender 
hands and limbs, straining, gripping, and scrambling, 
she knew not how, she flung herself over the wall 
and fell in a bruised and ragged heap on the grass 
beyond. 

When her pursuer reached the thicket, he was con 
founded to find no one in sight. 

Phoebe lay for one moment faint and relaxed upon 
the ground. The landscape turned to swimming sil 
houettes before her eyes, and all sounds were mo 
mentarily stilled. Then life came surging back in 
a welcome tide and she rose unsteadily to her feet. 
She walked as quickly as she could to where the three 
horses stood loosely tied by their bridles to a tree. 

328 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

At any moment the man she feared might appear 
again at the opening in the wall. 

She untied all three horses and, choosing a power 
ful gray for her own, she slipped his bridle over her 
arm so as to leave both hands free. Then, bringing 
together the bridles of the other two, she tied them 
together in a double knot, then doubled that, and 
struck the two animals sharply with the bridle of 
the gray. Naturally they started off in different di 
rections, and, pulling at their bridles, dragged them 
into harder knots than her weak fingers could have 
tied. 

She laughed in the triumph of her ingenuity and 
scrambled with foot and knee and hand into place 
astride of the remaining steed. Thus in the seclu 
sion of the pasture had she often ridden her mare 
Nancy home to the barn. 

There was a shout of anger and amazement from 
the road, and she saw the two men who had elected 
to walk farther on running toward her. 

Turning her steed, she slapped his neck with the 
bridle and chopped at his flanks with the stirrups 
as best she could. The horse broke into an easy 
canter, and for the moment she was free. 

Unfortunately, Phoebe found herself virtually 
without means for urging her steed to his best pace. 
Accustomed as he was to the efficient severity of a 
man's spurred heel, he paid little attention to her 
gentle, though urgent, voice, and even the stirrups 
were hardly available substitutes for spurs, since her 

329 



THE PANCHRONICON 

feet could not reach them and she could only kick 
them flapping back against the horse's sides. 

Her one chance was that she might meet Sir Guy 
in time, and she could only pray that the knots in 
the bridles of the remaining horses would long defy 
every effort to release them. As she turned the 
curve among the apple-trees, she looked back and 
saw that the horses had been caught and that all 
three men were frantically tugging and picking with 
fingers and teeth at those obstinate knots. 

Phrebe drew up for a moment a few yards beyond 
the curve and broke off a long, slender switch from 
an overhanging bough. Then, urging the horse for 
ward again, she picked off the small branches until 
at length she had produced a smooth, pliant switch, 
far more effective than bridle or stirrup. By the 
help of this new whip, she made a little better speed, 
but well she knew that her capture was only a matter 
of time unless she could find her lover. 

Great was her joy, therefore, when she turned the 
next curve in the road; for, straight ahead, not twen 
ty rods away, she saw Sir Guy approaching at a 
canter, leading a second horse. 

By this time the twilight was deepening, and the 
young cavalier gazed in astonishment upon the ragged 
girl riding toward him astride, making silent gest 
ures of welcome and warning. Not until he was 
within twenty yards of her did Sir Guy recognize his 
sweetheart. 

"Mary!" he cried. 

330 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

Together they reined in their horses, and instantly 
Phoebe slipped to the ground. 

"Quick, Guy quick!" she exclaimed. "Help me 
to mount yon saddle. Come come!" 

Leaping at once from his horse, Sir Guy lifted 
Phoebe to the back of the beast he had been leading, 
which was provided with a side-saddle, the stirrup 
of which carried a spur. Stopping only to kiss her 
hand, he mounted his own steed, turned about, and 
followed Phoebe, who had already set off at her best 
speed. Even as they started, they heard a shout 
behind them, and Phoebe knew that the pursuit had 
begun in earnest. 

"What is it who are they whom you flee?" asked 
the young knight, as he came to Phoebe's side. 

"Men seeking thee, Guy for reward! There is 
a price on thy head, dear. For high treason! Oh, 
may God aid us this night!" 

"High treason!" he exclaimed. Then, after a 
pause, he continued, in a stern voice: 

"How many be they?" 

"Two." 

Sir Guy laughed in evident relief. 

"But two ! By my troth, why should we fear them, 
sweetheart ?" he said. "An I be not a match for four 
of these scurvy rascals, call me not knight!" 

"Alas alas!" cried Phoebe, in alarm, as she saw 
Sir Guy slacken his pace. "Stay not to fight, Guy. 
Urge on urge on! The whole countryside is 
awake. How, then, canst thou better thee by 

331 



THE PANCHRONICON 

fighting two? Nay, on on !" and she spurred again, 
beckoning him after with an imperious hand. 

He yielded to her reasoning, and soon reached her 
side again. 

"We must to London Bridge, Guy," Phoebe said. 
"Know you a way back thither?" 

"Wherefore to London, sweet?" asked Guy. 
"Were we not safer far afield? Why seek the shad 
ow of the Tower?" 

"One way is left thee," said she, with intense ear 
nestness. "A way that is known to me alone. There 
by only canst thou escape. Oh, trust me trust me, 
dear heart! Only I can guide thee to safety and 
to freedom!" 

"On, my Mary !" he cried, gayly. "Lead on ! Thou 
art my star!" 

For the moment both forgot the danger behind 
them. The intoxication of an ideal and self-forget 
ting trust a merger of all else in tenderness flood 
ed their souls and passed back and forth between 
them in their mutual glances. 

Then came that pursuing shout again, much nearer 
than before, and with a shock ths two lovers re 
membered their true plight. 

Sir Guy reined in his steed. 

"Halt halt, Mary!" he commanded. "We must 
conceal us here in this dell till that these fellows 
pass us. Then back to London by the way we came. 
There is no other road." 

Obedient now in her turn, Phrebe drew rein and 
332 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

followed her lover up the bed of a small stream 
which crossed the road at this point. Behind a cur 
tain of trees they waited, and ere long saw their two 
pursuers dart past them and disappear in a cloud of 
dust down the road. 

"They will stop at the next dwelling to ask news 
of us, and thus learn of our evasion," said Guy. "The 
chase has but begun. Come, sweet, let us hasten 
southward again." 

Darkness had now begun to fall in earnest, and 
as the two fugitives passed the Peacock Inn, no one 
saw them. 

They were soon near enough to the city gate to 
find many houses on either hand, and Sir Guy deemed 
it wiser to move at a reasonable pace, for fear of at 
tracting suspicion in a neighborhood already aroused 
by rumors of the man-hunt which had begun. They 
could count upon the obscurity to conceal their iden 
tity. 

They had not proceeded far beyond the inn when 
they met a party of travellers on horseback, one of 
whom uttered a pleasant "Good-even!" 

"Good-even!" said Phrebe, thinking only of due 
courtesy. 

"What the good jere!" cried a voice from the rear 
of the group. "What dost thou here, Poll?" 

"My father!" exclaimed Phoebe, in terror. 

"Hush!" whispered Sir Guy, putting his hand upon 
her bridle. "Ride forward at an easy gait until I 
give example of haste." 

333 



THE PANCHRONICON 

They trotted quietly past the greater number of 
the group until a dark figure approached and a voice 
in the gloom said, severely: 

"What dost thou here? "Who rides with thee, 
lass?" 

Sir Guy now leaned forward and spurred his horse, 
leaping away into the darkness without a word. In 
equal silence Phoebe followed his example and gal 
loped headlong close behind her lover. 

"Help, ho !" yelled old Sir Isaac. " 'Tis the traitor 
Fenton, with my daughter ! After them stop them 
a Burton a Burton!" and, mad with excitement, 
the angry father set off in hot pursuit. With one 
accord the others wheeled about and joined in the 
chase, uttering cries and imprecations that rang 
through the country for a mile around. 

"ISTow have we need of speed!" said Sir Guy, as 
they galloped together toward London, whose walls 
were now visible in the distance. "Soon will the 
whole country join the hue-and-cry. The watch will 
meet us at the gate." 

" 'Twere better, were it not," Phoebe suggested, 
"that we turn to the left and make a circuit into the 
Aldersgate?" 

"Good wit, my lady!" cried Guy, whose excitement 
had taken on the form of an exalted gayety. "Who 
rides with thee rides safe, my love e'en as Theseus 
of old did ride, scathless 'neath the spell of protect 
ing Pallas!" 

"Stuff!" said Phoebe, spurring again, with a smile. 
334 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

Guy led the way at once across country to the east 
ward, the soft English turf so deadening their hoof- 
beats that those behind them had no clue to their 
change of route. 

When the pursuing party reached the Bishopsgate, 
they met the watch and learned that no one had 
passed since the hue-and-cry was heard. 

"Here divide we, then," cried stout Sir Isaac 
Burton. "Let eight follow them around the wall, 
while I with other six ride on, that, if haply they 
have entered London by the Aldersgate, we may 
meet them within the city." 

The suggestion was adopted, and, all unconscious 
of their peril, the lovers were rapidly hemmed in 
between two bands of pursuers. Sir Guy and Phoebe 
reached the Aldersgate unmolested and were allowed 
to pass in without protest, as the hue-and-cry had 
not yet reached so far. They ambled quietly past 
the watch, arousing no suspicion, but no sooner had 
they turned the first corner than once more they 
urged their tired horses to greater exertion. 

"Choose we the side streets," said Guy. "Who 
knows what watch hath been set on Gracechurch 
Street. 'Tis for London Bridge we are bound, is't 
not?" 

"Yes," said Phrebe. "I pray no prying watch de 
tain us ere we pass that way!" 

Picking their way through the dark and narrow 
streets at a pace necessarily much reduced, they slow 
ly approached their goal, until at length, on emerg- 

335 



THE PANCHRONICON 

ing into New Fish Street, they discerned the tower 
ing walls of London Bridge. 

Here they reined in suddenly with one accord, for, 
plainly visible in the moonlight, a group of horse 
men was gathered and there was borne to their ears 
the sturdy voice of Sir Isaac. 

"Hallo!" he cried. "There be riders in New Fish 
Street. See where they lurk in the shadow ! What 
ho, there! Give a name! Stand forth there!" 

Sir Guy drew his sword. 

" "Tis time for steel to answer!" he laughed. 

"Nay nay! Wait wait!" said Phoebe, earnest 
ly. "There must be other issue than in blood!" 

Two or three horsemen now detached themselves 
from the group near the bridge and cantered up New 
Fish Street. Sir Isaac was among them. 

"Are ye there, traitor?" he cried. "Where is my 
daughter?" 

Sir Guy was about to reply when Phcebe put her 
hand on his arm. 

"Hush!" she whispered. "Hearken!" 

Faint at first, but growing momentarily louder, 
there came the clear trilling of a mysterious bell. 
It floated out from the dark by-ways whence they 
had themselves just emerged, and something eerie 
and uncanny in its clamor brought a thrill of 
terror to the young knight's nerves for the first 
time. 

"Now, what in God's name " he began. 

But he broke off in horror, for there flashed past 
336 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

him, as silent as the wind and swifter, a dark, bent 
figure, with flying cloak, under which, as the moon 
light struck him, there whirled a web of glittering 
tissue whereon he seemed to ride. That uncanny 
tinkling floated back from this strange vision, con 
firming to the ear what otherwise might have ap 
peared a mere trick of the vision. 

As for Sir Isaac and his band, the distant bell had 
early brought them to a wondering stand; and now, 
as this rushing phantom trilling trilling trilling 
swept down on a living moonbeam, with one ac 
cord they put spurs to their steeds, and with cries 
of horror fled in all directions. 

"Forward!" cried Phoebe, exultantly. "Why, what 
now!" she exclaimed, as she saw her lover still sitting 
petrified with fear. "How now, my knight! Why 
sit you here amazed? Is not the way clear? Come 
follow follow!" and she started forward on a 
trot. 

But her lover did not move, and she was obliged 
to turn back. Laying her hand on his arm: 

"Why, what ails thee, dear heart?" she asked. 

"The spectre the ghostly steed!" he stammered. 

"Oh oh!" laughed Phoebe. "Why, this was but 
some venturous bicyclist on his wheel!" 

"A bicyclist !" exclaimed Sir Guy. "Can you thus 
give a name to this black phantom, Mary?" 

"'Tis naught, dear Guy, believe me!" she said. 
Then, in pleading tones, she continued: "Didst not 
agree to trust thy lady, dear?" 

337 



THE PANCHRONICON 

The young knight passed his hand over his eyes 
and straightened himself resolutely in his saddle. 

"E'en to the death, love. Lead on! I shall not 
falter!" 

They trotted forward through a now silent street 
to the bridge, and soon found themselves enveloped 
in the darkness and assailed by the countless odors 
of London Bridge. From time to time they crossed 
a path of moonlight, and here Phoebe would smile 
into the eyes of her still much-puzzled lover and mur 
mur words of encouragement. 

Before they reached Southwark, there rang out 
behind them the sound of hoofs upon the stones of 
the bridge. 

"Can these be your father's minions, think you?" 
said Sir Guy. 

"Nay!" Phoebe exclaimed. "Rest assured, they 
were scattered too far to dog our steps again to 
night. 

They emerged some moments later on the South 
wark side and saw the pillory towering ahead of them. 

"How far shall we fare to-night, love?" asked the 
knight. 

"To Kewington on horseback," Phoebe replied, 
"and then well, then shalt thou see more faring." 

There was a loud cry from the bridge, startling 
the pair from their fancied security. 

"There they ride! The watch, ho! Stop the 
traitor! Stop him! For the Queen! For the 
Queen!" 

338 



HOW SIR GUY KEPT HIS TRYST 

"God help us!" cried Phoebe. " 'Tis the two yeo 
men of the Peacock Inn!" 

With one accord the pair clapped spurs to their 
horses' sides and resumed once more the flight which 
they had thought concluded. 



339 



CHAPTER XVII 

EEBECCA'S TBUMP CARD 

When Rebecca set out for the Panchronicon from 
London Bridge, she knew that she had a long walk 
in prospect, and settled down to the work with 
dogged resolution. Her trip was quite uneventful 
until she neared the village of Newington, and then 
she realized for the first time that she did not know 
exactly where to find the deserted grove. One grove 
looked much like another, and how was she to choose 
between garden walls "as like as two peas," as she 
expressed it? 

"Look here, Rebecca Wise," she said, aloud, as 
she paused in the middle of the road, "you'll be lost 
next you know!" 

She looked about dubiously and shook her head. 

"The thing fer you to do is to set right down an' 
wait fer that pesky good-fer-nothin' Copernicus 
Droop!" she remarked, and suiting action to speech 
she picked her way to a convenient mile-stone and 
seated herself. 

Having nothing better to do, she began to review 
mentally the events of the last two days, and as she 
recalled one after the other the unprecedented ad- 

340 



REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD 

ventures which had overtaken her, she wondered in 
a dreamy way what would next befall. She built 
hazy hypotheses, sitting there alone in the moonlight, 
nodding contentedly. Suddenly she straightened up, 
realizing that she had been aroused from a doze by 
a cry near at hand. 

Turning toward London, she saw a wriggling mass 
about fifty feet away which, by a process of slow 
disentanglement, gradually developed into a man's 
form rising from the ground and raising a fallen 
bicycle. 

"Darn the luck!" said this dark figure. "Busted 
my tire, sure as shootin'!" 

"Copernicus Droop!" cried Rebecca, in a loud 
voice. 

Droop jumped high in the air, so great was his 
nervousness. Then, realizing that it was Rebecca 
who had addressed him, he limped toward her, roll 
ing his bicycle beside him. 

"How in creation did you get here?" he asked. 
"Ain't any steam-cars 'round here, is there?" 

"Guess not!" Rebecca replied. "I come by short 
cut up river. I guessed you'd make fer the Pan- 
chronicle, and I jest made up my mind to come, too. 
Thinks I, 'that Copernicus Droop ud be jest mean 
enough to fly away all by himself an' leave me an' 
Phoebe to shift fer ourselves.' So I'm here to go, 
too an' what's more, we've got to take Phoebe!" 

"How'll ye find yer sister, Cousin Rebecca?" said 
Droop. "We must git out to-night. When the 

341 



THE PANCHRONICON 

Queen gets on her ear like that, it's now or never. 
Can you find Cousin Phoebe to-night?" 

"Where is the old machine, anyhow?" Rebecca 
asked, not heeding Droop's question. 

"Right over yonder," said he, pointing to a dark 
group of trees a few rods distant. 

"Well, come on, then. Let's go to it right away," 
said Rebecca. "I'd like to rest a bit. I'm tired!" 

"Tired!" Droop exclaimed. "What about me, 
then?" 

Without further parley, the two set off toward 
the grove which Droop had indicated. Having dwelt 
here for several weeks, he knew his bearings well, 
but it was not until they came much nearer to the 
deserted mansion that Rebecca recognized several 
landmarks which convinced her that he had made 
no mistake. 

Under the trees, the shadows were so black that 
they were unable to find the breach in the wall. 

"Got any matches, Cousin Rebecca?" Droop asked. 

"Yes. Wait a minute an' I'll strike a light. I 
know that blessed hole is somewhere right near here." 

She found again her card of matches, and breaking 
off one of them, soon had a tiny taper which lit up 
their surroundings wonderfully. 

"There 'tis! I've found it," cried Droop, and, 
taking Rebecca by the arm, he led her toward the 
broken place in the wall. The match went out just 
as they reached it. 

Droop was about to suggest that he go in first to 
342 



REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD 

see if all was well, when he was startled by Rebecca's 
hand on his arm. 

"Hark!" she cried. 

He listened and distant cries coming nearer 
through the night were borne to his ears. 

"What's that?" Rebecca exclaimed again. 

Rigid with excitement and dread, they stood there 
listening. At length Droop pulled himself free of 
Rebecca's hold. 

"That's some o' them palace folks chasm' after 
me!" he cried, in a panic. 

"Fiddle-dee-dee!" Rebecca exclaimed, with energy. 
"How should they know where you are?" 

By this time the sounds were more distinct, and 
they could easily make out cries of: "Traitor! Stop 
him! For the Queen! Stop him!" 

The two listeners had just mentally concluded that 
this alarm did not in any wise concern them when 
Rebecca was startled beyond measure to hear her 
sister Phosbe's voice, loud above all other sounds. 

"Nay nay, Guy!" she was screaming. "Stop not 
to fight! Fly follow! Shelter is here at hand!" 

Forgetting everything but possible danger for 
Phoebe, Rebecca dashed out from under the trees. 

There in the moonlight she saw Phoebe on horse 
back, her head uncovered, her hair floating free and 
her clothing in tatters. A few paces behind her was 
Sir Guy, also mounted, fiercely attacking two pur 
suing horsemen with his sword. Farther back, ren 
dered indistinct by distance, was a larger group of 

343 



THE PANCHRONICON 

mingled horse and foot travellers. There was a lan 
tern among them, and Rebecca inferred that the 
watch was with them. 

A moment later, one of the two men engaged with 
Sir Guy fell from his horse. Instantly the young 
knight turned upon the second pursuer, who fled at 
once toward the larger group now rapidly approach 
ing. 

Rebecca ran forward and waved her card of 
matches frantically, apparently thinking in her ex 
citement that she held a flag. 

"Here, Phoebe here, child!" she screamed. "This 
way, quick! Here we are awaitin' fer ye. Come, 
quick quick!" 

With a loud cry of joy, Phoebe slipped from her 
horse and ran toward her sister. 

"Oh, Rebecca, Rebecca!" she cried, throwing her 
self into her sister's arms. "Oh, you dear, lovely, 
sweet old darling!" 

Rebecca kissed her younger sister with tears in 
her eyes, almost as affected as the girl herself, who 
was now laughing and crying hysterically on her 
breast. 

While they stood thus tightly locked in each 
other's arms, Guy came to their side with sword in 
hand. 

"Quick!" he said, sharply. "You must away to 
shelter. Here comes the watch apace. I will pro 
tect the rear." 

The two women started apart and Phoebe set for- 
344 



REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD 

ward obediently, but Rebecca only gave the fast- 
approaching crowd a look of proud contempt. 

"Fiddle-ends!" she exclaimed. "You go on ahead, 
Guy. I'll fix them queer folks!" 

Whether Rebecca's voice convinced him of her 
power to make good her words or that he felt his 
first duty was at Phrebe's side, the fact is that the 
young knight strode forward with his sweetheart 
toward the breach in the wall, leaving Rebecca be 
hind to bear the first attack. 

Droop had already passed within the enclosure 
and was groping his way toward the black mass of 
the Panchronicon. 

Phcebe, led by an accurate memory of her sur 
roundings, had but little difficulty in finding the 
opening, and, by her voice, Sir Guy and Rebecca 
were guided to it. 

Phoebe passed through first and Sir Guy followed 
just as the advance guard of the pursuing mob rushed 
under the trees, swinging their two lanterns and 
shouting aloud: 

"Here this way! We have 'em fast!" 

Rebecca coolly stooped and drew the edge of her 
entire card of matches across a stone at her feet. 
Then, standing erect, she thrust the sulphurous blue 
blaze into the faces of two rough-looking fellows just 
advancing to seize her. 

Sir Guy, who stood within the wall, found cause 
for deep amazement in the yell of startled fear with 
which Rebecca's act was met; and deeper yet grew 

345 



THE PANCHRONICON 

his astonishment when that cry was re-echoed by the 
whole terror-stricken mob, who turned as one man 
to flee from this flaming, sulphurous sorceress. 

Rebecca quietly waited until the sulphur had 
burned off and the wood blazed bright and clear. 
Then she pushed through the broken wall and showed 
the way to their destination by the light of the small 
torch. 

Sir Guy's feelings may be imagined when he sud 
denly found that they were all four standing before 
a strangely formed structure in the side of which 
Copernicus had just opened a door. 

"Why, Mary !" he exclaimed, pausing in his walk. 
"What have we here?" 

She took his hand with a smile and drew him gent 
ly forward. 

"Trust thy Mary yet further, Guy," she said. 
"Thy watchword must be, 'Trust and question not.* ' 

He smiled in reply and, sheathing his sword, 
stepped boldly forward into the interior of the Pan- 
chronicon. Phoebe knew the power of superstition 
in that age, and she glowed with pride and tender 
ness, conscious that in this act of faith in her the 
knight evinced more courage than ever he might 
need to bear him well in battle. 

When the electric lights shed a sudden bright 
glare down the spiral staircase, Sir Guy cowered and 
stopped .short again, turning pale with a fear irre 
pressible. But Phoebe put one arm about his neck 
and drew his head down to hers, whispering in his 

346 



REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD 

ear. What she said none heard save him, but the 
spell of her words was potent, for the young knight 
stood erect once more and firmly ascended to the 
room above. 

Droop stood nervously waiting at the engine-room 
door. 

"Are ye all in?" he said, sharply. "Where's 
Cousin Rebecca?" 

"Here I be!" came a voice from below. "I'm jest 
lockin' the door tight." 

"Well, hurry up hurry! Come up here an' lay 
down. I'm goin' to start." 

In a few moments all was in readiness. Droop 
pulled the lever, and with a roar and a mighty bound 
the Panchronicon, revived by its long period of wait 
ing, sped upward into the night. 

As the four fugitives sat upright again, and Droop, 
rubbing his hands with satisfaction, was about to 
speak, the door of one of the bedchambers was 
opened, and a stranger dressed in nineteenth-century 
attire stepped forward, shading his blinking eyes with 
his hand. 

The two women screamed, but Droop only dropped 
amazed into a chair. 

"Francis Bacon!" he exclaimed. 

Then, leaping forward eagerly, he cried aloud: 

"Gimme them clothes!" 

Of the return trip of the five, little need be said 
save to record one untoward incident which has been 

347 



THE PANCHRONICON 

the occasion of a most unfortunate historic contro 
versy. 

The date-recording instrument must have been de 
ranged in some way, for when, after a great number 
of eastward turns around the pole, it marked the 
year 1898, they had really only reached 1857. Sup 
posing themselves to have actually reached the year 
erroneously indicated by the recorder, they set off 
southward and made a first landing in Hartford, 
Connecticut. 

Here they discovered their mistake, and returned 
to the pole to complete their journey in time. All 
but Francis Bacon. He declared that so much whirl 
ing made him giddy, and remained in Connecticut. 
Alas! Had Phoebe known the result of this deser 
tion, she would never have consented to it. 

Bacon, who had read much of Shakespeare while 
in the Panchronicon, found on returning thus acci 
dentally to modern America, that this playwright 
was esteemed the first and greatest of poets and 
dramatists by the modern world. Then and there 
he planned a conspiracy to rob the greatest charac 
ter in literary history of his just fame; and, under 
the pseudonym of "Delia Bacon," advanced those 
theories of his own concealed authorship which have 
ever since deluded the uncritical and disgusted all 
lovers of common-sense and of justice. 

Copernicus Droop, on returning his three remain 
ing passengers to their proper dates and addresses, 
discovered that his sole remaining phonograph, with 

348 



REBECCA'S TRUMP CARD 

certain valuable records of Elizabethan origin, had 
disappeared. As he owed a grudge to Francis Bacon, 
that worthy fell at once under suspicion, and accord 
ingly Droop promptly returned to 1857, sought out 
the deserter, and charged him with having stolen 
these instruments. 

It was not until the accused man had indignantly 
denied all knowledge of Droop's property that the 
crestfallen Yankee recollected that he had left the 
apparatus in question in the deserted mansion of 
Newington, where he had stored it for greater safety 
after Bacon's first unexpected visit. 

Without hesitation, he determined to return to 
1598 and reclaim his own. Bacon, who had learned 
from modern historical works of the brilliant future 
in store for himself in England, begged Droop to 
take him back; and as an atonement for his unjust 
accusation, Droop consented. 

It is not generally known that, contrary to com 
mon report, Francis Bacon was not arrested for debt 
in 1598; but that, during the time he was supposed 
to have been in prison, he was actually engaged in 
building up in his own behalf the greatest hoax in 
history. 

Let those who may be inclined to discredit this 
scrupulously authentic chronicle proceed forthwith 
to Peltonville, New Hampshire, and there ask for 
Mr. and Mrs. Guy Fenton. From them will be 
gained complete corroboration of this history, not 

349 



THE PANCHRONICON 

only in the account which they will give of their own 
past adventures, but in the unmistakable Elizabethan 
flavor distinguishable to this day in their speech and 
manner. Indeed, the single fact that both ale and 
beer are to be found behind their wood-pile should 
be convincing evidence on this point. 

As for Rebecca, fully convinced at last of the mar 
vellous qualities of the Panchronicon, she never tires 
of taking her little nephew, Isaac Burton Wise Fen- 
ton, on her knee and telling him of her amazing ad 
ventures in the palace of <c Miss Tudor." 



350 



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