SAN DIEGO !
PUSHED BY UNSEEN HANDS.
"In the brain, that wondrous world with one in
habitant, there are recesses dim and dark, treacherous
sands and dangerous shores, where seeming sirens
tempt and fade; streams that rise in unknown lands
from hidden springs, strange seas with % ebb and flow
of tides, resistless billows urged by storms of flame,
profound and awful depths hidden by mist of dreams,
obscure and phantom realms where vague and fear
ful things are half revealed, jungles where passion's
tigers crouch, and skies of cloud and blue where fan
cies fly with painted wings that dazzle and mislead;
and the poor sovereign of this pictured world is led
by old desires and ancient hates, and stained by
crimes of many vanished years, and pushed by hands
that long ago were dust, until he feels like some
bewildered slave that Mockery has throned and
PUSHED BY UNSEEN
HELEN H. GARDENER
"Men, Women and Gods," te Sex in Brain," "Pulpit, Pew and
Cradle," "Is This Your Son, My Lord?" "A Thought
less Yes," "Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter,"
"An Unofficial Patriot," and " Facts and
Fictions of Life"
R. F. FENNO & COMPANY
9 AND I I EAST 1 6TH STREET
HELEN H. GA.RDENKR
AN ECHO FROM SHILOH, 17
OLD SAFETY-VALVE'S LAST RUN, .... 37
How MARY ALICE WAS CONVERTED, ... 77
A HALL OF HEREDITY, 97
"THAT REMINDS ME OF" . . . .137
His MOTHER'S BOY, 157
MR. WALK-A-LEG ADAMS "MEETS UP WITH" A
ONYX AND GOLD, 219
IN DEEP WATER, 245
A PRISON PUZZLE, 271
1 > ACK of all human action there is a
sufficient cause. Some of the more
open and simple causes we have learned to
recognize. But in the complex and as yet
unanalyzed varieties of mental, moral, social,
industrial, or other aberrations, of what is
by courtesy called civilized society, we are
constantly confronted by strange manifesta
tions which we have made little intelligent
effort to comprehend.
In the industrial world the unseen hand
of greed has pushed millions of men into
an abjectness measured only by the awful
limits of their dependence. It has fostered in
the race those mental, moral and physical
conditions which retard even the painfully
slow progress of natural evolution toward
a loftier manhood.
Again, in the dark and untrod halls of
heredity we have ignored and. still insist
upon ignoring the plainest finger-prints
of the " unseen hands that long ago were
dust." Only when those finger-prints are left
in blood do we deign to recognize them,
when it is, alas, too late to place in
their shadowy grasp the roses of beauty
and sheathe for them the weapons which
are double-edged. And so the blind lead
the blind and are pushed by the blind un
til they stumble by chance or fate upon
horror or hope, and, learning nothing by
the experience, their children and their chil
dren's children still grope within the same
dark walls and draw the window-shades
of habit and inherited forms of thought
against the sunlight of science and a ra
Often our very courts of Justice are
made partners with the criminals they
prosecute because they must administer
laws which have come down to us from
Preface. 1 1
the unseen hands of brutal power brutally
applied, or from ignorance, superstition, un
fairness or stealth.
The Past claps its fleshless hands and
the Present dances to the music of the
rattling bones. Until we cease, in the
darkness of willing blindness, to put patches
on the Past and learn to fit a new gar
ment to the fair form of the Future, we
shall continue to be pushed and swayed and
controlled by the myriad unseen hands that
should be to us a helpful memory and not
a merciless menace.
In these little studies of social and hered
itary conditions I hope I may have sug
gested many lines of thought to those who
care to think, and furnished imaginative en
tertainment for those who prefer to muse.
Dr. E. C. Spitzka, the leading brain spe
cialist (or alienist) of America, in writing of
certain of these stories, says:
" I am inclined to criticise and commend
this work much more earnestly than would
1 2 Preface,
be looked for from the technical position of a
specialist. I attach far more than a mere
literary value to two of these stories, to which
especial attention is not likely to be directed,
and believe no other author of fiction has
ever adequately attempted what is here done.
The book will not only retain a place in
my library, but I also feel sure that other
more 'unified' works by the same pen will
be placed beside it. Appealing as they may
to a larger circle of readers, they must earn
the author a recognition, alas, to-day, awarded
to many shallow pretenders instead. . . .
We see strange things in the field of heredity,
and I can pay the book no higher compliment
than to say that I had heretofore believed
only specialists capable of at once intelli
gently and popularly dealing with these
subjects." . . .
While this most eminent brain authority
honors these sketches with a place in his
library, on the basis of their scientific sug
gestion and value, the late Don Piatt wrote
Preface. 1 3
of similar stories by the same pen, which
have appeared 'under another title :
" It is not that they are beautiful stories,
for the charm is not in the fact of the
story, but in the delicate touch that leaves
so much to the reader's imagination. It
requires an imaginative genius to do this.
With such a quality and with her exquisite
touch she has a genius for writing fiction
which she should not throw away or degrade
on reformative novels or scientific specula
tion. These stories are rare fiction. Facts,
science and reformation work belong in an
And so each must decide for himself
what these stories contain for him. Whether
they present to his mind scientific suggestion
of important facts, or merely offer the enter
tainment of more or less impossible fiction.
Whether they will amuse his leisure hours
and tickle the fancy of a drowsy man, or
whether they are a stimulus, a suggestion or
a query. The mental outlook of each reader
will determine the value and quality of the
author's message for him.
HELEN H. GARDENER.
AN ECHO FROM SHILOH.
'Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you of it?
Before my God, I might not this believe,
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes."
. . . xhe sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood,
That fears a painted devil." . . .
"I tell you again, Banquo's buried; he cannot
come out of his grave." ....
"There are more things in heaven and earth,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
AN ECHO FROM SHILOH,
T T is impossible to recall now what started
the discussion. I remember that we
suddenly found ourselves as people con
stantly do in the midst of a speculative phi
losophical debate, the genesis of which be
longs with the infancy of the race, and its
exodus will possibly be coincident with the
extinction of mankind.
" Now, here is a thing I'd like you to ex
plain to me," the thoughtful German gentle
man who sat in the corner was saying. " You
say that you don't believe in spirits, but how
do you account for a thing like this and,
mind you, I do not say it is spirits do it, but
I only ask you, how do you account for it
otherwise? It was in 1872. The medium
was not what you call a professional ; but she
was the little daughter of a friend of ours.
2O An Eclio from Shiloh.
She was bareh sixteen years old then. We
were all sitting around a table like this you
know how they do it and it was clear day
light. She went into a sort of trance. Then
she began to shiver and say * Oohoo ! ' like
that, a sort of tremble. At last she said to
me, ' Don't you remember me ? oh, Herman,
don't you know me? You did me the last
kindness I received on earth. I am Lud-
wig Her voice died out, and she said
again, ' L-u-d-w-i-g,' in a far-away kind of tone.
I couldn't remember ever having had a friend
by that name for whom I had done any spe
cial last service. I tried hard to think, and
the others went on talking. I recalled a
schoolmate, in Germany, of the name ; but he
had died in California, and I was not there.
Another by the name was not dead yet. And
so I ran over all the people I had ever known
who were named Ludwig, and I said, ' You've
made a mistake. I never did a last service
for anyone named Ludwig/ The girl had
come out of her trance, and we told her
An Echo from Shiloh, 21
what she had said. She argued with me
that there must have been such a person
because, she said, she had no knowledge of
what she had done or said, and some one
must have spoken to me through her. I said
1 No/ and I stuck to it.
" At last she said she'd try again. She did.
This time her hand grasped a pencil, and the
moment she was unconscious she wrote:
' Oh, don't leave me ! Ludwig Maxer.
Shiloh.' The memory came back to me as
from the dead indeed. My heart stopped
beating. I had not thought of him for years.
He had never been my friend only a chance
comrade in arms and so many who were
nearer and dearer had gone down that
same awful day, and later on, that his very
memory had faded from my mind. It all
came back like a lightning flash in a clear
sky. That you may understand how this can
be so, I shall have to tell you a little war his
tory: You know I was on what you call the
wrong side the Confederate side. It is no
22 An Echo from Shiloh.
matter now whether it was right or wrong.
One thing is very certain, it had its heroes,
and few of its stories have yet been told.
But dat is needer here nor dare," he said, for
getting his English accent and dropping into
the attractive broken inflection and pronun
ciation that lend an added charm to the con
versation of educated and thoughtful Ger
mans, whose mother-tongue is the language
of their thought and affection, no matter how
carefully they school themselves to conform
to the demands of the language of the land
of their adoption.
My German friend's ordinary every-day
sentences not only followed his English
grammar, but the inflection gave but slight
clue to his nationality. When, however, he
warmed to a thought or story that carried
him out of himself, his tongue would slip
certain letters, and, as I say, add charm
to the earnestness and force of his un
guarded naturalness, until he would notice
it himself, and, with an effort of memory
An Echo from Shiloh. 23
and will, set his tongue on the English
Some one else spoke, and, in the break
which followed, much of the fire died out of
his face, and perhaps out of his thought as
well, and his speech resumed the beaten path
of conventional English.
" It was at the battle of Shiloh. I belonged
to the color guard. Volunteers were called
for to deploy and throw out a line toward a
thicket to see if there were masked batteries
behind it. At first a few men and then very
nearly the whole of the Twentieth Louisiana
regiment responded to the call, and we were
ordered to go far enough to draw their fire if
batteries were ambushed there, and then fall
back when the test had been made. Nearly
one thousand men marched toward those
bushes. We had to march through a corn
field and every old soldier will understand
what that means. Hidden from each other
there is no place so terrible to a soldier
as a cornfield!"
24 An Echo from Shiloh.
His voice dropped, and his eyes assumed
a look of intense thoughtfulness as he faced
his handsome wife.
" I was not a married man then, and yet it
took a great deal of grim determination to
face the unknown but suspected danger.
Gott! I haf often wondered how the men
did it who knew there were wives and chil
dren at home waiting for dem ! But dat is
needer here nor dare!"
Again he pulled back to the story and to
"They waited until we were almost on
them, and then whiz ! they opened fire.
Three hundred and twenty-one of us were
alive to tell the tale ! Poor August Zegler
was shot through the body, and fell with the
flag under him. He was the color-bearer.
He was shot through the bowels, and fell on
his face on the flag.
As we turned to run our orders were
only to learn if batteries were masked there,
and then retreat and we had surely learned
An Echo from Shiloh. 25
that," he added, as a grim aside "as we
turned to run I rolled poor August over on
his back and caught up the flag from under
him. It was the Confederate flag the flag
you think was on the wrong side, and no
doubt it was, but it was our colors, and I
Some one in the room said it was a fine
action; but he did not pause, and had no
thought of his deed, although he had been
promoted to a staff position as a result of this
bit of bravery. He was only coming to his
point in the story.
" Just as I caught up the flag and had got
five or six feet, with an impetus that threw
me still further ahead, poor Ludwig Maxer
fell on one knee at my side, and said, ' Oohoo,'
in a sort of a long shiver, and put out his
hands. He had been shot. He cried out
not especially to me: 'Oh, don't leave me
behind!' With the natural impulse of a com
rade I crowded my other arm around him
and tried to pull him to his feet again. He
26 An EcJio from Shiloh,
had been hit in the small of the back, and
my arm hurt him worse dan de shot. He
made a groan, his head dropped on my shoul
der, and he was what you call unconscious.
One of de odder boys threw an arm around
him on de odder side, and we dragged him
forward until, from behind a covered place,
some of us carried the dead weight into the
ranks and on behind de line."
The German paused to wipe his fore
head and begin his deliberate English again.
" I say dead weight and it was that for
he was all paralyzed below the waist now.
But that is neither here nor there. What
I'm coming to is this. The poor fellow died
two days later without ever uttering a word,
and the strangest thing about it all was that
his little pet squirrel that he always carried
in his pocket had to be buried with him. We
couldn't take it away. It fought and bit us
every time we tried, and ran back into his
breast pocket. We wrapped the flag we had
rescued around poor Maxer, and from be-
An EcJw from Shiloh. 27
neath the blue folds the little head of his
faithful comrade peered as we lowered him
into his grave. We covered him very slowly
to give it time to get out when it should un
derstand that it was really to be buried ; but
the trembling creature held its place and
and we buried it alive."'
There was a long pause. His voice had
grown low and almost tender. Several per
sons murmured inaudible trifles, but all were
intensely interested and eager for him to go
" But, as I say," he continued, a moment
later, " there had been so many nearer and
dearer to me who were killed that day and
afterward, in the war, that the memory of
poor Maxer and his pet squirrel had died
out of my mind until this child-medium
flashed it across my mental vision again like
lightning in a clear sky. Now, how do you
account for that? "
" She had heard of it at the time," began
28 An Eclw from Skilok.
the incredulous lady on his left; but he did
not allow her to finish the sentence.
" Mind you, I don't say it is spirits. All I
say is, these are the facts, and I'd like to hear
some one account for them."
The gentleman opposite took up the
suggestion thrown out by the skeptical
"The medium had heard of it at the time,
or more natural still you had told it in
the town after the war, and she had gotten
hold of it."
But the German was ready to meet both
"You must not forget that war was a
mere name to the little girl who did that.
She was barely sixteen, and all this had been
ten years before. She could hardly have
heard of it at the time and, besides, she
did not even know I had been in the battle
of Shiloh." He paused, and smiled in a sar
castic way. "And as for me telling dose facts
in dat border town so soon after de close of
An Echo from SJtilok. 29
de war did any of you live in what was
called de border States along about dat time ?
No?" He displayed more excitement as he
asked the question than at any time be
fore, and his accent lapsed with his self-con
trol. "No! Well, den, all I got to say is,
anybody who didn't haf to tell he was with
Beauregard wasn't telling it. And I was a
young German. Nobody suspected that I
had been in the army. They thought I
had lately landed, and I let dem think dat.
It was what you call healthier."
We all laughed.
" It was mind acting on mind," began the
lady from Boston. "You were not aware
that you were thinking of your comrade in
arms at Shiloh; but you were, and in her
supersensitive state your own thought im
pressed itself on the mind of the child whom
you call a medium."
Several agreed to this explanation. One
or two questioned it. The words " second
ary consciousness," " unconscious cerebra-
30 An Echo from Shiloh.
tion," "thought transference," and the like,
mingled with the general flow of suggestion
or assertion that each felt in duty bound to
offer as his or her contribution toward the
solution of the question. The German list
ened to them all. Then he said slowly:
" You must remember, I don't say it
was the spirit of Ludwig Maxer. I don't
know what it was that spoke and wrote
through that child but I do know it wasn't
what you are all talking about now. I
tell you I couldn't recall any such man un
til the second time, when she wrote the
full name and ' Shiloh ! ' I had hardly
known his first name. I was new to the
country and new to the war. I was drafted
soon after I had gone South, and was not
even in a regiment of men whom I had
known before. Some in my own company
had become almost dear to me, but he be
longed to Company K, and I to Company
F. We had had nothing in common. His
death and burial were to me what you call
An Echo from Shiloh, 31
a mere episode, and but for the squirrel I
doubt if I could have recalled any of it
after so long* a time, and after so many
other experiences in the war and since. For,
you see, I was in a strange land then, and
I had married and had a family since that
happened. So much had filled in my life
in these ten intervening years, and that was
such a mere episode in with the rest, I
had forgotten it. Oh, no, she did not get
it from my mind that day. I got it from
hers, and so I say how do you explain it?
Spirits I do not say it was. Mind-reading
and the like I know it was not."
He whispered an aside to his wife,
who had appeared nervous while he talked.
Then he said, in the tone of one who
yields a point:
"My wife wants me to tell you one
thing I thought I would leave out. She
thinks it is strangest of all. It is dis "
"This," said his wife, gently touching
32 Aii EcJw from Sliiloh.
" Yes, this. When the little medium took
the pencil to write the name she seemed
partly conscious. As she wrote it she jerked
aside, and her hand tried to drop the pen-
cil and push something. When she came
out of her trance again, her finger had
several small bloody scratch-like marks on
it, and she said that all she remembered of
her second trance was that a squirrel tried
to bite her finger. Now, how do you ac
count for that?"
The lady from Boston smiled, but made
a note on an ivory tablet of the new point
in the case. Under the note she wrote,
"Optical illusion? Imagination or?"
Two or three of the party began to talk
in asides of the new feature in the matter,
and labor to fit it into their previously es
poused theories, each giving a different expla
nation. No one doubted the German's sin
cerity, and no one questioned his common-
sense. His integrity was above suspicion.
Yet his story was being explained away on
An Echo from SJdloh. 33
all sides. Some of the explanations left the
problem vaguer than it was before. Some
of them were patently inadequate, and
others were simply ridiculous; but each per
son had a theory that appeared to satisfy
Each listened to his neighbor's hypothe
sis with deep scorn or profound incredulity,
and met some point with the German's
original inquiry: "But, on that basis, how
do you explain this?" And so the evening
came to an end, and each went his way,
triumphant in his own mental attitude,
which touched the shores of the unknown
at his individual angle, and, to his indi
vidual satisfaction, answered the question
from which we started.
And yet no two answers agreed.
OLD SAFETY-VALVE'S LAST
. . . "But I remember now
I'm in this earthly world; where, to do harm,
Is often laudable: to do good, sometimes,
Accounted dangerous folly." . . .
"Another age may divide the manual labor of
the world more equally on all the members of soci
ety, and so make the labors of a few hours avail to
the wants and add to the vigor of the man."
"You see, her eyes are open.
Ay, but their sense is shut."
"The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the de
struction of the poor is their poverty."
^XAHE express train was due at Hardy's
Station twelve minutes before three
A. M. The night was clear. A white moon
light fell on the track direct and full. The
grade was easy and the curve not unduly
short, and yet there was a collision. A col
lision so awful in force and so terrible in
results that the entire country was thrown
into a fever of excitement when the "extra"
shout was heard in every city early the fol
lowing day, and people read with feverish
haste and shuddering horror the details of
the awful calamity.
" Extra ! ' stra ! ' stro ! Ex trbble sion
on r road! ' "Bulloss'vlif e ! Extra!"
Who has not heard the blood-curdling
40 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
cry? Who has not felt his heart stand still
as it flashed through his brain that some
loved one might be on that very train?
Who has not felt the wildly glad sense
of relief when assured that the disaster
was on another road than that chosen by
the treasure of his own household? Who
has not, later on, been shocked by his sel
fish joy and settled down to a numb, dead
consciousness of pain and sorrow a vague
pain, a subdued sorrow for the unknown
hearts that were torn and bleeding as his
own might have bled and sorrowed? Ah,
the limitations of human sympathy!
Who has not forgotten the very acci
dent a few days later, and passed with un
thinking carelessness the darkened house
of the neighbor who, alas, has a home no
Longer than the sympathy for the be
reaved, there lingers in the brain resent
ment against the living and a desire to
bring to retributive justice the careless or
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 41
wanton cause of the accident. In the case
of the disaster at Hardy's Station public
opinion, as voiced by the press, asserted
that it wanted, must have, and intended to
find the exact cause of the terrible collision.
The fireman was supposed to be one of
the dead whose charred bodies had not
been recognized; but the engineer a man
of unusual culture and capacity in his oc
cupation was in custody, and, it was said,
had admitted that he was asleep at his
post. At this point the superintendent of
the road had sent him a warning to say ab
solutely nothing until he was placed on
oath, and he had obeyed the command of
his superior officer.
The superintendent explained that since
the engineer had been an old and trusted
employe, he did not want him on the im
pulse of self-accusation, under the sting of
conscience and public censure to say things
that might lead to his own condemnation
at the trial.
42 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
"It is quite possible that the rails
spread or that the air brake parted, so that
he shot past the siding, and into the other
train so suddenly that he himself is too
dazed to be sure just how it did happen.
I wish to talk with him before he says any
more for the public. Perhaps I can lead
him to recall everything. They say he is
quite dazed now and full of wild blame for
himself and for some one yet unknown.
Perhaps / can get at it. Let me see him
The superintendent had seen him alone,
but this interview, he said, had not been sat
isfactory. Nothing new came out. The super
intendent said, "I told him that I would
stand by him; that the road would be his
friend; that he need not be distressed nor
afraid. I thought best to quiet him. In
that way he will become more collected
and better able to go through the pre
liminary trial next week. He is apparently
both stubborn and insane now, for he was
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 43
resentful toward trie road for what reason
I fail to see and full of wild blame for
himself, and still he swears that he could
not help it. It is a strange case."
But before the trial, the self-tortured
engineer had made up his mind to tell
the exact truth and take the consequen
ces. He felt that he would not then be
the only one to fall under public censure,
and still his sensitive soul shrank and
shuddered at the thought of causing still
farther sorrow to other homes. The super
intendent had pointed out to him that no
good could come of such wholesale ravings
as his, and that the wives and families of
others than the dead were to be thought
" You are a bachelor, John," he had said.
"Remember that, and we will stand by
you to the end. The coupling broke. The
switch was displaced, the air brake parted,
perhaps. Who can say they did not? Are
you sure they did not?" and John was silent.
44 Old " Safety -Valve s" Last Run.
The trial began. The engineer was on
the stand, and had asked to be permitted
to tell his story as he could. Excitement
ran high, but he sat pale and determined.
Then he began in a steady, clear voice, with
his eyes on the superintendent, who sat on
a front seat. His first sentence sent the
blood all out of his superior officer's face,
and drew a hum of rage and condemna
tion from the spectators, and of surprise
from the legal gentlemen present.
"I was asleep." There could be no mis
take as to what he said, and yet no one
could believe his senses.
"Nothing happened to the brakes. They
were not applied. It was light. The track
was in order; but I was asleep and did
not take the siding."
There was perspiration on his brow.
He raised a trembling hand and wiped it
away. The superintendent moved uneasily
Old "Safety-Valves'' Last Run. 45
and whispered something to the lawyer for
" Hanging's too good for him," some one
back in the room said loud enough to be
heard. The bailiff rapped for silence.
The judge turned to the prisoner.
"Had you no sense of responsibility?
The public must be protected against en
gineers who sleep when on duty."
The engineer touched the bandage on
his broken arm and began again: "I do
not know how I escaped instant death, nor
how I jumped. It must have been instinct.
I was as dead asleep as a human being
could be. It seems to me I woke up after
I struck the ground. I was dazed like that
The superintendent will tell you why. He
said he would stand by me that we would
tell the truth. He knows why I was asleep
"I object," came from the legal gentle
man who sat next to the superintendent
"Mr. Hart is not on trial."
46 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
Mr. Hart's eyes flashed. The engineer
looked at him a moment, and his face
"Keep to your story," said the judge.
" What business had you to be asleep on
an engine going at full speed at night?"
" Your Honor, I did all I could to keep
awake, I fixed my eyes on the track far
ahead and watched with an intentness no
one can understand but the honest engineer
who knows what a frightful responsibility
his is; who feels keenly the value of the
lives in his keeping, and yet who also
realizes that his own physical powers are
trembling on the verge of collapse." He
paused and wiped his forehead with his
roughened hand and changed the position
of his bandaged arm. " Your Honor, I knew
that I was keeping eyes, but not brain,
awake. I struck my head a sharp rap two
or three times with my fist. That called
my deadened energies up for a moment
but it was for a moment only. Nature
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 47
claimed my mind. I could not keep it. My
eyes were fixed on the track. My hand
was on the throttle but I was asleep. I
realize that I was sound asleep, your Honor.
No denial is possible. There"
An irresistible movement of indignation
stirred the court-room again. The specta
tors- looked first at the prisoner, and then
at the jury with eyes that conveyed no
doubt as to what the verdict would be if
they might give it. Asleep at his post!
The guardian of all those lives those
sleeping, helpless beings who had confi
dently put themselves in his care but a few
hours before to be trapped like rats in a
burning mass of wood and iron that he
might doze at his post and jump to safety,
leaving them to their fate! What need to
conduct the trial farther? He had admitted
his guilt. Hanging was too good for him.
He should have fifty lives to be taken, and
each should be yielded up if that were
possible. The prosecutor felt that his case
48 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
was won and repeated to himself the old
maxim that he who attempts to conduct
his own defense has a fool for a client. He
pitied this man from the bottom of his
heart for having refused to accept as coun
sel the young attorney who had volun
teered his services; for even he would have
had more sense than to have allowed this
confession. He might have set up some
decently plausible theory in spite of the
facts, that would have left a loop-hole of
escape; but for a man to volunteer such a
statement as that he was simply asleep
on an engine that was speeding over a
moonlit track, and that being asleep he did
not see his signal orders to take a side
track, and so ran full head into another
train surely such a confession ended the
case. He smiled at the jury with profes
sional pleasure and was about to make a
remark, when Juror Number Seven ad
dressed the prisoner.
"Do you mean to say that you simply
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 49
went to sleep on your engine? That you
were sober and"
The prisoner lifted his heavy, pathetic
eyes and rested them on his questioner for
" I was sober," he said slowly. " I never
drink, but I was asleep on the engine. I
could not help it. I was asleep." The re
iteration was pathetic and he was trem
The prosecutor remarked drily that it
would be a good idea to put a man who
had a little habit like that where he could
do the least harm.
The prisoner turned his heavy hunted
eyes from the juror to the State's attorney
and rested his head on one hand. Then
his eyes wandered to the face of the
superintendent of the road, and his lips
drew themselves a little tenser, but he did
not speak. The superintendent whispered
to the prosecutor that they might as well
close the case right there, "the quicker the
5<D Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
better;" but Juror Number Seven was ready
with another question.
"Had you the habit of sleeping at your
post? Had you no sense of danger of
"Your Honor," broke in the prosecutor,
rising, "the State has nothing to prove.
The prisoner has saved the railroad and
the State the necessity of dragging the case
along. I have just been instructed by Mr.
Hart, the superintendent and representative
of the road, that he is satisfied to have
the case go to the jury just as it is, and
certainly I could do little to strengthen it.
The prisoner had struggled to his feet.
His great frame shook from head to foot.
The color had left his face. He was look
ing directly at the superintendent and his
ashen lips were moving, but no sound es
This man whose nerves of steel and
resolute promptness of action had earned
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 51
for him the sobriquet of " Old Safety-
Valve," and made him the envy of every
engineer on the line, was facing a danger
that was new to him. He knew how to
rely on himself. He knew how to be si
lent and alert. He knew what measure to
put upon the villainy of. a wayside tramp
who schemes to wreck a train for gain, or
by appearing to save it from a danger of
his own devising, reaps the harvest of
gratitude and gold from passengers and
people. But with a mind tortured by the
scenes and thoughts of the past few days,
with nerves unstrung and brain tired out,
he did not dare to risk himself to decide
in such a case as this.
It could not be possible that the su
perintendent, who had known him and
his faithful work for all these years, who
had grown up in the service with him,
who had placed this extra duty on him at
a time when he had made earnest protest
52 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
it could not be possible that Sidney Hart
was intending to desert him utterly!
His eyes wandered to the back of the
room, where a man, pale and shabby, stood
in a group that would have been described
by a police officer as " court-room loafers."
The prisoner grasped at the railing in
front of him. His eyes dilated and his
breath came in short, quick gasps.
" Jim ! " he said, in a voice of horror.
" Jim ! they are blaming it all on me ! And
no one comes to help me but the dead !
Jim ! Jim ! It is too late. I " He put
his hand to his tortured head and sank in
a heap on the court-room floor. Not dead,
oh no, not so fortunate as that, only weak
ened in body and mind. Destined to live
a palsied, trembling, mumbling, repulsive
lump of clay, neither dead nor living. In
bondage to life and in bondage to death.
Belonging to neither the living nor the
dead. An inhabitant of no country a ten
ant of no tomb. With neither past nor
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Rim. 53
future. A creature of infinite pathos. Na
ture had whistled down brakes when the
speed was too high and the coupling had
parted. Henceforth poor Old Safety-Valve
would run on an unknown track, alone and
in the dark. There would be no headlight,
no stations, no signals, and no final desti
nation. Aimless, on a wild engine, poor
Old Safety-Valve had pulled out into the
infinite blackness that engulfed his over
wrought capacities, and Sidney Hart de
voutly thanked God that the summons had
come when it did.
He felt that Jim Blanchard would be
an easy man to silence. Jim had a large
family. He had deserted his post and Jim
was always sadly in need of money ! For
Superintendent Hart had understood at a
glance that the ghost that deceived the al
ready overtaxed brain of poor Old Safety-
Valve was the returned fireman of engine
42. He knew that the old fireman had
loved his comrade on the iron horse, but he
54 Old "Safety-Valve's" Last
knew, too, that Jim loved life and a certain
little brood of helpless children up in the
hills by the machine shops in another state.
He knew that grim want for these helpless
little creatures would be a potent factor in
an argument with Jim, and so, in the con
fusion that followed, it came about that the
superintendent and the fireman passed out
of the room together and were driven away
in the same carriage. A strange and un
der ordinary circumstances an inexplicable
proceeding, surely ; but not so strange to
Juror Number Seven, who had used his
eyes and ears and brain to more than usual
purpose all along.
The calendar had broken down. The
case had disposed of itself. The jury was
discharged. The stricken prisoner was car
ried out and away to his living tomb. The
Three hours later, Juror Number Seven
saw a haggard, wretched man emerge from
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 55
the private door of the office of the super
intendent of the Spanville railroad. It was
the same man upon whose face the pris
oner's eyes had fixed themselves when his
mind began to wander when the final
shock came. It was the same man who
had been taken by the arm and put in the
carriage by the superintendent as he had
hurried from the court-room. It was the
same man, but his face was a different face.
Then, it had been haggard and wretched.
Now, it was desperate and distinctly self-
abased. Then, the figure was bent, poorly
clad and depressed. Now, it was slinking.
The remnants of manhood had departed.
The ownership of even a mental self seemed
gone as the ownership of a physical self
had been in pawn before. Poor Jim Blan-
chard had made a sturdy fight ; but what
good could it do Old Safety-Valve now for
him to tell the truth ? And the children
were hungry up there on the hill by the
car shops. They were growing up like
56 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
weeds, in ignorance, to follow in their fa
ther's footsteps a slave to poverty, and
now, alas, to crime. The thought came to
him with a shock. He half turned to re
trace his steps to the office of the super
intendent. He thought he would like to
buy back his soul, even if the bodies of
all of them must remain in perpetual pawn
as the result.
Then he said to himself that it would
be better to let it go as it was now. What
was his honor worth at best? All he was
asked for was absolute silence, and the
price of that meant comfort and education
and rest to the tired wife and the little
ones on the hill. What could his peace of
mind his honor be when compared with
all that ? If it could help Old Safety- Valve
he would do right at whatever cost to those
blessed babies ; but " He's beyond the
clutch of the law now. He is safe." Jim
remembered that those were the very words
the superintendent had used. If the engi-
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 57
neer ever "came to," if they ever undertook
to prosecute him again, it would be time
enough to go to his rescue. If
" Come in and have a drink with me,
old man," said Juror Number Seven as he
saw Jim turn around for the fourth time
and retrace his steps half a block. "You
look cold an' seems to me I've seen you
" I am cold," replied the fireman, relieved
that some one had spoken to and taken
him out of himself. " But if I've ever saw
you anywheres before it must 'a' been when
we was both drunk 're in hell," he added
with a desperate attempt at humor.
" Well, no matter about that," replied
the Juror, jocularly, as they drained the first
glass; "but we'll fill up and get acquainted
now, an' then we'll know each other bet
ter when we meet before the fiery furnace.
I'm a stranger in town myself, and I'm on
a toot. I'm willing to blow in a few stamps
on you fill her up again!" he said to the
58 Old "Safety-Valve's" Last Run.
waiter, a little later, as he pushed Jim's
glass across the table for the fourth time.
'N we won'go'ometillmornin', hey ? "
" Not if the court knows himself," said
Juror Number Seven, and instantly regretted
his words, for the old fireman who had
begun to grow maudlin and talkative braced
up and looked at him steadily for a mo
ment. Then he leaned over and said in a
" Court's a dam fraud ! "
Then he drew down the corners of his
eyes and nodded eight or ten times in rapid
succession. Juror Number Seven wondered
what he would better say. The belligerent
look in the old fireman's eye led him to
conclude that an argument would be most
to his taste, so he leaned back and with
exasperating complaisance remarked :
" Any man that commits a crime is
mighty likely to look at it in that way."
There was no reply. Jim drank the
last drops in his glass and himself beckoned
Old "Safety-Valves' Last Run. 59
the waiter to refill it. When it was in
his hand again, he lifted it unsteadily across
the table toward his companion and gave it
a wavering jerk forward and remarked :
" Y' don't know whatyer talkin' about.
They're alwaystryin' th' wrong man."
Juror Number Seven nodded. Then he
" Why didn't you prove an alibi, then ? "
he inquired and slapped Jim on the back
and laughed uproariously.
" 'Twasn't me," said the old man, huski
ly, but on the defensive in an instant.
" 'Twasn't me. 'Twas Old Safety-Valve
they was a-tryin' 'n it was the sup'rintend-
ent they had oughter a tried. Ever blame
bit his fault 'n he knows knows knows-
it-dam-well. He " Jim's head sunk
on his arm, and Juror Number Seven si
On his way out he held a brief conver
sation with the proprietor of the place, and
transferred certain valuables to his hands.
60 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
"Put him to bed. Don't let him leave
on any account until I come for him," he
said, and was gone.
But Juror Number Seven discovered that
certain hinges of the machinery of the courts
were not so well oiled as others, and that
it was a good deal more difficult to secure
the arrest and indictment of Superintendent
Sidney Hart than he had expected.
It had taken no great labor, it is true,
to secure the arrest and detention of the
old fireman, who had been reported dead
and had now turned up so unexpectedly.
No charge had been lodged against him,
but he was simply held as a witness. But
a witness for what ? A witness against
whom ? The few people who knew any
thing of it smiled over the vagaries of
Juror Number Seven, and wondered if he
supposed the courts were going to try a
paralytic imbecile for homicide. They grew
merry over the idea, and wondered how old
Jim would be, before the case came on.
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 61
They said that Juror Number Seven had
never been on a jury before, and that he
felt piqued that the case broke down. He
wanted to scare up some reason to go on
with it again. They scouted his assertion
that there was new evidence, and another
witness. No new evidence was needed.
Another witness was superfluous. The en
gineer had confessed, and then he had pro
ceeded to put himself beyond the pale of
the law by becoming actually and hopelessly
demented in court. It might be charitable
to infer that he had been touched a little
with dementia before the accident, and had
not simply fallen asleep at his post, as he
had confessed ; but that a short interval of
mental alienation may have overtaken him
then. This idea had been suggested by
Superintendent Hart as the kindest and most
plausible, and had been generally accepted.
The newspapers had commented upon it,
and sent a thrill of horror through many
a traveler by intimating that such a calam-
62 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
ity was likely to overtake any engineer at
any moment, and that no human precaution
on the part of railroad officials could possi
bly avert the awful consequences.
"Such dispensations of Providence were
rare, thank God, but the possibility of their
becoming 1 more frequent owing to the high
tension of the present methods of life in
America" was pointed out, and again the
But at last "the farce of trying Super
intendent Hart for the Hardy's Station dis
aster" was brought about by the persis
tent and heroic efforts of "Crank Number
Seven," as he was now called by those who
followed his " maunderings." It was looked
upon as a good deal of a joke by every
one except Mr. Hart himself, and possibly
by one wretched man who stubbornly
waited in the House of Detention. He had
talked with Juror Number Seven a great
many times and he had begged pleaded
like a child not to be allowed to see his
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 63
old superintendent. But the superintend
ent had twice visited the little hut on the
hill by the car shops in the distant state,
and "with true Christian charity and his
well-known magnanimity he had provided
for the family of his misguided or ele
Indeed, he had placed the older children
at school, and assured Jim's tired old wife
that they should, henceforth, want for noth
ing. He gave her a free pass and advised
her to visit Jim and to tell him how well
the road was looking after his family, and
that it had sent poor Old Safety-Valve
to a first-class private asylum, where no
expense would be spared to have every
comfort secured to him.
Juror Number Seven found Jim sick
and sullen after this visit from his wife,
and as it had occurred only two days be
fore the case was to be called, and since
the old wife was to be present having se
cured comfortable quarters near the House
64 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
of Detention it was said Juror Number
Seven felt ill at ease and uncertain for
the first time.
If Jim would tell the story on the wit
ness-stand that he told to him, he would
be quite satisfied. But could Jim be relied
upon to do that? The stubborness of the
man and his singular timidity at times
puzzled Juror Number Seven sadly, and yet
he pushed the case. That pathetic wreck
who had fallen at his very feet on the
witness-stand haunted him day and night,
and Juror Number Seven felt that he
would deserve the same fate if he did not
do all in his power to place the case
before the public in what he conceived
to be its proper light.
The day came. The court-room was
filled with curious spectators. The old fire
man took the witness-stand. The delay had
been so long, the case was so absurdly
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 65
weak, that public indignation and excite
ment had subsided into a sort of droll in
terest in the "curious piece of spite-work
or mental aberration of the man who was
professing to use the drunken maunderings
of a half-witted fireman to blacken the fair
name of one of the first Christian railroad
men of the country."
The preliminaries were hurried through.
The superintendent had seated himself by
the side of Jim's wife, who was silently
weeping, and it could be plainly seen that
he was whispering words of comfort to
her. "He will tell the truth. It will be
all right," he said to her aloud, and Jim
had heard, and hearing, trembled.
"For your sake and the children's not
for mine he will come out like a man, I
know, and the case will be at rest forever.
I have sent for all the children. They are
to be here in a moment. The sight of them
in their new clothes and happier faces
will bring Jim to his better self. I"
66 Old "Safety -Valve's" Last Run.
The door behind the judge opened, and
and eight children, neat, tidy, and well-fed,
came into the room with awe and curi
osity on their faces. They saw their father's
face first. It had been long weeks since
they had seen him, and eight pairs of arms
were about him, eight pairs of lips sought
his, eight young voices said, "Papa! oh,
papa!" before silence and order had been
"What do you propose to prove?" the
judge inquired of Juror Number Seven,
when the case was resumed. "What do
you propose to prove by this witness?"
"Your Honor, I propose to prove that
the entire blame rests upon Superintend
ent Hart; that the engineer protested
earnestly, and almost with tears, against go
ing out that night on No. 42. He had
been on duty, without sleep, for twenty-seven
hours. The superintendent knew this. He
knew the faithful services of this man for
fifteen years, and yet he threatened him
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 67
with instant dismissal if he did not take
out that train. No one heard it except
this fireman and the wretched wreck of
humanity up there in the asylum, whose
nerves and brain gave way under the long
strain and the awful result. I propose to
prove that Sidney Hart and Sidney Hart
alone, was guilty, not only of the murder of
the people who perished in that awful
disaster, but that he is also guilty of the
murder of the brave engineer who worse
than dead who "-
" I object ! " exclaimed the defendant's
lawyer, and Sidney Hart looked steadily at
the wretched face of Jim. Then he reached
out a hand and drew the youngest child
of the witness up on to his knee and
stroked her sunny hair. Her hair had never
looked so lovely to Jim, for he had never
before seen her so well dressed , and so
round and rosy. His eyes filled with a mist
and he hung his head.
" Your Honor, it is all a lie," he said,
68 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
hoarsely ; " I was drunk when I told him,
T " _,
" What ! " burst from the lips of the as
tonished ex-juror. " What ! Why, you have
told me fifty times since. You wept like a
child only three days ago, and "
A titter ran through the room. The
bailiff rapped for order. Jim's little girl
was holding the superintendent's shining
gold watch to her ear and delightedly
counting the ticks with silently moving lips
and sparkling eyes.
Jim looked at her again, and then at
his wife in her pretty new gown.
" I was foolin'," he said slowly. " I never
heard the superintendent tell him nothin'."
" And you did not know that the en
gineer, your friend, was forced to stay on
duty twenty-seven hours at a stretch ? "
asked Juror Number Seven.
" No ! "
"You don't know that he was threat-
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 69
ened if he didn't take that train out in
spite of his protests with dismissal ? "
"No," said the wretched man, with eyes
on the floor.
" I ask that this case be dismissed and
the indictment quashed," exclaimed the law
yer for the defense. " The whole proceeding
is an insult to the dignity of the court.
There is not and there never has been any
" I see no reason why the motion of the
counsel for the defense should not be sus
tained," said the judge, slowly. " The case
is dismissed. The jury is discharged."
There was a wave of laughter in the room
and a great shuffling of feet.
" Flattest fizzle I ever saw," remarked
one man, as he left the room.
"But, my goodness, wasn't the superin
tendent good to him and them young uns
when he thought all the time that Jim
was goin' to swear against him! What a
man ! "
70 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
" I'm a-goin' to put my John into his
Sunday school clast right off," remarked an
admiring mother, as she pinned her bonnet
strings. " He's got a clast at the mission
school, but I always thought he was too
proud for us; but jest look how he helt
that baby an' its pa lyin' agin' him all
along ! "
" I thought your better nature would
assert itself, Jim, when the test came," said
Superintendent Hart, shaking Jim's hand
warmly, as the children clung about him
and his wife dried her eyes. " You ought
to be proud of your father, little ones," he
added, taking his watch from the baby's
hand and replacing it in his pocket.
" Proud of the devil ! " muttered Jim
between his teeth, and the look in his eye
was not pleasant to the superintendent.
But notwithstanding that fact Superintend
ent Hart handed Jim's wife a roll of bills,
with the remark that her husband had been
off duty so long that she would no doubt
Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run. 71
need this and more for the children. He
looked straight at Jim and Jim dropped his
eyes, " for shame because of such generous
treatment by the man he had caused so
much trouble" as the report said. "You
can go back to your engine to-morrow,"
added Mr. Hart, softly. " I can hold no ill-
feeling toward you, but you must give up
liquor, Jim, or your family these fine chil
dren will be ashamed of you. They "-
Jim raised his eyes, and Mr. Hart ceased
speaking. He waited to see Jim and his
family well on their way home, and then
he drove to his office, smiling and content
with the world. He knew quite well what
the outcome would be. He was a student
of human nature, in a quiet way. Jim
would feel depressed, bitter, discontented
with himself for a while, and then the feel
ing would gradually die out. Only heroes
fight systems for a principle, and poor old
Jim was not a hero. He was only a very
ordinary man, who had been cast in the
72 Old "Safety-Valve's" Last Run.
usual mould the mould that is shaped by
environment. An honest man ? Yes, if
temptation were not too strong if burdens
were not too heavy. Loyal to his friends?
Yes, so long as he might see results
that touched those friends and who were
Jim's friends just now? His wife and chil
dren, surely, and to be loyal to them Jim
could not afford to think too closely about
causes and effects. Great love, encompassed
by ignorance and many children, may be
trusted to keep the twig of thought and the
back of poverty bent to receive the bur
den devised for it. Jim would grind his
teeth sometimes, and a flash of half-formed
thought would struggle in his brain for
sequence and for justification ; but it would
die out before it reached a definite conclu
sion. He would never trouble Sidney Hart
again. He would simply shovel coal into
his engine, eat what he could get, sleep
when given permission, and drink a little
now and then to stimulate his flagging en-
Old "Safety-Valve's" Last Run. 73
ergies or to farther deaden insistent germs
of thought. He would die a natural death or
be killed on his engine before many years,
and nothing further would come of his one
pitiful little struggle. Another fireman
would take his place, and that would be
the end of the matter. Superintendent Hart
smiled with a return of his old cheerfulness ;
for he once more felt perfectly secure, and
feeling secure he also felt entirely virtuous.
"It would be simply maddening to be under
anybody's thumb," he thought, " even if that
thumb belonged to so powerless and vague
a creature as Jim Blanchard. Thank God,
I wasn't born to be patient under adverse
skies. I've got to hold the reins and do
the driving for myself and the horse has
got to go my way," he added, as he locked
his safe for the night; " or I'll break his
neck." Whether Superintendent Hart was
thinking of Jim as the horse or whether he
meant something far more general and im
personal it would be difficult to say. Cer-
74 Old "Safety-Valves" Last Run.
tain it was, that the schedule paper of
time-table records he had replaced in the
desk had one less figure on it than when
he had taken it out. According to that re
cord which was, surely, enough for all
future contingencies, Poor Old Safety-Valve
had been on his engine only seven hours
and he went to sleep at his post. It was
truly a sad case, and he had paid heavy
price for his fault, and the superintendent
sighed and drove home to dinner.
HOW MARY ALICE WAS
"In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career."
"Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
And born unholy and unclean,
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
Corrupts the race, and taints us all."
"If there is an angel who records the sorrows of
men as well as their sins, he knows how many and
deep are the sorrows that spring from false ideas
for which no man is culpable."
"I do not find the religions of men at this
moment very creditable to them, but either childish
and insignificant, or unmanly and effeminating."
HOW MARY ALICE WAS
\ AT^HEM tbe usual winter -revivals"
began in Greenville, the various
denominations decided to combine in the
atfarlr upon Satan, and *rfl5S their forces in
the Methodist church, They were to divide
the spoils, so to speak, afterward.
This seemingly innocent arrangement
looked perfectly fair to the general public
and to sinners at large, but the Baptist and
other clergymen shook their heads in private
and showed a marked disrelish for, although
they consented to, the pooling system. They
had had experience before. It may not be
easy to believe; but it is, nevertheless, a fact
that, having been wrought to a state of re
ligions exaltation or frenzy in a given church,
it is within those same walls that the convert
8o How Mary Alice was Converted.
tends to cast his lot thereafter, and while a
few go with their friends, back to the church
to which they are accustomed, the many
cling to the one where Satan was put to
flight after a vigorous struggle and charge
all along the line.
The decision to mass forces at the Meth
odist church had come only after a disastrous
attempt to conduct (the previous year) three
revivals in the town at the same time. The
opinion of the public had become so divided
as to the relative "power of the Spirit" at the
three places that the discussion of the real
subjects at issue were lost sight of.
The ungodly had hinted that the visiting
"boy preachers" and local clergymen were
spending more thought on trying to beat the
number of converts at the other meetings
than on anything else. They scoffingly as
serted that the night after the Baptists
announced forty-two souls saved the rival
clergyman (Methodist) had boldly claimed
fifty-one as his harvest up to that time. The
How Mary Alice was Converted. 81
weight of evidence appeared to be on the
Methodist side, and certainly the volume of
sound was there ; albeit the ungodly hinted
that certain of the noisiest converts were
" stock," as it were, and had been saved each
winter with the utmost regularity for many
Hints of this nature were so frequently
thrown out that it became evident that some
thing had to be done. So when Brother
Salter announced that the following Sunday
he would open the revival at his church, by
a sermon on "The Lamb's Book of Life," he
created quite a stir in the congregation by
adding that since conferring together the
various clergymen had decided to forego
revivals in their own churches, and would
request their own congregations, and all
sinners more or less closely allied thereto,
to repair nightly to the Methodist church
where all the preachers would be for the
next three or four weeks, or as long as the
82 How Mary Alice was Converted.
power of the Lord was manifest in their
Brother Salter spoke as if the "power of
the Lord" traveled about from place to
place, with all its belongings in a valise, and
tarried here or there according as invitations
He exhorted his flock to welcome and
detain, as long as might be, this Power, and
it was hinted by the bald-headed old scoffer
in the choir that he had clearly intimated
that he meant to give his clerical rivals a
point or two that might hereafter result in
more additions to their own flocks and a
greater number of brands plucked from the
burning, if they but followed his example.
But all this was merely the prelude to
the revival which almost swept the town
of sinners of mature years, and left only
the hopelessly skeptical or the palpably too
callow for the brethren to work upon. Each
denomination disliked to be outdone by a
rival, therefore pastoral visits were made,
How Mary Alice -was Converted. 83
and deacons and "mothers in Israel" urged
every man, woman, and child who had ever
attended their own meetings to go to the
great combination revival the following
week, as it was to be the last, and a special
effort was to be made to very greatly in
crease the number of converts, so that there
might be a fair division afterward, when
they were formally taken into the various
Mary Alice and her friend Isabel were
the only two lambs belonging to one of
the Sabbath-school classes, who had not,
previous to this last week, gone up for
prayers, and after weeping and praying and
wrestling with the Lord night after night
announced themselves saved, and been made
objects of great rejoicing forthwith.
The "mourners' bench " was so crowded
by wretched " seekers " wedged in between
men and women who knelt beside them to
talk with, pray over, and weep for them,
that it was no unusual thing to see one of
84 How Mary Alice was Converted.
the elders or deacons -give a sort of flying
leap in order to get past one group and to
The church was filled with groans and
the sound of weeping. "Amen!" "Praise the
Lord!" "Come down now, dear Lord!"
"Bless his holy name!" and many such
other ejaculations, were so mingled with
sobs and groans, and cries of " Save me ! "
"Save me!" "I'm lost! lost! lost!" that the
nerves of a stronger person than poor little
Mary Alice might well have been unstrung
by the prevailing excitement. The child be
came terrified. She had not been allowed
to attend such a meeting before; but her
mother, a timid woman, had been wrestled
with that day, and half convinced that she
might really be standing between the child
and some possible good for the future. She
had, therefore, allowed her to go with her
friend Isabel and an older sister.
Groans, cries, shouts, prayers, and exhor-
tations were inextricably mingled in the
How Mary Alice was Converted. 85
group about the mourners' bench. One
preacher was crying out, " Thank God, an
other sinner saved ! " " Plucked from the
burning ! Escaped from hell-fire ! " While
other despairing souls that failed to feel
that thrill of nerve and sense that follows
on excitement and overwrought nature, felt
themselves abandoned, indeed, of the Lord,
since this was their third or fourth or even
tenth night at the "altar," and still they
were conscious of no change.
Each exultant cry of conversion filled
them with new terror. It numbed sense and
paralyzed hope. "Is my name written in
the Lamb's book of life? Ask that ques
tion, sinner ; ask now ! " shouted one exhorter
above the noise and tumult. "I must know
now ! Now, Lord ! "
"Is mine there?" "Look, Lord, look!"
The idea swept like a fire across the sur
charged nerves of the congregation wedged
tightly together, in air so vile and close that
86 How Mary Alice was Converted.
hysteria was superinduced as an inevitable
"Is mine?" "And mine?" "Is mine,
Lord?" "O God, look, look!" shouted one
old clergyman. "Make me sure Lord; quiet
my soul ! Look, Lord, look in the Gi's ! "
The old man's name was Gifford, and in
spite of the air, the tumult, the religious
frenzy, in spite of all, there was a smile
which was almost an audible flutter as it
passed over the congregation. Some one
saw how fatal this would be, and struck in,
" Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and
wounded, sick and sore." The old hymn
caught the nerves of the vast body, and
the volume of sound that swelled on the
vibrant atmosphere almost drowned the
groans and shouts of the newly-converted or
still wretched "seekers." Mary Alice and
Isabel stood pale and trembling, too young
to have been subject to the slight touch of
comedy which had almost broken in upon
the solemnity of the occasion.
How Mary Alice was Converted. 87
Just then one of the clergymen, a tall,
thin, dark, and terrible looking man came
slowly down the isle to where they stood,
wide eyed and trembling. He bent over
the two children, took both their small,
trembling hands in his, and asked solemnly,
" Do you want to go to hell ? "
The poor, trembling little wretches dis
claimed as well as they could any such de
sire, with the tears fast coming to their
eyes and their little throats dry and stiff.
"All of your Sabbath-school class are
saved. Only you two repel the Lord. Only
you two grieve his holy spirit. Do you
think he will forget you? He is looking at
you now, now I" and his explosive voice
made Mary Alice almost jump out of her
small boots, while Isabel fell to weeping
"He is touching your wicked heart at
last," said he, addressing Isabel. " Come
while there is yet time. Come! come! come!
88 How Mary Alice was Converted.
The gate of hell yawns for you. This may
be your last chance, come!"
Both children were now in floods of
tears and wholly unable to think at all,
while he half led, half carried them forward
to the " mourners' bench " (now somewhat
thinned out) amid the applause and gratu-
lations of the entire congregation. The
children were at once made the subject of
a long and loud and orally punctuated
prayer by Brother Gifford, who, all uncon
scious of how perilously near he had brought
the tense nerves of the congregation to
laughter, now wrestled with the Lord in
supplication that he might give these two
"precious lambs one more chance to flee
from the wrath to come that they might
cease to do evil and learn to do well from
this time forth, even forever more."
But the moment they had found them
selves freed from the terrible face and
voice of the dark clergyman, who had made
personal inquiries as to their desire in re-
How Mary Alice was Converted. 89
gard to a future abode, their healthy young
nerves reacted and the strangeness of the
situation so distracted their attention that
they straightway forgot to weep.
But presently Isabel fell to again and
wept as though her poor little heart would
break. Thereupon Mary Alice's sympathetic
soul joined in the lachrymose agony, and
the brethren, feeling that both were truly
"under conviction" and fairly on the road
to salvation, left the two small sinners alone
while they wrestled with older and less
By and by their sobs ceased, their tired
little eyes closed; both children slept peace
fully, kneeling there at the "throne of
grace," with their curly heads resting on
their diminutive arms, and they on the
At last all of the other seekers were as
sisted to their feet, but these two knelt on.
"Praise the Lord! Thank his holy name!"
90 How Mary Alice was Converted.
said the dark clergyman, fervently. "At
last! At last!"
He felt that these two had been hard
to reach, but now their " conviction " was
deep and sure. He bent down between
them, and the first words of his dreaded
voice awoke the two children, who sprang
to their feet, forgetting how or why they
were there. They both essayed to smile in
a polite and propitiatory way.
"Has light come? Do you feel at peace
with God?" inquired the dark clergyman,
mistaking the smiles for converted bliss.
"Yes, sir," said they, and smiled again.
Then there was much rejoicing and
hand-shaking, and it was announced that
two more vile sinners had found Christ.
The children felt that some way they had
done a very good thing, indeed, and began
to experience that sense of elation which
praise from their elders is sure to produce
in a sensitive child. Their little faces were
radiant. Many shook their hands, kissed
How Mary Alice was Converted. 91
them, and otherwise showed their approval
of the new course they had adopted. "All
Hail the Power of Jesus' Name " was sung
lustily, in which the two little voices piped
up, and were much commended therefor.
The next day, Isabel and Mary Alice
were of opinion that they ought to feel
very different from their old, wicked selves;
but somehow they were unable to be quite
sure that they did. They thought that they
should have lost all taste for play, and were
shocked that dolls and "hide'n coop" still
had attractions for them. This they set
down as a snare for their feet, laid by Satan
himself, who they had no doubt was on
their track at that very moment. They con
cluded it would be safest to sit down with
their backs against the doll house as he
could not then come up suddenly behind
them and they could better give their
minds to thoughts of the next world.
"Wasn't it beautiful last night?" said
Mary Alice, with a distinct shiver.
92 How Mary Alice was Converted.
"Mm," non-committally, from Isabel.
"Do you think God's as glad as they
said, 'cause we aren't going to hell now?"
" Of course he is ! How you talk ! "
Mary Alice felt crushed ; but by and by
she recovered, and asked quite seriously,
"What did you cry about last night, after
he stopped talking to us, I mean, up at the
"I couldn't think of anything to cry for
at first," confessed Isabel, "but afterward I
thought of poor, dear little Nellie at home,
and then I just had to cry. I always do.
What did you?"
"Cause you did. I always have to if
anybody else does," Mary Alice replied
quite simply. There was a pause. Then she
asked in an awestricken tone.
"Do you suppose our religion's good if
we got it that way? You bein' sorry 'cause
you had a idiot sister at home and me bein'
sorry 'cause you was sorry 'cause you had a
idiot sister ? "
Hozv Mary Alice was Converted. 93
"I don't see how anybody could have
anything worse to cry about than that" re
plied Isabel, hotly. "My mother says it is
the sorriest thing in the world, and besides,
she cries about it, and I guess she knows
what's good to cry about."
"Is that what she cried about when she
got religion?" inquired the persistent Mary
"I don't know. Guess so," responded
Isabel, with disapproving composure.
"Le's ask her, and" began Mary Alice;
but Isabel broke in :
"Well, you can if you're a mind to, I
shan't. I've got my religion now. The
preacher said so, an' I'm goin' to join the
church next Sunday and get it over. Then
I guess ole Satan'll let me alone. He don't
know I was cryin' about Nellie."
"That's so," said Mary Alice, much re
lieved by the suggestion, and so it came
about that the following Sunday they were
"taken in on probation," with the promise
94 How Mary Alice was Converted.
of full membership in six months if they
did not backslide in that time. Neither
small maid being detected during the six
months which followed, in any criminal acts
they were accepted as "full members in
good and regular standing" converted
thereto through the influences of an idiot
in the family and a fanatic in the church.
A HALL OF HEREDITY.
" How shall a man escape from his ancestors ? . . .
"Men are what their mothers made them. You
may as well ask a loom which weaves huckaback, why
it does not make cashmere, as expect poetry from
this engineer, or chemical discovery from that jobber.
Ask the digger in the ditch to explain Newton's laws;
the fine organs of his brain have been pinched by
overwork and squalid poverty from father to son, for
hundreds of years. When each comes forth from his
mother's womb, the gate of gifts closes behind him.
Let him value his hands and feet, he has but one
pair. So he has but one future, and -that is already
predetermined in his lobes, and described in that little
fatty face, pig-eye, and squat form. All the privileges
and all the legislation in the world cannot meddle
or help to make a poet or a prince of him."
"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased."
A HALL OF HEREDITY.
the three children born to George and
Katherine Hinsdale, the most promis
ing by far was Oswald, the youngest son.
Congratulations upon his ability as well as
upon his finely shaped head and handsome
features had become so familiar to his
parents and indeed to the boy himself
that they were looked upon as quite a
matter of course by the time he was a lad
ready to enter the High School.
The other children envied him the ease
with which he mastered his lessons and
many were the prophecies as to his future
No one doubted that he would be a
great man. No one questioned his ability
to shine in any walk of life that he might
choose, and his parents looked upon him
too A Hall of Heredity.
as sure to be the prop and stay of their
declining years. If the other children got
into trouble, Oswald was ready and able to
-devise a plan to extricate them. He had
tact that rarest of gifts in a boy. If his
older brother undertook anything and found
himself stranded midway, he would laugh
ingly call Oswald to help him out.
" Here, Osie, I'm stuck. This thing won't
work at all. Fix it for me, won't you?"
It was the same confident cry whether
the difficulty were with the wheels of a
mechanical toy in process of construction,
the solving of a mathematical problem or
the adjustment of a refractory necktie. No
one doubted that the moment Oswald
touched it, it would fall gracefully into
place and give no farther trouble.
" Well, Os, how did you know that the
wheel had to go on that way ! " his
brother exclaimed one day, as he saw the
boy go to his father's assistance in bring-
A Hall of Heredity. 101
ing to terms an eight-day clock that had
refused to strike.
Oswald laughed. He had never in his
life seen the inside of such a machine be
fore, but he had corrected his father's blun
"Oh, I don't know how I knew it, Ned,"
he replied indifferently. " Just did, that's all.
I don't see how it could help being that
way. Seems awfully funny that father did
not see it. Say, Ned, let's go see that
sleight-of-hand fellow after school. I've an
idea I can do his tricks myself."
It was Hermann, the famous prestidig-
itateur, of whom he spoke, and both Ned
and his father laughed a little at the lad's
I guess not, my boy," smiled his father.
"I think you will find more than your
match there; but you may go if you want
to. It will give your wits a shaking up to
try to catch the way he does his tricks,
I tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a
IO2 A Hall of Heredity.
quarter for every one of his illusions that
you can reproduce for your mother and me
" 'Nuf said ! Hurrah ! " shouted the de
lighted boy as he turned a hand-spring out
of the door. The result of that stipulation
cost Mr. Hinsdale exactly $4.25, for the lad
actually did reproduce seventeen of the
master's clever illusions !
"Take it as a warning, father," laughed
Ned. " You might have known he
could do it. I watched with all my might,
but I couldn't get onto one of them. Os is
a witch. I can see it in his off eye," he said
making a pass at his brother's left eye
in mock heroic style. There was just the
slightest hint of an inward cast in Oswald's
left eye. The faintest suggestion of a dif
ferent angle of vision from that of its
As the boys grew older, very little at
tention was given to the selection of a
suitable career for Oswald. That was ex-
A Hall of Heredity. 103
pected to work itself out. But with the
other two children it was different. They
must be looked after. Their skill and ability
were both too weak and too embryonic to
trust to chance. It was a surprise, there
fore, to find Ned at the age of twenty-
four steadily making his way as a rising
young business man and to learn that Os
wald was "at present helping his brother."
That was the way it was always stated
by his parents.
Ned would say: "Oh, just now, Os is
keeping me straight. I don't know what
on earth I'd have done about those ridicu
lous mowing machines if he hadn't been
there when we unpacked them. Not an
other soul of us knew how to work them,
but he took to 'em as if he had been
born with one in his hand. I'm actually
afraid that Os will invent some devilish
thing himself some day that will give cold
chills to the rest of us."
There was a sudden peculiar flash in
104 A Hall of Heredity.
Oswald's face. The lids of his left eye
widened in a strange way until they ex
posed the entire iris. He compressed his
lips, and then, as he strode angrily out of
the room, flung back over his shoulder:
" You needn't trouble yourself about me !
I understand it and I did at the time.
You all knew perfectly well how to manage
those machines. I'm not a fool!"
The family sat aghast. It was not like
Oswald. Each looked to the other for light.
"What is the matter with your brother,
Ned?" asked Mr. Hinsdale.
" Hanged if I know. That's a new one
on me. I guess he thinks I've been prying
into his work-room down at the store and
have made a guess at his latest fad. But
I haven't. I know he has stayed up there
alone a good deal lately; but I didn't sup
pose I'd understand his gimcracks if I saw
them, so I've never bothered to look He's
getting tremendously touchy lately, I"
"Don't put it that way, Ned," broke in
A Hall of Heredity, IO$
the restless little mother. "I think he feels
rather I don't know but that he Don't
you think it stings him to be to seem
a well sort of dependent on you?"
"Dependent on me! Great Caesar, mother,
what do you mean? Why Os can do any
The door opened slowly and Oswald's
face first appeared and then suddenly dis
appeared. His mother left the room. Late
that night she descended from her son's
room and her eyes were red from weeping.
She went softly, stealthily, to the drawer of
her dressing-case and drew forth a small
leather case. Then she looked for the tenth
time, with her habitual nervous insecurity
and trepidation, to be sure that her husband
was asleep, and slipped from the room
The next morning, Oswald, who ap
peared to be in an unusually bright mood,
announced that he had heard from an old
school-fellow of a splendid chance to start
io6 A Hall of Heredity.
in business for himself, and that he had
decided to go.
" You can easily fill my place at the
store, Ned," he said cheerily and then with
a flash of gloomy fire, " any fifteen-year-
old boy can do all I did."
His brother began to protest, but the
mother noticed the sudden dilation of the
eyelids and that the left one did not match
its fellow. She had never observed it so
distinctly before. It gave her a shock as
the sudden recognition of a facial blemish,
but she tried to prevent what she feared
would be another unpleasant scene.
"I don't know but Osie is quite right.
He If he in case he can better himself
and I'm sure, Ned, you didn't mean to pre
" Osie is of age, now," began his father,
" and "
" Oh, yes, I'm of age. Why didn't you
say right out that I'd better be doing some-
A Hall of Heredity. 107
thing," he muttered between his teeth as
he strode from the room,
"Osie, Osie, my son ! You did not un
derstand ! Osie don't "
But the boy was gone, nor did they see
him again for four months. It is true that
at the end of the first week he wrote a
most kind and gentle letter, making no
reference at all to his strange conduct.
Nor was it alluded to by any member of
the family at any time thereafter. His let
ters were bright and full of his new plans.
Vague they were, perhaps, but interesting
enough. The new enterprise promised well
and he was enthusiastic. At the end of
the fourth month he wrote for his sister to
visit him. She went. She was somewhat
surprised to find him living at a leading
hotel and in most sumptuous style. She
did not know of the absence of the little
leather case from her mother's dressing-case
" What a lot of money you must be
io8 A Hall of Heredity.
making, Os," she said. " I'm so glad !
Why didn't you tell us what a swell you
had grown to be all of a sudden ? I "
"Hush! Don't talk so loud. That man
next door will hear you, and he's the very
worst of all. I'm pretty sure he is at the
"bottom of the whole business," he said,
lowering his voice almost to a whisper and
pointing to the door leading out of his
room to an adjoining apartment.
" What whole business, Osie ? " queried
the girl eagerly, but under her breath. " I
don't know what you mean."
He focused his eyes upon her and an
indignant light crept into them. The lids
of the left one dilated strangely. His sis
ter hastened to explain.
" If you wrote about it to father or
mother, they did not tell me. I "
" Oh, well. Never mind, then. We
won't talk about it," he said quickly. " But
the first chance you get, you watch the
clerk. The one with side whiskers, and
A Hall of Heredity. 109
see if he don't tell the first middle-aged
man that comes in something about me.
Just you watch now and then 111 tell you
all about it."
After that he talked of his new enter
prise, took her to see for herself how well
they were doing, and introduced her to his
"Why, Osie," exclaimed his sister, "why
didn't you tell me before that your partner
was our old school-fellow ? How nice !
Why, how funny it seems to call you Mr.
Townsend ! "
" Don't, then," laughed the young part
ner. " Call me Henry, just as you always
did at school. But, dear me! I shall have
to say Miss Hinsdale, for you are such a
tall young lady now. Os doesn't tell me
much about you home folks. How is Ned?
And the rest ? Doing well, I hope ! "
All this had rattled on in a merry way,
when, suddenly, Oswald took his sister's
I io A Hall of Heredity.
arm and started toward the door, where
"Notice closely. That is what I brought
you here for. Do you think Henry is all
right in his head, I mean ? "
"Oh, I didn't have a chance to observe,"
she exclaimed softly. " Why ? Do you
think is there? You don't mean?"
She closed her upper teeth over her full
under lip and spread wide her eyes. Her
brother nodded mysteriously and drew her
outside. Once on the street he hastened
to change the subject. He showed her the
handsome buildings and various points of
interest and kept steadily away, she thought,
from the subject of his partner's mental
affliction. She did not feel surprised at
this. Oswald had grown so evasive of late
she hesitated to broach the subject herself.
Nothing more was said of it during her
brief stay, and, indeed, her brother was so
full of pleasant excursions for her enter
tainment that it almost escaped her mind.
A Hall of Heredity. in
Their surprise at home, therefore, was
great indeed, when, six months later, Os
wald spoke in one of his letters of a dis
solution of the partnership, and said that:
" If this thing keeps up much longer, I
shall leave the state. I had hoped it
would not come to this, but I cannot and
I will not stand the pressure any longer."
The father was astonished. Mrs. Hins-
dale's dismay knew no bounds, and after
a serious family council it was decided
that either Ned or his father should go
on at once to learn what was the trouble.
Evidently a letter had miscarried, they
thought, for here were references to things
of which they knew absolutely nothing at
" If the partnership has come to grief,
he will be awfully sensitive over it," re
marked his sister, " so let's don't say a
thing about "
The door opened, and Oswald came
hastily into the room. He appeared care-
112 A Hall of Heredity.
worn and there was a strangely restless
look in his eyes. The left one seemed
somehow to grow less like its fellow, and
yet few persons would have noticed the
" Hello ! Os ! " exclaimed his brother,
rushing at him, but he waved his hand
scornfully toward Ned and went directly
to his mother.
"I'd like to see you alone, at once,
mother," he said, and they left the room to
gether. The three that were left gazed at
each other in blank amazement.
" He'll tell his mother all about it, no
doubt. We'll have to wait," said Mr. Hins-
dale, rising and leaning heavily upon the
table. " Sister, you would better not wait
up. It is late. Evidently Osie is in some
trouble, and he has followed his letter
home. It will be best for you not to see
him, perhaps, to-night."
The girl went softly from the room
and quietly closed her own door, that she
A Hall of Heredity. 113
might not hear what was said by the
rather excited voice of her brother as he
paced the floor and talked with his mother
in his own room, next to hers. When she
had left the library, Ned walked over to
where his father stood, and, touching the
hand that bore tremblingly on the table,
said gently :
"Father, I'm afraid we are both think
ing the same sad thought and dreading the
same awful calamity. Did you did you
happen to notice his eyes?"
" Yes ! My God, Ned, have you thought
of it, too ! " said the unhappy father as he
sank into a chair and covered his face with
his hands. " But it is impossible ! Impos
sible! There has never been anything of
the kind in the family and he is the bright
est of us all."
The following day, Ned and his father
called upon a friend who was also a physi-
114 A HzM f
cian. They talked in a general and vague
way of mental disturbance. They put a
hypothetical case and the physician inter
rupted them before they were half through,
"Yes, yes, I can tell you all the rest
without another clue. The patient's parents
were nervous, senemic people. One or both
was indeterminate of character, and appre
hensive of forfeiting the good opinion of
somebody or everybody. Was conventional
of conduct for that reason. The patient
began life with brilliant promise was pre
cocious the pride of the family. May have
been most likely was a genius in some
respects. Look here," he exclaimed, rising
and taking from a well-filled cabinet a
strange, grotesque, but elaborately executed
piece of wood-carving, "that was done by
just such a man as you describe. He was
my patient, and a gifted fellow. If he had
only been looked after soon enough he
might have been saved, but" -
A Hall of Heredity. 1 1 5
" Saved ! " exclaimed Mr. Hinsdale. " Saved !
How do you mean ? "
" Oh, if when he began to be precocious
he had been taken from school, turned
loose in the country, not allowed to use his
over-stimulated, unequally formed and un
equally developed brain. If but what's
the use talking? What's the use of it?
His parents would have resented such a
suggestion bitterly; those who are physi
cally and mentally in a condition to bring
such children into the world always do,
until it is too late. That mental and physi
cal condition in them is the very thing
that in the next generation takes the other
turn. They'd think a doctor a fool who
hinted that their brilliant little Johnny
was not all right," he added, laughing.
" Oh, no, my friends, mental students look
behind the patient to find the 'unseen
hands that long ago were dust/ perhaps,
which push or turn the mental machinery
n6 A Hall of Heredity.
that has gone wrong, openly, for the first
time in this generation, maybe."
He had replaced the carving on its shelf,
but was still looking at it. The two guests
sat silent, each absorbed in his own thought.
Presently the doctor resumed:
"To my mind and eye that work is of
the same type as that of Gustave Dore.
There is mental chaos intellectual distor
tion combined with great powers of imagi
nation. Something has saved Dore", but my
poor fellow ran the usual course and died
the victim of his own delusions. But, see
here, we are waxing gloomy. Are you going
out to the races this afternoon? No? Well,
I am. I love a good horse next to my
children and I'm going to see the trot.
Wish you'd take the other seat, Ned.
Come along! Must you go so soon? Sorry.
Well, drop in again. I'm seldom busy at
this hour. It is my resting time, and I
don't see patients only friends. Good-by."
Neither father nor son spoke as they
A Hall of Heredity. 117
walked toward home. Each had a terrible
weight upon his heart and each dreaded
to hear the other confess it. Finally, Ned
said in a tone hardly audible:
"Some of the symptoms he described are
not do not I have never seen."
The father groaned, but did not reply.
When they entered the house, Oswald
sat by the window, morose and sullen.
"They have been talking about me,"
he said to his mother as he saw them ap
proach. " I know. And I believe Ned's at
the bottom of this whole infernal business.
But I'll show him! I'll leave the country-
His mother began hastily to talk of
other things, and at that moment the hus
band and son entered.
"Hello, Osie," said Ned cheerily. "How'd
you like to go to the races this afternoon?
Dr. White invited me and I can't go. I'm
sure he'd like to have you, and you're so
fond of horses, Shall I"
1 1 8 A Hall of Heredity.
" No, you shan't. I know your tricks 1
don't go to any races, with your doctor.
You're a couple of"
"Osie! Osie!" exclaimed his mother.
His father stepped up to him and laid
a tender, trembling hand upon his arm.
"My son, Ned was only trying to give
you a pleasure. He I we"-
The father's voice trembled, and at that
moment, Ned, with a little sob in his
throat, led his mother from the room.
Oswald seemed to have forgotten his
irritation instantly and began to chat pleas
antly, but there was an ever-changing dila
tion and shifting of the eyes that fixed his
father's gaze and made his thoughts trou
bled and anxious.
But when, on the following evening, Os
wald appeared at a brilliant ball given by
his cousin Hortense, in honor of his return,
and when he was the admiration and envy
of all the young men of his set, because of
the warmth of devotion which he very evi-
A Hall of Heredity. 119
dently aroused in the bosom of that young
lady's guest and friend, Elinor Maitland, his
father's anxiety subsided a little and he
said to Ned, upon their return from the
" I guess, after all, we were unduly dis
turbed, Ned. He has simply been left too
much alone and has grown morbid and al
lowed his quick temper to master him."
And Ned responded, with a new quality
of happiness in his voice:
"I guess there is no doubt of it, bless
him! And didn't you think, father, that
Miss Elinor took a decided interest in him?
Wouldn't that be splendid? She'd make a
man of him, if any one could and a fellow
could hardly be ugly tempered with her"
he added, a bit defensively and with just a
hint of apology toward the girl in his
But Oswald's restless spirit urged him
to embark in another enterprise. He would
I2O A Hall of Heredity.
have moments of despair, when he remem
bered that all of the contents of his mother's
little leather case had gone to satisfy the
demands of the hotel where he had lived
Then he would lapse into resentment
against "the clerk with the side whiskers"
who had received the money. Once he
hinted at very dark things about this clerk,
and his mother essayed to learn what the
exact grievance was, but failed. She
thought it quite likely some affair between
young men that even her little Oswald did
not wish to confide to her. She always
thought of this stalwart fellow as her lit
tle Oswald. She remembered, so well, and
so sadly, the time when he first lay in hei
arms. Over him there had been a sort
of reconciliation with her husband. Not
that there had ever been an open break
between them ; but there had been sad,
bitter months for both. The unreasoning
and unreasonable jealousy and suspicion of
A Hall of Heredity. 1 2 1
the young husband had made her life dur
ing that past year one of exquisite an
guish. From being a frank, open girl, she
had learned to hedge in all she did and
said. She had grown careful of her glances
and of her speech. She knew, full well,
that under his placid and seemingly com
pliant demeanor, her husband's eye was
upon her with ever an idea of treachery
toward him, with always a suspicion if she
but smiled upon another gentleman, or
spoke in his favor, that there probably
was back of her smile or light word
more that he did not know.
When the young wife first awoke to
this fact she was wretched beyond words.
She resented it bitterly, but by degrees
she had grown weary of the eternal con
test, and learned to evade all appearance
of interest in even the male members of
her own family. Partly in scorn, and
partly in sheer weariness of soul, she had
gradually learned to hedge against all
122 A Hall of Heredity.
shadow of suspicion. This was all so very
long ago now. With ripening years and
wisdom her husband had almost outgrown
his jealous watchfulness; but she thought
of it now, and of how the little Oswald
had brought to her the first words of
shame and repentance from her husband's
lips. She remembered how he had then
reproached himself and said that he had
been an " old fool." She recalled with
what high hopes she had accepted all he
said, and, burning the past behind them
and drenching its grave with their tears,
she had held the little peacemaker close
to her heart and sunk into a restful sleep.
Poor little peacemaker! A crisis had now
come in his life, and his mother wondered,
vaguely, if she would be able to bridge
the dark river for him as he had done
in his unconscious infancy for her.
" Osie, dear," she said, " I have no
more money. You know I had saved that
in all the past years. Your father never
A Hall of Heredity. 123
knew I had it. But I tell you what I
will do. I have been thinking. If
" You needn't throw it up to me ! I'll
pay you back ! You know very well you
forced me to take it ! I'd rather owe
somebody else ! I "
He had slammed the door behind him,
but the flash in his eyes had stung his
mother more even than had his bitter words.
Her head sank slowly on her folded arms
as they lay on the library table, and a
bitter groan escaped her white lips. The
boy had always spoken kindly to her. He
had grown bitter and sucpicious first
toward one, then another, and finally
toward almost all others. But until now
she had been spared this final blow.
She did not move. Her daughter en
tered with a cheery
" Oh, mamma, did you "
The girl stopped suddenly, and, with a
finger to her lips, tiptoed from the room.
124 -A Hall of Heredity.
" Mamma has fallen asleep," she said
to herself. " Blessed little mamma ! She
has looked so anxious and sad lately. It
must be something about Osie, but they
do not tell me. Osie is cross and ugly.
I think papa has scolded him. He whis
pered to me yesterday that papa was at
the bottom of it all. When I asked
what, he looked at me angrily and said
that I knew very well. But I don't. I
don't know at all. Elinor is the only one
he does not seem to feel hurt at. Oh!"
she exclaimed softly to herself, when a sud
den light came into her face. "I've solved
the whole mystery, I do believe. Papa
thinks he's too young to marry, and should
wait until he is established in business,
and he resents it ! Oh, I see ! "
She tapped her slippered foot on the
rug and drew her eyelids down. She was
thinking out a plan to help Oswald.
Meantime, in the room below, Mrs. Hins-
dale sat thinking, thinking, thinking, if a
A Hall of Heredity. 125
mere whirl of chaotic mental pain may be
called thought. Her heart was sore and
bruised and an awful light was slowly
dawning upon her. Until now her heart
had held full sway. To-day her head poor,
tired, troubled, never very clear or exact
head, wholly unaccustomed to grapple with
problems not in her "woman's sphere" was
beginning to take a part.
" It cannot, it must not be too late ! "
she said, rising unsteadily from her chair.
" Great God ! forgive us all ! We have
been so blind, so blind, so blind ! " She
raised her hands pleadingly above her
head and closed her eyes, but the tears
streamed down her sad, blanched face, from
beneath the trembling lids. At last she
slipped to the floor upon her knees and
with outstretched arms and streaming eyes
called out into space, "God help us! God
help us ! It must not be too late ! "
126 A Hall of Heredity.
That night Oswald did not come home.
He had but little money with him, and
when another day passed and still he did
not return, the, family talked for the first
time openly of their secret, serious fears.
Florence alone was excluded from the coun
cil. She had gone to see Elinor that af
ternoon, and asked if Oswald had been
there since the previous day. She had
done it quite incidentally and with a de
sire not to appear anxious.
Elinor laughed a little nervously, but
said he had spent "a few minutes with
her just before he took the train." Flor
ence had not asked what train. She was
too proud to let her friend know that he
had left home in anger.
Days passed and no news came from
the wanderer. At the end of the week
the mother could bear it no longer. She
went to Elinor Maitland herself. She had
A Hall of Heredity. 127
thought she would be perfectly calm, and
lead the girl quite naturally to talk of
the boy they both loved. But when she
saw Elinor's pale face she asked, quite
without prelude, as she drew the tall
young form to a seat beside her :
"Have you heard from Oswald, dear?"
The girl's eyes opened wide with ques
tioning fear. Mrs. Hinsdale felt that her
" No," she said, in a scarcely audible
voice, with her eyes now upon the floor.
"Oh, Elinor, Elinor!" said the mother,
wild with fear for her son, "did he did
you ? You didn't discard him, dear !
You hold my boy's life more than his life
in your hands! He has talked of you
to me ! Elinor, dear ! " She slipped to
her knees beside the girl and clasped her
hands. " For God's sake, Elinor, help us
save our boy ! "
Elinor's face was as white as stone. It
seemed to her that her heart would break;
128 A Hall of Heredity.
but no tears came. Her brain was hot
and it refused to think. At last she took
the streaming face before her, in her young
strong arms, and kissed it reverently.
" Mother ! " she whispered, and then the
hot blood rushed to her cheeks. "Mother,
we did not quarrel. He said I must go
with him and I could not do that. Then
he" she paused and bit her lip. Tears
stood in her eyes for the first time. Mrs.
Hinsdale tightened her grasp upon the girl's
waist and pressed her own face hot with
shame against Elinor's heaving breast.
There was a long silence.
"I cannot tell you, mother," whispered
Mrs. Hinsdale lifted her eyes to the
"He did not ?" Her eyes dropped
again. Elinor shivered.
"He tried to stab himself and and I
took the knife from him. He"
Mrs. Hinsdale was sobbing violently.
A Hall of Heredity. 129
"Why didn't you go with him, dear?
Why did you let him go alone like that?
When he was so desperate? Why?"
The girl's eyes dilated again. She was
staring at the older woman in dismay; but
she could form no word in reply. At last
she said, as if in self-defence:
"I I was afraid of him. He looked
so strangely. His eyes " she shivered
"his eyes frightened me. I thought he
had quarreled with you. He spoke so bit
terly" She checked herself and stroking
the silver hair of her companion, resumed
quickly : " He had always so adored you.
He always talked of you more than of
anything else. He"
The door flew suddenly open and with
a quick stride Oswald stood over the pair.
They were paralyzed by his face. It was
hard and set, and filled with a demon's fire,
with his left hand he grasped his mother's
" Ah ! " he sneered bitterly, " I have at
130 A Hall of Heredity.
last discovered the whole damnable plot,
have I ? It is you two precious she devils
who have made all the trouble concocted
all- the schemes from the first was it?"
he shouted, with the force and power of a
maniac, and before the half-fainting pair
could move he had fired a fatal shot. His
mother lay on the floor with a cruel wound
in her breast.
Elinor had sprung to her feet. She
ran screaming from the room. The bullet
that followed her buried itself in the stair-
When the butler and house-man en
tered, an instant later, Oswald stood with
the smoking weapon in his hand, gazing
with profound satisfaction upon the slowly
relaxing features of his mother.
"You will see," he remarked quite coolly,
"that justice is not wholly a thing of the
past and God still avenges his own. She
posed as my mother; but there lies the
middle-aged gentleman who talked about
A Hall of Heredity. 131
me to the clerk with the side whiskers.
That is why I had to leave the hotel.
And he had the impudence to come here
and put his arms around Elinor! I shot
him and I suppose if some other compli
cation doesn't turn up that the whole in
fernal conspiracy is at an end. Now I
shall be able to sleep."
" Yes, you'll have a damned good chance
to sleep," responded the policeman who led
him away. I'd advise you to begin as
soon as you get to the calaboose." But Os
wald appeared not to hear him, and strode
on, quite docilely, towards the living death
that awaited him. He had not felt so light
and happy since he could remember. He
had at last achieved an end!
" He's a workin' the insanity racket,"
scornfully remarked the roundsman, "but
he's altogether too clear-headed on other
subjects. He's lived here, man and boy, too
long for that sort of guff to go down.
132 A Hall of Heredity.
Always was smart. Always was wo'thless,
an' always was stuck up."
"Guess he'll get a chance t' monkey
with one mechanical appliance that he can't
manage," responded the Chief, glancing at
a large picture of an electrical chair that
hung on the office wall. Whether it hung
there for edification or for adornment, the
Chief would have been puzzled to state.
The medical experts differed. Those for
the defence found him undoubtedly insane.
Those for the prosecution were equally sure
that Oswald Hinsdale was mentally respon
sible. The high character of all of these
gentlemen precluded the possibility that
they were influenced by ulterior motives.
Their professional ability excluded all belief,
in the public mind, that they could be
The Prosecution proved that there had
never been a case of insanity in the family.
A Hall of Heredity. 133
The jury was perplexed. The judge un
easy. Only the prisoner was serene. His
conduct told strongly against him. He in
sisted that he would do the same deed
over if he were given the chance. He
wrote pages upon pages of comments
many of them shrewd and witty upon the
different features of the trial. He drew
humorous sketches of the members of the
jury. One of the newspapers published
some of these caricatures and commented
upon their great cleverness.
The night of his conviction, after he
had gone back to his cell, he asked the
keeper to let him see the picture of the
electrical chair. He studied all of its points
with care and attention, and expressed a
conviction that he could improve upon its
construction, and flew into a passion be
cause he was not allowed a knife with
which to whittle out a working model upon
which he could prove the superiority of his
134 A Hall of Heredity.
The following morning the keeper re
marked to the warden with a shake of
the head, " I'm stumped. About half the time
I think he's shammin', an' the other half 't
looks as if he was sort of pushed by un
seen hands and worked kind of mechanical-
like. I kinder wish they had a sent him up
fer life, 'nstead of what they did."
The warden glanced up with a sneer,
ing smile :
"Gettin* chicken hearted, ain't you, Jerry?
What's t" hinder the doctors from knowin'
it if he was looney? Hey?"
"Well, half of 'em said he wus," re
marked Jerry, as he withdrew, "an* I don't
know who's t' make sure that the jury
didn't pin their faith to the wrong half.
But it ain't none o' my funerile an' I
wisht it wasn't his'n," he added, as he
yielded his place to the relief watch.
THAT REMINDS ME OF"-
"How short a time since this whole nation rose
every morning to read or hear the traits of courage
of its sons and brothers in the field, and was never
weary of the theme ! .... I am much mistak
en if every man who went to the army, had not a
lively curiosity to know how he should behave in
action Each whispers to himself : ' My
exertions must be of small account on the result ;
only will the benignant Heaven save me from dis
gracing myself and my friends and my State. Die!
Oh, yes, I can die ; but I cannot afford to misbehave ;
and I do not know how I shall feel.' "
"THAT REMINDS ME OF"-
( 4 ^ I ^HERE are several kinds of courage
as well as of cowardice," said the
old soldier who was promoted from the
ranks for conspicuous bravery on the field
"Now, there was the case of our order
ly. When we were enlisted he was made
orderly because of his fine figure and so
cial position. He was a good fellow, too,
and a leader in our athletic club, fond of
hunting, and a good marksman; and none
of us who were merely privates envied
him. But he disappeared from view dur
ing our first skirmish, and did not report
until a day after the battle. We thought
he had been captured or killed. When he
put in an appearance at camp again, he
said that just as the first guns had been
140 "That Reminds Me Of"-
fired he had a dreadful attack of cramps,
and had lain ever since all but dead in
the strip of woods that skirted the battle
" Some of us had our suspicions, of
course, but we kept them to ourselves, and
it is only fair to say that we felt a little
ashamed of ourselves for harboring thoughts
that were dishonoring to our handsome
" Well, everything went along as usual
until the next engagement. It was a
good deal of a battle, you know Shiloh."
Everyone smiled at the modesty of his
expression and seemed to think it was
a good deal of a battle at Shiloh.
" I'm free to confess that our whole
command wavered. There was an impulse
to turn and run when the deadly fire
opened on us most of us were boys,
then. But in an instant that subtle influ
ence that is felt all along the line when
an officer's voice rings out clear and bold
"That Reminds Me Of"- 141
stemmed the pulse-beat that swept along
the front rank, and we closed up and
marched steadily into the hell of rifle and
cannon that waited for us.
" Perhaps you don't know that I was
on what you call the wrong side the
Southern side. Well, I was. It is neither
here nor there how that came about; for
I only started in, this time, to tell a lit
tle thing about courage, and ask what you
think of it and I don't suppose you will
think that courage is of a different qual
ity because it happened to be Confederate.
" At any rate, you won't think so if
any of you were soldiers," he added, laugh
There was a murmur of assent from
the tall man in the corner, who did not
use his title, although he had earned it
as a union volunteer, and risen from the
ranks until he was a staff officer, with
the eagle on his shoulder.
" Nobody who faced you questions the
142 "That Reminds Me Of"-
quality of your bravery," came from the
serene artist, who served all through the
war as an undistinguished Low Private
so he said. His rough exterior and the
tenderness of his heart had won the love
of all who knew him, and the exquisite
delicacy of artistic conception and touch
had, for years now, placed his name high
on the ladder of fame.
No one else spoke, and the Confed
erate went on.
" Well, of course, we had no time to
think whether our orderly was there or
not, until the battle was all over. Then
we began to inquire among ourselves
and found that no one had seen him
since the firing began.
" Somebody suggested cramps again,
but we were not at all sure that he had
not been killed, so we dropped it, as peo
ple do such chaffing in the face of death.
" Well, now, you'd hardly believe that
that fellow actually reported two days af-
"That Reminds Me Of 1 - 143
ter the battle, with exactly the same old
excuse. Of course he was degraded to the
ranks, and put on what we called Miss
Nancy duty. That is, he had no gun at
all, and it was his duty simply to carry
the wounded off the field, after the battle
was over, or stay behind the lines and
give relief to those who crawled back,
"He was never called anything else but
old Cholera Morbus and, by gad, he had
the courage to stay and take it !
"But that is not all though I think
that required more grit than I'd have
had. But this I'm coming to is what I
started to tell. Just the minute he found
himself in that position a disgraced, dis
honored, and disarmed soldier he sudden
ly developed a grade of courage that fair
ly made your heart stand still. He never
once stayed behind the ranks. He would
walk right out in front, where he was
just as likely to be shot by us as by the
144 "That Reminds Me Of"-
Yankees, and rescue a comrade who had
fallen, and take him back where, in case
of a charge, he wouldn't be trampled.
"I've seen him do it fifty times, and,
if one of the men, who were detailed to
help him wouldn't go along, by George,
he'd go alone, and struggle back with his
burden, covering the wounded man the
best he could with his own body. I saw
him do it once or twice when I don't be
lieve I could have forced myself up to
such an act of foolhardy heroism if it had
been to save my life. It was almost cer
tain death, and he must have known it
perfectly well, for, as I say, he had none
of the excitement and mental occupation
of moving with large numbers, and he
hadn't even a revolver or any means of
defence. By gad ! I don't know how he
ever did it ! "
"Don't you think he was trying to re
trieve his reputation?" drawled the artistic
"That Reminds Me Of"- 145
Low Private, " and hoped thereby to be
restored to the ranks ? "
" Well, sir," responded the Confederate,
slowly, " we all had that idea the first
few times we saw him do it, and we
kept on calling him old Cholera Morbus;
but after he'd kept it up for over a year
our colonel had him transferred to a reg
iment where his record and sobriquet were
not known. The colonel said in his hear
ing, to his new commander, that he had
been so conspicuously brave when detailed
to do relief work, that it was hoped and
believed that he would rise from the ranks
in a short time.
" Well, sir, the minute that man was
given a gun again, and put in the ranks,
with a chance to defend himself, and to
have the aid and inspiration that numbers
would give, he "
"Not cramps again?" queried the tall
colonel, with an incredulous laugh.
" As true as there is a God in heaven,
146 "That Reminds Me <?/"-
he did that very thing! That is to say,
when the battle was over he turned up
with that excuse again.
" Now, how would you explain that ?
If it was lack of courage how do you
account for his extraordinary and wholly
unnecessary and unasked-for courage the
moment he had no arms, and was at the
mercy of both lines of battle ?
"It has always puzzled me, and I used
to look at the fellow with feelings little
short of awe. It was the strangest study
I ever saw, in courage. Did either of you
ever see a case to beat it ? " he asked,
looking from the tall colonel to the artistic
The latter named gentleman shook his
"I don't know that I ever did," he said,
thoughtfully. " But we had a funny case
in our company. He was a sort of half
witted creature with defective vocal organs.
I think he'd lost part of the roof of his
u T/iat Reminds Me Of" 147
mouth, or his palate, or something. Any
how, he talked the queerest you ever heard.
Sounded like a duck quacking. No, not
like that, either. Talked 'nis wa'," said the
Low Private, twisting his mouth to one
side and making queer, guttural, roofless,
" His name was Christian. He was the
biggest fool about some things that I ever
saw. He had an old flint-lock gun that he
thought the world and all of and he used
to keep it polished up so bright that you
could see your face in it. He polished it
with a strap. He'd hold the old flinter be
tween his knees, and rub that strap back
and forth, back and forth, as swift as light
ning, until the barrel would be fairly hot,
and it would look like a mirror. Of course,
he was not a regular soldier, but he was a
good cook and did chores, and we made
a sort of a pet and butt of him. Every
body liked him and joked with him. All
the time he was not otherwise engaged he
148 "That Reminds Me Of"-
would be sitting behind his tent polishing
his old flint-lock. We used to offer to
swop guns with him, but he wouldn't trade
for the best Enfield ever made. When we
marched he'd teeter along with that darned
old flint-lock over his shoulder shining like
burnished silver. Of course, the boys used
to steal it and leave a good gun in its
place; but the first time we tried it, Chris
tian cried like a baby until we made the
joker give it back, and the second time, by
gad, he showed fight and the comical part
about it was he was going to lick the man
who hooked it the first time, and he didn't
know anything about who had it this time.
"But all that is only to give you an
idea of the sort of chap Christian was before
I came to his feat of courage or whatever
you might call it. It goes without saying
that he was never allowed in a battle ; but
at Vicksburg he broke loose, as the boys
always said, and got in the fight all on his
"That Reminds Me Of 149
" Of course, after the firing begins in ear
nest, it is so constant that it is only a whir
and a buzz, and you don't distinguish the
noise of your own gun from that of all the
rest. Well, sir, we all had an idea that if
Christian ever did undertake to discharge
his gun, some of us would fall, sure. We
thought the old thing would explode, so
we never gave him any ammunition.
" Somehow or other, he got some. He
told us he took it off a 'dead Reb,' and
I don't doubt that he did. Anyway, he got
a good big supply, and some of the boys
saw him loading away and taking aim at
a lively rate. He was right up with the
line, and the men who saw him had no
chance to stop him. Then, when the old
flinter didn't explode, they concluded it was
all right, and forgot all about Christian
and his shiny gun.
"Toward night, as the firing ceased only
as stray shots here and there warned us
to lay low after we had fallen back for
150 " That Reminds Me Of-
the night some of us saw that darned
fool away out between the lines, sitting
down on the ground beside a dead man.
And what do you suppose he was doing?"
"Polishing his gun!" suggested the Con
"No, not exactly," said the Artistic Low
Private, stooping over to illustrate his reply,
"but it wasn't far from it. Here lay the
dead man with a splendid new Enfield rifle
beside him, and here sat that fool Chris
tian, and you must remember that sharp
shooters and straggling men were popping
away pretty steadily, picking off every head
that showed itself out of cover. The dust
would spat up all about him as if handsful
of beans were thrown about him on the
ground. You know how that is.
" Well, there he sat, cross-legged, tugging
away for dear life at the strap on the En-
field. He undid that strap which was new
and then took off his old one and threw
it over the dead man's arm. Then, he de-
"That Reminds Me Of" 151
liberately buckled the new strap onto his
old flinter, got up, shouldered it and waddled
back to our lines. The bullets were just
whizzing past him all the time.
" He didn't get a scratch. When we got
a chance, we examined his gun, and, by
Jove, it was loaded nearly to the muzzle.
He'd loaded it every time, bat he hadn't
fired it once."
"If he had, there would have been a
wide vacancy in your ranks," remarked the
"I guess there's no doubt about that,
but, they do say, the ' Lord takes care of
children and fools,'" replied the Artist,
"Which would you call the men who
stood around your patriot with the sur
charged blunderbuss?" queried the tall colo
"It's a fact, I hadn't thought of that,"
assented the Artist, dreamily. " But, what I
152 "That Reminds Me Of"-
started out to ask was, What do you think
of the courage of that donkey who calmly
sat there and undid and refastened that
strap? He knew enough to know he was
being shot at, and, two or three times, he
stopped an instant in his work, and, shak
ing his fist at the enemy, remarked: <Dod
blast ye! I'm agoin' t' hav' nis new snrap
er bust. Dod blast ye! Shoon away,' and,
when he got good and ready, he shoul
dered his old surcharged blunderbuss and
walked off the field like a drum-major on
dress parade. I've always wondered what
the Rebs thought of it. Of course, they
couldn't know what he was doing, nor that
he was a sort of a looney. They must
have thought he was a demi-god of courage,
who bore a charmed life. Yes, courage is a
queer thing, and is displayed in strange
ways. Sometimes, you have it and some
times you don't. I wasn't as scared all
the time I was in the army as I was one
day in Paris, when one of the young devils
"That Reminds Me Of"- 153
in the studio put a live bull frog into my
coat pocket, and I put my hand in, on it. I
nearly had a fit. I was scared almost to
death. Yes, indeed, courage is a queer thing
and takes freaks in all of us, I guess."
"Speaking of that reminds me of a case
in our" began the tall colonel. But at
that moment, a lady at the piano dashed
into a lively air, and the colonel's story is
yet to be told.
HIS MOTHER'S BOY.
"Ye noticed Polly, the baby? A month afore she
Cicely, my old woman, was moody-like and forlorn;
Out of her head and crazy, and talked of flowers
Family man yourself, sir? Well, you know what a
Narvous she was, and restless said that she 'couldn't
Stay and the nearest woman seventeen miles away!
One night the tenth of October I woke with a chill
For the door it was standing open, and Cicely warn't
But a note was pinned to the blanket, which it said
that she 'couldn't stay,'
But had gone to visit a neighbor seventeen miles
I've had some mighty mean moments afore I kern
to this spot
Lost on the plains in '50, drownded almost, and shot;
But out on this alkali desert, a hunting a crazy wife,
Was ra'ly as on-satis-factory as anything in my life."
"Men are what their mothers made them."
HIS MOTHER'S BOY.
"\ A 7"E were sitting in my library with
the light turned very low. He
was my guest under rather sad and trying
circumstances, for, in the adjoining room
lay a little body, bandaged, and unconscious;
and he, my guest, was the child's brother
and guardian. Until to-day we were stran
gers, but he had arrived, an hour before, in
response to my telegram. I had sent the
message the moment I discovered his ad
dress, by reading a kind and tender letter,
which was taken by the police from the
little lad's pocket when he was shot.
On the strength of that letter, I had
kept the boy at my own house, instead of
sending him to the hospital. Everything
it was possible to do had been done for
him; but he had, as yet, never regained
160 His Mother's Boy.
consciousness. Notwithstanding this fact, he
had twice dragged his weak body from the
bed, and attempted to leave the house. He
seemed unhappy, only because he could not
"go somewhere," as he expressed it, in his mum
bled, broken utterance. I supposed that his
mind had been so impressed by a journey he
was to take, that even in his delirium he could
not forget it, and was trying to push ahead.
I was telling his brother this, as we sat
in the darkened library and talked over the
case in subdued tones. What I told him
was what I now tell you. I had been driv
ing with my wife through the streets of
Albany, when we came suddenly upon an
excited crowd of men, women, and children.
There had been, a few minutes before, a col
lision between the Pinkerton men and a
body of railroad strikers. There lay on the
ground two men, a woman, and this boy.
The police were driving the maddened
crowd back. One of the officers mistook me
for my brother, who is a hospital surgeon,
His Mother's Boy. 161
and asked me to look after the child. He
was such a delicate looking little fellow, so
well dressed, and so evidently did not be
long to anyone present, that my wife in
sisted that he be laid in our carriage and
driven to our home until his parents could
be notified. This was done. An officer went
with us, and when we had put the child to
bed, while we awaited the coming of the
doctor, we searched his pockets and found
the letter referred to. It began:
"My dear little brother," and ended
"your devoted brother, Walter." At first I
did not see the clue this gave, but the
envelope was addressed to Master Ralph
Travers, and had been written in Maiden,
Mass., but there was no postmark. It was
an old letter, too, so that it was not certain
that it would be of much use to us.
However, we decided to send a telegram
at once to Mr. Walter Travers at Maiden,
and say that his little brother was seriously
hurt and was apparently alone. I did this.
1 62 His Mother s Boy.
The reply came promptly. "I shall come at
once. Watch him closely, or he will escape."
I looked at the little chap with renewed in
terest " Escape ! " I thought, and could
hardly repress a smile. It seemed such an
absurd word to apply to him. After his
wounds for he had received a scalp wound
from a stone or club, as well as the bullet
in his shoulder had been dressed, and we
had done all we could for him, we left
him alone in the room, hoping he might
sleep. We heard his voice, and listened,
and looked. He was talking about "going,"
and later on he struggled to his feet, and
I had to lay him down again.
While we were out of the room another
time, he had gone as far as the hall door,
and had fallen from weakness.
Then I began to think perhaps he had
been insane, and that the word "escape"
was used by his brother for that reason.
From that moment we did not leave him
alone an instant until his brother came.
His Mother's Boy. 163
I did what I could to relieve my guest's
natural anxiety about the little fellow. He
sat for a long time by the bed, after looking
with approval at the bandages and medicines.
"I am a doctor, myself," he said simply
"Oh, that is good," I replied. "I hope
you find everything right."
"I do indeed, and how can I thank you?
It was You were very, very kind. I"
His feelings overcame him. He stooped
and kissed the pale face, and then turned
to me, and took my hand in both of his
own and drew me toward the door.
Once outside he said, "You will under
stand. I cannot talk of it now. He is very
dear to me, and I am all he has in the
world, poor little fellow."
He spoke as if the child were in some
way afflicted, and I thought again of the
"Your emotion is perfectly natural, I am
sure," I said. "We did nothing. He is a
164 His MotJters Boy.
pretty boy, and we liked to feel that he
would prefer to wake up when that time
comes in a place that would seem more
like home than a hospital ward."
The doctor pressed my hand again, and
sat down by the library table.
"Tell me all about it, please all," he
I did so.
"You wonder how he happened to be
here alone, and why I asked you to watch
him," he said when I had finished. "You
will have to let me tell you a long story;
for without a theory I have, I could not ex
plain to you either the why, or the how.
Even with the theory, I am puzzled still.
Perhaps you can help me unravel the
mystery and advise me for the future.
You are older than I. I am not quite
thirty, and if the poor little fellow pulls
through this, I have still a strange and
unknown road to pilot him over."
He sat silent for a moment, and looked
His Mother s Boy. 165
out into the street through the parted cur
tains, in front of him. My wife entered,
and went softly into the sick-room.
"I should like to hear the story," I
said, still vaguely uncomfortable, but with
renewed confidence in the man, who wrote
his little brother the letter I had read, and
who seemed now so tender and thoughtful.
He began in a low voice, with his eyes
fixed on the street beyond :
"When my father brought my pretty
young step-mother home, I was prepared to
be, if not exactly unfriendly, at least ready
to become so upon very slight grounds. I
had heard, here and there, as all children
do, the hints and flings which prepare
their minds for hostile feeling toward the
new-comer who may be, and often is, wiser,
kinder, and more loving than was the one
whose place she has come to fill."
I was glad my wife had gone into the
sick-room. This was a sore point with her.
I hoped that she had not heard him.
1 66 His Matters Boy.
"But most of us, old and young, take
our opinions receive our entire mental out
look from others. That which we hear
often becomes to our receptive minds a
part of our mental equipment, and we seri
ously believe that we are stating our own
thoughts and opinions, when, in nine cases
out of ten, we are doing nothing of the
kind. Frequency of iteration passes as
proof, and we are saddled, before we know
it, with a thousand prejudices and assump
tions that we have neither originated nor
understood, an investigation into whose bear
ings would not only result, in many cases,
in an entire revolution of opinion, but
would disturb the basis of many a hoary
belief, and right many a cruel injustice."
He paused. I bowed assent, and he
"I supposed that step-mothers were ne
cessarily a very undesirable acquisition in
any family, and this well-established theory
was so firmly rooted in what I believed
His Mother s Boy. 167
to be my mind, that nothing short cf the
love and devotion I had for my father
enabled me to receive his pretty bride
with even a show of cordiality.
"I can see now what a strain it must
all have been for her. To come among
strangers all of whom were curious and
none of whom excelled in either wisdom
or charity having just entered that strange
and winding path called matrimony, with
the usual blindness to its meaning with
which it is the fashion to invest the one
to whom it must always mean much of
sorrow, and more of responsibility.
"To tread such a path without striking
one's feet against the thorns of individu
ality, and tearing one's hands with the
thistles of rudely awakened ignorance, must
be very difficult ; but add to this the fact
that my young step-mother would have no
friendly faces about her, to which she was
accustomed, that there were none of her
own kindred, and none of her culture and
1 68 His MotJurs Boy.
training to whom she might go to unbur
den her heart or ask advice ; and then
add to this, also, the fact that her new
position involved the wisdom to guide and
the patience to win the love of others be
side my father, and you will be able to
understand something, perhaps, of what I
shall tell you of her conduct and its un
happy results as I am convinced upon
my little brother.
" Her constant self-denial, and heroic
efforts to live for others, and to sacrifice
herself, was, I am satisfied, the sole cause
of the strange, sad, developments that grew
to be so puzzling in the character of her
child. Nature is a terrible antagonist.
You may refuse her demands and stran
gle her needs to-day ; but to-morrow she
will be avenged. The saddest part of this
sad fact to me is this: She is too often
avenged upon those who are helpless
upon those who come after.
" I was a lad of seventeen when my
His Mother's Boy. 169
new mother came, and I was no better
and no worse than the average unthink
ing youth. I had been trained to be a
gentleman, always, toward women, and I
hope that I sustained my reputation in my
conduct towards my father's wife. She
was pretty, too, unusually pretty, and that
helped a good deal. It is always easier to
be polite to a pretty woman than to one
who is lacking in the one thing upon
which to the shame of the race be it said
womanhood has been valued."
I looked up again and smiled. He
turned his face to meet my eyes for the
first time since he began, and a rather
sarcastic smile lit his own somewhat som
ber features as he went on.
" It is quite as easy for me now, as
a practicing physician, to be attentive to
and interested in a homely man or boy
as in one who has regular features and
fine teeth ; but it is equally true that this
is not the case with women and girls. I
170 His Mothers Boy.
trust that I have always done my profes
sional duty in any case; but I have done
it with pleasure that was real and inter
est that was constant, I am sure, far more
frequently when the patient has been a
woman of beauty.
" It is not an element which enters
into the treatment of my male patients."
" Naturally," I assented, still smiling,
and he turned toward the window again,
and his usual gravity returned.
" But all this is a digression only in
so far as it may serve to illustrate the
indubitable fact that to use a gaming ex
pression my step-mother played her high
est trump card upon my susceptible, boyish
nature, when she stepped from the car
riage, and I saw that she was fair to look
upon. I made up my mind at once that
she should never know that I was sorry
she had come, and I did what I could to
carry out the resolve.
" But for all that she did know it.
His Mother's Boy. 171
Her whole attitude toward me was one of
apology and conciliation, and my father
saw and seeing, alas ! approved.
"I am sorry to be compelled to say
this, for my father was, in the main, a
thoughtful and humane man, and certainly
he had no wish to humiliate or harass his
young wife. He thought her conduct quite
natural and quite commendable. It looked
so to me, also, at that time. This being
the case, you will readily see how it came
about that she, point by point, and step
by step, yielded up her own individuality
upon the altar of our egoism and made
it her duty and I still hope it was in a
measure her pleasure, also to minister to
us and to repress whatever stirrings of per
sonal opinion, desire, or preference she may
"At first, I remember, she would gaze
silently, for long period*, out of the win
dow, and sigh. One day she said to me :
' Walter, did you ever have an intense
172 His Mothers Boy.
longing to get away somewhere? Any
where ? '
" I can't say that I ever had, Saint
Katherine," I replied, using the name she
had asked me to join my father in apply
ing to her. It was the second time I had
ventured to so address her, notwithstand
ing her request, and the other time it had
been used with my father's sportive inflec
tion. That day, however, her sad face and
strange question had made me fear that
some one had wounded her, and I instinct
ively used the name with a kind and gen
tle tone in my voice.
" She turned from the window, and faced
me. Her lips parted and closed again.
Suddenly there were tears in her eyes, and
she said, with a trembling lip :
" ' Why, Walter, you are beginning to
like me, after all ! I '
" She stopped to steady herself, and I,
young brute that I was, laughed. I was
sorry a moment later, but I had not un-
His Mothers Boy. 173
derstood her mood, and so my own had
cut across it harshly. She had turned her
face to the window again, and I stepped
to her side. I was too young, and awk
ward to know just what to say to retrieve
myself, so I took her hand in my own
and lifted it to my lips, as I had so often
seen my father do. She did not move
we were both silent for a long time. At
last I said, having whipped myself up to
" You are a saint, Katherine, and I was
a brute to laugh. I I didn't mean to
hurt you. I"
" She threw her arms about my neck,
and sobbed like a child. It was the first
time I had ever seen a woman weep. I
was almost as tall then as I am now, and
she was shorter by half a head than I.
For the first time in my life I began to
feel that perhaps father and I were not the
only persons in the household who should
be considered. I am bound to say that
174 His Mothers Boy.
my thought was very vague, and that it took
scant root, for her emotion touched my
sympathy, and I had all I could do to keep
back the tears myself.
"At that age, I should have looked
upon it as very unmanly to weep, and so I
exerted all the little brain I had command
of, to keep down my very natural emotion."
He paused, but I ventured to make no
remark, and he began again ;
" I think she mistook my silence she
was but a few years older than I and so
she straightened herself up, and without
another word left the room. But I bore
you," he said, breaking off abruptly.
"Not at all, not at all. I am intensely
interested. Go on."
He looked at me, and was sure of my
earnestness, then his voice resumed the
same gently reflective tone again;
"She did not come down to dinner
that night, and father only remarked that
she said her head ached. I felt guilty, I
His Mother's Boy. 175
did not know why, or what about; but
somehow I felt that instead of helping
things on, by an attempt to be more
friendly, my step-mother and I had suc
ceeded in rendering the home atmosphere
even less clear and bright than it was
" And so it was. She attempted no
farther confidences with me, and gave her
self up more and more to household affairs.
She appeared to think that it was her
duty to be always at the beck and call
of my father, and if she planned a drive
of which she was fond and he chanced
to come in, she would say quietly to the
"'Take the horses back, I shall not go
now. Mr. Travers may need me. He came
in a moment ago.'
"She was all ready to go to Boston
one day, and showed more eagerness than
I had seen her display since she came to
us, when father came up from the office,
176 His Mothers Boy.
bringing with him a guest who had unex
pectedly arrived from the West.
"Saint Katherine, as I now always called
her, took her gloves off as she saw them
coming up the walk, and before they
opened the door her hat was laid aside. I
felt sure I had seen her lift a handker
chief to her eyes. I said:
"'Confound that old fellow, what did he
have to come to-day for? He always stays
a week, too. But you must make your trip
to Boston just the same. We can manage
as we used to.'
"She looked at me gratefully, I thought,
but again restrained herself, and said noth
ing of her own disappointment.
"As I look at it now, it seems to me
she never had her own way about any
thing. She had no companionship, but such
as had always been congenial to my father,
and the interests and aims of the people
about us were new to her, and unlike those
of her old home.
His Mothers Boy. 177
"At last, one day, I saw her working
on a little garment. She hated to sew, and
a new light dawned upon me. I think I
may have "been actuated by jealousy; but
I can hardly say what it was that caused
me to demand more of her time and at
tention after that. I felt that the time
would soon come when father and I would
not be the only ones to claim her attention,
and perhaps I proceeded upon that idea to
get all I could while I could.
"'Won't you play chess with me, Saint
Katherine?' I asked that afternoon. 'Oh,
I beg pardon. I did not notice the car
riage. If you were going out, go.' I said
this in a tone that showed very plainly
that I would be deprived of my pleasure
if she should go. She stayed. I beat her
at chess, and was happy.
"As time wore on she had been with
us over a year now her suppressed rest
lessness grew more apparent. Even my
father noticed it, and told her that for the
178 His Mother's Boy.
child's sake she should keep herself well
under control. I was outside the window
when he said it, and it gave me a new idea.
"'Yes/ she said, 'I suppose so; but it
seems to me I shall go mad if I can't go
away somewhere. I know it must be fool
ish and wrong; but I so long to see other
"'People?' my father suggested, not un
kindly. But I remember feeling sorry that
he said it.
"There was a long silence. Then she
said in a low, self-accusing voice, 'I suppose
it is all wrong; but I sJwuld love to see
some of the people I used to know or
even strangers, who are who are not'
She did not finish.
"Presently she said: 'I sometimes think
I would crawl on my hands and knees if
only I might go if don't think I am not
satisfied. It is not that, but'
" My father's voice was low and kind
although he presented the old, and as I
His Mothers Boy. 179
now believe, injurious idea of the repres
sion and control of natural desire for the
sake of the child and I walked away.
"The next day I said, 'Saint Katherine,
would you like to drive over to Wilton
to-day? We could get back for dinner at
" ' Oh, how nice ! ' she exclaimed, with
her eyes sparkling. I made up my mind
that I would suggest some such thing every
day, but, boy-like, I forgot or neglected it.
"We went. Her pleasure in all the
new faces and sights was almost childish.
She was starving for a change of scene and
companionship, and even such as she might
easily have had she often denied herself,
from an overwrought sense of duty."
My guest got upon his feet, and walked
twice across the room, looking in at the
sick child as he passed the door.
" She lived only two years longer, and
father and I had little Ralph to bring up
the best we could, I was so fond of the
180 His Mother's Boy.
little fellow, that it was easy for me to
look after him, and the nurse was not often
out of sight or hearing of either father or
me, but she had to carry him about constant
ly. He was an angel, in motion, so my
father said; but the moment he was kept
quiet or still he was anything but an an
gel. He would have his own way, by hook
or by crook, and as soon as he could walk
we had to lock the door of his room, or
he would slip out of his little low bed
when nurse was asleep, and scramble down
stairs and out into the grounds and be lost."
I began to see new meaning in the
word " escape."
" Three or four times we had a great
fright in that way. Then we locked the
door. As he grew older that did not work.
He unlocked it, or climbed out of the win
" When he was seven years old, he ran
off, and got as far as Norton, on the high
way to Boston, before he was found. He
His Mother's Boy. 181
was tired and hungry, and footsore; but he
was trudging steadily on.
" A farmer picked him up and brought
him home. Hardly a month passed from
that time on that he did not run away. I
remember the first time I found him. He
was sitting by the railway track, eight miles
from home, waiting for the west-bound train.
He was nearly eight years old then, and
as handsome a child, and as good a one
in other ways, as you often meet. I struck
him that time. I was so frightened. You
know that is brute instinct to strike the
thing you love when you have just rescued
it from danger. I rarely ever saw a mother
snatch her child out of danger that she did
not either strike or scold it, before the pallor
of anguish at the thought of its peril had
left her face. It is a strange human char
acteristic. I have often tried to solve its
exact meaning." He was silent so long that
I turned. He was just returning from
another glance into the boy's room.
1 82 His Mothers Boy.
I mumbled assent, and he resumed his
seat by the table.
" But to go back to the boy. He looked
up at me in terrified surprise. I had never
struck him before. Then he said:
"'The cars would have come in ten min
utes. That man said so. I was going to
" ' You were going to Chicago, I sup-
pose,' I said indignantly, as the train thun
dered past, a moment later.
" ' Chicago, yes/ he said, brightening up.
I think that was the first time he knew
where he was bound for.
"Soon after that, my father died. Ralph
promised not to run away any more, and
I think he tried to keep his promise; but
in less than six months, what I believe to
have been his inheritance from the starved
and repressed nature of his mother got the
better of him again, and he escaped. We
could trace him a short distance, and then
all clues faded out. The whole village
His Mothers Boy. 183
turned out, and day and night we looked.
We telegraphed the railway men, but to no
" At last we gave him up. We con
cluded he had attempted to cross the river,
and had been drowned. God, how I lashed
myself for having struck him ! "
My guest wiped the moisture from his
face now, and sat silent for a long time.
My wife had returned from the sick-room
a moment before, and seated herself in the
shadow. He did not appear to notice that
we were not alone.
"It was during this time that I began
to think out blindly and vaguely the rea
son for my little brother's curious mania,"
he began again. My wife motioned me not
to call his attention to her. " His mother
had refused to nature all that it plead for
of personal pleasure and self-gratification,
and starved and outraged nature, I began
to believe, had transmitted to the child, not
only the craving that had gone unsatisfied,
1 84 His Mother's Boy.
but the self-will to execute it. Boys, you
know, are not trained to think that the
world was made for woman, with man an
incident in her life. They are not made
to feel that they have no personality. But
their desires, their ambitions, their person
ality as individuals, are to be honored and
gratified, if possible, and so the general trend
of thought and the strength of will fitted well
into his heredity the stamp he bore of
longing for the change she never had
and so I grew to believe that he traveled
the road nature had laid out and custom
had paved for him."
I could see my wife's eyes grow large
and intense, as she bent forward to listen.
"It was five weeks before we heard from
him. We had given him up for dead, when
he walked in one day, and frightened the
servants almost to death.
"I did not strike him that time. I had
begun to think.
" He told me that night, all about his
His Mother's Boy. 185
travels, and how homesick he got. It was
a strange tale, and broken by his enthu
siasm, about a certain circus man who had
been kind to him, and cared for him for
several days, until the child, under the spell
of his hereditary trait, had run away from
his new friend."
I knew, now, what the word " escape "
had meant in that telegram, and my wife
nodded to me with the same thought in
" He promised to stay at home, after
that, and said he was very sorry that I had
worried so much about him. He stayed
quietly with us nearly a year. Then he
really did go to Chicago. He stole or
begged rides on the cars, and people gave
him food. He fell into the hands of the
police, and I was telegraphed for. They
sent for me, and I brought him home. He
was ragged and repentant. That was last
Christmas. I gave him a new pony, upon
his solemn promise not to ride more than
1 86 His Mother's Boy.
five miles from home without the groom
or me. He said that was all he wanted.
He was sure of it, and I hoped the sense
of freedom of going on his own horse, and
where and when he wished would keep his
mania in check.
" I had hopes that after he should be
thirteen or fourteen years old he would out
grow it, and I have been trying to tide
him over to that time. I have tried, too,
all along, in my rather immature way, to
arouse his sense of honor and responsibil
ity toward me. But the ideas conveyed by
those words have seemed to strike sympa
thetic but disabled chords in his nature.
His mother's over-taxed self-repression and
sense of duty to others, her lack of com
prehension of self-duty and personal value,
has reacted in her boy, to restore the bal
ance to Nature, and he is swept into the
path of her repression with a force beyond
his power to check.
"I have grown to feel that father and
His Mother s Boy. 187
I, in our egotistic blindness, helped to stamp
the boy with his uncomfortable inheritance,
and now I must bide my time, and act
as wisely and as kindly as I can."
"You seem to have been very thought
ful and studious," I ventured. " It is a puz
zling case, and a new idea to me."
" My study of anthropology helped me,
I suppose," he replied, rising nervously to
pace the floor again.
"It was a fortunate thing for poor little
Ralph that I took that for my life-work.
It has helped me to read between the lines
for him, and to be wise with him beyond
my years, perhaps. I have always been glad
He had paused near the bed-room door,
but he had not seen my wife as she sat
in the shadow.
" His pony was all right for a time ;
but when he heard me read I was a fool
to do it of the railroad strikes in Albany,
it was too much for him. His five miles
1 88 His Mothers Boy.
stretched into twenty, and then, I fancy,
some unscrupulous fellow told him he would
give him a ticket to Albany in exchange
for his horse. It was too much for him.
No doubt he parted with poor Gyp with
a sob, and climbed aboard the train. And
to think that it should have been poor lit
tle Ralph, whose curiosity and ignorance
took him where he received the murder
ous Pinkerton bullet and that cruel blow
on the head. Poor little chap! I cannot
believe he will die, though his chances are
very slim, very slim, indeed," he said, sad
ly, as he turned to enter the sick-room.
A cry escaped him. I sprang to my
feet in time to see him catch to his breast
the little white form that had staggered
silently into the room.
"Brother!" the weak little voice cried
in delight, and he then fainted again. The
doctor laid him in his bed gently, and my
wife bent over him.
"That means that he is better, doctor,"
His Mother's Boy. 189
she said in a voice that tried to be con
fident and cheery. " He has known no one
before since we brought him home. What
a lovely face he has ! "
"Yes, he has his mother's own face,"
he replied with a sigh. " She was a lovely
woman, and, alas ! she was the victim of
her own virtues as he is."
" I fancy my wife will question your stand
ard of virtues," I said, as we returned to the li
brary some time after. He smiled more light
ly than I had yet seen him, and turned to her.
" I question that myself, madam as an
anthropologist and a student of heredity."
" You do not think, then, that the cre
ative or character-moulding parent can af
ford to risk self-effacement and subserviency
of intellect and position ? " she asked dryly.
"Not unless we wish to continue a sub
servient and incompetent race, which shall
be dominated by power cruelly used," he
replied, looking steadily at her. Then he
190 His Mother s Boy.
"This I speak, as Saint Paul might say,
not as a man, but as an anthropologist.
I am still a little bit in the position of
the brave apostle, too. The 'natural man'
and the scientific are at war within me. The
one cries, 'Travers, you would like for your
wife and daughters to be sweetly, confiding
ly dependent upon you, and to live for and
because of you; to be unselfish, and self-sac
rificing,' and I reply, 'I love it dearly; it
is a sweet and holy idea to me.' Then
the scientific man remarks, 'Doctor, are you
not providing for a basis of character and
heredity which shall make your children the
victims of your egotism?' And the doc
tor bows assent."
My wife laughed softly, and stepped to
the inner door.
" He is better," she said, coming back.
"He is sleeping naturally for the first time."
Then she stepped quickly to the doctor's
side, and held out her hand.
" He will not need a mother much while
His Mother s Boy. 191
the anthropologist lives with you; but if he
ever should, send him to me."
There were tears in her eyes, as there
were in those of our guest. He held her
hand a moment, and then turned abruptly
and left the room.
An hour later there stood on my wife's
desk a handsome bunch of roses, and my
wife only smiled.
" Shall you say anything more about it?"
" No," she replied. " There is no need.
He will send the boy when he grows rest
less at home, I am sure of that now.
These roses are my answer. Perhaps, be
tween the two, we can satisfy his travel
ing instinct. What a mercy it was not
something worse ! "
" What ? " I asked, in astonishment.
"I heard the whole story," she said,
"and I could not help thinking that his
theory would account for a good many
things in the world. It is the exact oppo-
i 92 His Mother s Boy.
site of the usual one. Woman has been
taught that to repress and keep in check
nature will make her child strong and
destroy in it the development of unrea
sonable appetite as for drink or murder.
His idea seems to be that undue repression,
as surely as undue indulgence, will make
its heavy mark on the plastic nature form
ing. Perhaps that is true. Nature struggles
to restore the balance. How do we know
that murder in the heart, though it be re
pressed, may not account for many a trag
edy in the next generation? Who knows
but a run-down system depriving itself of
stimulants it craves may not account for
the yearning born in many a man for such
stimulants? Who knows but"
My wife stopped. Presently she said :
" He scared me almost to death as he devel
oped that idea in my mind. What a lot we
have got to learn of it all, even if he is wrong ! "
"Don't learn it," I said laughing. "It
will tire you out."
His Mothers Boy. 193
"It tires me out not to," she said. "I
am going to study anthropology."
Two weeks later she said:
"The books are so stupid. They assume
everything and they prove nothing, because
their assumptions are all wrong. I'm go
ing to ask Dr. Travers to write from his
premises, and see if he can't stir up a little
less obscure and complacent thought. Even
if he is not on the right track, it will do
these stupid moles good. They get no
where because they start wrong."
"Better write one yourself," I suggested,
"I shall do nothing of the kind. I don't
know enough about it."
"Oh," I called after her, as she left the
room. "I didn't suppose a knowledge of the
subject to be written upon was at all neces
sary. What a ridiculous conscience you
She has not mentioned it since, but I
do not believe she takes my flippancy as
194 His Mother s Boy.
in good taste. Anyhow, I have dropped the
subject of heredity with the feeling that I
had got perilously near a buzz-saw in motion,
MR. WALK-A-LEG ADAMS
'MEETS UP WITH" A TARTAR.
"Fool. I had rather be any kind of thing than
"Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
"Fool, No, 'faith lords and great men will not let
me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part
on't: and ladies too, they will not let me have all
fool to myself; they'll be snatching."
MR. WALK-A-LEG ADAMS " MEETS
UP WITH" A TARTAR.
TN any other part of the country with
which I am acquainted it would be
said that Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams overtook a
Tartar; but to distinguish between the two
ideas intended to be conveyed when you
say, "I met in the road to-day a certain
person," or, "I overtook in the road to-day
a certain person," the Southern people of
whom I write would say, " I met up with,"
to express the latter fact.
The information of the meeting is im
parted by the usual word; while the idea
that you were going the same way when
the meeting took place is briefly conveyed
by the words "up with."
It sounds strange enough, no doubt, to
unaccustomed ears, but there are those who
2OO Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
assert that it fills those first of all requi
sites of correct and forcible speech brevity
and definiteness. So when I say that Mr.
Walk-a-leg Adams "met tip with" a Tar
tar, I make use of a localism, it is true;
but is it not a localism which has a dis
tinct value of a nature which gives it a
right not only to exist, but to be seriously
considered as well?
But, be that as it may, it is quite cer
tain that when Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
sauntered out into the big road from be
hind the huge woodpile which formed the
chief feature of the variously shaped col
lections of logs which composed his home,
he had no idea of the exciting events in
which he was about to take an active part,
and which were henceforth to constitute a
memorable chapter in the history of his
neighborhood, as well as the most tremen
dous and far-reaching event of his whole
Indeed, it is to be seriously doubted if
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 201
Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams had had any very
distinct ideas on any subject whatever on
that morning, or on any other morning of
his pathetically deficient life.
There was a legend in the neighbor
hood that the poor demented fellow's name
was John Quincy, and that he was one of
the saddest illustrations of degeneracy to
be met with in all the sickening records of
decadence from a one-time splendid ancestry.
But, however that may be, in these days
he was known by three of the eight words
which formed his entire vocabulary.
Why these particular eight words
chanced to be the ones which fastened
themselves upon the .darkened intellect and
vocal cords of this physical giant it would
be impossible to say ; but certain it is that
" God-a'mighty walk a leg hands is that"
formed the entire linguistic stock-in-trade
of one of the best farm "hands" to be
had in the county.
It is very much to be doubted if his
2O2 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
mental equipment extended over even so
wide a field as his vocabulary, for it is
quite beyond question that whatever mean
ing the poor fellow may have originally
attached to the words themselves had long
since vanished, and that they were now
used merely as a means of vocalization.
It is true, however, that when he was
very greatly astonished, frightened, or pleased,
the emphasis did change places, and in ex
treme cases the "a'mighty" was pronounced
in full and with varying degrees of intensity.
There was a large family of these
Adams giants ; but when the farmers there
about wanted the strongest, most willing,
and least troublesome "hand," in the har
vest-field or at the cider-press, they engaged
Walk-a-leg, even if they had to send for him
and take him home again each day as was
often the case unless one of his somewhat
more rational brothers was employed at the
same time to remind him of his engagement
by taking him to fill it.
" Meets Up With" a Tartar. 203
But much of the year this simple giant
roamed about aimlessly, ate where he chanced
to find himself at meal-time, and slept on
the best bed at hand when sleep overtook
His harmlessness was taken for granted,
and comments on, discussions about, and
differences of opinion over his verbal vaga
ries served to eke out many a case of oral
gymnastics commonly called by the partici
pants therein " conversation " which had
drifted on to the arid banks of rural limita
tions, and promised to be a hopeless wreck
until this timely rescue once more started
the aimless and fragile bark upon its infinite
But when Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams started
out that day, he had, so far as I can tell, no
definite object in view; but it is certain that
when he "met up with" a lady whom he
had never had the pleasure of seeing before,
his delight was unmistakable and unbound
ed. To meet with a stranger to say nothing
2O4 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
of that stranger being a woman was to him
a rare and altogether delightful experience.
From the moment he had seen, in the
distance, a form which had not the familiar
lines of any women of his limited acquaint
ance, he had swung his powerful legs at a
rate to make him "meet up" very soon, with
a much swifter traveller than Miss Alfaretta
Bangs had ever been even in her younger
days, before the neuralgic twinges had set
tled with so much energy about her decided
and always self-assertive joints.
So when this great, muscular, good-na
tured fellow shot past her, and then sud
denly turned about and remarked, with cor
dial friendliness, " God-a'mighty-walk-a-leg-
hands-is-that ! " she was naturally somewhat
astonished, and not altogether unreasonably,
I think, doubted if she had heard correctly
the full purport of his remark.
"Howdy," she said, with that perfunctory
inflection common to those who greet all
whom they may meet in the road as a mere
" Meets Up With" a Tartar. 205
matter of course, and not at all as a matter
He grinned, but continued to stand ex
actly in front of her, and remarked this
time with much emphasis, and slapping his
left leg vigorously as he did so "God-
a'mighty, walk-a-leg J '" possibly with some
vague idea in his helpless brain of express
ing by means of the emphasis, the fact that
he had been compelled to travel with undue
rapidity in order to make her acquaintance
This time there was no doubt in her
mind that she had heard correctly, and that
this profane Hercules meant to do her a mis
chief, or, at the very least, to offer her a
But Miss Alfaretta Bangs had not taught
school in the " mountings " for fifteen years
for nothing, and she did not intend that
her prospects of securing a school in this
neighborhood where she was as yet a stran-
2o6 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
ger should be destroyed by a display of the
white feather now.
Indeed she strongly suspected that this
wicked giant was one of the very young
fellows whom she would be called upon to
teach in the event of securing the school
and that her identity being known to him
was the circumstance to which she owed
this present impertinence.
As I have before hinted, Miss Alfaretta
Bangs was not timid.
She had had experience.
She drew herself up to a sinuous height,
not far below his own, and, with a single
sweep of an arm not unaccustomed to the
vigorous use of the birch rod of no small
proportions, brought the back of a hand
soft and small at no time in her life
into violent contact with the half-open and
wholly surprised mouth of her admirer.
"All mighty! walkaleg/z^/zdj is that!"
exclaimed he, jumping fully three feet and
spreading a propitiatory, albeit an appreciative
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 207
smile, over a countenance not wholly un
used to familiarities of an ungentle nature,
offered in rough, but well-meant jest by
" Wai, hit war my han', ef yo' mus' ax,"
exclaimed she, in irate astonishment that
he did not attempt to resent the blow. " An'
ef I do walk on my legs hit air none er
yo' call fer to meet up with me an' low
ter cuss me fer hit. They air my legs, an'
they air a'most es servigerous es my han's
ef ye oncet gits erquainted with 'em. Don'
y' stan' thar'n grin at me, ye cussin' eg-
iot ! " she added, her wrath waxing with
his growing effort at conciliation.
" Git outen my road ! " she commanded,
"an' try yer cussin' skeer on some er these
yer saft critters thet ain't teeched school ter
mo' rantankerous egiots than y' ever see in
these yer diggins, 'n haint been skeered er
none o' ye yit, nuther. The fack air I've
whalloped mo' survigerous egiots than what
y' air, befo' yo' mammy fetched y' outen pan-
2o8 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
terlets. I've tuk the hull hide offen bigger
'n yo'," she concluded, triumphantly.
Her frequent use of the word idiot had
no relation to this particular case ; nor did
she guess at any time during the interview
that the poor fellow was really more lack
ing in mental qualifications than the ordi
nary male biped, all of whom, she was
thoroughly of opinion, were more or less
wanting in those endowments which indi
cate a sound mind and a correct judgment.
" God tf//migh&r / " exclaimed Mr. Ad
ams, in evident relish of her vigorous tones
and energetic gestures, as he brought one
powerful fist down into the other tremen
dous palm, with a resounding thwack that
had a perceptible effect upon the nerves a
heretofore unknown possession-of the an
cient maiden before him.
"Don' y' God a'mighty me, ye cussin'
coot ! " exclaimed she, recovering herself, as
she was about to turn and ignominiously
flee. "Don' y' God a'mighty me, er I'll thes
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 209
lay y' plum ouwt ! " And she started toward
him as if to carry her threat into imme
diate execution; but the great ^foolish fel
low backed dexterously along, immediately
in front of her, at a rate calculated to do
justice to her best qualities as a pedestrian
of no mean ability.
The exercise, the novel situation, her
extraordinary excitement and now rapidly
dawning fear appeared to give him the keen
No one had ever thought of getting
angry with Walk-a-leg Adams, and he was
therefore having a new, and to him, appar
ently charming experience.
He backed along like a great crawfish,
laughing uproariously, and from time to time
giving vent to one or another section of
his cherished vocabulary, the while slapping
with his enormous palm those huge and en
ergetic means of locomotion which swung
like great pendulums from his hip-joints
with a vigor which indicated an abiding con-
2io Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
fidence in the tenacity of the muscles of
articulation of both the member attacking
and the member attacked.
But whichever part of his scant ling
uistic store he employed to give vent to his
feelings, it gave Miss Bangs a fresh im
pulse to catch him and break as many of
his bones as it might lay in her power to frac
ture before he could make good his escape.
Once she stopped long enough to pick
up a large and wicked-looking club, which
only added ecstasy to her tormentor and
intensified the emphasis upon his best-loved
"A'mighta?/" yelled he in a transport of
admiration for her humor in this new game
they were inventing together; "A'migh&r/
Walk-a-/^," laughed he, slapping his great
thigh, and raising therefrom a perfect cloud
of dust previously collected by his brown
jean trousers from barn-floors and hay
mows, where his recent sittings and sleep-
ings had taken place.
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 211
"I'll A'mighty you! I'll walkaleg you!
ef I ketch y' oncet 'n' I'll ketch y' yit
Yll back inter sutnpin' er nuther yit, 'n'
'fore y' git up I'll break every las' bone
in yer wuthless cayrcass," gasped she, out
The rage and exercise were telling on
Presently she struck her foot on a stone
that he had dextrously backed over, and
fell sprawling in the dust.
Instantly the great, uncouth, tender-heart
ed fellow was by her side, and, stooping
over her prostrate form, inquired in the gen
tlest, most anxious and sympathetic tones,
"Walk-a-leg? Hands is that?" at the same
time attempting to lift her bodily in his arms
with the care and solicitude with which a
young mother might lift a hurt child.
Quick as a flash she sprang to her feet,
nimbly avoiding his arms, and brought the
heavy club still tightly clutched in both
hands with a tremendous crash down upon
212 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
the poor fellow's bent head, and leaving him
lying by the side of her club, she strode
triumphantly on to the village, in the firm
belief that she had but justly freed herself
from what she had come to believe was a
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
appeared after having undergone such rude
surgery for a fractured skull as the neigh
borhood afforded with his head tied up, a
dazed look of dawning intelligence on his
countenance, and, much to the astonishment
and deep mystification of his sympathetic
family and neighbors, with his vocabulary
enriched by three more words, the purport
of which did not enlighten his friends as
to the origin of his broken skull.
The three words he acquired with such
unexpected suddenness appeared, however,
to have more relation to the subject-matter
in hand than had his previous utterances,
and were the index of a correspondingly
more lucid mental condition.
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 213
The words were "old she-devil" pronounced
with, much emphasis and with no percep
tible preference for either of them.
Indeed, they each seemed to relieve his
mind greatly, and the combination was so par
ticularly satisfactory that he repeated it for
some days with the regularity of a clock,
and the enthusiasm of a new convert.
From that time he grew in grace, ad
ding very slowly, it is true, but steadily
to his little stock of English, as well as to
his dawning wits ; and when I saw him last
which was three years later he impressed
me as a not altogether stupid, but rather
slow, very good-natured, and somewhat talk
ative fellow, with a fear of nothing on this
earth but women.
He had fought and killed even in his
more benighted days many a bear ; it had
always been a delight to him to conquer a
rattlesnake ; but if a sun-bonnet appeared
above the horizon Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
214 Mr. Walk-a-leg Adams
In going to and from his work, it was
his invariable habit to leave the "big road"
to such as dared encounter its terrors; he
crossed the fields or traveled through tan
gles where nothing more dangerous and vi
cious lurked than an occasional panther and
a not-at-all infrequent moccasin.
With these he was at home; he knew
their tricks. But on a highway infested,
as it might be, by a Miss Alfaretta Bangs,
he was convinced that no man was safe.
To this view he held strenuously, and
therefore invariably chose the lesser dangers
of the primitive forest.
And yet it was undoubtedly due to the
touch of her magic wand that Mr. Adams
had come to be invariably spoken of, by
those who knew him, as "he," whereas they
had previously designated him as " it."
So little did he realize the source of his
benefits that, from having previously been
an indiscriminate adorer of the sex, it came
to pass, after that momentous day when he
"Meets Up With" a Tartar. 215
underwent the mysterious change, as a re
sult of having "met up with" a Tartar and
attempted by means of a somewhat too
limited vocabulary, and one not possessed
of that continuity of ideas which the oc
casion appeared to demand to make friends
with her on general principles, and with
out an adequate comprehension of the sit
uation by either party to the fray, that he
could never thereafter be persuaded to look
upon any woman as other than a great and
ONYX AND GOLD.
"A man may see how this world goes with no eyes.
Look with thine ears ; see how yon' justice rails
upon yon* simple thief.
Hark, in thine ear ; change places ; and, handy-dandy,
which is the justice, which the thief?
"Through tatter' d clothes, small vices do appear;
Robes, and furr'd gowns, hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks ;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it."
"The wild beast is slumbering in us all. It is not
necessary always to invoke insanity to explain its
ONYX AND GOLD.
T \ID it ever strike you how many
thieves succeed in securing respect
able partners, and how very often the law
of the land is wholly on the side of the pil
fering gentry and against their victims ? "
asked the Prosecuting Attorney as he sat
fingering the frail stem of the wine-glass
which sat on the dainty cloth before him.
It was at Delmonico's, and the four gentle
men were in evening dress.
" Of course, it wouldn't do for me to say
that sort of thing publicly, but it is odd that
men like you should never have thought of
it. Any other incongruity from the clumsy
airs of a stage beauty up to"
" Up to the absurdity of serving that de
licious wine to a fellow like you, who has
no more sensitive palate than than an
222 Onyx and Gold.
amateur artist," broke in young Fenton,
laughing at his own attempt at a blind
pun. "You may appreciate root-beer to the
full, but, for the Lord's sake, don't drink
this as if it were a decoction of herbs.
Look!" He held his glass up to the light
and watched the sparkle with the eye of a
"It's tip-top, and no mistake, Fen; but
I was so interested in and stirred by the
remark I heard that rascal at the last table
make as he passed us that I really must
confess to a fit of abstraction or indiffer
ence, rather as I drank that glass. No dis
respect to the wine intended, old fellow."
They all glanced toward the table at the
far end of the room, and a ripple of curiosity
began to arise in their minds.
" Hadn't noticed him," remarked Bowman
languidly, gazing at the stranger through
"You don't mean to tell us that he is
one of the light-fingered gentry, or a candi-
Onyx and Gold. 22$
date for the penitentiary on the Court docket,
as you call it," said Fenton, with a touch of
real surprise and curiosity as he slowly re
placed his glass upon the table.
" Elbowing the criminal classes at Del's is
a new order of things, isn't it," smiled the
genial Political Idol who sat on the Prose
'' Well, that depends upon whom you are
pleased to -classify that way," replied the
man of law, grimly. Then, laughing a little,
"but, no, I shouldn't say it was a new order
of things only a new nomenclature and
there really is a good deal in a name, after
all. Call that fellow a young blood who is
sowing his wild oats, or a society favorite
who plays a bit high for his means, or men
tion him as an unlucky gentleman of leisure,
and he is accepted at par away above par
value, indeed, by all of us. But if I say
that he is a conscienceless young scamp,
who is living the life of a low debauchee,
or that he is a professional gambler who
224 Onyx and Gold.
plays with money that is not his own and
ruins those who confide in him ; or if I casu
ally remark that there sits a young fellow
who never did a useful thing in his life,
and has no more idea of ethics than a
than a boiled lobster why, society, includ
ing all of us, casts suspicious glances at
him, and suggests that he is out of place
in the company of respectable gentlemen.
Yet it's all a mere matter of terminology.
Dig for the meaning in either case and
you'll find exactly the same root. It's all
one. I "
The Political Idol burst into a merry
peal of laughter.
" Fairly sold ! " he exclaimed. " ' Pon my
word, you're getting to be a capital joker.
And that reminds me of a good thing that
happened over in Washington only yester
day. A certain member of the Cabinet who
shall be nameless for it was really a trifle
rough on him was walking down Penn.
Avenue with the Rev. Dr. Booth, D.D., and
Onyx and Gold. 225
one or two others and myself as a sort of
annex. They were deep in a theological
discussion when a poorly clad fellow regular
tramp stepped up to him and shook his
fist in the Government Official's face, and
accused him of about every crime you
could mention. A crowd gathered and we
had been taken so by surprise that there
we stood perfect pictures of misery, unable
to get out of the mob until a policeman
came up and carried the impulsive tramp
to winter quarters. It was quite too funny
to the rest of us; but I thought I could
detect two or three damns lurking behind
the remainder of that theological debate."
The Idol winked and sipped his wine. His
great reputation as a raconteur gave color
and pith to his story, and the gentlemen
all laughed heartily.
" Was a little rough, but I guess it wasn't
the first time he'd heard the same or similar
uncomplimentary remarks think so?" que
ried Fenton. " A man he once made a busi-
226 Onyx and Gold.
ness contract with which he afterwards repu
diated (for, of course, we can't help knowing
who you mean) told me all I ever wanted
to know about his character. I fancy the
tramp only repeated what the pious hum
bug has been told so often that he must
know it by heart by this time."
"Guess if the vote of the country were
taken on that topic, the gentleman in the
winter quarters, and the gentleman in the
Cabinet would poll about an equal vote
hey ? " sneered Bowman.
" Well," responded the Idol, with a
chuckle, " the vote might poll pretty even,
but it wouldn't weigh even by a good deal
when the scales of Justice were appealed
to. Scales are all alike. They respond to
weight, not to number nicht wahr?" he
ended, smiling significantly at the Prosecutor.
But that gentleman, strange to say, did
not warm up in response to the genial Phil
osopher of Success. This was a most unusual
experience and it piqued to farther effort the
Onyx and Gold. 227
merry social ring-master. At last he paused
in one of his humorous remarks, and turned
an almost pathetic gaze toward the original
object of their remarks.
" Did you say that poor fellow over there
had fallen into bad ways? Tell us about
it. Who is he? He doesn't look half bad.
The Prosecutor was in a surly mood.
"Perhaps you'll be on his side? Well, I
guess you will be ; for the law is, damn it !
That's what makes me mad. My hands are
simply tied. The law is his partner and he
is a thief."
The Idol raised his eyebrows and pursed
up his lips reproachfully. " I'm afraid you're
on a moral crusade, old fellow. Now don't
do it. Take my advice. Go with the swim.
It pays a hundred cents on the dollar to do
that. If the law is on his side, so am I.
Now trot our your case ! Waiter, bring me
some Apollinaris ! "
" Well, the case is simple enough. He
228 Onyx and Gold.
has defrauded dozens of honest men ; he
has caused more than one to lose health
and position and an honorable hold on life,
and, this morning, I followed to the grave
one man and I don't know how many more
there may be whom he has murdered, and
yet, as I say, the law is on his side! I tell
you it makes me hot sometimes. I lost my
temper when I saw him saunter in here to
spend on a dinner what would have saved
the life of the poor fellow we buried to-day.
It is infamous ! Infamous ! And the worst of
it all is, his case is only one of many. The
law that protected him could not protect
an honest man, for there is no case wherein
such a man could need its protection. Its
very existence on the statute books is an
insult to honesty and a menace to society.
It has no place in a free country. It is a
survival from an order of things that Ameri
cans should destroy, root and branch. It
is infamous in design and in execution
it is devilish. Only rascals "
Onyx and Gold. 229
" Hush, speak lower," whispered Bowman,
"he is coming past us on his way"
" Why, 'pon my word, this is lucky !
Didn't notice you until this instant, or I'd
have joined you," said the young fellow as
he paused with his hand extended to the
Idol. "Don't you recall Osmond? Ah, I
thought so. Charming evening. Sorry I
must go. Engagement at the Casino. Are
you going, too ? Delightful ! Meet you
there," he added, glancing at a splendid
jeweled watch and replacing it in his pocket.
He bowed slightly to the other gentlemen,
grasped the Idol's outstretched hand again,
and was gone. The Prosecutor ground his
teeth. The Idol smiled merrily.
"Dear me, he is all right! I didn't rec,
ognize him at that distance and side face ;
but he goes in the very best social circles
and was at college with Ned. Lives hand
somely. Bachelor apartments and all the
rest. I first met him in St. Petersburg.
He cut a wide swath there and in Paris
230 Onyx and Gold.
too, I believe. I remember some talk about
the gay dinners he gave some of the frail
sisterhood over there. A good story about
one of those same dinners is told "
The Idol drifted off into one of his spicy
stories making good his old reputation as
a clever after-dinner talker. As they were
about to part at the door a half hour later,
Fenton slipped his hand under the Prose
cutor's arm. "Which way you going? Any
special engagement? No? Then do come
up to the club with me. I'm dying to hear
about it. What is the story? How did
Osmond kill the fellow ? Why can't you
twist the law around him ? I always
"No, you didn't," snapped the Prosecutor.
"What you mean is that you never thought
at all on the subject. You just floated with
the froth as that shrewd political humbug
advises all fortunate men to do. But in
my opinion the time's not so very far off
when the patient body of water upon which
Onyx and Gold. 231
he and the rest of us are, and have been,
floating for ages untold, will break up into
angry waves, and then "
He snapped his finger.
" And then ? " queried Fenton, pausing
to light his cigar.
" Well, then honest men will begin to
see through the smooth-tongued, oily-man
nered humbugs they worship to-day, and
elect to make and sustain infamous laws,
and then their little jig will be up. I
know I struck him as a fool, to-night ; but
it was a pretty sudden change for me from
the poor, bare room where I helped to com
fort the orphans of Osmond's latest victim,
and saw the hopeless face of the widow,
to a seat at Del's, with the murderer at
The Club house door swung open, and
they entered. They threw their top coats
over a chair and seated themselves before
one of the windows facing the avenue.
232 Onyx arid Gold.
Fenton urged again that he was anxious
to hear the whole story.
" Oh, it's simple enough not to attract
much attention. The poor devil we buried
to-day Paul Bendenburger was an art dec
orator. He did exquisite work and had the
nature and tastes of an artist. His wife
and he had pinched and scraped ever since
they came to a country in which they fondly
hoped for justice to the poor, trying to es
tablish Paul in a business of his own. At
last the happy day came. He had a very
good little shop and a reputation with
wealthy firms of doing the finest work with
the most painstaking skill. Orders that
were sent to large firms often found their
way to Bendenburger because of the exquis
ite finish of all he did. Well, about two
years ago the largest order he had ever had
was sent to him. It was to decorate a
suite for Osmond. No expense was to be
spared. Everything was to be of the finest.
The bath-room was to be of onyx, and all
Onyx and Gold. 233
gilt ornamentation in the entire suite was
ordered to be of i8-carat gold. It don't
take a great deal of onyx and gold to make
a pretty big bill. Paul knew Osmond to
be a rich man. The order had come through
a good firm. To make this work a great
success was to place Paul on a splendid
business footing. Other rich men would
send for him. He and his wife were as
happy as two children over it. They both
planned and worked day and night. Paul
had to mortgage all his shop and effects
to procure the materials to work with, but
they were only too glad to do it, for he
was to be paid several thousand dollars over
and above all expenses when the work was
done. He felt sure that this was to be his
last hard year. There was some delay with
the other workmen, and it was late in the
fall before Paul's part of the work was well
under way. He went back and forth day
after day, and, if truth must be told, he
had no warm coat to go in. He took an
234 Onyx and Gold.
awful cold, but the job was so nearly done
that he whipped himself up to finishing it.
Once Paul's wife met Osmond on the stairs
while he was exultingly showing a chum
over the rooms, and ventured to ask him to
one side. She hinted that if he would only
advance a mere trifle on the work it would
be [gratefully received. Well, he simply flew
into a rage, and told Paul to keep his wife
at home where she belonged or he'd take
the, job from him yet. Paul tried to pre
tend that he wasn't much ill, and he would
not stop to see a doctor, for he must get
the rooms done. Well, at last they were
done, and there was a grand illumination,
a dinner, and a lot of newspaper talk over
the exquisite work. That was over a year
ago now. Paul was not at the dinner,"
sneered the Prosecutor. "He was in bed.
The doctor said, however, that all he needed
was plenty of wholesome food and a little rest.
He had worked too hard. So the Bren-
denburgers felt rather happy, and waited
Onyx and Gold. 235
in the belief that after to-morrow the plenty
of food and rest would begin to be theirs."
The Lawyer paused, and looked out of
the window so long that Fenton ventured:
" Was he too ill to recover ? "
" No ! " thundered his companion, turn
ing savagely upon him. " No, he was not.
If Osmond hadn't been a thief. If he had
paid his bills even then, if he had paid
even for the expense he had put Paul to,
it would not have been too late ; but he
even let the mortgage on the shop, which
had been given to get the onyx and gold
for his bath-room, be foreclosed ! Paul's
wife went to Osmond again, about that.
Paul was too ill and discouraged to do any
thing, by this time. She begged and pleaded
with tears, only that he would advance
enough to protect the shop, and take his
own time to pay the rest. Think of the
infamy of it ! 'Advance ' that which had been
already advanced to him! That is the po
sition to which such men reduce the poor.
236 Onyx and Gold.
They make cringing liars out of honest
tradesmen. Well, she was put off with a
promise. When she was gone, Osmond
simply directed his valet never to admit
her again. Then Paul sat up on his sick
bed and wrote. He told the whole piti
ful truth to Osmond even that they were
hungry and "
" Did Osmond dispute the accounts say
they were wrong or ? " began Fenton.
"Dispute nothing! He was too damned
selfish and lazy to even go over the ac
counts. Never made any claim at all. Sim
ply said he couldn't afford to pay trades
men when he deigned to say anything at
all on the subject. As a rule he said
nothing. But after a paper was obtained
which yanked him up in supplementary
proceedings, he had to make some sort of
"That was when I first heard of it all.
Paul was brought into court a mere wreck
of himself. His shop was gone, his health
Onyx and Gold. 237
was gone, and even his hope had almost
died by this time, But his poor little wife
kept him up with the thought that American
law would see justice done to the poor and
honest, and that here, in a Court of Justice
in free America, at least, he could meet
a rich man on an equal footing."
" I should think as much! " remarked Fen-
ton, looking at the dying light in his cigar,
and then drawing out a fresh weed to light.
"I don't wonder you felt your professional
pride aroused and took a personal interest
in getting the cash for them. But how did
it happen he died before you got it?"
"It happened that he died before they
got it, simply because they never did get it,
and they never will get it. Osmond isn't
built that way. He can't afford to throw
away money on trades-people," sneered the
Prosecutor. " He's got to spend his misera
ble pittance of $30,000 a year with his
friends and on others of his ilk. On our
merry Political Idol and "
238 Onyx and Gold.
"But the law!" broke in Fenton, "why
"My dear young friend, I told you a
while ago that you didn't think at all. You
only float. Now, I haven't a doubt that
you've read more than fifty times, that the
law holds that you can't collect from a man
who has an income left to him if he swears
that income ' is not more than enough to
support him in the manner in which he was
brought up.' Well, you didn't have head
enough to think what is a plain enough
fact that any man on this earth who would
resist an honest debt by taking advantage
of such a law can make that claim, and
that the law is his partner in the theft from
his victims. Who enabled Paul Bendenbur-
ger to live in the manner to which lie had
been accustomed? No law looked after his
interests and comfort. He'd always had a
good home and lived comfortably until Os
mond stole it all from him, and the law sane-
Onyx and Gold. 239
tioned the theft. Sometimes I get so hot in
the collar when I think of"
The Prosecutor walked impatiently up
and down the room, and then stood facing
the window with the light from the street
lamp glistening upon the single stone in
"You don't mean to tell me that there
is no way at all for that widow to get"
"I mean to tell you just this. By false
pretences, Osmond and his is one case in
many got Paul and Lena Bendenburger to
impoverish themselves to furnish unneces
sary splendor for him, that he caused them
to lose home, business, health and, in Paul's
case, life, and that the law says he has a
right to withhold payment. I mean to say
that the family of Paul is ruined, that he
is dead, that his widow is broken in health,
and that her heart is dead within her, and
the law says Osmond may not be disturbed
in the enjoyment of his $30,000 income, his
onyx-and-gold bath, and the artistic home
240 Onyx and Gold.
he has filched from an honest man. I mean
to say that Osmond is a respectable and
respected citizen hobnobbing to-night with
the leading after-dinner swells of this city,
and that I helped put the man he murdered
in a pauper's grave to-day; and that to
morrow I shall help 'commit' his wife and
children to the tender mercies of an organ
ization which combines not only the idea,
but the name, of charity and correction, so
that no human being not entirely hopeless
or depraved will pass into its hands. I
mean to say"
" For God's sake don't say any more ! "
broke in Fenton, " why can't we repeal the
law ? "
The Prosecutor turned slowly around
from the window.
" Do you mean it, Fen ? " he asked in an
unsteady tone. "When you say we, do you
mean it ? "
Fenton nodded his head, and tossed his
unlighted cigar into the fire.
Onyx and Gold. 241
" Well then we can. If only fellows like
you will help make public opinion, old chap.
Help make public opinion travel the right
way, and not trot along in a fit of idiotic
glee at the heels of the shallow Idols whom
it pays to throw dust and gold dust at
that in the eyes of those who are too poor,
too ignorant and too helpless to have any
influence whatever on public opinion. And
whether you know it or not, it is the pocket-
book that makes public opinion, old fellow.
He was right to-night when he said that
the scales of Justice do not move for num
bers. They are influenced by weight. That
old chap in the Bible knew what he was talk-
ing about, too, when he said, ' The rich man's
wealth is his strong city : the destruction of
the poor is their poverty.' But come, sup
pose we drop in on the last act of the Pi
rates of Penzance. I'd like to see the comic
side of piracy for a while to-night. I've
seen only the tragic side and the heartless
one all day."
IN DEEP WATER.
"And each man and each year that lives on earth
Turns hither or thither, and hence or thence is fed ;
And as a man before was from his birth,
So shall a man be after among the dead.
"We are baffled and caught in the current, and bruised
upon edges of shoals ;
As weeds or as reeds in the torrent of things are the
IN DEEP WATER.
t( TN my opinion, living is a waste of
valuable time," remarked John Car
"Of course, Carroll would top the argu
ment off with some such absurdity as that,"
said one of the men near him. " It wouldn't
be Carroll if he didn't. But this time it seems
to me he rather overdid the matter. How
you going to waste time, old man, if you
were not living ? " he added, turning to the
imperturbable figure beside him.
" I don't know. That's your proposition.
What I said was that living is a waste of
valuable time. I didn't say that not to live
"No, but I suppose you are about to
remark now, that never to have been born
248 In Deep Water.
would be to truly improve your opportuni
ties," suggested Bentley, who was standing
near the window gazing down Fifth avenue.
" Perhaps so," acquiesced the first speaker.
"I haven't worked that proposition out yet;
but I have the first one. I've been wasting
time living now for forty odd years. So
have you. What's the good of it ? What
comes of it ? If you never had been born
you wouldn't know it. By and by you'll
die you wo'n't know that either, and "
"I cannot agree to the last statement,"
broke in his neighbor. " In the next life
we will, no doubt, know all about this life
and why we were put here."
John Carroll looked steadily at him for a
moment before he replied:
"Don't you think it would be more sen
sible to know about it while we're here ? "
he inquired slowly. " What good can it do
to know after we're out of it ? If that plan
is kept up I suppose we won't know what
In Deep Water. 249
we're in the next world for either until we
" Move on! " exclaimed his neighbor with
a face so full of astonishment that even
Carroll joined in the laugh that followed
" Move where ? "
" I'm sure I don't know; do you?" asked
Doddridge shook his head.
" I didn't know but you might. You
seem to be one ahead of where we are
now on the topic of lives and worlds. I
didn't know but you might be two ahead.
I don't see what's to hinder."
Young Doddridge moved uneasily in his
chair, and said something about there being
only one more of each.
" How do you know ? " insisted Carroll,
holding his head very far to one side, and
half closing his eyes as he looked intently
at his antagonist. The other men glanced
at each other and winked.
" I've tried my level best to recall where
250 In Deep Water.
I came from whether I ever lived in any
other world before this one and I can't.
Looks to me as if I started just like a bum.
ble-bee, forty odd years ago, right here. I've
buzzed around a little, and built a nest, and
stung a few people by way of variety, and
and when the frost comes, I'll get nipped
in the bud, so to speak, just like my bumble
bee and then"
The mixed metaphor disturbed no one-
and Carroll snapped his fingers and made
a toss with his hand to indicate that he
" And then you'll stop wasting valuable
time living," laughed Bently, as he bowed
and smiled to a lady who had just crossed
the avenue in front of the club house.
" Looks that way to me, as an unpreju
diced observer," assented Carroll. "I don't
know how it looks to the bee."
" His returns are not in," put in a small
man on the other side of the room, and then
he grew red in the face and fidgeted about
In Deep Water. 251
in his chair. John Carroll looked at him
long enough to make him thorougly uncom
fortable. He wished that he had not ven
tured a remark. Then Carroll said slowly:
" That's it exactly. If the bumble-bee's
returns were in, it would knock the big head
out of a good many of us. I haven't the least
doubt that he puts in half of his time plan
ing the exact spot on St. Peter's anatomy
that he's going to sting when he gets to
glory. Meantime he practices all he can on
us, just to keep his hand in. But you or
I are only used for target practice while
he's in this vale of tears. Real business
won't begin until he's translated."
" Carroll, you're the most blasphemous
man I ever heard talk. If I didn't know it
was two-thirds in fun, and the other third not
in earnest, I'd say you ought to be "-
" Try it," broke in Carroll turning sud
denly on his neighbor. " The trouble with
you is, Doddridge, that you not only know
all about the next world, but you know ex-
252 In Deep Water.
actly what other people ought to think in
this one, and, if they don't think the same
little picaytmish thought you do, you are
under the impression that they ought to
ask your leave to live at all. Why, good
God, man, if our friend the bumble-bee's
bump of self-esteem bore the same relation
to his brains that yours does, people would
mistake him for a young robin, and feed
him angle worms."
He got up and walked to the window.
Everybody laughed except his victim, to ap
pease whose wrath Carroll laughed also, as
he laid a hand on Bentley's shoulder.
" I'm going over to Governor's Island,"
he said in a lower tone. " I've got to see
a man over there, and this club is getting
altogether too "-
He paused for a word, but Bentley did
not supply it; he only chuckled in a man
ner that sent a trembling little motion
through his frame and made radiating lines
about his eyes and the corners of his mouth.
In Deep Water. 253
lie appeared to be thoroughly amused. Car
roll began again, in an undertone, after a
moment's delay :
" There's always some donkey sitting
around here now-a-days, who feels a 'call'
to assume a tone of godliness and infal
libility that makes me mad. I'm thinking
of having a hat-band printed for Doddridge,
with ' Be good, and you will be happy '
"Shall you use diamond type, or abbre-
viate some of the words?" inquired Bentley,
still looking down the street and chuckling.
Carroll burst into a fit of laughter that had
in it genuine amusement, and put to flight
" I'll let it go around twice," he replied,
and, taking up his own head covering, he
started for the door.
Once upon the pavement he stood try
ing to decide whether he should walk up
to Forty-second street, or down to Thirty-
third, to take the Elevated train for South
254 I n Deep Water.
ferry. He went through the same process
of reasoning daily. He argued that he
needed the exercise that the longer walk
would give him, and that there was no great
haste about getting over to the Island. It
was a lovely day in May, and he had been
in-doors for several hours. He crossed the
street, and, arguing in favor of the farther
station, took "his way steadily to the one
that was nearest. That was the usual .pro
cess through which he went, and he felt
sure it would end just so each time, and
still, he told himself, that he needed the
extra exercise so much that one of these
days he would begin to take it regularly.
This appeared to be a perfectly satisfactory
adjustment of the difficulty for the time
being, and so he settled himself comfort
ably in a cross-seat and opened his morn
ing paper. The sun poured in through the
window, and he sat on the inside end of
the seat, so that its rays could not reach
him. No one faced him, and he congratu-
In Deep Water. 255
lated himself that he had gone to the right
station, after all, for these seats had been
vacated as he entered the car.
At Eighth street he heard, in a vague
and unheeding way, a rough voice of com
" No, not that way ! Here, go in here
no go long! Set down! No, over there!
Good Lord ! W-h-e-w ! " Carroll had not
looked up at first ; but the voice came
nearer and nearer, and then a woman, with
her arms clasped about an enormous bun
dle, done up first in what had once been
white cotton cloth, outside of which two
torn and battered newspapers now essayed
to stretch themselves, half stepped, half fell
over his feet and into the seat by the win
dow. Following her was an older woman,
carrying, clasped to her bosom, a tremen
dous oiled-cloth-covered valise from which
the handles were torn on one side. She sat
down with a thud on the seat facing him.
Then the rough voice went on :
256 In Deep Water.
" Move over no, don't-git-up ! Move over
I said ! W-h-e-w ! Gosh ! "
Carroll looked at the speaker for the first
time, and discovered that it was a police
man whom he had known as McGonigle,
and upon whom he had always looked as
being a kind-hearted and obliging officer. He
inferred at once as it was obvious, from the
brutally curious faces about the car, all of
its occupants had done that these two
women were a particularly vicious pair of
criminals. He wondered what their line of
crime was. Instinctively he put his hand
on his pocket, and then felt for his watch.
He tried to do it as if by accident, and
to keep his eyes turned from the woman
who faced him. McGonigle had seated
himself with his -back to the woman who
shared his seat and nursed the black va
lise. He had draped one leg carelessly
over the end of the seat as he sank into
it, and his foot swung back and forth in
the aisle. He took his hat off and mopped
In Deep Water. 257
his face with a handkerchief that had been
cleaner a day or two before. It was a face
so quiet and serious in expression that it
would have started streams of envy in the
breast of many a fop who struggles vainly
to conceal what he is pleased to call his
emotions, behind a mask of well-bred qui
etude and non-committal placidity. The
policeman's words and tones had been harsh,
but his temper appeared to be wholly un
ruffled. As he replaced his hat he recog
nized Carroll and lifted it again. Carroll
bowed and smiled.
"Why, hello, McGonigle! That you?"
he said, pleasantly.
"Its what there is left of me," replied
the burly guardian of the peace, in a tone
that was as emotionless and sustained in
its one quiet key as if he had studied the
art under a master.
Carroll laughed. " What there is left of
you would make two very decent sized fel
lows yet, McGonigle."
258 In Deep Water.
McGonigle was flattered, but he turned
his head slowly and bestowed a long side
glance upon the girl who shared Carroll's
seat. The glance apeared to indicate
more in sorrow than in anger that there
would have been at least twice as much
of him had he not encountered her. Not
that it was either an angry or a reproach
ful glance. It was too placidly stolid to
indicate such lively emotion.
Carroll winced a little. He wondered
how McGonigle could bear to make such a
pointed thrust under existing circumstances,
and he affected absolute preoccupation with
his paper as he stealthily felt for his pocket-
book again. It was on the side next to
the girl with the bundle. He had taken
another glance at her face a moment be
fore, as he pretended to look out of the
window, and he thought again how hard it
was to determine the grade of crime for
which such as she should merit this rough
public treatment. The ladies in the car had
In Deep Water. 259
looked both shocked and indignant, and they
had studied these unfortunates, ever since
the two had staggered through the aisle
under the double burden of bundles and
rough orders, with a frankness that it was
painful to witness. He felt that the pris
oners must be hardened indeed if it did
not sting them to the quick. The older
woman, who sat with McGonigle, hadn't a
bad face, Carroll thought not a very bad
one. He wondered how long she had been
a criminal, and how she began. He thought
her not homely, though poorly dressed and
evidently badly frightened. The younger
one, beside him, was decidedly repellant of
feature. She looked stubborn. He could
see her face in the narrow glass opposite.
Presently McGonigle touched him on the
knee with one of his enormous fingers.
Carroll held his paper to one side and
looked at him.
" Immigrants," remarked McGonigle, suc
cinctly, and then he jerked his thumb
260 In Deep Water.
toward the girl behind him. Then he
paused as if the effort had worn him out.
Carroll fidgeted, for the policeman's move
ment had been so plain that he felt sure
both women had understood it, even if they
had not heard what he said.
" Had 'm up to the station house all
night," he went on in the same tone of sad
comment, with pauses of such length be
tween the words as to suggest extreme ver
bal exhaustion. " Lost theirselves last night.
Nobody up there couldn't talk to 'em." His
words were all pitched on the same key.
He looked at the girl from time to time,
with slow eyes that had the comprehend
ing quality of an ox in their fine brown
color. Carroll was growing hot. He af
fected to read, and held the paper so as
to shield his own face from the sight of
the two women. He wanted to ask if they
were caught smuggling, or just what the
charge was; but he could not bear to feel
that they knew as they must that the
In Deep Water. 261
policeman was telling him about them.
Presently McGonigle went on :
" I'm takin' 'em to the Barge office.
Reckon somebody down there can sling
their language sounds like three grunts
'n a yell ! " There was a long pause be
tween his sentences. He appeared to labor
with painful deliberation around the next
idea he wished to express, and then pro
duce words to express it from a vocabu
lary that had no adequate means of egress.
He shifted his leg to let a lady pass, and,
as the car pulled out from Chambers street,
he gazed steadily at the younger woman
until she turned her face to the window
and arranged her hat with both hands.
Then he turned slowly until he could see
the older one. This position was too un
comfortable to be sustained long, while his
leg hung over the arm of the seat where
he had replaced it, so he looked at Car
roll again, and with no perceptible change
of expression said :
262 in Deep Water.
" I don't know what language it is 'n I
can't tell by lookiri at 'em. . . . But, lord,
it must be kind of awful to be in a coun
try where you can't make nobody under
stand. ... It makes me fairly sweat .to
think of it,'' He abstracted his handker
chief from his pocket again and mopped his
face. Such a placid face. The moisture
did not appear to be caused by emotion,
in spite of the words. Carroll concluded
that the women could not understand a
word that was said, so he ventured a ques
tion, meanwhile looking with great display
of interest out of the opposite window.
" Lord ! no, they ain't criminals. . . .
They're purty nigh as green as they come."
. . . Long pause, during which Carroll
asked a question. "Where was they goin'?
I do' know 'n neither do they. . . . Found
'em walkin round lost an skeered. . . .
Took 'em to the station-house." . . Longer
pause and a steady ox-like contemplation
of the face of the girl. Then, while still
In Deep Water. 263
looking at her: "Mmmm! but I wisht you
could a' seen that young one eat las' night.
... I thought she'd bust. ... It was
Carroll smiled, but beyond the word there
were no evidences of humor or fun about
the policeman. His expression had not
once changed, and his tone was the same
whether the punctuation indicated by his
words called for period, question mark, or
" Hungry, was she ? " ventured Carroll,
in an undertone. McGonigle transferred
his gaze to his interlocutor for a moment,
and something very like expression strug
gled into his face.
"Hungry!" he said, "with a slight varia
tion of tone. " Hungry ! Well I don't
know's she was 'specially hungry; but she
shorely wus holler plum through."
Carroll raised his paper suddenly, and
when he took it from before his face again
his eyes sought McGonigle's ; but that gen-
264 In Deep Water.
tleman was carefully inspecting the counte
nance and physical proportions of his charge
with the phenomenal appetite. His face
was as grave and stolid as ever, but a gen
uine gleam of curiosity had struggled into
it. Both women looked steadily out of
the window, and clutched their bundles.
After a long survey of the girl, McGonigle
went on, jerking his thumbs in her direc
" The young one is kind of smart, too.
. . . You kin make her ketch on to most
anything; but the other one" jerking his
thumb toward her "is 'most a fool." . .
Carroll, in spite of himself, moved uneasily.
McGonigle turned half around and exam
ined the hands clasped about the large
" Married, too, I reckon. . . . Got on
Carroll looked at him again, to see if
he had intended the juxtaposition of the
ideas conveyed in his speculation as to her
In Deep Water. 265
being weak-minded and married; but Mc-
Gonigle's eyes were traveling steadily over
the face and figure of the girl again, and
nothing but serious speculative wonder was
" But, honest Injun, I do wisht you could
'a' seen that there girl eat last night. . .
It was the funniest I ever see. ... I
shorely did think she'd bust. ... I was
axually skeered." . . He was still gazing
at her. There was a pause. "I never did
see a girl eat like that girl et. I don't
know when she filled up last; but it must
a' been quite a spell ago. . . . My
lord how she did eat." He appeared
to be a trifle nervous yet as to the ability
of her anatomy to withstand the unusual
internal strain, and his apprehensions were
not allayed by the steady pressure of her
huge bundle against the overcharged or
gans. But presently the thought seemed to
dawn upon him that Carroll might think
he was complaining of his arduous duties
266 In Deep Water.
as an officer. Something very like a smile
struggled through the settled muscles of
" 7 been havin' a good enough time all
mornin', though. . . . Been ridin' around
from pillar t' post with them two girls
ever sense seven o'clock. I reckon they're
plum wore out with the sergeant up t' the
station house 'n the judge down 't the po
lice court 'n all of us talkin' at 'em an'
they gittin' no where 'n understandin' noth-
in.' " . . He closed his eyes, and Carroll
had about concluded that he was intent
upon a nap before he reached the Barge
office, so that his overburdened faculties
could be rested and ready for the next tilt
with the difficulties of strange and ungodly
languages when, just as the trainman called
out, "South Ferry!" McGonigle opened his
eyes and remarked with unusual energy of
" I certainly did think she'd bust ! "
Carroll touched his hat to the two wo-
In Deep Water. 267
men, greatly to their surprise, and watched
them down the stairs, and saw them walk
by the side of the ox-like McGonigle, toward
the white stone pile where some one would
be able to speak the mysterious language.
Then he turned toward the slip where the
little government boat lay waiting. He
showed his card to the soldier in charge
and told which officer on the Island he wish
ed to see. Then he stepped aboard. He
was the only passenger. He sat far for
ward, and looked steadily into the water for
a while. Then he fell to wondering what
life meant to such human pawns as those
two women. What had they expected to
find in America ? Why had they come ?
Or was their motive too formless and vague
to be reproduced in words ? Had their
coming to a strange land been the mere
impulse of unsatisfied human craving for
something other than they had? "I won
der what they think of the experiment now,"
he said half aloud. "I wonder if they think
268 In Deep Water.
living is a waste of valuable time ! " He
smiled as the idea and the discussion at
the club recurred to him.
" I venture to say McGonigle doesn't, at
all hazards," he thought, as he stepped
ashore, "and who is to say that McGonigle
is not a profound philosopher?"
He laughed lightly, and climbed the hill
on his way to the officer's quarters.
A PRISON PUZZLE.
" As long as dishonorable success outranks honest
effort as long as society bows and cringes before the
great thieves there will be little ones enough to fill
" Society kills its enemies, and possibly sows in
the heart of some citizen the seeds of murder.
" Where is the man with intelligence enough to
take into consideration the circumstances of each
individual case ? ' ' ' Is it possible that thoughts,
or desires, or passions, are the children of chance, born
of nothing? Can we conceive of Nothing as a force,
or a cause ? If, then, there is behind every desire
and passion an efficient cause, we can, in part at least,
account for the actions of men."
A PRISON PUZZLE.
"X/'ES, he was the queerest man we ever
had to handle, since I've been war
den here. Generally speaking, I can size
up a fellow in a day or two, and I don't
have to change my mind much after it
once gets made up not as a rule.
You see I've been handling criminals,
one way and another, for pretty close to
nineteen years, and a man learns a good
deal about human nature in its various
forms in nineteen years. But Henry Ben
nett was too much for me. Of course that
wasn't his real name; but that is the name
he was tried under and so it was the one
he was always known by here except the
times he was called Number 432, added
the warden, smiling grimly.
But Number 432 pleased him just as
274 d Prison Puzzle,
well as Bennett and was just as close to
the mark, no doubt. I had made up my
mind toward the last that he hadn't a spot
in his heart as big as a buckshot that cared
a continental for any human being, except
for Number 432, alias Bennett, alias forty
or fifty other things.
I suppose his affections got so divided
up between these numerous individualities
of his own that he really had no further
stock to draw on for bestowal upon such
other units of the human race as he might
come in contact with. (This conceit amused
the warden, and he drew a large hand
across his mouth to wipe away a smile,
but it still lingered in his eyes).
Now, don't get the idea that Bennett was
a brutal fellow. Because that is just ex
actly the sort of descriptive adjective that
wouldn't fit him at all. Oh, yes, of course,
the newspapers described him that way.^
because most folks think that is the reg
ulation way for a crook to be pictured.
A Prison Puzzle. 275
In fact, most people think lie is that way.
Why, dear me, I've heard women who
wouldn't be able to detect a criminal, un
less he was covered with blood and hitched
up tandem with his victim, vow they always
could tell whether a person was what he
claimed to be and all the rest of it. Thought
the criminal classes, as they called the ones
that were caged, had a queer look. Showed
it in their eyes and couldn't look at you
straight and but, Lord! you've heard all
that rot often enough, no doubt, without
me going over it. Well, the published de
scriptions of criminals cater to just this
type of folly. Now, in my humble opinion,
if it wasn't for all that sort of nonsense,
it wouldn't be so easy for criminals to work.
People wouldn't swallow the large assort
ment of ridiculous bait, if they didn't feel
sure that such an honest-faced fellow, as
they usually express it, could hardly deceive
them. They seem to expect a defaulter to
go around with a copper-plate dial attached
276 A Prison Puzzle.
to his face, which points out to all observers
the exact date of his deviation from the
path of rectitude. Since this patent revolv
ing thief-detector does not appear upon
Rogue Plausible's face, his shrewd and self-
confident victims nibble away at any pre
posterous bait the scamp may happen to
But I've switched away off of the orig
inal track. Well, to go back. Bennett al
ways denied the murder he was accused
of poisoning a ballet-girl he had lived with
though he acknowledged to pretty nearly
every other crime on the calendar. But he
was such a picturesque liar at all times
that the denial had no weight, and indeed,
his confessions had none, for I very often
doubted if he was really guilty of half the
things he confessed to.
He was such a good-looking fellow, with
the frankest and openest face, too, that it
was hard to believe that he was the com
plete moral idiot that he sometimes claimed
A Prison Puzzle. 277
to be in the tales he told of his past career.
Now, you look as if you thought that last
remark did not agree with some things I
said before, but it does. I hold that as a
rule when a man looks upon himself as a
criminal, and continues long in that men
tal condition (and provided, too, that he
thinks of crime as reprehensible which
many a criminal does not), then he begins
to show it in his face and bearing. The
trouble is that most defaulters, for instance,
think of themselves habitually as honest and
upright men gone wrong for this trip only.
They both respect and believe in themselves.
Look at the average railroad wrecker,
for example. I don't mean the petty crim
inal who only puts a boulder on the track
and makes a corporation lose a few thou
sand in wreckage and kills one or two poor
devils. I mean the kind of wreckers who
mow down thousands of helpless people by
devious processes called shrewd business
methods. That kind of a wrecker causes
278 A Prison Puzzle.
more financial ruin, more mental despair and
more actual deaths, too, than the others ;
but he looks upon himself as an entirely
honorable man, and, strange as it may ap
pear, the community, the church to which he
usually belongs and the state to which he
is a standing menace, agree to so accept him.
They one and all do him honor. Well, now,
you will readily understand that his face
does not show the marks of his crimes be
cause, as I said, he does not look upon him
self and is not estimated by others as a
criminal. Well, you can just carry that il
lustration through a thousand other phases
of crime or business, whichever you've a
mind to trace and find the parallel.
But, in my experience, it is a pretty gen
eral rule that a person who has grown to
think of himself as a criminal, and knows
that he is so classed by others, even if he
has only done some petty deed, is very apt
to lose his more open and frank expressions
of face and conduct.
A Prison Puzzle.
Now, Bennett didn't. Up to the very
last even when we were keeping him alive
by medical skill and dainty food, so that
the state could have a chance to kill him
at its leisure and by approved machinery,
he never lost that ingenuousness of man
ner and method of conversation that was
so fetching. He would tell the most pre
posterous lie so simply, so frankly, and with
so little reason for deceiving us, that half
a dozen times he caught us napping. We
believed him. When we'd find him out
and tax him with it, his laugh was as glee
ful as that of a little child and held in
it as small a tincture of bitterness or guile.
He enjoyed his own lies heartily. One
couldn't help laughing with him. The spon
taneity and heartiness of his mirth was
simply contagious. Of course, such a man
would always be a favorite wherever he was,
and equally, of course, his capacity and op
portunities for crime were simply limited
by his own freaks of fancy or needs, as
280 A Prison Puzzle.
the case might be. He always said that
his first lawless acts were the results of
poverty, but that may or may not be true.
As far back as we could trace him, he had
not been impoverished in the sense that the
word should be used. But to a man of
his tastes and habits it was the result of
biting poverty indeed, if his suite of apart
ments was not elegantly appointed, or if
his wine were not of a delicate and old
He was willing to deny himself the com
forts of life, but without its luxuries he
maintained that he simply could not live.
The old chap who first got off that idea
knew what he was talking about, too, for
it isn't comfortable to be obliged to dodge
the law or one's creditors. It does annoy
those who posses the elegancies of life to
be hauled up in supplementary proceedings,
and to be compelled to swear that the pay
ment of a tailor's bill is a financial impos
A Prison Puzzle. 281
Well, my first knowledge of Bennett was
in a case of that kind. He had a regular
yearly income at that time. It had been
left him by will. He said that it was his
mother who had provided him with the
yearly pittance, as he always entitled it, but
no one ever knew how true that was. This
pittance was $15,000. He swore that he
simply could not live on such a sum as that
in the style to which he had been accus
tomed, and at the same time pay tradesmen
their bills. He did not at all blame the
tradespeople for demanding payment, but he
assured the judge that, upon his honor as a
gentleman and his oath as a citizen, he sim
ply could not afford to allow his natural
sympathies for the laboring classes to blind
him to his first duty, which was to maintain
himself in the manner in which he had been
brought up. It came out on that trial that
he recently had had fitted up a magnificent
suite of apartments, one feature of which
was a teak inlaid smoking-room twenty-four
282 A Prison Puzzle.
feet square, with Turkish divans and all that
sort of thing in it. The total cost of this
one room he said he really did not know,
but the bills which were presented in court
by different tradesmen aggregated over $10-
ooo, and Bennett swore that he had been
compelled to advance a large sum to what
he termed the poor devil of a decorator to
enable him to procure the raw materials to
Well, of course the law being on his
side, the court decision left him with the
elegancies of life and left the confiding
tradesmen with the comforts ; that is to
say, with the knowledge of work well and
honestly done and an empty pocket-book to
show for it. Bennett used to talk quite
feelingly of that case after he came here.
He said he had found out that a gentle
man could get along, after a manner, with
out an elaborate smoking-room, and that he
didn't blame the workmen for kicking. He
said he didn't doubt he would have done
A Prison Puzzle. 283
the same thing if he had been in their places.
One day, I suggested to him that the
time might not be far off, when, if that
particular law was not repealed, tradesmen
might take another method of collecting
their bills a method not so comfortable
for the luxurious debtor. Well, you should
have seen his face ! It was a study. " Com
fortable!" said he, "more comfortable meth
od ! Look here, warden, were you ever
hauled up into one of those beastly court
rooms in a supplementary proceeding case?
No? Well, then, you don't know what you
are talking about. There isn't anything
on this earth less comfortable than that.
Why, great God, man ! I had to confess
that all the income I had was a beggarly
$15,000, and everybody knew perfectly well
that my expenses were a damned sight
nearer $75,000 every year of my life. Well,
do you think it was comfortable after that
to have some fellow at the Club look as
if he thought I needed the money when
284 A Prison Puzzle.
I suggested a game of poker or lost a few
hundred on a race ? Gad ! I don't know
of a more ^comfortable thing except the
other accompaniment of the same vile court
room. Why my clothes actually smelled of
the foul air when I came out! I took a
cab to my rooms, of course, and I could
plainly detect the odor all the way up-town.
It made me faint. I went into that same
blessed smoking-room and disposed of every
rag I had worn. My man took them, and,
by Jove, I'd been fool enough to put on a
perfectly fresh suit that morning. I learned
better than that. I never wore a new suit
to court in any case, afterward. It is a
sheer waste of good money, for no gentle
man could ever wear the things again. Then
it's an insult to your tailor such abuse
of his work."
Well, Bennett would talk like that even
after his last appeal had failed and he was
waiting for the chair. The enormity of ill-
fitting or bad-smelling clothes appealed to
A Prison Puzzle. 285
his mind always; but the fact that he was
convicted of a most awful and treacherous
crime I do not believe ever gave him a
real pang, unless it was at the last, and
that was what I started to tell you about.
As I said, I had positively made up my
mind that there was no human being out
side of himself whose griefs, woes or pangs
could touch a single chord of his nature
more deeply than to merely stir a mild
interest which, after all, was to him as a
species of mental entertainment or matinee
performance, for his benefit.
But about a week before he was to die
an old lady called here and asked to see
him. She examined his pictures and read,
most carefully, the record of all the birth
and other marks we had by which to iden
tify him. She trembled like a leaf and said
as she read each one, "Yes, yes!" or she
would merely nod her poor head and weep.
She was not a rich woman. I could see
that plainly enough, and so I told her that
286 A Prison Puzzle.
I suspected she had made a mistake and
that this man was not her long-lost son;
but she insisted upon seeing him, and I
I went in with her because I had a little
curiosity to see how Bennett would take
her claim upon him. He always had per
fect self-command, and so I felt sure that
whatever he did would be done quite de
liberately, and it would give me a chance
to study his nature under a new and dif
I had arranged for her to see him in
my inner office, but I had not told Bennett
why he was sent for. He stepped in quite
briskly, as he had done several times be
fore when occasion had required him there,
and he did not see the lady until he stood
within four feet of me. I was watching
his face closely.
" You sent for me?" he began, in his
cheerful tone, and with his eyes as steady
and devil-may-care as usual. His glance fell
A Prison Puzzle. 287
upon the lady, who had risen to her feet
at the sound of his voice, and he started
perceptibly, and, I thought, changed color,
but he was always so pale after the long
confinement that I could not make sure that
it was not the usual pallor simply intensified
by the glare of light which had come sud
denly upon his face from my window. He
looked steadily at her for a moment and
she moved forward. Her hands were trem
blingly clutching at a chair and the sure
conviction that she had found her son was
written in every line of her unhappy face.
" Edward," she gasped, " Edward, my son !
Oh, my God ! "
She would have fallen had not Bennett
sprung with quick and ready arm to sup
port her. It was done with the grace of
a social expert which even his prison garb
did not conceal. I had allowed him to
catch her because I wanted to detect him
if he did the least thing to betray himself.
She did not faint, but sat trembling as she
288 A Prison Puzzle.
clung to him and sobbed. All that she said
aloud was "Edward, oh, Edward, my son,
my son ! " This she repeated over and over
as she gazed at him or buried her face in
her handkerchief. At first Bennett made
no reply at all, but after she had taken the
wine I offered her, he said quite gently and
still with the drawl of his general speech
intensified, if possible.
"My dear madam, I can hardly say that
I am sorry to tell you that you are mis
taken; because in this costume and under
these circumstances I am sure you do not
wish to find your son. And for your sake,
therefore although it cuts me to the quick
to disappoint a lady or to have you see
me in this garb I am still most happy to
say that your son is not here. I am not
He allowed her to hold his hand, but
he glanced at me and shook his head. She
did not yield in her belief, and, pushing
back the sleeve of his shirt, placed her finger
A Prison Puzzle. 289
on a little scar which had not been noted
on our prison record. Then she bent sud
denly over and kissed the spot and wept
anew. " Edward, Edward ! oh, my son ! " she
sobbed again. " That little scar was put
there when you saved me from Edward,
do not deny me! I know you are my boy!
Your voice ! "
I had felt sure that he had tried to
change his voice a little at first, but if he
was acting it was all so perfect that I was
puzzled. He stuck to it that his mother
had died twenty years before and had left
him the yearly income the insufficiency of
which had led to our first acquaintance, for
I had been the court officer, then, and not
the warden. The woman before us had
probably never had over two thousand a
year in her life. She was a refined, lady
like woman of that large class who go
through the world in a simple and conven
tional way, never dreaming of the tempta
tions that surround those who are luxurious
290 A Prison Puzzle.
of taste, and, who are by legal and social
conditions placed where a different reading
of the words honor and justice give to them
other standards of right and new explana
tions of the motives and aims of existence,
which to her mind would seem strange in
deed. Even less had her experience re
vealed to her the temptations and the bru
talizing forms of abject want with its con
sequent developments of vice. " I am not
your son, Madam," he now repeated in a
firm voice, and with a slight smile added,
"You will permit me to congratulate you
upon that fact since since your son, let
us hope, may be found in less, ah, in more
ah attractive quarters." He waved his
free hand toward me and closed his little
Chesterfieldian speech with, " If my good
friend, the warden, will permit the rude
ness. But really, these are not precisely
the surroundings which a lady would ah
- er select for a son, I am sure." A lit
tle light laugh ended his remark, and I
A Prison Puzzle. 291
could not help feeling the absurdity of it
myself, even though I felt keenly for the
woman before me.
"You may go now," I said to him, and
with gentle promptness he freed his other
hand, drawing the sleeve back over the
scar as he did so, and with a bow to the
weeping woman and a wave of the hand
to me he followed the guard back to his
solitary cell. The lady made a move as if
to follow him, but I restrained her. She
told me that she was absolutely certain that
the prisoner was her son, and that the scar
on his arm had been received when he was
a mere lad, in defending her from a furious
"He was so brave," she said. "Always
so brave and kind to me, too; but he was
ambitious and and we I I have not
seen him for ten long years, but I know
he is my son.
" When I heard of the trial and of the
awful crime he was accused of (I do not
292 A Prison Puzzle.
believe he killed the girl, warden) when
I heard of it and saw the description of
him, I felt sure it was Edward, who we
thought was dead. I planned and planned
to come, but my heart failed me until now,
and I have come a long, long way. But I
know he is my son. It is like him to try
to spare me. He would rather bear his dis
grace alone. He will not he warden, let
me go to his cell! Let me see him alone,
She had come close to me, and she held
out her trembling hands most piteously. It
was against our rule, but I told her she
might go. I decided to keep her in sight
and to watch the man as I could, by a
system of mirrors which I always kept for
that purpose, and of which the condemned
man knew nothing.
"Well, do you know when she reached
his cell she uttered a piercing shriek. " He
is dead! He is dead! ' she screamed and
we rushed in, the keeper and I. There she
A Prison Puzzle. 293
lay across his body, moaning and sobbing,
and he was in a dead swoon. When she
found that life was not extinct, she helped
us to revive him, but went away of her own
accord before he opened his eyes, saying
she would come again, but that he might
better not see her, perhaps, just now.
After he had revived sufficiently to talk,
he said to me: "I never could bear to see
a woman weep. It always unnerves me,
and as you can readily understand, warden,
this my ah surroundings are not exactly
such as one doesn't care to have any lady
see one in this condition." He glanced
down at himself. "Please do me the favor
not to let it happen again. I really cannot
bear it, you know, I'll be all unstrung for
the when the state is ready to dispense
with my company. And really that would
be unkind after such a lot of trouble to
keep me in good form for the public show."
The last was said with a sneer, for he had
insisted that he might be allowed to die
294 ^ Prison Puzzle.
a natural death (as he surely would have
done had we let him), rather than that
they should postpone his electrocution, as
was twice done, to nurse him back from
death's door, simply that he might be led
to the grave, by a legally prescribed pro
cess instead of by nature's simpler path.
" Bennett," said I, suddenly turning upon
him, "the jig is up. What is the use of
lying ? She told me all about you, and you
may just as well drop all this guff, and
give that poor old mother of yours an hour
or two of comfort before before I was
going to say before you die, but I hadn't
the heart to say it." He took me up lightly:
" Give her the comfort of knowing she
has a son to be hanged I beg pardon
electrocuted next Friday ? " he said, looking
steadily at me. "What do you take me for?
A brute ? No, no, my friend," he added, ris
ing and stretching himself languidly and
assuming his usual drawl again, " I am
really afraid the ah lady will have to be
A Prison Puzzle. 295
deprived of that comfort. I've acted a good
many parts in my time, but you will really
have to get some one else to do Edward
for her. I wouldn't do honor to the role.
Now, you'd grace that part," he said, laugh
ing as the idea occurred to him. " If she
comes back, I absolutely decline to see her.
You play Edward. Tell her you had for
gotten her address, but that henceforth she
will find a son here or hereabouts." His
laugh was quite spontaneous, and I began
to waver anew in my opinion. The next
day she came again, and in spite of his
protest, I let her go to his cell. The result
was abont the same, as before. She talked
of many things to him, and plead with him
to tell the truth to acknowledge that he
was her son, Edward Whipple. He was
kind, sympathetic, stern, evasive, and semi
indignant by turns, but he absolutely denied
all connection with her. At last an idea ap
peared to strike him. He asked the guard
to call me. I had been where I could see
296 A Prison Puzzle.
and hear every word, but he had not known
it. When I entered, he waved me to a seat
on his bed and with a little laugh said:
" This lady, ah er Mrs. Williams did you
say is the name?"
Her lips trembled and tears started
again to her eyes.
" Whipple," I said, now almost fully con
vinced that it was really a case of mis
taken identity. " Ah, yes, certainly, Whip-
pie," he said, bowing toward me ; " Mrs.
Whipple, who has mistaken me for her son,
appears to be in great grief at the loss of
her boy and no wonder. From her de
scription of him he must have been a
model son, indeed, and I am sure if he were
alive he would ah er it would have been
his pleasure to do something ah hand
some for his mother. Now, warden, it oc
curs to me that since I have really no
human being to leave my little beggarly
pittance to (I had intended to make you
my heir, and beg pardon for depriving you
A Prison Puzzle. 297
of what I had grown to look upon as al
ready your property) it occurs to me that
since this lady came here hoping to find a
son, and since I am compelled to deprive
her of that ah satisfaction, I may be per
mitted I might return the compliment
which she insists upon paying me, when
she desires to claim me as her dear and up
right son, by ah in a substantial manner.
"I cannot be your natural son, Mrs. Wil
liams I beg pardon Mrs. Whipple ; but at
least you may permit me to do what I
am sure your son Edward would wish to
do were he in were I in case he had
the misfortune to be in a position to make
He had turned to the lady, and was
laboring rather unusually hard with his
short-coming breath. She uttered many pro
tests. Said she had no thought of his
money, but wanted his love instead. I
watched him sharply, but as she spoke he
had stepped to the little table we had al-
298 A Prison Puzzle.
lowed him, whereon lay pen and ink. I
had hoped he would leave us a confession.
Instead he had written a will. I had been
made his sole heir. He now drew up an
other exactly like the first, only Mrs. Whip-
pie's name replaced mine and I appeared
only as a witness. It was a queer sensation
to help disinherit myself in that convict
cell, with a weeping woman protesting all
the while, and the keeper mumbling that
he'd be damned, when the document was
read, and he was asked to witness it with me.
It was drawn up in very lawyer-like
shape, too, and signed in a steady, fine soci
ety hand, " Henry Bennett Convict No. 432."
He smilingly said that the latter was for
When he had finished, the dazed woman
fell at his feet and wept, and prayed that
he would acknowledge her as his mother.
" I only wish that I could, my dear
madam," he said, raising her to her feet;
" but, whether fortunately or unfortunately
A Prison Puzzle. 299
for you (and there can be no doubt that
it is most unfortunate for myself), I am
not your son. My name is Bennett known
here, purely for convenience, I assure you,
as Number 432." His voice was kind and
gentle, but the scamp glanced at me and
winked. I felt like choking him. Perhaps
the knowledge of my sudden loss and how
near I had come to an inheritance, had
something to do with the desire, for as a
rule he aroused in me little feeling aside
from an intense desire to read the riddle
of his nature. That wink set my teeth on
edge and I felt like striking him, but when
the next moment he turned pale, and one
of his awful sinking spells followed I could
think of nothing but reviving him. Again
we sent the lady away, and that night Ben
nett wrote a note to her not to come to see
him any more.
" You have done me the honor to claim
me as your son," he wrote ; " and I have
done what little I could to reciprocate. To
300 A Prison Puzzle.
show you how sincerely I wish I were the
Edward you have lost (and yet it seems
cruel to so wish), I have made over to you
all I possess, together with my sympathy
and grateful thanks. But, my dear Madam,
I beg of you not to come again. It cuts
me to the heart. I am not so strong as I
once was. The atmosphere of this estab
lishment leaves much to be desired, and,
were it felt important to society to prolong
my life beyond a very brief time, I feel sure
a change of scene and air would be de
cided upon by those who had my best in
terests at heart.
"Believe me, dear madam, your obliged
and obedient servant,
"Otherwise, No. 432."
He had filled even this note with his
ghastly humor, and trusted to her dazed and
simple nature not to see it. I remonstrated
with him, but he only laughed at me, and
said that my objection was only the "wail
A Prison Puzzle. 301
of the disinherited;" and the idea tickled
him mightily. Well, while we were talking,
the woman came to the door. The guards
had allowed this because they had seen
her there before, and knew I was with the
condemned man. Every one felt like humor
ing him and the general belief was (out
side of the watch and myself) that he
really wanted to see her.
He was to die the next day. The
woman held out her hands toward him,
and then suddenly tottered and would have
fallen, but he caught her in both his arms.
I thought he pressed her to his breast for
an instant, but at once he placed her in
the only chair and stepped back to his
cot where I sat. He reached over and took
the note he had read and handed to me
with such glee just before she entered,
and, as if in a fit of abstraction, he tore it
into small bits. There is no need to tell
you of the scene that day. It was like the
others, only, perhaps, less satisfactory. The
302 A Prison Puzzle*
next morning the poor fellow paid the
penalty of his crime in the way the State
deems wise, and whether at the same time
poor Mrs. Whipple lost a son, I am still
unable to decide. Sometimes I feel sure it
was a case of mistaken identity, and again
I am convinced that Number 432 simply
determined to shake at whatever cost to
himself the faith of his poor mother in
her belief that she had really found her lost
boy in convict's garb, and that her child
would rest in a murderer's grave. On that
theory there develops in his character a
phase no one had suspected, and yet it
would not surprise me to find out some
day that Number 432 really was Edward
Whipple. But if I do discover it, I shall
never let her know. It is to get your
opinion of it all, that I tell the story.
Was he merely the moral imbecile he
claimed to be specimens of which are not
particularly rare in society or was he her
son, with something of the hero in him
A Prison Puzzle. 303
that is to be found in many a criminal ?
What did she do with the money?
Well, that is another puzzle. I don't know
whether it was because she lost faith in
her own identification of Bennett, or whether
she would not use money that she be
lieved her son had obtained dishonestly,
but certain it is she would never use a
cent of it. It was the fund that bought
this prison library the solace and salva
tion of 'Society's Exiles' who are buried
here year after year.
"A THOUQHTLBSS YKS."
BY HELEN H. GARDENER.
SOME; PRESS COMMENTS.
Marked by a quaint philosophy, shrewd, sometimes pungent reflec
tion, each one possesses enough purely literary merit to make its way
and hold its own. "The Lady of the Club " is indeed a terrible study
of social abuses and problems, and most of the others suggest more in
the same direction. N. Y. Trubine.
All the stories are distinguished by a remarkable strength, both of
thought and language. Pittsburg Bulletin.
Will do considerable to stir up thought and breed a " divine discon
tent " with vested wrong and intrenched injustice. The stories are
written in a bright, vivacious style. Boston Transcript.
She appreciates humor and makes others appreciate it. All of the
stories, whether humorous or pathetic, have a touch of realism, and are
written clearly and forcibly. Boston Herald.
Bright and light, gloomy and strange, cleverly imagined, fairly amus
ing, tragic and interesting, by turns. N. Y. Independent.
Thoughtfully conceived and beautifully written. Chicago Times.
Each story is a literary gem. San Francisco Call.
Full of wit and epigram ; very enjoyable and profitable reading. Just
long enough to induce the wish that they were a little longer an ex
cellent feature in a story. Portland (Me.) Transcript.
Helen Gardener puts moral earnestness and enthusiasm for humanity
into her stories. Even her pessimism is better than the nerveless super
ficiality of her rivals. Unity (Chicago.)
Illustrate the indubitable fact that the times are out of joint.
Charleston (S. C.) News.
Exceptionally excellent. Convey a moral lesson in a manner always
vivid, invariably forcible, sometimes startling. Arena.
The author is not morbid ; she is honestly thoughtful. The mystery
and consequences of heredity is the motive of some of the strongest.
N. Y. Herald.
With a terseness and originality positively refreshing. On subjects
to suit the thoughtful, sad, or gay. Mil-wattkee Journal.
Have made their mark as new, original, and strong. She could not
write ungracefully if she tried, and this book is like a varied string of
pearls, opals, and diamonds. N. Y. Truth.
A work of fiction by one of the few feminine philosophers who have
boldly faced the problems of life. Belford's Magazine.
Bright, thoughtful, and taking. Written by a woman with brains,
who dares to think for herself. The Writer (Boston.)
Paper, 50 Cents; Cloth, $1.00.
ARENA PUBLISHING CO., Copley Square, Boston, riass.
From the press of the Arena Publishing Company.
H le Hit of the year/'
Price, paper, 50 cents ; cloth, $1.25.
AN UNOFFICIAL PATRIOT.
Have you read Helen H. Gardener's new war story, "An
Unofficial Patriot"? No? Then read what competent
critics say of this remarkable historical story of tha Civil
The Literary Hit
of the Season
" Helen H. Gardener has made for herself within a very few
years an enviable fame fur the strength and sincerity of her
writing on some of the most important phases of modern social
questions. Her most recent novel, now published under the title
of ' An Unofficial Patriot,' is no less deserving of praise. As an
artistic piece of character study this book is possessed of supe
rior qualities. 1 here is nothing in it to offend the traditions of
an honest man, north or south. It is written with an evident
knowledge of the circumstances and surroundings such as might
have made the story a very fact, and, more than all, it is written
with an assured sympathy for humanity and a recognition of
right and wrong wherever found. As to the literary merit of
the book and its strength as a character study, as has been said
heretofore, it is a superior work. The study of Griffith Daven
port, the clergyman, and of his true friend, ' Lengthy ' Patterson,
is one to win favor from every reader. There are dramatic
scenes in their association that thrill and touch the heart.
Davenport's two visits to President Lincoln are other scenes
worthy of note for the same quality, and they show an apprecia
tion of the feeling and motive of the president more than histori
cal in its sympathy. Mrs. Gardenei may well be proud of her
success in the field of fiction."
" Helen Gardener's new novel, ' An Unofficial Patriot,' which
is just out, will probably be the most popular and salable novel
since ' Robert Elsmere.' It is by far the most finished and
ambitious book yet produced by the gifted author and well de
serves a permanent place in literature.
" The plot of the story itself guarantees the present sale. It
is ' something new under the sun' and strikes new sensations,
new situations, new conditions. To be sure it is a war story, and
war stories are old and hackneyed. But there has been no such
war story as this written. It gives a situation new in fiction and
tells the story of the war from a standpoint which gives the book
priceless value as a sociological study and as supplemental
" The plot is very strong and is all the more so when the
reader learns that it is true. The story is an absolutely true one
and is almost entirely a piece of history written in form of fic
tion, with names and minor incidents altered."
For sale by all nevjsdealers, or sent postpaid by
Arena Publishing Co., Boston, Mass.
PUSHED BY UNSEEN HANDS."
BY HELEN H. GARDENER.
These tales illustrate strange influences that shape human action and
seem to he outside of the actor. ... Dr. Spitzka, the brain special
ist, writes that two of the stories deal with curious things usually ob
served only by specialists in the field of heredity.
Setting aside the scientific suggestion, the imaginative faculty of
Helen Gardener is conspicuous in the conception of plot and the de
velopment of character.
The stories are vital with earnest thought. . . . This author
gives indication of having come to stay.
CHARLESTON (S. C.) NEWS.
All of the stories are striking and thoughtful. Some of them are
very dramatic and their literary quality is marked enough to enable
even a careless reader to enjoy them.
An artist reproduces nature in such a way that we recognize it as real
or ideal. The ideal can be as real to us as any scene beheld with our
open eyes. . . . "Pushed by Unseen Hands "is a collection of
short stories so realistic as to leave no doubt of their actuality.
NEW ORLEANS PICAYUNE.
A number of good short stories, most of which turn on some of the
mysterious facts that lie in that borderland between the seen and the un
seen, so fascinating to the imagination and so baffling to inquiry. Miss
Gardener's touch is very exquisite and she draws her mental pictures
with the hand of a master, showing in a few rapid lines more sharp and
attractive characteristics than many author's can in labored pages.
As a writer of short stories Helen Gardener has achieved an enviable
reputation, and her new book gives indication that she does not intend
to relinquish this charming method of giving to her readers pleasure
with profit, whatever else she may do.
Miss Gardener has been subjected to much censure for her boldness
and frankness with which she expresses her views on some subjects not
usually discussed in public. The Orthodox have ever been prone to con
found the surgical and the scandalous. . . . From a literary point
of view the stories are vivid and artistic, while as to their motives and
spirit they are farther removed from the prurient and scandalous than
most of those who censure her. She is a woman of remarkable gifts
and of superb courage.
Paper, 50 Cents ; Cloth, $1.00.
ARENA PUBLISHING CO., Copley Square, Boston, Mass.
From the press of the Arena Publishing Company.
A Collection of
neyed themes in
a masterly way
Helen H. i5ar6ener's Essays an6 Short Stories.
Price, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents.
A THOUGHTLESS YES.
A collection of short stories in which field this brilliant
writer is especially suggestive and successful. These
stories have gone through several editions, and with the
continual expansion of Mrs. Gardener's fame as the author
of "Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter?" "An Unofficial
Patriot " and other books of world-wide repute, they find
new and delighted readers and admirers. The opinions
of the press give the book a very high place as a work of
genuine literary art.
Marked by a quaint philosophy, shrewd, sometimes pungent
reflection, each one possesses enough purely literary merit to
make its way and hold its own. " The Lady of the Club" is
indeed a terrible study of social abuses and problems, and most
of the others suggest more in the same direction.
New York Tribune.
Will do considerable to stir up thought and breed a " divine
discontent " with vested wrong and intrenched justice. The
stories are written in a bright, vivacious style.
Price, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents,
Helen H. FACTS AND FICTIONS OF LIFE.
Gardener A Collection of Sparkling and Thoughtful Essays on the
Vital Questions of Life, that should awaken the conscience
in every man not dead to a sense of all moral obligation,
and spur every woman to stand steadfast and strong and
demand in the marriage relation a manhood that shall be
A Remarkable as c ^ ear an d unpolluted as womanhood.
Book. It marks But Helen Gardener is at her best in the most difficult liter-
an epoch in the ary channel, that of the essayist. She says more in fewer words
trend of Social ' than any writer of the day, and learned savants pause to drink
Thought ! in the ideas that she has drawn from the fountain of common
sense. Her work, " Facts at d Fictions of Life," has reached a
large sale, and is now being translated into German, French and
Russian and two Oriental lauguags. These essays deal with
the most delicate and least understood problems of life, in a
clear, modest and uncumpromi! ig manner, and consist of
twelve papers read at the World's Fair Congresses by the
author, who was listened to vv.th breathless silencs by the
largest audiences of the Congresses, and after each paper she
received most enthusiastic ovations.
Louisville Courier Journal.
For sale by all newsdealers, or sent postpaid by
Arena Publishing Co., Boston, Mass.
001 034 558
University of California
SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY
405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388
Return this material to the library
from which it was borrowed.