Haunt the Dusk
WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
HENRY MILLS ALDEN
Harper & Brothers Publishers
New York and London
Copyright, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898,
1905, 1906, 1907, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
THE CHRISTMAS CHILD
THE WHITE SLEEP OF AUBER
MADELENE YALE WYNNE
THE LITTLE ROOM
HARRIET LEWIS BRADLEY
THE BRINGING OF THE ROSE
M. E. M. DAVIS
AT LA GLORIEUSE
F. D. MILLET
A FADED SCAPULAR
E. LEVI BROWN
AT THE HERMITAGE
H. W. McVICKAR
THE writers of American short stories,
the best short stories in the world, sur-
pass in nothing so much as in their hand-
ling of those filmy textures which clothe
the vague shapes of the borderland be-
tween experience and illusion. This is
perhaps because our people, who seem
to live only in the most tangible things
of material existence, really live more in
the spirit than any other. Their love of
the supernatural is their common in-
heritance from no particular ancestry,
but is apparently an effect from psycho-
logical influences in the past, widely
separated in time and place. It is
as noticeable among our Southerners
of French race as among our New-
Englanders deriving from Puritan zealots
accustomed to wonder - working provi-
dences, or among those descendants of
the German immigrants who brought with
them to our Middle States the supersti-
tions of the Rhine valleys or the Hartz
Mountains. It is something that has
tinged the nature of our whole life, what-
ever its varied sources, and when its color
seems gone out of us, or, going, it renews
itself in all the mystical lights and shad-
ows so familiar to us that; till we read
some such tales as those grouped to-
gether here, we are scarcely aware how
largely they form the complexion of our
thinking and feeling.
The opening story in this volume is
from a hand quite new, and is, we think,
of an excellence quite absolute, so fresh
is it in scene, character, and incident,
so delicately yet so strongly accented by
a talent trying itself in a region hardly
yet visited by fiction. Its perfect realism
is consistent with the boldest appeal to
those primitive instincts furthest from
every-day events, and its pathos is as
poignant as if it had happened within
our own knowledge. In its way, it is as
finely imaginative as Mr. Pyle's wonder-
fully spiritualized and moralized concep-
tion of the other world which he has real-
ized on such terms as he alone can com-
mand; or as Mrs. Wynne's symphony of
thrills and shudders, which will not have
died out of the nerves of any one ac-
quainted with it before. Mr. Millet's
sketch is of a quality akin to that of Mr.
McVickar's slighter but not less im-
pressive fantasy : both are " in the midst
of men and day," and command such
credence as we cannot withhold from any
well - confirmed report in the morning
paper. Mr. Rice's story is of like tem-
perament, and so, somewhat, is Miss
Hawthorne's, and Mr. Brown's, and Miss
Bradley's, while Miss Davis's romance is
of another atmosphere, but not less po-
tent, because it comes from farther, and
wears a dreamier light.
Such as they severally and differently
and collectively are, the pieces are each
a masterpiece and worthy the study of
every reader who feels that there are
more things than we have dreamt of in
our philosophy. The collection is like a
group of immortelles, gray in that twi-
light of the reason which Americans are
so fond of inviting, or, rather, they are
like a cluster of Indian pipe, those pale
blossoms of the woods that spring from
the dark mould in the deepest shade, and
are so entirely of our own soil.
W. D. H.
The Christmas Child
BY GEORG SCHOCK
THE moonlight was so bright across
the clock that it showed the time,
and its tick was solemn, as though
the minutes were marching slowly by.
There was no other sound in the room
except the breathing of Conrad, who lay
in shadow, sleeping heavily, his head a
black patch among the pillows. Mary's
hair looked like gold in the pale light
which reflected in her open eyes. She
had been lying so, listening to the tick
and watching the hands, for hours.
When they marked eleven she began
to stir; her feet made no more sound
than shadows; the cold air struck her
body like a strange element. Conrad
did not move as she went into the
kitchen and softly closed the door. She
groped her way to the chair where she
had left her clothes and put them on,
wrapped herself in a shawl, and slipped
2 Harper's Novelettes
There was no snow, but a keen cold
as befitted the night of the 24th of
December, and between two fields the
ice on the Northkill glittered. The air
was so clear that far away appeared the
great black barrier of the mountains.
Across the sky, as across deep water, was
a radiance of light, serene and chill,
of clouds like foam, of throbbing stars,
of the moon glorious in her aura. In
the towns at that hour the people were
ready to begin the coming day with
prayer and the sound of bells: here sky
and earth themselves honored the event
with light and silence in a majestic
As she made her way over the frozen
grass she looked as detached from the
world's affairs as some shrouded lady at
her nightly journey along a haunted
path. The great Swiss barn was dead
silent; its red front, painted with moons
and stars, looked patriarchal; it had its
own pastoral and dignified associations.
She hesitated at the middle door, then
she lifted the wooden bar and pushed it
back cautiously. The darkness seemed
to come out to meet her, and when she
had shut herself in she was engulfed as
though the ready earth had covered her
a few nights too soon.
The Christmas Child 3
The straw rustled when she stepped on
it, and she was afraid to risk a move-
ment, so she crouched and made herself
small. The air was thick and pungent,
freezing draughts played upon her
through the cracks of the door, and her
foot tingled, but she did not move. After
a while she saw two luminous disks
which halted, glared, and approached,
and she patted the furry body until it
curled up on her skirt and lay there
purring. She felt it grow tense at a
tiny squeak and scuttle, but she kept
More than half an hour had gone when
something happened. A horse stamped,
a cock set up a sudden chatter, the cat
leaped to a manger, and a cow scrambled
to her feet. The darkness was full of
movement, wings fluttered, timbers
shook under kicking hoofs and rubbing
hides, tossed heads jarred the rings that
held them fast. Then from the corner
in which stood the splendid yoke of black
oxen, the pride of the farm, there came
a long, deep sound, as of something
Two minutes after, Conrad was roused
by a noise in the kitchen. The house
door stood wide, showing a great rect-
angle of moonlight, there was a rush of
4 Harper's Novelettes
cold air, and his bare foot struck Mary,
doubled up where she had fallen. He
shouted, and an old woman ran in with
her gray hair flying.
" Conrad !" she exclaimed, almost in a
" I don't know," he answered. He had
his wife in his arms and held her out
like a child showing a broken toy.
The old woman bethought herself first.
" Take her in and lay her on the bed,"
she ordered. While she worked he began
to hurry on his clothes, moving as though
he were stupid; then he came up to the
"Aunt Hannah, what has she?" he
begged. She gave him a look, and he
suddenly burst into a great storm of
" Hurry!" she said. " Take Dolly and
a whip and go to Bernville first. If the
doctor isn't home, go along to Mount
Pleasant; but bring a doctor. Ach!"
she seized his hand in her excitement.
Mary's eyes were opening blue, wide,
and terrified. "Don't take Dolly," she
said, quite loud. "Dolly knows too
much." Then her eyes closed again.
Conrad went into the kitchen, still
sobbing, and the old woman followed.
"I must take Dolly," he whispered.
The Christmas Child 5
"Aunt Hannah, for God's sake, what
"I don't know what she means about
Dolly. Maybe I can find out till you
get back. She'll soon come to. You
better be careful going out of the barn-
yard. It might worry her if she hears
The young man checked his crying.
"I take her through the fields," he said,
and went out softly.
In the light of the candle which con-
tended with the moonbeams Hannah's
wrinkled face looked witchlike as she
bent over the bed. Presently Mary
started and her eyes searched the room
with a terrified stare; she seemed to be
all at once in the midst of some dreadful
" Aunt Hannah," she exclaimed, " don't
let them come for me !"
The old woman bent over her. " How
do you feel?" she asked, in her soft and
"Don't let them come!"
" Nobody comes, Mary. It is all right,
only you are not so good. After while
somebody is coming. Then you are glad !"
" Keep them out ! I don't want to go !"
" You don't go off ; you stay right here
with me and Conrad."
6 Harper's Novelettes
Hannah's hand shook, but she still
spoke reassuringly. "Were you in the
" Yes. You know how it is said that
on Christmas eve, twelve o'clock, the
animals talk. I thought so much about
it, and I made up my mind to go and
hear what they had to say. I was in the
middle stable that's empty, and I waited,
and all of a sudden " She stopped,
"Just don't think about it," Hannah
urged, but she went on:
"All of a sudden Dolly stamped
and they all woke up the cows and the
sheep, and the cat was scared and the
big rooster cackled, and then the oxen
Ach, Aunt Hannah! One of them said,
' They will carry out the mistress in the
" You don't go, for all," the old woman
soothed her. " Think of who is coming,
Mary. That's a better thing to think
about. It's so lucky to have it on Christ-
mas day. She will have good fortune
then, and see more than others."
The pinched face grew bright. The
trembling soul was not to go out alone
The Christmas Child 7
before, becoming a part of the great cur-
rent of maternity, it had had the best
of what is here.
" I take such good care of her. I look
after her all the time," said Mary.
The sun was gone, but the west was
still as pink as coral and the twilight
gave a wonderful velvety look to the
meadows. In the rye-fields the stalks,
heavy-headed already, dipped in the wind
which blew the last apple-blossoms about
like snow. A row of sturdy trees grew
along Conrad Rhein's front fence, and
there was a large orchard in the rear.
The log house was just the color of a
nest among the pale foliage.
The place was so quiet that the ir-
ritable note of a couple of chimney-
swallows, swooping about in pursuit of
an invisible purpose, sounded loud. Han-
nah Rhein looked up from the small
stocking she was knitting to watch them.
Her secular occupation was contradicted
by her black silk " Sunday dress," and
there was a holiday appearance about the
little girl who sat very still, looking
as though stillness were habitual with
"You better run out to the gate.
Maybe you can see them," Hannah said.
8 Harper's Novelettes
The child went, and stood looking down
the road so long that she rolled up her
knitting and followed. " There they are 1"
she exclaimed. "Father and Aunt Ca-
lista, Don't forget to give her a kiss
when she gets out."
Conrad Khein's austere face expressed
no pleasure as he stepped from the car-
riage and helped his companion, but she
was not to be depressed by a brother-in-
law's gravity. Calista Yohe, moving
lightly in her pink delaine dress, resem-
bled the prickly roses coming into bloom
beside the gate, which would flourish and
fade imperturbably in accordance with
their own times and seasons. At present
she looked as though the fading were
remote. She shook hands joyfully and
seized the carpet-bag which Hannah had
"I guess I don't let you carry that,"
she said. " It's heavy."
The little girl put up her face, and
Calista kissed her without speaking to
her, and went on talking:
"You are right, Dolly is hot. We
drove good and hard. Conrad didn't
want to do it to give her the whip, but
I don't like to ride slow. Let's sit on
the porch awhile."
The child placed her bench near the
The Christmas Child 9
old woman's chair, but she watched the
young one admiringly. Oalista did not
" How are the folks?" Hannah asked.
" They are good."
" Had they a big wedding ?"
" I guess ! It was teams on both sides
of the road all the way down to where
you turn, and they had three tables. She
wore such a nice dress, too; such a silk
it was, with little flowers in."
" How did it go while you were there ?"
"Oh, all right; she's a nice girl and
he and I could always get along; but it
wasn't like my home. If a man gets
married once, he doesn't want his sister
afterwards," Calista said, cheerfully.
"Well, you stay here now. We are
glad to have you. Conrad he is quiet
and I am getting along, so it's not such
a lively place, but I guess you can make
" Well, I think!" said Calista. " I like
to work. Is Conrad always so crabbed?
He hardly talked anything all the way
" He hasn't much to say, but he is
easy to get along with. He doesn't look
much to anything but the farm."
"Doesn't he go out in company?" Ca-
lista asked, eagerly.
io Harper's Novelettes
" Once in a while, but not often. He
doesn't look for that any more." Hannah
sighed and stroked the child's head, which
rested against her knee, and the move-
ment caught Calista's eye.
"She favors Mary," she said. "All
that light hair and her white skin.
That's a pretty dress she has on." She
stooped and examined the blue merino.
" Did you work that sack?"
"No, I had it worked. I think she
looks nice. Conrad bought her those blue
beads for a present. She was so glad."
" Does she always wear white stock-
"When she is dressed. Conrad he
wants it all of the best."
" Does he think so much of her?"
" He doesn't make much with her; he
is not one to show if he thinks much;
but would be strange if he didn't. And
as well off as he is, and no one to spend
Calista looked out through the orchard
and across the fields of rye and wheat
over which the spring night was falling.
" He has a fine place for sure," she said.
" He takes long in the barn."
"I guess he went off," said Hannah,
" I didn't see him leave."
The Christmas Child n
" It may be he went to Albrecht's."
" Who are they ? Young people 1"
" Yes. John Albrecht he is about Con-
rad's age, and his wife was such a friend
to Mary. They have two little ones come
over sometimes to play around."
" Is that all in the family?"
"His mother; she lives with her, a
woman so crippled up she can't walk."
Calista looked as satisfied as a strate-
gist who finds himself in control of a
desired situation : its difficulties made her
spirits rise. Her eyes wandered about
and fixed upon the child again. " She
gets sleepy early for such a big girl," she
said. " Wasn't she five on Christmas ?"
" Yes. She wanted to see you, so I
let her stay up to-night; and anyhow
I didn't want to be sitting up-stairs when
you got here."
" Do you sit with her evenings ?"
"Till she goes to sleep. If you leave
her in the dark she is so scared I pity
her, and I don't want her to get excited.
I have no trouble with her other times.
She listens to me, and she is real smart
to help; she can pick strawberries and
pull weeds, and she always enjoys to go
along for eggs. She is like her father,
she hasn't much to say. She will run
around in the orchard and play with her
12 Harper's Novelettes
doll-baby the whole day, and she is pre-
tending all the time."
The little girl opened her eyes, very
blue with sleep. With her rosy color and
the white and blue of her little garments
she looked like a cherub smiling out of the
canvas of a German painter, the soft
companion of an older and more pensive
grace. Hannah watched her tenderly.
" Now come, Mary, we go to bed," she
" I guess I'd make such a fuss with
that child and sit with her nights!" Ca-
lista thought, her prominent hazel eyes
following in rather a catlike fashion.
They followed in the same way more
than once during the next few weeks.
She would brush the little girl's hair
when Hannah was busy, or call her to a
meal, but at other times she passed her
by. At first Mary was inclined to pursue
the pretty stranger, and on the second
evening she ran up to her to show the
results of the egg-hunting, but she never
did it again.
She was the only one whom Calista
failed to please. The neighbors who
came to visit soon returned, and on
Saturday night there were three car-
riages at the gate and three young men
in the parlor. Conrad did not pay much
The Christmas Child 13
attention to her, but one day he told her
that one of her admirers was "not such
a man that you ought to go riding with,"
and she said: "All right. It was two
asked me to go to-night. I take the other
one." She went through the work sing-
ing, and Hannah sat on the porch more
than usual, and began to wonder how she
had gotten on so long alone.
Calista had been there only a few
weeks when Hannah said at supper one
evening : " I guess I go to see your aunt
Sarah, Conrad. It's six years since I
went. I couldn't leave the work before,
but now Calista gets along so good I can
go a little."
"Just do it," said Calista, heartily.
" Mary and L can keep house."
The child smiled and made a timid
"All right," Conrad said. "I take
you to the stage any time."
Mary cried when Hannah went, and
the old woman was distressed. " I feel
bad to leave her," she said. "I would
take her along if I had time to get her
" Ach, go on !" Calista said, laughing.
" There is Conrad now with the team.
Mary will have good times. She can
stem the cherries this morning." She
14 Harper's Novelettes
picked up the little girl and held her out
to kiss her aunt. "Don't you worry,"
she called, as the carriage started.
She came out on the back porch
presently with a large basket of
" Now let's see how smart you can be,"
she said. " Sit down on the step and I
put the basket beside you. Pick them
clean." Mary looked rather frightened
at the size of the task, but she set to
work. She stemmed and stemmed until
her hands were sticky and her fingers
ached. A thick yellow sunbeam came
crawling to her feet; the flies buzzed,
diving through the air as though it were
heavy; the cat beside her slept and woke.
It seemed to the child that she had always
been in that spot and that there would
never be anything but a hot morning
and piles of shining cherries. She was
looking toward the orchard where her
swing hung empty when Calista hurried
by the door. " Have you done them all ?"
she called. "Not? Well, then you fin-
ish them quick."
The cherries lasted until dinner-time,
and when that was over Mary climbed
on her father's bed and slept all after-
noon. When she came out the first thing
she saw was the egg-basket piled full.
The Christmas Child 15
"If you want to go along for eggs
you ought to be here when I ana ready,"
The little creature made no noise, but
her father looked at her hard as he sat
down to supper. "What's the matter?"
She did not answer, and Calista said,
" Oh !" with the peculiar German in-
flection of contemptuous patience. Con-
rad said no more.
After supper Mary wandered out, and
her aunt had to call her several times.
" Where were you ?" she asked.
"Down there." The child pointed to
the orchard. " A lady was there."
Calista went to the edge of the porch
and shaded her eyes. " I don't see her,"
she said. " Who was she ?"
" I don't know."
" Did you never see her before ?"
" No, ma'am."
"What did she look like?"
Mary thought hard, with the puzzled
face of one who lacks words and com-
parisons to convey an image that is clear
enough. Calista walked a little way
into the orchard, then she looked up and
down the road.
"Wasn't it Mrs. Albrecht?" she asked.
" Well, I guess it makes nothing. Come,
1 6 Harper's Novelettes
you must go to bed. I stay with you."
With a mocking expression she held out
her hand as to a very small child, and
the little girl walked into the house with-
out a word, not noticing the hand.
When she was asleep Calista came back
to the porch with some sewing. Conrad
appeared from the barn, stood about for
a moment, and strolled toward the or-
chard; then he walked in the garden
for a while; finally he sat on the step
with his back to her, saying nothing and
looking at the sky. She preserved the
silence of a bird-tamer.
" It's a nice evening," he said at last.
" Good weather for hay."
" One field is about ready to cut. You
better tell Aunt Hannah to come home.
It's too much work for you, with the
men to cook for."
" Just you let her stay and enjoy her-
self. I get along all right."
After a pause she asked, "Did you
see some one in the orchard just now?"
" Mary she ran down after supper, and
she said a strange lady was there. I
wondered who it was."
"I didn't see her," he said, dully, as
The Christmas Child 17
though he spoke from the midst of some
absorbing thought; then he got up and
walked away. "You better go in and
light the lamp if you want to sew," he
Calista took her things and went at
once, looking as though she were so well
satisfied that she could afford to be
Though in the next two weeks she had
plenty of company Conrad never joined
them: he spent the evenings with John
Albrecht, drove to Bernville, or went to
bed early. He worked much harder than
usual, and his cheeks grew thin under
his stubble of black beard. Calista did
not trouble him with conversation.
" Don't you feel good ?" she once asked,
and when he gave a surly answer she said,
carelessly, "You better get something
from the doctor," and began to sing im-
mediately afterwards. But she knew how
he looked even when her back was turned,
and she often stared at Mary in a medita-
tive way as though the child were the
doubtful quantity in an important calcu-
She was watching her so one day, when
little John Albrecht and his sister had
come over and the three were very busy
on the grass near the kitchen window
1 8 Harper's Novelettes
with two dolls and tlie old tiger-oat. In
the afternoon silence their little voices
sounded clear and sweet. The cat es-
caped to a cherry-tree and they chased
him gayly, but he went to sleep in an
insulting way in spite of the lilac switch
that John flourished.
"Look out!" Mary called.
John looked around and said, "For
what ?" and she went over to him.
There was a conversation which Calista
could not hear; Mary pointed several
times to a spot in the sunny grass; then
he went running down the road and
Katie followed, looking as though she
would cry when she had time, and leaving
her doll behind her.
Calista went out. " What did you say
to John to make them run off?" she asked.'
" I told him to look out, he would hit
the lady with the switch."
" She was there."
" Where is she now ?"
" I don't know."
"Can't you see her?"
" No, ma'am."
Calista looked all about. Not a soul 1
was in sight on the road; in the orchard
and the fields nothing moved but the
wind; the yard was empty except for the
The Christmas Child 19
cat slipping around the corner with his
mottled coat shining. " Now listen," she
said, not unkindly. " I saw you out of
the window, and there was no lady here.
Why do you tell a story like that?"
The child looked at her in a preoc-
cupied way and did not answer.
"I can't have you say things that are
not so, Mary. If you do it again, I have
to whip you. Now pick up your doll-
baby and come in."
She spoke of it to Conrad that evening,
but he did not pay much attention.
"I don't know if there is something
wrong with Mary or, if she does see some
one, who it is," she said. " Do you know
if there are gipsies around?" He scarce-
ly answered, and in a few minutes she
heard him drive down the road. She
smiled to herself as she hurried through
her work. Then she put Mary to bed,
though it was much earlier than usual,
and began to dress, while the little girl
lay watching from among the pillows.
Calista enjoyed the water like a sleek
creature of two elements; her white
skirts crackled and flared; her hair hid
her waist. When she had finished her
green dimity looked like foliage around
a flower, and her hazel eyes turned green
to match it.
20 Harper's Novelettes
"I'm going on the front porch," she
said. " You go to sleep like a good girl."
She had sat with Mary in the evening
as long as she could do so without in-
convenience. Now she saw no reason, for
continuing it. She had not imagination
enough to know what she was inflicting.
Mary gazed after her as a shipwrecked
woman might watch a plank drifting out
of reach, but she said nothing; she shut
her eyes and lay still for many minutes.
She was a timid child but not cowardly,
and such tangible things as a cross dog,
a tramp, and a blacksnake in the orchard
she had faced bravely, but her terror of
the dark was indefinite and unendurable.
She opened her eyes, shut them, and
opened them again, looking for some-
thing dreadful. The furniture was shape-
less, the bedclothes dimly white, and each
time she looked it was darker. She did
not know what she expected, and to see
nothing was almost worse. A carriage
going down the road comforted her as
long as she could hear it, but it left a
thicker silence. She pressed her lids to-
gether, breathing quickly, to move was
like inviting something to spring on her,
then she slid out of bed and ran down
the stairs, gave a frightened glance at
the front door behind which sat her aunt,
The Christmas Child 21
who would send her up again, and slipped
across the back porch into the orchard.
Calista heard nothing. In the hot
June evening she was fresh and cool
enough to be akin to the rejoicing fields,
a nymph of beech or willow. Now and
then she looked down the road and saw
no one, but she did not seem disappointed.
It was quite dark and the fireflies were
trailing up and down when wheels
stopped at the gate, and she drew back
behind a lilac-bush that screened the
porch, and sat still.
Conrad, striding up the path, started
when he saw her. " Oh, it's you !" he
said, coldly. She gave a short answer,
and he stood frowning at nothing and
looking very tall and black. "Want to
take a little ride ?" he asked.
" No, I guess not."
" You stay at home too much," he said,
presently. "You haven't been off the
place since Aunt Hannah left."
" I don't care to go. I can't leave Mary
here all alone. It wouldn't be safe."
She stayed silently in her corner as
though waiting for him to leave a white
shadow beside the black mass of the lilac-
bush. Dolly at the gate tossed her head
until the reins scraped on the gate-post.
Down in the orchard a whippoorwill cried.
22 Harper's Novelettes
He was like a horse that takes the bit
and the driver was his own will his
own self. She made no resistance when
he threw himself down heside her: she
was pliant, her cheek cool, she even looked
at him haughtily. He did not know that
she slipped out of his arms just before
he would have released her, nor that she
was all one flame of triumphant happi-
ness. She seemed as untouched as the
" Calista," he stammered, " I hope you
"What about my sister Mary?" she
asked, dryly. " I thought you didn't look
to any one else."
"I didn't. I tell you the truth. I
was unwilling. I fought it off all I could,
but now I give in. I can do no more."
" So you think you like me as well as
you like her?"
" Calista, I would ask you if Mary
stood here and heard us."
The woman seemed to bloom like an
opening rose. She looked at him, but
it was as though she saw some vision of
success that she was just about to grasp.
" I am satisfied," she said.
There was a sound on the walk, and
they lifted their heads; then they were
scarcely conscious of each other's pres-
The Christmas Child 23
ence. Up from the gate, her night-
dress hanging about her feet, her hair
pale in the dim light, came the little
girl. She climbed the steps and passed
fearlessly into the dark house, smiling
at the two with the radiant content of
happy childhood, soothed and petted,
her small right hand held up as if in the
clasp of another hand.
Calista would have chosen to clean the
whole house or do a harvest-time baking
rather than write one letter, so she asked
most of the guests verbally and put off the
others as long as she could. Conrad had
taken Hannah to Bernville to have a
new silk dress fitted and buy colored
sugar for the wedding-cakes when she
began the invitations. By three o'clock
they were finished, and she counted them
and laid them beside the inkstand. Then
she washed her hands, spread a sheet on
the floor, and got out a pile of soft white
stuff, all puffs and lace and ruffles the
work of weeks.
She sewed happily, looking out now
and then at the trees, which tossed like
green waves under the roaring August
rain. Sometimes a gust drove a shower
down the chimney and made the logs
Jiiss. The room was warm and still; in
24 Harper's Novelettes
the interval of work it seemed to have
paused and be sleeping. The tiger-
cat, with his paws folded under him, lay
beside the hearth, and Mary on her little
bench nursed her doll peacefully. Calista
began to sing a German hymn ; the words
were awful, but their very solemnity
made her happier by contrast :
" Wer weiss wie nahe mir mein Ende !
Hin geht die Zeit, her kommt der Tod.
"Look here, Mary," she said. "Isn't
this pretty?" The child came, and Ca-
lista held up the soft stuff around her;
it made the little face look beautifully
pink and white. She touched it lightly,
smiling, then she wandered over to the
window with her doll and looked out into
*'Es kann vor Nacht leicht anders werden,
Als es am friihen Morgen war,"
Five minutes later she asked, good-
naturedly, "What are you looking at?"
Mary did not answer. " Didn't you hear
what I said? What's going on out
there ?" Calista repeated.
" You said I shouldn't say it," the child
The Christmas Child 25
" When I see the lady."
" Where do you see her ?"
" Coming out of the orchard."
Certain old stories returning to Ca-
lista's mind made her look at Mary for
a minute as though the child had mani-
fested strange powers. She went to the
window and her thimble clicked on the
sill as she leaned forward; then she
touched her cheek. " Do you feel good ?"
" Yes, ma'am."
She looked out again. "I want you
to know for sure that no one is there,"
she said, earnestly. " Now tell me : do
you see a lady?"
" Yes, ma'am. She is coming up
Calista was very sober. " If your aunt
Hannah doesn't teach you not to tell
stories, then I must," she said. " I can't
have you like this. Soon I can't believe
you anything. Come here." Mary came
as if pulled. "Now mind, I do this
so that you don't say what isn't so
again." She gave the child two good
slaps on the mouth with her strong hand.
The inherited spirit of resistance to
coercion, that had made pioneers and
martyrs of Mary Rhein's ancestors, was
let loose too soon: it made an imp of
26 Harper's Novelettes
her. She darted silently like an insect
from under Calista's hand, seized the
inkstand, and threw it with all her
might at the beautiful white gown. The
ink poured out, dripping from fold to
fold, and the stand thudded on the sheet
and scattered the last drops. Mary gave
one look and ran across the porch and
out to the road in the rain.
Calista sat still for a moment, then
she got up weakly. "Doesn't look much
like a wedding-dress now," she mur-
mured. "It's no use doing anything to
it It's done for." She wiped the ink-
stand on a stained flounce before set-
ting it on the table. "Now" she said,
as though some one were present who
would disapprove, " I give it to her good.
I better fetch her in and have it done
before they get back."
The sky was low but the rain was gen-
tle when she started down the road, and
her shawl made a bright spot between the
fields, green as chromos. Mary had gone
toward the creek, and she followed as far
as the bridge; then, as there was no one
in sight, she turned up-stream. It was
deep just there and very full, carrying
leaves and twigs so that it was like
a little flood, and the water caught the
dipping branches of the willows and
The Christmas Child 27
swept them along. The shellbarks looked
forlorn in the rain, and the ground was
so soft that it gave under her feet. Her
skirts and shoes were heavy with wet
before she saw Mary.
The child looked as though she were
being crowded out of life. She was cry-
ing, with small weak sounds like a wretch-
ed little animal, her hair was dark with
water, and the rain drove across her face.
At the sight of Calista she began to run
slowly with much stumbling; her crying
mixed with the sound of the stream.
Calista followed as fast as she could.
A little way up the creek was a log
bridge without a rail. Conrad had put
it up for his own convenience, and Ca-
lista never tried to cross it.
"Ach!" she thought, "I don't hope
she runs out there !" Then she began to
call, but Mary did not look back. She
fell over a root, picked herself up, and
went on, with her knees shaking.
Suddenly she began to cry very loud,
as a child does when it sees comfort, and
went on much faster, making for the
bridge. As she ran along the log her
arms were out to meet some one.
Calista stared for a couple of seconds,
then she raced like a savage down to the
first bend, her red shawl flying behind her.
28 Harper's Novelettes
It lay in a pool on the kitchen floor
when Conrad and Hannah came in; it
was the first thing they saw, and their
voices stopped as though a hand had been
laid upon their mouths. Mary was lying
on the settle and Calista was doubled up
against it with her face hidden.
"What's wrong?' 7 Conrad asked. She
said nothing, and when he tried to lift
her she writhed away from him. Hannah
ran to Mary. The blankets were warm,
but the small creature was quite cold.
" Now it is time you say what has hap-
pened," she said, and Conrad stood si-
Calista sat up, looking deadly sick.
The story came out in fragments, and
at the end she bowed her head, shivering
and staring at nothing.
"Did she say this before?" Hannah
Calista told wearily, and the old wom-
an listened, a spectator of strange things
to which she alone had the clue.
"Is that all?"
" Ach, yes ! I can't remember any
more. Now do what you want to do."
Hannah spoke like a judge sentencing
a criminal : " So you thought she told lies
and you whipped her that little thing!
Now I tell you something, Calista Yohe.
The Christmas Child 29
That night she was born I said to Mary
your sister Mary ! that once she came on
Christmas she would be lucky and see
more than we see, and Mary was glad,
and the last thing she said was : ' I look
after her. I take care of her/ And they
say one that dies and leaves something
unfinished must come back to finish it
up. I guess Mary knew when to come.
"And you are glad. I don't say you
just wished this to her, but you thought
would be fine not to have her around
once you got married to Conrad. She
was lucky not to be here till you got a
good hold of her.
"You might have thought whether I
would let her with you that didn't want
her, to be in the way. But I am old.
It is a good thing Mary fetched her.
Now I see to her myself. Don't you dare
Conrad had been perfectly still, with
the face of a man in a nightmare, but
now he went to the shaking woman and
lifted her in his arms. Hannah looked
at them for a moment. Then she set a
great kettle of water to heat, took up the
child and went out, leaving them alone
together, and they heard her footsteps
in the room above as she went back and
forth, getting what she needed.
The White Sleep of Aaber Hrn
BY RICHARD RICE
THE thing happened in America;
that is one reason for believing it.
Another land would absorb it, or at
least give a background to shadow over
its likelihood, the scenery and atmos-
phere to lend an evanescent credibility,
changing it in time to a mere legend, a
tale told out of the hazy distance. But
in America it obtrudes ; it stares eternally
on in all its stark unf orgetf ulness, absorb-
ing its background, constantly rescuing
itself from legend by turning guesswork
and theory into facts, till it appears bare,
irremediable, and complete, witnessed at
high noon, and in New Jersey of all
places, flat, unillusive, and American.
The thing was as clear a fact in its
unsubtle, shadowless mystery as was he
that is, as was the shell and husk of him
lying there in the next room after I had
watched the life and the person drawn
out, leaving only mere barren lees to
White Sleep of Adber Hum 31
show what had gone. Hours it lay there
to prove the thing, to settle it in my
mind, to let me believe eternally in it.
Then we buried it deep under the big
pile of scree on my hill. As I write I can
see the white stones from the window.
It is not all guesswork to begin with;
indeed it is not guesswork at any moment
if the end is always in view, and we had
to begin with the end. I tell you it was
as plain as daylight. People saw him,
heard him talk; saw him get off the train
at Newark to mail my letter this one
addressed to my engineers in Trenton;
heard him say, "Promised Crenshaw
to post this before reaching the city ; guess
this is my last chance to keep it." It is
a little thing that counts; you can't get
by that ; it alone is final ; but there were a
dozen more. Ezekiel saw him on the
platform hunting for the right box for
west-bound mail, and saw him post the
letter after considerable trouble. When
I heard that, I yielded to the incredulous
so far as to telephone to Trenton, asking
if the firm had received it. I did that,
though I held the letter in my hand at
the time, and knew it had never left this
house. Ezekiel was sure that he mailed
the letter, that it went from his hand into
the box. He was watching carefully be-
32 Harper's Novelettes
cause just then the train began to move;
but Auber, leisurely ignoring this, ap-
peared to be comparing his watch with the
station clock, and finally looked up at the
moving train as if in disapproval. Eze-
kiel lost sight of him in the crowd, and
then, at the same moment, he was taking
his seat opposite again.
Ezekiel said, " I thought you were
going to miss the train, characteristically,
for the sake of setting your watch." And
Auber replied, rather queerly : " Great
God! It's impossible now; I can see
that." Ezekiel did not know what he
meant, but remembered it afterward
when we were talking the whole thing
over in this room.
Besides Ezekiel, there were four men
who saw him after the train left Newark ;
and the porter remembered holding the
vestibule door and trap-platform open for
some one as the train pulled out.
Then there is my coachman who drove
him to the train, here in Barrelton, who
had his tip of a silver dollar from him.
Put it in his pocket and then lost it,
of course. You see, there's the most con-
clusive link in the chain. If William had
produced his dollar, or my engineer had
received that letter, the whole thing
would fall through jugglery and im-
White Sleep of Auber Hum 33
position, mere ordinary faking. The
hypnotic theory might still hold, but it
must stretch fifty miles to an improbable
source in a man who is, at the time,
dying strangely on my bed.
Of course, there is no use asking if any
one on the train touched him, not only
saw and heard him, but shook hands with
him, let us say. It is the same story as
William's, or not so good. Ezekiel is sure
that he shook hands when Auber first
boarded the train ; Judson is sure that he
did so when he stepped across the aisle
to ask about me. Yet, I tell you that
would have made no difference; let him
have been as impalpable as the very air
of the car, those men would have felt the
flesh, just as William felt his silver dol-
lar. "Fulfilment of sure expectation
on the ground of countless identical ex-
periences," your psychologist would ex-
plain. Illusion and fact were indistin-
guishable; and though I happened to
watch the facts, and the others the illu-
sion, their testimony is as good as mine.
There is the testimony of four men
that, when the smash came, they saw him
thrown from his seat, head first, into the
window- jamb, and lie for a moment half
through the shattered pane. Just before
this, he had taken out his watch. Its
34 Harper's Novelettes
familiar picture-face, and also its enam-
elled hands exactly together at twelve
o'clock, had caught Ezekiel's eye. He
said that Auber looked at the watch, and
then leaned forward as if to call atten-
tion to the view from the window. It
was then that the smash came. When
Ezekiel and some others, who were only
thrown to the floor, looked up again,
Auber was gone.
You see, the time is identical; we cal-
culated it exactly, for the train left
Newark on time and takes just six min-
utes to reach the bridge; that is, at ex-
actly noon. When I noticed the hour
here, it was, perhaps, a few minutes later,
and that is not a difference in time-
pieces, for it was by his own watch on
the bedside table. No one saw him on
the train or on the bridge after that. It
seems conclusive, just that alone. They
finally decided that he must have fallen
from the window and somehow rolled
from the sleepers into the river.
Actually no one else in the Pullman
was badly hurt. The men picked them-
selves up and rushed to the doors of the
car, or climbed out of the windows. Eze-
kiel put his head through the shattered
pane which Auber had struck. Men were
running toward the car ahead, from
White Sleep of Attber Hum 35
which screams came. In the excitement
of rescuing those from the telescoped
coach, Auber was forgotten; but when it
was all over, Ezekiel and Judson looked
everywhere for him, till they assured
themselves that he was not on the bridge.
At all events, that is how he came to
be reported among "The Missing,
known by friends to have been on the
train, Auber Hum, the artist."
During that night, when Ezekiel and
Judson had come down in response to my
telegrams, we sat here, talking endlessly,
guessing, relating, slowly developing the
theory of the thing, delving into our
minds for memories of him, gradually
getting below the facts, gradually work-
ing back to them, examining the connec-
tions, completing the chain. The main
fact, the culmination, had to be the soul-
less shell of him, lying there in the next
room. Our theory began far away from
that, in what he used to call "white
sleep," and more especially in a curious
occasional association between the dreams
of this sleep and the landscape pictures
that he painted. What impressed you
most as he recounted one of those half-
conscious dream concoctions, that he
named " white-sleep fancies," was the re-
markable scenery, the setting of the
36 Harper's Novelettes
dream. This was in character with his
pictures, for about them both you felt
that peculiarly pervasive "sense of
place," for which his landscape is of
course famous, and which in these dreams
was emphasized through a subtle omi-
nousness of atmosphere. You perceived
what the place stood for, its sensational
elements, and you began vaguely to im-
agine the kind of event for which it
would form a suitable background. In
his pictures the element was a sort of
dream-infusion, as though in each scene
the secret goddess, the Naiad of the spot,
must have stood close to him as he paint-
ed, and thrilled him to understanding at
her impalpable touch. Whatever the
exact nature of these creative intuitions,
there was between his art and his dreams
a lurking connection, out of which, as we
believed, finally grew his strange faculty
for seeing beyond the scene, an intuition
for certain events associated with what
we called " an ominous locality."
This faculty began to distinguish itself
from mere psychical fancy through a
curious contact of one of Auber's dreams
with his actual experience.
The dream, which came at irregular in-
tervals during a number of years, began
with a sense of color, a glare to dazzle
White Sleep of Auber Htirn 37
the eyes, till, as Auber insisted, he
awaked and saw the sunset glow over a
stretch of forest. He was on a hillside
field, spotted with daisies and clumps of
tall grass. On one side a stone wall, half
hidden by the grass and by a sumac
hedge in full bloom, curved over the sky-
line. All this was exactly expressible by
a gesture, and when he reached the bot-
tom of the field he looked back for a long
time, and made the gesture apprecia-
tively. It was at this point that he al-
ways recognized the recurring dream;
but he could never remember how it was
going to end. Then he entered the wood
on a grassy path, and for a long time the
tall tasselled grasses brushed through his
fingers as he walked. Suddenly it grew
dark, and feeling that " it would be folly
to continue," he tried hard to remember
the point of the dream. Just as he seem-
ed to recollect it, the sound of running
water came to him, as from a ravine, and
he knew that " he could not escape." The
low sound of running water, the little
lonely gurgle of a deep-wood brook, all
but lost in the loam and brush of the silent
forest, why should he feel an incompre-
hensible distaste for the place? He tried
feverishly to recollect the outcome of the
dream, but all memory of it had fled.
38 Harper's Novelettes
Nor could he bring himself to continue
on the path; when he tried to take an-
other step his leg dangled uselessly in
front, his foot beating flimsily on the
ground till he brought it back beside the
other. The longer he listened to the
sound of the running water, the stronger
grew his aversion for the place. This
continued indefinitely, till he awoke.
You perceived the vague sense of
" ominous locality " developed out of the
simplest details. There is a recognizable
introduction, the field, the stone wall, the
grass striking his fingers ; but there is no
ending, nothing happens; the dream-
spell at last dissolves, and the sleeper
wakes. His aversion to the sound of the
brook can, therefore, come from no con-
scious knowledge of a portending catas-
trophe in the dream. It was always
Auber's fancy that the dream would
really end in a catastrophe, which, though
the mind proper continue in ignorance,
casts its ominous shadow through the sub-
consciousness upon the surroundings of
It was also a fanciful idea of his that
dreams in general imply a subconscious
state coexisting constantly with the ac-
tual realm of thought, but penetrated by
our consciousness only when the will is
White Sleep of Attber Hum 39
least active, or during sleep. With ordi-
nary mortals sleep and consciousness are
so nearly incompatible that the notion of
actual mental achievement during sleep
is unthought of. Dreams are allowed to
run an absurd riot through the brain, dis-
turbing physical rest. The remedy for
this universal ailment and waste of time
was to be found in " white sleep," a bit of
Indian mysticism, purporting to accom-
plish a partial detachment of mind and
body, so that the will, which is always the
expression of the link between these two,
is, for the time, dissolved. The body
rests, but the unfettered mind enters
upon a " will-less state of pure seeing/'
where dreams no longer remain the mean-
ingless fantasies of blind sleep, but be-
come luminous with idea and sequence.
With the body thus left behind, the intel-
lect rises to the zenith of perception,
where the blue veil of earthly knowledge
is pierced and transcended.
How often had we heard Auber talk in
his fantastically learned fashion, with an
amused seriousness lighting up his face.
At what point he began to see something
more than amusement in his dreams and
theories, I never knew; but the serious
beginning of the thing took shape in an
incident which not even the most fervent
40 Harper's Novelettes
theorist could have created for the sake
of a theory.
It was up among the little knobby hills
to the north of my farm. We were as
usual sketching, and Auber had been
going on all the afternoon about the
mournful scenery, talking of nothing but
browns, and grays, and "mountain
melancholy." He had a way of stringing
out a ceaseless jargon while he worked,
an irritating trick caught in the Paris
studios. At the end of the afternoon, he
held up a remarkable sketch, suggesting
the color scheme for a picture in the
atmosphere of oncoming dusk a bit of
path over the hill toward the sun.
" You have struck it most certainly," I
said. " Be wary of finishing that ; it is
strangely suggestive as it is."
He nodded ; and then, as we packed up,
he said, "Do you know, I have felt
vaguely intimate with this spot, as if I
had been here before, as if I were paint-
ing a reminiscence." I remarked tritely
on the commonness of this feeling.
At the bottom of a hillside meadow I
was hunting for the entrance of a path
into a patch of woods. Auber, instead of
helping me, kept gazing back at the
fading light while he made random ob-
servations on the nature of the sky-line,
White Sleep of Atdber Hurn 41
one of his cant hobbies. "See how
crudely the character of everything is de-
fined up there against the sky," I heard
him say, while I continued to search for
the path. "Now even a sheep or a cow,
or an inanimate thing, like that stone
wall, for instance, see how its character
as a wall comes out as it sweeps over the
top." At this moment, a little drop of
surprise in his voice made me look
around. He was walking backwards, one
arm extended toward the hill in a de-
scriptive gesture. "Why, it is the
dream!" he murmured in hushed ex-
citement. "Ah, of course! I might
have known it. Now, I'll turn to find
" I wish you would," I said.
He started abruptly. Then he came
slowly, and touched me in a queer evasive
way on my shoulder. Finally he drew
a long breath, and gripped me by the
arm. " Don't you recognize it ?" "It's the
dream ! See ! The stone wall the field
the sumac ! Now that's the first sumac "
"Oh, come along!" I said; "there are
twenty such fields. That is curious,
though: you made the gesture. Do you
recognize it all exactly ?"
"It's it! the whole thing and now,
you see, I'm turning to find the path."
42 Harper's Novelettes
I admitted that it was curious, and
said that it would be interesting to see
how it all turned out.
For a long time Auber followed in
silence, which I tried to relieve by banter-
ing comments. I was some distance
ahead, when I heard him say, " The grass
is brushing through my hands."
"Why not?" I laughed, but it rang
false, for I recollected the detail. It was
childishly simple; perhaps that was why
the thing bothered me. I noticed that in
the growing darkness the forest took on a
peculiar look. It had been partly burnt
over, leaving the ground black, and some
of the trees gaunt, upbristling, and sen-
tinel-like. The place, even in broad day-
light, would have had a night-struck ap-
pearance. At this hour, when the sudden
forest darkness had just fallen, there was
a sense of unusual gloom, easily connect-
ing itself with strange forebodings.
Perhaps it had been five minutes, when
Auber said, " I am conscious that I can-
not take my hands out of the grass."
As I said, it was a simple thing. With
an odd impulse, I groped back toward
him till I found his wrists, and then
shook them violently above his head.
We stood there for several moments per-
forming this absurd pantomime in the
White Sleep of Auber Hrn 43
darkness. His arms, with the sleeves
rolled up, felt heavy with flesh in my
grip. I seemed to be handling things of
dead, cold flesh.
Then Auber said, "I can still feel my
hands down in the grass."
I drew back in a strange horror; but,
at the same moment, we both stood stock-
still to listen: from some distance to the
right came the trickling sound of water.
It was barely perceptible, and we listened
hard, indefinitely, while the silence con-
gealed in our ears, and the darkness con-
densed about our eyes, filling up space,
and stopping thought save just for the
sound of the brook. It seemed a sort
of growing immobility, eternal, like aft-
At last Auber spoke, laying a hand
on my shoulder: "It is over; let us
After a while we talked about it.
There was little to "go" on. You see,
nothing happens, and, as Auber expressed
it, " the psychological data are ineffective
for lack of an event." But though the
whole thing remained then a purely psy-
chical experience, and did not "break
through," yet it had something of the
fulness of fate. Auber, as usual, had a
theory: in the dream some manifesta-
44 Harper's Novelettes
tion was undoubtedly striving to break
through, but he had been unable to facili-
tate the process. The present experience,
he decided, was immature, a mere coinci-
dence. The outcome might yet, however,
be foreseen through the dream, if the
creative perception of " white sleep J?
could be attained.
That is the affair which started the
whole thing. Auber must have taken
the suggestion it contained much more
seriously than any of us for several years
imagined; nor did we connect the long
contemplativeness of the man with any
definite purpose. The thing was too
vague and illusive to become a purpose
Before long there were half a dozen
instances, some trivial, or seemingly co-
incidental, but all forming our theory.
There is one Ezekiel recounted, as we sat
here talking that night. It was just a
matter of old Horace MacNair's coming
in on them once during a thunder-storm.
The family were sitting in the big hall;
the ladies with their feet up on chairs
to insulate them from the lightning;
young Vincent Ezekiel teasing them by
putting his on the mantelpiece. At one
point in the storm came a terrible crash,
and Auber jumped up, starting toward
White Sleep of Adber Hum 45
the door. Then he came back and sat
down quietly. They laughed, and asked
if he had been struck.
"No," he said, quite seriously, "not
by the lightning, but by a curious idea
that I saw Horace MacNair opening the
door. I suppose I must have dreamed it;
I was nearly asleep."
The Ezekiels looked at one another in
surprise, and Mrs. Ezekiel said : " There
is something curious in that, for the last
time Horace was here, just before he died,
he came in the midst of a thunder-storm
as we were sitting here, much as we are
now. And, why! I remember that he
had come over because he expected to see
you, but you had not arrived."
"That's so," put in young Vincent,
"because he said that if you had been
here, you wouldn't have been too afraid
of the lightning to stand up and shake
hands. And by Jove! I had my feet on
the mantelpiece! I remember that, be-
cause when he saw me he laughed, and
lined his up beside mine."
" He was wearing a gray rain-coat, and
high overshoes that you made fun of,"
added Auber, shortly, and then kept an
That was true, Ezekiel said ; and Auber
had not seen the man in five years.
46 Harper's Novelettes
There were many cases which we
strung that night on the threads of our
theory, all working toward its comple-
tion; and yet we neared the end with
misgiving and douht, for we had the
necessity of believing, if we would keep
ourselves still sane. All of us had noticed
that so far as there was an element of
terror in the strange incidents, it lay
in the fact of a subtle undercurrent of
connections, as if Fate were dimly point-
ing all the while toward the invisible
culmination. Suddenly there would be
a new manifestation of Auber's faculty,
and a new instance would be added, il-
lusive, baffling, and yet forming each time
new threads in the vague warp and woof
of something that we called our theory.
"There it is again," we would say to
ourselves, as we sent the ghostly shuttle
flying in our psychological loom.
This undercurrent appeared to touch
the incident of Horace MacNair, for it
seemed that the old artist had walked
over to the Ezekiels that night on pur-
pose to talk with Auber about making
a series of pictures of the salt marshes
along the Passaic Kiver. Old Horace
was dead of his heart before Auber ar-
rived, but the suggestion was repeated
by Ezekiel ; and Auber, taking it as some-
White Sleep of Auber Hum 47
thing like a dying request from his old
master, besides appreciating its value, set
to work at once.
The long reaches of the Passaic tidal
lagoon, with their mists and blowing
swamp-grass, are crossed by the trestles
of all the railways which enter New York
from the south. It was old Horace Mac-
Nair's idea that this place, more travelled,
more unnoticed, and yet more picturesque,
perhaps, than any spot near the metrop-
olis, might be the making of Auber's
reputation. The varied, moody tones of
the marsh-land, forever blending in a
pervasive atmosphere of desolate beauty,
suited Auber's peculiar style. Here he
would paint what passed in the pop-
ular eye for the dullest commonplace,
and would interpret, at the same time,
both this landscape and his little-under-
While he worked I frequently visited
Auber on his yawl Houri, which was can-
vassed over for an outdoor studio, and
anchored at the point from which he
wished to paint. One day we were tied
up to a pile by the Central Railroad
trestle. It was just the heat of the day,
and Auber, stretched out on a deck chair,
was taking a sort of siesta. His eyes
were closed, and he had let his cigar go
48 Harper's Novelettes
out. Whether it was due to the light
through the colored awning, I was not
sure, but I was suddenly attracted by a
dull vacancy that seemed to be forming
in his countenance. It stole upon the
features as if they were being slowly
sprinkled with fine dust, blotting their
expression into a flat lifelessness. Then
the rush of a train passing over the bridge
disturbed him. With a fleeting look of
pain he sat up, glanced first furtively at
me, and then stared hard around.
"Was there a train?" he asked, at
" Yes an express."
"It did not stop here on the bridge
" No, of course not."
"Of course not," he agreed, absently.
"How long ago?"
" Perhaps two minutes," I said.
He examined his watch. After a while
he got up, seeming to pull himself to-
gether with an effort, and began scraping
nervously on his picture. I noticed that
the palette-knife trembled in his hand.
"What is the matter?" I asked, finally.
"I feel very much upset," he replied,
and sank weakly on the hatch. "I was
on that train and "
I had to jump below to the ice-chest;
White Sleep of Atiber Hum 49
Auber seemed to have fainted. Jerry,
the skipper, and I applied cold water
for five minutes, and then Auber revived
and asked for whiskey.
"I was on the train," he began again,
persistently. u Several people, whom I
knew, must have been in the chair-car
with me, because I seemed to be taking
part in a conversation. Was there a Pull-
man on the train ?" he asked, abruptly.
"Yes," I said; " at the end."
The answer seemed to reassure him un-
happily. "I was on the train," he con-
tinued, " but I could not think where I had
come from. There were vague recollections
of a walk, then of a long drive in the dark.
Now T was on the train, and yet I was
somehow not there even now." I poured
out more whiskey, but he pushed it aside
absently. "I was not there, nor was I
here ; for when I moved, something seemed
to be folded about me, like bedclothes.
It was all a kind of duplication, and I
could be on the train or in the other
place at will. That is why it seemed
confused and unreal. We were talking
about some matter of business. I held
a list of figures that I referred to now
and then. Once I leaned forward to
look out of the window; it was just here.
I was pointing, and saying to some one,
50 Harper's Novelettes
' There is my last salt marsh !' when a
great shock stopped the words, and sent
me against something in front. For a mo-
ment I was conscious that you were lean-
ing over me. Then I had a strange feel-
ing of becoming gradually detached, as
if from my very self. A weight and a
feeling of bedclothes slipped from me;
there was alternate glaring light and
enveloping darkness. Finally the light
prevailed, and I found myself looking up
into this hideous awning."
" Well," I said, " that is a very queer
"Yes; it was white sleep," he replied,
slowly; "but something was added this
time." He put his hand on my arm
appealingly. "I knew it would come;
I have had the beginnings of that dream
before." He spoke as if from a tragic
winding-sheet, a veil spun in the warp of
his own fancy and also in the very woof
of Fate; and out of this veil, through
which none of us ever saw, he was stretch-
ing his hand to ask of me what?
I did what I could. Auber consented
to come at once to my farm till rest
should partly restore him. We reached
here that night. It was just two weeks
ago; in thought, it is, for me, a lifetime.
It was a time of suspense and wait-
White Sleep of Auber Hum 51
ing when diversion seemed almost ir-
reverent, but at last it was forced upon
us by that ever-moving providence which
stood back of the whole affair. My dam
broke at the upper farm. Chance?
Nothing of the sort! I went up to see
how it had happened, and found some
rotten joists and rust-eaten girders. They
are in the course of events. Auber went
with me while I should see things set
It was a simple incident, but somehow
I suspected it of finality even as we start-
ed out of the yard on the long drive. I
was suspicious of that knobby hill region,
which was connected with the incipient
indications of the whole affair. On ar-
riving in the late afternoon, however,
nothing could be more natural than that
Auber, having inspected the dam, should
stroll on to the pasture, where he once
sketched the path that runs down to his
I went back to the farmhouse, and
wrote to my engineers a detail of the
breach in the dam, then sat down on the
porch to enjoy a smoke. The day was
warm and dreamy; the sun, filtering
through the September haze, rested on the
eyelids like a caressing hand. I was soon
half asleep, peering lazily at the view
52 Harper's Novelettes
which zigzags down between the knobby
hills to the more cultivated farm-lands
that we had left hours behind us, when
the telephone rang. I got up and an-
"William? at the farm? Oh yes a
message, a telegram for Mr. Hum, you
say? Is it important? Well, go ahead
Whatl Must take 11.10 express cri-
sis on Wall Street? meet on train
It had come, then! Chance? No. A
railroad merger; stockholders interested.
At first I said: " I won't tell him." Then
I thought : " After this supposed Sentence
is delayed and delayed till he no longer
looks on the world as his prison cell,
and the whole matter evaporates in a
psychological mist, he will say: 'Our
superstitions, my dear friend, and your
loving care, cost me just twenty thousand
dollars that trip. My picture of the twi-
light path, which you would have in-
terrupted, won't replace a hundredth part
I wandered down to the broken dam;
there beside the breach, with the river
sucking darkly through, Josiah Peacock
stood, contemplating the scene with his
practical eye against to-morrow's labor.
Suddenly I found myself mentioning the
"White Sleep of Adber Hum 53
telegram. He said, " Then you'll have
to drive back to-night." I felt alarmed;
surely this was none of my doing. Pres-
ently I was taking the short cut through
the woods. The red glow of sunset was
fading behind me, and darkness al-
ready gathered among the trees. Aware
of a vague anxiety that impelled me for-
ward, an odd notion that I might be late
for something, I began to hurry along,
the gaunt tree trunks watching like sen-
tinels as I passed. Was I looking for
Auber Hum? It was strangely remi-
niscent, not a real experience. " This is
absurd," I said to myself at length, and
straightened my foot to stop. Instead,
I unexpectedly leaped over a fallen
log, and continued with nervous strides,
while I flung back a sneaking glance
On the turns of the path darkness
closed in rapidly; the outlines of objects
loomed uncertainly distant through the
forest. Gradually I became aware that
at the end of a dim vista down which
I was hurrying, something white had
formed itself in the path. I stopped to
look, but could make out nothing clearly.
It remained dimly ahead, and I ap-
proached, a few steps at a time, peering
through the obscure gray shadows, stri-
54 Harper's Novelettes
ving to concentrate my vision. At last I
recognized that it was Auber Hurn in
his shirt-sleeves, standing still in the
middle of the path. Apparently he, too,
was trying to see who was coming.
" Auber I" I called. I was not sure that
When I was very close I began at once,
as if involuntarily: "Auber, you see, I
came to meet you. There is a message
from Ezekiel a Wall Street panic, or
something. He wants you to meet him
on the 11.10 to-mor It will be
necess Auber?" Had I been talking
to the air ? I looked about me. " Auber I
Auber Hurn 1" I called. There was no
one there; but in the hush of listening
there came, as if wandering to me through
the forest, the little lost gurgle of a dis-
For a moment I stood fascinated by
a reminiscence and then, a sudden fear
swelling in my throat, I ran. Back on
the path I fled, my legs seeming to go
of themselves, hurling my body violent-
ly along; my feet pounding behind, as
if in pursuit, whirling around the turns,
then down the last straight aisle, past
the sentinel trees, out into the light.
When I reached the farmyard, a fresh
team was being hitched to our carriage.
White Sleep of Auber Hum 55
"What! Has Mr. Hum come back?"
T asked, shakily.
"No," said Josiah, "but I thought
maybe you'd want things ready. Didn't
you find him?"
"Why no," I replied, and then re-
peated firmly, " No, I did not."
I sat down, exhausted, on the porch,
and waited. At the end of ten minutes
Auber Hurn entered the gate, crossed to
the buggy, and got in. Josiah, from
between the horses where he was bucb-
ling a knee-guard, looked up in surprise.
" You got that message, Mr. Hurn ?"
"Yes," said Auber, speaking very dis-
tinctly. "Mr. Crenshaw just gave it
Josiah turned to me. " I thought you
said " he began.
" I was mistaken I mean, I misunder-
stood you," I interposed.
Josiah stared, and then finished the
harnessing. " Your coats are here under
the seat," he remarked. I took my place
mechanically. Mrs. Josiah came with
some milk and sandwiches. I finished
mine hurriedly, and took the reins.
Auber sank back into his corner with-
out a word, leaving me to feel only a
sense of desperate confused isolation, of
56 Harper's Novelettes
At length Auber said, in a voice that
startled me, a low, contented voice:
"You were on the path? You went to
find me yourself?"
"Yes," I answered; and then, after a
long time, "And you were not there
" No, I was not there." He leaned back
against the cushions, and I thought he
smiled. "I was in that hill meadow.
I went to sleep there for a short time."
It was two o'clock when we drove into
the yard. William was waiting to take
As we went into the house, William
asked if he should have the trap for the
11.10 express. I could not answer, and
Auber said, looking at me in the light
of the open door, "Yes, certainly."
I can see him now in the cheerless
white hallway, his tall figure exaggerated
in a long driving-cloak, his high features
sharpened in the light of the lantern.
In taking off my coat I felt, in the
pocket, the letter I had written to my
engineer in Trenton. I laid it on the
hall table. "You might post that to-
morrow before you get to New York," I
Then I lighted him to his room, and
we said "good night."
White Sleep of Adber Hum 57
Undressing mechanically, I went to
bed, and after a long time I slept,
A rumbling noise; then, after it had
ceased, the realization that a carriage
had driven out of the yard that was
what woke me up. The clock on my
bureau said half past ten. For a moment
I forgot what that meant; and then sli-
ding out of bed, I tiptoed quickly down
the hall. Putting my ear to Auber's
door, I listened till I had made sure.
From within came the dull breathing of
a sleeper. Throwing on a few clothes, I
went down-stairs. The waitress was
dusting in the hall.
"Where has the carriage gone?" I
"Why, sir," she said, "William is
taking Mr. Hurn to the station."
After a while I had the courage to say
cautiously, " I thought Mr. Hurn was still
asleep; I did not hear him come down."
" He came down ten minutes ago," she
replied, "and in a great hurry, with no
time for breakfast."
"You saw him?" I cross-examined.
"Yes. The carriage was waiting, and
he seemed in a great hurry, though he
did run back to take a letter from the
58 Harper's Novelettes
I was standing between the table and
" Well, of course you're right," I said,
carelessly, and at that moment I put my
hand on the letter. I turned my back
and put it in my pocket.
I went hurriedly to the barn. The run-
about trap and the mare were out. Then
I finished dressing, and had breakfast.
Soon after, William drove into the yard,
and I called from the library window
"Where have you been?"
" Just to the station, sir."
" What for ? Has my freight arrived ?"
"Mr. Hum, for the 11.10," he ex-
"Ah, yes!" I cried, in an overvoice;
" I keep forgetting that I have just waked
up. You saw him off ? Ah did he leave
any message for me? I overslept, and
did not see him this morning."
" No, sir ; I had no message," he re-
plied. "But he's a liberal man, Mr.
Hum, sir." He grinned and slapped his
pocket; then, with a look of doubt, he
straightened out one leg to allow his
hand inside; the look grew more doubt-
ing; he stood up and searched system-
atically, under the seat, everywhere.
"Guess it rolled out," I said, very
much interested. "What was it?"
White Sleep of Adber Hum 59
" A silver dollar," he answered, mourn-
" Oh, well, I'll make that up," I called,
and shut the window.
I took out my watch and made a cal-
culation; Auber's train was probably at
Newark. I could stand it no longer, and
I went toward his room, stamping on the
bare floor, whistling nervously, and rat-
tling the rickety balustrade. I banged
open the door and began to shout : " Au-
ber! you've missed your "
He did not move. He was lying on his
back, with his arms extended evenly out-
side the bedclothes, which were tucked
close around his breast. He lay as if in
state, with that dull dusty pallor on his
face, and that eyeless vacancy of an
effigy on a marble tomb a voidness of
expression, with masklike indications of
duration and immobility. On the read-
ing-table, at his bedside, I noticed his
watch lying face up. It was two or three
minutes of the noon hour.
Sitting down on the bed, I touched
Auber on the shoulder. He did not move.
An intuition, growing till it all but be-
came an idea, and then remaining short
of expressibility, unable to perceive even
its own indefiniteness a film for im-
pressions where there is no light such
60 Harper's Novelettes
was the vagueness of my guess concern-
ing the metamorphosis that was taking
place. Yet I began to understand that
Auber Hum, the real man, was not
there, not on the bed, not in my house
at all. It was as if the Person were
being gradually deducted, leaving only
the prime flesh to vouch for the man's
existence. Even as I sat in wonder,
with my eyes upon him, the life tinge
faded utterly from his skin. There
was a fleeting shadow as if of pain. His
breast sank in a long outbreathing, and
then, after seconds and minutes, it did
not rise again. I listened. The room
seemed to be listening with me. The si-
lence became stricken with awe, with the
interminable and unanswering awe the
muteness of death.
We believed in the thing. Ezekiel and
Judson came down in response to my
telegrams, and we sat here talking it all
over, hours through the night. It was
inevitable to believe in it. We took his
body up in the darkness, and buried it
in the scree on my hill; then we came
back to Auber's room, and faced each
other by the empty bed.
"This is not for the practical world,
or for the law," I said. " No coroner
on earth could return a verdict here."
White Seep of Aober Ham 61
a We could never see the thing clearly
again if the practical world got hold of
it," said Judson. "Look; you hare to
believe so much!" He had picked np
Auber's purse from the table, where it
had lain beside his watch. He opened it
ever the bed. A roll of biDs fell out
and one silver dollar.
tf That belongs to William, before the
law," said EzekieL
BY HOWABD PYLE
morning, after I had dressed
myself and had left my room, I
came upon an entry which I had
never before noticed, even in this my own
house. At the further end a door stood
ajar, and wondering what was in the
room "beyond, I traversed the long pas-
sageway and looked within. There I saw
a man sitting, with an open book lying
upon his knees, who, as I laid one hand
upon the door and opened it a little
wider, beckoned to me to come and read
what was written therein.
A secret fear stirred and rustled in
my heart, but I did not dare to disobey.
So, coming forward (gathering away my
clothes lest they should touch his clothes),
I leaned forward and read these words:
" WHAT SHALL A MAN DO THAT HE MAY
GAIN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?"
In Tenebras 63
/ did not need a moment to seek for
an answer to the question. " That" said
I, "is not difficult to tell, for it has been
answered again and again. He who
would gain the kingdom of heaven must
resist and subdfae the lusts of hi-s heart;
he must do good works to his neighbors;
he must fear his God. What more is
there that man can dof
Then the leaf was turned, and 1 read
The town of East Haven is the full
equation of the American ideal worked
out to a complete and finished result.
Therein is to be found all that is best
of New England intellectuality well
taught, well trained; all that is best of
solidly established New England prosper-
ity; all that is best of New England pro-
gressive radicalism, tempered, toned, and
governed by all that is best of New Eng-
land conservatism, warmed to life by all
that is best and broadest of New England
Christian liberalism. It is the sum to-
tal of nineteenth-century American cul-
tus, and in it is embodied all that for
which we of these days of New World
life are striving so hard. Its municipal
64 Harper's Novelettes
government is a perfect model of a mu-
nicipal government; its officials are elect-
ed from the most worthy of its prosper-
ous middle class by voters every one of
whom can not only read the Constitution,
but could, if it were required, analyze its
laws and by-laws. Its taxes are fairly
and justly assessed, and are spent with a
well-considered and munificent liberality.
Its public works are the very best that
can be compassed, both from an artistic
and practical stand-point. It has a free
library, not cumbersomely large, but al-
most perfect of its kind ; and, finally, it is
the boast of the community that there is
not a single poor man living within its
Its leisure class is well read and widely
speculative, and its busy class, instead of
being jealous of what the other has at-
tained, receives gladly all the good that it
has to impart.
All this ripeness of prosperity is not a
matter of quick growth of a recent date;
neither is its wealth inherited and held
by a few lucky families. It was fairly
earned in the heyday of New England
commercial activity that obtained some
twenty-five or thirty years ago, at which
time it was the boast of East Haven
people that East Haven sailing-vessels
In Tenebras 65
covered the seas from India to India.
Now that busy harvest-time is passed and
gone, and East Haven rests with opulent
ease, subsisting upon the well-earned
fruits of good work well done.
With all this fulness of completion one
might think that East Haven had attained
the perfection of its ideal. But no. Still
in one respect it is like the rest of the
world; still, like the rest of the world,
it is attainted by one great nameless sin,
of which it, in part and parcel, is some-
how guilty, and from the contamination
of which even it, with all its perfection
of law and government, is not free. Its
boast that there are no poor within its
limits is true only in a certain particular
sense. There are, indeed, no poor resi-
dent, tax-paying, voting citizens, but dur-
ing certain seasons of the year there
are, or were, plenty of tramps, and they
were not accounted when that boast was
East Haven has clad herself in comely
enough fashion with all those fine gar-
ments of enlightened self - government,
but underneath those garments are, or
were, the same vermin that infested the
garments of so many communities less
clean parasites that suck existence from
God's gifts to decent people. Indeed,
66 Harper's Novelettes
that human vermin at one time infested
East Haven even more than the other
and neighboring towns; perhaps just be-
cause its clothing of civilization was
more soft and warm than theirs ; perhaps
(and upon the face this latter is the more
likely explanation of the two) because,
in a very exaltation of enlightenment,
there were no laws against vagrancy.
Anyhow, however one might account for
their presence, there the tramps' were.
One saw the shabby, homeless waifs
everywhere in the highways, in the by-
ways. You saw them slouching past the
shady little common, with its smooth
greensward, where well - dressed young
ladies and gentlemen played at lawn-
tennis; you saw them standing knocking
at the doors of the fine old houses in Bay
Street to beg for food to eat; you saw
them in the early morning on the steps
of the old North Church, combing their
shaggy hair and beards with their fingers,
after their night's sleep on the old
colonial gravestones under the rustling
elms; everywhere you saw them heavy,
sullen-browed, brutish a living reproach
to the well - ordered, God - fearing com-
munity of something cruelly wrong,
something bitterly unjust, of which they,
.as well as the rest of the world, were
In Tenebras 67
guilty, and of which God alone knew the
No town in the State suffered so much
from their infestation, and it was a com-
mon saying in the town of Norwark a
prosperous manufacturing community
adjoining East Haven that Dives lived
in East Haven, and that Lazarus was his
most frequent visitor.
The East Haven people always felt the
sting of the suggested sneer; but what
could they do? The poor were at their
doors; they knew no immediate remedy
for that poverty; and they were too com-
passionate and too enlightened to send
the tramps away hungry and forlorn.
So Lazarus continued to come, and
Dives continued to feed him at the gate,
until, by-and-by, a strange and unex-
pected remedy for the trouble was dis-
covered, and East Haven at last overcame
its dirty son of Anak.
Perhaps if all the votes of those ultra-
intelligent electors had been polled as to
which one man in all the town had done
most to insure its position in the van of
American progress; as to who best repre-
68 Harper's Novelettes
sented the community in the matter of
liberal intelligence and ripe culture; as
to who was most to be honored for stead-
fast rectitude and immaculate purity of
life ; as to who was its highest type of en-
lightened Christianity an overwhelming
if not unanimous vote would have been
cast for Colonel Edward Singelsby.
He was born of one of the oldest and
best New England families; he had grad-
uated with the highest honors from Har-
vard, and finished his education at Got-
tingen. At the outbreak of the rebellion
he had left a lucrative law practice and a
probable judgeship to fight at the head
of a volunteer regiment throughout the
whole war, which he did with signal
credit to himself, the community, and the
nation at large. He was a broad and pro-
found speculative thinker, and the papers
which he occasionally wrote, and which
appeared now and then in the more
prominent magazines, never failed to at-
tract general and wide-spread attention.
His intelligence, clear-cut and vividly
operating, instead of leading him into
the quicksands of scepticism, had never
left the hard rock of earnest religious be-
lief inherited from ten generations of
Puritan ancestors. Nevertheless, though
his feet never strayed from that rock, his
In Tcnebras 69
was too active and living a soul to rest
content with the arid face of a by-gone
orthodoxy ; God's rain of truth had fallen
upon him and it, and he had hewn and
delved until the face of his rock blos-
somed a very Eden of exalted Chris-
tianity. To sum up briefly and in full,
he was a Christian gentleman of the
highest and most perfect type.
Besides his close and profound studies
in municipal government, from which
largely had sprung such a flawless and
perfect type as that of East Haven, he
was also interested in public charities,
and the existence of many of the bene-
ficial organizations throughout the State
had been largely due to his persistent
and untiring efforts. The municipal re-
forms, as has been suggested, worked
beautifully, perfectly, without the grat-
ing of a wheel or the creaking of a joint ;
but the public charities somehow they
did not work so well; they never did just
what was intended, or achieved just
what was expected; their mechanism ap-
peared to be perfect, but, as is so univer-
sally the case with public charities, they
somehow lacked a soul.
It was in connection with the matter of
public charities that the tramp question
arose. Colonel Singelsby grappled with
70 Harper's Novelettes
it, as he had grappled with so many mat-
ters of the kind. The solution was the
crowning work of his life, and the result
was in a way as successful as it was para-
doxical and unexpected.
Connected with the East Haven Public
Library was the lecture-room, where an
association, calling itself the East Haven
Lyceum, and comprising in its number
some of the most advanced thinkers of
the town, met on Thursdays from No-
vember to May to discuss and digest mat-
ters social and intellectual. More than
one good thing that had afterward taken
definite shape had originated in the dis-
cussions of the Lyceum, and one winter,
under Colonel Singelsby's lead, the tramp
question was taken up and dissected.
He had, Colonel Singelsby said, studied
that complex question very earnestly and
for some time, and to his mind it had re-
solved itself to this : not how to suppress
vagrancy, but how to make of the vagrant
an honest and useful citizen. Repressive
laws were easily passed, but it appeared
to him that the only result achieved by
them was to drive the tramp into other
sections where no such laws existed, and
which sections they only infested to a
greater degree and in larger numbers.
Nor in these days of light was it, in his
In Tenebras 71
opinion, a sufficient answer to that ob-
jection that it was the fault of those
other communities that they did not also
pass repressive laws. The fact remained
that they had not passed them, and that
the tramps did infest their precincts, and
such being the case, it was as clear as
day (for that which injures some, injures
all) that the wrong of vagrancy was not
corrected by merely driving tramps over
the limits of one town into those of an-
other. Moreover, there was a deeper and
more interior reason against the passage
of such repressive laws; to his thinking
it behooved society, if it would root out
this evil, to seek first the radix from
which it drew existence; it behooved
them first to very thoroughly diagnose the
disease before attempting a hasty cure.
"So let us now," said he, "set about
searching for this radix, and then so
drive the spade of reform as to remove it
The discussion that followed opened a
wide field for investigation, and the con-
clusion finally reached during the winter
was not unlike that so logically deduced
by Mr. Henry George at a later date.
The East Haven Lyceum, however, ei-
ther did not think of or did not care
to advocate such a radical remedy as
72 Harper's Novelettes
Mr. George proposes. They saw clearly
enough that, apart from the unequal dis-
tribution of wealth, which may perhaps
have been the prime cause of the trouble,
idleness and thriftlessness are acquired
habits, just as industry and thrift are ac-
quired habits, and it seemed to them bet-
ter to cure the ill habit rather than to
upset society and then to rebuild it again
for the sake of benefiting the ill-con-
So the result of the winter's talk was
the founding of the East Haven Refuge,
of which much has since been written
Those interested in such matters may
perhaps remember the article upon the
Refuge published in one of the prominent
magazines. A full description of it was
given in that paper. The building stood
upon Bay Street overlooking the harbor;
it was one of the most beautiful situa-
tions in the town; without, the building
was architecturally plain, but in perfect
taste ; within, it was furnished with every
comfort and convenience a dormitory
immaculately clean ; a dining-room, large
and airy, where plain substantial food,
cooked in the best possible manner, was
served to the inmates. There were three
bath-rooms supplied with hot and cold
In Tenebras 73
water, and there was a reading and a
smoking-room provided not only with all
the current periodicals, but with chess,
checkers, and backgammon-boards.
At the same time that the Kefuge was
being founded and built, certain munic-
ipal laws were enacted, according to
which a tramp appearing within the
town limits was conveyed (with as little
appearance of constraint as possible) to
the Refuge. There for four weeks he was
well fed, well clothed, well cared for.
In return he was expected to work for
eight hours every day upon some piece
of public improvement: the repaving of
Main Street with asphaltum blocks was
selected by the authorities as the initial
work. At the end of four weeks the
tramp was dismissed from the Refuge
clad in a neat, substantial, well-made suit
of clothes, and with money in his pocket
to convey him to some place where he
might, if he chose, procure permanent
The Refuge was finished by the last of
March, and Colonel Singelsby was unani-
mously chosen by the board as superin-
tendent, a position he accepted very re-
luctantly. He felt that in so accepting
he shouldered the whole responsibility of
the experiment that was being under-
74 Harper's Novelettes
taken, yet he could not but acknowledge
that it was right for him to shoulder that
burden, who had been foremost both in
formulating and advocating the scheme,
as well as most instrumental in carrying
it to a practical conclusion. So, as was
said, he accepted, though very reluctantly.
The world at large was much disposed
to laugh at and to ridicule all the prepa-
ration that Dives of East Haven made to
entertain his Lazarus. Nevertheless, there
were a few who believed very sincerely in
the efficacy of the scheme. But both
those who believed and those who scoffed
agreed in general upon one point that it
was altogether probable that East Haven
would soon be overrun with such a wilder-
ness of tramps that fifty Refuges would
not be able to supply them with refuge.
But who shall undertake to solve that
inscrutable paradox, human life its
loves, its hates?
The Refuge was opened upon the 1st of
April; by the 29th there were thirty-two
tramps lodged in its sheltering arms, all
working their eight hours a day upon the
repaving of Main Street. That same day
the 29th five were dismissed from
within its walls. Colonel Singelsby, as
superintendent, had a little office on the
ground-floor of the main building, open-
In Tenebras 75
ing out upon the street. At one o'clock,
and just after the Kefuge dinner had
been served, he stood beside his table
with five sealed envelopes spread out side
by side upon it. Presently the five out-
going guests slouched one by one into the
room. Each was shaven and shorn; each
wore clean linen ; each was clad in a neat,
plain, gray suit of tweed; each bore
stamped upon his face a dogged, ob-
stinate, stolid, low-browed shame. The
colonel gave each the money enclosed in
the envelope, thanked each for his service,
inquired with pleasant friendliness as
to his future movements and plans, in-
vited each to come again to the Refuge
if he chanced to be in those parts, shook
each by a heavy, reluctant hand, and bade
each a good-by. Then the five slouched
out and away, leaving the town by back
streets and byways; each with his hat
pulled down over his brows; each ten
thousand times more humiliated, ten
thousand times more debased in his
cleanliness, in his good clothes, and with
money in his pocket, than he had been
in his dirt, his tatters, his poverty.
They never came back to East Haven
The capacity of the Kefuge was 50. In
May there were 47 inmates, and Colonel
76 Harper's Novelettes
Singelsby began to apprehend the pre-
dicted overflow. The overflow never
came. In June there were 45 inmates; in
July there were 27 ; in August there were
28; in September, 10; in October, 2; iri
November, 1; in December there were
none. The fall was very cold and wet,
and maybe that had something to do with
the sudden falling off of guests, for the
tramp is not fond of cold weather. But
even granting that bad weather had some-
thing to do with the matter, the Refuge
was nevertheless a phenomenal, an ex-
traordinary success but upon very dif-
ferent lines than Colonel Singelsby had
anticipated; for even in this the first
season of the institution the tramps be-
gan to shun East Haven even more sedu-
lously than they had before cultivated
its hospitality. Even West Hampstead,
where vagrancy was punished only less
severely than petty larceny, was not so
shunned as East Haven with the horrid
comforts of its Refuge.
As was said, the records of the Refuge
showed that one inmate still lingered in
the sheltering arms of that institution
In Tcnebras 77
during a part of the month of November.
That one was Sandy Graff.
Sandy Graff did not strictly belong to
the great peregrinating leisure class for
whose benefit the Kefuge had been more
especially founded and built. Those were
strangers to the town, and came and went
apparently without cause for coming and
going. Little or nothing was known of
such of their name, of their life, of
whence they came or whither their foot-
steps led. But with Sandy Graff it was
different; he belonged identically to the
place, and all the town knew him, the
sinister tragedy of his history, and all the
why and wherefore that led to his becom-
ing the poor miserable drunken outcast
the town "bummer" that he was.
There is something bitterly enough pa-
thetic in the profound abasement of the
common tramp frouzy, unkempt, dirty,
forlorn; without ambition further than
to fill his belly with the cold leavings
from decent folks' tables; without other
pride than to clothe his dirty body with
the cast-off rags and tatters of respect-
ability; without further motive of life
than to roam hither and yon idle, use-
less, homeless, aimless. In all this there
is indeed enough of the pathetic, but
Sandy Graff in his utter and complete
78 Harper's Novelettes
abasement was even more deeply, tragi-
cally sunken than they. For them there
was still some sheltering segis of secrecy
to conceal some substratum in the utter-
most depths of personal depravity; but
for Sandy all the world knew the story
of his life, his struggle, his fall; all the
world could see upon his blotched and
bloated face the outer sign of his inner
lusts; and what deeper humiliation can
there be than for all one's world to know
how brutish and obscene one may be in
the bottom of one's heart ? What deeper
shame may any man suffer than to have
his neighbors read upon his blasted front
the stamp and seal of all, all his heart's
lust, set there not only as a warning and
a lesson, not only a visible proof how deep
below the level of savagery it is possible
for a God-enlightened man to sink, but
also for self-gratulation of those right-
eous ones that they are not fallen from
God's grace as that man has fallen?
One time East Haven had been Sandy
Graff's home, and it was now the centre
of his wanderings, which never extended
further than the immediately neighboring
towns. At times he would disappear
from East Haven for weeks, maybe
months; then suddenly he would appear
again, pottering aimlessly, harmlessly,
In Tenebras 79
around the streets or byways; wretched,
foul, boozed, and sodden with vile rum,
which he had procured no one knew how
or where. Maybe at such times of re-
appearance he would be seen hanging
around some store or street corner,
maundering with some one who had
known him in the days of his prosperity,
or maybe he would be found loitering
around the kitchen or out-house of some
pitying Bay-Streeter, who also had known
him in the days of his dignity and cleanli-
ness, waiting with helpless patience for
scraps of cold victuals or the dregs of the
coffee-pot, for no one drove him away or
treated him with unkindness.
Sandy Graff's father had been a cobbler
in Upper Main Street, and he himself had
in time followed the same trade in the
same little, old-fashioned, dingy, shingled,
hip-roofed house. In time he had mar-
ried a good, sound-hearted, respectable
farmer's daughter from a neck of land
across the bay, known as Pig Island, and
had settled down to what promised to be
a decent, prosperous life.
So far as any one could see, looking
from the outside, his life offered all that
a reasonable man could ask for; but
suddenly, within a year after he was
married, his feet slipped from the beaten
8o Harper's Novelettes
level pathway of respectability. He be-
gan taking to drink.
Why it was that the foul fiend should
have leaped astride of his neck, no man
can exactly tell. More than likely it was
inheritance, for his grandfather, 'who had
been a ship-captain some said a slave-
trader had died of mania a potu, and it
is one of those inscrutable rulings of Di-
vine Providence that the innocent ones
of the third and fourth generation shall
suffer because of the sins of their fore-
bears, who have raised more than one
devil to grapple with them, their chil-
dren, and children's children. Anyhow,
Sandy fell from grace, and within three
years' time had become a confirmed
Fortunately no children were born to
the couple. But it was one of the most
sad, pitiful sights in the world to see
Sandy's patient, sad-eyed wife leading
him home from the tavern, tottering, reel-
ing, helpless, sodden. Pitiful indeed!
Pitiful even from the outside; but if one
could only have looked through that outer
husk of visible life, and have beheld the
inner workings of that lost soul the
struggles, the wrestling with the foul
grinning devil that sat astride of him
how much more would that have been
In Tenebras 81
pitiful! And then, if one could have
seen and have realized as the roots from
which arose those inner workings, the
hopes, the longings for a better life that
filled his heart during the intervals of
sobriety,, if one could have sensed but
one pang of that hell-thirst that foreran
the mortal struggle that followed, as that
again foreran the inevitable fall into his
kennel of lust, and then, last and great-
est, if those righteous neighbors of his
who never sinned and never fell could
only have seen the wakening, the bitter
agony of remorse, the groaning horror of
self-abasement that ended the debauch-
ery Ah! that, indeed, was something
to pity beyond man's power of pitying.
If Sandy's wife had only berated and
abused him, if she had even cried or made
a sign of her heart-break, maybe his
pangs of remorse might not have been so
deadly bitter and cruel; but her stead-
fast and unrelaxing patience it was that
that damned him more than all else to
his hell of remorse.
At last came the end. One day Sandy
went to New Harbor City to buy leather
for cobbling, and there his devil, for no
apparent reason at all, leaped upon him
and flung him. For a week he saw or
knew nothing but a whirling vision of
82 Harper's Novelettes
the world seen through rum-crazy eyes;
then at last he awoke to find himself hat-
less, coatless, filthy, unshaved, blear-eyed,
palsied. Not a cent of money was left,
and so that day and night, in spite of the
deadly nausea that beset him and the
trembling weakness that hung like a
leaden weight upon every limb, he walked
all the thirty-eight miles home again to
East Haven. He reached there about
five o'clock, and in the still gray of the
early dawning. Only a few people were
stirring in the streets, and as he slunk
along close to the houses, those whom he
met turned and looked after him. No
one spoke to him or stopped him, as
might possibly have been done had he
come home at a later hour. Every shred
and filament of his poor remorseful heart
and soul longed for home and the comfort
that his wife alone could give him, and
yet at the last corner he stopped for a
quaking moment or so in the face of the
terror of her unreproachful patience.
Then he turned the corner
Not a sign of his house was to be seen
nothing but an empty, gaping black-
ness where it had stood before. It had
~been turned to the ground!
Why is it that God's curse rests very
often and most heavily upon the misfor-
In Tenebras 83
tunate? Why is it that He should crush
the reeds that are bruised beneath His
heel? Why is it that He should seem so
often to choose the broken heart to grind
Sandy's wife had been burned to death
in the fire !
From that moment Sandy Graff was
lost, utterly and entirely lost. God, for
His terrible purposes, had taken away the
one last thread that bound the drowning
soul to anything of decency and cleanli-
ness. Now his devil and he no longer
struggled together; they walked hand in
hand. He was without love, without
hope, without one iota that might bring a
flicker of light into the midnight gloom
of his despairing soul.
After the first dreadful blast of his sor-
row and despair had burned itself out, he
disappeared, no one knew whither. A
little over a month passed, and then he
suddenly appeared again, drunken, maud-
lin, tearful. Again he disappeared, again
he reappeared, a little deeper sunken, a
little more abased, and henceforth that
was his life. He became a part of the
town, and everybody, from the oldest to
the youngest, knew him and his story.
He injured no one, he offended no one,
and he never failed, somehow or some-
84 Harper's Novelettes
where, to find food to eat, lodging for his
head, and clothing to cover his nakedness.
He had been among the very first to enter
the Refuge, and now, in November, he
was the last one left within its walls. He
was the only one of the guests who re-
turned, and perhaps he would not have
done so had not his aching restlessness
driven him back to suffer an echo of
agony in the place where his damnation
had been inflicted upon him.
Between Colonel Singelsby upon the
one side, the wise, the pure, the honored
servant of God, and Sandy Graff upon
the other side, the vile, the filthy, the
ugly, the debased, there yawned a gulf
as immeasurably wide and deep as that
which gaps between heaven and hell.
The winter of the year that saw the
opening of the East Haven Refuge was
one of the most severe that New England
had known for generations. It was early
in January that there came the great
snowstorm that spread its two or three
feet of white covering all the way from
Maine to Virginia, and East Haven, look-
ing directly in the teeth of the blast that
In Tenebras 85
came swirling and raging across the open
harbor, felt the full force of the icy
tempest. The streets of the town lay a
silent desert of drifting whiteness, for
no one who could help it was abroad
from home that bitter morning.
The hail and snow spat venomously
against the windows of Dr. Hunt's office
in one of those fine old houses on Bay
Street overlooking the harbor. The wind
roared sonorously through the naked, tort-
ured branches of the great elm-trees, and
the snow piled sharp and smooth in fence
corners and around north gables of the
Dr. Hunt shuddered as he looked out of
the window, for while all his neighbors
sat snug and warm around their hearths,
he had to face the raging of the icy blast
upon the dull routine of his business of
mercy the dull routine of bread-getting
by comforting the afflictions of others.
Then the sleigh drew up to the gate, the
driver already powdered with the gather-
ing whiteness, and Dr. Hunt struggled
into his overcoat, tied the ribbons of his
fur cap under his chin, and drew on his
beaver gloves. Then, with one final shud-
der, he opened his office door, and stepped
out into the drift upon the step.
Instantly he started back with a cry:
86 Harper's Novelettes
he had trodden upon a man covered and
hidden by the snow.
It was Sandy Graff. How long he had
been lying there, no one might tell; a
few moments more, and the last nicker of
life would have twinkled mercifully out.
The doctor had him out of the snow in a
moment, and in the next had satisfied
himself that Sandy was not dead.
Even as he leaned over the still white
figure, feeling the slow faint beating of
the failing heart, the doctor was consider-
ing whether he should take Sandy into
the house or not. The decision was al-
most instantaneous : it would be most in-
convenient, and the Refuge was only a
stone's-throw away. So the doctor did
not even disturb the household with the
news of what had happened. He and
the driver wrapped the unconscious fig-
ure in a buffalo-robe and laid it in the
As the doctor was about to step into
the sleigh, some one suddenly laid a heavy
hand upon his shoulder. He turned
sharply, for he had not heard the ap-
proaching footsteps, muffled by the thick
snow, and he had been too engrossed
with attention to Sandy Graff to notice
It was young Harold Singelsby; his
In Tcncbras 87
face was very white and drawn, and in
the absorption of his own suppressed agi-
tation he did not even look at Sandy.
" Doctor," said he, in a hoarse, constrain-
ed voice, " for God's sake, come home
with me as quickly as you can: father's
/ had often wondered how it is with
a man when he closes his life to this
world. Looking upon the struggling ef-
forts of a dying man to retain his hold
upon his "body, I had often wondered
whether his sliding to unconsciousness
was like the dissolving of the mind to
sleep in this life.
That death was not like sleep was at
such times patent enough it was pat-
ent enough that it was the antithesis of
sleep. Sleep is peaceful; death is con-
vulsed sleep is rest; death is separa-
That which I here following read in
the book as it lay open upon the man's
Jcnees seemed in a way dark, broken, in-
distinct with a certain grim obscurity;
yet if I read truly therein I distinguish-
ed this great difference between death
and sleep: Sleep is the cessation of con-
sciousness from an interior life to ex-
terior thought; death is the cessation of
88 Harper's Novelettes
consciousness from the exterior mind to
an interior life.
When Sandy Graff opened his eyes
once more, it was to find himself again
within the sheltering arms of the Refuge.
That awakening was almost to a full and
clear consciousness. It was with no con-
fusion of thought and but little confusion
of sight, except for a white mist that
seemed to blur the things he saw.
He knew, instantly and vividly, where
he was. Instantly and vividly every-
thing found its fit place in his mind the
long rows of cots ; the bald, garishly white
walls, cold and unbeautiful in their im-
maculate cleanliness; the range of cur-
tainless windows looking out upon the
chill, thin gray of the winter day. He
was not surprised to find himself in
the Refuge; it did not seem strange to
him, and he did not wonder. He dimly
remembered stumbling through the snow-
drifts and then falling asleep, overpow-
ered by an irresistible and leaden drowsi-
ness. But just where it was he fell, he
could not recall.
He saw with dim sight that three or
four people were gathered about his bed.
Two of them were rubbing his legs and
feet, but he could not feel them. It was
In Tenebras 89
this senselessness of feeling that first
brought the jarring of the truth to him.
The house-steward stood near by, and
Sandy turned his face weakly toward
him. "Mr. Jackson," said he, faintly,
" I think I'm going to die."
He turned his face again (now toward
the opened window), and was staring un-
winkingly at a white square of light, and
it seemed to him to grow darker and dark-
er. At first he thought that it was the
gathering of night, but faint and flicker-
ing as were his senses, there was some-
thing beneath his outer self that dreaded
it that dreaded beyond measure the
coming of that darkness. After one or
two efforts, in which his stiff tongue re-
fused to form the words he desired to
speak, he said, at last, "I can't see; it's
He was dimly, darkly conscious of hur-
ry and bustle around him, of voices call-
ing to send for the doctor, of hurrying
hither and thither, but it all seemed faint
and distant. Everything was now dark
to his sight, and it was as though all this
concerned another; but as outer things
slipped further and further from him, the
more that inner life struggled, tenacious-
90 Harper's Novelettes
ly, dumbly, hopelessly, to retain its grip
upon the outer world. Sometimes, now
and then, to this inner consciousness, it
seemed almost as though it were rising
again out of the gathering blackness.
But it was only the recurrent vibrations
of ebbing powers, for still again, and
even before it knew it, that life found
itself quickly deeper and more hopelessly
in the tremendous shadow into which it
was being inexorably engulfed.
He himself knew nothing now of those
who stood about the bed, awe-struck and
silent, looking down upon him; he him-
self sensed nothing of the harsh convul-
sive breathing, and of all the other grim
outer signs of the struggle. But still,
deep within, that combat of resistance to
death waged as desperately, as vividly, as
A door opened, and at the sudden noise
the dissolving life recrystallized for one
brief instant, and in that instant the dy-
ing man knew that Dr. Hunt was stand-
ing beside his bed, and heard him say, in
a slow, solemn voice, sounding muffled
and hollow, as though from far away and
through an empty space, " Colonel Sin-
gelsby has just died."
Then the cord, momentarily drawn
In Tcncbras 91
tense, was relaxed with a snap, and the
last smoky spark was quenched in black-
Dr. Hunt's fingers were resting lightly
upon the wrist. As the last deep quiver-
ing breath expired with a quavering sigh,
he laid the limp hand back upon the bed,
and then, before he arose, gently closed
the stiff eyelids over the staring glassy
eyes, and set the gaping jaws back again
into a more seemly repose.
So all this first part of the Parable had,
as I read it, a reflected image of what was
real and actual; of what belonged to the
world of men as I "knew that world. The
people of whom it spoke moved and lived,
maybe not altogether as real men of flesh
and blood move and live, but nevertheless
with a certain life of their own images
of what was real. All these things, I say
(exc&pting perhaps the last), were clear
and plain enough after a certain fashion,
but that which followed showed those
two of whom the story was written
the good man and the wiclced man
stripped of all their outer husk of flesh-
ly reality, and walking and talking not
92 Harper's Novelettes
as men of flesh and blood, but as men in
So, though I knew that which I was
reading might indeed be as true, and
perhaps truer, than that other which I
had read, and though I knew that to such
a state I myself must come, and that as
these two suffered, I myself must some
time suffer in the same kind, if not in
the same degree, nevertheless it was all
strangely unreal, and being set apart
from that which I knew, was like life as
seen in a dream.
Yet let it not be thought that this Par-
able is all a vague dream, for there are
things which are more real than reality,
and being so, must "be couched in differ*
ent words from such as describe the
things that one's bodily eyes behold of the
grim reality of this world. Such things,
being so told, may seem as strange and
as unsubstantial as that which is unreal,
instead of like that which is real.
So that which is now to be read must
be read as the other has been read not
as a likeness of life in its inner being,
but as an image of that life.
Sandy Graff awoke, and opened his
eyes. At first he thought that he was
still within the dormitory of the Refuge,
In Tenebras 93
for there before him he saw cold, bare
white walls immaculately clean. Upon
either hand was the row of beds, each
with its spotless coverlet, and in front
was the long line of curtainless windows
looking out upon the bright daylight.
But as his waking senses gathered to a
more orderly clearness, he saw very soon
that the place in which he was was very
different from the Eefuge. Even newly
awakened, and with his brain clouded and
obscured by the fumes of sleep, he distin-
guished at once that the strange, clear,
lucid brilliancy of the light which came
in through the row of windows was very
different from any light that his eyes had
ever before seen. Then, as his mind
opened wider and fuller and clearer, and
as one by one the objects which surround-
ed him began to take their proper place in
his awakened life, he saw that there were
many people around, and that most of the
beds were occupied, and in every case by
a man. The room in which he lay was
somewhat longer than the dormitory of
the Eefuge, and was connected at the fur-
ther end with what appeared to be a sort
of waiting-room beyond. In and out of
the connecting doorway people were com-
ing and going. Some of these seemed
to be friends of those who were lying in
94 Harper's Novelettes
the beds, being in every case led to some
particular bedside, the occupant of which
had newly awakened; others, who seemed
to be attendants of the place, moved con-
stantly hither and thither, busying them-
selves around other of the beds, where lay
such as seemed to need attention.
Sandy looked slowly around him from
left to right. Some of the occupants of
the beds and one of these lay in the cot
next to him were not yet awake, and he
saw, with a sort of awe, that each of these
lay strangely like a dead man still, mo-
tionless, the face covered with a linen
napkin. Two of the attendants seemed
to have these sleepers especially in their
charge, moving continually hither and
thither, to the bedside first of one and
then another, evidently to see if there
were yet any signs of waking. As Sandy
continued watching them, he saw them
at last softly and carefully lift a nap-
kin from one of the faces, whereupon
the man immediately awoke and sat up.
This occurred in a bed not very far
from where he himself lay, and he watch-
ed all that passed with a keen and
thrilling interest. The man had hardly
awakened when word was passed down
the length of the room to the antecham-
ber beyond. Apparently some friends of
In Tenebras 95
the sleeper were waiting for this word
to be brought to them, for there entered
directly two women and a man from the
further doorway. The three came straight
to the bed in which the man lay, and
with great noise of rejoicing seemed to
welcome the new-comer. They helped
him to arise, handed him his clothes
piece by piece from the chair at the bed-
side, and the man began dressing himself.
It was not until then, and until his
ear caught some stray words of those
that were spoken, that Sandy began to
really realize where he was and what
had happened to him. Then suddenly a
great and awful light broke upon him
he had died and had come to life again
his living senses had solved the great-
est of all mysteries the final mystery;
the mystery of eternity.
It happens nearly always, it is said,
that the first awakening thought of those
who die is of the tremendous happening
that has come upon them. So it was
with Sandy. For a while he lay quite
still, with his hands folded, and a strange
awful brooding, almost as though of fear,
breathlessly wrapping his heart round-
about. But it was not for a long time
that he lay thus, for suddenly, like a sec-
ond flash of lightning in the gathering
96 Harper's Novelettes
darkness of a cloud, the thought shot-
through him that no friends had come to
meet and to greet him as they had come
to meet and greet these others. Why had
his wife not come to him? He turned
his head; the chair beside him was
empty; he was without even clothes to
For a while he lay with closed eyes
like one stunned. Then a sudden voice
broke upon his ear, and he opened his
eyes again and looked up. A tall man
with calm face almost a stern face
stood beside the bed looking down at
Somehow Sandy knew that he had no
business in the bed now that he was
awake, and, with a half-muttered apol-
ogy, he made a motion as if to arise,
then, remembering that there were no
clothes for him to wear, he sank back
again upon the pillow.
" Come," said the man, giving his cane
a rap upon the floor, " you must get up ;
you have already been here longer than
the law allows."
Sandy had been too long accustomed
to self-abasement in the world he had
left to question the authority of the man
who spoke to him. " I can't help lying
here, sir," said he, helplessly. "Fve no
In Tenebras 97
clothes to wear." Then he added : " May-
be if you let my wife come to me, she'd
bring me something to wear. I hear say,
sir, that I've died, and that this is heaven.
I don't know why she hasn't come to me.
Everybody else here seems to have some-
body to meet him but me."
" This is not heaven," said the man,
A long silence followed. " It's not
hell, is it?" said Sandy, at last.
The man apparently did not choose to
answer the question. " Come," said he,
" you waste time in talk. Get up. Wrap
the sheet around you, and come with
"Where are you going to take me?"
" No matter," said the other. " Do as
I tell you." His voice was calm, dispas-
sionate; there was nothing of anger in
it, but there was that which said he must
Sandy drew the sheet upon which he
lay about him, and then shuddering, half
with nervous dread and half with cold,
arose from the warm bed in which he lay.
The other turned, and without saying
a word led the way down the length of
the room, Sandy following close behind.
The noise of talking ceased as they pass-
ed by the various beds, and all turned
98 Harper's Novelettes
and looked after the two, some smiling,
some laughing outright. Sandy, as he
marched down the length of the room,
heard the rustling laugh and felt an echo
of the same dull humiliation he had felt
when he had marched with the other
guests of the East Haven Eefuge to their
daily task of paving Main Street. There
as now the people laughed, and there in
the same manner as they did now; and
as he had there slouched in the body, so
now he slouched heavily in the spirit
after his conductor.
Opposite the end of the room where
was the door through which the friends
and visitors came and went was another
door, low and narrow. Sandy's guide led
the way directly to it, lifted the latch,
and opened it. It led to a long entry be-
yond, gloomy and dark. This passage-
way was dully lighted by a small square
window, glazed with clouded glass, at the
further end of the r arrow hall, upon
which fronted a row of closed doors. The
place was very damp and chill; a cold
draught of air blew through the length
of it, and Sandy, as the other closed the
door through which they had just en-
tered, and so shut out the noise beyond,
heard distinctly the sound of running
water. Without turning to the left or
In Tenebras 99
to the right, Sandy's guide led the way
down the hall, stopping at last when he
had reached a door near the further end.
He drew a bunch of keys from his pocket,
chose one from among them, fitted it into
the lock, and turned it.
" Go in there," said he, " and wash
yourself clean, and then you shall have
clothes to wear."
Sandy entered, and the door was closed
behind him. The place in which he
found himself was very cold, and the
floor beneath his feet was wet and slimy.
His teeth chattered and his limbs shud-
dered as he stood looking around him.
The noise of flowing water sounded loud
and clear through the silence; it was
running from a leaden pipe into a wood-
en tank, mildewed and green with mould,
that stood in the middle of the room.
The stone - walls around, once painted
white, were now also stained and splotch-
ed with great blotches of green and rus-
set dampness. The only light that lit
the place came in through a small, nar-
row, slatted window close to the ceiling,
and opposite the doorway which he had
entered. It was all gloomy, ugly, repel-
There were some letters painted in red
at the head of the wooden tank. He came
ioo Harper's Novelettes
forward and read them, not without some
difficulty, for they were nearly erased.
This is the water of death!
Sandy started back so suddenly that
he nearly fell upon the slippery floor. A
keen pang of sudden terror shot through
him; then a thought that some grotesque
mockery was being played upon him. A
second thought blew the first away like a
breath of smoke, for it told him that
there could be no mockery in the place
to which he had come. His waking and
all that had happened to him had much
of nightmare grotesquery about it, but
there was no grotesquery or no appear-
ance of jesting about that man who had
guided him to the place in which he now
found himself. There was a calm, im-
passive, unemotional sternness about all
that he said and did official, automa-
tonlike that precluded the possibility of
any jest or meaningless form. This must
indeed be the water of death, and his
soul told him that it was meant for
He turned dully, and walked with
stumbling steps to the door. He felt
blindly for a moment for the latch, then
his hand touched it, and he raised it with
a click. The sharp sound jarred through
the silence, and Sandy did not open the
In Tenebras 101
door. He stood for a little while staring
stupidly down upon the floor with his
palm still upon the latch. Was the man
who had brought him there waiting out-
side? Behind him lay the water of death,
but he dared not open the door and
chance the facing of that man. The sheet
had fallen away from him, and now he
stood entirely naked. He let the latch
fall back to its place carefully, lest it
should again make a noise, and that man
should hear it. Then he gathered the
now damp and dirty sheet about him,
and crouched down upon the cold floor
close to the crack of the door.
There he sat for a while, every now
and then shuddering convulsively with
cold and terror, then by-and-by he began
There is something abjectly, almost
brutally, pathetic in the ugly squalor of
a man's tears. Sandy Graff crying, and
now and then wiping his eyes with the
damp and dirty street, was almost a
more ugly sight than he had been in the
maudlin bathos of his former drunken-
So he sat for a long time, until finally
his crying ended, only for a sudden sob
now and then, and he only crouched,
wondering dully. At last he slowly arose,
102 Harper's Novelettes
gathering the sheet still closer around
him, and creeping step by step to the
tank, looked down into its depth. The
water was as clear as crystal; he dipped
his hand into it it was as cold as ice.
Then he dropped aside the sheet, and
stood as naked as the day he was born.
He stepped into the water.
A deathly f aintness fell upon him, and
he clutched at the edge of the tank; but
even as he clutched his sight failed, and
he felt himself sinking down into the
"Help!" he cried, hoarsely; and then
the water closed blackly over his head.
He felt himself suddenly snatched
out from the tank, warm towels were
wrapped about him, his limbs were
rubbed with soft linen, and at last he
opened his eyes. He still heard the
sound of running water, but now the
place in which he was was no longer
dark and gloomy. Some one had flung
open the slatted window, and a great
beam of warm, serene sunlight streamed
in, and lay in a dazzling white square
upon the wet floor. Two men were busied
about him. They had wrapped his body
In Tenebras 103
in a soft warm blanket, and were wiping
dry his damp, chilled, benumbed hands
"What does this mean?" said Sandy,
faintly. "Was I not then to die, af-
ter all? Was not that the water of
"The water of death?" said they.
" You did not read the words aright ;
that was the water of life" They helped
him dress himself in his clothes clothes
not unlike those which the East Haven
Refuge had given its outgoing guests,
only, somehow, these did not make him
feel humiliated and abased as those had
made him feel. Then they led him out
of that place. They traversed the same
long passageway through which he had
come before, and so came to the bedroom
which he had left. The tenants were all
gone now, and the attendants were busied
spreading the various beds with clean
linen sheets and coverlets, as though for
No one seemed to pay any attention
to him. His conductors led the way to
the anteroom which Sandy had seen be-
A woman was sitting patiently looking
out of the window. She turned her head
as they entered, and Sandy, when he saw
104 Harper's Novelettes
her face, stood suddenly still, as though
turned to stone. It was his wife!
With Colonel Singelsby was no such
nightmare awakening as with Sandy
Graff; with him. were 110 such ugly vi-
sions and experiences; with him was no
squalor and discomfort. Yet he also
opened his eyes upon a room so like that
upon which they had closed that at first
he thought that he was still in the world.
There was the same soft bed, the same
warmth of ease and comfort, the same
style of old-fashioned furniture. There
were the curtained windows, the pictures
upon the wall, the bright warm fire burn-
ing in the grate.
At first he saw all these things drow-
sily, as one does upon newly awakening.
With him, as with Sandy, it was only
when his conscious life had opened wide
and clear enough to observe and to recog-
nize who they were that were gathered
around him that with a keen, almost ag-
onizing thrill he realized where he was
and what had befallen him. Upon one
side of his bed stood his son Hubert;
upon the other side stood his brother
In Tencbras 105
James. The one had died ten, the other
nineteen years before. Of all those who
had gone from the world which he him-
self had just left, these stood the nearest
to him, and now, in his resurrection, his
opening eyes first saw these two. They
and other relatives and friends helped
him to arise and dress, as Sandy had seen
the poor wretches in the place in which
he had awakened raised from their beds
and dressed by their friends.
All Colonel Singelsby's teachings had
told him that this was not so different
from the world he had left behind. Nev-
ertheless, although he was prepared
somewhat for it, it was wonderful to
him how alike the one was to the other.
The city, the streets, the people coming
and going, the stores, the parks, the great
houses all were just as they were in the
world of men. He had no difficulty in
finding his way about the streets. There,
in comfortable houses of a better class,
were many of his friends; others were
not to be found; some, he was told, had
ascended higher ; others, he was also told,
had descended lower.
Among other places, Colonel Singels-
by found himself during the afternoon
in the house of one with whom he had
106 Harper's Novelettes
been upon friendly, almost intimate
terms in times past in the world. Colonel
Singelsby remembered hearing that the
good man had died a few months before
he himself had left the world. He won-
dered what had become of him, and then
in a little while he found himself in his
old friend's house. It had been many
years since he had seen him. He remem-
bered him as a benign, venerable old
gentleman, and he had been somewhat
surprised to find that he was still living
in the town, instead of having ascended
to a higher state.
The old gentleman still looked out-
wardly venerable, still outwardly benign,
but now there was under his outer seem-
ing a somewhat of restless querulous-
ness, a something of uneasy discontent,
that Colonel Singelsby did not remember
to have seen there before. They talked
together about many things, chiefly of
those in the present state of existence in
which they found themselves. It was all
very new and vivid upon Colonel Sin-
gelsby's mind, but the reverend gentle-
man seemed constantly to forget that he
was in another world than that which
he had left behind. It seemed to be al-
ways with an effort that he brought him-
self to talk of the world in which he lived
as the world of spirits. The visit was
somehow unpleasant to Colonel Singels-
by. He was impressed with a certain air
of intolerance exhibited by the other.
His mind seemed to dwell more upon the
falsity of the old things than upon the
truth of the new, and he seemed to take
a certain delight in showing how and in
what everybody but those of his own
creed erred and fell short of the Di-
vine intent, and not the least disagree-
able part of the talk to Colonel Sin-
gelsby was that the other's words seem-
ed to find a sort of echo in his own
At last he proposed a walk, and the
other, taking his hat and stick, accom-
panied him for a little distance upon the
way. The talk still clung much to the
same stem to which it had adhered all
"It is a very strange thing," said the
reverend gentleman, "but a great many
people who have come to this town since
I came hither have left it again to
ascend, as I have been told, to a higher
state. I think there must have been
some mistake, for I cannot see how it is
possible and in fact our teachings dis-
tinctly tell us that it is impossible for
one to ascend to a higher state without
io8 Harper's Novelettes
having accepted the new truths of the
new order of things."
Colonel Singelsby did not make an-
swer. He was not only growing tired of
the subject itself, but of his old friend
They were at that moment crossing an
angle of a small park shaded by thin,
spindly trees. As the Colonel looked up
he saw three men and a woman ap-
proaching along the same path and un-
der the flickering shadows. Two of the
men walked a little in advance, the other
walked with the woman. There was
something familiar about two of the
group, and Colonel Singelsby pointed at
them with his finger.
" Who are they ?" said he. " I am sure
there is somebody I know."
The other adjusted his glasses and
looked. "I do not know," said he, "ex-
cept that one of the men is a new-comer.
We somehow grow to know who are new-
comers by the time we have lived here a
"Dear me!" cried Colonel Singelsby,
stopping abruptly, " I know that man. I
did not know that he had come here too.
I wonder where they are going?"
"I think," said the reverend gentle-
man, dryly "I think that this is one
In Tenebras 109
of those cases of which I just spoke to
you. I judge from the general appear-
ance of the party that they are about to
ascend, as they call it here, to a higher
"That is impossible!" said Colonel
Singelsby. " That man is a poor wretch-
ed creature whom I have helped with
charity again and again, it cannot be
that he is to go to a higher state, for he
is not fit for it. If he is to be taken
anywhere, it must be to punishment."
The other shrugged his shoulders and
said nothing, he had seen such cases too
often during his sojourn to be deceived.
The little party had now come close to
the two, and Colonel Singelsby stepped
forward with all his old-time frank kind-
ness of manner. " Why, Sandy," said he,
" I did not know that you also had come
"Yes, sir," said Sandy; "I died the
same night you did."
"Dear me!" said the Colonel, "that is
very singular, very singular indeed!
Where are you going now, Sandy?"
"I don't know," said Sandy; "these
gentlemen here are taking me somewhere,
I don't know where. This is my wife,"
said he. "Don't you remember her,
no Harper's Novelettes
"Oh yes," said the Colonel, with his
most pleasant air, " I remember her very
well, but of course I am not so much sur-
prised to see her here as I am to see you.
But have you no idea where you are go-
ing?" he continued.
" No," said Sandy ; " but perhaps these
gentlemen can tell you." And he looked
inquiringly at his escort, who stood calm-
ly listening to what was said.
So far, the Parable, as I had read it,
progressed onward with some coherence
and concatenation, a coherence and con-
catenation growing perhaps more dis-
jointed as it advanced. Now it "began
to Tie ~brolcen with interjectory sentences,
and just here was one, the tenor of which
I could not altogether understand, "but
have since comprehended more or less
clearly. I cannot give its exact words,
but only its general form.
" wretched man," it said, " how pit-
iful are thy vain efforts and strivings
to keep "back "by thine own strength that
fiery -flood of hell which grows and in-
creases to overwhelm thy soul! If the
inflowing of good which Jehovah vouch-
safes is infinite, only less infinite is the
outflowing of that which thou callest evil
and wickedness. How, then, canst thou
In Tencbras in
hope to stand against it and to conquer?
How canst thou hope to keep back that
raging torrent of fire and of flame with
the crumbling unbaked bricks of thine
own soul's making Poor fool! Thou
mayst endeavor, thou mayst strive, thou
mayst build thy wall of defence higher
and higher, fearing God, and living a life
of virtue, but by-and-by thou wilt reach
the end, and then wilt find thou canst
build no higher! Then how vain shall
have been thy life of resistance! First
that flood shall trickle over the edge of
thy defence; then it shall run a stream
the breadth of a man's hand; then it
shall gush forth a torrent; then, bursting
over and through and around, it shall
sweep away all that thou hast so labori-
ously built up, and shall rush, howling,
roaring, raging, and burning through thy
soul with ten thousand times the fury
and violence that it would have done if
thou hadst not striven to keep it back,
if thou hadst not resisted and fought
against it. For bear this in mind.: Christ
said he came not to call the good to re-
pentence, but the evil, and if thou art
full of thine own, how then canst thou
hope to receive of a God that asketh not
for sacrifice, but for love?"
Hence again the story resumed.
ii2 Harper's Novelettes
Colonel Singelsby had not before no-
ticed the two men who were with Sandy,
now he observed them more closely.
They were tall, middle-aged men, with
serious, placid, unemotional faces. Each
carried a long white staff, the end of
which rested upon the ground. There
was about them something somehow dif-
ferent from anything Coloned Singelsby
had ever seen before. They were most,
quiet, courteous men, but there was that
in their personal appearance that was
singularly unpleasant to Colonel Singels-
by. Why, he could not tell, for they
were evidently gentlemen, and, from their
bearing, men of influence. He turned to
"How has it been with you since you
have been here ?" said he.
" It has been very hard with me," said
Sandy, patiently; "very hard indeed;
but I hope and believe now that the worst
is over, and that by-and-by I shall be
happy, and not have any more trouble."
"I trust so, indeed," said the Colonel;
"but do not hope for too much, Sandy.
Even the best men coming to this world
are not likely to be rid of their troubles
at once, and it is not to be hoped for
that you, after your ill-spent life, should
find your lot easier than theirs."
In Tenebras 113
" I know, sir," said Sandy, " and I am
There was a meek acceptance of the
Colonel's dictum that grated somehow
unpleasantly upon the Colonel's ears. He
would rather that Sandy had made some
protest against that dictum. He ap-
proached half a step and looked more
keenly at the other, and then for the first
time he saw that some great, some rad-
ical, some tremendous change had hap-
pened. The man before him was no
doubt Sandy Graff, but all that was low-
browed, evil, foul, was gone, as though
it had been washed away, and in its place
was a translucent, patient meekness, al-
most like There was something so
terribly vital in that change that Colonel
Singelsby shuddered before it. He look-
ed and looked, and then he passed the
back of his hand across his eyes. "All
this is very unreal," said he, turning to
his friend the minister. " It is like a
dream. I begin to feel as though noth-
ing was real. Surely it is not possible
that magic changes can go on, and yet I
cannot understand all these things in the
For answer, the reverend gentleman
shrugged his shoulders almost sourly.
"Gentlemen," said Colonel Singelsby,
ii4 Harper's Novelettes
turning abruptly upon Sandy's escort,
"let me ask you is this a certain man
whom I used to know as Sandy Graff?"
One of the men nodded his head.
"And will you tell me," said he, "an-
other thing? Will you kindly tell me
where you are taking him?"
"We are about to take him," said the
man, looking steadily at the Colonel as
he answered " we are about to take him
to the outskirts of the First Kingdom."
At the answer Colonel Singelsby actu-
ally fell back a pace in his amazement.
It was almost as though a blow had fallen
upon him. "The outskirts of the First
Kingdom ?" said he. " Did I understand
you? The outskirts of the First King-
dom? Surely there is some mistake
here! It is not possible that this man,
who died only yesterday, filthy and pol-
luted with iniquity, stinking in the nos-
trils of God with ten thousand indulged
and gratified lusts it is not possible that
you intend taking him to that land, pass-
ing by me, who all my life have lived to
my best endeavors in love to God and my
It was the voice of his minister that
broke the answer. "Yes, they do," said
he, sharply; "that is just what they do
mean. They do mean to take him, and
In Tenebras 115
they do mean to leave us, for such is the
law in this dreadful place. We, the chil-
dren of light, are nothing, and they, the
fuel of hell, are everything. Have I not
been telling you so?"
Colonel Singelsby had almost forgot-
ten the presence of his acquaintance. He
felt very angry at his interference, and
somehow he could no longer govern his
anger as he used to do. He turned upon
him and fixed him with a frown, and
then he observed for the first time that
a little crowd had begun gathering, and
now stood looking on, some curious and
unsmiling, some grinning. The Colonel
drew himself to his height, and looked
haughtily about him. They who grinned
began laughing. And now, at last, it was
come Colonel Singelsby's turn to feel as
Sandy Graff had felt as though all that
was happening to him was happening in
some hideous nightmare dream. As in a
dream, the balancing weights of reason-
ing and morality began to melt before
the heat of that which burned within; as
in a dream, the uncurbed inner motives
began to strive furiously. Then a sudden
fierce anger, quite like the savage irra-
tional anger of an ugly dream, flamed up
quickly and fiercely. He opened his lips
as though to vent his rage, but for an in-
u6 Harper's Novelettes
stant his tottering reason regained a mo-
mentary poise. Checking himself with
an effort ten thousand times greater than
that he would have used in his former
state and in the world, he bowed his head
upon his breast and stood for a little
while with fingers interlocked, clinching
his trembling hands together. So he
stood for a while, brooding, until at last
Sandy and his escort made a motion as
if to pass by. Then he spoke again.
" Stop a bit !" said he, looking up
" stop a bit !" His voice was hoarse and
constrained, and he looked neither to the
right nor to the left, but straight at that
one of the men to whom he had spoken
before. " Sir," said he, and then clearing
his husky voice "sir," again, "I have
learned a lesson the greatest lesson of
my life! I have looked into my heart,
and I have seen I have seen myself
God help me, gentlemen! I maybe I
am no better than this man."
The crowd, which had been increasing,
as crowds do, began to jeer at the words,
for, like most crowds, it was of a nether
sort, and enjoyed the unusual sight of
the gentleman and the aristocrat abasing
and humiliating himself before the re-
At the sound of that ugly jeering
In Tenebras 117
laugh Colonel Singelsby quivered as
though under the cut of a lancet, but he
never removed his eyes from the man to
whom he spoke. For a moment or two
he bit his nether lip in his effort for
self-control, and then repeated, in a
louder and perhaps harsher voice, " I am
no better than this man!" He paused
for a moment, and the crowd ceased its
jeering to hear what he had to say. "I
ask only this," he said, " that you will
take me where you are taking him, and
that I may enjoy such happiness as he
is about to enjoy."
Instantly a great roar of laughter went
up from the crowd, which had now gath-
ered to some twenty or thirty souls. The
man to whom Colonel Singelsby had
spoken shook his head calmly and im-
"It cannot be," said he.
Colonel Singelsby turned white to the
very lips, his eyes blazed, and his breath
came thick and heavily. His nostrils
twitched spasmodically, but still, with a
supreme effort a struggle so terrible
that few men happily may ever know it
or experience it he once more controlled
the words that sprang to his lips and
struggled for utterance. He swallowed
and swallowed convulsively. " Sir," said
n8 Harper's Novelettes
he at last, in a voice so hoarse, so horri-
bly constrained, that it seemed almost to
rend him as it forced utterance " sir,
surely I am mistaken in what I under-
stand ; it is little I ask you, and surely
not unjust. Yesterday this man was a
vile, debauched drunkard; surely that
does not make him fitter for heaven!
Yesterday I was a God - fearing, law-
abiding man, surely that does not make
me unfit ! I am riot unfit, am I ?"
"You are not yet fit for heaven," an-
swered the man, with impassive calm-
ness. And again, for the third time, the
crowd roared with evil laughter.
Within Colonel Singelsby's soul that
fiery flood was now lashing dreadfully
close to the summit of its barriers. His
face was as livid as death, and his hands
were clinched till the nails cut into his
palm. " Let me understand for once and
for all, for I confess I cannot understand
all this. You say he is to go, and that I
am not to go ! Is it, then, God's will and
God's justice that because this man for
twenty years has led a life of besotted sin
and indulgence, and because I for sixty
years have feared God and loved my
neighbor, that he is to be chosen and I
am to be left?"
The man did not reply in words, but
In Tenebras 119
in the steady look of his unwinking eyes
the other read his answer.
" Then," gasped Colonel Singelsby, and
as he spoke he shook his clinched and
trembling fist against the still, blue sky
overhead " then, if that be God's jus-
tice, may it be damned, for I want none
Then came the end, swiftly, com-
pletely. For the fourth time the crowd
laughed, and at the sound those flood-
gates so laboriously built up during a
lifetime of abstinence were suddenly
burst asunder and fell crashing, and a
burning flood of hell's own rage and
madness rushed roaring and thundering
into his depleted, empty soul, flaming,
blazing, consuming like straws every pre-
cept of righteousness, every fear of God,
and Colonel Edward Singelsby, the one-
time Christian gentleman, the one-time
upright son of grace, the one-time man
of law and God, was transformed in-
stantly and terribly into what? Was it
a livid devil from hell? He cursed the
jeering crowd, and at the sound of his
own curses a blindness fell upon him,
and he neither knew what he said nor
what he did. His good old friend, who
had accompanied him so far and until
now had stood by him, suddenly turned,
120 Harper's Novelettes
and maybe fearing lest some thunder-
bolt of vengeance should fall upon them
from heaven and consume them all, he
elbowed himself out of the crowd and
hurried away. As for the wretched mad-
man, in his raging fury, it was not the
men who had forbidden him heaven
whom he strove to rend and tear limb
from limb, but poor, innocent, harmless
Sandy Graff. The crowd swayed and
jostled this way and that, and as mad-
ness begets madness, the curses that fell
from one pair of lips found an echo in
curses that leaped from others. Sandy
shrunk back appalled before the hell-
blast that breathed upon him, and he
felt his wife clutch him closer. Only two
of those that were there stood unmoved;
they were the two men who acted as
Sandy's escort. As the tide of madness
seemed to swell higher, they calmly
stepped forward and crossed their staves
before their charge. There was some-
thing in their action full of significance
for those who knew. Instantly the crowd
melted away like snow under a blast of
fire. Had there not been two men present
more merciful than the rest, it is hard
to say what terrible thing might not
have happened to Colonel Edward Siii-
gelsby deaf and dumb and blind to
In Tenebras 121
everything 1 but his own rage. These two
clutched him by the arms and dragged
" God, man !" they cried, " what are
you doing? Do you not see they are
They dragged him back to a bench that
stood near, and there held him, whilst
he still beat the air with his fist and
cried out hoarse curses, and even as they
so held him, two other men came two
men dark, silent, sinister and led him
Then the other and his wife and his
two escorts passed by and out of the gate
of the town, and away towards the moun-
tain that stood still and blue in the dis-
So far I read, and then I could bear to
read no more, lout placed my hand upon
the open page of the look. " What is
this dreadful thing?" I cried. "Is, then,
a man punished for truth and justice
and virtue and righteousness? Is it,
then, true that the evil are rewarded,
and that the good are punished so dread-
Then the man who held the "book spoJce
again. " Take away thy hand and read''
122 Harper's Novelettes
Then I took away my hand, and read
as he bade me, and found these words:
" How can God fill with His own that
which is already -filled by man? First
it must be emptied before it may be fitted
with the true good of righteousness and
truth, of humility and love, of peace and
joy. thou foolish one who judgest
but from the appearance of things, how
long will it be before thou canst under-
stand that while some may be baptized
with water to cleanliness and repentance,
others are baptized with living fire to
everlasting life, and that they alone are
the children of God?"
Then again I read these words:
" Woe to thee, thou who deniest the
laws of God and man! Woe to thee,
thou who walkest in the darkness of the
shadow of sin and evil! But ten thou-
sand times woe to thee, thou who pilest
Pelion of self - good upon Ossa of self-
truthj not that thou mayst scale there-
from the gate of Heaven, but that thou
mayst hide thyself beneath from the eye
of the Living God! By-and-by His Day
shall come! His Terrible Lightning
shall flash from the East to the West!
His Dreadful Flaming Thunder - bolt
shall fall, riving thy secret fastnesses to
atoms, and leaving thee, poor worm,
In Tenebras 123
writhing in the dazzling effulgence of
His Light, and shrivelling beneath the
consuming flame of His Loving - kind-
Then the leaf was turned, and there
before me lay the answer to that first
question, " What shall a man do that
he may gain the kingdom of HeavenT'
There stood the words, plain and clear.
But I did not dare to read them, but
turning, left that place, shutting the door
to behind me.
Never have I found that door or en-
tered that room again, but by-and-by I
Jcnow that I shall find them both once
more, and shall then and there read the
answer that forever stands written in
that booh, for it still lies open at the
very page, and he upon whose knees it
rests is Israfeel, the Angel of Death.
But what of the sequel? Is there a
sequel? Are we, then, to suffer ourselves
to do evil for the sake of shunning pain
in the other world? I trow not! He
who sets his foot to climb must never
look backward and downward. He who
suffers most must reach the highest.
There must be another part of the story
which lies darkly and dimly behind the
letter. One can see, faintly and dimly
124 Harper's Novelettes
but nevertheless clearly, what the poor
man was to enjoy the poor man who
from without appeared to be so evil, and
yet within was not really evil. One can
see a vision faint and dim of a simple
little house cooled by the dewy shade of
green trees forever in foliage; one can
see pleasant meadows and gardens for-
ever green, stretching away to the banks
of a smooth-flowing river in whose level
bosom rests a mirrored image of that
which lies beyond its farther bank a
great town with glistering walls and
gleaming spires reaching tower above
tower and height above height into the
blazing blue, the awful serenity of a
heavenly sky. One can know that tow-
ard that town the poor man who had
sinned and repented would in the even-
ings gaze and wonder until his soul, now
ploughed clean for new seed, might learn
the laws that would make it indeed an
inhabitant of that place. It is a serene
and beautiful vision, but not different
from that which all may see, and enjoy
even, in part, in this world.
But how was it with that other man
with that good man who had never
sinned until his earthly body was
stripped away that he might sin and fall
in the spirit sin and fall to a depth so
In Tenebras 125
profound that even one furtive look into
that awful abysm makes the minds of
common men to reel and stagger? When
that God-sent blast of fire should have
burned out the selfhood that clung to
the very vitals of his soul, what then?
Who is there that with unwinking eyes
may gaze into the effiulgent brilliancy of
the perfect angelhood? He who sweats
drops of salt in his life's inner struggles
shall, maybe, eat good bread in the dew
of it, but he who sweats drops of blood
in agony shall, when his labor is done,
sit him, maybe, at the King's table, and
feast upon the Flesh of Life and the very
Wine of Truth.
Was it so with that man who never
sinned until all his hell was let loose at
once upon him?
The Little Room
BY MADELENE YALE WYNNE
" T T OW would it do for a smoking-
A A "Just the very place; only,
you know, Koger, you must not think of
smoking in the house. I am almost
afraid having just a plain common man
around, let alone a smoking-man, will
upset Aunt Hannah. She is New Eng-
land Vermont New England boiled
"You leave Aunt Hannah to me; I
shall find her tender side. I am going to
ask her about the old sea-captain and the
" Not yellow calico hlue chintz."
"Well, yellow shell then."
" No, no ! don't mix it up so ; you won't
know yourself what to expect, and that's
half the fun."
"Now you tell me again exactly what
to expect; to tell the truth, I didn't half
hear about it the other day; I was wool-
The Little Room 127
gathering. It was something queer that
happened when you were a child, wasn't
" Something that began to happen long
before that, and kept happening, and may
happen again ; but I hope not."
"What vas it?"
"I wonder if the other people in the
car can hear us?"
" I fancy not ; we don't hear them not
consecutively, at least."
"Well, mother was born in Vermont,
you know; she was the only child by a
second marriage. Aunt Hannah and
Aunt Maria are only half-aunts to me,
"I hope they are half as nice as you
"Roger, be still; they certainly will
"Well, don't you want them to know
we are married?"
"Yes, but not just married. There's
all the difference in the world."
"You are afraid we look too happy!"
" No ; only I want my happiness all to
"Well, the little room?"
"My aunts brought mother up; they
were nearly twenty years older than she.
I might say Hiram and they brought her
128 Harper's Novelettes
up. You see, Hiram was bound out to
my grandfather when he was a boy, and
when grandfather died Hiram said he
i s'posed he went with the farm, 'long o'
the critters,' and he has been there ever
since. He was my mother's only refuge
from the decorum of my aunts. They
are simply workers. They make me think
of the Maine woman who wanted her epi-
taph to be, l She was a hard working
"They must be almost beyond their
working-days. How old are they?"
" Seventy, or thereabouts ; but they
will die standing; or, at least, on a Sat-
urday night, after all the house-work is
done up. They were rather strict with
mother, and I think she had a lonely
childhood. The house is almost a mile
away from any neighbors, and off on top
of what they call Stony Hill. It is bleak
enough up there even in summer.
" When mamma was about ten years
old they sent her to cousins in Brooklyn,
who had children of their own, and knew
more about bringing them up. She stayed
there till she was married; she didn't go
to Vermont in all that time, and of
course hadn't seen her sisters, for they
never would leave home for a day. They
couldn't even be induced to go to Brook-
The Little Room 129
lyn to her wedding, so she and father
took their wedding-trip up there."
" And that's why we are going up there
on our own?"
"Don't, Roger; you have no idea how
loud you speak."
" You never say so except when I am
going to say that one little word."
" Well, don't say it, then, or say it very,
" Well, what was the queer thing ?"
" When they got to the house, mother
wanted to take father right off into the
little room; she had been telling him
about it, just as I am going to tell you,
and she had said that of all the rooms,
that one was the only one that seemed
pleasant to her. She described the furni-
ture and the books and paper and every-
thing, and said it was on the north side,
between the front and back room. Well,
when they went to look for it, there was
no little room there; there was only a
shallow china-closet. She asked her sis-
ters when the house had been altered and
a closet made of the room that used to be
there. They both said the house was ex-
actly as it had been built that they had
never made any changes, except to tear
down the old wood -shed and build a
130 Harper's Novelettes
" Father and mother laughed a good
deal over it, and when anything was
lost they would always say it must be
in the little room, and any exagger-
ated statement was called t little-roomy/
When I was a child I thought that was
a regular English phrase, I heard it so
" Well, they talked it over, and finally
they concluded that my mother had been
a very imaginative sort of a child, and
had read in some book about such a little
room, or perhaps even dreamed it, and
then had 'made believe,' as children do,
till she herself had really thought the
room was there."
"Why, of course, that might easily
" Yes, but you haven't heard the queer
part yet; you wait and see if you can ex-
plain the rest as easily.
"They stayed at the farm two weeks,
and then went to New York to live.
When I was eight years old my father
was killed in the war, and mother was
broken-hearted. She never was quite
strong afterwards, and that summer we
decided to go up to the farm for three
"I was a restless sort of a child, and
the journey seemed very long to me; and
The Little Room 131
finally, to pass the time, mamma told me
the story of the little room, and how it
was all in her own imagination, and how
there really was only a china-closet there.
" She told it with all the particulars ;
and even to me, who knew beforehand
that the room wasn't there, it seemed just
as real as could be. She said it was on
the north side, between the front and back
rooms; that it was very small, and they
sometimes called it an entry. There was
a door also that opened out-of-doors, and
that one was painted green, and was cut
in the middle like the old Dutch doors,
so that it could be used for a window by
opening the top part only. Directly op-
posite the door was a lounge or couch;
it was covered with blue chintz India
chintz some that had been brought over
by an old Salem sea-captain as a ( vent-
ure.' He had given it to Maria when she
was a young girl. She was sent to Salem
for two years to school. Grandfather
originally came from Salem."
" I thought there wasn't any room or
" That is just it. They had decided
that mother had imagined it all, and yet
you see how exactly everything was paint-
ed in her mind, for she had even remem-
bered that Hiram had told her that Maria
132 Harper's Novelettes
could have married the sea-captain if
she had wanted to!
" The India cotton was the regular
blue-stamped chintz, with the peacock fig-
ure on it. The head and body of the bird
were in profile, while the tail was full
front view behind it. It had seemed to
take mamma's fancy, and she drew it for
me on a piece of paper as she talked.
Doesn't it seem strange to you that she
could have made all that up, or even
"At the foot of the lounge were some
hanging-shelves with some old books on
them. All the books were leather-colored
except one; that was bright red, and was
called the Ladies' Album. It made a
bright break between the other thicker
" On the lower shelf was a beautiful
pink sea-shell, lying on a mat made of
balls of red-shaded worsted. This shell
was greatly coveted by mother, but she
was only allowed to play with it when
she had been particularly good. Hiram
had showed her how to hold it close to
her ear and hear the roar of the sea in it.
"I know you will like Hiram, Koger,
he is quite a character in his way.
"Mamma said she remembered, or
thought she remembered, having been
The Little Room 133
sick once, and she had to lie quietly for
some days on the lounge; then was the
time she had become so familiar with
everything in the room, and she had been
allowed to have the shell to play with all
the time. She had had her toast brought
to her in there, with make-believe tea. It
was one of her pleasant memories of her
childhood; it was the first time she had
been of any importance to anybody, even
"Right at the head of the lounge was
a light-stand, as they called it, and on it
was a very brightly polished brass candle-
stick and a brass tray, with snuffers.
That is all I remember of her describing,
except that there was a braided rag rug
on the floor, and on the wall was a beauti-
ful flowered paper roses and morning-
glories in a wreath on a light-blue ground.
The same paper was in the front room."
"And all this never existed except in
" She said that when she and father
went up there, there wasn't any little
room at all like it anywhere in the house ;
there was a china-closet where she had
believed the room to be."
" And your aunts said there had never
been any such room?"
" That is what they said."
134 Harper's Novelettes
" Wasn't there any blue chintz in the
house with a peacock figure?"
" Not a scrap, and Aunt Hannah said
there had never been any that she could
remember; and Maria just echoed her
she always does that. You see, Aunt
Hannah is an up-and-down New England
woman. She looks just like herself; I
mean, just like her character. Her joints
move up and down or backward and for-
ward in a plain square fashion. I don't
believe she ever leaned on anything in
her life, or sat in an easy-chair. But
Maria is different; she is rounder and
softer; she hasn't any ideas of her own;
she never had any. I don't believe she
would think it right or becoming to have
one that differed from Aunt Hannah's,
so what would be the use of having any?
She is an echo, that's all.
"When mamma and I got there, of
course I was all excitement to see the
china-closet, and I had a sort of feeling
that it would be the little room after all.
So I ran ahead and threw open the door,
crying, ( Come and see the little room.'
" And, Roger," said Mrs. Grant, laying
her hand in his, " there really was a lit-
tle room there, exactly as mother had re-
membered it. There was the lounge, the
peacock chintz, the green door, the shell,
The Little Room 135
the morning-glory and rose paper, every-
thing exactly as she had described it to
" What in the world did the sisters say
" Wait a minute and I will tell you.
My mother was in the front hall still
talking with Aunt Hannah. She didn't
hear me at first, but I ran out there
and dragged her through the front room,
saying, ' The room is here it is all
" It seemed for a minute as if my mo-
ther would faint. She clung to me in
terror. I can remember now how strained
her eyes looked and how pale she was.
"I called out to Aunt Hannah and
asked her when they had had the closet
taken away and the little room built; for
in my excitement I thought that that was
what had been done.
" ' That little room has always been
there,' said Aunt Hannah, 'ever since
the house was built.'
"'But mamma said there wasn't any
little room here, only a china-closet, when
she was here with papa,' said I.
" c No, there has never been any china-
closet there; it has always been just as it
is now,' said Aunt Hannah.
" Then mother spoke ; her voice sound-
136 Harper's Novelettes
ed weak and far off. She said, slowly, and
with an effort, ' Maria, don't you remem-
ber that you told me that there had never
'been any little room here? and Hannah
said so too, and then I said I must have
" ' No, I don't remember anything of
the kind/ said Maria, without the slight-
est emotion. 'I don't remember you
ever said anything about any china-closet.
The house has never been altered; you
used to play in this room when you were
a child, don't you remember?'
" ' I know it,' said mother, in that queer
slow voice that made me feel frightened.
'Hannah, don't you remember my find-
ing the china-closet here, with the gilt-
edge china on the shelves, and then you
said that the china-closet had always been
" ' No/ said Hannah, pleasantly but un-
emotionally l no, I don't think you ever
asked me about any china-closet, and we
haven't any gilt-edged china that I know
"And that was the strangest thing
about it. We never could make them re-
member that there had ever been any
question about it. You would think they
could remember how surprised mother
had been before, unless she had imagined
The Little Room 137
the whole thing. Oh, it was so queer!
They were always pleasant about it, but
they didn't seem to feel any interest or
curiosity. It was always this answer:
' The house is just as it was built ; there
have never been any changes, so far as
"And my mother was in an agony of
perplexity. How cold their gray eyes
looked to me ! There was no reading any-
thing in them. It just seemed to break
my mother down, this queer thing. Many
times that summer, in the middle of the
night, I have seen her get up and take a
candle and creep softly down-stairs. I
could hear the steps creak under her
weight. Then she would go through the
front room and peer into the darkness,
holding her thin hand between the can-
dle and her eyes. She seemed to think
the little room might vanish. Then she
would come back to bed and toss about
all night, or lie still and shiver; it used
to frighten me.
" She grew pale and thin, and she had
a little cough ; then she did not like to be
left alone. Sometimes she would make
errands in order to send me to the little
room for something a book, or her fan,
or her handkerchief; but she would never
sit there or let me stay in there long, and
138 Harper's Novelettes
sometimes she wouldn't let me go in
there for days together. Oh, it was piti-
"Well, don't talk any more about it,
Margaret, if it makes you feel so," said
" Oh yes, I want you to know all about
it, and there isn't much more no more
about the room.
"Mother never got well, and she died
that autumn. She used often to sigh, and
say, with a wan little laugh, 'There is
one thing I am glad of, Margaret: your
father knows now all about the little
room.' I think she was afraid I dis-
trusted her. Of course, in a child's way,
I thought there was something queer
about it, but I did not brood over it. I
was too young then, and took it as a
part of her illness. But, Roger, do you
know, it really did affect me. I almost
hate to go there after talking about it; I
somehow feel as if it might, you know, be
a china-closet again."
" That's an absurd idea."
"I know it; of course it can't be. I
saw the room, and there isn't any china-
closet there, and no gilt-edged china in
the house, either."
And then she whispered, "But, Roger,
you may hold my hand as you do now,
The Little Room 139
if you will, when we go to look for the
"And you won't mind Aunt Hannah's
" I won't mind anything"
It was dusk when Mr. and Mrs. Grant
went into the gate under the two old
Lombardy poplars and walked up the nar-
row path to the door, where they were
met by the two aunts.
Hannah gave Mrs. Grant a frigid but
not unfriendly kiss; and Maria seemed
for a moment to tremble on the verge of
an emotion, but she glanced at Hannah,
and then gave her greeting in exactly
the same repressed and non-committal
Supper was waiting for them. On the
table was the gilt-edged china. Mrs.
Grant didn't notice it immediately, till
she saw her husband smiling at her over
his teacup; then she felt fidgety, and
couldn't eat. She was nervous, and kept
wondering what was behind her, whether
it would be a little room or a closet.
After supper she offered to help about
the dishes, but, mercy! she might as well
have offered to help bring the seasons
round; Maria and Hannah couldn't be
So she and her husband went to find
140 Harper's Novelettes
the little room, or closet, or whatever was
to be there.
Aunt Maria followed them, carrying
the lamp, which she set down, and then
went back to the dish-washing.
Margaret looked at her husband. He
kissed her, for she seemed troubled; and
then, hand in hand, they opened the door.
It opened into a china-closet. The shelves
were neatly draped with scalloped paper;
on them was the gilt-edged china, with
the dishes missing that had been used at
the supper, and which at that moment
were being carefully washed and wiped
by the two aunts.
Margaret's husband dropped her hand
and looked at her. She was trembling a
little, and turned to him for help, for
some explanation, but in an instant she
knew that something was wrong. A
cloud had come between them; he was
hurt; he was antagonized.
He paused for an appreciable instant,
and then said, kindly enough, but in a
voice that cut her deeply:
"I am glad this ridiculous thing is
ended; don't let us speak of it again."
"Ended!" said she. "How ended?"
And somehow her voice sounded to her
as her mother's voice had when she stood
there and questioned her sisters about the
The Little Room 141
little room. She seemed to have to drag
her words out. She spoke slowly : " It
seems to me to have only just begun in
my case. It was just so with mother
when she "
"I really wish, Margaret, you would
let it drop. I don't like to hear you speak
of your mother in connection with it.
It " He hesitated, for was not this
their wedding - day ? " It doesn't seem
quite the thing, quite delicate, you know,
to use her name in the matter."
She saw it all now: Tie didn't ~believe
her. She felt a chill sense of withering
under his glance.
" Come," he added, " let us go out, or
into the dining-room, somewhere, any-
where, only drop this nonsense."
He went out; he did not take her hand
now he was vexed, baffled, hurt. Had
he not given her his sympathy, his at-
tention, his belief and his hand? and
she was fooling him. What did it mean ?
she so truthful, so free from morbid-
ness a thing he hated. He walked up
and down under the poplars, trying to get
into the mood to go and join her in the
Margaret heard him go out; then she
turned and shook the shelves; she reach-
ed her hand behind them and tried to
14 2 Harper's Novelettes
push the boards away; she ran out of the
house on to the north side and tried to
find in the darkness, with her hands, a
door, or some steps leading to one. She
tore her dress on the old rose-tree, she
fell and rose and stumbled, then she sat
down on the ground and tried to think.
What could she think was she dream-
She went into the house and out into
the kitchen, and begged Aunt Maria to
tell her about the little room what had
become of it, when had they built the
closet, when had they bought the gilt-
edged china ?
They went on washing dishes and dry-
ing them on the spotless towels with me-
thodical exactness; and as they worked
they said that there had never been any
little room, so far as they knew; the
china-closet had always been there, and
the gilt - edged china had belonged to
their mother, it had always been in the
" No, I don't remember that your moth-
er ever asked about any little room,"
said Hannah. " She didn't seem very
well that summer, but she never asked
about any changes in the house; there
hadn't ever been any changes."
There it was again : not a sign of inter-
The Little Room 143
est, curiosity, or annoyance, not a spark
She went out to Hiram. He was tell-
ing Mr. Grant about the farm. She had
meant to ask him about the room, but
her lips were sealed before her husband.
Months afterwards, when time had les-
sened the sharpness of their feelings, they
learned to speculate reasonably about the
phenomenon, which Mr. Grant had ac-
cepted as something not to be scoffed
away, not to be treated as a poor joke,
but to be put aside as something inex-
plicable on any ordinary theory.
Margaret alone in her heart knew that
her mother's words carried a deeper sig-
nificance than she had dreamed of at the
time. " One thing I am glad of, your
father knows now," and she wondered if
Roger or she would ever know.
Five years later they were going to
Europe. The packing was done ; the chil-
dren were lying asleep, with their travel-
ling things ready to be slipped on for an
Roger had a foreign appointment. They
were not to be back in America for some
years. She had meant to go up to say
good-by to her aunts; but a mother of
three children intends to do a great many
things that never get done. One thing
144 Harper's Novelettes
she had done that very day, and as she
paused for a moment between the writ-
ing of two notes that must be posted be-
fore she went to bed, she said:
"Roger, you remember Rita Lash?
Well, she and Cousin Nan go up to the
Adirondacks every autumn. They are
clever girls, and I have intrusted to them
something I want done very much."
" They are the girls to do it, then, every
inch of them."
" I know it, and they are going to."
"Why. you see, Roger, that little
"Yes, I was a coward not to go my-
self, but I didn't find time, because I
hadn't the courage."
"Oh! that was it, was it?"
"Yes, just that. They are going, and
they will write us about it."
"Want to bet?"
" No ; I only want to know."
Rita Lash and Cousin Nan planned to
go to Vermont on their way to the Adi-
rondacks. They found they would have
three hours between trains, which would
give them time to drive up to the Keys
farm, and they could still get to the
The Little Room 145
camp that night. But, at the last min-
ute, Eita was prevented from going. Nan
had to go to meet the Adirondack party,
and she promised to telegraph her when
she arrived at the camp. Imagine Rita's
amusement when she received this mes-
sage : " Safely arrived ; went to the Keys
farm; it is a little room."
Rita was amused, because she did not
in the least think Nan had been there.
She thought it was a hoax; but it put it
into her mind to carry the joke fur-
ther by really stopping herself when she
went up, as she meant to do the next
She did stop over. She introduced her-
self to the two maiden ladies, who seemed
familiar, as they had been described by
They were, if not cordial, at least not
disconcerted at her visit, and willingly
showed her over the house. As they did
not speak of any other stranger's having
been so see them lately, she became con-
firmed in her belief that Nan had not
In the north room she saw the roses
and morning-glory paper on the wall,
and also the door that should open into
She asked if she might open it.
146 Harper's Novelettes
"Certainly," said Hannah; and Maria
echoed, " Certainly."
She opened it, and found the china-
closet. She experienced a certain relief;
she at least was not under any spell.
Mrs. Grant left it a china-closet; she
found it the same. Good.
But she tried to induce the old sisters
to remember that there had at various
times been certain questions relating to
a confusion as to whether the closet had
always been a closet. It was no use;
their stony eyes gave no sign.
Then she thought of the story of the
sea - captain, and said, " Miss Keys, did
you ever have a lounge covered with
India chintz, with a figure of a peacock
on it, given to you in Salem by a sea-
captain, who brought it from India ?"
"I dun'no' as I ever did," said Han-
nah. That was all. She thought Ma-
ria's cheeks were a little flushed, but her
eyes were like a stone-wall.
She went on that night to the Adiron-
dacks. When Nan and she were alone
in their room she said. " By-the-way, Nan,
what did you see at the farm-house? and
how did you like Maria and Hannah?"
Nan didn't mistrust that Eita had been
there, and she began excitedly to tell her
all about her visit. Kita could almost
The Little Room 147
have believed Nan had been there if she
hadn't known it was not so. She let her
go on for some time, enjoying her enthu-
siasm, and the impressive way in which
she described her opening the door and
finding the "little room." Then Eita
said : " Now, Nan, that is enough fibbing.
I went to the farm myself on my way up
yesterday, and there is no little room, and
there never has been any; it is a china-
closet, just as Mrs. Grant saw it last."
She was pretending to be busy unpack-
ing her trunk, and did not look up for a
moment; but as Nan did not say any-
thing, she glanced at her over her shoul-
der. Nan was actually pale, and it was
hard to say whether she was most angry
or frightened. There was something of
both in her look. And then Rita began
to explain how her telegram had put her
in the spirit of going up there alone. She
hadn't meant to cut Nan out. She only
thought Then Nan broke in : " It isn't
that ; I am sure you can't think it is that.
But I went myself, and you did not go;
you can't have been there, for it is a lit-
Oh, what a night they had! They
couldn't sleep. They talked and argued,
and then kept still for a while, only to
break out again, it was so absurd. They
148 Harper's Novelettes
both maintained that they had been there,
but both felt sure the other one was either
crazy or obstinate beyond reason. They
were wretched; it was perfectly ridic-
ulous, two friends at odds over such a
thing; but there it was " little room,"
" china-closet," " china-closet," " little
The next morning Nan was tacking up
some tarlatan at a window to keep the
midges out. Rita offered to help her, as
she had done for the past ten years.
Nan's " No, thanks," cut her to the heart.
"Nan," said she, "come right down
from that stepladder and pack your
satchel. The stage leaves in just twenty
minutes. We can catch the afternoon
express train, and we will go together to
the farm. I am either going there or go-
ing home. You better go with me."
Nan didn't say a word. She gathered
up the hammer and tacks, and was ready
to start when the stage came round.
It meant for them thirty miles of sta-
ging and six hours of train, besides cross-
ing the lake; but what of that, compared
with having a lie lying round loose be-
tween them! Europe would have seemed
easy to accomplish, if it would settle the
At the little junction in Vermont they
The Little Room 149
found a farmer with a wagon full of
meal-bags. They asked him if he could
not take them up to the old Keys farm
and bring them back in time for the re-
turn train, due in two hours.
They had planned to call it a sketch-
ing trip, so they said, "We have been
there before, we are artists, and we might
find some views worth taking, and we
want also to make a short call upon the
"Did ye calculate to paint the old
house in the picture?"
They said it was possible they might do
so. They wanted to see it, anyway.
" Waal, I guess you are too late. The
house burnt down last night, and every-
thing in it."
The Bringing of the Rose
BY HARRIET LEWIS BRADLEY
FOE certain subjects one of the most
valuable works of reference in all
Berlin was Miss Olivia Valentine's
61 Adress - buch," the contents of which
were self-collected, self -tested, and
abounded in extensive information con-
cerning hotels and pensions, apartments
and restaurants, families offering German
home life with the language, instructors,
and courses of lectures, doctors, dentists,
dressmakers, milliners, the most direct
way to Mendelssohn's grave in the Alte
Dreif altigkeits - Kirchhof , how to find
lodgings in Baireuth during the Wagner
festival, where to stay in Oberammergau,
if it happened to be the year of the Pas-
sion Play, and so on, indefinitely.
Miss Valentine herself was a kind-
hearted, middle-aged woman, who, as the
result of much sojourning in foreign
lands, possessed an intelligent knowledge
of subjects likely to be of use to other
The Bringing of the Rose 151
sojourners, and who was cordially ready
to share the same, according to the needs
of the season. If it were November, peo-
ple came asking in what manner they
could take most profitable advantage of
a Berlin winter; if it were approaching
spring, they wanted addresses for Paris
or Switzerland or Italy. It was March
now and Sunday afternoon. Mr. Morris
Davidson sat by Miss Valentine's table,
the famous " Adress-buch " in his hand.
"I suppose you don't undertake starting
parties for heaven?" he said, opening the
book. "All! here it is 'Himmel und
Holle.' I might have known it, you are
"If you read a little further," re-
marked Miss Valentine, "you will see
that 'Himmel und Holle 7 is a German
" Oh yes, I remember now ; we play it
at our pension. It's that game where you
say ( thou ' to the you-people, and ' you '
to the thou-people, and are expected to
address strange ladies whom you are
meeting for the first time as Klara and
Charlotte and Wilhelmine, with most em-
barrassing familiarity, and it is very stu-
pid if the game happens to send you to
heaven. I wonder if there really is such
p, locality? IVe been thinking lately I
152 Harper's Novelettes
should like to go there ; things don't seem
to agree with me very well here. I've
closed my books, walked the Thiergarten
threadbare, sleep twelve hours out of
twenty-four, do everything I've been told
to do, with no result whatever except to
grow duller." The young man yawned
as he spoke. "Do excuse me; I've come
to such a pass that I'm not able to look
any one in the face without yawning.
All things considered, I am afraid I
shouldn't be any better off in heaven.
I'm afraid I couldn't stand the people,
there must be so many of them. I want
to get away from people."
"I know exactly where to send you,"
said Miss Valentine. "I was thinking
about it when you came in. It isn't hea-
ven, but it is very near it, and it also be-
gins with H; and you are sure to like it
that is, unless you object to the ghost."
" Oh, not in the least ; only is the rest
of it all right? Things are not, general-
ly; either the drainage is bad or there is
a haunted room, and every one who sleeps
in it dies, and of course one cannot help
sleeping in it, just to see how it is going
" Nothing of the kind," returned Miss
Valentine; "the drainage is excellent;
and as for the haunted room, I once
The Bringing of the Rose 153
shared it half a summer with a niece and
namesake of mine, and we were never
troubled by any unusual occurrence, and
we are both in excellent health and like-
ly to remain so. The ghost is reported
to have a Mona Lisa face, to be dressed
in black, with something white and fluffy
at the neck and sleeves, gold bracelets, a
neckless and ring of black pearls, and
she carries a rose. If her appearance
means death or misfortune, the rose is
white; if she is only straying about in a
friendly way, the rose is red.
" The place is called the Halden the
Hill-side. I have taken the precaution to
state vaguely that it is in the neighbor-
hood of Zurich; I want to do all in my
power to keep the spot unspoiled. There
is so little left in Switzerland that is not
tired of being looked at the trees are
tired, and the grass, and the waterfalls;
but here is a sweet hidden-away nook,
where everything is as fresh as before
the days of foreign travel. I am going
to provide you with the directions for
She sat down by the writing-desk, and
presently gave a slip of paper to Morris
Davidson, who put it carefully in his
" The castle of the Halden," Miss Val-
i$4 Harper's Novelettes
entine continued, " belonged to a certain
countess, by name Maria Regina. There
is a tradition that one night a mist com-
ing down from the mountain conceal-
ed the castle from the village, and when
it lifted, behold ! the countess and her en-
tire household had vanished forever, and
not a word was ever heard from them
again. The ghost-lady is supposed to be
a sister of the Countess Maria Regina,
and in some way connected with the
death of a young Austrian officer who
figures as a lover in the story; just
whose lover no one seems to know, but
it is surmised of Maria Regina's daugh-
ter, said to be a very aristocratic and
haughty young person. The castle re-
mained closed after this mysterious oc-
currence for about two hundred years,
and then an enterprising Swiss-German
had it put in order for a summer hotel.
What are you doing? I believe you are
making extracts from my ' Adress-buch.'
Now that is something I never allow. I
like to give out information discriminate-
ly, with personal explanations."
The young man showed what he had
written. " Just a hint or two for Italy,"
he said. " I may go down there next
week. If I do, I shall certainly turn
aside and tarry a little at your Halden,
The Bringing of the Rose 155
I should like to try whether your ghost-
lady would lead me into any adventure."
Miss Valentine did not see Morris Da-
vidson again, but a few weeks later she
received a letter bearing a Swiss post-
"DEAR Miss VALENTINE, I am here,
and in order to give complete proof of
it I sacrifice my prejudice and write on
ruled paper, with purple ink and an un-
pleasant pen, that it may be all of the
Halden. The place is exactly what I
wanted and needed. I am so delighted
to have it to myself. I am the only
guest in the castle, the only stranger in
the town. I came to stay a day; I in-
tend now to stay a week. Yesterday, my
first whole day, was perfect. I went by
train to Miihlehorn, and walked from
there to Wallenstadt, came back for din-
ner, and in the afternoon climbed the hill
to Amden, where I found a hepatica in
bloom, and had a beautiful view of the
sunset. This morning there is a mist on
the mountains, which is slowly rising, so
I am using the time for letter-writing.
Mountain-climbing is not yet inviting,
owing to the snow ; but, on the whole, the
season of the year is not at all unfavor-
able. The loneliness is what I like best.
156 Harper's Novelettes
The people do not interest me; I avoid
them, and must appear in their eyes even
more deluded than I am to come to this
secluded spot at this unseasonable mo-
ment and be satisfied with my own so-
ciety no, not my own society, but that
of these kind brotherly mountains. From
a prosaic pedant I can almost feel my-
self becoming: an ecstatical hermit, and
my soul getting ready to
' smooth itself out a long cramped scroll,
Freshening and fluttering in the wind/
What a solid satisfaction it is to have a
few days free from railroad travel! I
have made a roundabout journey, coming
here by way of Dresden, Leipsic, Cologne,
Bonn, Frankfort, Heidelberg, Strasburg,
Freiburg, Basel, and Zurich. It was all
pleasant, but I am glad it is over. Please
never advertise the Halden as a health-
resort; let it remain a complete secret be-
tween us two, so that when we wish to
leave everything and hermitize we may
have the opportunity. If it were not
for betraying this secret, I should like to
recommend the castle for its generosity.
At breakfast I have put beside my plate
a five-pound loaf of bread, one slice of
which is fifteen inches long by six wide,
and thick ad libitum dimensions, the del-
The Bringing of the Rose 157
icacy of which even a Prussian soldier
would call into question.
"I haven't attempted to tell you what
I think of your Halden. It is impossible.
I simply give myself over to a few days
of happiness and rest; all too soon I shall
have to face the busy world again.
"Most gratefully yours,
" MORRIS DAVIDSON.
"P.S. I have not yet seen the ghost-
lady. I thought I heard her footstep last
night in the hall and a rustling at my
door. I opened it, half expecting to find
a rose upon the threshold. I found noth-
ing, saw nothing."
The letter was dated March 13th, and
contained a pressed hepatica. Some two
months later another letter came. It
"I am still here. My Italian jour-
ney melted into a Swiss sojourn. If I
stay much longer I shall not dare to
go away, I feel so safe under the care
of these wonderful mountains. What
words has one to describe them, with their
fulness of content, of majesty and mys-
tery? I go daily up the time-worn steps
behind the castle, throw myself on the
grass, count the poplar-trees rising from
158 Harper's Novelettes
the plain below, try to make out where
earth ends and heaven begins as the white
May clouds meet the snow-drifts on the
mountain - tops. I am working a little
again, but tramping a good deal more. I
have not been so happy since I was a
boy. In a certain sense I have died here,
unaided by the apparition with the rose,
unless, indeed, she has come in my sleep,
and that of course would not count. I
have died, because surely all that death
can ever mean is the putting away of
something no longer needed, and there-
fore we die daily one day most of all.
But although I have never seen the ghost-
lady, I have every reason to have perfect
faith in her existence. I was talking
with our landlord's aged mother about
it to-day. She carefully closed the door
when the conversation turned in this di-
rection, begging me never to mention the
subject before the servants, and then in
a half -whisper she gave me exactly the
same description that you did in Berlin."
Early in June a third letter came :
"Will you believe me when I say I
have not only seen Her, but Them; that
I have sat with Them, and talked with
Them the lost ladies of the Hill-side
The Bringing of the Rose 159
with the Countess Maria Regina, the
proud daughter, the mysterious sister?
No, certainly you will not believe me.
"I write nothing here of the physical
results of my stay. Enough that I am
ready for work; that I love my fellow-
men; that I no longer dread to go to hea-
ven for fear of their society; that I have
formed an intimate friendship with the
village weaver and priest and postmaster;
that when we part, as we shall to-mor-
row, it will be affectionately and regret-
"All this you know, or have guessed.
What I am about to tell, you do not
know, and can never guess.
" It had been raining for a week. You
remember what it is like here when it
rains how damp, sticky, discouraging;
how cold the stone floor; how wet the
fountain splashes when one goes through
the court to dinner. I was driven to
taking walks in the hall outside my room
by way of exercise, and thus discovered
in a certain dark corner a low door to
which I eventually succeeded in finding
a key. This door led me into an un-
used tower dimly lighted, hung with cob-
webs, and filled with old red velvet
furniture. I sat down on a sofa, and
before long became conscious that I was
i6o Harper's Novelettes
being gazed upon by a haughty young
woman, with an aristocratic nose, large
dark eyes, hair caught back by tortoise-
shell combs under a peculiar head-dress,
having a gleam of gold directly on the
top. Her gown was of dark green, with
white puffs let into the sleeves below
the elbows; around her tapering waist
was a narrow belt of jewels; the front
of her corsage was also trimmed with
jewels. But the most distinctive feature
of her costume consisted in a floating
scarf of old - rose, worn like the frontis-
piece lady in some volume of ' Keepsake '
or ' Token/ Imagine meeting such a be-
ing as this unexpectedly in the long-
closed tower-room of a castle after a week
of Swiss rain! I forgot time, weather,
locality, individuality; I began to think,
in fact, that I myself might be the young
Austrian officer who was murdered.
Presently I noticed that my haughty
young woman had a chaperon a lady
wearing a light green picturesquely
shaped hood ; a kerchief of the same shade
bordered with golden tassels; a necklace
of dark beads, from which hung a cruci-
fix. She was not pretty, but had very
plump red cheeks, and held a little dog.
I learned, on nearer acquaintance, that
this was the Countess Maria Regina, and
The Bringing of the Rose 161
as she then appeared so she had looked
in the year 1695.
" We sat for a while silently regarding
each other, Maria Regina's cheek seeming
all the time to grow deeper in color, the
point in which the green hood terminated
more and more distinct, the little dog
making ready to bark, the daughter with
the floating scarf prouder and prouder,
and I, as the Austrian officer, hardly dar-
ing to move, lest the sister with the rose
should join the group, and that perhaps
be the end of me, when I had the happy
thought of going in search of her, and
thus breaking the spell, and preventing
the mischief which might occur should
she come uninvited. I left the sofa and
peered about, and could scarcely believe
my eyes as I came upon her standing by
the tower window, pearls, black gown,
lace frills, and rose in hand, all there,
although very indistinct and shadowy,
the Mona Lisa face looking discreetly
towards the wall.
"Now, my dear Miss Valentine, hav-
ing related this remarkable adventure, I
am about to relate one even more re-
markable. It occurred this very evening,
between seven and eight o'clock. I had
been off for the day with the village goat-
boy and his flock the dear creatures, who
1 62 Harper's Novelettes
have never had their bells removed to be
painted over with Swiss landscapes and
offered for sale as souvenir bric-a-brac.
I had patted the goats good-night and
good-by, and going up to my room, thrown
myself into a reclining-chair, deliciously
tired as one can only be after a long day
of Swiss mountain life. The door was
open, the room full of pleasant twilight,
the three ladies safe in their tower close
by. I was thinking and wondering about
them, when I heard a rustling at the op-
posite end of the room. Now, as you
know, the place being spacious as a ban-
queting-hall, objects at a distance, espe-
cially in the half-light, might easily de-
ceive one. This was what I thought as I
saw by the window a girlish form in
black, with something white at the neck
and sleeves. I rubbed my hands across
my eyes, looked again, and, lo ! my vision
had vanished completely, noiselessly, with-
out moving from the spot; for there had
not been time to move. I sprang up
and crossed the room. On the window-
ledge was a rose, and the rose was red.
"Another curious thing the ghost-
lady of the tower, according to her own
authority, was forty - nine in the year
1698. I don't know how ghosts manage
about their age, but my ghost of this
The Bringing of the Rose 163
evening couldn't have been over nine-
"Well, I have told my story. I wait
for you to suggest the explanation of the
second part; the first will explain itself
when I bring to you, in a few days al-
most, and with the hearty consent and ap-
proval of the castle's present proprietor,
the Countess Maria Regina, the haughty
daughter, the ghost-lady herself, as found
on the rainy day in the tower.
" I am so well, so happy, so rich in life
and thoughts and hopes ! I owe it all to
you, and I thank you again and still
again, and sign my last letter from the
Halden with the sweet salutation of the
country, ' Griiss' Gott !'
" Devotedly yours,
" MORRIS DAVIDSON.
" Midnight, June the first. 3 '
In the same mail Miss Valentine re-
ceived a letter from her niece and name-
sake, who was travelling with friends
from Munich to Geneva.
"My DEAREST AUNT, I can't possibly
go to sleep without telling you about this
beautiful day. Of course you knew we
were going through Zurich, but you did
1 64 Harper's Novelettes
not know we were going to give ourselves
the joy of stopping for a little glimpse of
the Halden country.
" We took a very early train this morn-
ing, and without waiting at the village,
went directly on that glorious ten-mile
walk to Obstalden, and dined at the inn
* Zum Hirschen.'
"You remember it there where we
tried to express ourselves once in verse:
" The pasture-lands stretched far overhead,
And blooming pathways heavenward led,
As on the best of the land we fed
At the pleasant inn ' Zum Hirschen.'
" Above us, a sky of wondrous blue ;
Below, a lake of marvellous hue;
And glad seemed life the whole way
That day as we dined ' Zum Hirschen/
" And that was how life seemed to-day,
but we were wise enough not to attempt
poetry. When we got back to the village
at night, we climbed up to the castle for
supper. I did so hope to see your Mr.
Davidson; unfortunately he had gone
off for a long tramp. You should hear
die alte Grossmutter talk about him;
she can't begin to say nattering things
enough. And where do you think I went,
Aunt Olivia? Into our old room, to be
The Bringing of the Rose 165
sure your Mr. Davidson's room now the
door was open, and so I entered.
" Oh, the view from that window ! the
snow -tipped mountain over across the
quiet lake, the little village, the castle
garden, with its terraces and bowers! I
wanted you so much!
" Suddenly I had a feeling as if some
one were coming, and very gently I push-
ed aside the panel door, closed it behind
me, and descended in the dark not a
minute too soon, as it proved, because,
firstly, when I looked back there was a
light in the room above; and secondly,
the rest of the party had gone to the sta-
tion, expecting to find me there, and I
arrived just in time to prevent us from
missing the train.
"And, oh, dear Aunt Olivia, your Mr.
Davidson has made some wonderful dis-
covery. Die alte Grossmutter couldn't
resist telling me, although she wouldn't
tell me what it was; she said he was in-
tending to bring it, or them, to you as a
present, and he might be wishing to make
it a surprise, and it wasn't for her to go
and spoil it all. Now what do you sup-
pose it can be? I am consumed with
curiosity, and could shed tears of envy.
He doesn't know a word about the secret
stairway. Die alte Grossmutter hadn't
1 66 Harper's Novelettes
thought to mention it. Imagine that!
So exactly like people who possess un-
usual things not to appreciate them.
When you build your house do put in a
secret stairway, they are so convenient.
The castle garden to-day was a perfect
wilderness of roses; we brought as many
as we could back to Zurich, and one I
left on the window-ledge of our old room
an unsigned offering from a past to a
present occupant. It was a red rose too,
and therefore of particularly good omen
at the Halden. I wonder if your Mr.
Davidson has found it yet, and is asking
himself how it came?
"And now, my dearest Aunt Olivia, I
kiss you good-night, and end my letter
with the sweet salutation which we have
been hearing all day from peasant folk
" Lovingly, your namesake niece,
" Midnight, June the first."
BY HILDEGARDE HAWTHORNE
I. ALFALFA RANCH
ALFALFA KANCH, low, wide, with
A spreading verandas all overgrown
by roses and woodbine, and com-
manding on all sides a wide view of the
rolling alfalfa-fields, was a most bewitch-
ing place for a young couple to spend the
first few months of their married life.
So Jack and I were naturally much de-
lighted when Aunt Agnes asked us to
consider it our own for as long as we
chose. The ranch, in spite of its distance
from the nearest town, surrounded as it
was by the prairies, and without a neigh-
bor within a three-mile radius, was yet
luxuriously fitted with all the modern
conveniences. Aunt Agnes was a rich
young widow, and had built the place
after her husband's death, intending to
live there with her child, to whom she
transferred all the wealth of devotion she
1 68 Harper's Novelettes
had lavished on her husband. The child,
however, had died when only three years
old, and Aunt Agnes, as soon as she re-
covered sufficient strength, had left Al-
falfa Ranch, intending never to visit the
place again. All this had happened near-
ly ten years ago, and the widow, relin-
quishing all the advantages her youth
and beauty, quite as much as her wealth,
could give her, had devoted herself to
work amid the poor of New York.
At my wedding, which she heartily ap-
proved, and where to a greater extent
than ever before she cast off the almost
morbid quietness which had grown ha-
bitual with her, she seemed particularly
anxious that Jack and I should accept
the loan of Alfalfa Ranch, apparently
having an old idea that the power of our
happiness would somehow lift the cloud
of sorrow which, in her mind, brooded
over the place. I had not been strong,
and Jack was overjoyed at such an op-
portunity of taking me into the country.
High as our expectations were, the
beauty of the place far exceeded them all.
What color! What glorious sunsets!
And the long rides we took, seeming to
be utterly tireless in that fresh sweet air !
One afternoon I sat on the veranda at
the western wing of the house. The ve-
randa here was broader than elsewhere,
and it was reached only by a flight of
steps leading up from the lawn on one
side, and by a door opposite these steps
that opened into Jack's study. The rest
of this veranda was enclosed by a high
railing, and by wire nettings so thickly
overgrown with vines that the place was
always very shady. I sat near the steps,
where I could watch the sweep of the
great shadows thrown by the clouds that
were sailing before the west wind. Jack
was inside, writing, and now and then he
would say something to me through the
open window. As I sat, lost in delight
at the beauty of the view and the sweet-
ness of the flower-scented air, I marvelled
that Aunt Agnes could ever have left so
charming a spot. " She must still love
it," I thought, getting up to move my
chair to where I might see still further
over the prairies, " and some time she will
come back " At this moment I hap-
pened to glance to the further end of the
veranda, and there I saw, to my amaze-
ment, a little child seated on the floor,
playing with the shifting shadows of the
tangled creepers. It was a little girl in
a daintily embroidered white dress, with
golden curls around her baby head. As
I still gazed, she suddenly turned, with a
1 70 Harper's Novelettes
roguish toss of the yellow hair, and fixed
her serious blue eyes on me.
"Baby!" I cried. "Where did you
come from? Where's your mamma, dar-
ling?" And I took a step towards her.
"What's that, Silvia?" called Jack
from within. I turned my head and saw
him sitting at his desk.
" Come quick, Jack ; there's the loveli-
est baby I turned back to the child,
looked, blinked, and at this moment Jack
stepped out beside me.
" Baby ?" he inquired. " What on earth
are you talking about, Silvia dearest ?"
"Why, but" I exclaimed. "There
was one! How did she get away? She
was sitting right there when I called."
" A "baby !" repeated my husband. " My
dear, babies don't appear and disappear
like East-Indian magicians. You have
been napping, and are trying to conceal
the shameful fact."
" Jack," I said, decisively, " don't you
suppose I know a baby when I see one?
She was sitting right there, playing with
the shadows, and I It's certainly very
Jack grinned. " Go and put on your
habit," he replied; "the horses will be
here in ten minutes. And remember that
when you have accounted for her disap-
pearance, her presence still remains to be
explained. Or perhaps you think Wall
Sing produced her from his sleeve?"
I laughed. Wah Sing was our Chinese
cook, and more apt, I thought, to put
something up his sleeve than to take any-
" I suppose I was dreaming," I said,
" though I could almost as well believe I
had only dreamed our marriage."
" Or rather," observed Jack, " that our
marriage had only dreamed us."
About a week later I received a letter
from Aunt Agnes. Among other things,
chiefly relating to New York's slums, she
" I am in need of rest, and if you and
Jack could put up with me for a few days,
I believe I should like to get back to the
old place. As you know, I have always
dreaded a return there, but lately I seem
somehow to have lost that dread. I feel
that the time has come for me to be there
again, and I am sure you will not mind
Most assuredly we would not mind her.
We sat in the moonlight that night on
the veranda, Jack swinging my hammock
172 Harper's Novelettes
slowly, and talked of Aunt Agnes. The
moon silvered the waving alfalfa, and
sifted through the twisted vines that
fenced us in, throwing intricate and ever-
changing patterns on the smooth floor-
ing. There was a hum of insects in the
air, and the soft wind ever and anon blew
a fleecy cloud over the moon, dimming
for a moment her serene splendor.
" Who knows ?" said Jack, lighting an-
other cigar. " This may be a turning-
point in Aunt Agnes's life, and she may
once more be something like the sunny,
happy girl your mother describes. She
is beautiful, and she is yet young. It
may mean the beginning of a new life
" Yes," I answered. " It isn't right that
her life should always be shadowed by
that early sorrow. She is so lovely, and
could be so happy. Now that she has
taken the first step, there is no reason
why she shouldn't go on."
"We'll do what we can to help her,"
responded my husband. " Let me fix your
cushions, darling; they have slipped."
He rose to do so, and suddenly stood still,
facing the further end of the veranda.
His expression was so peculiar that I
turned, following the direction of his
eyes, even before his smothered excla-
mation of " Silvia, look there !" reached
Standing in the fluttering moonlight
and shadows was the same little girl I
had seen already. She still wore white,
and her tangled curls floated shining
around her head. She seemed to be smil-
ing, and slightly shook her head at us.
"What does it mean, Jack?" I whis-
pered, slipping out of the hammock.
" How did she get there ? Come I" said
he, and we walked hastily towards the
little thing, who again shook her head.
Just at this moment another cloud ob-
scured the moon for a few seconds, and
though in the uncertain twilight I fancied
I still saw her, yet when the cloud passed
she was not to be found.
Aunt Agnes certainly did look as
though she needed rest. She seemed
very frail, and the color had entirely left
her face. But her curling hair was as
golden as ever, and her figure as girlish
and graceful. She kissed me tenderly,
and kept my hand in hers as she wan-
dered over the house and took long looks
across the prairie.
"Isn't it beautiful?" she asked, softly.
1 74 Harper's Novelettes
" Just the place to be happy in ! I've al-
ways had a strange fancy that I should
be happy here again some day, and now I
feel as though that day had almost come.
You are happy, aren't you, dear?"
I looked at Jack, and felt the tears
coming to my eyes. "Yes, I am happy.
I did not know one could be so happy," I
answered, after a moment.
Aunt Agnes smiled her sweet smile
and kissed me again. " God bless you
and your Jack! You almost make me
feel young again."
"As though you could possibly feel
anything else," I retorted, laughing.
" You little humbug, to pretend you are
old!" and slipping my arm round her
waist, for we had always been dear
friends, I walked off to chat with her in
We took a ride that afternoon, for
Aunt Agnes wanted another gallop over
that glorious prairie. The exercise and
the perfect afternoon brought back the
color to her cheeks.
"I think I shall be much better to-
morrow," she observed, as we trottted
home. "What a country this is, and
what horses!" slipping her hand down
her. mount's glossy neck. " I did right
to come back here. I do not believe I
will go away again." And she smiled on
Jack and me, who laughed, and said she
would find it a difficult thing to attempt.
We all three came out on the veranda
to see the sunset. It was always a glo-
rious sight, but this evening it was more
than usually magnificent. Immense rays
of pale blue and pink spread over the sky,
and the clouds, which stretched in hori-
zontal masses, glowed rose and golden.
The whole sky was luminous and tender,
and seemed to tremble with light.
We sat silent, looking at the sky and
at the shadowy grass that seemed to meet
it. Slowly the color deepened and faded.
" There can never be a lovelier even-
ing," said Aunt Agnes, with a sigh.
" Don't say that," replied Jack. " It is
only the beginning of even more perfect
Aunt Agnes rose with a slight shiver,
"It grows chilly when the sun goes,"
she murmured, and turned lingeringly to
enter the house. Suddenly she gave a
startled exclamation. Jack and I jumped
up and looked at her. She stood with
both hands pressed to her heart, looking
" The child again," said Jack, in a low
voice, laying his hand on my arm.
He was right. There in the gathering
shadow stood the little girl in the white
1 76 Harper's Novelettes
dress. Her hands were stretched towards
us, and her lips parted in a smile. A be-
lated gleam of sunlight seemed to linger
in her hair.
"Perdita!" cried Aunt Agnes, in a
voice that shook with a kind of terrible
joy. Then, with a stifled sob, she ran
forward and sank before the baby, throw-
ing her arms about her. The little girl
leaned back her golden head and looked
at Aunt Agnes with her great, serious
eyes. Then she flung both baby arms
round her neck, and lifted her sweet
Jack and I turned away, looking at
each other with tears in our eyes. A
slight sound made us turn back. Aunt
Agnes had fallen forward to the floor,
and the child was nowhere to be seen.
We rushed up, and Jack raised my
aunt in his arms and carried her into
the house. But she was quite dead. The
little child we never saw again.
At La Glorieuse
BY M. E. M. DAVIS
MADAME EAYMONDE- AR-
NAULT leaned her head against
the back of her garden chair, and
watched the young people furtively
from beneath her half - closed eyelids.
"He is about to speak," she murmured
under her breath ; " she, at least, will be
happy!" and her heart fluttered violent-
ly, as if it had been her own thin blood-
less hand which Richard Keith was hold-
ing in his; her dark sunken eyes, in-
stead of Felice's brown ones, which
drooped beneath his tender gaze.
Marcelite, the old 'bonne, who stood
erect and stately behind her mistress,
permitted herself also to regard them
for a moment with something like a
smile relaxing her sombre yellow face;
then she too turned her turbaned head
discreetly in another direction.
The plantation house at La Glorieuse
is built in. a shining loop of Bayou L'Epe-
178 Harper's Novelettes
ron. A level grassy lawn, shaded by
enormous live-oaks, stretches across from
the broad stone steps to the sodded levee,
where a flotilla of small boats, drawn up
among the flags and lily-pads, rise and
fall with the lapping waves. On the left
of the house the white cabins of the quar-
ter show their low roofs above the shrub-
bery; to the right the plantations of cane,
following the inward curve of the bayou,
sweep southward field after field, their
billowy blue-green reaches blending far
in the rear with the indistinct purple
haze of the swamp. The great square
house, raised high on massive stone pil-
lars, dates back to the first quarter of the
century; its sloping roof is set with rows
of dormer-windows, the big red double
chimneys rising oddly from their midst;
wide galleries with fluted columns en-
close it on three sides; from the fourth
is projected a long narrow wing, two
stories in height, which stands somewhat
apart from the main building, but is con-
nected with it by a roofed and latticed
passageway. The lower rooms of this
wing open upon small porticos, with bal-
ustrades of wrought ironwork rarely fan-
ciful and delicate. From these you may
step into the rose garden a tangled
pleasaunce which rambles away through
At La Glorietisc 179
alleys of wild-peach and magnolia to an
orange grove, whose trees are gnarled
and knotted with the growth of half a
The early shadows were cool and dewy
there that morning; the breath of dam-
ask-roses was sweet on the air; hrown,
gold - dusted butterflies were hovering
over the sweet -pease abloom in sunny
corners ; birds shot up now and then from
the leafy aisles, singing, into the clear
blue sky above; the chorus of the negroes
at work among the young cane floated in,
mellow and resonant, from the fields.
The old mistress of La Glorieuse saw it
all behind her drooped eyelids. Was it
not April too, that long-gone unforgot-
ten morning? And were not the bees
busy in the hearts of the roses, and the
birds singing, when Richard Keith, the
first of the name who came to La Glorie-
use, held her hand in his, and whispered
his love - story yonder, by the ragged
thicket of crepe - myrtle ? Ah, Felice,
my child, thou art young, but I too have
had my sixteen years; and yellow as are
the curls on the head bent over thine,
those of the first Richard were more
golden still. And the second Richard, he
Marcelite's hand fell heavily on her
180 Harper's Novelettes
mistress's shoulder. Madame Arnault
opened her eyes and sat up, grasping the
arms of her chair. A harsh grating
sound had fallen suddenly into the still-
ness, and the shutters of one of the upper
windows of the wing which overlooked
the garden were swinging slowly out-
ward. A ripple of laughter, musical and
mocking, rang clearly on the air; at the
same moment a woman appeared, framed
like a portrait in the narrow casement.
She crossed her arms on the iron window-
bar, and gazed silently down on the
startled group below. She was strange-
ly beautiful and young, though an air of
soft and subtle maturity pervaded her
graceful figure. A glory of yellow hair
encircled her pale oval face, and waved
away in fluffy masses to her waist; her
full lips were scarlet; her eyes, beneath
their straight dark brows, were gray, with
emerald shadows in their luminous
depths. Her low-cut gown, of some thin,
yellowish-white material, exposed her ex-
quisitely rounded throat and perfect
neck; long, flowing sleeves of spidery
lace fell away from her shapely arms,
leaving them bare to the shoulder; loose
strings of pearls were wound around her
small wrists, and about her throat was
clasped a strand of blood-red coral, from
At La Glorieuse 181
which hung to the hollow of her bosom
a single translucent drop of amber. A
smile at once daring and derisive parted
her lips; an elusive light came and went
in her eyes.
Keith had started impatiently from his
seat at the unwelcome interruption. He
stood regarding the intruder with mute,
half -frowning inquiry.
Felice turned a bewildered face to her
grandmother. "Who is it, mere?" she
whispered. "Did did you give her
Madame Arnault had sunk back in her
chair. Her hands trembled convulsively
still, and the lace on her bosom rose and
fell with, the hurried beating of her heart.
But she spoke in her ordinary measured,
almost formal tones, as she put out a
hand and drew the girl to her side. "I
do not know, my child. Perhaps Suzette
Beauvais has come over with her guests
from Grandchamp. I thought I heard
but now the sound of boats on the bayou.
Suzette is ever ready with her pranks.
Or perhaps "
She stopped abruptly. The stranger
was drawing the batten blinds together.
Her ivory-white arms gleamed in the sun.
For a moment they could see her face
shining like a star against the dusky
182 Harper's Novelettes
glooms within; then the bolt was shot
sharply to its place.
Old Marcelite drew a long breath of
relief as she disappeared. A smothered
ejaculation had escaped her lips, under
the girl's intent gaze; an ashen gray had
overspread her dark face. "Mam'selle
Suzette, she been an' dress up one o' her
young ladies jes fer er trick," she said,
slowly, wiping the great drops of per-
spiration from her wrinkled forehead.
" Suzette ?" echoed Felice, incredulous-
ly. " She would never dare ! Who can
" It is easy enough to find out," laugh-
ed Keith. "Let us go and see for our-
selves who is masquerading in my quar-
He drew her with him as he spoke
along the winding violet-bordered walks
which led to the house. She looked anx-
iously back over her shoulder at her
grandmother. Madame Arnault half
arose, and made an imperious gesture of
dissent; but Marcelite forced her gently
into her seat, and leaning forward, whis-
pered a few words rapidly in her ear.
" Thou art right, Marcelite," she acqui-
esced, with a heavy sigh. " ? Tis better
They spoke in negre, that mysterious
At La Gloriewse 183
patois which is so uncouth in itself, so
soft and caressing on the lips of women.
Madame Arnault signed to the girl to go
on. She shivered a little, watching their
retreating figures. The old bonne threw
a light shawl about her shoulders, and
crouched affectionately at her feet. The
murmur of their voices as they talked
long and earnestly together hardly reach-
ed beyond the shadows of the wild-peach-
tree beneath which they sat.
" How beautiful she was !" Felice said,
musingly, as they approached the latticed
"Well, yes," her companion returned,
carelessly. "I confess I do not greatly
fancy that style of beauty myself." And
he glanced significantly down at her own
She flushed, and her brown eyes droop-
ed, but a bright little smile played about
her sensitive mouth. " I cannot see," she
declared, " how Suzette could have dared
to take her friends into the ballroom !"
" Why?" he asked, smiling at her vehe-
She stopped short in her surprise. " Do
you not know, then?" She sank her
voice to a whisper. " The ballroom has
never been opened since the night my
mother died. I was but a baby then,
184 Harper's Novelettes
though sometimes I imagine that I re-
member it all. There was a grand ball
there that night. La Glorieuse was full
of guests, and everybody from all the
plantations around was here. Mere has
never told me how it was, nor Marcelite;
but the other servants used to talk to me
about my beautiful young mother, and
tell me how she died suddenly in her ball
dress, while the ball was going on. My
father had the whole wing closed at once,
and no one was ever allowed to enter it.
I used to be afraid to play in its shadow,
and if I did stray anywhere near it, my
father would always call me away. Her
death must have broken his heart. He
rarely spoke ; I never saw him smile ; and
his eyes were so sad that I could weep
now at remembering them. Then he
too died while I was still a little girl, and
now I have no one in the world but dear
old mere." Her voice trembled a little,
but she flushed, and smiled again beneath
his meaning look. "It was many years
before even the lower floor was reopened,
and I am almost sure that yours is the
only room there which has ever been
They stepped, as she concluded, into the
" I have never been in here before," she
At La Glorieuse 185
said, looking about her with shy curios-
ity. A flood of sunlight poured through
the wide arched window at the foot of the
stair. The door of the room nearest the
entrance stood open; the others, ranging
along the narrow hall, were all closed.
" This is my room," he said, nodding
towards the open door.
She turned her head quickly away,
with an impulse of girlish modesty, and
ran lightly up the stair. He glanced
downward as he followed, and paused,
surprised to see the flutter of white gar-
ments in a shaded corner of his room.
Looking more closely, he saw that it was
a glimmer of light from an open window
on the dark polished floor.
The upper hall was filled with sombre
shadows ; the motionless air was heavy
with a musty, choking odor. In the dim-
ness a few tattered hangings were visible
on the walls; a rope, with bits of crum-
bling evergreen clinging to it, trailed
from above one of the low windows. The
panelled double door of the ballroom
was shut; no sound came from behind it.
" The girls have seen us coming," said
Felice, picking her way daintily across
the dust-covered floor, "and they have
hidden themselves inside."
Keith pushed open the heavy valves,
1 86 Harper's Novelettes
which creaked noisily on their rusty
hinges. The gloom within was murkier
still; the chill dampness, with its smell
of mildew and mould, was like that of a
The large, low-ceilinged room ran the
entire length of the house. A raised dais,
whose faded carpet had half rotted away,
occupied an alcove at one end; upon it
four or five wooden stools were placed;
one of these was overturned; on another
a violin in its baggy green baize cover
was lying. Straight high-backed chairs
were pushed against the walls on either
side; in front of an open fireplace was a
low wooden mantel two small cushioned
divans were drawn up, with a claw-footed
table between them. A silver salver filled
with tall glasses was set carelessly on one
edge of the table; a half -open fan of
sandal-wood lay beside it; a man's glove
had fallen on the hearth just within
the tarnished brass fender. Cobwebs de-
pended from the ceiling, and hung in
loose threads from the mantel; dust was
upon everything, thick and motionless; a
single ghostly ray of light that filtered in
through a crevice in one of the shutters
was weighted with gray lustreless motes.
The room was empty and silent. The
visitors, who had come so stealthily, had
At La Glorieuse 187
as stealthily departed, leaving no trace
" They have played us a pretty trick,"
said Keith, gayly. " They must have fled
as soon as they saw us start towards the
house." He went over to the window
from which the girl had looked down
into the rose garden, and gave it a shake.
The dust flew up in a suffocating cloud,
and the spiked nails which secured the
upper sash rattled in their places.
" That is like Suzette Beauvais," Felice
replied, absently. She was not thinking
of Suzette. She had forgotten even the
stranger, whose disdainful eyes, fixed
upon herself, had moved her sweet nature
to something like a rebellious anger. Her
thoughts were on the beautiful young
mother of alien race, whose name, for
some reason, she was forbidden to speak.
She saw her glide, gracious and smiling,
along the smooth floor; she heard her
voice above the call and response of the
violins; she breathed the perfume of her
laces, backward-blown by the swift mo-
tion of the dance!
She strayed dreamily about, touching
with an almost reverent finger first one
worm-eaten object and then another, as
if by so doing he could make the imag-
ined scene more real. Her eyes were
i88 Harper's Novelettes
downcast; the blood beneath her rich
dark skin came and went in brilliant
flushes on her cheeks; the bronze hair,
piled in heavy coils on her small, well-
poised head, fell in loose rings on her
low forehead and against her white neck;
her soft gray gown, following the harmo-
nious lines of her slender figure, seemed
to envelop her like a twilight cloud.
She is adorable," said Richard Keith
It was the first time that he had been
really alone with her, though this was
the third week of his stay in the hospita-
ble old mansion where his father and
his grandfather before him had been wel-
come guests. Now that he came to think
of it, in that bundle of yellow, time-worn
letters from Felix Arnault to Richard
Keith, which he had found among his
father's papers, was one which described
at length a ball in this very ballroom.
Was it in celebration of his marriage, or
of his home-coming after a tour abroad?
Richard could not remember. But he
idly recalled portions of other letters, as
he stood with his elbow on the mantel
watching Felix Arnault's daughter.
"Your son and my daughter" the
phrase which had made him smile when
he read it yonder in his Maryland home,
At La Glorietise 189
brought now a warm glow to his heart.
The half -spoken avowal, the question that
had trembled on his lips a few moments
ago in the rose garden, stirred impetu-
ously within him.
Felice stepped down from the dais
where she had been standing, and came
swiftly across the room, as if his unspo-
ken thought had called her to him. A
tender rapture possessed him to see her
thus drawing towards him; he longed to
stretch out his arms and fold her to his
breast. He moved, and his hand came in
contact with a small object on the man-
tel. He picked it up. It was a ring, a
band of dull worn gold, with a confused
tracery graven upon it. He merely
glanced at it, slipping it mechanically on
his finger. His eyes were full upon hers,
which were suffused and shining.
"Did you speak?" she asked, timidly.
She had stopped abruptly, and was look-
ing at him with a hesitating, half -bewil-
"No," he replied. Hia mood had
changed. He walked again to the win-
dow and examined the clumsy bolt.
" Strange !" he muttered. " I have never
seen a face like hers," he sighed, dream-
"She was very beautiful," Felice re-
i QO Harper's Novelettes
turned, quietly. " I think we must be go-
ing," she added. " Mere will be growing
impatient." The flush had died out of
her cheek, her arms hung listlessly at her
side. She shuddered as she gave a last
look around the desolate room. " They
were dancing here when my mother
died," she said to herself.
He preceded her slowly down the stair.
The remembrance of the woman began
vaguely to stir his senses. He had hard-
ly remarked her then, absorbed as he had
been in another idea. Now she seemed
to swim voluptuously before his vision;
her tantalizing laugh rang in his ears;
her pale perfumed hair was blown across
his face; he felt its filmy strands upon
his lips and eyelids. "Do you think,"
he asked, turning eagerly on the bottom
step, "that they could have gone into
any of these rooms?"
She shrank unaccountably from him.
"Oh no," she cried. "They are in the
rose garden with mere, or they have gone
around to the lawn. Come"; and she
hurried out before him.
Madame Arnault looked at them sharp-
ly as they came up to where she was sit-
ting. " No one !" she echoed, in response
to Keith's report. " Then they really have
At La Glorieuse 191
"Madame knows dat we is hear de
boats pass tip de bayou_whilse m'sieu an 7
mam'selle was inside," interposed Marce-
lite, stooping to pick up her mistress's
"I would not have thought Suzette so
so indiscreet," said Felice. There was
a note of weariness in her voice.
Madame Arnault looked anxiously at
her and then at Keith. The young man
was staring abstractedly at the window,
striving to recall the vision that had ap-
peared there, and he felt, rather than
saw, his hostess start and change color
when her eyes fell upon the ring he was
wearing. He lifted his hand covertly,
and turned the trinket around in the
light, but he tried in vain to decipher the
irregular characters traced upon it.
"Let us go in," said the old madame.
" Felice, my child, thou art fatigued."
Now when in all her life before was Fe-
lice ever fatigued? Felice, whose strong
young arms could send a pirogue flying
up the bayou for miles; Felice, who was
ever ready for a tramp along the rose-
hedged lanes to the swamp lakes when
the water-lilies were in bloom; to the
sugar-house in grind ing-time, down the
levee road to St. Joseph's, the little brown
ivy-grown church, whose solitary spire
192 Harper's Novelettes
arose slim and straight above the encir-
Marcelite gave an arm to her mistress,
though, in truth, she seemed to walk a lit-
tle unsteadily herself. Felice followed
with Keith, who was silent and self-ab-
The day passed slowly, a constraint had
somehow fallen upon the little household.
Madame Arnault's fine high-bred old face
wore its customary look of calm repose,
but her eyes now and then sought her
guest with an expression which he could
not have fathomed if he had observed it.
But he saw nothing. A mocking red
mouth; a throat made for the kisses of
love; white arms strung with pearls
these were ever before him, shutting away
even the pure sweet face of Felice
"Why did I not look at her more
closely when I had the opportunity, fool
that I was?" he asked himself, savagely,
again and again, revolving in his mind a
dozen pretexts for going at once to the
Beauvais plantation, a mile or so up the
bayou. But he felt an inexplicable shy-
ness at the thought of putting any of
these plans into action, and so allowed the
day to drift by. He arose gladly when
the hour for retiring came that hour
At La Glorieuse 193
which he had hitherto postponed by every
means in his power. He kissed, as usual,
the hand of his hostess, and held that of
Felice in his for a moment; but he did
not feel its trembling-, or see the timid
trouble in her soft eyes.
His room in the silent and deserted
wing was full of fantastic shadows. He
threw himself on a chair beside a window
without lighting his lamp. The rose gar-
den outside was steeped in moonlight ; the
magnolia bells gleamed waxen -white
against their glossy green leaves; the
vines on the tall trellises threw a soft
network of dancing shadows on the white-
ehelled walks below; the night air steal-
ing about was loaded with the perfume
of roses and sweet-olive; a mocking-bird
sang in an orange-tree, his mate respond-
ing sleepily from her nest in the old
" To - morrow," he murmured, half
aloud, "I will go to Grandchamp and
give her the ring she left in the old ball-
He looked at it glowing dully in the
moonlight; suddenly he lifted his head,
listening. Did a door grind somewhere
near on its hinges? He got up cau-
tiously and looked out. It was not fan-
cy. She was standing full in view on
194 Harper's Novelettes
the small balcony of the room next his
own. Her white robes waved to and fro
in the breeze ; the pearls on her arms glis-
tened. Her face, framed in the pale gold
of her hair, was turned towards him; a
smile curved her lips; her mysterious
eyes seemed to be searching his through
the shadow. He drew back, confused
and trembling, and when, a second later,
he looked again, she was gone.
He sat far into the night, his brain
whirling, his blood on fire. Who was
she, and what was the mystery hidden in
this isolated old plantation house? His
thoughts reverted to the scene in the
rose garden, and he went over and over
all its details. He remembered Madame
Arnault's agitation when the window
opened and the girl appeared ; her evident
discomfiture of which at the time he
had taken no heed, but which came back
to him vividly enough now at his pro-
posal to visit the ballroom; her startled
recognition of the ring on his finger; her
slurring suggestion of visitors from
Grandchamp ; the look of terror on Marce-
lite's face. What did it all mean ? Felice,
he was sure, knew nothing. But here, in
an unused portion of the house, which
even the members of the family had never
visited, a young and beautiful girl was
At La Glorieuse 195
shut up a prisoner, condemned perhaps
to a life-long captivity.
" Good God !" He leaped to his feet at
the thought. He would go and thunder
at Madame Arnault's door, and demand
an explanation. But no; not yet. He
calmed himself with an effort. By too
great haste he might injure her. "In-
sane?" He laughed aloud at the idea of
madness in connection with that exquisite
It dawned upon him, as he paced rest-
lessly back and forth, that although his
father had been here more than once in
his youth and manhood, he had never
heard him speak of La Glorieuse nor of
Felix Arnault, whose letters he had read
after his father's death a few months ago
those old letters whose affectionate
warmth indeed had determined him, in
the first desolation of his loss, to seek the
family which seemed to have been so
bound to his own. Morose and taciturn
as his father had been, surely he would
sometimes have spoken of his old friend
if Worn out at last with conjecture;
beaten back, bruised and breathless, from
an enigma which he could not solve; ex-
hausted by listening with strained atten-
tion for some movement in the next room,
he threw himself on his bed, dressed as he
196 Harper's Novelettes
was, and fell into a heavy sleep, which
lasted far into the forenoon of the next
When he came out (walking like one
in a dream), he found a gay party assem-
bled on the lawn in front of the house.
Suzette Beauvais and her guests, a bevy
of girls, had come from Grandchamp.
They had been joined, as they rowed down
the bayou, by the young people from the
plantation houses on the way. Half a
dozen boats, their long paddles laid across
the seats, were added to the home fleet at
the landing. Their stalwart black row-
ers were basking in the sun on the levee,
or lounging about the quarter. At the
moment of his appearance, Suzette her-
self was indignantly disclaiming any
complicity in the jest of the day before.
"Myself, I was making o'ange-flower
conserve," she declared ; " an' anyhow I
wouldn't go in that ballroom unless
madame send me."
"But who was it, then?" insisted Fe-
Mademoiselle Beauvais spread out her
fat little hands and lifted her shoulders.
et Mo pas connais" she laughed, dropping
Madame Arnault here interposed. It
was but the foolish conceit of some teas-
At La Glorieuse 197
ing neighbor, she said, and not worth
further discussion. Keith's blood boiled
in his veins at this calm dismissal of the
subject, but he gave no sign. He saw her
glance warily at himself from time to
" I will sift the matter to the bottom,"
he thought, " and I will force her to con-
fess the truth, whatever it may be, before
The noisy chatter and meaningless
laughter around him jarred upon his
nerves; he longed to be alone with his
thoughts ; and presently, pleading a head-
ache indeed his temples throbbed almost
to bursting, and his eyes were hot and
dry he quitted the lawn, seeing but not
noting until long afterwards, when they
smote his memory like a two-edged knife,
the pain in Felice's uplifted eyes, and the
little sorrowful quiver of her mouth. He
strolled around the corner of the house to
his apartment. The blinds of the arched
window were drawn, and a hazy twilight
was diffused about the hall, though it was
mid-afternoon outside. As he entered,
closing the door behind him, the woman
at that moment uppermost in his thoughts
came down the dusky silence from the
further end of the hall. She turned her
inscrutable eyes upon him in passing,
198 Harper's Novelettes
and flitted noiselessly and with languid
grace up the stairway, the faint swish of
her gown vanishing with her. He hesi-
tated a moment, overpowered by conflict-
ing emotion; then he sprang recklessly
He pushed open the ballroom door,
reaching his arms out blindly before him.
Once more the great dust-covered room
was empty. He strained his eyes help-
lessly into the obscurity. A chill reac-
tion passed over him; he felt himself on
the verge of a swoon. He did not this
time even try to discover the secret door
or exit by which she had disappeared ; he
looked, with a hopeless sense of discour-
agement, at the barred windows, and
turned to leave the room. As he did so,
he saw a handkerchief lying on the thresh-
old of the door. He picked it up eager-
ly, and pressed it to his lips. A peculiar
delicate perfume which thrilled his
senses lurked in its gossamer folds. As
he was about thrusting it into his breast-
pocket, he noticed in one corner a small
blood-stain fresh and wet. He had then
bitten his lip in his excitement.
"I need no further proof," he said
aloud, and his own voice startled him,
echoing down the long hall. " She is
beyond all question a prisoner in this
At La Glorieuse 199
detached building, which has mysterious
exits and entrances. She has been forced
to promise that she will not go outside
of its walls, or she is afraid to do so. I
will bring home this monstrous crime.
I will release this lovely young woman
who dares not speak, yet so plainly ap-
peals to me." Already he saw in fancy
her starlike eyes raised to his in mute
gratitude, her white hand laid confid-
ingly on his arm.
The party of visitors remained at La
Glorieuse overnight. The negro fiddlers
came in, and there was dancing in the
old-fashioned double parlors and on the
moonlit galleries. Felice was unnatu-
rally gay. Keith looked on gloomily,
taking no part in the amusement.
"II est lien liete, your yellow-haired
Marylander," whispered Suzette Beau-
vais to her friend.
He went early to his room, but he
watched in vain for some sign from his
beautiful neighbor. He grew sick with
apprehension. Had Madame Arnault
But no; she would not dare. "I will
wait one more day," he finally decided;
The next morning, after a late break-
fast, some one proposed impromptu cha-
rades and tableaux. Madame Arnault
200 Harper's Novelettes
good-naturedly sent for the keys to the
tall presses built into the walls, which
contained the accumulated trash and
treasure of several generations. Mount-
ed on a stepladder, Robert Beauvais ex-
plored the recesses, and threw down to
the laughing crowd embroidered shawls
and scarfs yellow with age, soft muslins
of antique pattern, stiff big -flowered
brocades, scraps of gauze ribbon, gossa-
mer laces. On one topmost shelf he
came upon a small wooden box inlaid
with mother-of-pearl. Felice reached up
for it, and, moved by some undefined
impulse, Richard came and stood by her
side while she opened it. A perfume
which he recognized arose from it as she
lifted a fold of tissue-paper. Some
strings of Oriental pearls of extraordi-
nary size, and perfect in shape and color,
were coiled underneath, with a coral
necklace, whose pendant of amber had
broken off and rolled into a corner.
With them he hardly restrained an ex-
clamation, and his hand involuntarily
sought his breast-pocket at sight of the
handkerchief with a drop of fresh blood
in one corner! Felice trembled without
knowing why. Madame Arnault, who
had just entered the room, took the box
from her quietly, and closed the lid with
At La Glorieuse 201
& snap. The girl, accustomed to im-
plicit obedience, asked no questions; the
others, engaged in turning over the old-
time finery, had paid no attention.
" Does she think to disarm me by such
puerile tricks?" he thought, turning a
look of angry warning on the old ma-
dame; and in the steady gaze which she
fixed on him he read a haughty defiance.
He forced himself to enter into the
sports of the day, and he walked down
to the boat-landing a little before sun-
set to see the guests depart. As the line
of boats swept away, the black rowers
dipping their oars lightly in the placid
waves, he turned with a sense of release,
leaving Madame Arnault and Felice
still at the landing, and went down the
levee road towards St. Joseph's. The
field gang, whose red, blue, and brown
blouses splotched the squares of cane
with color, was preparing to quit work;
loud laughter and noisy jests rang out
on the air ; high - wheeled plantation
wagons creaked along the lanes; negro
children, with dip-nets and fishing-poles
over their shoulders, ran homeward
along the levee, the dogs at their heels
barking joyously; a schooner, with white
sail outspread, was stealing like a fairy
bark around a distant bend of the
2O2 Harper's Novelettes
bayou; the silvery waters were turning
to gold under a sunset sky.
It was twilight when he struck across
the plantation, and came around by the
edge of the swamp to the clump of trees
in a corner of the home field which he
had often remarked from his window.
As he approached, he saw a woman come
out of the dense shadow, as if intending
to meet him, and then draw back again.
His heart throbbed painfully, but he
walked steadily forward. It was only
Felice. Only Felice! She was sitting
on a flat tombstone. The little spot was
the Raymonde-Arnault family burying-
ground. There were many marble head-
stones and shafts, and two broad low
tombs side by side and a little apart
from the others. A tangle of rose-briers
covered the sunken graves, a rank growth
of grass choked the narrow paths, the
little gate interlaced and overhung with
honeysuckle sagged away from its posts,
the fence itself had lost a picket here
and there, and weeds flaunted boldly in
the gaps. The girl looked wan and
ghostly in the lonely dusk.
"This is my father's grave, and my
mother is here," she said, abruptly, as
he .came up and stood beside her. Her
head was drooped upon her breast, and
At La Glorictjse 203
he saw that she had been weeping,
" See," she went on, drawing her finger
along the mildewed lettering : " ' Fe-
lix Marie-Joseph Arnault . . . age de
trente-quatre ans ' . . . ' Helene Palla-
cier, epouse de Felix Arnault . . . de-
cedee a 1'age de dix-neuf ans.' Nine-
teen years old," she repeated, slowly.
"My mother was one year younger than
I am when she died my beautiful
Her voice sounded like a far-away
murmur in his ears. He looked at her,
vaguely conscious that she was suffering.
But he did not speak, and after a little
she got up and went away. Her dress,
which brushed him in passing, was wet
with dew. He watched her slight figure,
moving like a spirit along the lane, until
a turn in the hedge hid her from sight.
Then he turned again towards the
swamp, and resumed his restless walk.
Some hours later he crossed the rose
garden. The moon was under a cloud;
the trunks of the crepe-myrtles were like
pale spectres in the uncertain light. The
night wind blew in chill and moist from
the swamp. The house was dark and
quiet, but he heard the blind of an upper
window turned stealthily as he stepped
into the latticed arcade.
204 Harper's Novelettes
"The old madame is watching me
and her," he said to himself.
His agitation had now become su-
preme. The faint familiar perfume that
stole about his room filled him with a
kind of frenzy. Was this the chivalric
devotion of which he had so boasted?
this the desire to protect a young and
defenceless woman? He no longer dared
question himself. He seemed to feel her
warm breath against his cheeks. He
threw up his arms with a gesture of de-
spair. A sigh stirred the deathlike still-
ness. At last! She was there, just
within his doorway; the pale glimmer of
the veiled moon fell upon her. Her
trailing laces wrapped her about like a
silver mist; her arms were folded across
her bosom; her eyes he dared not in-
terpret the meaning which he read in
those wonderful eyes. She turned slow-
ly and went down the hall. He followed
her, reeling like a drunkard. His feet
seemed clogged, the blood ran thick in
his veins, a strange roaring was in his
ears. His hot eyes strained after her as
she vanished, just beyond his touch, into
the room next his own. He threw him-
self against the closed door in a transport
of rage. It yielded suddenly, as if open-
ed from within. A full blaze of light
At La Glorieuse 205
struck his eyes, blinding him for an in-
stant; then he saw her. A huge four-
posted bed with silken hangings occupied
a recess in the room. Across its foot a
low couch was drawn. She had thrown
herself there. Her head was pillowed on
crimson gold-embroidered cushions; her
diaphanous draperies, billowing foamlike
over her, half concealed, half revealed her
lovely form; her hair waved away from
her brows, and spread like a shower of
gold over the cushions. One bare arm
hung to the floor; something jewel-like
gleamed in the half -closed hand; the oth-
er lay across her forehead, and from be-
neath it her eyes were fixed upon him.
He sprang forward with a cry. . . .
At first he could remember nothing.
The windows were open; the heavy cur-
tains which shaded them moved lazily in
the breeze; a shaft of sunlight that came
in between them fell upon the polished
surface of the marble mantel. He ex-
amined with languid curiosity some trifles
that stood there a pair of Dresden fig-
ures, a blue Sevres vase of graceful shape,
a bronze clock with gilded rose-wreathed
Cupids; and then raised his eyes to the
two portraits which hung above. One of
these was familiar enough the dark mel-
ancholy face of Felix Arnault, whose por-
206 Harper's Novelettes
trait by different hands and at different
periods of his life hung in nearly every
room of La Glorieuse. The blood surged
into his face and receded again at sight
of the other. Oh, so strangely like ! The
yellow hair, the slumberous eyes, the full
throat clasped about with a single strand
of coral. Yes, it was she ! He lifted him-
self on his elbow. He was in bed. Sure-
ly this was the room into which she had
drawn him with her eyes. Did he sink
on the threshold, all his senses swooning
into delicious faith? Or had he, indeed,
in that last moment thrown himself on
his knees by her couch? He could not
remember, and he sank back with a sigh.
Instantly Madame Arnault was bend-
ing over him. Her cool hands were on his
forehead. " Dieu merci!" she exclaimed,
" thou art thyself once more, mon fils"
He seized her hand imperiously. " Tell
me, madame," he demanded "tell me,
for the love of God! What is she? Who
is she? Why have you shut her away in
this deserted place ? Why"
She was looking down at him with an
expression half of pity, half of pain.
"Forgive me," he faltered, involunta-
rily, all his darker suspicions somehow
vanishing; "but oh, tell me!"
"Calm thyself, Kichard," she said,
At La Glorieuse 207
soothingly, seating herself on the side of
the bed, and stroking his hand gently.
Too agitated to speak, he continued to
gaze at her with imploring eyes. "Yes,
yes, I will relate the whole story," she
added, hastily, for he was panting and
struggling for speech. " I heard you fall
last night," she continued, relapsing for
greater ease into French; " for I was full
of anxiety about you, and I lingered long
at my window watching for you. I came
at once with Marcelite, and found you
lying insensible across the threshold of
this room. We lifted you to the bed, and
bled you after the old fashion, and then I
gave you a tisane of my own making,
which threw you into a quiet sleep. I
have watched beside you until your wak-
ing. Now you are but a little weak from
fasting and excitement, and when you
have rested and eaten "
"No," he pleaded; "now, at once!"
" Very well," she said, simply. She was
silent a moment, as if arranging her
thoughts. " Your grandfather, a Richard
Keith like yourself," she began, " was a
collegate-mate and friend of my brother,
Henri Raymonde, and accompanied him
to La Glorieuse during one of their vaca-
tions. I was already betrothed to Mon-
sieur Arnault, but I No matter! I
208 Harper's Novelettes
never saw Eichard Keith afterwards. But
years later he sent your father, who also
bore his name, to visit me here. My son,
Felix, was but a year or so younger than
his boy, and the two lads became at once
warm friends. They went abroad, and
pursued their studies side by side, like
brothers. They came home together, and
when Richard's father died, Felix spent
nearly a year with him on his Maryland
plantation. They exchanged, when apart,
almost daily letters. Richard's marriage,
which occurred soon after they left col-
lege, strengthened rather than weakened
this extraordinary bond between them.
Then came on the war. They were in the
same command, and hardly lost sight of
each other during their four years of ser-
" When the war was ended, your father
went back to his estates. Felix turned
his face homeward, but drifted by some
strange chance down to Florida, where he
met her" she glanced at the portrait
over the mantel. " Helene Pallacier was
Greek by descent, her family having been
among those brought over some time dur-
ing the last century as colonists to Florida
from the Greek islands. He married her,
barely delaying his marriage long enough
to write me that he was bringing home a
At La Glorieusc 209
bride. She was young, hardly more than
a child, indeed, and marvellously beauti-
ful " Keith moved impatiently; he found
these family details tedious and uninter-
esting a a radiant soulless creature,
whose only law was her own selfish en-
joyment, and whose coming brought pain
and bitterness to La Glorieuse. These
were her rooms. She chose them because
of the rose garden, for she had a sensuous
and passionate love of nature. She used
to lie for hours on the grass there, with
her arms flung over her head, gazing
dreamily on the fluttering leaves above
her. The pearls which she always wore
some coral ornaments, and a handful
of amber beads were her only dower, but
her caprices were the insolent and ex-
travagant caprices of a queen. Felix,
who adored her, gratified them at what-
ever expense; and I think at first she had
a careless sort of regard for him. But
she ha ted" the little Felice, whose coming
gave her the first pang of physical pain
she had ever known. She never offered
the child a caress. She sometimes looked
at her with a suppressed rage which filled
me with terror and anxiety.
When Felice was a little more than a
year old, your father came to La Glo-
rieuse to pay us a long-promised visit.
210 Harper's Novelettes
His wife liad died some months before,
and you, a child of six or seven years,
were left in charge of relatives in Mary-
land. Richard was in the full vigor of
manhood, broad-shouldered, tall, blue-
eyed, and blond-haired, like his father
and like you. From the moment of
their first meeting Helene exerted all the
power of her fascination to draw him to
her. Never had she been so whimsical, so
imperious, so bewitching! Loyal to his
friend, faithful to his own high sense of
honor, he struggled against a growing
weakness, and finally fled. I will never
forget the night he went away. A ball
had been planned by Felix in honor of his
friend. The ballroom was decorated un-
der his own supervision. The house was
filled with guests from adjoining parishes ;
everybody, young and old, came from the
plantations around. Helene was dazzling
that night. The light of triumph in her
cheeks; her eyes shone with a softness
which I had never seen in them before. I
watched her walking up and down the
room with Richard, or floating with him
in the dance. They were like a pair of
radiant godlike visitants from another
world. My heart ached for them in spite
of my indignation and apprehension; for
light whispers were beginning to circulate,
At La Glorieuse 211
and I saw more than one meaning smile
directed at them. Felix, who was truth
itself, was gayly unconscious.
" Towards midnight I heard far up the
bayou the shrill whistle of the little
packet which passed up and down then,
as now, twice a week; and presently she
swung up to our landing. Richard was
standing with Helene by the fireplace.
They had been talking for some time in
low earnest tones. A sudden look of de-
termination came into his eyes. I saw
him draw from his finger a ring which
she had one day playfully bade him wear,
and offer it to her. His face was white
and strained; hers wore a look which I
could not fathom. He quitted her side
abruptly, and walked rapidly across the
room, threading his way among the dan-
cers, and disappeared in the press about
the door. A few moments later a note
was handed me. I heard the boat steam
away from the landing as I read it. It
was a hurried line from Richard. He said
that he had been called away on urgent
business, and he begged me to make his
adieux to Madame Arnault and Felix.
Felix was worried and perplexed by the
sudden departure of his guest. Helene
said not a word, but very soon I saw her
slipping down the stair, and I knew that
212 Harper's Novelettes
she had gone to her room. Her absence
was not remarked, for the ball was at its
height. It was almost daylight when the
last dance was concluded, and the guests
who were staying in the house had retired
to their rooms.
"Felix, having seen to the comfort of
all, went at last to join his wife. He
burst into my room a second later almost
crazed with horror and grief. I followed
him to this room. She was lying on a
couch at the foot of the bed. One arm
was thrown across her forehead, the other
hung to the floor, and in her hand she
held a tiny silver bottle with a jewelled
stopper. A handkerchief, with a sin-
gle drop of blood upon it, was lying on
her bosom. A faint curious odor ex-
haled from her lips and hung about the
room, but the poison had left no other
"No one save ourselves and Marcelite
ever knew the truth. She had danced
too much at the ball that night, and she
had died suddenly of heart-disease. We
buried her out yonder in the old Ray-
monde- Arnault burying-ground. I do not
know what the letter contained which
Felix wrote to Richard. He never utter-
ed his name afterwards. The ballroom,
the whole wing, in truth, was at once
At La Glorieuse 213
closed. Everything was left exactly as it
was on that fatal night. A few years
ago, the house being unexpectedly full, I
opened the room in which you have been
staying, and it has been used from time
to time as a guest-room since. My son
lived some years, prematurely old, heart-
broken, and desolate. He died with her
name on his lips."
Madame Arnault stopped.
A suffocating sensation was creeping
over her listener. Only in the past few
moments had the signification of the sto-
ry begun to dawn upon him. "Do you
mean," he gasped, " that the girl whom I
that she is was "
"Helene, the dead wife of Felix Ar-
nault," she replied, gravely. "Her rest-
less spirit has walked here before. I have
sometimes heard her tantalizing laugh
echo through the house, but no one had
ever seen her until you came so like the
Richard Keith she loved !"
"When I read your letter/' she went
on, after a short silence, "which told me
that you wished to come to those friends
to whom your father had been so dear,
all the past arose before me, and I felt
that I ought to forbid your coming. But
I remembered how Felix and Richard had
loved each other before she came between
214 Harper's Novelettes
them. I thought of the other Kichard
Keith whom I I loved once; and I
dreamed of a union at last between the
families. I hoped, Richard, that you and
But Richard was no longer listening.
He wished to believe the whole fantastic
story an invention of the keen-eyed old
madame herself. Yet something within
him confessed to its truth. A tumultuous
storm of baffled desire, of impotent anger,
swept over him. The ring he wore burn-
ed into his flesh. But he had no thought
of removing it the ring which had once
belonged to the beautiful golden-haired
woman who had come back from the
grave to woo him to her !
He turned his face away and groaned.
Her eyes hardened. She rose stiffly.
" I will send a servant with your break-
fast," she said, with her hand on the door.
" The down boat will pass La Glorieuse
this afternoon. You will perhaps wish to
take advantage of it."
He started. He had not thought of go-
ing of leaving her her! He looked at
the portrait on the wall and laughed bit-
Madame Arnault accompanied him with
ceremonious politeness to the front steps
At La Glorietise 215
"Mademoiselle Felice?" he murmured,
inquiringly, glancing back at the windows
of the sitting-room.
"Mademoiselle Arnault is occupied,"
she coldly returned. "I will convey to
her your farewell."
He looked back as the boat chugged
away. Peaceful shadows enwrapped the
house and overspread the lawn. A single
window in the wing gleamed like a bale-
fire in the rays of the setting sun.
The years that followed were years of
restless wandering for Richard Keith.
He visited his estate but rarely. He went
abroad and returned, hardly having set
foot to land; he buried himself in the
fastnesses of the Rockies ; he made a long,
aimless sea-voyage. Her image accom-
panied him everywhere. Between him
and all he saw hovered her faultless face ;
her red mouth smiled at him; her white
arms enticed him. His own face became
worn and his step listless. He grew silent
and gloomy. " He is madder than the
old colonel, his father, was," his friends
said, shrugging their shoulders.
One day, more than three years after
his visit to La Glorieuse, he found him-
self on a deserted part of the Florida sea-
coast. It was late in November, but the
sky was soft and the air warm and balmy.
216 Harper's Novelettes
He bared his head as he paced moodily to
and fro on the silent beach. The waves
rolled languidly to his feet and receded,
leaving scattered half-wreaths of opales-
cent foam on the snowy sands. The wind
that fanned his face was filled with the
spicy odors of the sea. Seized by a capri-
cious impulse, he threw off his clothes and
dashed into the surf. The undulating
billows closed around him; a singular
lassitude passed into his limbs as he
swam; he felt himself slowly sinking, as
if drawn downward by an invisible hand.
He opened his eyes. The waves lapped
musically above his head; a tawny glory
was all about him, a luminous expanse in
which he saw strangely formed creatures
moving, darting, rising, falling, coiling,
"You was jes on de eedge er drownd-
in j , Mars Dick," said Wiley, his black
body-servant, spreading his own clothes
on the porch of the little fishing-hut to
dry. " In de name o' Gawd whar mek you
wanter go in swimmin' dis time o' de
yea', anyhow? Ef I hadn' er splunge in
an' fotch you out, dey'd er been mo'nin'
yander at de plantation, sho !"
His master laughed lazily. "You are
right, Wiley," he said ; " and you are go-
ing to smoke the best tobacco in Maryland
At La Glorieuse 217
as long as you live." He felt buoyant.
Youth and elasticity seemed to have come
back to him at a bound. He stretched
himself on the rough bench, and watched
the blue rings of smoke curl lightly away
from his cigar. Gradually he was aware
of a pair of wistful eyes shining down on
him. His heart leaped. They were the
eyes of Felice Arnault ! " My God, have
I been mad!" he muttered. His eyes
sought his hand. The ring, from which
he had never been parted, was gone. It
had been torn from his finger in his wres-
tle with the sea. " Get my traps together
at once, Wiley," he said. " We are going
to La Glorieuse."
" Now you talking Mars Dick," assent-
ed Wiley, cheerfully.
It was night when he reached the city.
First of all, he made inquiries concerning
the little packet. He was right; the As-
sumption would leave the next afternoon
at five o'clock for Bayou L'Eperon. He
went to the same hotel at which he had
stopped before when on his way to La
Glorieiise. The next morning, too joyous
to sleep, he rose early, and went out into
the street. A gray uncertain dawn was
just struggling into the sky. A few peo-
ple on their way to market or to early
mass were passing along the narrow ban-
218 Harper's Novelettes
quettes; sleepy-eyed women were unbar-
ring the shutters of their tiny shops ; high-
wheeled milk-carts were rattling over the
granite pavements; in the vine -hung
court-yards, visible here and there through
iron grilles, parrots were scolding on their
perches; children pattered up and down
the long, arched corridors; the prolonged
cry of an early clothes-pole man echoed,
like the note of a winding horn, through
the close alleys. Keith sauntered care-
" In so many hours," he kept repeating
to himself, " I shall be on my way to La
Glorieuse. The boat will swing into the
home landing; the negroes will swarm
across the gang-plank, laughing and
shouting ; Madame Arnault and Felice will
come out on the gallery and look, shading
their eyes with their hands. Oh, I know
quite well that the old madame will greet
me coldly at first. Her eyes are like steel
when she is angry. But when she knows
that I am once more a sane man
And Felice, what if she But no!
Felice is not the kind of woman who loves
more than once; and she did love me,
God bless her ! unworthy as I was."
A carriage, driven rapidly, passed him;
his eyes followed it idly, until it turned
far away into a side street. He strayed on
At La Glorieuse 219
to the market, where he seated himself
on a high stool in L'Appel du Matin cof-
fee stall. But a vague, teasing remem-
brance was beginning to stir in his brain.
The turbaned woman on the front seat of
the carriage that had rolled past him yon-
der, where had he seen that dark, grave,
wrinkled face, with the great hoops of
gold against either cheek? Marcelite!
He left the stall and retraced his steps,
quickening his pace almost to a run as he
went. Felice herself, then, might be in
the city. He hurried to the street into
which the carriage had turned, and
glanced down between the rows of white-
eaved cottages with green doors and bat-
ten shutters. It had stopped several
squares away; there seemed to be a num-
ber of people gathered about it. " I will
at least satisfy myself," he thought.
As he came up, a bell in a little cross-
crowned tower began to ring slowly. The
carriage stood in front of a low red brick
house, set directly on the street; a silent
crowd pressed about the entrance. There
was a hush within. He pushed his way
along the banquette to the steps. A
young nun, in a brown serge robe, kept
guard at the door. She wore a wreath of
white artificial roses above her long coarse
veil. Something in his face appealed to
220 Harper's Novelettes
her, and she found a place for him in the
little convent chapel.
Madame Arnault, supported by Marce-
lite, was kneeling in front of the altar,
which blazed with candles. She bad
grown frightfully old and frail. Her face
was set, and her eyes were fixed with a
rigid stare on the priest who was say-
ing mass. Marcelite's dark cheeks were
streaming with tears. The chapel, which
wore a gala air with its lights and flow-
ers, was filled with people. On the left of
the altar, a bishop, in gorgeous robes, was
sitting, attended by priests and acolytes;
on the right, the wooden panel behind an
iron grating had been removed, and be-
yond, in the nun's choir, the black-robed
sisters of the order were gathered. Heavy
veils shrouded their faces and fell to their
feet. They held in their hands tall wax-
candles, whose yellow flames burned
steadily in the semi-darkness. Five or
six young girls knelt, motionless as stat-
ues, in their midst. They also carried ta-
pers, and their rapt faces were turned
towards the unseen altar within, of which
the outer one is but the visible token.
Their eyelids were downcast. Their white
veils were thrown back from their calm
foreheads, and floated like wings from
At La Glorieuse 221
He felt no surprise when he saw Felice
among them. He seemed to have fore-
known always that he should find her
thus on the edge of another and mysteri-
ous world into which he could not follow
Her skin had lost a little of its warm
rich tint; the soft rings of hair were
drawn away under her veil; her hands
were thin, and as waxen as the taper she
held. An unearthly beauty glorified her
" Is it forever too late ?" he asked him-
self in agony, covering his face with his
hands. When he looked again the white
veil on her head had been replaced by the
sombre one of the order. "If I could
but speak to her !" he thought ; " if she
would but once lift her eyes to mine, she
would come to me even now!"
Felice! Did the name break from his
lips in a hoarse cry that echoed through
the hushed chapel, and silenced the voice
of the priest? He never knew. But a
faint color swept into her cheeks. Her
eyelids trembled. In a flash the rose-
garden at La Glorieuse was before him;
he saw the turquoise sky, and heard the
mellow chorus of the field gang; the
smell of damask-roses was in the air; her
little hand was in his . . he saw her
222 Harper's Novelettes
coming swiftly towards him across the
dusk of the old ballroom; her limpid in-
nocent eyes were smiling into his own
. . . she was standing on the grassy lawn ;
the shadows of the leaves flickered over
her white gown. . . .
At last the quivering eyelids were lift-
ed. She turned her head slowly, and
looked steadily at him. He held his
breath. A cart rumbled along the cob-
ble-stones outside; the puny wail of a
child sounded across the stillness ; a hand-
ful of rose leaves from a vase at the foot
of the altar dropped on the hem of Ma-
dame Arnault's dress. It might have
been the gaze of an angel in a world
where there is no marrying nor giving in
marriage, so pure was it, so passionless,
so free of anything like earthly desire.
As she turned her face again towards
the altar the bell in the tower above
ceased tolling; a triumphant chorus leap-
ed into the air, borne aloft by joyous or-
gan tones. The first rays of the morn-
ing sun streamed in through the small
windows. Then light penetrated into the
nuns' choir, and enveloped like a mantle
of gold Sister Mary of the Cross, who in
the world had been Felicite Arnault.
A Faded Scapular
BY F. D. MILLET
WE are seldom able to trace our
individual superstitions to any
definite cause, nor can we often
account for the peculiar sensations de-
veloped in us by the inexplicable and
mysterious incidents in our experience.
Much of the timidity of childhood may
be traced to early training in the nursery,
and sometimes the moral effects of this
weakness cannot be eradicated through a
lifetime of severe self-control and mental
suffering. The complicated disorders of
the imagination which arise from super-
stitious fears can frequently be account-
ed for only by inherited characteristics,
by peculiar sensitiveness to impressions,
and by an overpowering and perhaps ab-
normally active imagination. I am sure
I am confessing to no unusual character-
istic when I say that I have felt from
childhood a certain sentiment or sensa-
tion in regard to material things which I
224 Harper's Novelettes
can trace to no early experience, to the
influence of no literature, and to no pos-
sible source, in fact, but that of inherited
The sentiment I refer to is this: what-
ever has belonged to or has been used by
any person seems to me to have received
some special quality, which, though often
invisible and still oftener indefinable,
still exists in a more or less strong de-
gree according to the amount of the im-
pressionable power, if I may call it so,
which distinguished the possessor. I am
aware that this sentiment may be stig-
matized as of the school-girl order; that
it is, indeed, of the same kind and class
with that which leads an otherwise hon-
est person to steal a rag from a famous
battle flag, a leaf from a historical laurel
wreath, or even to cut a signature or a
title-page from a precious volume; but
with me the feeling has never taken this
turn, else I should never have confessed
to the possession of it. Whatever may
be said or believed, however, I must refer
to it in more OP less comprehensible
terms, because it may explain the condi-
tions, although it will not unveil the
causes, of the incidents I am about to de-
scribe with all honesty and frankness.
Nearly twenty years ago I made my
A Faded Scapular 225
first visit to Rome, long before it became
the centre of the commercial and politi-
cal activity of Italy, and while it was yet
unspoiled for the antiquarian, the stu-
dent, the artist, and the traveller Never
shall I forget the first few hours I spent
wandering aimlessly through the streets,
so far as I then knew a total stranger in
the city, with no distinct plan of remain-
ing there, and with only the slight and
imperfect knowledge of the place that
one gains from the ordinary travellers'
descriptions. The streets, the houses, the
people, the strange sounds and stranger
sights, the life so entirely different from
what I had hitherto seen, all this inter-
ested me greatly. Far more powerful
and far more vivid and lasting, however,
was the impression of an inconceivable
number of presences I hesitate to call
them spirits not visible, of course, nor
tangible, but still oppressing me mental-
ly and morally, exactly the same as my
physical self is often crushed and over-
powered in a great assembly of people.
I walked about, visited the cafes and con-
cert halls, and tried in various ways to
shake off the uncomfortable feeling of
ghostly company, but was unsuccessful,
and went to my lodgings much depressed
and nervous. I took my note-book, and
226 Harper's Novelettes
wrote in it : " Rome has been too much
lived in. Among the multitude of the
dead there is no room for the living."
It seemed then a foolish memorandum
to write, and now, as I look at the
half -effaced pencil lines, I wonder why I
was not ashamed to write it. Yet there
it is before me, a witness to my sensa-
tions at the time, and the scrawl has even
now the power to bring up to me an un-
pleasantly vivid memory of that first
evening in Rome.
After a few days passed in visiting the
galleries and the regular sights of the
town, I began to look for a studio and
an apartment, and finally found one in
the upper story of a house OL. the Via di
Ripetta. Before moving into the studio,
I met an old friend and fellow-artist, and
as there was room enough for two, glad-
ly took him in with me.
The studio, with apartment, in the Via
di Ripetta was by no means unattrac-
tive. It was large, well lighted, com-
fortably and abundantly furnished. It
was, as I have said, at the top of the
house, the studio overlooked the Tiber,
and the sitting-room and double-bedded
sleeping - room fronted the street. The
large studio window was placed rather
high up, so that the entrance door a
A Faded Scapular 227
wide, heavy affair, with large hinges and
immense complicated lock and a " judas "
opened from the obscurity of the hall
directly under the large window into the
full light of the studio. The roof of the
house slanted from back to front, so that
the two rooms were lower studded than
the studio, and an empty space or low
attic opening into the studio above them
was partly concealed by an ample and
ragged curtain. The fireplace was in the
middle of the left wall as you entered
the studio ; the door into the sitting-room
was in the further right-hand corner, and
the bedroom was entered by a door on
the right-hand wall of the sitting-room,
so that the bedroom formed a wing of
the studio and sitting-room, and from the
former, looking through two doors, the
bedroom window and part of the street
wall could be seen. Both the beds were
hidden from sight of any one in the stu-
dio, even when the doors were open.
The apartment was furnished in a way
which denoted a certain amount of lib-
erality, but everything was faded and
worn, though not actually shabby or dirty.
The carpets were threadbare, the damask-
covered sofa and chairs showed marks of
the springs, and the gimp was fringed
and torn off in places. The beds were not
228 Harper's Novelettes
mates; the basin and ewer were of dif-
ferent patterns; the few pictures on the
wall were, like everything else in the
place, curiously gray and dusty-looking,
as if they had been shut up in the dark-
ened rooms for a generation. Beyond
the fireplace in the studio, the corner of
the room was partitioned off by a dingy
screen, six feet high or more, fixed to the
floor for the space of two yards, with one
wing which shut like a door, enclosing a
small space fitted up like a miniature
scullery, with a curious and elaborate
collection of pots and pans and kitchen
utensils, all hung in orderly rows, but
every article with marks of service on it,
and more recent and obtrusive trace of
In one of the first days of my search
for a studio I had found and inspected
this very place, but it had given me such
a disagreeable feeling it had seemed so
worn out, so full of relics of other people
that I could not make up my mind to
take it. After a thorough search and
diligent inquiry, however, I came to the
conclusion that there was absolutely no
other place in Eome at that busy season
where I could set up my easel, and after
having the place recommended to me by
all the artists I called upon as a well-
A Faded Scapular 229
known and useful studio, and a great
find at the busy season of the year, I took
a lease of the place for four months.
My friend and I moved in at the same
time, and I will not deny that I planned
to he supported by the presence of my
friend at the moment of taking posses-
sion. When we arrived and had our
traps all deposited in the middle of the
studio, there came over the spirits of us
both a strange gloom, which the bustle
and confusion of settling did not in the
least dispel. It was nearly dark that
winter afternoon before we had finished
unpacking, and the street lights were
burning before we reached the little res-
taurant in the Via Quattro Fontano,
where we proposed to take our meals.
There was a cheerful company of artists
and architects assembled there that even-
ing, and we sat over our wine long after
dinner. When the jolly party at last dis-
persed, it was well past midnight.
How gloomy the outer portal of the
high building looked as we crossed the
dimly lighted street and pushed open the
black door! A musty, damp smell, like
the atmosphere of the catacombs, met us
as we entered. Our footsteps echoed
loud and hollow in the empty corridor,
and the large wax match I struck as we
230 Harper's Novelettes
came in gave but a flickering light, which
dimly shadowed the outline of the stone
stairway, and threw the rest of the corri-
dor into a deep and mysterious gloom.
We tramped up the five long flights of
stone stairs without a word, the echo of
our footsteps sounding louder and loud-
er, and the murky space behind us deep-
ening into the damp darkness of a cavern.
At last, after what seemed an intermina-
ble climb, we came to the studio entrance.
I put the large key in the lock, turned it,
and pushed open the door. A strong
draught, like the lifeless breath from the
mouth of a tunnel, extinguished the
match and left us in darkness. I hesi-
tated an instant, instinctively dreading
to enter, and then went in, followed by
my friend, who closed the door behind
us. The heavy hinges creaked, the door
shut into the jambs with a solid thud,
the lock sprang into place with a sharp
click, and a noise like the clanging of
a prison gate resounded and re-echoed
through the corridor and through the
spacious studio. I felt as if we were
shut in from the whole world.
Lighting all the candles at hand and
stirring up the fire, we endeavored to
make the studio look cheerful, and neither
of us being inclined to go to bed, we sat
A Faded Scapular 231
for a long time talking and smoking.
But even the bright fire and the soothing
tobacco smoke did not wholly dispel the
gloom of the place, and when we finally
carried the candles into the bedroom, I
felt a vague sense of dismal anticipation
and apprehension. We left both doors
open, so that the light from our room
streamed across the corner of the sitting-
room, and threw a great square of strong
reflection on the studio carpet. While
undressing, I found that I had left my
match-box on the studio table, and
thought I would return for it. I remem-
ber now what a mental struggle I went
through before I made up my mind to go
without a candle. I glanced at my
friend's face, partly to see if he noticed
any indication of nervousness in my ex-
pression, and partly because I was con-
scious of a kind of psychological sym-
pathy between us. But fear that he
would laugh at me made me effectually
conceal my feelings, and I went out of
the room without speaking. As I walked
across the non-resonant, carpeted stone
floor I had the most curious set of sen-
sations I have ever experienced. At near-
ly every step I took I came into a dif-
ferent stratum or perpendicular layer of
air. First it was cool to my face, then
232 Harper's Novelettes
warm, then chill again, and again warm.
Thinking to calm my nervous excitement,
I stood still and looked around me. The
great window above my head dimly trans-
mitted the sky reflection, but threw little
light into the studio. The folds of the
curtain over the open space above the
sitting-room appeared to wave slightly in
the uncertain light, and the easels and
lay-figure stood gaunt and ghostly along
the further wall. I waited there and
reasoned with myself, arguing that there
was no possible cause for fear, that a
strong man ought to control his nerves,
that it was silly at my time of life to be-
gin to be afraid of the dark, but I could
not get rid of the sensation. As I went
back to the bedroom I experienced the
same succession of physical shocks; but
whether they followed each other in the
same order or not I was unable to de-
It was some time before I could get to
sleep, and I opened my eyes once or
twice before I lost consciousness. From
the bedroom window there was a dim,
very dim light on the lace curtains, but
the window itself was visible as a square
mass, and did not appear to illuminate
the room in the least. Suddenly, after a
dreamless sleep of some duration, I awoke
A Faded Scapular 233
as completely as if I had been startled by
a loud noise. The lace curtains were
now quite brilliantly lighted from some-
where, I could not tell where, but the
window itself seemed to be as little lumi-
nous as when I went to sleep. Without
moving my head, I turned my eyes in
the direction of the studio, and could see
the open door as a dark patch in the
gray wall, but nothing more. Then, as I
was looking again at the curious illumi-
nation of the curtains, a moving mass
came into the angle of my vision out of
the corner of the room near the head of
the bed, and passed slowly into full view
between me and the curtain. It was un-
mistakably the figure of a man, not un-
like that of the better type of Italian,
and was dressed in the commonly worn
soft hat and ample cloak. His profile
came out clearly against the light back-
ground of the lace curtain, and showed
him to be a man of considerable refine-
ment of feature. He did not make an
actually solid black silhouette against the
light, neither was the figure translucent,
but was rather like an object seen through
a vapor or through a sheet of thin ground
I tried to raise my head, but my nerve
force seemed suddenly to fail me, and
234 Harper's Novelettes
while I was wondering at my powerless-
ness, and reasoning at the same time that
it must be a nightmare, the figure had
moved slowly across in front of the win-
dow, and out through the open door into
I listened breathlessly, but not a sound
did I hear from the next room. I pinched
myself, opened and shut my eyes, and
noticed that the breathing of my room-
mate was irregular, and unlike that of a
sleeping man. I am unable to under-
stand why I did not sit up or turn over
or speak to my friend to find out if he
was awake. I was fully conscious that
I ought to do this, but something, I
know not what, forced me to lie perfectly
motionless watching the window. I heard
my roommate breathing, opened and shut
my eyes, and was certain, indeed, that I
was really awake. As I reasoned on the
phenomenon, and came naturally to the
unwilling conclusion that my hallucina-
tion was probably premonitory of malaria,
my nerves grew quiet, I began to think
less intensely, and then I fell asleep.
The next morning I awoke with a feel-
ing of disagreeable anticipation. I was
loath to rise, even though the warm
Italian sunlight was pouring into the
room and gilding the dingy interior
A Faded Scapular 235
with brilliant reflections. In spite of this
cheering glow of sunshine, the rooms
still had the same dead and uninhabited
appearance, and the presence of my
friend, a vigorous and practical man,
seemed to bring no recognizable vitality
or human element to counteract the op-
pressiveness of the place. Every detail of
my waking dream or hallucination of the
night before was perfectly fresh in my
mind, and the sense of apprehension was
still strong upon me.
The distracting operations of settling
the studio, and the frequent excursions
to neighboring shops to buy articles nec-
essary to our meagre housekeeping, did
much towards taking my mind off the in-
cident of the night, but every time I
entered the sitting-room or the bedroom
it all came up to me with a vividness
that made my nerves quiver. We ex-
plored all the corners and cupboards of
the place. We even crawled up over the
sitting-room behind the dingy curtain,
where a large quantity of disused frames
and old stretchers were packed away.
We familiarized ourselves, in fact, with
every nook and cranny of each room;
moved the furniture about in a different
order; hung up draperies and sketches,
and in many ways changed the character
236 Harper's Novelettes
of the interior. The faded, weary-look-
ing widow from whom I hired the place,
and who took care of the rooms, carried
away to her own apartment many of the
most obnoxious trifles which encumbered
the small tables, the etagere, and the
wall spaces. She sighed a great deal as
we were making the rapid changes to
suit our own taste, but made no objec-
tion, and we naturally thought it was
the regular custom of every new occu-
pant to turn the place upside down.
Late in the afternoon I was alone in
the studio for an hour or more, and sat
by the fire trying to read. The daylight
was not gone, and the rumble of the busy
street came plainly to my ears. I say
"trying to read," for I found reading
quite impossible. The moment I began
to fix my attention on the page, I had a
very powerful feeling that some one was
looking over my shoulder. Do what I
would, I could not conquer the unreason-
able sensation. Finally, after starting
up and looking about me a dozen times,
I threw down the book and went out.
When I returned, after an hour in the
open air, I found my friend walking up
and down in the studio with open doorsi
and two guttering candles alight.
" It's a curious thing," he said, " I
A Faded Scapular 237
can't read this book. I have been trying
to put my mind on it a whole half-hour,
and I can't do it. I always thought I
could get interested in Gaborieau in a
moment under any circumstances."
" I went out to walk because I couldn't
manage to read," I replied, and the con-
We went to the theatre that evening,
and afterwards to the Cafe Greco, where
we talked art in half a dozen languages
until midnight, and then came home.
Our entrance to the house and the studio
was much the same as on the previous
night, and we went to bed without a
word. My mind naturally reverted to
the experience of the night before, and I
lay there for a long time with my eyes
open, making a strong effort of the im-
agination to account for the vision by
the dim shapes of the furniture, the lace
curtains, and the suggestive and shadowy
perspective. But, although the interior
was weird enough, by reason of the dingy
hangings and the diffused light, I was
unable to trace the origin of the illusion
to any object within the range of my
vision, or to account for the strange illu-
mination which had startled me. I went
to sleep thinking of other things, and
with my nerves comparatively quiet.
238 Harpers Novelettes
Some time in the early morning, about
three o'clock, as near as I could judge, I
slowly awoke, and saw the lace curtains
illuminated as before. I found myself
in an expectant frame of mind, neither
calm nor excited, but rather in that con-
dition of philosophical quiet which best
prepared me for an investigation of the
phenomenon which I confidently expect-
ed to witness. Perhaps this is assuming
too eagerly the position of a philosopher,
but I am certain no element of fear dis-
turbed my reason, that I was neither
startled nor surprised at awakening as I
did, and that my mind was active and
undoubtedly prepared for the investiga-
tion of the mystery.
I was therefore not at all shocked to
observe the same shape come first into
the angle of my eye, and then into the
full range of my vision, next appear as a
silhouette against the curtains, and final-
ly lose itself in the darkness of the door-
way. During the progress of the shape
across the room I noticed the size and
general aspect of it with keen attention
to detail and with satisfactory calmness
of observation. It was only after the
figure had passed out of sight, and the
light on the window curtains grew dim
again, much as an electric light loses its
A Faded Scapular 239
brilliancy with the diminution of the
strength of the current, that it occurred
to me to consider the fact that during
the period of the hallucination I had
been utterly motionless. There was not
the slightest doubt of my being awake.
My friend in the adjoining bed was
breathing regularly, the ticking of my
watch was plainly audible, and I could
feel my heart beating with unusual ra-
pidity and vigor.
The strange part of the whole incident
was this incapacity of action, and the
more I reasoned about it the more I
was mystified by the utter failure of
nerve force. Indeed, while the mind was
actively at work on this problem the phys-
ical torpor continued, a languor not un-
like the incipient drowsiness of anaesthe-
sia came gradually over me, and, though
mentally protesting against the helpless
condition of the body, and struggling to
keep awake, I fell asleep, and did not
stir till morning.
With the bright clear winter's day re-
turned the doubts and disappointments
of the day before doubts of the exist-
ence of the phenomenon, disappointment
at the failure of any solution of the hal-
lucination. A second day in the studio
did little towards dispelling the mental
240 Harper's Novelettes
gloom which possessed us both* and at
night my friend confessed that he
thought we must have stumbled into a
At this distance of time it is absolute-
ly incomprehensible to me how I could
have gone on as I did from day to day,
or rather from night to night for the
same hallucination was repeated nightly
without speaking to my friend, or at
least taking some energetic steps towards
an investigation of the mystery. But I
had the same experience every night
for fully a week before I really began
to plan serious means of discovering
whether it was a hallucination, a night-
mare, or a flesh - and - blood intruder.
First, I had some curiosity each night to
see whether there would be a repetition
of the incident. Second, I was eager to
note any physical or mental symptom
which would serve as a clew to the mys-
tery. Pride, or some other equally au-
thoritative sentiment, continued to keep
me from disclosing my secret to my
friend, although I was on the point of
doing so on several occasions. My first
plan was to keep a candle burning all
night, but I could invent no plausible
excuse to my comrade for this action.
Next I proposed to shut the bedroom
A Faded Scapular 241
door, and on speaking of it to my friend,
he strongly objected on the ground of
the lack of ventilation, and was not will-
ing to risk having the window open on
account of the malaria. After all, since
this was an entirely personal matter, it
seemed to me the only thing to do was
to depend on my own strength of mind
and moral courage to solve this mystery
unaided. I put my loaded revolver on
the table by the bedside, drew back the
lace curtain before going to bed, and left
the door only half open, so I could not
see into the studio. The night I made
these preparations I awoke as usual, saw
the same figure, but, as before, could not
move a hand. After it had passed the
window, I tried hard to bring myself to
take my revolver, and find out whether I
had to deal with a man or a simulacrum.
But even while I was arguing with my-
self, and trying to find out why I could
not move, sleep came upon me before I
had carried out my purposed action.
The shock of the first appearance of
the vision had been nearly overbalanced
by my eagerness to investigate, and my
intense interest in the novel condition of
mind or body which made such an ex-
perience possible. But after the utter
failure of all my schemes and the col-
242 Harper's Novelettes
lapse of my theories as to evident causes
of the phenomenon, I began to be har-
assed and worried, almost unconsciously
at first, by the ever-present thought, the
daily anticipation, and the increasing
dread of the hallucination. The self-
confidence that first supported me in my
nightly encounter diminished on each
occasion, and the curiosity which stimu-
lated me to the study of the phenomenon
rapidly gave way to the sentiment akin
to terror when I proved myself incapable
of grappling with the mystery.
The natural result of this preoccupa-
tion was inability to work and little in-
terest in recreation, and as the long
weeks wore away I grew morose, mor-
bid, and hypochondriacal. The pride
which kept me from sharing my secret
with my friend also held me at my post
and nerved me to endure the torment in
the rapidly diminishing hope of finally
exorcising the spectre or recovering my
usual healthy tone of mind. The diffi-
culty of my position was increased by
the fact that the apparition failed to ap-
pear occasionally, and while I welcomed
each failure as a sign that the visits were
to cease, they continued spasmodically
for weeks, and I was still as far away
from the interpretation of the problem
A Faded Scapular 243
as ever. Once I sought medical advice,
but the doctor could discover nothing
wrong with me except what might be
caused by tobacco, and, following his ad-
vice, I left off smoking. He said I had
no malaria; that I needed more exercise,
perhaps; but he could not account for
my insomnia, for I, like most patients,
had concealed the vital facts in my case,
and had complained of insomnia as the
cause of my anxiety about my health.
The approach of spring tempted me
out-of-doors, and in the warm villa gar-
dens and the sun-bathed Campagna I
could sometimes forget the nightmare
that haunted me. This was not often
possible unless I was in the company of
cheerful companions, and I grew to dread
the hour when I was to return to the
studio after an excursion into the country
among the soothing signs of returning
summer. To shut the clanging door of
the studio was to place an impenetrable
barrier between me and the outside
world, and the loneliness of that interior
seemed to be only intensified by the pres-
ence of my companion, who was apparent-
ly as much depressed in spirits as myself.
We made various attempts at the en-
tertainment of friends, but they all lack-
ed that element of spontaneous fun
244 Harper's Novelettes
which makes such occasions successful,
and we gave it up. On pleasant days we
threw open the windows on the street to
let in the warm air and sunshine, but
this did not seem to drive away the musty
odors of the interior. We were much too
high up to feel any neighborly proximity
to the people on the other side of the
street. The chimney-pots and irregular
roofs below and beyond were not very
cheerful objects in the view, and the
landlady, who, as far as we knew, was
the only other occupant of the upper
story, did not give us a great sense of
companionship. Never once did I enter
the studio without feeling the same cu-
rious sensation of alternate warm and
cool strata of air. Never for a quarter
of an hour did I succeed in reading a
book or a newspaper, however interesting
it might be. We frequently had two
models at a time, and both my friend
and myself made several beginnings of
pictures, but neither of us carried the
work very far.
On one occasion a significant remark
was made by a lady friend who came to
call. She will undoubtedly remember
now when she reads these lines that she
said, on leaving the studio: "This is a
curiously draughty place. I feel as if it
A Faded Scapular 245
had been blowing hot and cold on me
all the time I have been here, and yet
you have no windows open."
At another time my comrade burst out
as I was going away one evening about
eleven o'clock to a reception at one of
the palaces: "I wish you wouldn't go
in for society so much. I can't go to
the cafe; all the fellows go home about
this time of the evening. I don't like to
stay here in this dismal hole all cooped
up by myself. I can't read, I can't sleep,
and I can't think."
It occurred to me that it was a little
queer for him to object to being left
alone, unless he, like myself, had some
disagreeable experiences there, and I re-
membered that he had usually gone out
when I had, and was seldom, if ever,
alone in the studio when I returned. His
tone was so peevish and impatient that I
thought discussion was injudicious, and
simply replied, " Oh, you're bilious ; I'll
be home early," and went away. I have
often thought since that it was the one
occasion when I could have easily broach-
ed the subject of my mental trouble, and
I have always regretted I did not do
Matters were brought to a climax in
this way: My friend was summoned to
246 Harper's Novelettes
America by telegraph a little more than
two months after we took the studio, and
left me at a day's notice. The amount
and kind of moral courage I had to sum-
mon up before I could go home alone
the first evening after my comrade left
me can only be appreciated by those who
have undergone some similar torture.
It was not like the bracing up a man
goes through when he has to face some
imminent known danger, but was of a
more subtle and complex kind. "There
is nothing to fear," I kept saying to my-
self, and yet I could not shake off a
nameless dread. "You are in your right
mind and have all your senses," I con-
tinually argued, "for you see and hear
and reason clearly enough. It is a brief
hallucination, and you can conquer the
mental weakness which causes it by per-
sistent strength of will. If it be a simu-
lacrum, you as a practical man, with
good physical health and sound enough
reasoning powers, ought to investigate
it to the best of your ability." In this
way I endeavored to nerve myself up,
and went home late, as usual. The reg-
ular incident of the night occurred. I
felt keenly the loss of my friend's com-
panionship, and suffered accordingly,
but in the morning I was no nearer to
A Faded Scapular 247
the solution of the mystery than I was
For five weary, torturing nights did I
go up to that room alone, and, with no
sound of human proximity to cheer me
or to break the wretched feeling of utter
solitude, I endured the same experience.
At last I could bear it no longer, and
determined to have a change of air and
surroundings. I hastily packed a travel-
ling-bag and my color-box, leaving all
my extra clothes in the wardrobes and
the bureau drawers, told the landlady I
should return in a week or two, and paid
her for the remainder of the time in ad-
vance. The last thing I did was to take
my travelling-cap, which hung near the
head of my bed. A break in the wall-
paper showed that there was a small door
here. Pulling the knob which had held
my cap, the door was readily opened,
and disclosed a small niche in the wall.
Leaning against the back of the niche
was a small crucifix with a rude figure
of Christ, and suspended from the neck
of the image by a small cord was a tri-
angular object covered with faded cloth.
While I was examining with some in-
terest the hiding-place of these relics, the
"What are these?" I asked.
248 Harper's Novelettes
"Oh, signore!" she said, half sobbing
as she spoke. " Those are relics of my
poor husband. He was an artist like
yourself, signore. He was he was ill,
very ill and in mind as well as body,
signore. May the Blessed Virgin rest
his soul ! He hated the crucifix, he hated
the scapular, he hated the priests. Si-
gnore, he he died without the sacra-
ment, and cursed the holy water. I have
never dared to touch those relics, signore.
But he was a good man, and the best of
husbands"; and she buried her face in
I took the first train for Naples, and
have never been in Borne since.
At the Hermitage
BY E. LEVI BKOWN
THE October sun was shining hot, but
it was cool and pleasant inside the
mill. The brown water in Sawny
Creek lapped softly against the rocks in
its bed, and the sycamore and cottonwood
trees, which grew from the water's edge
up the steep, muddy banks, stood straight
and motionless in the warm sunny air,
no touch of autumn upon them yet ; only
the sweet -gums were turning slightly
yellow, and the black-gums were tinging
red. It wanted two hours of sunset, but
blackbirds were on their way home, and
the thickets were noisy with their crying.
Inside the moss-grown old mill there
was music and dancing going on, for,
comfortably reclining on a pile of cotton
seed in the rough ginning - room, with
thick festoons of cobwebs everywhere,
and bits of dusty lint clinging to every
splinter in its walls, a young man was
playing a banjo, and two others, with
250 Harper's Novelettes
naked feet, were dancing as if for their
lives. A slim dark girl in a blue and
white homespun dress, her head turbaned
with a square of the same, sat on a bag of
seed cotton watching them.
" Now, boys, a break-down," called out
the player, " and then I must gin out Re-
ligion's cotton ; come, now, lively."
And they went lively enough.
" You bake the bread, and gimme the ems' ;
You sift the meal, and gimme the husk;
You bile the pot, and gimme the grease;
I have the crumbs, and you have the feast
But mis' gwine gimme the ham-bone."
The loose boards shook and trembled
tinder the heavy feet, the scattered cotton
seed whirled away in little eddies, and
baskets of cotton standing about tipped a
little break-down of their own. Even the
girl on the bag, whose sober, earnest face
seemed out of keeping with the gayety,
beat time with her bare feet. But by
the time the miller threw his banjo aside,
its strings still quivering, she was stand-
ing up, and the look of interest had given
place to the old gravity. She had not a
pretty feature, not even the usual pretty
teeth. She was a homely black girl.
. " See here, Religion," said the miller,
" this here's Saturday evenin', and I keeps
At the Hermitage 251
holiday like everybody else but you ; can't
you git along without that little turn of
cotton? It ain't wuth ginnin'."
"I'm 'bliged to have it," she answered.
"I didn't give nary day's work for rent
this week; will pay the week's rent and
git sumpin beside. We doesn't draw no
"It's a mighty small heap o' ration
you'll git out'n that turn of cotton after
you pay fifty cents for your week's rent.
Don't you find it cheaper to work out the
week's rent than to pay it ?"
"I git fifty cents a hundred for pick-
in'," she answered, simply, " and I kin
pick two hundred and fifty a day, and
scrap twenty-five more. We doesn't git
but fifty cents fur a whole day's work on
He looked at her admiringly, at the
thin supple body and long light arms
that could reach so far among the cotton
bolls. He untied the bags and proceeded
to fill the gin. A girl who could pick
two hundred and seventy-five pounds of
cotton a day was a person of some con-
The gin stopped its whir, and the clerk
weighed the cotton. Religion watched
him sharply, and counted the checks he
handed her twice.
252 Harper's Novelettes
"If you pass 'em at the Hermitage,"
he said, "tell 'em to give you another
five-cent check; I'm short to-night."
"I ain't goin' to the Hermitage store;
I'm goin' to the ferry. They give me
cash there for the checks."
" What do they take oS ?"
" They takes one cent out'n every five.
But I'm 'bliged to have the hard money.
We has to pay for a good many things
we git for Min in hard money." She
had taken up the empty bags, but still
waited. "I wish you'd please, sir, see if
you 'ain't got another check nowhere."
"You're a sight, Religion," he said,
good-naturedly. " Here's a nickel."
With her bags on her arm she went
out across the dry grass to where a little
black mule, not much "larger than a goat,
was standing. Beck greeted her with a
bray astonishing for one of her size, and
a switch with her rope of a tail. Un-
heeding the cheerful greeting, Religion
gave all her attention to untying the
halter, and soon they were going along
the sandy road straight through the
The rickety box-wagon and the chain
traces rattled noisily. Religion cracked
her whip it was a stick with a plaited
leather string on the end. Beck was in
At the Hermitage 253
a hurry to get home, and the wagon
bumped along over roots and stumps
until it was a wonder how Religion kept
herself on the board which served for
a seat. All the swamps and woods in
Sawny were in bad repute. There was
an old cemetery, rambling over many
acres, lost in ivy and briers and immense
trees, but abundant in ghost stories.
There was the swamp through which
Sherman's soldiers had cut a road, and
near by was the hill - side where many
sunken hollows marked their graves. A
" spirit " could be raised there at a
thought's notice. Beck flew past these
unpleasant places, and her little hoofs
were clattering over the loose bridge at
the foot of the hill, where, the cemetery
ending, the plantation road began, when
she backed suddenly so suddenly that
the board tipped up and dropped Religion
into the bottom of the wagon.
Beck had some tricks like all of her
kind, and thinking this was one, Religion
was scrambling up and readjusting her
seat when she saw a face bending over
her that she never forgot a strange evil
face, the lower part hidden by a short
bushy beard, the upper by many thin
braids of hair curling at the ends. Be-
tween the two crops of hair she saw a
254 Harper's Novelettes
pair of small red eyes, dull and sleepy,
but with a curious gleam in them like
the eyes of the snakes in the swamp,
and thick widespread nostrils. She only
had time to note these features and the
thick rings of gold in the great ears
when the face disappeared, and, as if
they floated in the air, she heard the
"I am the seventh son of the seventh
daughter. I know all things. I can tell
you what is killing your sister."
Religion pulled up her rope reins, and
Beck flew up the road as if all Sher-
man's army were after her; nor did she
slacken until she reached the great gate-
way which turned into the Hermitage.
Only a flat-topped post remained of the
gate, and a boy of twelve, with a face like
Religion's, was perched on it.
"Hi, dar, 'Ligion! Ho, Beck!" he
cried. " Take me in an' give me a piece
of a ride anyway," and with a twinkle of
his long ashy legs he landed safely in the
"What you doin' here, Bud?" ques-
tioned his sister. "Why ain't you to
home with mammy and Min ?"
" Min done had one o' she wussest
spells, an' mammy sent me to Miss Tina
fur calomel. I heerd youna comin', an'
At the Hermitage 255
I waited; 'kase ridin' beats walkin' black
He looked up at her with, a sly giggle,
and crammed his mouth with persim-
mons. He expected a scolding for delay-
ing with the calomel, but his sister only
" Quit eatin' them 'simmons. Pres'n'y
we'll have to git calomel for youna."
They were passing through the quarter
now, where every one was getting supper.
The air was full of the appetizing odor of
frying corn-bread and bacon and boiling
coffee. Men sat on the door -steps or
smoked in groups under the fine oaks
which grew in the middle of the street,
waiting for the call to supper. Up at the
end of the row of houses, and separated a
little from them by a wild-plum thicket,
stood a house like a black stump just seen
above the green around it. It had what
none of the others possessed, a porch in
front, but the rotten frame -work had
dropped off piece by piece, until it was a
mystery how the heavy scuppernong vine
that grew upon it was supported. There
were lilies and roses in the clean bit of
front yard, and on a box was a number of
geraniums flourishing in tin cans. There
were boxes of violets, and a thick honey-
suckle was hugging a post and sending
256 Harper's Novelettes
out sweet yellow sprays. Beck drew up
before the house with a jerk that had de-
termination in it. Bud jumped out with
a boyish shout, but his sister caught his
" Hush, Bud I Don't you hear Min ?"
"Min made up that piece to-day," re-
sponded Bud, in a roaring whisper.
" Maw an' me's been scared pretty nigh to
death. Miss Tina say it ain't Min sing-
in', but that spell workin' on her."
The voice was sweet and rich, with an
undercurrent of sadness running through
that went to the heart. It seemed to wait
and tremble, then float and float away,
dying into softest melody. It was not the
untaught music of the plantation singers;
it was a voice exquisitely trained.
"Lord! Lord!" ejaculated Religion.
The words held a heartful of trouble.
She lowered the shafts gently and led
Beck round the house.
" That you, Religion ?" inquired a voice
from somewhere in the yard.
She could hear milk straining into a
pail, and the tramp of some animal over
" It's me, maw, an' I got enough to pay
the rent, and there'll be some over."
. "Youna mus' had good luck. Min '11
be more'n middlin' glad of a few crackers.
At the Hermitage 257
I thought sure the gal was gone to-day,
Religion," and a tall form rose up from
beside the cow and came towards the girl.
" I sut'n'y thought she was gone to-day,"
continued the mother. " She just died
off, and didn't 'pear to have no more life
in her than a dead bird. I was mighty
" Why youna didn't send fur me ?"
" Chile, I didn't want to worry youna.
Then the neighbors come in, 'kase I did a
big piece o' hollerin', an' they worked on
her and fetched her back ; I 'ain't been no
'count since. See how my hand trembles
She placed her hand on her daughter's
arm. It was large and hard, but all the
ploughing, hoeing, and wood-cutting that
she had done had not destroyed its fine
shape. It was cold and trembling.
Religion took it between her own square
thick ones. "Never mind, maw; she's
better now, 'kase she's singin' a new
piece. I'll go an' eat and do the errands,
so as to git back. You won't feel so bad
when I'm here."
The single thing which made the room
she entered different from all the other
rooms in the quarter was a white bed.
The two other beds had the usual patch-
work quilts and yellow slips. Religion
258 Harper's Novelettes
touched a light-wood splinter to the fire,
and holding the light above her head,
went up to the white bed. The face
on the pillow was of that pure lustrous
whiteness which is sometimes seen in
very young children; the features were
perfect. She seemed a creature of an en-
tirely different sphere as different from
Religion as a butterfly from a grub, and
yet there was an indefinable likeness be-
tween the two.
"I was waiting for you, 'Ligion," she
said, opening her eyes; "I want to tell
you something; come close, so ma and
Bud won't hear. A woman has been
here, a little old woman, and she sat on
the bed and told me some things. She
told me that Tina had cut off a piece of
my hair and hid it in a gum-tree in the
swamp, and that I never would be well
till my hair was found.
" I remember the night she combed my
hair, and how Mauma Amy said it was
bad luck to comb hair after dark; it was
so thick and long then, and it has come
out so since." She drew the long thin
brown braid between her fingers. " Why
should Tina want to hurt me? The only
harm I ever did her was to love her."
She burst into tears, and Religion
hugged her in mute sympathy; that was
At the Hermitage 259
her only way to comfort. When Min
was quiet, she stirred up the pillows and
smoothed out the white spread. Then
she took a tin cup full of clabber, poured
a little syrup upon it, and ate it heartily.
A plate of greens was hot on the hearth,
and a corn-cake was browning beautifully
in the bake-kettle. But there was no time
to eat the dainties.
John Robinson, the owner of Hermit-
age, was a single man. He was old,
feeble, and notoriously grasping, yet the
dirty, ill-smelling room which Religion
entered was strewn with choicest books,
sheets of music lay on the table and
chairs, and several rare violins lay on a
piano, whose mother-of-pearl keys glowed
in the red firelight.
"Who's that?" he called, in a cracked
old voice, the instant he heard Religion's
footsteps. He was wrapped in a cloak
and sunk in an arm-chair before the fire.
"Me, Marse John Minnie's Religion.
I've come to pay the rent."
" Oh, come in, girl ! Down, Bull !" he
piped to a great hound that was slowly
rising from a sheepskin. " It's fifty cents.
Sure you've got it all, and no nickels with
holes in them?"
She placed a little tobacco-bag in his
hand, and he leaned forward to the light
260 Harper's Novelettes
to count the money. He had a sharp,
pinched old face surrounded by shaggy
white hair. A portrait of him taken in a
long-past day hung over the fireplace. In
that he was a handsome man, with thick
chestnut-brown hair. His hands shook
so that the pieces of money dropped from
them and rolled upon the brick hearth.
A tall mulatto woman came from a near
room and picked them up<
" Count it over again, Tina," he com-
manded, " and see if it's all there and no
holes in it. You can't trust Religion
herself with money. How's your sister?"
"Min ain't no better; she ain't never
going to be no better in this world."
"Tut, tut!" he muttered. "There
should be some strength of will in that
girl. But, pshaw! she had a mother and
a line of nonentities behind her. I for-
got that. Is that money all right, Tina ?"
" It's all right, Marse John."
Tina was a beautiful woman, with the
smoothest brown skin, and black hair
coiled many times around a perfectly
The renters never waited long in Mr.
Robinson's presence when their business
was ended. But Religion only moved
back a little and lingered. Tina, bring-
ing a cup of cocoa, at last noticed her.
At the Hermitage 261
" Why, Religion, you're not gone."
"And why ain't you gone!" screamed
the old man.
" I I'm waiting for the receipt, sir."
" Waiting for the receipt ?" he shrieked.
"God and fury! things have come to a
pretty pass that a slave wench should
wait in my house for a receipt. Get out
of this, or Bull!"
" Stand still, Eeligion," cried Tina, as
the dog leaped up. " Down, Bull ! Marse
John " and her voice sank to a sweet,
soothing tone "you'd better not upset
yourself so ; you'll be sick."
She stroked his face and hair tenderly,
and when he lay back quiet in his chair,
worn out with his passion, she beckoned
to Religion to follow her. They went
into one of the rooms. The candle burn-
ing in it showed a bed, with posts reach-
ing to the ceiling, and an ancient mahog-
any chest. A handful of fire burned in
the deep fireplace, and before it crouched
Mack, an old slave of Mr. Robinson's
a miserable idiot, with just mind enough
to perform a very few menial services.
" Trick yer ! trick yer !" he piped, in a
high thin voice, like an old woman's.
"Done got de blacksnake's head an' de
dead baby's hand right hyar. Trick yer!
trick yer! Git out quick!" He kept up
262 Harper's Novelettes
the cry while Tina wrote the receipt, and
when she led the way to the door he pat-
tered after them. "Git out quick, 'fore
Tina trick yer. I done hope Tina trick
Religion turned fiercely. "Has you
tricked my sister and brung her to what
Tina laughed contemptuously. "Who
says I put a spell on Min ?"
" Min says it, an' Mack says it, an' I
b'lieves it. You always was jealous of
her, 'kase Marse John taught her, and
made more of her than he did of you."
" Then it's likely this spell will put her
out of my way," said Tina, all the sweet-
ness gone out of her voice and face, and
nothing but venom left. She turned to
go in, but Religion dropped on her knees
and clasped her feet.
"Oh, Tina! if you did put a spell on
Min, take it off, for Christ's sake. No-
body kin do it but you. Our pooty, pooty
Min! she be dyin' there before our eyes,
and we-uns can't do nothin'. Take the
ban off, an' I'll work for you the longest
day I live."
Tina dragged herself away and shut
the door heavily.
Religion was in the field scattering
At the Hermitage 263
pine straw, and Beck was there too, har-
nessed in company with a very lean Texas
pony. Her mother and Bud were in the
same occupation, but Mollie, the old
brown cow, drew their wagon.
Religion was crooning a solemn old
ditty, as she always did when alone and
" I just made up my mind this mornin'
that I'd got to do sumpin when IVfr. Erye
come for we-uns to scatter this straw.
An' I wish I knowed what to do. Oh,
Lord, don't I wish I knowed what to do.
There's Min been down on that air bed
one whole year come Christmas, and no-
body can't say what is the matter with
her. Sich a heap o' calomel, and quinine,
and turpentine, and doctor's stuff as she
has took, and 'tain't done no good. I
can't count the times I been to the tavern.
I know I brung off more'n two gallons of
the best whiskey, an' it's been mixed up
with pine-top, an' snakeroot, an' mullein,
an' I dun'no' what all, an' none of it 'ain't
done no good. An' Min is dyin' just as
fast as she can die. Oh, Lord!"
A fine mule, drawing a light road-cart,
trotted past. The driver was a short,
squat man, his face almost hidden in hair.
It was Dr. Buzzard. He was known for
miles as a successful " conjurer " and
264 Harper's Novelettes
giver of "hands." Most of the people
around had perfect faith in his cures and
revelations, and had advised Keligion to
try him, but the girl objected, vaguely
questioning reason and conscience, and
Min was getting worse. It was despair,
not belief, which made her whisper to
herself, " I'm goin* to see him this very
" Great day ! 'ain't we-uns had trouble !
Lord, Lord ! I b'lieve one-half this wurl'
has all the trouble fur all the rest, any-
Religion was on her way, and think-
ing over the family record as she walked.
The sun had set, the cotton-pickers were
in, and odors of supper were afloat. Re-
ligion was eating hers as she walked and
thought it was a finely browned ash-
cake, richly flavored with the cabbage
leaves in which it was baked.
The Beckets had always been very poor,
hard-working people, without any espe-
cial grace or finer touch of nature about
them. The two brothers had married two
sisters, and such marriages were consider-
When Religion was a little girl her fa-
ther broke his contract with his employer,
and to escape imprisonment he ran away.
Religion remembered his stolen visits at
At the Hermitage 265
night, and his silent caresses of her. Af-
ter a while the visits stopped. They heard
of him in a distant city, but he never
came back. His brother had died long
The widowed sisters stayed on the plan-
tation, and both were favorites of Mr.
Robinson. Min and Tina were half-sis-
ters. They were as opposite in character
as they were in appearance; everybody
loved Min; she sang like a bird, and her
voice had been carefully trained, and
some especial provision had been made for
its further cultivation when this strange
sickness overtook her.
Good nursing was unknown on the
plantations, or perhaps the slight cold,
which was the beginning of the end with
Min, might have been cured. Since no
member of the family had died with con-
sumption, it was not believed that she
could have it.
When all the home remedies and doc-
tors' prescriptions failed, there was but
one verdict, Min was "hurt." It was
known that her half-sister was not very
friendly nor over-scrupulous, and it was
believed that Tina, out of jealousy, had
thrown an evil spell.
The light was still lingering when Re-
ligion, turning out of the road, ran down
266 Harper's Novelettes
a narrow lane bordered with turpentine
woods on one side, and on the other by a
field of dead pines. Away back among
the latter was a substantial log house,
with good brick chimneys at either end.
There were several smaller buildings in
the yard, and in one a woman was stoop-
ing over the fire frying cakes, a young
man was thrumming a banjo, and a little
boy in scantiest jeans was careening
around to the inspiring strains of " Old
Joe kicking up behind and before."
Inside, the large low-ceiled room was
in a blaze of light. There was a tumbled
bed in one corner, a table covered with
dusty dishes and glass-ware in another,
and a large case filled with bottles, jugs,
and bundles occupied a third. Walls and
ceiling were hidden by packages of herbs
and strings of roots, while over the fire-
place were three shelves piled high with
cigar-boxes, carefully labelled.
Half buried in a great chair, his breast
bare, his sleeves rolled up above his el-
bows, the veins in his arms standing out
like cords, his legs wrapped in a blanket
and resting upon a stool, sat Dr. Buzzard,
to all appearances in a deep sleep. On
the floor, close to the hearth, was a most
evil-looking old crone, continually stir-
ring a pot bubbling on the coals. She
At the Hermitage 267
threw one glance at Religion, and went
on stirring. The doctor never moved.
A splendid - looking mulatto noiselessly
brought a box, and the girl subsided upon
There were other visitors. A young
man wanted help to get money that was
due him; another sought assistance in
settling a difficulty. A woman with a
child in her arms wanted to charm her
recreant husband back to her ; a sick one
desired relief from the spell which was
making her cough her life out.
But the great man slumbered on with
a gentle snore, and the old woman stirred
the pot. There was not a sound in the
room save his snore, the swish of the
spoon, and the occasional dropping of a
coal. Every one sat in silent, intense
expectation, waiting for they knew not
The oaken logs had died down to a bed
of glowing coals when suddenly a red
glare flashed from it. Religion closed
her eyes, blinded by the light. When
she opened them the doctor was sitting
upright, his head hanging back, his eyes
wide open and staring upward, and his
breast heaving as if in pain. His wife
was in the room holding whispered con-
sultations with each person. The men
268 Harper's Novelettes
stated their complaints briefly, but the
women detained her longer. When she
had been the round she glided back to
the side of the doctor.
Then in a low chant, sweet and sorrow-
ful, she repeated the story which each had
told her, running them into a continuous
recitative. The old woman rose from the
floor, and joining in the chant in a qua-
vering croon, sprinkled salt at the thresh-
olds of the doors and at the feet of every
person, ending by throwing a large hand-
ful up the chimney. It fell back and
sputtered and cracked in the fire. Seizing
one of the cigar-boxes, she sprinkled a
pinch of its contents over the fire. A
dense gray vapor rose. The doctor raised
his arms, and let them fall slowly, three
" The fire holds many secrets," he ut-
tered, in a hollow, unnatural voice, like
one talking in his sleep; "he who would
see his enemy about his work of destruc-
tion, let him look in the fire."
With eyes ready to start from her
head, Religion with the rest bent forward
to look. She saw, or thought she saw, in
the curling gray cloud a woman's face.
It seemed to take shape and expression,
as she gazed, until it grew familiar. The
forsaken woman, who had seen the face
At the Hermitage 269
of a successful rival, sank heavily upon
the floor. Some of the others screamed,
some moaned and prayed. The cloud
over the fire was repeated many times,
and dissolving into fantastic shapes, pict-
ured to the excited fancy of the others
their enemies and distresses. At last the
exhibition ended, and the visitors were
sent from the room, and called in again,
separately, to receive directions, medi-
cines, and charms against further evil.
Religion found the doctor sitting at the
table, surrounded by jugs, bottles, and
boxes, his wife and the old woman stand-
ing on either side. He still slept, breath-
ing heavily. His hands were on the
" A girl named Religion Becket inquir-
ing for her sister," spoke the doctor in
the same strange voice. " The sister
seems to be dying."
" Say yes close to his right ear," in-
structed the wife, and Religion did so.
" The doctors know nothing about the
case," responded the conjurer. "A red
scorpion is inside her body feeding on her
vitals. I see a woman hiding something
in a black-gum tree that hangs over run-
ning water. It is at the hour when spirits
walk. The first creature that runs over
the cleft where the hand is hidden is the
270 Harper's Novelettes
one to torment your sister. That first
creature is a red scorpion. Its young one
lives in your sister's side. I, even I, can
Like one moved by some power outside
of himself, his hands moved in the array
before him, lightly touching this or that
bottle and bundle until he found what
he sought. And like a careful druggist
he deliberately measured each ingredient,
giving clear directions at the same time.
When Religion came out she had a large
bottle of medicine, several huge plasters,
and orders for a bewildering list of root
teas, with a promise of an early visit
from the great man himself.
Religion was feeding the cane -mill.
Bud was on the other side drawing out
the crushed cane; the mother was under
the shed stirring the boiling syrup. Beck
was travelling round and round doing
the grinding. The sun was set. It would
soon be time to stop work. Religion
seemed to be expecting some one; she
never stooped to pick up an armful of
stalks without glancing up the road.
"What you keep lookin* up the road
for, 'Ligion?" inquired her mother, her
body swaying back and forth as she drew
or pushed the long wooden ladle.
At the Hermitage 271
" Nuthin.' I ain't lookin' fur nuthin'."
" I b'lieve there's a spell on youna too,"
said her mother, surveying her anxious-
ly. "I wish youna 'd be more keerful
and not put your fingers so close to the
"It's time to quit, anyhow," put in
Bud ; " the sun's 'way down, an' I'm
more'n middlin' hungry."
"You kin take the mule out an' go
home an' make the fire. Will you go
an' git supper, Religion, or stay an' stir ?"
"I reckon I'll stay and stir. You kin
bring me some supper when you come.
We'll be here half the night."
With another look up the road, where
the sunlight was fast fading, she took up
the wet bags which protected her dress,
and passed under the shed, glad to sit
down and rest her aching limbs. The
shed was a primitive affair, but every-
thing was convenient for syrup-boiling,
and the two long boilers were full of the
golden-brown liquid. There was nothing
to do but to stir continually and keep a
The short autumn twilight had died
out, and the fields and woods were slip-
ping into gloom. The cane-mill was in
the overseer's yard, and back of it the
quarter began. A multitude of sounds
272 Harper's Novelettes
came up to Religion's ear the crying of
babies, the laughing of children, the bark-
ing of dogs, the whistle of the boys rub-
bing off the mules, the scolding and call-
ing of women for wood and water. Night
was closing in. Religon stirred and
All Dr. Buzzard's instructions had been
carefully followed. He had come many
times, performed a variety of strange op-
erations, frightened and gladdened them
all one day by declaring that the red scor-
pion had passed out of her body through
her foot and run into the fire, that now
all danger was passed, pocketed thirty
dollars which Minnie and Religion had
obtained by giving a lien on Beck, the
old cow, all the corn in the crib, and ev-
ery article of furniture their cabin held;
and still Min was no better was worse,
indeed, with the worry of it all.
Some one was coming. " Is that you,
Bud?" she called.
The unnatural laugh that answered her
could belong to no one but Mack. Lift-
ing a blazing stick above her head, she
peered out into the darkness.
" Come fur youna," he mumbled.
"Miss Tina goin' on drefful; come fur
"You go, Religion," said a woman
At the Hermitage 273
who had come unperceived. " The Lord's
gwine to cl'ar up some t'ings what's took
place in this quarter. You go, an' I'll
stay an' stir."
Religion hurried away. She found
Tina tossing about in a pretty white bed,
her hands and feet bound in onions, her
whole body swathed in red flannel satu-
rated with turpentine, and her head band-
aged with dock leaves wet with vinegar.
There was a hot fire, and the room was
crowded with men and women.
Dr. Buzzard was there, with a black
calico bag, from which he frequently
drew a black bottle, examined it sharply
at the lamp, then gravely replaced it,
after which he always looked at and
pinched Tina's fingers.
"Mother," he said at last, addressing
himself to Tina's mother, " the time has
come for me to show you the cause of
your daughter's illness. She has been
hurt. She was too beautiful and well
loved to suit all I could name. An evil
hand was laid on her."
He took out his watch, looked at it
gravely, and laid it upon the table. Re-
moving his coat, he turned back the cuffs
of his brown shirt, then took off the
bandages from Tina's hands and feet.
He rubbed each arm from the shoulder
274 Harper's Novelettes
to the end of the fingers with one sweep,
first lightly, then harder, snapping his
fingers violently after every stroke. Tina
writhed under the treatment, then scream-
ed loudly, and tried to leap from the bed.
He called two men to hold her, and the
rubbing went on.
With each stroke he grew more and
more excited. He lifted his arms high
above his head, and bore down upon
Tina painfully. His eyes were burning,
and the perspiration pouring down his
face. He broke into a low humming,
and the women took it up, moaning in
concert, and rocking their bodies in sym-
Suddenly he yelled out, "Ah! there
it is; see there, see there; there he goes
into the fire, the miserable lizard, which
was purposely put into Tina's drink, and
has grown in her, and poisoned her blood
until I came to drive it out I"
Every one jumped to see the lizard,
and saw nothing but the glowing logs.
There was a faint smell of burning flesh.
The women fell back into their seats,
staring fearfully into each other's faces.
Tina sprang upright in bed.
" Min is down by the Black Run call-
ing me, an' I'm goin' to her. He told
me to put her hair and some stuff he
At the Hermitage 275
give me into a hole in the black-gum
that hangs over the stone, and I did it.
Before God! I never meant to hurt her.
I hated her because Marse thought more
of her than he did me. He taught her,
but he never taught me, and we was both
his children. But I never meant to hurt
her. Tell Religion so. I'm comin', Min;
yes, I'm comin' ; wait for me !"
She leaped upon the floor, but the un-
natural strength supplied by the delirium
of fever had fled. She dropped at Re-
ligion's feet with a cry like a wounded
Daylight found Religion in the lonely
swamp: only great pools of thick black
water and leaning trees shrouded in long
gray moss. The water lay still in those
levels until the sun dried it up. In just
one place was there the slightest move-
ment. A short descent sent a stream
slowly curling away under masses of
The only stone known to be in the
whole swamp was at the head of the
stream, on a tiny hillock formed of logs
and the debris of many freshets. It was
known as Ouffee's Stone, and the story
was that a slave escaping from his mas-
ter, and hiding in the swamp, had carried
the stone there to build his fire upon.
276 Harper's Novelettes
Close by, its sprawling roots washed by
the running water, was an immense black-
gum, in the branches of which the same
Cuffee had built himself a covert of
branches, from which he watched his
pursuers in their vain hunt for him. Had
Cuffee's shade, which was said still to
haunt the tree, been abroad at that hour,
it would have seen a girl narrowly scan-
ning the rough stem, to find some crack
or cleft in which anything might be hid-
And she found a small crevice which
would have escaped any but her search-
ing eyes. They lit up as if she had found
a rare treasure. Inserting the point of a
knife, she drew out a little bag wet and
mouldy. She never stopped to examine
it, but leaped from log to log through the
briers and water out of the swamp.
" Here's your hair, Min. Curl it round
your finger three times and throw it in
the fire. Oh, Min, now youna'll get well !"
A light shone in the sick girl's eyes.
"Yes, I shall get well. Come out and
listen to the music, Religion."
. " There isn't any music, Min. See the
"Yes, I see the hair; but, oh, the beau-
tiful music ! If I could only learn it I"
Religion clasped her close in her arms.
At the Hermitage 277
The water-oaks were in a golden-brown
haze, and the room was full of rich light.
But it swam in darkness before the ex-
A moment after she recovered herself,
but Min was well.
BY H. W. MCVICKAB
IT was the 17th of March, yet the sun
shone brilliantly, and the air was
soft and balmy as on any July day.
Even the good St. Patrick could have
found no possible cause for complaint.
Most of the invalids about the hotel
had ventured forth upon the terrace, and
sat in groups of twos and threes basking
in the sunshine. Their more fortunate
brethren who were sojourning merely for
rest after the arduous duties of a social
season had long since taken themselves
off to the pursuits best suited to their
inclinations and livers.
One exception, however, there was to
this general rule. A young man of some
thirty years of age, who, seated upon the
first step of a series leading from the
terrace to the road, semed quite content
The Reprisal 279
to enjoy the warmth and sunshine in a
purely passive way.
To some of those seated in their in-
valid-chairs it seemed as if he had not
moved or changed his position for hours,
and after a while his absolute repose
rather irritated them.
Nevertheless, he sat there with his el-
bows resting on his knees and a cigarette
between his lips. The cigarette had long
gone out, but to all appearances he was
blissfully unconscious of the fact.
A pair of rather attractive eyes were
gazing into space, and at times there was
a fine, sensitive expression about his lips,
but the rest of his features were com-
monplace, neither good nor bad. His
face being smooth-shaven gave him from
a distance a decidedly boyish appearance.
There was something, however, about
him which might be termed interesting,
something a trifle different from his
neighbors. Even his clothes had that
slight difference that hardly can be ex-
After a while his attention was drawn
to a very smart-looking trap, half dog
and half training cart, which for the past
fifteen minutes had been driven up and
down by the most diminutive of grooms.
Slowly he took in every detail, the high-
280 Harper's Novelettes
actioned hackney, the handsome harness,
the livery of the groom, even the wicker
basket under the seat with its padlock
hanging on the hasp. Lazily he attempt-
ed to decipher the monogram on the
cart's shining sides, but without success.
Five minutes more passed, and still up
and down drove the groom. Was its
owner never coming? he thought. Sure-
ly it must be a woman to keep it waiting
such a time. Little by little he became
more interested in the vehicle, and inci-
dentally in its mistress, and he found
himself conjecturing as to what manner
of person this was. Was she tall or short,
fat or lean, good figure or bad. On the
whole, he thought she must be "horsy."
That probably expressed it all.
How long these conjectures would
have lasted it would be hard to say, had
not just then the owner of the trap and
horse and diminutive groom herself put
in an appearance. She came out of the
hotel entrance drawing 011 one tan-color-
ed glove about three times too big for a
rather pretty hand. She wore a light-
colored driving-coat which reached to
her heels, and adorned with mother-of-
pearl buttons big enough to be used for
saucers. As she passed down the steps
he had a good opportunity to take her in,
The Reprisal 281
and when she stopped to give the horse
a lump of sugar, a still better chance for
observation was afforded.
He could hardly say whether she was
good-looking or not; he was inclined to
think she was. She had a very winning
smile this he noticed as she gave some
instructions to the groom. On the whole
his verdict was rather flattering than
otherwise, for she impressed him as be-
ing decidedely smart, and that with him
covered a multitude of sins.
At last she took up her skirts and
stepped into the cart, gathered up the
lines, and drew the whip from its socket.
The groom scrambled up somehow, and
after a little preliminary pawing of the
air, the horse and cart, driver and groom,
disappeared down the road.
"Hello, Jack! What are you doing
here sitting in the sun? Come along
and have a game of golf with me."
" Thanks ! By-the-bye, do you know
who that young woman is who has just
"Certainly; Miss Violet Easton, of
Washington; very fond of horses; keeps
a lot of hunters; rich as mud. Would
you like to know her?"
"Yes. Much obliged for the informa-
tion. Oh, play golf? No; it's a very
282 Harper's Novelettes
overrated game; you had better count
me out this morning."
An hour later, when she returned, had
she taken the trouble to notice, she would
have seen him still sitting at the top of
the same flight of steps, seemingly ab-
sorbed in nothing.
Three weeks had now passed since that
17th day of March, and Jack Mordaunt
had been introduced to Miss Easton ; had
walked and driven with Miss Easton;
had ridden Miss Easton's horses to the
hunt three times a week in fact, had
been seen so much in the society of the
young woman that gossips had already
begun to couple their names.
If , however, Miss Easton and Mr. Mor-
daunt were aware of this fact, it seemed
in no wise to trouble them, nor to cause
their meetings to be less frequent. A
very close observer might, if he had
taken the trouble to observe, have no-
ticed that on these various occasions
Miss Easton's color would be slightly ac-
centuated, and that there was a percepti-
ble, increase in the interest she was wont
to vouchsafe to the ordinary public. But
The Reprisal 283
then there were no close observers, or if
there were they had other things to in-
On this particular day it was then
ahout 2 P.M. Jack Mordaunt leaned
lazily against the office desk, deeply ab-
sorbed in the perusal of a letter. The
furrow that was quite distinct between
his eyes would seem to indicate that the
contents of the same were far from
Twice already had he read the epistle,
and was now engaged in going over it
for the third time.
He was faultlessly attired in his hunt-
ing things, this being Saturday and the
run of the week. Whatever disagreeable-
ness may have occurred, Jack Mordaunt
was at least a philosopher, and had no
intention of missing a meet so long as
Miss Easton was willing to see that he
was well mounted. His single-breasted
pink frock-coat was of the latest cut, and
his white moleskin breeches and black
pink-top boots were the best that London
makers could turn out. His silk hat and
gloves lay upon the office desk beside
" You seem vastly absorbed in that let-
ter, Mr. Mordaunt; this is the second
time I have tried to attract your atten-
284 Harper's Novelettes
tion, but with little success. I trust the
contents are more than interesting."
Jack whirled round to find himself
face to face with Miss Easton. Try as
he would, the telltale blood slowly mount-
ed to his tanned cheeks, suffusing his
entire face with a ruddy hue. Instinc-
tively he crumpled up the letter in his
hand and thrust it into his coat-pocket,
then, with a poor attempt at a smile,
answered her question. "Yes; the letter
contains disagreeable news, at least so
far as I am concerned. In fact, I will
have to return to New York Sunday
" But you are coming back ?"
He shook his head. " I fear it will be
Did he observe the quiver of her lips?
Perhaps so. Still, no one would have
known it as he stood there, swinging his
hunting-crop like a pendulum from one
And she well, the quiver did not last
long, and with a little laugh and shrug
she continued : " I suppose most pleasant
times come to an end, and perhaps it is
better that they should come too soon
than too late. But, Mr. Mordaunt, we
must be going that is, if we are to be
in time for the meet."
The Reprisal 285
"Where is it to be?"
"At Farmingdale, and that is twelve
Together they walked down the wide
corridor, and many an admiring glance
was bestowed upon them as they passed,
and many an insinuating wink and shrug
was given as soon as their backs were
Together they passed through the ho-
tel door on to the terrace and down the
steps those same steps upon which Jack
Mordaunt had sat just three weeks ago
and watched her drive away. There was
the same trap waiting, the same diminu-
tive-looking groom standing at the
horse's head. He helped her in, a trifle
more tenderly, perhaps, than was abso-
lutely necessary. Then he mounted to
the seat beside her, and away they drove,
the groom behind hanging on as by his
All during those twelve miles they
talked together of anything and every-
thing, save on the one subject which was
uppermost in their minds. Religiously
they abstained from discussing them-
selves, and yet they knew that sooner or
later that subject would have to be
broached. Instinctively, however, they
both avoided it, as if in their hearts
286 Harper's Novelettes
they knew that from it no good could
At Farmingdale, as they drove into
the stable-yard behind the little country
tavern, all thoughts but of the hunt were
banished, at least for the moment. They
were both too keen about the sport not to
feel their pulses quicken at the familiar
scene and sounds.
All the hunters had been sent over in
the morning, and stood ready in the ad-
joining stalls and sheds; grooms were
taking off and folding blankets, tighten-
ing girths and straps preparatory to the
start. In the middle of the stable-yard,
O'Rourke, the first whip, was struggling
with all his might and main to get into
his pink coat, which had grown a trifle
tight, and was giving the finishing
touches to his toilet, gazing at himself
in a broken piece of looking-glass that
a friendly groom was patiently holding
up before him.
Gentlemen and grooms were going and
coming, giving and receiving their final
instructions. The baying of the hounds,
and the dashes here and there of color
from pink coats, all went to make up a
most charming and exhilarating picture.
Into the midst of this noise and bustle
came Miss Easton and Jack. The groom
The Reprisal 287
scrambled down from his perch, and the
two got out. In an instant she was sur-
rounded by three or four men, all talking
at the same time and upon the same sub-
ject: "Was not the day superb?" "Did
she know which way the hounds were to
run ?" " Was she going to ride Mid-
night?" "What a beauty he was!" and
a great deal more of the same kind.
She was gracious to all, and when at
last Jack returned, followed by a groom
leading her horse, not one man of that
group but felt that Miss Easton was
simply charming, and any one who mar-
ried her was indeed in luck.
Jack stood aside to let young Martin
give her a lift into the saddle, and watch-
ed him somewhat wistfully as he ar-
ranged her straps and skirt. At the final
call every one sought his horse, mounted,
and away they went, chattering and
The run was one of the best of the sea-
son, and after it was over Jack found
himself riding by Miss Easton on their
Perhaps the others had ridden quite
fast, or perchance these two had gone at
a snail's pace, but when half-way home
they looked about them and found that
they were alone.
288 Harper's Novelettes
As far as the eye could reach along the
wooded road no living thing was to be
seen. The sun was setting like a globe
of fire, and the red shafts of light pene-
trated between the straight trunks of the
tall trees, bringing them out black
against the evening sky, while the soft
breeze moaned through their branches
laden with the odors of hemlock and
And this was the end. Another twenty
minutes and the hotel would loom up
before them, and the little farce, comedy,
or tragedy, whichever it might be, would
be finished. The curtain would fall, and
the two principal actors would disappear.
No art could have given a finer setting
to this the last act.
Neither cared to break the spell, and
so they rode in silence until it seemed as
if the intense stillness could no longer be
borne. It was she who first spoke:
"And so it is really good-by?"
For a long time he did not answer, but
gazed steadily ahead of him, looking into
"Yes/' he said at length, "it is good-
by; and it were better had it been good-
by three weeks ago."
He gave a little start, merely repeat-
The Reprisal 289
ing the word after her in a queer absent-
" Oh, I don't know."
Again silence fell upon them both.
"Violet," it was the first time he had
ever used that name.
Violet Easton turned in her saddle
and looked straight at him, trying to
Tead something in those dreamy eyes.
He met her gaze quietly.
" Why do you call me Violet?"
" Because because " He drew in his
breath sharply, and hesitated.
" Because " and she locked inquiring-
ly in his face.
" Don't ask me; please don't ask me. I
believe I am mad."
Again she let her eyes rest upon him
with the same earnest look of inquiry.
He turned away, and gazed absently
into the trees and underbrush.
In a few minutes she again spoke. " Is
this all you have to say, especially es-
pecially" and she paused a moment as
if searching for a word "if this is the
Again he turned and looked at her.
Their horses were now walking side by
side, and very close; one ungloved hand
lay upon her knee.
290 Harper's Novelettes
He leaned over and took it, and at-
tempted to draw her towards him.
" No, no, not that ; please not that."
" Can't you see can't you understand ?
You and I are going to part this very
night, in fact, and and Oh, please do
He paid little heed to what she was
saying, but drew her closer to him. The
blood rushed to her cheeks, suffusing
them with a deep red glow. Nearer and
nearer he drew her, until, half-resisting,
half -willing, her lips met his. It was but
for an instant, and then all was over.
She drew herself away from him, and
the blood faded from her face until it
was very white. Two tears welled up
into her big blue eyes, overflowed, and ran
down her cheeks.
" Oh, why did you do it ? Otherwise
we might have remained friends. But
now," and she looked him fair in the
face, while her words came slowly and
distinctly, "you belong to me, for you
are the only man that has ever kissed
A little shiver passed over Jack as he
heard her speak. He could find no ex-
planation for the feeling.
The next day Miss Easton found on her
The Reprisal 291
plate at breakfast a big bunch of red
roses. Attached to them was a card, and
on it the single word " Adieu I"
A month later Violet Easton sat at the
writing-desk in her little private parlor.
Her elbows were on the table, and her
head rested on her hands. Scalding tears
were in her eyes, and try as she would
they forced themselves down her cheeks.
Before her lay a letter, which she had
read for the twentieth time.
It was a simple, commonplace note at
best, and seemed hardly worthy of call-
ing forth such feeling. It ran as follows,
and was in a man's handwriting:
"My DEAR Miss EASTON, Remember-
ing that you told me you expected this
week to run up to New York, I write in
behalf of my wife to ask if you will give
us both the pleasure of your company at
dinner on Thursday evening.
"If you like, we can go afterwards to
" How is Midnight, and is he still per-
forming as brilliantly as ever?
" Sincerely, J. MORDAUNT."
292 Harper's Novelettes
At last, with a great effort, she stopped
her tears, and wiping her eyes with her
soaking handkerchief, drew out a piece of
note-paper from the blotter and began to
The first three attempts were evidently
failures, for she tore them up and threw
the pieces into a scrap-basket; the fourth
effort, however, seemed to prove satisfac-
"My DEAR MR. MORDAUNT, Many
thanks for your and your wife's kind
invitation. I have altered my plans, and
no longer expect to go to New York.
"Midnight is a friend I have never
" Very sincerely, VIOLET EASTON."
She read this over carefully, folded, and
placed it in an envelope. Upon it she
wrote the name of John Mordaunt, Esq.,
and the address, and ringing a bell, de-
livered the letter to a hall-boy to mail.
Long after midnight she was still sit-
ting there, gazing seemingly into space.
Jack Mordaunt looked for an instant at
the calendar which stood in front of him
upon his office desk.
In large numbers were printed 17, and
The Reprisal 293
underneath the month of March was reg-
istered. He stopped writing for a mo-
ment. Somehow that date had forced
his mind back just one year, and as he
sat there he was going over again the
incidents of that time. They were all so
vivid too vivid, in fact, to be altogether
pleasing. Had he forgotten Violet Eas-
ton? He had tried to forget her, but his
attempts were vain. Since they parted
he had never heard from or of her save
that one short note, and yet at odd in-
tervals her remembrance would force it-
self upon his mind. Her parting words,
" You belong to me," haunted him.
And now, just as he was imagining that
the little incident was to be forever for-
gotten, that date had brought up freshly
and distinctly every detail of those three
weeks. After all, what had he done? A
passing flirtation with an attractive girl!
To be sure, he had omitted to say that he
was married, but, after all, it was not
absolutely necessary for him to proclaim
his family history to every passing ac-
Somehow to-day the recollection of it
all irritated him. He felt out of sorts and
angry with himself, and inclined to place
the blame on others. He shrugged his
shoulders and went on with his work.
2 94 Harper's Novelettes
He would dismiss it all now and forever,
and yet, try as he would, it would persist
in coming back.
He threw down his pen and left the ta-
ble, going over to the window. The out-
look was far from encouraging, the March
wind blew in eddies along the street, and
now and then the rain came down in
sheets, so that the opposite buildings were
hardly visible. He shivered slightly; the
room felt cold. He went back to his desk
and rang the bell. One of the clerks
answered it at once.
"Jones, I wish you would turn on the
steam heat. The room seems chilly."
" Sorry, sir, but the steam is on full
blast. Is there anything else that you
" No ; you can go."
He sat down, and for the next hour
again tried to concentrate his mind upon
his work. It seemed useless. He looked
at his watch ; it was a quarter to six. " I
think I will have to go home," he mut-
tered to himself. " I don't feel very well,
John, the office-boy, here put in an ap-
pearance. " I beg pardon, Mr. Mordaunt,
if you don't want me any more to-night,
may I go? All the other clerks have
The Reprisal 295
" Yes." And John disappeared into the
A few minutes later he again put in his
head. " Mr. Mordaunt, a lady wishes to
see you ; shall I show her in ?"
The door was flung open, and Violet
So sudden and unexpected was her ap-
pearance that Jack had to grasp the desk
to steady himself. Really, he thought,
my nerves must be frightfully unstrung.
I think I must take a holiday. Aloud,
he said: "Why, Miss Easton, this is a
most unexpected pleasure. Won't you be
seated ? Can I be of any service to you ?"
He drew a chair up for her, and she
took it, and he sank back into his own.
And now for the first time he had an
opportunity to look at her, for she had
pushed up the heavy veil that covered
She looked ghastly white, and heavy
black rings were round her eyes. " Miss
Easton, you look ill. Can I get you any-
"Oh no. I am not ill."
He said no more, but waited for her to
speak. At last she did. " Mr. Mordaunt,
I thought a long time before troubling
you, but I decided that as it was purely a
296 Harper's Novelettes
matter of business you would not object.
I desire you to draw out my will, and, as
I am contemplating leaving the city to-
morrow, it would be a great convenience
if you could do it now and let me sign it.
Then perhaps you would be good enough
to keep it for me. I have my rea-
" I can assure you that I shall be more
than pleased to do anything you re-
"Then will you kindly write as I dic-
tate? Of course I wish you to put it
in legal form, as," and she smiled, " I
prefer to avoid litigation."
He drew towards him several sheets of
legal cap, and began to write as she dic-
He read it over to her when it was fin-
ished, and she nodded approval.
" And now, if you will execute it, I will
try and get the janitor and his wife to ac-
knowledge the* instrument. I regret to
say all my clerks have gone home."
He got up and left the room, returning
in a short time with the janitor and his
spouse. Miss Easton took the pen from
Jack's hand and wrote her name, Violet
Easton, in a clear, distinct manner. The
janitor subscribed his name as one of the
witnesses, and his wife did the same.
The Reprisal 297
Jack thanked them both for their
trouble, and they departed. He took the
document, and having placed it in an
envelope, sealed it with his own seal, and
put it away in the safe.
" I don't know how I can thank you,
Mr. Mordaunt. If you will kindly send
your account to me in Washington, it
will be paid."
Jack protested. " I could not think of
taking any pay for such a trifling ser-
vice, I assure you."
"Yes, but if I insist?"
" Oh, very well ; I will do as you wish."
"And now I must be going." She
rose from her chair and began drawing
on her gloves, while he sat and watched
her. Suddenly an irresistible desire seem-
ed to take possession of him. A desire in
some way to make amends for the past.
He pushed back his chair and stood
facing her. Several times he attempted
to speak, but no sound would come from
his parched and burning lips. He stretch-
ed forth his hand and took her ungloved
one, the same as he had done a year ago.
It seemed to him that it was icy cold.
Again he tried in vain to say something.
Slowly he drew her close, still closer to
him, until their lips again met in one
298 Harper's Novelettes
Her lips were cold, while his were burn-
ing hot. It seemed a long, long time be-
fore she gently disengaged herself from
his embrace. A sweet smile flitted across
her pale face.
" Yes," she said, as if speaking to her-
self, " this is the second time, but it will
be the last. And now I must be going.
He went with her into the hall and
down to the elevator, and saw her into the
cab. He forgot to ask her where she was
staying. His brain seemed to be on
The next morning he felt far from
well, and at the breakfast-table his wife
remarked upon his looks.
"Oh, it's nothing, dear; I think I am
a little overworked. As soon as I can
dispose of the Farley case I shall try and
get away, but it is too important to leave
before it is decided. Is there any news
in this morning's paper?"
"Nothing very startling, except I see
the death of your friend Miss Easton, in
"What!" Jack fairly grasped the ta-
ble for support. " Impossible ! There is
some mistake." He was now deathly
"Perhaps there is some mistake; but
The Reprisal 299
here is the notice," and she handed him
Hurriedly he ran his eye along the
death notices until he came to this
" EASTON, VIOLET. On the ITth day of
March, at the residence of her father, K
Street, Washington, of diphtheria, aged
twenty -three years. Notice of funeral
For some time he sat there as if
stunned, until his wife broke in upon his
" It seems to me," she said, " that you
take this matter very much to heart."
He did not answer her, but soon ex-
cused himself, and left the table.
He went straight to his office and into
his private room. With trembling fin-
gers he made out the combination of the
safe, and opened the heavy iron doors.
There, where he had placed it the night
before, lay the sealed envelope. Beads
of perspiration stood out upon his fore-
head, and he was shaking like an aspen
leaf. Surely, he thought, I must be ill
or mad. He took the envelope and tore
it open; his hands were trembling so
that he found it difficult to unfold the
document. There, at the bottom, in her
clear handwriting, was the signature of
300 Harper's Novelettes
Violet Easton. There, also, were the sig-
natures of the janior and his wife. In
feverish haste he read the will. It was
just as he had written it the night before.
It left all her money to her father with
the exception of a few gifts.
Midnight had been left to him. He
remembered protesting, but she had told
him that she was sure he would always
be kind to the animal.
He rang the bell, and John appeared.
"Did you show a lady in here last
night just before you went home ?"
" Are you positive ?"
" Go and get the janitor, and tell him
I wish to speak to him."
In a few minutes that dignitary put in
"Is that your signature?" and Jack
handed him the will.
" Yes, sir ; I signed it last night at your
request, and so did my wife."
" Was there a lady here at the time?"
" No, sir."
Jack put his hand up to his forehead.
"My God!" he muttered, "I must be
going mad." Suddenly everything began
to whirl about him, and he sank exhaust-
ed into his chair.
The Reprisal 301
"John," he said, "send for a cab; I
am feeling very ill, and must go home."
Pour days later he was dead. The
family doctor pronounced the case one
of malignant diphtheria.
Howells, William Dean
658 Shapes that haunt the dusk
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