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Shapes that 
Haunt the Dusk 



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 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- 

vi Introduction 

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 

Introduction vii 

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 


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 
primeval mourning. 

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 
has she?" 

"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 hoofs." 

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 
friendly Dutch. 

"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 

"They said" 


"The oxen." 

Hannah's hand shook, but she still 
spoke reassuringly. "Were you in the 
barn, Mary?" 

" 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 
morning.' " 

" 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 
notice her. 

" 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 
it on!" 

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," 
said Oalista. 

The little creature made no noise, but 
her father looked at her hard as he sat 
down to supper. "What's the matter?" 
he asked. 

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." 

"Yes, fine." 

" 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?" 

" No." 

" 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 
said, roughly. 

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." 

"What lady?" 

" 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 
overlook it." 

"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 
the rain. 

*'Es kann vor Nacht leicht anders werden, 
Als es am friihen Morgen war," 

Calista sang. 

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 

"Say what?" 

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 ?" 
she asked. 

" 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 
here." - 

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- 
lently by. 

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 
touch her." 

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 


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 
the event. 

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 
the path." 

" 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- 
er death. 

At last Auber spoke, laying a hand 
on my shoulder: "It is over; let us 
go ahead." 

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 
at all. 

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 
embarrassed silence. 

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- 
stood art. 

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 
for anything?" 

" 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 
dream 1" 

"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 
to rights. 

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- 
swered it: 

"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 
Who? Ezekiel." 

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 
of that.'" 

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 
of embarrassment. 

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 
he replied. 

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- 
tant brook. 

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 
to me." 

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 
lonely helplessness. 

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 
the horses. 

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 
said, casually. 

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 
asked her. 

"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 
table there." 

58 Harper's Novelettes 

I was standing between the table and 
the maid. 

" 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- 
plained respectfully. 

"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 

In Tcncfaras 

A Parable 


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: 


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 Parable. 

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 
municipal limits. 

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- 
ditioned few. 

So the result of the winter's talk was 
the founding of the East Haven Refuge, 
of which much has since been written 
and said. 

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 
to powder? 

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 
anything else. 

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 
very sick!" 

/ 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 
getting dark." 

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 
the spirit. 

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?" 
said Sandy. 

" 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 
be obeyed. 

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 
to cry. 

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 
and feet. 

"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 
fresh arrivals. 

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 

In Tenebras 


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 
as well. 

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 
little while." 

"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 
Sandy again. 

"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 
very sorry." 

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 
neighbor ?" 

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- 
formed drunkard. 

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 
of it." 

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 
him back. 

" 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'' 
said he. 

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 


" T T OW would it do for a smoking- 
room ?" 

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 
yellow calico." 

" 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, 
you know." 

"I hope they are half as nice as you 

"Roger, be still; they certainly will 
hear us." 

"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 
woman.' " 

"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, 
very quietly." 

" 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 
smaller one. 


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 
dreamed it? 

"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 
her imagination?" 

" 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 
about it?" 

" 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 
dreamed it?' 

" ' 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 
we know.' 

"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 
Mr. Grant. 

" 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 
little room." 

"And you won't mind Aunt Hannah's 
gray eyes?" 

" 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 
of memory. 

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 
early start. 

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 
room " 

" Oh" 

"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 
Mrs. Grant. 

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 
been there. 

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- 
tle room/' 

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 
Misses Keys." 

"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 


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 
so thorough." 

"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 
to work." 

" 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 
finding it." 

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, 


"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, 

" 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 
'Griiss' Gott!' 

" Lovingly, your namesake niece, 


" Midnight, June the first." 



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- 

Perdita 169 

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 
queer !" 

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- 

Perdita 171 

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- 
thing out. 

" 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 
for her." 

" 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- 

Perdita 173 

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 
her room. 

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 

Pcrdita 175 

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 


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 be?" 

" 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 
flower-like face. 

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 
funeral vault. 

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 
behind them. 

" 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 
to himself. 

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- 
dered expression. 

"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 
gone back?" 

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- 
cling trees. 

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 
into patois. 

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 world." 

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 
after her. 

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; 
"and then" 

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 
mother !" 

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 
that afternoon. 

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- 
lessly along. 

" 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 
their shoulders. 

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 
pale face. 

" 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 


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 
long disuse. 

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 
the studio. 

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- 
versation ended. 

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 
malarial quarter. 

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 
landlady entered. 

"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 
her hands. 

I took the first train for Naples, and 
have never been in Borne since. 

At the Hermitage 


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 
the plantation." 

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 
words : 

"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 
and blue." 

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 
dry shucks. 

" 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 
shaped head. 

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 
she is?" 

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- 
ed unlucky. 

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 
withdraw it." 

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 
steady fire. 

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 
youna quick." 

"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 
green briers. 

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- 
hausted girl. 

A moment after she recovered herself, 
but Min was well. 

The Reprisal 


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 
driven off?" 

"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- 
terest them. 

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 
miles away." 

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 
homeward journey. 

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- 
minded way. 

"Yes, why?" 

" 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 
my lips." 

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 
the play. 

" 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- 

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 
found wanting. 

" 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 
outer office. 

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 
Easton entered. 

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 
her face. 

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- 
sons " 

" 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 
long kiss. 

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 
the paper. 

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 ?" 

"No, sir." 

" Are you positive ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Go and get the janitor, and tell him 
I wish to speak to him." 

In a few minutes that dignitary put in 
an appearance. 

"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