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Full text of "A thoughtless yes"

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A THOUGHTLESS YES 



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A THOUGHTLESS YES 



BY 

HELEN H. GARDENER 

,/ 

AUTHOR OF 

"Men, Women and Gods," «' Sex in Brain," "Pulpit, Pew and 

Cradle," "Is This Your Son, My Lord?" "Pushed by 

Unseen Hands," " Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter," 

"An Unofficial Patriot," and " Facts and 

Fictions of Life" 




TENTH EDITION 



NEW YORK: 

R. F. FENNO & COMPANY 

Q AND I I EAST I 6tH STREET 



Copyright 1890 

BY 

HELEN H. GARDENER 



Dedication. 



To the many strangers who, after reading sncb 
of these stories as have before been printed, have 
written me letters that were thoughtful or gay or 
sad, I dedicate this volume. 

These letters have come from far and near ; 
from rich and from poor ; from Christian and 
from unbeliever ; from a bishop's palace and from 
behind prison walls. 

If this collection of stories shall give to my 
friends, known and unknown, as much pleasure 
and mental stimulus as their letters gave to 
me, I shall be content. 

HELEN H. GARDENER. 



CONTENTS. 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman, . 
The Lady of the Club, 

Under Protest 

For the Prosecution, . 

A Rusty Link in the Chain, 

The Boler House Mystery, 

The Time-lock of Our Ancestors, 

Florence Campbell's Fate, . 

My Patient's Story, 



PAGE 

9 

31 

57 

77 

99 

117 

155 
177 
211 



PREFACE TO THE EIGHTH EDITION. 

In issuing a new edition of this book, it has 
been thought wise to state that an unauthorized 
edition is now on the market, and it is desirable 
that the public shall know that all copies of this 
book not bearing the imprint of the Common- 
wealth Company are sold against the will and in 
violation of the rights of the author. 

Since some persons have been puzzled to make 
the connection between the title of the book and 
the stories themselves, and to apply Colonel Inger- 
soll's exquisite autograph sentiment more clearly, 
a part of "An Open Letter," which was written in 
reply to an editorial review of the book when it 
first appeared, is here reprinted, in the hope that it 
may remove the difficulty for all. 

AN OPEN LETTER. 

I have, this morning, read your review of "A 
Thoughtless Yes." I wish to thank you for the 
pleasant things said and also to make the connec- 
tion — which I am surprised to see did not present 
itself to your mind — between the title and the bur- 
den of the stories or sketches. 

It is not so easy as you may suppose to get a 



ii Preface to the Eighth Edition. 

title which shall be exactly and fully descriptive of 
a collection of tales or sketches, each one of which 
was written to suggest thoughts and questions on 
some particular topic or topics to which people 
usually pay the tribute of a thoughtless yes. With 
one — possibly two — exceptions each sketch means 
to suggest to the reader that there may be a very 
large question mark put after many of the social, 
religious, economic, medical, journalistic, or legal 
fiats of the present civilization. 

You say that "in 'The Lady of the Club ' she 
[meaning me] does not show how poverty results 
from a thoughtless yes. Perhaps she does not see 
that it does. ' ' I had in my mind exactly that point 
when I wrote the story and when I decided upon 
the title for the book. No, I do not attempt in such 
sketches to show how, but to show that, such and 
such conditions exist and that it is wrong. I want 
to suggest a question of the justice and the right of 
several things; but I want to leave each person free 
to think out, not my conclusion or remedy, but 
a conclusion and a remedy, and at all events to 
make him refuse, henceforth, the thougthless yes 
of timid acquiescence to things as they are simply 
because they are. In the "Lady of the Club" I 
meant to attack the impudent authority that makes 
such a condition of poverty possible, by calling 
sympathetic attention to its workings. There are 
one or two other ideas sustained by authority, to 
which, to the readers of that tale, I wished to make 



Preface to the Eighth Edition. iii 

a thoughtless yes henceforth impossible. At least 
I hoped to arouse a question. One is taxation of 
church property. I wished to point out that by 
shirking their honest debts churches heap still far- 
ther poverty and burden upon the poor. I hoped, 
too, to suggest that the idea of "charity," to which 
most people give a warmly thoughtless yes, must 
be an indignity or impossibility where, even they 
would say, it was most needed. I wanted to call 
attention to the fact that a physician and a man of 
tender heart and lofty soul were compelled to make 
themselves criminals, before the law, to even be 
kind to the dead. That conditions are so savage 
under the present system that such a case is abso- 
lutely hopeless while the victims live and outrage- 
ous after they are dead. To all of these dictates 
of impudent authority, to which most story readers 
pay the tribute of a thoughtless yes, I wanted to 
call attention in such a way that henceforth a 
question must arise in their minds. I hoped to 
show, too, that even so lofty a character as Roland 
Barker was tied hand and foot — until it made him 
almost a madman — by a system of economics and 
religion and law which so interlace as to sustain 
each other and combine to not only crush the poor 
but to prevent the rich from helping along even 
where they desire to do so. 

These were the main points upon which that 
particular tale was intended to arouse a mental at- 
titude of thoughtful protest There are other, minor 



iv Preface to the Eighth Edition. 

ones, which I need not trouble you to recall. If 
you will notice, nearly all of the tales end (or stop 
without an end) with an open question for the 
reader to settle — to settle his way, not mine. In- 
deed, I am not yet convinced that my own ideas 
of the changes needed and the way to bring them 
about are infallible. I am still open to conviction. 
I have tried to grasp the Socialist, Communist, An- 
archist, Single-tax, Free-land, and other ideas and 
to comprehend just what each could be fairly ex- 
pected to accomplish if established — to see the pros 
and cons of these and other schemes for social im- 
provement. 

These, and the varying cults ranged between, 
each seems to me to have certain strong points and 
certain weak ones. Each seems to me to overlook 
some essential feature; and yet I have no system 
to offer that I think would be better or would work 
better than some of these. Indeed, I do most earn- 
estly believe that the inspired way is yet to be struck 
out, and I do not believe that I am the one to do it. 
Meanwhile I can do some things. I can suggest 
questions, and, sometimes, answers. But I am 
not a god, and I do not want all people to answer 
my way. I do want to help prevent, now and 
henceforth, the tribute of a thoughtless yes from 
being given to a good many established wrongs. 

Since such able thinkers as you are have — in 
the main — already refused such tribute, I am per- 
fectly satisfied to let each of these answer the 



Preface to the Eighth Edition. v 

questions I have suggested or may suggest in my 
fiction in the way that seems most hopeful to him. 
Meantime, the vast majority of story readers 
have not yet had their emotions touched by the 
dramatic presentation of "the other side." Fic- 
tion has — in the main — worked to make them ac- 
cept without question all things as authority has 
presented them. Who knows but that a lofty dis- 
content may be stirred in some soul who can solve 
the awful problems and at the same time reconcile 
the various cults of warring philosophers so that 
they may combine for humanity and cease to di- 
vide for revenue — or personal pique ? I do not be- 
lieve that the province of a story is to assume to 
give the solution of philosophical questions that 
have puzzled and proved too much for the best and 
ablest brains. I have no doubt that fiction may 
stir and arouse to thought many who cannot un- 
derstand and will not heed essays or argument or 
preaching, while it may also present the same 
thoughts in a new light to those who do. Person- 
ally I do not believe in tacking on to fiction a 
"moral" or an "in conclusion" which shall 
switch all such aroused thoughts into one channel. 
Clear thinking and right feeling may lead some 
one, who is new to such protest, to solutions that 
I have not reached. So let us each question "im- 
pudent authority," whether it be in its stupid blind- 
ness to heredity or to environment; and I shall be 
content that you solve the new order by an appeal 



vi Preface to the Eighth Edition. 

to Anarchism via free land; or that Matilda Joslyn 
Gage solve it by the ballot for women and heredi- 
tary freedom from slavish instincts stamped upon 
a race born of superstitious and subject mothers. 

Personally I do not believe that all the free land, 
free money or freedom in the world, which shall 
leave the mothers of the race (whether in or out of 
marriage) a subject class or in a position to trans- 
mit to their children the vices or weaknesses of a 
dominated dependent, will ever succeed in popu- 
lating the world with self-reliant, self-respecting, 
honorable and capable people. 

On the other hand, I do not see how the ballot 
in the hands of woman will do for her all that many 
believe it will. That it is her right and would go 
far is clear; but after that, your question of eco- 
nomics touches her in a way that it does not and 
cannot touch men, and T am free to confess that 
as yet I have heard of no economic or social plan 
that would not of necessity, in my opinion, bear 
heaviest upon those who are mothers. So you 
will see that when I suggested the desirablity in 
"For the Prosecution" of having mothers on the 
bench and as jurors where a case touched points 
no man living does or can understand in all its 
phases, I do not think that would right all the 
wrong nor solve all the questions suggested by 
such a trial; but I thought it would help push the 
car of right and justice in the direction of light 
which we all hope is ahead. 



Preface to the Eighth Edition. vii 

You believe more in environment than in hered- 
ity; I believe in both, and that both are sadly and 
awfully awry, largely because too many people 
in too many ways pay to impudent authority the 
tribute of a thoughtless yes. 

It is one of the saddest things in this world to 
see the brave and earnest men who fight so nobly 
for better and fairer economic conditions for 
"Labor," pay, much too often, the tribute of a 
thoughtless yes to the absolute pauper status of all 
womanhood. They resent with spirit the idea 
that men should labor for a mere subsistence and 
always be dependent upon and at the financial 
mercy of the rich. They do not appear to see that 
to one-half of the race even that much economic 
independence would be a tremendous improve- 
ment upon her present status. How would Single- 
tax or Free-land help this ? You may reply that 
Anarchism would solve that problem. Would it ? 
With maternity and physical disabilities in the scale? 
To my mind, all the various economic schemes yet 
put forward lack an essential feature. They pro- 
vide for a free and better manhood, but they pay 
the tribute of a thoughtless yes to impudent au- 
thority in the case of womanhood, in many things. 
And so long as motherhood is serfhood, just so 
long will this world be populated with a race easy 
to subjugate, weak to resist oppression, criminal 
in its instincts of cruelty toward those in its power, 
and humble and subservient toward authority and 



viii Preface to the Eighth Edition. 

domination. Character rises but little above its 
source. The mother molds the man. If she 
have the status, the instincts, and the spirit of a 
subordinate, she will transmit these, and the more 
enlightened she is the surer is this, because of her 
consciousness of her own degradation. 

Look at the Kemmler horror. People all marvel 
at his "brutish nature and his desire to kill." No 
one says anything about the fact, which was 
merely mentioned at his trial, that his "father was 
a butcher and his mother helped in the business." 
Did you know that this is also true of Jesse Pome- 
roy; the boy who "from infancy tortured animals 
and killed whatever he could?" 

Would all this sort of thing mean absolutely 
nothing to women of the same social and scientific 
status enjoyed by the men who assisted at the 
trials of these two and at the legal murder of one? 
In ordinary women, of course, it would not stir 
very deep thought. But these were not ordinary 
men. They were far more than that Almost all 
the women who have spoken or written to me of 
the Kemmler horrer have touched that thought. 
Have you heard a man discuss it? Is there area- 
son for this ? Do we pay the tribute of a thought- 
less yes to all that clusters about the present ideas 
on such subjects and about their criminal medico- 
legal aspects? But this letter grows too long. 
With great respect and hearty good wishes, I am 
sincerely, Helen H. Gardener. 



H Splenoio Suoge of a Momam 



" We look at the one little woman's face we love, as we look at 
the face of our mother earth, and see all sorts of answers to 
our own yearnings" — GEORGE ELIOT. 



A SPLENDID JUDGE OF A WOMAN. 



" But after all it is not fair to blame her as you 
do, Cuthbert. She is what she must be. It is not 
at all strange. Midge — " 

" I am quite out of patience with you, Nora ; " 
exclaimed Cuthbert Wagner, vehemently. " How 
can you excuse her ? Midge, as you call her, has 
been no friend to you. She was deceitful and de- 
signing all along. She even tried in every way she 
could think of to undermine you in my affections !" 
He tossed his head contemptuously and strode to 
the window where he stood glaring out into the 
moonlight in fierce and indignant protest. His wife 
had so often spoken well of Margaret Mintern. 
She did not appear to hold the least resentment to- 
ward the school-friend of her past years, while 
Cuthbert could see nothing whatever that was good 
or deserving of praise in the character of the young 
lady in question. He was bitterly resentful because 
Margaret Mintern had spoken ill of his wife while 
she was only his betrothed, and Cuthbert Wagner 
did not forgive easily. 

Nora crossed the room with her swift, graceful 
tread, and the sweep of her lace gown over the 

ii 



12 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

thick rug had not reached her husband's ear as he 
stood thumping on the window pane. He started 
a little, therefore, when a soft hand was laid upon 
his arm and a softer face pressed itself close to his 
shoulder. 

" It is very sweet of you, dear," she said in her 
low, gentle voice, " It is very sweet of you to feel so 
keenly any thrust made at me ; but darling, you are 
unfair to Midge, poor girl! My heart used often 
to bleed for her. It must be terribly hard for her 
to fight her own nature, as she does, — as she must, 
— and lose the battle so often after all." 

"Fight fiddle-sticks!" said Cuthbert, and then 
went on grumbling in inarticulate sounds, at which 
his wife laughed out merrily. 

"Oh, boo, boo, boo," she said, pretending to 
imitate his unuttered words. 

" I don't believe a word of it. / know Margaret 
Mintern. Did I not room with her for three long 
years ? And do I not know that she is a good girl, 
and a very noble one, too, in spite of her little 
weakness of envy or jealousy? 

She can't help that. I am sure she must be 
terribly humiliated by it. Indeed, indeed, dear, I 
know that she is ; but she cannot master it. It is 
a part of # her. I do not know whether she was born 
with it or not ; but I do know that all of her life 
since she was a very little girl she has been so situ- 
ated that just that particular defect in her char- 
acter is the inevitable result. Don't you believe, 
Cuthbert, that all such things are natural produc- 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman,. 13 

tions ? Why, dearie, it seems to me that you might 
as reasonably feel angry with me because my hair 
is brown as toward Midge because her envy some- 
times overbears her better qualities. The real fault 
lies—" 

"O Nora, suppose you take the stump! Lecture 
on 'Whatever is is right,' and have done with it." 

"Aha, my dear," laughed his wife, "I have 
caught you napping again. I do not say that it is 
right ; but I do say that it is natural for Margaret 
to be just what she is. That is just the point 
people always overlook, it seems to me. Nature 
is wrong about half of the time — even inanimate 
nature. Just look over there! See those splendid 
mountains and the lovely little valley all touched 
with moonlight ; but, oh, how the eye longs for 
water! A lake, a splendid river, the ocean in the 
distance — something that is water — anything that 
is water ! But no, it is valley and mountain and 
mountain and valley, until the most beautiful 
spot in the world, when first you see it, grows 
hateful and tiresome and lacking in the most im- 
portant feature." 

Cuthbert laughed. " A lake would look well just 
over there by McGuire's barn, now, wouldn't it ? 
And, come to think of it, how a few mountains 
would improve things over at Newport or Long 
Beach." He stopped to thump a bug from his 
wife's shoulder. 

" How pretty you look in that black lace, little 
woman. I don't believe nature needed any im- 



14 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

prover once in her life anyhow — when she made 
you." 

Nora smiled. A pleased, gratified little dimple 
made itself visible at one corner of her mouth. 
Her husband stooped over and kissed it lightly, 
just as the portiere was drawn aside and a guest 
announced by James, the immaculate butler. 

"We've just been having a quarrel, Bailey," said 
Mr. Wagner, as he advanced to greet the visitor, 
"and now I mean to leave it to you if — " 

"Yes," drawled Mr. Bailey, "I noticed that as I 
came in. You were just punctuating your quarrel 
as James drew back the portiere. That is the reason 
I coughed so violently as I stepped inside. Don't 
be alarmed about my health. It isn't consumption. 
It is only assumption, I do assure you. I assumed 
that you assumed that you were alone — that there 
wasn't an interested spectator ; but, great Scott! 
Bert, I don't blame you, so don't apologize ; " and 
with a low bow of admiration to his friend's wife, 
he joined in the laugh. 

" But what was the row ? I'm consumed to hear 
it," he added, as they were seated. " I should be 
charmed to umpire the matter — so long as it ended 
that way. Now, go on ; but I want to give you 
fair warning, old man, that I am on Mrs. Wag- 
ner's side to start with, so you fire off your biggest 
guns and don't attempt to roll any twisted 
balls." 

" Curved balls," laughed Nora, "not twisted; and 
it seems to me you mixed your games just a wee 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 15 

bit. There isn't any game with guns and balls 
both, is there?" 

" Oh, yes, yes indeed," replied Mr. Bailey, 
promptly. " The old, old game in which there is 
brought to bear a battery of eyes." 

" Oh, don't," said Cuthbert. " I am not equal to 
it! But after all, I can't see that you are well out 
of this, Ned. Where do the balls come in ?" 

" What have you against eyeballs that roll in a 
fine frenzy when a battery of handsome eyes is 
trained upon a bashful fellow like me ?" he asked 
quite gravely, and then all three laughed and Cuth- 
bert pretended to faint. 

" I shall really have to protest, myself, if you go 
any farther, Mr. Bailey," said Nora. 

" You are getting into deep water, and if you are 
to be on my side in the coming contest, I want you 
to have a cool head and — " 

" A clean heart ; " put in Cuthbert. 

" Mrs. Wagner never asks for impossibilities, I 
am sure," said Mr. Bailey, dryly. 

" But she does. That is just it. She wants to 
make me believe that a girl who traduced her and 
acted like a little fiend generally, is an adorable 
creature — a natural production which couldn't help 
itself — had to behave that way. We — " 

" I believe I started in by saying that I should 
be on your side, Mrs. Wagner," said their guest, 
assuming a judicial attitude and bracing himself be- 
hind an imaginary pile of accumulated evidence, 
" but I'm beginning to wobble already. If Bert 



1 6 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

makes another home run like that, I warn you, 
madam, that while I shall endeavor to be a fair and 
impartial judge, I shall decide against you. 

Nora's eyes had a twinkle in their depths for an 
instant, but her face had grown grave. 

"Wait. Let me tell you," she said. "Even 
Cuthbert does not know just how it was — what 
went to make my old school-friend's character 
precisely what it became. It was like this: When 
she was a very little girl her father died, and the poor 
little mother went back home with her four young 
children, and her crushed pride, to bean additional 
burden to the already overburdened father, who was 
growing old and who had small children of his own 
still to educate and pilot through society. 

He had lost his hold on business when he went 
into the army ; and although he came home a gen- 
eral, quite covered with glory, a large family cannot 
live on glory, you know, and fame will not buy 
party dresses for three daughters and a grandchild." 

" I've noticed that," remarked Mr. Bailey, dryly. 

" The added importance of his position and the 
consequent publicity made the handsome party 
gowns all the more necessary, however," said Nora, 
not heeding the interruption, " and so the family 
had to do a great many things that were not pleasant 
to make even one end meet, as poor Midge used to 
say. 

The General loved brains and his granddaughter 
was very bright." 

Cuthbert gave a low whistle. He would not 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 1 7 

compromise. If he found one thing wrong in an 
acquaintance all things were wrong. It followed, 
therefore, in his mind, that since Margaret Min- 
tern had been guilty of envy, she was altogether 
unlikely to possess fine mental capabilities. He 
would not even allow that she was stylish and sang 
well. 

His wife took no notice of his outburst, but her 
color deepened a little as she went on. 

" She was the most clever girl mentally that I 
have ever known and she was a vast deal of service 
to me in the years we were together. She sharpened 
my wits and stimulated my thoughts in a thousand 
ways, for which I am her debtor still. But I am 
getting ahead of my story. As I say, the old Gen- 
eral worshipped brains, but he also adored beauty ; 
and, alas, his granddaughter was quite plain — " 

" Ugly as a hedge-fence, and I never could see 
that she was so superhumanly brilliant or stylish, 
as you claim, either," put in Cuthbert Wagner, as he 
leaned back in his deep chair with his eyes drawn 
to a narrow line. 

" She was almost exactly the same age of her 
Aunt Julia, the General's youngest daughter ; but 
Julia was a dream of beauty and of stupidity." 

" Situation is now quite plain," said Mr. Bailey. 
" The lovely Julie got there. She always does, 
and—" 

" Ah, but you must remember that in this case 
' there ' was the heart of the father of one and the 
grandfather of the other," said Nora, smiling. 



1 8 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

Her husband laughed outright and faced Mr. 
Bailey. 

" I rather think she has got you now, old man. 
In a case like that I'm hanged if I know how it 
would turn out — who would get there. The ele- 
ments won't mix. It is not the usual thing. 

" The beautiful stupid and the brilliant but plain 
are all right, — regular stage properties, so to speak, — 
but the grandfather! I'll wager if we tossed up 
for it, and you got heads and I got tails we'd both 
be wrong. 

" There is something actually uncanny in the aged 
grandparent ingredient in a conundrum like that. 
Now if it were a young fellow, — only the average 
donkey, — why of course the lovely Julia would 
bear off the palm and leave Midge, as Nora calls 
her, to pine away. But if it were a level-headed, 
middle-aged chap like me, brains would take pre- 
cedence." He waved his hand lightly toward his 
wife, who parted her lips over a set of little white 
teeth and a radiant smile burst forth. 

" You are a bold hypocrite, Bert," said Mr. Bailey. 
" You did not have to make any such choice, and 
you are not entitled to the least credit in the prem- 
ises. You got both." 

" This is really quite overwhelming," laughed 
Nora; "but—" 

" Why on earth did you call her attention to it, 
Ned," exclaimed Mr. Wagner, with great pretence 
of annoyance. " She would have swallowed it 
whole. I wonder why it is a woman so loves to be 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 19 

told that you married her for her intellect, when in 
nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of eight 
hundred and forty you did nothing of the kind, and 
she knows it perfectly well. You married her be- 
cause you loved her, brains or no brains, beauty or 
no beauty, and that's an end of it. Isn't that so, 
Ned ?" 

" Well, I'm not prepared to say, yet. I am 
umpire. I have not made up my mind which I 
shall marry — the lovely Julia, or the brilliant niece; 
but I think I shall in the long run." 

" God help you if you do!" said Cuthbert, dra- 
matically. " I don't know Julia, the beautiful; 
but I'd hate to see you married to a cat with uncut 
claws, Ned, much as I think you need dressing 
down from time to time." 

" Mrs. Wagner," said Mr. Bailey, turning to her, 
gravely, " I'm not paying the least attention to 
him, and I am eager to hear how the grandfather 
got out of it." 

"The grandfather!" exclaimed Nora, "why I 
had no idea of telling his story. It was the two 
girls I was interested in — or at least, in one of 
them; but that is just like a man. He — " 

She allowed her feather fan to fall in her lap 
and looked up helplessly. " But come to think of 
the other side, his story would be worth telling, 
wouldn't it ? It must have been a rather trying 
situation for him, too." 

She took the fan up again, and waved it before 
her, thoughtfully. " I wonder why I never thought 



20 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

of that before. I have always rather blamed him 
for developing his granddaughter's one sad defect. 
I thought he should have guarded her against it. 
And — I do wonder if it is because I am a woman 
that I never before thought how very difficult it 
must have been for him ?" 

" No doubt, no doubt," said her husband, dryly. 
" But now that we have shed a few tears over our 
mental shortcomings and lack of breadth of sym- 
pathy in overlooking the sad predicament of the 
doughty General, proceed. The umpire sleepeth 
apace, and I've got to have my shy at the 
charming Midge before weVe done with her," 
and he shut his paper-knife with a wicked little 
click. 

"You can see how it would be," Nora began 
again, quite gravely, and the gentlemen both smiled. 
" You can see how it would be. The grand- 
daughter was made to feel that she was in the way 
— was a burden. Her mother would urge her to 
become indispensable to the old General. To read 
to him, talk brightly to him, sing and play for him, 
watch his moods and meet them cleverly. It was 
all done as a race for his affections. Julia raced 
with her, setting her beauty and the other great 
fact that she was the child of his old age over 
against the entertaining qualities of her rival." 

Mr. Bailey drew his handkerchief across his brow 
and looked helplessly perplexed, while Cuthbert 
responded with a dreary shake of the head. 

" It is a clear case of ' The Lady or the Tiger,' 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 21 

yet, so far as I can see," said he. " Who got there, 
Bailey?" 

Mr. Bailey smiled despairingly, and shook his 
head, but said nothing. 

" It went on like that day after day, week after 
week, month after month, year after year," con- 
tinued Nora, looking steadily in front of her and 
shivering a little, " until they were both young 
ladies. The General gave a party to present them 
both to society at the same time. His grand- 
daughter tried to make him feel that he was repaid 
for the expense and trouble by the display of her 
exceptional powers as a conversationalist — Julia, 
by the display of her neck and shoulders, her ex- 
quisite rose-leaf face, and her childishly pretty 
manners. This sort of rivalry would have been 
well enough, no doubt, if it had not been for the 
fact that from childhood up to this culmination 
there had been a dash of bitterness in it, an un- 
der-current of antagonism; and poor Midge had 
always been the main sufferer, because she was 
very sensitive and she was made to feel that all 
she received was taken from her aunt Julia. 

To stand first with her father, Julia would do 
almost anything; and the ingenuity with which she 
devised cruel little stabs at Midge was simply 
phenomenal. To be absolutely necessary to him 
became almost a mania with his granddaughter." 

" If this thing goes on much longer, I am going 
to have a fit," Cuthbert announced, placidly. 

" The girl you judge so harshly, poor child, had 



22 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

a great many of them," said Nora, with an inflec- 
tion in her voice that checked a laugh on Mr. 
Bailey's lips. " Fits of depression, fits of anger, fits 
of sorrow, fits of shame and of indignation with her- 
self and with others. For there were times when 
she stooped to little meannesses which her sensitive 
soul abhorred. If intense effort resulted, after all, 
in failure, envy of her successful rival grew up in 
her heart; and, sometimes, if it were carefully cul- 
tivated by the pruning hook of sarcasm or an un- 
kind look of triumph, she would say or do a mean 
or underhand thing, and then regret it passionately 
when it was too late." 

Cuthbert gave a grunt of utter incredulity. 

" Regretted it so little she'd do it again next 
day," he grumbled. Nora went steadily on. 

" It grew to be the one spring and impulse of 
her whole nature — the necessity of her existence — 
to stand first with the ruling spirit wherever she 
was, whoever it might be. At school I have 
known her to sit up all night to make sure that 
she would be letter-perfect in her lessons the fol- 
lowing morning. Not because she cared for her 
studies so much as because she must feel that she 
stood first in the estimation of her teachers. And 
then, too, her grandfather would know and be proud 
of her. It got to be nature with her (I do not know 
how much of the tendency may have been born in 
her) to need to stand on the top wherever she was. 
(It has always seemed to me that the conditions sur- 
rounding her were quite enough to explain this char- 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 23 

acteristic without an appeal to a possible heredity 
of which I can know nothing.) Even where we 
boarded, although she disliked the women and 
looked down upon the young men, she made them 
all like her, and even went the length of allowing 
one young fellow to ask her to marry him simply 
because she saw that he was interested in me." 

" Humph! She—" began Cuthbert, but his wife 
held up her hand to check him, and did not pause 
in her story. 

" Up to that time she had not given him a thought, 
and she was very angry when he finally asked the 
great question. She thought that he should have 
known that such a girl as she was could not be for a 
man of his limitations. She felt insulted. She flew 
up stairs and cried with indignation. ' The mere 
idea!' she said to me. ' How dared he! The com- 
mon little biped!' I told her that she had en- 
couraged him, and had brought unnecessary pain 
upon him as well as regret upon herself. Then she 
was angry with me. By and by she put her hand 
out in the darkness and took mine and pressed it. 
Then she said, ' Nora, it was my fault; but — but — ' 
and then she began to sob again. ' But, Nora, I 
don't — know — why — I — did — it — and,' there was a 
long pause. " And, beside, I thought he was in love 
with you,' she sobbed out." 

" That was the whole story," said Cuthbert, re- 
sentfully. " She simply wanted to supplant you 
and—" 

" Yes, that was the whole story, as you say, dear," 



24 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

said his wife, gently; "but the poor girl could not 
help it. And — and she did not understand it her- 
self at all." 

" You make me provoked, Nora," said Cuthbert, 
almost sharply. " She wasn't a fool. She tried 
the same game on me a year or two later; but that 
time it didn't work. She even went the length of 
talking ill of you to me — saying little cutting 
things — when she found I had utterly succumbed 
to your attractions. I have to laugh yet when I 
think of it, — that is, when it don't make me too 
angry to laugh, — how I gave her a good round 
talking to." He laughed now at the recollec- 
tion. 

" She must have taken me for her delightful old 
grandparent the way I lectured her. But when I 
remembered how loyal you were to her, it just made 
my blood boil and I told her so." 

Mr. Bailey shifted his position and began to 
contemplate giving a verdict emphatically against 
the absent lady, when Nora checked him by a wave 
of her fan. 

" Yes, I know she did, Cuthbert, and I know 
everything you said to her. You were very cruel 
— if you had understood, as you did not and do 
not yet. She came and told me all about it." 
Cuthbert Wagner gave a low, incredulous whistle, 
and even Mr. Bailey looked sceptical. 

" She came back from that drive with you the 
most wretched girl you ever saw. Her humiliation 
was pitiful to see. Her self-reproach was touching 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 25 

and real. I believe she would have killed herself 
if I had seemed to blame her." 

Cuthbert snapped out: 

" Humph! Very likely; and gone and done the 
same thing again the next day." 

" Possibly that is true — if there had been a next 
day with a new temptation that was too strong for 
her on the shore where she landed after death. 
If—" 

" If the Almighty had shown a preference for 
some one else, hey ?" asked Mr. Bailey, flippantly. 

" No doubt, no doubt," acquiesced Nora. "But 
suppose you had a weak leg and it gave way at a 
critical moment — say just, when you were entering 
an opera box to greet a lady. Suppose it dropped 
you in a ridiculous or humiliating manner. You 
would rage and be distressed, and make up your 
mind not to let it occur again, except in the seclu- 
sion of your own apartments; but — well, it would be 
quite as likely to serve you the same trick the fol- 
lowing week, in church." 

" The illustration does not strike me as quite 
fair," said Mr. Bailey, judicially. 

" Good, Ned ! Don't let her argue you into an 
interest in that little cat. She was simply a mali- 
cious little — " 

" Wait, then," said Nora, ignoring her husband's 
outburst and looking steadily at Margaret Mintern's 
new judge, who was showing signs of passing a sen- 
tence no less severe than if it were delivered by 
Cuthbert Wagner himself. 



26 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

" Suppose we take your memory. Are there not 
some names or dates that will drop out at times 
and leave you awkwardly in the lurch?" 

" Well, rather," said Mr. Bailey, disgustedly. This 
was his weak spot. 

" Now, don't you see that a person who has a 
perfect memory might be as unfair to you as you 
are to my old school friend in her little moral weak- 
ness — if we may call it by so harsh a term as that ? 
That was her one vulnerable spot. It may have 
been born in her. That I do not know; but I in- 
sist that it was trained and drilled into her as much 
as her arithmetic or her catechism were, and with 
a result as inevitable. She loathed her fault, but it 
was too strong for her. Her resolution to conquer 
it dropped just short of success very often, indeed; 
and oh ! how it did hurt her when she realized it 
and thought it all over, for her motives were un- 
usually pure, and her moral sense was really very 
high indeed." 

" Moral sense was a little frayed at the edges, I 
think." 

" Don't, Cuthbert. You are such a cruelly se- 
vere judge. I know Mr. Bailey is on my side, now, 
and will think you very unfair. He does not mean 
to be, I assure you, Mr. Bailey, and if she had not 
spoken ill of me he would see the case fairly. But 
what are you thinking ?" 

" That it is a rather big question. That I — that 
I have overstayed my time. I just came over to 
ask you to dine with us next Thursday. My mother 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 2 J 

has some friends and wants you to meet them. May 
I leave my judicial decision open until then?" 

" Certainly. Pray over it," said Cuthbert, rising; 
"and if you don't come out on my side, openly, — as 
I know you are in your mind, — buy a wire mask. I 
won't have any dodging." 

" Come early. There is a secret to tell," laughed 
Mr. Bailey as he withdrew, and then he blushed 
furiously. " Mother's secret," he added, as he 
closed the door behind him. 

The evening of the dinner the Wagners were 
later than they had intended to be, and Mrs. Bailey 
took Nora aside and said quite abruptly: 

" I've got to pop it at you rather suddenly. Why 
didn't you come earlier ? The lady whom Ned is 
to marry is here, and it is for her I have given the 
dinner. Ned went to your house to tell you last 
week, but his heart failed him. He said you were 
all in such a gale of nonsense that he concluded to 
wait. It is a very tender subject with him, I assure 
you. His case is quite hopeless. He is madly in 
love, and I am very much pleased with his choice. 
She seems as nearly perfect as they ever are, and she 
is unusually talented. But here is Ned now. I 
have told her all about it, my son, come and be 
congratulated." 

He came forward shyly enough for a man of his 
years and experience, and took Nora's hand in a 
helpless way. But Cuthbert relieved matters at 
once by a hearty " Well, it is splendid, old fellow. 
I'm delighted. I—" 



28 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

" But before the others come down," broke in 
Mr. Bailey, as if to get away from the subject, " I 
want to get my discharge papers in that case you 
plead before me last week. It lies heavy on my 
soul, for I am very sorry to say, Mrs. Wagner, that 
I am compelled to give judgment against you and 
your client. I think she was — I'm with Cuthbert 
this time. She impresses me as almost without re- 
deeming qualities. I do not wish to make her ac- 
quaintance. I am sure that I could never force 
myself to take even a passing interest in that sort 
of a moral acrobat. Really, the lovely but selfish 
Julia would be my choice in a team of vicious lit- 
tle pacers like that. I'm sure I should detect your 
friend's fatal weakness in her every action. I should 
be unable to see anything but the hideous green- 
eyed monster even in the folds of her lace gowns 
or the coils of her shining hair. He would appear 
to me, ghost-like, peering over her shoulder in the 
midst of her most fascinating conversation. I should 
feel his fangs and see the glitter of his wicked 
eyes while I tried to say small nothings to her, 
and—" 

" Oh, not at all," protested Nora. " You would 
never detect it at all unless she happened to be 
fighting for your esteem or admiration where she 
felt that odds were against her. She — " 

" I beg your pardon, Mrs. Wagner, but I am 
quite sure that I should. Envy is to me the very 
worst trait in the human character. I could more 
easily excuse or be blinded to anything else. I 



A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 29 

know that I should detect it at once. I always do 
— especially in a woman." 

"Certainly. Anybody could. You know very 
well, Nora, that I saw — " began Cuthbert quite glee- 
fully; but as a salve to her wounded feelings Mr. 
Bailey added in a tone of conciliation to Nora: 

" However, I shall agree to let you test me some 
day. Present your friend to me, incog., and I'll 
wager — oh, anything that I shall read her like a book 
on sight. I'm a splendid judge of a woman. Always 
was from childhood. I'm sure that I should feel 
creepy the moment I saw the brilliant but envious 
granddaughter of the unfortunate old warrior. 
And by the way, he continues to be the one for 
whom you have enlisted my sympathy. I wonder 
that he was able to live two weeks in the same 
house with such a — " 

" Cat," said Cuthbert, with a vicious jab at a 
paper-weight which represented a solemn-looking 
Chinese god in brocade trousers. He was just 
turning to enter into a cheerful and elaborate 
statement of his side of the controversy, as Mrs. 
Bailey swept down the room with her son's be- 
trothed upon her arm, smiling and happy. 

" Margaret Mintern !" exclaimed Nora, in dis- 
may, and then — 

" I am so glad to see you again, dear, and to be 
able to congratulate you, instead of some fair un- 
known, upon the fact that you are to have so dear 
a friend of ours for a husband. We think every- 
thing of Mr. Bailey. He is Bert's best friend and — " 



30 A Splendid Judge of a Woman. 

Cuthbert had turned half away in utter confu- 
sion when he saw the ladies coming down the room, 
and feigned an absorption in the rotund Chinese 
deity which he had never displayed for the one of 
his own nation. But he bowed now, and mumbled 
some inarticulate sounds as he looked, not at the 
future Mrs. Bailey, but at the ridiculously happy 
face of her lover, whose usually ready tongue was 
silent as he hung upon the lightest tone of the 
brilliant woman beside him. As they passed into 
the dining-room, Nora managed to say to her hus- 
band: 

" Thank heaven we did not mention her name 
to him, and he evidently does not suspect. Pull 
yourself together and stumble through your part 
the best you can, dear, without attracting his at- 
tention. And then you know that he and you 
agree perfectly about the — cat," she added wick- 
edly, and then she smiled quietly as she took her 
seat next to the blissful lover and the relentless 
judge of the school friend of her youth. 



XTbe Xaoy of tbe Club* 



' l Poor naked wretches, wheresoever you are, 
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, 
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, 
Your looped, and window' 'd raggedness % defend you 
Fron seasons such as these ? O, I have ta'en 
Too tittle care of this ! Take physic, pomp; 
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel; 
That thou may's t shake the superftux to them, 
And show the heavens more just.' 1 '' 

Shakespeare 



THE LADY OF THE CLUB. 



The old and somewhat cynical saying, that phi- 
losophers and reformers can bear the griefs and 
woes of other people with a heroism and resigna- 
tion worthy of their creeds, would have fitted the 
case of Roland Barker only when shorn of the in- 
tentional sting of sarcasm. It is, nevertheless, true 
that even his nobly-gifted nature, his tender heart, 
and his alert brain sometimes failed to grasp the 
very pith and point of his own arguments. 

He was a wealthy man whose sympathies were 
earnestly with the poor and unfortunate. He be- 
lieved that he understood their sufferings, their 
ambitions, and their needs ; and his voice and pen 
were no more truly on the side of charity and 
brotherly kindness than was his purse. 

It was no unusual thing for him to attend a 
meeting, address a club, or take part in a memorial 
service, where his was the only hand unused to 
toil, and where he alone bore all expense, and then 
— after dressing himself in the most approved and 
faultless manner — become the guest of honor at 
some fashionable entertainment. Indeed, he was 

33 



34 The Lady of the Club. 

a leader in fashion as well as in philosophy, and at 
once a hero in Avenue A and on Murray Hill- 
On the evening of which I am about to tell you 
he had addressed a club of workingmen in their 
little dingy hall, taking as his subject " Realities of 
Life." He had sought to show them that poverty 
and toil are not, after all, the worst that can befall 
a man, and that the most acute misery dwells in 
palaces and is robed in purple. 

He spoke with the feeling of one who had him- 
self suffered— as, indeed, he had— from the unsym- 
pathetic associations of an uncongenial marriage. 
He portrayed, with deep feeling, the chill atmos- 
phere of a loveless home, whose wealth and glitter 
and lustre could never thrill and enrapture the 
heart as might the loving hand-clasp in the bare, 
chill rooms where sympathy and affection were the 
companions of poverty. 

I had admired his enthusiasm as he pictured the 
joy of sacrifice for the sake of those we love, and I 
had been deeply touched by his pathos — a pathos 
which I knew, alas, too well, sprang from a hungry 
heart — whether, as now, it beat beneath a simple 
coat of tweed or, as when hours later, it would 
still be the prisoner of its mighty longing, though 
clothed with elegance and seated at a banquet fit 
for princes. 

The last words fell slowly from his lips, and his 
eyes were dimmed, as were the eyes of all about 
me. His voice, so full of feeling, had hardly ceased 
to throb when, far back in the little hall, arose a 



The Lady of the Club. 35 

woman, thin and worn, and plainly clad, but show- 
ing traces of a beauty and refinement which had 
held their own and fought their way inch by inch 
in spite of poverty, anxiety, and tears. The chair- 
man recognized her and asked her to the platform. 

" No," she said, in a low, tremulous tone which 
showed at once her feeling and her culture — " no, 
I do not wish to take the platform; but since you 
ask for criticism of the kind speech we have just 
listened to, it has seemed to me that I might offer 
one, although I am a stranger to you all." 

Her voice trembled, and she held firmly to the 
back of a chair in front of her. The chairman 
signified his willingness to extend to her the privi- 
lege of the floor, and there was slight applause. 
She bowed and began again slowly: 

" I sometimes think that it is useless to ever try 
to make the suffering rich and the suffering poor 
understand each other. I do not question that the 
gentleman has tasted sorrow. All good men have. 
I do not question that his heart is warm and true 
and honest, and that he truly thinks what he has 
said ; but " — and here her voice broke a little and 
her lip trembled — " but he does not know what real 
suffering is. He cannot. No rich man can." 

There was a movement of impatience in the 
room, and some one said, loud enough to be heard, 
" If she thinks money can bring happiness she is 
badly left." 

There was a slight ripple of laughter at this, and 
even the serious face of Roland Barker grew almost 



36 The Lady of the Club. 

merry for a moment. Then the woman went on, 
without appearing to have noticed the interrup- 
tion: 

" I do not want to seem ungracious, and heaven 
knows, no one could mean more kindly what I say; 
but he has said that money is not needed to make 
us happy — only love ; and again he quotes that 
baseless old maxim, ' The love of money is the root 
of all evil.' " She paused, then went slowly on as 
if feeling her way and fearing to lose her hold 
upon herself : " I know it is a sad and cruel world 
even to the more fortunate, if they have hearts to 
feel and brains to think. To the unloving or un- 
loved there must be little worth; but they at least 
are spared the agony that sits where love and pov- 
erty have shaken hands with death" — her voice 
broke, and there was a painful silence in the room 
— " where those who love are wrung and torn by 
all the thousand fears and apprehensions of ills that 
are to come to wife and child and friend. The 
day has passed when all this talk of poverty and 
love — that love makes want an easy thing to bear 
— the day has passed, I say, when sane men ought 
to think, or wise men speak, such cruel, false, and 
harmful words. He truly says that money without 
love cannot bring happiness; but that is only half 
the truth, for love with poverty can bring, does 
bring, the keenest agony that mortals ever bore." 

There was a movement of dissent in the hall. 
She lifted her face a moment, contracted her lips, 
drew a long breath, and said: 



The Lady of the Club. 37 

" I will explain. Without the love, poverty were 
light enough to bear. What does it matter for 
one's self ? It is the love that gives the awful sting 
to want, and makes its cruel fingers grip the throat 
as never vise or grappling-hook took hold, and 
torture with a keener zest than fiends their victims ! 
Love and Poverty ! // is the combination that devils 
invented to make a hell on earth." 

All eyes were fastened on her white face now, and 
she was rushing on, her words, hot and impassioned, 
striking firm on every point she made. 

"Let me give you a case. In a home where 
comfort is — or wealth — a mother sits, watching by 
night and day the awful hand of Death reach 
nearer, closer to her precious babe, and nothing 
that skill or science can suggest will stay the hand 
or heal the aching heart ; and yet there is comfort 
in the thought that all was done that love and 
wealth and skill could do, and that it was Nature's 
way. But take from her the comfort of that 
thought. She watches with the same poor, break- 
ing heart, but with the knowledge, now, to keep 
her company, that science might, ah ! could, push 
back the end, could even cure her babe if but the 
means to pay for skill and change and wholesome 
food and air were hers. Is that no added pang? 
Is poverty no curse to her ? — a curse the deeper for 
her depth of love ? The rich know naught of this. 
It gives to life its wildest agony, to love its deepest 
hurt." 

She paused. There was a slight stir as if some 



38 The Lady of the Club. 

one had thought to offer applause, and then the 
silence fell again, and she began anew, with shining 
eyes and cheeks aflame. She swayed a little as she 
spoke and clutched the chair as for support. Her 
voice grew hoarse, and trembled, and she fixed her 
gaze upon a vacant chair: 

" But let me tell you of another case. A stone's 
throw from this hall, where pretty things are said 
*week after week — and kindly meant, I know — of 
poverty and love — of the blessedness of these — 
there is a living illustration, worth more than all 
the theories ever spun, to tell you what 'realities of 
life' must be where love is great and poverty holds 
sway. Picture, with me, the torture and despair of 
a refined and cultured woman who watches hour by 
hour the long months through, and sees the creep- 
ing feet of mental wreck and physical decay, and 
knows the mortal need of care and calm for him 
who is the whole of life to her, and for the want of 
that which others waste and hold as dross he must 
work on and on, hastening each day the end he does 
not see, which shall deprive him of all of life except 
the power for ill. . . . She will be worse than 
widowed and alone, for ever by her side sits Want, 
for him, tearing at every chord of heart and soul — 
not for herself — but for that dearer one, wrecked in 
the prime of life and left a clod endowed only with 
strength for cruel wrong, whose hand would sheath 
a knife in her dear heart and laugh with maniac 
glee at his mad deeds. She saw the end. She 
knew long months ago what was to be, if he must 



The Lady of the Club. 39 

toil and strain his nerve and brain for need of that 
which goes from knave to knave, and hoards itself 
within cathedral walls, where wise men meet to 
teach the poor contentment with their lot ! She 
knew he must not know; the knowledge of the 
shadow must be kept from his dear brain until the 
very end, by smiles, and cheer, and merry jest from 
her. Who dare tell her that riches are a curse? 
and prate of ' dross' and call on heaven to witness 
that its loss is only gain of joy and harbinger 
of higher, holier things ? Who dare call her as wit- 
ness for the bliss of poverty with love ?" 

She slowly raised her hand and, with a quick- 
drawn breath, pressed it against her side, and with 
her eyes still fastened on the vacant chair, and tears 
upon her cheeks, falling unchecked upon her heav- 
ing bosom, she held each listener silent and intent 
on every word she spoke. The time allotted anyone 
was long since overrun; but no one thought of that, 
and she went on: 

'"With love!' Ah, there is where the iron can 
burn and scar and open every wound afresh each 
day, make poverty a curse, a blight, a scourge, 
a vulture, iron-beaked, with claws of burning steel, 
that leave no nerve untouched, no drop of blood 
unshed. 

"'With love!' Tis there the hand of Poverty 
can deal the deadliest blows, and show, as nowhere 
else on earth, the value of that slandered, hoarded 
thing called wealth." 

There blazed into her face a fierce, indignant 



40 The Lady of the Club. 

light, her voice swelled out and struck upon the ear 
like fire-bells in the dead of night. 

"'The root of evil!' — 'poverty with love!' 
Hypocrisy, in purple velvet robed, behind stained 
glass, with strains of music falling on its ears, with 
table spread in banquet-hall below, bethought itself 
to argue thus to those itself had robbed; while, 
thoughtless of its meaning and its birth, the echo 
of its lying, treacherous words comes from the pal- 
lid lips of many a wretch whose life has been a fail- 
ure and an agony because of that which he himself 
extols. A lie once born contains a thousand lives, 
and holds at bay the struggling, feeble truth, if but 
that lie be fathered by a priest and mothered by a 
throne — as this one was J ' The root of evil ' is the 
spring of joy. Decry it those who will. And 
those who do not love, perchance, may laugh at all 
its need can mean; but to the loving, suffering poor 
bring no more cant, and cease to voice the hollow 
words of Ignorance and Hypocrisy. It is too cruel, 
and its deadly breath has long enough polluted 
sympathy and frozen up the springs of healthy 
thought, while sheathing venomed fangs in break- 
ing hearts. Recast your heartless creeds ! Your 
theories for the poor are built on these." 

She sank back into her chair white and ex- 
hausted. 

There was a wild burst of applause. A part of 
the audience, with that ear for sound and that lack 
of sense to be found in all such gatherings, had for- 
gotten that it was not listening to a burst of elo- 



The Lady of the Club. 41 

quence which had been duly written out and com- 
mitted to memory for the occasion. 

But Roland Barker sprang to his feet, held both 
his hands up, to command silence, and said, in a 
scarcely audible voice, as he trembled from head 
to foot: " Hush, hush ! She has told the truth! 
She has told the awful truth ! I never saw it all 
before. Heaven help you to bear it. It seems to 
me I cannot !" 

Several were pale and weeping. I turned to 
speak to the woman who had changed an evening's 
entertainment into a tragic scene; but she had 
slipped out during the excitement. I took Barker's 
arm and we walked towards the Avenue together. 
Neither of us spoke until we reached Madison 
Square. Here the poor fellow sank into a seat 
and pulled me down beside him. 

" Don't talk to me about theories after that," he 
said. " Great God ! I am more dead than alive. 
I feel fifty years older than when I went to that 
little hall to teach those people how to live by my 
fine philosophy, and I truly thought that I had 
tasted sorrow and found the key to resignation. 
Ye gods !" 

" Perhaps you have," I said. 

"Yes, yes," he replied, impatiently; "but sup- 
pose I had to face life day by day, hour by hour, as 
that woman pictured it — and she was a lady with 
as keen a sense of pain as I — what do you sup- 
pose my philosophy would do for me then ? 
Do you think I could endure it ? And I went 



42 The Lady of t lie Club. 

there to teach those people how to suffer and be 
strong !" 

" Look here, Barker," I said, " you'd better go 
home now and go to bed. You are cold and tired, 
and this won't help matters any." 

" What will ?" he asked. 

I made no reply. When we reached his door he 
asked again: 

"*Vh&t will ?" 

I shook my head and left him standing in the 
brilliant hall of his beautiful home, dazed and puz- 
zled and alone. 



II. 

The next time I met Roland Barker he grasped 
my hand and said excitedly: "I have found that 
woman ! What she said is all true. My God ! 
what is to be done ? I feel like a strong man tied 
hand and foot, while devilish vultures feed on the 
flesh of living babes before my eyes !" 

"Stop, Barker," I said; "stop, and go away for 
a while, or you will go mad. What have you been 
doing? Look at your hands; they tremble like the 
hands of a palsied man; and your face; why, 
Barker, your face is haggard and set, and your hair 
is actually turning gray ! What in the name of all 
that's holy have you been doing?" 

" Nothing, absolutely nothing !" he exclaimed 
" That is the trouble ! What can I do ? I tell you 



The Lady of the Club. 43 

something is wrong, Gordon, something is desper- 
ately wrong in this world. Look at that pile of 
stone over there: millions of dollars are built into 
that. It is opened once each week, aired, cleaned, 
and put in order for a fashionable audience dressed 
in silk and broadcloth. They call it a church, but 
it is simply a popular club house, which, unlike 
other club houses, hasn't the grace to pay its own 
taxes. They use that club house, let us say, three 
hours in all, each week, for what ? To listen to 
elaborate music and fine-spun theories about an- 
other world. They are asked to, and they give 
money to send these same theories to nations far 
away, who — to put it mildly — are quite as well off 
without them. Then that house is closed for a 
week, and those who sat there really believe that 
they have done what is right by their fellow-men ! 
Their natural consciences, their sense of right and 
justice, have been given an anaesthetic. ' The poor 
ye have with you always,' they are taught to be- 
lieve, is not only true, but right. I tell you, Gor- 
don, it is all perfectly damnable, and it seems to 
me that I cannot bear it when I remember that 
woman." 

" She is only one of a great many," I suggested. 

Roland Barker groaned: "My God! that is the 
trouble — so many that the thing seems hopeless. 
And to think that on every one of even these poor 
souls is laid another burden that that stone spire 
may go untaxed !" 

" Barker," I said, laying my hand on his arm, 



44 The Lady of the Club. 

"tell me what has forced all this upon you with 
such a terrible weight just now." 

" Not here, not now," he said. " I have written 
it down just as she told it to me — you know I 
learned stenography when I began taking an interest 
in public meetings. Well, I've just been copying 
those notes out. They are in my pocket," he said, 
laying his hand on his breast. " They seem to burn 
my very soul. I would not dare to trust myself to 
read them to you here. Come home with me." 

When we were seated in his magnificent library, 
he glanced about him, and with a wave of his hand 
said, with infinite satire: "You will notice the strik- 
ing appropriateness of the surroundings and the 
subject." 

"No doubt," I said. "I have often noticed that 
before, especially the last time I heard a sermon 
preached to three of the Vanderbilts, two Astors, 
five other millionaires, and about sixty more con- 
sistent Christians, all of whom were wealthy. The 
subject was Christ's advice to the rich young man, 
' Sell all thou hast and give to the poor.' But never 
mind; go on; the day has passed when deed and 
creed are supposed to hold the slightest relation to 
each other; and what is a $20,000 salary for if not 
to buy sufficient ability to explain it all sweetly 
away and administer, at the same time, an anaes- 
thetic to the natural consciences of men?" 

I settled myself in a large Turkish chair on one 
side of the splendidly carved table; he stood on the 
other side sorting a manuscript. Presently he 



The Lady of the Club. 45 

began reading it. "'When I married Frank 
Melville he was strong and grand and brave; a 
truer man never lived. He had been educated for 
the law. His practice was small, but we were able 
to live very well on what he made, and the prospect 
for the future was bright. We loved each other — 
but, ah ! there are no words to tell that. We 
worshipped each other as only two who have been 
happily mated can ever understand. We lived up 
to his salary. Perhaps you will say that that was 
not wise. We thought it was. A good appearance, 
a fairly good appearance at least, was all that 
we could make, and to hold his own in his pro- 
fession, this was necessary. You know how that is. 
A shabby-looking man soon loses his hold on 
paying clients. Of course he would not dress well 
and allow me to be ill-clad. He — he loved me. 
We were never able to lay by anything ; but we 
were young and strong and hopeful — and we loved 
each other.'" Barker's voice trembled. He looked 
at me a moment and then said very low: "If you 
could have seen her poor, tired, beautiful eyes when 
she said that." 

" I can imagine how she looked," I said. " She 
had a face one remembers." 

After a little he went on : " We had both been 
brought up to live well. Our friends were people of 
culture, and we — it will sound strange to you for 
me to say that our love and devotion were the ad- 
miration and talk of all of them. 

By-and-by I was taken ill. My husband could 



<( i 



46 The Lady of the Club. 

not bear to think of me as at home alone, suffering 
He stayed with me a great deal. I did not know 
that he was neglecting his business; I think he did 
not realize it then; he thought he could make it all 
up; he was strong and — he loved me. At last the 
doctors told him that I should die if he did not 
take me away; I ought to have an ocean voyage. 
It almost killed him that he could not give me that. 
We had not the money. He took me away a little 
while where I could breathe the salt air, and 
the good it did me made his heart only the sadder 
when he saw that it was true that all I needed was 
an ocean voyage. The climate of his home was 
slowly killing me. We bore it as long as we dared, 
and I got so weak that he almost went mad. Then 
we moved here, where my health was good. But it 
was a terrible task to get business; there were 
so many others like him, all fighting, as if for life, 
for money enough to live on from day to day. The 
strain was too much for him, and just as he began 
to gain a footing he fell ill, and — and if we had had 
money enough for him to take a rest then, and have 
proper care, good doctors, and be relieved from 
immediate anxiety, he would have gotten well, with 
my care — I loved him so ! But as it was — ' Shall I 
show you the end ?" Barker stopped, he was trem- 
bling violently, his eyes were full of tears. I waited. 
Presently he said, huskily: "Shall I tell you, Gor- 
don, what I saw? I have not gotten over it yet. 
She laid her finger on her lips and motioned me to 
follow. The room where we had been was poor and 



The Lady of the Club. 47 

bare. She took a key from her bosom, opened a 
door, and went in. I followed. Sitting in the only 
comfortable chair — which had been handsome once 
— was a magnificent-looking man, so far as mere 
physical proportions can make one that. 

" ' Darling,' she said tenderly, as if talking to a 
little child. ' Darling, I have brought you a pres- 
ent. Are you glad?' 

" She handed him a withered rose that I had 
carelessly dropped as I went in. 

" He arose, bowed to me when she presented me, 
waved me to his chair, took the flower, looked at 
her with infinite love, and said: ' To-morrow, little 
wife; wait till to-morrow.' 

" Then he sat down, evidently unconscious of 
my presence, and gazed steadily at her for a mo- 
ment, seeming to forget all else and to struggle 
with some thought that constantly eluded him. 
She patted his hand as if he were a child, smiling 
through her heart-break all the while, kissed him, 
and motioned me to precede her from the room. 

" When she came out she locked the door care- 
fully behind her, sank into a chair, covered her 
face with her hands, and sobbed as if her heart 
would break. After a while she said: ' A little 
money would have saved, him and now it is too late, 
too late. Sometimes he is violent, sometimes like 
that. The doctors say the end is not far off, and 
that any moment he may kill me, and afterwards 
awake to know it ! It is all the result of poverty 
with love!' she said. Then, passionately: 'If I 



48 The Lady of the Club. 

did not love him so I could bear it, but I cannot, 1 
cannot ! And how will he bear it if he ever harms 
me — and I not there to help him ?' " 

Barker stepped to the window to hide his emo- 
tion. Presently he said, in a voice that trembled: 
" If she did not love him so she could let him go 
to some— asylum; but she knows the end is sure, 
and not far off, and that the gleams of light he 
has are when he sees her face. She has parted 
with everything that made life attractive to keep 
food and warmth for him. She is simply existing 
now from day to day — one constant agony of soul 
and sense — waiting for the end. She allowed me 
to take a doctor to see him; I would have come 
for you, but you were out of town. He only con- 
firmed what others had told her a year ago. He 
advised her to have him put in a safe place before 
he did some violence; but she refused, and made 
us promise not to interfere. She said he would be 
able to harm no one but her, if he became violent 
at the last, and she was ready for that. It was 
easier far to live that way and wait for that each 
day than to have him taken away where he would 
be unhappy and perhaps ill-treated. He needed 
her care and love beside him every hour, and she 
— she needed nothing." 

Here Barker flung himself into a chair and let 
his head fall on his folded arms on the table. 

" That is the way love makes poverty easy to 
bear," he said, bitterly, after a time, and his trem- 
bling hands clinched tight together. 



The Lady of the Club. 49 

" Did you give her any money ?" I asked. 

He groaned. " Yes, yes, I— that is, I left some on 
the table under her sewing. She isn't the kind of 
woman one can offer charity. She — " 

" No," I said, " she isn't, and beside, for the 
pain that tortures her it is too late now for money 
to help. Only it may relieve her somewhat to feel 
sure that she can get what he needs to eat and 
wear and to keep him warm and allow her to be 
free from the necessity of outside work. I am glad 
you left the money. But — but — Barker, do you 
think she will use it, coming that way and from a 
stranger?" 

He looked up forlornly. " No, I don't," he said; 
" and yet she may. I will hope so; but if she does, 
what then ? The terrible question will still remain 
just where it was. That is no way to solve it; we 
can't bail out the ocean with a thimble. And 
what an infamous imposition all this talk is of 
* resignation ' to such as she; for her terrible calm, 
as she talked to me, had no hint of resignation in 
it. She is simply, calmly, quietly desperate now — 
and she is one of many." He groaned aloud. 

" Will you take me there the next time you go ?" 
I asked. 

" She said I must not come back; she could not 
be an object of curiosity — nor allow him to be. 
She said that she allowed me to come this time be- 
cause on the night we first saw her she had stepped 
into that little hall to keep herself from freezing in 
her thin clothes as she was making her way home, 



50 The Lady of the Club. 

and she saw that I was earnest in what I said, and 
she stayed to listen — " his voice broke again. 

Just then the drapery was drawn back, and his 
wife, superbly robed, swept in, bringing a bevy of 
girls. 

" Oh, Mr. Barker," said one, gayly, " you don't 
know what you missed to-night by deserting our 
theatre party; it was all so real — love in rags, you 
know, and all that sort of thing; only I really don't 
like to see quite so much attention paid to the 
' Suffering poor,' with a big S, and the lower classes 
generally. I think the stage can do far better than 
that, don't you ? But it is the new fad, I suppose, 
and after all I fancy it doesn't do much harm, only 
as it makes that sort of people more insufferably 
obtrusive about putting their ill-clad, bad-smelling 
woes before the rest of us. What a beautiful 
vase this is, Mrs. Barker ! May I take it to the 
light ?" 

" Certainly, my dear," laughed Mrs. Barker; " and 
I agree with you, as usual. I think it is an exqui- 
site vase — and that the stage is becoming demoral- 
ized. It is pandering to the low taste for represen- 
tations of low life. I confess I don't like it. That 
sort of people do not have the feelings to be hurt — 
the fine sensibilities and emotions attributed to 
them. Those grow up in refined and delicate sur- 
roundings. That is what I often tell Roland when 
he insists upon making himself unhappy over some 
new ' case ' of destitution. I tell him to send them 
five dollars by mail and not to worry himself, and I 



The Lady of the Club. 5 1 

won't allow him to worry me with his Christie-street 
emotions." 

Barker winced, and I excused myself and with- 
drew, speculating on certain phases of delicacy of 
feeling and fine sensibility. 



III. 

I did not see Barker again for nearly three weeks, 
when one night my bell was rung with unusual vio- 
lence, and I he^rd an excited voice in my hall. 
"Be quick, John; hurry," it said, "and tell the 
doctor I must see him at once. Tell him it is 
Roland Barker." 

John had evidently demurred at calling me at so 
late an hour. 

" All right, Barker; I'll be down in a moment," I 
called from above. " No, come up. You can tell 
me what is the matter while I dress. Is it for your- 
self ? There, go in that side room, I can hear you, 
and I'll be dressed in a moment." 

" Hurry, hurry," he said, excitedly, " I'll tell you 
on the way. I have my carriage. Don't wait to 
order yours, only hurry, hurry, hurry." 

Once in the carriage, I said: " Barker, you are 
going to use yourself up, this way. You can't keep 
this sort of thing up much longer. You'd better go 
abroad." 

" Drive faster," he called, to the man on top. 
Then to me, " If you are not the first doctor there, 



52 The Lady of the Club. 

there will be a dreadful scene. They will most 
likely arrest her for murder." 

" Whom ?" said I. " You have told me nothing, 
and how can I prevent that if a murder has been 
committed ?" 

" By giving her a regular death certificate," said 
he, coolly, " saying that you attended the case, and 
that it was a natural death. I depend upon you, 
Gordon; it would be simply infamous to make her 
suffer any more. I cannot help her now, but you 
can, you must. No one will know the truth but us, 
and afterwards we can help her — to forget. She is 
not an old woman; there may be something in life 
for her yet." 

" Is it the Lady of the Club ?" I asked. We had 
always called her that. " What has she done ?" 

" Yes," he said, " it is the ' Lady of the Club,' 
and she has poisoned her husband." 

"Good God !" exclaimed I; "and you want me 
to give her a regular death certificate and say I at- 
tended the case ?" 

" You must," he said; " it would be infamous not 
to. She could not bear it any longer. She found 
herself breaking down, and she would not leave 
him alive without her care and love. He had be- 
come almost helpless, except when short violent 
spells came on. These left him exhausted. He 
almost killed her in the last one. Her terror was 
that he would do so and then regain his reason — 
that he would know it afterwards and perhaps be 
dragged through the courts. She had been work- 



The Lady of the Club. 53 

ing in a chemist's office, it seems, when she was 
able to do anything. She took some aconitine, and 
to-night she put everything in perfect order, gave 
him the best supper she could, got him to bed, and 
then — gave him that. She sent for me and told me 
as calmly as — God ! it was the calm of absolute 
desperation. She sat there when I went in, holding 
his poor dead hand and kissing it reverently. She 
laid it down and told me what I tell you. There 
was not a tear, a moan, a sigh. She said: ' Here is 
the money you left — all except what I paid for his 
supper to-night. We had gotten down to that be- 
fore I had the chance to steal the poison or the 
courage to give it to him. I had not meant to use 
any of the money; the rest is here. I would like it 
used — if you are willing — to bury him decently, not 
in the Potter's Field, and I would like — if you will 
take the trouble — to have it done absolutely pri- 
vately. We have borne enough. I cannot bear for 
even his ashes to be subjected to any further hu- 
miliation.' " 

Roland Barker paused to command himself. 
" Of course I promised her," he went on, after a 
time. " She does not realize that she may be ar- 
rested and have his poor body desecrated to find 
the cause of death. That would make her insane 
— even if — Drive faster !" he called out again to 
the man outside. When we reached the house he 
said: " Be prepared to see her perfectly calm. It 
is frightful to witness, and I tremble for the result 
later on." 



54 The Lady of the Club. 

When we knocked on her door there was no re- 
sponse. I pushed it open and entered first. The 
room was empty. We went to the inner doer and 
rapped gently, then louder. There was no sound. 
Barker opened the door, and then stepped quickly 
back and closed it. " She is kneeling there by his 
bed," he said; "write the certificate here and give 
it to me. Then I will bring an undertaker and — 
he and I can attend to everything else. I did want 
you to see her. I think you should give her some- 
thing to make her sleep. That forced calm will 
make her lose her mind. She is so shattered you 
would not recognize her." 

" Stay here, Barker," I said; " I want to see her 
alone for a moment. I will tell her who I am and 
that you brought me — if I need to." 

He eyed me sharply, but I stepped hastily into 
the inner room. I touched the shoulder and then 
the forehead of the kneeling form. It did not 
move. " Just as I expected," I muttered, and lift- 
ing the lifeless body in my arms I laid it gently 
beside her husband. In one hand she held the vial 
from which she had taken the last drop of the 
deadly drug, and clasped in the other her husband's 
fingers. She had been dead but a few moments, 
and both she and her husband were robed for the 
grave. 

When I returned to the outer room I found 
Barker with a note in his hand, and a shocked and 
horrified look on his face. He glanced up at me 
through his tears. 



The Lady of the Club. 5 5 

" We were too late," he said. " She left this 
note for me. I found it here on the table. She 
meant to do it all along, and that is why she was 
so calm and had no fears for herself." 

" I thought so when you told me what she had 
done," said I. 

" Did you ? I did not for a moment, or I would 
have stayed and tried to reason her out of it." 

"It is best as it is," said I, " and you could not 
have reasoned her out of it. It was inevitable — 
after the rest. Take this certificate too; you will 
need both." 

When all was safely over, as we drove home 
from the new graves two days later, Barker said: 
" Is this the solution ?" 

I did not reply. 

Presently he said: " To the dead, who cannot 
suffer, we can be kind and shield them even from 
themselves. Is there no way to help the living ? 
A few hundred dollars, two short years ago, would 
have saved all this, and there was no way for her 
to get it. She knew it all then, and there was no 
help !" 

" Why did she not, in such a case as that, push 
back her pride and go to some one ? There must 
be thousands who would have gladly responded to 
such a call as that," I argued. 

He buried his face in his hands for a moment 
and shuddered. At last he said: "She did — she 
went to three good men, men who had known, 
been friendly with, admired her and her husband. 
Two of them are worth their millions, the other 



56 The Lady of the Club. 

one is rich. She only asked to borrow, and prom- 
ised to repay it herself if she had to live and work 
after he were dead to do it !" 

He paused. 

" You do not mean to tell me that they refused 
— and they old friends and rich?" I asked, 
amazed. 

" I mean to say just this: they one and all made 
some excuse; they did not let her have it." 

" She told them what the doctors said, and of 
her fears ?" 

" She did," he answered, sadly. 

" And yet you say they are good men !" I ex- 
claimed, indignantly. 

"Good, benevolent, charitable, every one of 
them," he answered. 

" Were you one of them, Barker ?" I asked, after 
a moment's pause. 

"Thank God, no !" he replied. "But perhaps 
in some other case I have done the same, if I only 
knew the whole story. Those men do not know 
this last, you must remember." 

" And the worst of it is, we dare not tell them," 
said I, as we parted. 

" No, we dare not," he replied, and left me 
standing with the copy of the burial certificate in 
my hand. 

" Natural causes ?" I said to myself, looking at 
it. " Died of natural causes — the brutality and 
selfishness of man — and poverty with love. Nat- 
ural causes ! Yes." And I closed my office door 
and turned out the light. 



TRnoer protest 



" This is my story, sir; a trifle, indeed, I assure you. 
Much more, perchance, might be said; but I hold him, of all 

men, most lightly 
Who swerves from the truth in his tale.'''' 

Bret Harte. 



UNDER PROTEST. 



When the new family moved into, and we were 
told had bought, the cottage nearest our own, we 
were naturally interested in finding out what kind 
of people they were, and whether we had gained or 
lost by the change of neighbors. 

In a summer place like this it makes a good deal 
of difference just what kind of people live so near 
to you that when you are sitting on your veranda 
and they are swinging in hammocks on theirs, the 
most of the conversation is common property, un- 
less you whisper, and one does not want to spend 
three or four months of each year mentally and 
verbally tiptoeing about one's own premises. Then, 
on the other hand, there are few less agreeable situa- 
tions to be placed in than to be forced to listen 
to confidences or quarrels with which you have 
nothing whatever to do, or else be deprived of the 
comforts and pleasures of out-door life, to secure 
which you endure so many other annoyances. 

Our new neighbors were, therefore, as you will 
admit, of the utmost interest and importance to us, 
and I was naturally very much pleased, at the end 
of the first week, when I returned one day from a 

59 



6o Under Protest. 

fishing party, from which my wife's headache had 
detained her, by the report she gave me of their 
attitude toward each other. (From her glowing 
estimate, I drew rose-colored pictures of their prob- 
able kindliness and generosity toward others.) Up 
to this time they had been but seldom outside of 
their house, and we had not gathered much infor- 
mation of their doings, except the fact that a good 
deal of nice furniture had come, and they appeared 
to be greatly taken up in beautifying and arranging 
their cottage. This much promised well, so far as 
it went; but we had not lived to our time of life 
not to find out, long ago, that the most exquisitely 
appointed houses sometimes lack the one essential 
feature; that is, ladies and gentlemen to occupy 
them. 

" They are lovely !" said my wife, the moment I 
entered the door, before I had been able to deposit 
my fishing-tackle and ask after her headache. 
"They are lovely; at least he is," she amended. 
"I am sure we shall be pleased with them; or, at 
least, with him. A man as careful of, and attentive 
to, his wife as he is can't help being an agreeable 
neighbor." 

" Good !" said I. " How did you find out ? 
And how is your headache ? — Had a disgusting 
time fishing. Glad you did not go. Sun was hot; 
breeze was hot; boatman's temper was a hundred 
and twenty in the shade; bait wouldn't stay on the 
hooks, and there weren't any fish any way. But 
how did you say your head is ?" 



Under Protest. 61 

" My head? " said my wife, with that retrospective 
tone women have, which seemed to indicate that if 
she had ever had a head, and if her head had ever 
ached, and if headache was a matter of sufficient 
importance to remember, in all human probability 
it had recovered in due time. " My head ? Oh, 
yes — Oh, it is all right; but you really never did 
see any one so tractable as that man. And adapt- 
able ! Why, it is a perfect wonder. Of course I 
had no business to look or listen; but I did. I 
just couldn't help it. The fact is, I thought they 
were quarrelling at first, and I almost fainted. I 
said to myself, ' If they are that kind of people we 
will sell out. I will not live under the constant 
drippings of ill-temper.' Quarrelling ought to be a 
penitentiary offence; that is, I mean the bicker- 
ings and naggings most people dignify by that 
name. I could endure a good, square, stand-up 
and knock down quarrel, that had some character 
to it; but the eternal differences, often expressed 
by the tones of voice only, I can't stand." I smiled 
an emphatic assent, and my wife went on. 

" Well, I must confess his tones of voice are, at 
times, against him; but I'm not sure that it is not 
due to the distance. All of his tones may not carry 
this far. I'm sure they don't, for when I first heard 
him, and made up my mind that it was a horrid, 
common, plebeian little row, I went to the west 
bedroom window — you know it looks directly into 
their kitchen — and what do you suppose I saw ?" 

The question was so sudden and wholly unex- 



62 Under Protest. 

pected, and my mental apparatus was so taken up 
with the story that I found myself with no ideas 
whatever on the subject. Indeed I do not believe 
that my wife wanted me to guess what she saw, 
half so much as she wanted breath; but I gave the 
only reply which the circumstances appeared to 
admit of, and which, I was pleased to see, in spite 
of its seeming inadequacy, was as perfectly satis- 
factory to the blessed little woman as if it had been 
made to order and proven a perfect fit. 

" I can't imagine," said I. 

" Of course you can't," she replied, pushing my 
crossed legs into position, and seating herself on my 
knees. 

" Of course you can't. A man couldn't. Well, 
it seems their servant left last night, and that 
blessed man was washing the dishes this morning. 
The difference of opinion had been over which one 
of them should do it." 

"Why, the confounded brute!" said I. " He is a 
good deal better able to do it than she is. She 
looks sick, and so long as he has no business 
to attend to down here, he has as much time as she 
and a good deal more strength to do that kind of 
work." 

" Well, I just knew you'd look at it that way," said 
my wife, with an inflection of pride and admiration 
which indicated that I had made a ten strike 
of some kind, of which few men — and not many 
women — would be capable. 

"But that was not it at all," continued she. 



Under Protest. 63 

I began laboriously to readjust my mental moor- 
ings to this seemingly complicated situation, and 
was on the verge of wondering why my wife was so 
pleased with me for simply making a mistake, when 
she began again, after giving me a little pat of 
unqualified satisfaction and sympathy. 

"They both wanted to do it. She said she 
wasn't a bit tired and could do it alone just as well 
as not, and he'd break the glasses with his funny, 
great, big fingers; and he said he'd be careful not 
to break anything, and that the dish-water would 
spoil her hands." 

" Good," said I, " I shall like the fellow. I " 

" Of course you will," my wife broke in, enthusi- 
astically ; " but that isn't all. I went to sleep after 
that, and later on was awakened by a loud — and 
as I thought at the time — a very angry voice. I 
went to the window again only to see a laughing 
scuffle between them over the potato-knife. She 
wanted to scrape them and he wanted to scrape 
them. Of course he got the knife, and it really did 
look too comical to see him work with those little 
bulbs. He put his whole mind on them, and he 
didn't catch her picking over the berries until she 
was nearly done. Then he scolded again. He 
said he did the potatoes to keep her from getting 
her thumb and forefinger black, and here she was 
with her whole hand covered with berry stain. He 
seemed really vexed, and I must say his voice 
doesn't carry this far as if he was half as nice as he 
is. I think there ought to be a chair of voices 



64 Under Protest. 

attached to every school-house — so to speak — and 
the result of the training made one of the tests of 
admission to the colleges of the country. Don't 
you?" 

Again I was wholly unprepared for her sudden 
question, and was only slowly clambering around 
the idea she had suggested, so I said — somewhat 
irrelevantly, no doubt — "It may be." 

She looked at me for a moment without speak- 
ing, and then said, as she got up and crossed the 
room: "You didn't hear a word I said, and you 
don't begin to appreciate that man anyway." 

" I did hear you, dear," I protested ; " I was lis- 
tening as hard as I could — and awfully interested — 
but a fellow can't skip along at that rate and have 
well-matured views on tap without a moment's 
warning. You've got to be like the noble ladies in 
the ' Lay of the Last Minstrel,' ' and give me heart 
and give me time.' Now they understood men. 
We're slow." 

She laughed and tied the last pink bow in 
the lace of a coquettish little white gown and 
dragged me out on the veranda. 

Our new neighbors were out ahead of us. 

"I don't think so at all, Margaret," we heard 
him say, as we took our chairs near the edge of the 
porch to catch any stray breeze that might be 
wandering our way. 

"Sh — ," we heard her say ; " don't talk so loud. 
They will think you are going to scalp me." 

" Oh, don't bother about the neighbors ; let 'em 



Under Protest. 65 

hear," said he, " let 'em think. Who cares ? If 
they haven't got anything better to do than sit 
around and think, they'd better move away from 
our neighborhood." 

" Sh — ," said she again, looking at him with 
a good deal of emphasis in her eyes. 

"Well, it is too bad, isn't it ?" acquiesced he, in a 
much lower voice, and one from which every vestige 
of the tone of protest had vanished. 

" It is too bad that these summer cottages are 
built so close together that you can't tie your shoes 
without being overheard by the folks next door ? It 
makes me nervous. I feel as if I had to sit up 
straight all the time and smile like a crocodile, or 
else run the risk of being misunderstood." 

" It. is trying, dear," she said, " and destroys a 
good deal of the comfort and ease of one's outing." 

" Nothing of the kind," began he, so explosively 
as to make my wife jump. 

" Sh — ," whispered the lady next door, but he 
went on. 

" Nothing of the kind. I don't let it bother me 
in the least. They can attend to their own affairs, 
and I " 



M 



Sh — ," said his wife ; " suppose we walk down 
to the beach." She began to adjust her wrap. 

" It is a good deal more comfortable here," 
he protested, " and besides I'm tired." 

" So you are, of course," she said, regretfully. 
" I forgot. Such unusual work for a man would 
tire him;" and she loosened the lace veil she 
had drawn over her head and reseated herself. 



66 Under Protest. 

" Well, are you ready ?" questioned he, clapping 
on his hat and suddenly starting down the steps. 

" Ready for what ?" asked she, in surprise. 

" The deuce, Margaret. I thought you said 
that you were going to the beach !" 

She got up, readjusted her veil, took her wrap 
on her arm, and ran lightly after him. 

" I wonder if I shall need this wrap ?" she said 
as she passed our gate. 

" Heavens ! no," he replied, " and it will heat you 
all up to carry it. Here, give it to me. I don't 
see what on earth you brought it for. I'm 
certainly hot enough without loading me up with 
this." 

" I will carry it," she said, cheerfully ; " I don't 
feel the heat on my arm as you do — or I'll run 
back and leave it on the porch. You walk slowly. 
I can easily catch up." 

She started; but he took the shawl from her, 
threw it lightly over his shoulder, and, pulling 
her hand through his arm, said gayly, and in 
the most compliant tone: "It isn't very warm. 
I won't notice this little thing and, besides, you'll 
need it down there, as like as not." 

When they were out of hearing my wife drew a 
long breath and said: " I wonder if we ever 
sound like that to other people ? — and yet, they 
seem to be devoted to each other," she added 
hastily. 

" They are, no doubt," said I, " only he appears 
to be a chronic kicker." 



Under Protest. 6j 

"A comic what?" said my wife, in so loud 
a tone that I involuntarily exclaimed " Sh — !" 

We both laughed. Then she said : " But really, 
dear, I didn't understand what you said he was. 
There doesn't seem to me to be anything comic 
about him, though. And " 

" Comic ! Well, I should think not," said I. 
" I should think it would be anything but comic to 
that little woman to go through that sort of thing 
every time she opened her mouth. What I said 
was that he seems to be a chronic kicker, and 
I might add — with some show of fairness — that he 
impresses me as the champion of Kicktown at 
that." 

" Sh — ," laughed my wife, " they're coming back." 

" I don't agree with you at all. There is no need 
to do anything of the kind," were the first words we 
heard from a somewhat distant couple, and my 
wife concluded that our new neighbors were not 
very far off. " It would be no end of trouble for 
you. You'd get all tired out ; and besides, what 
do we owe to the Joneses that makes it necessary 
for you to disturb all our little comforts to ask them 
down here ?" he continued. We could not hear 
her reply; but his protest and evident deep dis- 
satisfaction with the whole scheme went bravely 
on. 

She passed into the house and left him on the 
steps. When she came out a few moments later he 
said, sweetly: " As I was just saying, it will be quite 
a diversion for you to see the girls, and I'd enjoy 



68 Under Protest. 

the old man hugely. He's a jolly old coon ; and 
then we owe it to them after all they did for 
you." 

" What girls ? What old man is a jolly coon ?" 
asked she, in an utterly bewildered tone. 

" Margaret ! The Joneses, of course. Whom 
have we been talking about for the last half-hour ?" 
exploded he. 

" Oh," said she, having evidently quite given 
over asking the Joneses, and become occupied 
with other thoughts, " I thought the idea did not 
please you. But I'm so glad. It will do you good 
to have him here, and I shall be delighted." 

"Do me good !" exploded he. " Do me good! 
Tiresome old bore, if there ever was one. Women 
are queer fish to deal with, but I'm sure I don't 
care whom you invite here." 

Our neighbors withdrew for the night and we 
sighed with relief. About two o'clock my wife 
touched me to find if I was asleep. The move- 
ment was so stealthy that I inferred at once that 
there were burglars in the house. I was wide 
awake in an instant. 

" What is it ?" I whispered. 

" Well, I'm glad you're awake. I want to know 
what that was you called the man next door. I 
forgot what it was, and I couldn't sleep for trying 
to remember." 

I laughed. " I believe I said that he impressed 
me as one so addicted to the reprehensible habit 
of protest — on general principles, as it were — that 



Under Protest. 69, 

it had now become the normal condition of his 
mental constitution." 

" You didn't say any such thing," said she. 
"You—" 

" I believe that at the time of which you speak 
I allowed myself to be guilty of a habit you do not 
wholly admire; but I really had no idea it would 
keep you awake. I used slang. I said that he was 
a chronic kicker, and — " 

" That's it ! That's it !" exclaimed she, with 
deep satisfaction. " He's a ' chronic kicker.' Well, 
if you'll believe me, he hasn't stopped kicking 
long enough to say his prayers decently since we 
went to bed. First about what time it was ; then 
about which room they'd sleep in ; then there was 
too much cover ; then the windows were wrong ; 
then — oh, heavens ! — I wonder if he kicks in his 
sleep ? He always comes around to reason in 
time; but if there was ever anything more madden- 
ing to meet than that constant wall of protest — 
for the sake of protest — I don't know what it could 
be." 

" Nor — I," said I, half asleep. 

Presently her hand grasped mine vigorously, and 
I sprang up startled, for I had been sound asleep 
again. " What's the matter ?" I said, in a loud 
tone. 

" Sh — ," whispered my wife. " Don't speak in 
that tone. I'd rather people would think you 
stayed out nights, than to suppose you stayed at 
home and nagged me. He's at it again. I'd most 



yo Under Protest. 

gone to sleep and his voice nearly scared the life 
out of me. She wanted to close the window. He 
objected, of course; said he'd smother — sh — " 

Just then we heard our neighbor's wife ask 
sleepily: " What are you doing, dear?" 

" Closing this detestable window. Lets in too 
much salt air. 'Fraid you'll get chilled. I am. 
Where's another blanket ?" 

The window went down with a bang, and we 
heard no more of our neighbors that night. But 
the next morning the same thing began again, and 
I do not believe that during that entire summer he 
ever agreed with his wife the first time she spoke, 
nor failed to come around to her view after he 
took time to think it over. I remember when I 
was introduced to him, a week later, his wife 
said: " This is our nearest neighbor, you know, 
Thomas, and — " 

" No, he isn't, Margaret; the people back of us 
are nearer," he said. Then to me: "Pleased to 
meet you. I believe our wives have become quite 
good friends. I'm very glad for Margaret's sake, 
too. It's dull for her with only an old fellow like 
me to entertain her, and she not very well. And 
then, as she says, you are our nearest neighbor, 
and we really ought not to be too ceremonious at 
such a place as this." 

" I thought, Thomas," suggested his wife, " that 
you said one could not be too particular. Why, 
you quite blustered when I first told you I had 
made advances to some of the other — " 



Under Protest. yi 

" Nonsense ! I did nothing of the kind," broke 
in he. " What on earth ever put such an idea into 
your head, Margaret ? You know I always say that 
without pleasant neighbors, and friendly relations 
with them, a summer cottage is no place for a white 
man to live." 

My wife hastened to change the subject. Noth- 
ing on earth is more distasteful to her than a fam- 
ily contest, of even a very mild type, especially 
when the tones of voice seem to express more of 
indignation and a desire to override, than a mere 
difference of opinion. She thought the surf a safe 
subject. 

" Was not the water lovely to-day ? You were in, 
I suppose ?" she inquired of our neighbor's wife. 

" Yes, we were in," she began, enthusiastically. 
" It was perfect and — " 

" I don't know what you call perfect," broke in 
he, " I called it beastly. It was so cold I felt like 
a frog when I got out, and you looked half frozen. 
The fact is, this is too far north to bathe for pleas- 
ure in the surf. It may be good for one's health, 
but it is anything but pleasant. Now at Old Point 
Comfort it is different. I like it there." 

" Why, James," said his wife, " I thought you 
preferred this because of the more bracing and ex- 
hilarating effect." 

After a little more objection, which he seemed 
to think firmly established his independence, he 
ended his remarks thus: 

" Of course, as you say, it is more bracing. Yes, 



72 Under Protest. 

that's a fact, Margaret. I couldn't help noticing 
when I came out this morning that I felt like a 
new man, and you — why, 'pon my word, you looked 
as bright and rosy as a girl of sixteen. Oh, the 
surf here is great. It really is. I like it ; don't 
you?" 

This last he had addressed to me. I was so oc- 
cupied in a study of, and so astonished by, the 
facility with which he took his mental flops, after 
enjoying his little " kick," that I was taken off my 
feet by his sudden appeal to me, and was quite at 
a loss for a reply which would do justice to the oc- 
casion, and at the same time put a stop to the 
contest between husband and wife. 

But, as usual, my wife hastened to my rescue and 
covered my confusion by her gay little laugh and 
explanation. 

" Ha, ha, ha," she laughed, " you have caught 
my husband napping already. I know exactly 
where he was. He was lumbering along through 
an elaborate speculation on, and a comparison of, 
the relative merits of — " here she began telling 
them off on her fingers to the great amusement of 
our neighbors — " first, fresh and salt water bathing; 
second, the method, time, place, and condition 
of each as affected by the moon, stars, and Gulf 
Stream. He was, most likely, climbing over Nor- 
way with a thermometer, or poking a test-tube of 
some kind into the semi-liquefaction which passes 
itself off as water to those unfortunates who are 
stranded along the shores of the Mississippi. Just 



Under Protest. 73 

wait; one of these days he will get down to our 
discussion and he'll agree with us when he gets 
there. But don't hurry him." 

We all joined in the laugh at my expense; and I 
remarked that I had served so long as a target for 
my wife's fun that even if I could skip around, 
mentally, at as lively a rate as she seemed to ex- 
pect, I would pretend that I couldn't, in order not 
to deprive her of her chief source of amusement. 
At this point our neighbor's new cook came to the 
edge of their porch and asked her mistress if she 
might speak to her for a moment. She arose to go. 

" Oh, thunder, Margaret, I hope you don't in- 
tend to allow that worthless girl to call you home 
every time you go any place. Tell her to wait. It 
can't be much she wants,"' said our neighbor. 

" Jane," said his wife sweetly, reseating herself, 
" you can wait until I come home. It won't be 
long." 

" I wonder if you'd better do that, Margaret," 
said he, just as our wives had begun to discuss 
something relative to housekeeping. " Jane is a 
good girl, and she wouldn't call you if it were not 
something important, Don't you think we had 
better go at once?" 

" I did think so." said she. and bidding us good- 
night our neighbors crossed the lawn and re-en- 
tered their own door and closed it for the night. 

After a long pause my wife said, in a stage 
whisper: " I suppose it is his way of showing that 
he is ' boss,' as the boys say — the final appeal in his 



74 Under Protest. 

own household — his idea of the dignity of the mas- 
culine prerogative." 

A sudden stop. I thought she expected me to 
say something, so I began: 

I don't know. I doubt it. It looks to me like 
a case of — " 

" Don't ! don't !" exclaimed my wife, in tragic 
accents, " oh, don't catch it. I really couldn't live 
with a chronic objector. Anything else. I really 
believe I could stand any other phase of bullying 
better than that— to feel that at any minute I am 
liable to run against a solid wall of ' I don't agree 
with yous!' If it were real I wouldn't mind it so 
much; but to hear that man ' kick,' as you say, 
just for the sake of asserting himself, and then 
come around as he does, is perfectly maddening. 
The very first symptom I see in you I shall look 
upon it as a danger signal — I'll move." 

At that moment, before our quiet little laugh, at 
their expense, had died away, there floated out 
from the bedroom window of our neighbors' cot- 
tage, this refrain: 

" Well, goodness knows, Margaret, / didn't want 
to come home. I knew it was all perfect nonsense. 
If you—" 

My wife suddenly arose, took me by the hand 
and said quite seriously: " Come in the house, 
dear. This atmosphere is too unwholesome to en- 
dure any longer." 

The next day she said to me, " Let's go to Old 
Point Comfort next year." 



Under Protest, 75 

" All right," said I; "but what shall we do with 
the cottage ? You know we hold the lease for an- 
other year, with the ' refusal ' to buy." 

" Rent it to your worst enemy, or, better still, 
get him to buy it. Just think of the exquisite re- 
venge you could take that way. Twenty-four 
hours every day, for four long months each year, to 
know that you had him planted next door to a 
'chronic kicker.' Or don't you hate anybody bad 
enough for that?" and my wife actually shuddered. 

"I don't believe I do, dear," said I; " but I'll do 
my level best to rent it to him for one season. You 
know I wouldn't care to murder him; if he's hope- 
lessly maimed I'll be satisfied." 

We both laughed; but the next dav I advertised 
the lease, ot a cottage for sale very cneap, and gave 
as a reason my desire to go where there were fewer 
people. I think this will catch my enemy. He 
likes a crowd, and he'd enjoy nothing better than 
to feel that I was forced to pay half of his rent. 
So I marked the paper and sent it to him, and con- 
fidently await the result. 



jfor tbe prosecution. 



" So deeply inherent is it in this life of ours tJzat men have to 
suffer for each other's sins, so inevitably diffusive is human suffer- 
ing, that even Justice makes its victims, and we can conceive no 
retribution that does not spread beyond its mark in pulsations of 
unmerited pain." — George Eliot. 



FOR THE PROSECUTION. 



Shortly Mter Fred Mathews began the practice 
of law he was elected to the office of Prosecuting 
Attorney in the Western town to which he had 
gone when first admitted to the bar. 

Of course, every law student becomes familiar 
with the jests and gibes cast at the members of the 
profession as men who are peculiarly economical of 
the truth. He smiles with those who hint that a 
lawyer is always lavish of advice that leads to liti- 
gation. 

That students of Blackstone and Coke hear much 
merrymaking over and some serious criticism of 
the quibbles to which the best of them are sup- 
posed to resort — of making little of real evidence 
and much of trivialities — goes without saying. 
Nor are they unaware of the fact — alas! sometimes 
too well founded upon strong evidence — that the 
general public appears to be convinced that laws 
are made for the purpose of shielding the rich and 
oppressing the poor or unfortunate. 

No student of average ability enters practice 

79 



8o For the Prosecution. 

uninformed that there is a widespread belief that a 
man of social position or financial power has little 
to fear as a result of his misdeeds, while his less 
fortunate neighbor could not hope to escape the 
worst legal consequences of his most trivial lapse 
from rectitude. 

Fred Mathews had made up his mind — as many 
a young fellow had done before him — that he 
would do everything in his power to hold the 
scales of justice level. 

He determined that such ability as he possessed 
should be used for the benefit of society, and that 
neither bribe nor threat should ever entice him from 
the strict performance of his duty to the profes- 
sion which he had entered. He would never ac- 
cept a case in which he did not honestly believe. 
No man's money should buy him and no man's 
wrath intimidate. In short, he intended to be a 
lawyer with a conscience as well as a man of in- 
tegrity, no matter what the result might be. 

He made so good a beginning in the first two 
years of his practice that it was at the end of the 
third, when he found himself holding the office of 
Prosecuting Attorney, with a record clean, and fair 
sailing ahead, that a piece of news which came to 
him caused him to doubt himself for the first time. 

The shock of that doubt thrilled every fibre in 
his nature, for with it came the one fear that 
is terrible to a brave mind which is aroused for the 
first time to its own possibilities — the fear to trust 
itself — the dread lest it betray its own higher na- 



For the Prosecution. 8 1 

ture under the pressure of old habits of thought or 
new social problems. 

Right and wrong had always seemed to him to 
have the most decided and clear-cut outlines. He 
had never thought of himself as standing before 
them unable to distinguish their boundaries. He 
had felt that he could answer bravely enough the 
question: " What would you do if required to 
choose between honor and dishonor ?'" It was a 
strange thing to him that his present perplexity 
should grow out of a simple burglary case. There 
did not appear to him, at first, to be more than one 
side to such a case. He was the Prosecuting Attor- 
ney. A store had been robbed. Among other 
things a sealskin sacque was taken. By means of 
this cloak the burglary had been traced — it was 
claimed— to a certain young man high in social life. 
The duties of his office had led the State's attorney 
to prosecute the investigation with his usual vigor 
and impartiality until he had succeeded beyond his 
fairest hopes. Indeed, the chain of evidence now 
in his possession was so strong and complete that 
he — for the first time in his career— recognized that 
he shrank from using the testimony at his command. 

He felt that it was his duty to cause to be appre- 
hended a young man who had up to the present time 
borne a spotless reputation; who had been a fellow 
student at college; whose social position was that 
of a leader, and who was soon to marry one of the 
most charming girls in the town. The situation 
was painful, but Fred Mathews felt that his own 



82 For the Prosecution. 

honor was at stake quite as truly as was that of his 
old schoolfellow. Here was his first opportunity 
to show that he held his duty above his desires. 
Here was the first case in which social influence 
and financial power were on the side of a criminal 
whom it was his duty to prosecute to the end. 

His professional pride, as well as his honor, was 
enlisted; for this was the third burglary which had 
been committed recently, and so far the " gang" — 
as the newspapers assumed and the police believed 
the offenders to be— had not been caught. 

Fred Mathews now thought he had every reason 
to believe that the same hand had executed all 
three crimes and that th e recklessness of the last — 
the almost wanton defiance of perfectly natural 
means of precaution and concealment — had led to 
the discovery of this burglar in high life. 

After long deliberation, however, the young 
prosecutor made up his mind that he would so far 
compromise with his conscience as to make a per- 
sonal, private call upon the young man who was 
under suspicion and boldly accuse him of the 
theft of the tell-tale cloak that had been traced to 
him, and take the consequences. 

He was well aware that in case this course should 
lead to the escape of the criminal he would be 
compelled to bear the abuse and suspicion which 
would surely follow, for the evidence had passed 
through other hands than his own. 

He knew that he was taking a method which 
would be called in question, and that he would not 



For the Prosecution, 83 

take it if the suspected man lived in a less fashion- 
able street or had the misfortune to be low born. 

All this he knew quite well, and still he argued 
to himself that it was the right thing for him to do, 
or at least that it was the best possible under the 
circumstances, and that after giving Walter Banks 
a private chance to clear himself — if such a thing 
were possible — he would still be in a position to go 
on with the case, if that should be necessary. 

That night, for the first time in his career, he 
allowed himself to be kept awake, not by the fear 
that he should fail through inexperience in his 
duty to his client — as had happened sometimes to 
trouble him earlier in his professional life — but by 
a dread that he should wilfully betray his trust to 
the public. At two o'clock he lay staring at the 
wall, asking himself if he was becoming corrupt; 
if he, too, believed in shielding guilt if only that 
guilt were dressed in purple and spoke with a soft 
and cultured accent. 



II. 

" Mr. Banks will be down in a moment;" the 
trim maid had said, and left the library door open 
as she withdrew. 

The young prosecutor walked about the room 
uneasily. He had hoped at the last moment that 
the object of his call would be from home — that 
he would take fright and refuse to be seen — that 
action had been taken by the police which would 



84 For the Prosecution. 

put it out of his power to give the warning that 
he now felt he was here to give. But, no. " Mr. 
Banks will be down in a moment." He had heard 
quite distinctly, and there had not been the slight- 
est accent of fear or annoyance in the voice that 
spoke. 

In his agitation he had taken up a curiously 
wrought paper knife which lay upon the table and 
had dropped it as if it had burned his fingers." 

"Good God !" he exclaimed. "He was the col- 
lege thief. It is no new thing, then." 

He took up the knife again and examined it 
closely. There could be no mistake. It was a 
gold wrought, elaborately engraved blade, set m a 
handle which had no duplicate, for the students 
who had planned the gift which had so mysteri- 
ously disappeared had devised and caused to be 
engraved a secret symbol which was cut deep in 
the polished surface. 

It was to have been a surprise for one of the fa- 
vorites in the faculty. It had disappeared — and 
here it was ! 

" Good morning, Mathews. This is really very 
kind. I—" 

It was the voice of Walter Banks, but their eyes 
met over the fallen paper knife, which had dropped 
from trembling fingers at the first word. 

A great wave of color rushed into the face of 
young Banks. The prosecutor stood mute and 
pale. Involuntarily he had tried to cover the 
knife with a corner of the rug as he turned to meet 



For the Prosecution. 85 

his host. It vaguely dawned upon him that he 
was a guest in a house where he was playing the 
part of a detective. His hand was extended in 
the hearty western fashion which had become sec- 
ond nature to him, but Walter Banks did not take it. 

" Will you sit down ?" said the host in a tone 
which was hoarse, and quite unlike the frank, free 
voice that spoke a moment before. 

As he seated himself he bent forward and took 
up the bit of tell-tale gold and ivory. Then he 
said, slowly in a tone that was scarcely audible: 

" Yes, I took it. You are right. It is the col- 
lege knife." 

" Don't! don't!" exclaimed Fred Mathews, rising. 
" I am— You forget — I am — My office. 
Think. I am for the prosecution !" His face was 
livid. Young Banks leaned heavily against the 
table. The color began to die out of his lips. 
His hand trembled as he laid the knife upon the 
table. Neither spoke. The brain of the young 
prosecutor found only scraps and shreds of thought, 
in which such words as duty, honor, pity, hospital- 
ity, wealth, social order, floated vaguely here and 
there, buffeted by the one insistent idea that he 
should go go quickly — and leave this man alone 
with his shame and humiliation. 

Walter Banks was the first to speak. 

" Come up to my room. Mother might come in 
here and — I suppose — you have come about — I 
— Is — ? You say you are for the prosecution. 
Have they traced the cloak to me ?" 



86 For the Prosecution. 

The lawyer stepped back again and looked at 
the man before him. What could he mean by 
saying such a thing as that — to him ? They had 
never been close friends, but now in spite of every- 
thing the thought that he was the prosecutor kept 
itself steadily in the attorney's mind and struggled 
with a pity and reluctance that were seeking to 
justify him by a belief in the insanity of young 
Banks. 

No one but a lunatic would have made that last 
remark. The thought was a relief. He grasped at 
it eagerly and began to fashion his mental outlook 
to fit the idea. Then suddenly came to him with 
overwhelming force all he had ever heard or read 
of the failure of justice where criminals of high 
degree were concerned. 

He had followed his host to the stairs. Sud- 
denly he turned, caught up his hat from the stand 
where he had left it, and passed out of the street 
door without a word. Once in the street he 
glanced involuntarily up at the house. At the 
window of the room he had just left stood Walter 
Banks. His arm was about his mother's shoulders, 
and both were very pale. There was a strange 
likeness between them. 



III. 

Every conceivable form of pressure to prevent 
the trial of Walter Banks was brought to bear in 
the next few weeks; but Prosecutor Mathews had 



For the Prosecution. 87 

pushed the case vigorously in spite of it all. He 
felt not only that justice was at stake, but that 
his own moral fibre was in pawn, as well. He held 
aloof from his social friends — who were in many 
cases the friends of the accused, also — lest he lose 
sight of his duty through some fresh or new form 
of attack upon his integrity of purpose. 

It had come to his knowledge that even the 
Judge who was to sit in the case had been ap- 
proached by the friends of the defendant, and it 
was felt that it would be difficult to impanel a jury 
that would or could be fair and impartial. 

If but one man was drawn from the " upper 
class," the jury would be sure to hang. On the 
other hand, if all of the talesmen were chosen from 
that social caste which feels that it is usually the 
victim, it would go hard with Walter Banks even 
if he were able — as seemed wholly unlikely — to 
show a reasonably clear case in his favor. 

The day came. The court-room held an unu- 
sual audience. There were many ladies present 
who had never before seen the inside of such a 
room. They held their breath and were filled 
with awe and fear — of they knew not what. 

Perhaps few men can realize what it is to a 
woman to face for the first time the embodiment 
of all that her strong faith and utter ignorance has 
carried to mature years as an ideal of justice and 
dignity — of solemn obligation and fearful responsi- 
bility. To her there has been no reverse side to 
the picture. She believes in courts as courts of 



88 For the Prosecution. 

justice. She knows nothing of quibble, of techni- 
cality, of precedent. Nothing here is light or hu- 
morous to her. Next to a death chamber the 
criminal court-room is fullest of the thoughts 
which reach beyond mere human responsibility 
and import, and all that passes there is freighted 
for her with a sense of finality that few men can 
comprehend. They think of reversal of judgment. 

The fiat of the court is the closing knell to a 
woman; and although she may know the judge in 
private life to be a fallible or — more incongruous 
still — a jovial man, his presence here is overpower- 
ing. Of the jury she feels vaguely, dread. Of the 
judge, awe. 

The mother of the prisoner sat near him. Her 
sad, pale, refined face troubled the young prosecu- 
tor sorely and he tugged at his conscience and 
spurred on his resolution after each glance at her. 

The case was so plain, the evidence so clear, the 
defence so weak that the whole tide of public sen- 
timent swung rapidly from the side of the prisoner 
to that of the people. 

The indignation for him which had been felt by 
the society women who had come to show them- 
selves as his friends changed into scorn and con- 
tempt. The whole mental atmosphere of the room 
underwent a revolution. When court opened few 
besides the officers believed him guilty. As the 
case drew near its close no one believed him inno- 
cent. He had not been allowed by his counsel to 
take the stand in his own behalf, and this had told 



For the Prosecution. 89 

strongly against him in the minds of both jury and 
spectators. The prosecuting attorney had made a 
telling speech, and the charge of the judge was 
plainly indicative of his opinion that there was but 
one verdict to give. 

The jury had taken but one ballot. They had 
needed no charge from the judge at all. 

" Guilty," — came from the foreman's lips with a 
decided accent that indicated a certain satisfac- 
tion in pronouncing it. The prisoner's face grew 
a shade paler, but the puzzled light in his eyes lost 
nothing of that weary, insistent questioning that 
had marked their depths all day. Indeed, he 
seemed to be as much surprised, as the evidence 
had been unfolded, as were the friends who were 
there to see him vindicated. 

During the speech of the prosecutor and the 
charge of the judge young Banks' mother had held 
her son's hand and tears had dropped unheeded 
from her eyes. 

The judge had spoken again, but no one moved. 
The attorney for the prisoner bent forward and 
touched him on the shoulder. 

" Stand up for sentence," he said. " The judge" — 

" Sit still !" It was the woman beside him who 
spoke. She had dried her tears. Every face in 
the room was turned toward her now. She stag- 
gered to her feet. Her voice penetrated every 
corner of the room. 

" /am the thief, judge. Sentence me. I stole 
the cloak !" 



90 For the Prosecution. 

"Mother, mother! Great God, it is not true! 
Mother, sit down ! She never saw the coat. 
Mother ! Mother ! Great God, what does it 
mean ?" 

The young fellow had sprung to his feet, but she 
eluded his grasp, and before any one knew what 
she intended to do she passed onto the witness 
stand. 

There was a tense silence in the room. No one 
was prepared for the scene. It had been so swiftly 
done — so wholly without warning — that every one 
sat dumb. 

She had caught up the Bible as she reached the 
stand and pressed it to her lips. She was vaguely 
aware that this act was looked upon as affecting 
the credibility of the witness. She also imagined 
that it gave her a right to put in her evidence even 
at this stage of the trial. She supposed that a 
trial was for the purpose of arriving at the facts 
and that the Court sat with that object alone in 
view. She did not know that it was too late. She 
was unaware that the case would have to be re- 
opened to admit her evidence. She did not know 
that it was possible for the gate of justice to be 
swung shut in the face of truth. She supposed that 
all trials were for the one purpose of getting at the 
bottom of the case; so that it did not occur to her 
that her action was strange only in so far as such a 
confession from such a woman must be so regarded 
by all who knew her, and who was there in all the 
town who did not know and respect her? 



For the Prosecution. 91 

The young prosecutor sat mute. The eyes of 
the judge widened in astonishment. For the mo- 
ment he was the man and neighbor only. He for- 
got his office. She was talking rapidly, and all 
were listening. 

" I am the thief, judge. Let me tell you. It is 
not right that he should suffer for my crime. Poor 
boy, his life has been a hell on earth for me — for 
me! And he has never understood. I could not 
tell him. I shall now. He shall understand. You 
shall, judge. Oh, God, if only a woman sat where 
you do — a mother ! But let me tell you; I can. I 
thought I could not; but I can — even to these gen- 
tlemen." She waved her hand toward the jury and 
there was a widening of her nostrils as if her breath 
and courage were leaving her. " Rather than have 
him punished, disgraced, ruined, I can tell it all. 
He is not guilty. It is I ! It is I !" She put her 
trembling hands to her temples and her eyes were 
those of a hunted creature at bay. 

" Before he came into the world — you'll let me 
tell you frankly, judge ? I must. Before he came 
into the world I made him what he is — a thief. 
Did I or did his father ? It was like this. I am 
ashamed to tell it, but, oh, judge, I loved him, and 
I longed to make the pretty things and buy the 
dainty ones that would make his soft, white, dim- 
pled flesh look sweeter when he should lie before 
me. His father was — you knew his father, judge. 
He was a good man, but — You know how he 
loved money — and power. He — I — I was the 



92 For the Prosecution. 

pauper most young wives are. I was too proud to 
ask for money, and if I had asked often — But I 
was too proud, so, perhaps, I need not tell about 
the if. Most women know it, and — You could 
not understand." 

She paused. A panic had overtaken her nerves. 
She was becoming vaguely conscious of her posi- 
tion. Her eyes wandered over the room; but when 
they fell upon her son, sitting with his wretched 
face pinched and startled, with his deep eyes star- 
ing at her, her courage came again. 

"At first I had no thought of theft. I used 
to go each night after my husband fell asleep and 
take a little money from his pocket. Only a little. 
He never missed it — never. So he used to whip 
the boy for stealing afterward and said he would 
disgrace us and — I never told him even then. 
Life was horrible. The growing certainty mad- 
dened me. He would steal anything, everything 
about the house, even his own things. He did not 
understand himself and he could not help it; but 
I did not think it would ever come to this — through 
me — through me J" 

She calmed herself again suddenly by a glance 
at her son. 

" Every night I took only a little money. My 
motive was a good one. I knew my husband did 
not understand how I longed to get the pretty 
things. How — Of course in one sense I had a 
right to the money. He was rich even then, but 
— I felt myself a — pauper — and a thief. 



For the Prosecution. 93 

" I — Do you think young mothers should be 
young paupers, judge? I've sometimes thought 
that if they were not there might be less use for 
courts like this — and prisons. 

" I've sometimes thought if mothers sat on juries 
they'd know the reasons why for crime and wrong 
and, maybe, work to cure the causes of the crimes 
rather than simply punish those who have com- 
mitted them blindly — often blindly. 

" I've sometimes thought the cost — in money — 
would be less; and then the cost in love and sor- 
row! Oh, judge, be patient just a little longer. 
Do not let them stop me. It means so much to 
us J I'll go back to the point. I'll tell the truth 
— all of it — all. But it is hard to do it — here. 

"I bought the little wardrobe; but remember, 
judge, the months and months of daily building, 
bone on bone, fibre within fibre, thought on thought 
that is moulded into shape for human beings! 

" I knew your father, judge. Your eyes are like 
his, but all your mental life — your temperament — 
you got from other blood than filled his veins. 

" Your father's mother gave you your character. 
Your gentle heart is hers — your patient thought- 
fulness. I knew her well. I knew your mother, 
too. She was the teacher of my motherhood. It 
was to her I told the truth in my boy's childhood 
— when I first began to realize or fear what I had 
done. You owe it all to her that you are strong 
and true. She understood in time — and now you 
sit in judgment on my boy, whose mother learned 



94 For the Prosecution. 

from yours too late the meaning and the danger of 
it all. She saved my other children. I killed my 
pride for them. / asked for money. The others 
may be beggars some day — they never will be 
thieves. 

" That boy has never asked a favor. He simply 
cannot. His pride was always stronger than any- 
thing — anything except his love for me. 

" I knit that in his blood too. I loved him so 
I made myself a thief for him. Of course I did 
not know — I did not understand the awful danger 
then; but — A young mother — I — it is hard to 
tell it here. You will not understand — you cannot. 
Oh, God, for a mother on the jury! A mother 
on the bench!" 

She caught at her escaping courage again. The 
officer whose duty it was to take her away moved 
forward a second time, and a second time the 
judge motioned him back. She had been his 
mother's friend ever since he could remember, and 
the ordinary discipline of the court was not for 
her. He would do his duty, he said to himself, 
but surely there was no haste. All this was irreg- 
ular, of course, but if something should come of it 
that gave excuse for a new trial no one would be 
more thankful than he. 

"Young mothers are so ignorant. They know 
so little of all the things of which they should 
know much. They are so helpless. Judge, there 
will be criminal courts and prisons — oh, so many 
of both — just as long as motherhood is ignorant 



For the Prosecution. 95 

and helpless and swayed by feeling only. Don't 
you know it is ignorance and feeling that leads 
to crime? If people only understood! If only 
they were able to think it out to what it means, 
crimes would not be — but they cannot, they can- 
not! Those trembling lips you see before you 
are no more truly a copy of mine — the boy is as 
responsible for the set and curve of those lips — as 
he is for his hopeless fault. He has stolen from 
his infancy; but I, not he, am the thief. Now 
sentence the real criminal, judge. Courts are to 
punish the guilty — not to further curse the help- 
less victims. I am the criminal here. Sentence 
me!" 

" Mother! Mother! I never understood my- 
self before! Oh, mother, mother!" 

It was a wild cry from Walter Banks as his moth- 
er had risen asking for sentence on herself. He 
sprang forward, forgetting everything and took her 
in his arms. There was a great stir in the room. 

"Silence in the court!" 

Mrs. Banks had fainted. Her son helped to 
carry her into another room. No one attempted 
to prevent him. The young prosecutor returned 
with him and stood dumb before the court. 

" I am ready for sentence, your Honor. I com- 
mitted the burglary." It was the voice of the 
prisoner. He was standing with his arms folded 
and his eyes cast down. Silence fell in the room. 
The women ceased to sob. There was an uneasy 
movement in the jury box. 



96 For the Prosecution. 

" In view of the new evidence — " began the fore- 
man but the voice of the judge, slow and steady, 
filled the room. 

" It is the sentence of this court that you, Wal- 
ter Banks, be confined at hard labor in the state 
penitentiary for the term of four years." 

The prisoner bowed and turned a shade paler. 

" Do not tell mother that until she is better," he 
said to his attorney and passed out in the custody 
of the sheriff. 

"And at the end of four years, what!" a lady 
was saying to the young prosecutor as the room 
slowly emptied. 

"The brute!" was hurled after the judge by an- 
other, as his form vanished through the door. 

" Shows that law is not for the poor alone—" 

"Good things for social order and — " 

"Well, yes, I'm rather disappointed; but of 
course a judge can't go behind the returns." 

" Evidence all one way if — " 

"Heavens, what a scene!" 

" — my opinion no woman should ever be ad- 
mitted to a court room except as a prisoner. 
It—" 

" Feather in the cap of the prosecutor." 

" — re-election sure enough now." 

"Whole thing in a nutshell—" 

" Simple question. Did he commit the burglary? 
If so—" 

The young prosecutor hurried away from the 
sound of these voices and the congratulations of 



For the Prosecution. 97 

his political friends. He was mentally sore and 
perplexed because he had won his case. 

That night he called upon the prisoner for the 
second time. 

" I have made up^ my mind to resign my office," 
he said, not looking at the convict, who had risen 
to receive him. 

Walter Banks was by far the calmer of the two, 
but he did not speak. 

" I shall never be able to act for the prosecution 
again. I thought this case was so clear. My duty 
seemed so plain — too plain to admit of anything 
but the most vigorous course of action; but — " 

"You did nothing but your duty, Mathews. We 
are all victims I suppose — one way or another. 
You are going to be the victim of your sensitive 
conscience. The result will be a course of vacil- 
lation that will ruin your chances of success. I 
am sorry. You've got all the elements for a leader 
— only you've got a conscience. That settles it. 
A bit of heredity like that is as fatal as — as mine." 
He bit his lips. 

" Don't let your part in my case worry you. The 
game of life has gone against me. That is all. 
The dice were loaded before I ever got hold of 
them. I did what I could to out-live — out-fight 
my awful — inheritance. I wasn't strong enough. 
It got the best of me. Nature is a terrible antag- 
onist. Perhaps now that I understand myself 
better I shall be able to keep a firmer hold. You 
did your duty, Mathews ; good-by. Be — Can't 



98 For the Prosecution. 

you be a little kind to mother ? She suffers so. 
Her punishment is double — and her crime was 
ignorance!" 

This time he took the hand that was held out to 
him. 

"Only ignorance," he added. "It seems an 
awful punishment for that." 

" Ignorance — and poverty and love," said the 
young prosecutor as the door closed behind him, 
"and Nature did the rest! What a grip is at our 
throats! And how we help blind Nature in her 
cruel work by laws and customs and conditions! 
What a little way we've come from barbarism yet! 
How slow we travel. But we are moving," he 
added with a deep sigh. " Moving a little. There 
is light ahead. If •'not for us, then for those who 
come after." 

He heard the bolt slip behind him and shud- 
dered. 

" It might as easily have been I," he mused as 
he went down the steps, and shuddered again. 

" I doubt if it was fault of his or virtue of mine 
that determined which of us two should be the 
prosecutor." 



H 1Rust£ Xfnfe fn tbe Cbafn. 



"/« the brain, that wondrous world with one inhabitant, there 
are recesses dim and dark, treacherous sands and dangerous 
shores, where seeming sirens tempt and fade; streams that rise in 
unknown lands from hidden springs, strange seas with ebb and 
floiv of tides, resistless billows urged by storms of flame, profound 
and awful depths hidden by mist of dreams, obscure and phantom 
realms where vague and fearful things are half revealed , jungles 
where passion's tigers crouch, and skies of cloud and hiue where 
fancies fly with painted wings that dazzle and mislead; and the 
poor sovereign of this pictured world is led by old desires and 
ancient hates, and stained by crimes of many vanished years, and 
pushed by hands that long ago were dust, until he feels like some 
bewildered slave tJuxt Mockery has throned and crowned.' 1 ' 1 

INGERSOLL. 



A RUSTY LINK IN THE CHAIN. 



When I called, last Sunday afternoon, as was 
my habit, upon my old college friend — now a dis- 
tinguished physician — I found him sitting in his 
office holding in his hand a letter. His manner 
was unusually grave and, I thought, troubled. I 
asked him, laughingly, if he had had bad news from 
beyond the seas — from his Castle in Spain. 

" No, it is worse than that, I fear," he said gravely. 
" It looks to me very much like bad news from be- 
yond the grave— from the Castle of Heredity in the 
realm of an Ancestor." 

" I hope, doctor, that you have not had, — that my 
little jest was not a cruel touch upon a real hurt." 

" Not at all, not at all, old fellow," he said, smil- 
ing a little. 

" It is not my own trouble at all ; but — well, it 
set me to thinking strange thoughts. Shall I tell you 
about it ? I should really like to know just how it 
would impress you — an intelligent man out of the 
profession." 

He placed the letter on the table beside him, 
looked at me steadily for a moment, and then be- 
gan: 

IOI 



102 A Rusty Link in the Chain. 

" It may be as well to say that I have never before 
ventured to tell the story of George Wetherell's 
curious experience, simply because I have always 
felt certain that to a really intelligent and well-in- 
formed physician it would be a comparatively 
familiar, and not specially startling (although a 
wholly uncomprehended) phase of human disorder ; 
while to many, not of the profession, it would 
appear to involve such fearful and far-reaching re- 
sults, that they would either refuse to believe it 
possible at all, or else jump to the conclusion that 
numerous cases which have only some slight point 
of similarity are to be classed with it and explained 
upon the same basis. 

" In regard to these latter persons, I do not intend 
to convey the impression that I am either ambitious 
to shield them from the consequences of their own 
nimble and unguarded reckonings, or that by my 
silence in this particular instance I suppose that I 
have prevented them from forming quite as errone- 
ous opinions founded upon some other equally mis- 
understood and ill-digested scrap of psychological 
and medical information. 

" But it has sometimes seemed to me that there 
were certain features connected with the case of 
George Wetherell which, in the hands of the igno- 
rant or unscrupulous, might easily be used to the dis- 
advantage of their fellow-beings, and I have there- 
fore hesitated to lay it before any one who was not, 
in my opinion, both intelligent and honorable 
enough to accept it as one of the strange manifes- 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 103 

tations in an individual experience ; and to under- 
stand, because of the innumerable conditions of 
mental and physical heredity — which were not likely 
ever to occur again in the same proportions — that 
therefore the same manifestations were, not to be 
looked for in a sufficient number of persons to ever 
make this case in any sense a type or a guide. 

" Notwithstanding this, there are, as I said in the 
first place, certain features connected with it which 
many members of the medical profession will 
recognize ; but they are none the less puzzling 
symptoms. 

" The matter has been brought back with unusual 
force to my mind at this time, by a circumstance con- 
nected with one of Wetherell's children, which is de- 
tailed in this letter. It lends a new touch of interest 
to the malady of the father. To enable you to ob- 
tain even a fairly comprehensive idea of the strange 
development, it will be necessary for me to tell you, 
first, something about the man and his surround- 
ings. 

" To be as brief as I may, then, he was the son of 
a merry, whole-souled, stout, and, withal, mentally 
alert, Southern gentleman, who had taken the law 
into his own hands and duly scandalized the repu- 
table part of the community in which he lived by 
giving his slaves (all of whom he or his wife had 
inherited) their freedom at a time and under cir- 
cumstances which made it necessary for him to be- 
take himself with some considerable alacrity to a 
part of the country where it was looked upon as 



104 -^ Rusty Link in the Chain. 

respectable to pay for the voluntary services of one's 
fellowmen, rather than to pay for the man himself 
with the expectation that the services were to be 
thrown in. 

" Of course it was imperative — not only for the 
peace, but for the saf ety of all parties concerned — 
for him to transport both his family and his freed- 
men to a place where it was at once honorable for a 
white man to do such a deed and for a black man 
to own himself. This he did; and while a number 
of the negroes remained in the service of the family, 
the son (on whose account, and to prevent whom 
from believing in and being enervated by the posses- 
sion of slaves the step had, in great measure, been 
taken) had grown to manhood with a curious min- 
gling of Southern sympathies and Northern reason- 
ing and convictions. 

" The outbreak of the war found the young fellow 
struggling bravely, with all the fire and energy of a 
peculiarly gifted nature, to establish a newspaper 
in a border State, and to convince his readers that 
the extension of slavery would be a grave calamity, 
not only for the owned but for the owner. 

" His two associates were Eastern college-bred 
men, and it was therefore deemed wisest to push 
young Wetherell forward as the special champion of 
free soil, under the illusion that his Southern birth 
and sympathies would win for him a more ready and 
kindly hearing on a subject which at that time 
was a dangerous one to handle freely, especially in 
the border-land then under dispute. 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 105 

" But the three young enthusiasts had reckoned, 
as young people will, upon a certain degree of rea- 
son about, and calm discussion of, a question which 
at that time they still recognized as having two 
very strong and serious sides ; for they had not 
taken the stand of the Abolition party at all. They 
called themselves free-soil Democrats, and were 
simply arguing against the extension of an institu- 
tion which they were not yet prepared to believe it 
wise to attempt to abolish where it was already 
established, and where there was seemingly no 
other peaceable or fair solution than the one of 
limitation and gradual emancipation, through the 
process of mental and moral development of the 
ruling race. This position was not an unnatural 
one, surely, for young Wetherell, and was only 
what might have been expected from the son of a 
man who had given practical demonstration of the 
possibility of such evolution in the slave-holding 
and slave-dependent class. 

" But, as I have intimated, the confidence and 
reasonableness of youth had led to a complete mis- 
conception as to the temper of the opposition. It 
is quite possible that the frank, passionate, free-soil 
editorials, if they had come from either of the 
Eastern men, might have been accepted as the de- 
lusions of youth, the prejudice of section, or, at 
worst, as the arguments of partisans ; but from a 
man of Southern birth — the son of a law-breaker 
(you must remember that the enfranchisement of 
the slaves had been a serious infraction of the law, 



106 A Rusty Link in the Chain. 

strange as that sounds to the ears of the present 
generation) — from the son of such a man they 
could mean only a malicious desire to stir up strife 
and cause bloodshed by making restless slaves 
dangerous and dangerous slaves desperate. The 
result was that one night, after the issue of a paper 
containing an article of unusual force and power, 
young Wetherell found himself startled from a 
sound sleep, in the back room of his office, by the 
smell of smoke and gleam of flame. 

" He understood their significance at a glance, and 
knew that escape by the front door meant a recep- 
tion by masked men, five minutes for prayer, and — 
a rope. 

" Springing from the back window into the river, 
he swam to the other shore, and within a few days 
raised the first regiment of volunteers that the 
State sent in response to the call of the President, 
and cut adrift at once and forever from all effort 
to argue the case from an ethical or a financial out- 
look. 

"It is more than likely that anger may have I ^d 
something to do with his sudden conversion from a 
' peace and argument,' to first a ' war Democrat,' 
and shortly thereafter to a Republican ; but be 
that as it may, it is certain that at such crises as 
these, mental activity is spurred and radical changes 
are made with a rapidity and decision astonishing 
to contemplate in periods of quiet and peace. 

" So it came about that this lad of twenty-three 
suddenly found himself at the head of a regiment 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 107 

of somewhat desperate border men, most of whom 
were more than twice his own age, wildly charging 
a battery in one of the first battles of the war. 

" He received three wounds, one of which was a 
slight abrasion of the scalp, not looked upon as 
more than a scratch by either the surgeon or him- 
self ; indeed, it would hardly be worth mentioning 
but for the strange events which followed. Whether 
this wound had anything to do with the con- 
dition of which I am about to tell, you will have to 
decide for yourself ; but I must warn you, in the 
beginning, that there was nothing like a fracture of 
the skull, and the little path made by the bullet 
through the scalp healed without trouble, almost 
without attention, and never afterward gave the 
slightest pain. 

" The hair, it is true, did not grow again over the 
parting, and, as it was nearly in the middle of his 
head, it made him an involuntary follower of the 
fashion of a certain effeminate type of youths for 
whom he had an overwhelming contempt. Neither 
of the other two wounds was serious, and after a 
very short period in the hospital he reported for 
duty, was promoted, and given sole charge of a 
post of considerable importance. 

" Shortly thereafter his father received a some 
what discomposing telegram. He had previously had 
several more or less lucid despatches from his son 
while the patient was still in the hospital ; but any 
lack of clearness in their wording had beenattrib- 



108 A Rusty Link in the Chain. 

uted to haste or to carelessness in the transmission, 
and as they all indicated rapid recovery, no undue 
anxiety had been felt. But the message in question 
now produced the impression that there was some- 
thing wrong. It read : ' Send me one thousand 
swords immediately.' 

"After a few moments' consultation with the boy's 
mother, Mr. Wetherell packed his hand-bag, and, 
armed with a letter from President Lincoln, whose 
personal friend he was, started for the seat of war. 

" Upon arriving at his destination, the son ex- 
pressed no surprise whatever, but much pleasure, at 
seeing his father. He asked, in the most natural 
and affectionate way, about each member of the 
family, and then suddenly put his hand to his head 
and appeared to be in deep thought. 

" His eyes contracted in the manner peculiar to 
some persons when attempting to recall a long- 
forgotten event ; but in a moment this had passed 
away and he appeared to be perfectly clear and 
natural. 

" He attended to the affairs of his office in a man- 
ner which not only escaped criticism, but won praise 
from his superiors, and conversed with great freedom 
and marked intelligence on the stirring subjects of 
the time. 

" He had had some little fever while his wounds 
were fresh, but in no degree to cause alarm, and even 
this had now almost entirely left him. In short, he 
appeared to be in nearly perfect mental and physical 
health. There was, however, one peculiarity which 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 109 

the father noticed as unfamiliar in his son ; but as 
it was not at all strange that so young a man — or 
any man, indeed, who had suddenly been given con- 
trol of matters of such grave importance — should 
at times be very quiet and appear to be struggling 
to recall some matter of moment, the habit was 
not given more than passing attention, and it was 
not sufficiently marked to be noticed at all by any 
one except a near relation. At these times young 
Wetherell would contract his eyebrows, look stead- 
ily at some object near him, — as the toe of his boot 
or the palm of his hand, — raise his head suddenly, 
gaze at the distant horizon, bite his lip, and then 
appear to either give it up or be satisfied with some 
mental solution of his puzzle. 

" One day his father said : ' What is it, George?' 

" The young fellow turned his eyes quickly upon 
his father and asked : 

" ' Have I forgotten anything ? It seems to me 
there is something I just fail to recall. I am on 
the edge of it constantly, but it slips. I can't get 
quite enough hold on it to be sure what it is — or to 
be certain, indeed, that it is anything. Can you 
think of anything I ought to do that I have over- 
looked ? ' 

" This all sounded natural enough, and was, seem- 
ingly, a condition not unfamiliar to his father, so 
they began together going over the duties pertain- 
ing to the son's office to see if, by a mischance, 
something had been neglected. Everything was 
complete and in perfect order ; but still the look 



I io A Rusty Link in the Chain. 

returned from time to time, until it became almost 
habitual. 

" This was ten days after his father had reached 
camp, and his plan was to leave for home that af- 
ternoon ; for, as I said, the boy's wounds were 
almost entirely healed, and he appeared to be in 
need of nothing whatever. More and more his su- 
perior officers called him into their councils, and 
more and more his clear judgment was commended 

by them. 

" He was to walk to the train with his father. 
The moment they were outside the limits of the 
camp George remarked, casually, ' I must stop on 
the way and order those swords.' 

" The remark recalled the queer telegram which 
had caused Mr. Wetherell to come to his son, the 
wording of which had been wholly obliterated from 
his mind by their meeting. 

" ' What swords ?' inquired his father, now on the 
alert again. 

" The young fellow turned and looked at his 
father for a moment, and then said : ' I don't know. 
It is a secret order. Don't mention it. The gen- 
eral told me to order them. They are to be sent 
to me.' 

" This all seemed probable enough to Mr. Weth- 
erell, and yet he somehow felt, rather than saw, a 
queer change in his son's eyes, which he thought he 
had noticed once or twice before. 

" He decided not to return home for the present. 
When he told his son this, the boy took it quite 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 1 1 1 

as a matter of course, and made no comment what- 
ever on the sudden alteration of purpose. 

" On the way back to camp George stepped into 
a military supply station and ordered fourteen 
hundred swords to be delivered to him immedi- 
ately. 

" By this time his father had made up his mind 
that there were short intervals in which the young 
colonel did not know exactly what he was doing — 
or, rather, that while he did know and act intelli- 
gently — from the outlook of the moment — it was a 
time wholly disconnected from the rest of his life, 
and when the moment was past he had no farther 
recollection of it. 

" However, Mr. Wetherell was not sure enough of 
this to risk compromising a probably brilliant future 
by a premature or unnecessarily public announce- 
ment, and he therefore allowed the order to be 
made, and taken in good faith, and walked back to 
camp with his son, who immediately went about 
his duties in the most intelligent and scrupulously 
carefid manner. 

" Mr. Wetherell, however, made a call upon the 
officer in command the moment he could do so 
without attracting attention ; and after a long talk 
(in which the secret sword order was discovered to 
be a delusion), it was decided that the recently re- 
covered invalid should retire from the field on the 
sick leave, which he had previously refused to con- 
sider. 

"When he was told of this arrangement, he agreed 



112 A Rusty Link in the Chain. 

to it without a murmur, and began, for the first 
time for many days, to have his wounds (which 
were now past the need of it) dressed with much 
care. This he continued every mornirg, but by 
the time they reached home he had become pos- 
sessed with the belief that his chief wound was in 
his side, where there had not been a scratch. 

" To humor him, the family physician applied ban- 
dages to the imaginary injury every day regularly. 

" All this time there was no clearer talker, no more 
acute reasoner, no more simple, earnest, gentle- 
manly fellow to be found than Col. George Weth- 
erell, whom his townsmen were honoring and induc- 
ing to make public speeches and write clear, firm, 
inspiring editorials for one of the leading papers. 
No one except his own family and physician sus- 
pected for a moment that he was not mentally as 
bright as he always had been, and even the younger 
members of the family were without the least hint 
of it. 

" Indeed, his father and the doctor both thought 
that his only illusion now was a belief in the wound 
in his side. Several weeks passed, and even this 
indication was losing its force, for he no longer re- 
quired medical attention, and was as well and as ra- 
tional as ever in his life, so far as any one could 
perceive, when one day a stranger appeared and 
asked for him. Mr. Wetherell requested the gen- 
tleman (who was evidently laboring under great ex- 
citement) to be seated, and at the same time made 
up his own mind to be present during the interview. 



A Rusty Link in the Chain. 1 1 3 

Colonel Wetherell was summoned, and, on entering 
the room, looked in a startled way at the stranger, 
rmiled vaguely, extended his hand, contracted his 
eyes into a long, narrow line, turned white, and 
throwing both arms suddenly above his head, ex- 
claimed : ' My God ! my God ! what have I done ? 
Where am I ? How long has it been ? Is she 
dead ? Is she dead ?' and staggered back into his 
father's arms. 

" His distress was so manifest, that the visitor lost 
his severity at once, and said quite gently: ' No, she 
is not dead ; but she is almost insane with fright, 
and has been so exhausted with anxiety and tears, 
that we had lost all hope for her reason, or even 
for her life, unless I could find you. I have been 
through the lines, was delayed by the loss of my 
passport, and it is now five weeks since I saw her. 
She is alive, but — ' 

" Young Wetherell sprang to his feet, and turned 
on his father like a madman. ' How dared you?' he 
demanded; ' how dared you keep back my letters ? 
You have killed her. You have murdered her, 
poor, delicate girl, with anxiety and doubt of me.' 
And then with set teeth and white lips he advanced 
upon his father, his arm uplifted, as if he held a 
sword, and with a sweep which would have severed 
chords of steel, if the weapon had really been within 
his grasp, he brought his arm across his father's 
breast and sank upon the floor, senseless and still. 

" Afterward, when he revived, he had no recollec- 
tion of what had occurred, except alone the fact 



U4 -A Rusty Ijink in the Chain. 

that for many weeks previous he had forgotten ut- 
terly the girl who was to be his wife, whose life 
and love were all his world. While he had remem 
bered everything else, had carefully attended to the 
smallest details of daily life, the link of memory 
that held the fact of her existence had been coated 
with a rust of absolute oblivion. The single link 
in all the chain of memory that had failed him had 
been the one the nearest to his heart — the dearest 
one of all ! 

" They were married two months later, and he re- 
sumed command of his regiment. Through an 
honorable and eventful life no sign of mental lapse 
ever returned ; but every day he dreaded it, and 
watched his wife and children as a man might do 
who saw a creeping monster back of those he loved 
while he stood paralyzed and dumb. He never 
seemed to fear that other things might lose their 
hold upon his consciousness ; but the apprehension 
that his mind would slip the link which held his 
wife, and leave her sick and faint with anxious 
fears, which he alone could still, constantly haunted 
him. 

" His wounds never troubled him again. He died 
not long ago. His career was an exceptionally 
brilliant one. You would know him if I had given 
his real name, for it was in the public ear for 
years. 

" There were but six persons who ever knew the 
history of his case, and they are still unable to ex- 
plain it — its cause, its direction, its cure. Or is it 



A Rusty Litik in the Cliain. 1 1 5 

cured ? Will his children be subject to it ? Will 
it take the same form ? Was it caused by the 
wound ? by the fever ? Or were hereditary condi- 
tions so grouped as to produce this mental effect, 
even if there had been no wound — no illness ? If 
the latter, will it be transmitted ? These questions 
come to me with renewed force, to-day, as I hold in 
my hand this letter, asking me to give the family his- 
tory of Col. George Wetherell for the use of physi- 
cians in a distant city who are now treating his son. 
This son has reached the precise age at which 
his father had the strange experience of which I 
have just told you. 

"There is a hint in the letter which, in the light of 
the father's malady, appears to a physician to be 
of peculiar importance from a medical outlook. 

"We shall see, we shall see." 

There was a long pause ; then he asked : 
" Should you, a layman, look to the wound to ex- 
plain the condition ? Or to the Castle of Heredity ? 
Suppose the son's malady is quite similar — as now 
appears — what then?" 



£be Boler Ibouse fll>£Ster£c 



" What would you do? what would you say now, if you were in 
such a position?" — Thackeray. 

'■'■Thackeray is always protesting that no good is to be done by 
blinking the truth. Let us have facts out, and mend what is bad 
ifive can.'"— Trollope. 



THE BOLER HOUSE MYSTERY. 



Mr. John Boler had been in the hotel business, 
as he phrased it, ever since he was born. Before 
he could walk he had been the " feature " of his 
father's summer hotel, where he was the only baby 
to be passed around and hugged into semi-uncon- 
sciousness by all the women in the house. Because 
of the scarcity of his kind, too, he was subjected 
to untold agony by the male guests, most of whom 
appeared to believe that the chief desire of his in- 
fantile heart was to be tossed skyward from hour 
to hour and caught in upstretched hands as he 
descended with a sickening sense of insecurity and 
a wild hysterical laugh. In these later years he 
often said that he would like to know who those 
summer fiends were who had made his infancy so 
full of narrow escapes from sudden and violent 
death. Finally he thought he had revenge at 
hand. A benevolent-looking old gentleman came 
puffing up to the desk of the Boler House, and, 
after registering, proceeded to question the genial 
proprietor as to his identity. 

" Dear me, dear me," he puffed, " and so you are 
the son of old John Boler, the best hotel-keeper 

119 



1 20 The Boler House Mystery. 

the sun ever shone upon ! Why, I remember toss- 
ing you up to the rafters under the porch of your 
father's house when you were only the size of a 
baked apple and mighty nigh as measly looking. 
Well, well, to be sure you had grit for a young one. 
Never got scared. Always yelled for more. I be- 
lieve if you had batted your soft little head against 
the roof you'd have laughed all the louder and 
kicked until you did it again," and the old man 
chuckled with the pleasure of age and retrospec- 
tion. 

" Yes, I remember well," said Mr. Boler, casting 
about in his own mind for the form of revenge he 
should take on this man now that he was to have 
the chance for which he had so longed and waited. 

His first thought was to put him in the room 
next to the three sporting men who played poker 
and told questionable stories of their own exploits 
after two o'clock every night, but that hardly 
seemed adequate. The room adjoining the elevator 
popped into his head. Every time the old gentle- 
man fell asleep bang would go that elevator door or 
bzzzz would start off the bell so suddenly that it 
would leave him unnerved and frantic in the morn- 
ing. But what was that ? What John Boler 
yearned for was to make the punishment fit the 
crime, and, after all these years of planning and wish- 
ing for the chance, here it was, and he felt that 
he could think of nothing, absolutely nothing, bad 
enough. 

So with a fine satire which was wholly lost upon 



The Boler House Mystery. 121 

his victim, Mr. Boler ordered him taken to the very 
best room in the house, and made up his mind that 
after disarming all suspicion in that way he would 
set about his revenge, which should take some ex- 
quisitely torturous form. 

All this had run through his mind with great 
rapidity while the old gentleman talked. Then 
Mr. Boler turned the register around, wrote " 98 " 
opposite the name. Said he should be delighted 
to show his own mettle to one of his father's old 
guests, called out " Front," and transferred his at- 
tention to a sweet-faced girl who stood waiting her 
turn to register. 

"A small room, please," she said in a voice 
scarcely above a whisper. Mr. Boler knew just 
what it meant in an instant. He knew that she 
was not used to hotels — that she was uncertain 
what to do, and that she wanted her living to cost 
her as little as possible. She was evidently a lady, 
and quite as evidently from some small town. 

" Front," he called again. " Show this lady to 
96. Step lively." Front grinned. Ninety-six was 
a mere closet with no window except one facing a 
dark shaft. Indeed, it had once been the dressing- 
room and clothes press for the adjoining suite, and 
so far as Front could remember had never been 
used as a sleeping apartment by any one except the 
valet of a certain French gentleman who once oc- 
cupied 98. 

" Took my revenge on the wrong person that 
time," mused Mr. Boler as he saw the lady enter 



122 The Boler House Mystery. 

the elevator. " Now I wonder why I did that ?" 
But Mr. John Boler had his little superstition, as 
most of us have, and whenever he was moved by a 
perfectly blind impulse to do a thing, he always 
believed that " something would come of it sure," 
as he expressed it. " Never knew it to fail. Of 
course I don't believe in such things; but — " and 
then he would laugh and go on believing in it as 
implicitly as ever. 

All day he brooded over what he should do to 
old Winkle, as he called the man in 98, and as 
surely as his mind grew exhausted and his various 
plans fell through, his thoughts would catch a 
glimpse of the timid girl in the next room, and he 
would smilingly wink to himself and say, " Some- 
thing will come of it, something will come of it 
sure. Never put a guest in that beastly room be- 
fore and I had nothing against her. Must have 
been him It was after." He always called his 
blind impulses " It " when he was utilizing them 
for superstitious purposes or to quiet his reason. 

" I'll bet that girl being in that closet will be the 
means of getting me even with old Winkle yet, and 
she is not used to city hotels. She'll think that it 
is all right and she will most likely be out all day. 
It's not so bad to sleep in after all. Quietest room 
in the house." 

The next morning Mr. Winkle strolled into the 
office and harassed Mr. Boler about his infancy, 
reminding him that he had possessed a very weak 
stomach. " And who wouldn't," thought that gen- 



The Boler House Mystery. 123 

tleman indignantly, "if he was pitched about like a 
bale of hay from morning till night by every fool 
that got hold of him ?" but he smiled pleasantly 
and said no doubt he had been very much like 
other infants, judging from the way he grew up. 
He looked upon a baby as the embryonic man, and 
as he was about an average adult male biped now, 
he had most likely been very close to an average 
male infant. " I might have been more," he hinted 
darkly, " but for certain idiotic people," and then 
he laughed. For it was not in Mr. John Boler's 
nature to be openly unpleasant to any one. This 
was the secret of his success as an innkeeper. 

" By the way, Johnnie," said old Mr. Winkle late 
the next afternoon, " I thought I heard some one 
sobbing in the room next to mine last night. This 
morning I concluded I was mistaken, but now I'm 
sure I heard it. Anybody sick in there ? I tried 
the door that leads into my room but it was locked. 
It sounds like a woman's voice. It always did tear 
the very heart out of me to hear a woman cry — " 
He went on talking but Mr. John Boler heard no 
more. His heart gave a wild bound of delight. 
"It" had given him his revenge. He would let the 
young woman stay in the hotel free of charge as long 
as old Winkle was in the house if only she would 
weep and sob pretty steadily. " ' Johnnie,' by gad," 
thought he, resenting this new indignity to his 
name. " By George, what luck !" And then he 
went about his duties with a new spring in his al- 
ways elastic step. At the lunch hour the follow- 



1 24 The Bolcr House Mystery. 

ing day he glanced into the dining-room, and sure 
enough, there sat the occupant of 96, and her eyes 
were swollen and red. At almost any other time 
this would have disturbed John Boler, but now it 
was a deep delight to him. 

" Had a spat with her lover, no doubt," specu- 
lated he, " and, by Jove ! it came at a lucky time 
for me. I'd pay her lover to keep up the row for 
three weeks if I could get at him. ' Weak stomach,' 
'Johnnie,' indeed !" And he went back to the 
office rubbing his hands in a satisfied way, thinking 
that old Winkle would be afraid to go to his room 
that night, and that his sleep would be broken by 
visions of a weeping woman next door, even if she 
did not keep him awake half the time sobbing be- 
cause Ralph had called her a mean thing or a 
proud stuck-up flirt, and hinted darkly that she 
was in love with his rival. 

Matters had gone on in this way for nearly a 
week and Mr. Winkle had fretted and fumed and 
asked for another room two or three times, but Mr. 
Boler told him that the house was full and that 
there wasn't another room fit to offer him anyhow. 
He said that he would change the young lady's room 
as soon as he could, but he expected her to leave 
every day. She went out a good deal and wrote a 
large number of letters, and he felt sure she was go- 
ing to remain only a day or two longer. He apolo- 
gized and explained and planned, and then he 
would chuckle to himself the moment "old Winkle's" 
back was turned to think how " // " had succeeded 



The Boler House Mystery. 125 

in getting him even with the old reprobate without 
the least overt act on his part. 

But the eighth morning Mr. Winkle rebelled out- 
right. He said that he would wring ths girl's 
worthless neck if he could get at her, but he could 
not and would not bear her sobs any longer. The 
night before they had been worse than ever and he 
had not slept a wink all night long. At last Mr. 
Boler promised that he would transfer the girl to 
another room that very afternoon if she did not 
leave, and the old man softened at once and said 
if she could not afford to pay for any other room 
he would pay the difference and she need never 
know it. 

John Boler was not mercenary, but this offer 
gave him keen delight. For-" old Winkle " would 
have to buy his relief after all. He thought how 
willingly a certain infant of his memory would have 
paid for rest and quiet too when it was helpless 
clay in the hands of certain old imbeciles he knew 
of. 

At 2 p.m. he told Front to go up to 96 and tell 
the young lady that he now had a better room for 
her that would cost her no more than the one she 
now occupied, and to change her and her belong- 
ings to 342 forthwith. In five minutes Front came 
back as white as a cloth and said that the young 
lady's door was unlocked, that there were a num- 
ber of letters on the table and that she was dead. 

Mr. John Boler dashed from behind the desk 
across the street and was back in an incredibly 



126 The Boler House Mystery. 

short space of time, dragging behind him the dig- 
nified and wealthy physician whose office faced the 
hotel. 

At this stage of the proceedings he cautioned 
the employees not to say a word about the matter 
on pain of instant dismissal. They one and all 
promised, and then proceeded to tell the first re- 
porter who dropped in that a young lady had com- 
mitted suicide upstairs and that she had cried out 
loud for a week. They gave a full description of 
her and her effects, all of which appeared in the 
5 o'clock edition of the paper, duly headlined with 
her name and certain gratuitous speculations in re- 
gard to her motive for self-destruction. In these it 
was darkly hinted that she was no better than she 
should be, but now that she was dead "we" (the 
immaculate young gentlemen of the press) felt dis- 
posed to draw a veil of charity over her past and 
say with the law that her suicide proved her in- 
sanity, and that her mental condition might also 
account for her past frailties. 

While these generous young gentlemen were 
penning their reports the doctor and Mr. John 
Boler worked over the poor helpless body of the 
unconscious girl in the dark little room upstairs. 
Between times they read the letters on the table 
and learned the old, old story — not of crime, but 
of misfortune. No work had offered, and she must 
work or starve — or sell the only value she possessed 
in the sight of men. One or two of the answers 
to her advertisement had boldly hinted at this, and 



The Boler House Mystery. 127 

when her little stock of money had run out and 
the little stock of misfortune had swelled into a 
mountain, and the little pile of insults had in- 
creased until she felt that she could endure life no 
longer, she had concluded to brave another world 
where she was taught to believe a loving Father 
awaited her because she had been good and true 
and pure to the last in spite of storms and disap- 
pointments and temptations. So she made the 
wild leap in the dark, confident that the hereafter 
could hold nothing worse, and believing sincerely 
that it must hold something better for her and her 
kind, even if that better were only forgetfulness. 

Up to this point her story was that of thousands 
of helpless girls who face the unknown dangers of 
a great city with the confidence of youth, and that 
ill training and ignorance of the world which is 
supposed to be a part of the charm of young 
womanhood. She had not registered her real 
name, it is true; but this was because she intended 
to advertise for work and have the replies sent to 
the hotel, and somehow she thought that it would 
be easier for her to do that over a name less sacred 
to her than her mother's, which was also her own. 
So instead of registering as Fannie Ellis Worth of 
Atlanta, she had written " Miss Kate Jarvis" and 
had given no address whatever. This latter fact 
told strongly against her with the reporters. They 
located her in a certain house on Thirty-first Street 
and " interviewed ' the madam, who gave them a 
picture of a girl who had once been there, and a 



128 The Boler House Mystery. 

cut of this picture appeared in two of the morning 
papers with the fuller account of the suicide. A 
beautiful moral was appended to this history of 
the girl's life " which had now come to its appro- 
priate ending." But when one of these enterpris- 
ing young gentlemen of the press called to get the 
details of the funeral for his paper, he was shocked 
to learn that the young lady was not dead after all, 
and that she was now in a fair way to recover. 
He was still further disgusted when neither Mr. 
Boler nor the attending physician would submit to 
an interview and declined to allow him to send his 
card to the girl's room. 

Then and there he made up his mind that if he 
had to rewrite that two-column report to fit the 
new developments in the case, he would, as he ex- 
pressed it, make John Boler and pompous Dr. Ral- 
ston wish that they had never been born. In- 
cident to this undertaking, he would darkly hint at 
a number of things in regard to the girl herself and 
their relations with her. This was not at all to 
make her wish that she had never been born ; but 
if it should serve that purpose, the young gentle- 
man did not f( el that he would be in the least to 
blame — if, indeed, he gave the matter a thought at 
all, which he very likely did not. 

The article he wrote was certainly very " wide 
awake" and surprised even himself in its ingenuity 
of conjecture as to the motive which could prompt 
two such men as John Boler, proprietor of the 
Boler House, and Dr. Ralston, "whose reputation 



The Boler House Mystery. 129 

had heretofore been above suspicion, to place 
themselves in so unenviable, not to say dangerous, 
a position." He suggested that although the young 
woman had taken her case out of the jurisdiction 
of the coroner by not actually dying, this fact did 
not relieve the affair of certain features which de- 
manded the prompt attention of the police court. 
The matter was perfectly clear. Here was a young 
woman who had attempted to relieve herself, by 
rapid means, of the life which all the social and 
financial conditions which surrounded her had com- 
bined to take by a slower and more painful process. 
If she had succeeded, the law held that she was of 
unsound mind — that she was, in short, a lunatic — 
and treated her case accordingly ; but, on the other 
hand, if she failed, or if, as in this instance, her 
effort to place herself beyond want and pain was 
thwarted by others, then the law was equally sure 
that she was not a lunatic at all, but that she was a 
criminal, and that it was the plain duty of the 
police judge to see that she was put with those of 
her class — the enemies and outcasts of society. 

It was also quite clear that any one who aided, 
abetted, or shielded a criminal was particeps crim- 
z'm's, and that unless Mr. John Boler and Dr. Ral- 
ston turned the young offender over to the police 
at once, there was a virtuous young reporter on the 
Daily Screamer who intended to know the reason 
why. 

It was this article in the Screamer which first 
made Mr. Winkle aware of the condition of affairs 



1 30 The Boler House Mystery. 

in the room adjoining his own. He had been ab- 
sent from the hotel for some hours, and had, 
therefore, known nothing of the sad happenings so 
near him. He dashed down into the office with 
the paper in his hand and asked for Mr. Boler; but 
that gentleman was not visible. It was said that 
he was in consultation with Dr. Ralston at the 
office of the latter, whereupon Mr. Winkle re-read 
the entire article aloud to the imperturbable clerk 
and expressed himself as under the impression that 
something was the matter with the law, or else that 
a certain reporter for the Screamer was the most 
dangerous lunatic at present outside of the legisla- 
ture. The clerk smiled. A young man leaning 
against the desk made a note on a tablet, and then 
asked Mr. Winkle what he knew of the case and to 
state his objections to the law, first saying which 
law he so vigorously disapproved. The clerk 
winked at Mr. Winkle, but Mr. Winkle either did 
not see, or else did not regard the purport of the 
demonstration, and proceeded to express himself 
with a good deal of emphasis in regard to a condi- 
tion of affairs which made it possible to elect as law- 
makers men capable of framing such idiotic measures 
and employing on newspapers others who upheld the 
enactment. But before he had gone far in these 
strictures on public affairs as now administered he 
espied John Boler and followed him hastily upstairs. 
That afternoon Mr. Winkle almost fell from his 
chair when he saw the evening edition of the 
Screamer with a three-column "interview" with 



The Boler House Mystery. 1 3 1 

himself. It was headed, "Rank Socialism at the 
Boler House. A Close Friend of the Offending 
Landlord Lets the Cat out of the Bag. A Dangerous 
Nest of Law Breakers. John Boler and Dr. Ral- 
ston still Defiant. Backed by a Man Who Ought to 
Know Better. Shameless Confession of one of the 
Arch Conspirators. The Mask torn from Old Silas 
Winkle Who Roomed Next to the Would-be Suicide. 
Will the Police Act Now ?" 

When Mr. Winkle read the article appended to 
these startling headlines, he descended hastily to the 
office floor and proceeded to make some remarks 
which it would be safe to assert would not be re- 
peated by any Sunday-school superintendent — in 
the presence of his class — in the confines of the State 
of New York. John Boler was present at the time 
and whispered aside to Mr. Winkle that a reporter for 
the Screamer and five others from as many different 
papers were within hearing, whereupon Mr. Winkle 
became more and more excited, and talked with 
great volubility to each and every one of the young 
men as they gathered about him. " Adds Blasphemy 
to His Other Crimes," wrote one of them as his head- 
line, and then John Boler interfered. 

" Look here, boys," said he pleasantly, but with 
a ring of determination in his voice, "you just let 
Mr. Winkle alone. This sort of thing is all new to 
him, and he had no more to do with that girl than 
if his room had been in Texas." (The reporters 
winked at each other and one of them wrote, Con- 
nived at by the Proprietor?) " /put her in the room 



1 32 The Bolcr House Mystery. 

next to his. / helped the doctor to resuscitate her. 
/ positively refuse to give you her real name and 
present address, although I know both, and Mr. 
Winkle does not, and if the police court has any 
use for me it knows where to find me. Have a 
cigar?" Each reporter took a weed, and three of 
them went to the office of Dr. Ralston to complete 
their records as soon as possible. 

" I'm sorry all this has happened to you in my 
house, Mr. Winkle," said John Boler, as they stood 
alone for a moment. " It is partly my fault, too," 
he added, in a sudden burst of contrition. " It" 
had carried his revenge further than he had in- 
tended. He knew how the old man's sudden out- 
break of righteous indignation would go against him 
in the newspaper reports that would follow, and 
John Boler was kind-hearted as well as fearless. 

" Good Lord, don't you worry about me, John- 
nie !" said the old man, craning his neck to watch 
the retreating forms from the window. " But those 
young devils have gone over to the doctor's office 
and they'll bully him into telling where the girl is, 
and then they'll bully the police into dragging her 
into court yet. Dear me, dear me !" 

" Now, don't you be scared about that, Mr. 
Winkle. The doctor and I have made up our 
minds to fight this thing out. We've found out all 
about the girl and that it was simply a case of utter 
despair. It was a question of death by slow or by 
quick means. Society, law, prescribed the slow 
method, and the girl herself chose the rapid one. 



The Boler House Mystery. 133 

Well, now, as long as she was to be the sufferer in 
either case, it strikes me that she had about as good 
a right to a voice in the matter as the rest of us. 
Dr. Ralston and I checkmated her. (I can't afford 
to have that kind of thing happen in the hotel, of 
course.) But, by gad, we're not going to let them 
make a criminal of her. All the circumstances 
combined to do that before and she chose death. 
Well, we stopped her efforts in that line too, and 
now the court proposes to put the finishing touches 
on society's other inhumanities and send her up 
for it. Why, good God, man, just look at it ! In 
substance that girl said, 'I'll die before I'll be 
forced into association with criminals,' and the 
court says, 'You shall do nothing of the kind. 
Science shall doctor you up and we will send you 
up. Despair is a crime.' That girl tried every way 
she knew of to live right. She failed. No work 
that she could do came her way. Well, now, will 
you just tell me what she was to do ? You know 
what any man on God's earth would do if he had 
been situated that way and could have sold his vir- 
tue — in the sense we use virtue for women. Well, 
some women are not built that way. They prefer 
to die. Life don't mean enough of happiness to 
them to pay for the rest of it — life as it is, I mean. 
Well, since women don't have anything to say 
about what the laws and social conditions shall be, 
it strikes me that the situation is a trifle arbitrary, 
to put it mildly. We make laws for and demands 
upon women that no man on earth would think of 



134 The Bolcr House Mystery. 

complying with, and then we tell 'em they sha'n't 
even die to get away from the conditions we im- 
pose and about which they are not allowed a word 
to say. To tell you the bald truth /';;/ ashamed 
of it. So when we learned that girl's story we just 
made up our minds that since we had taken the 
liberty to keep her from getting out of the world by 
a shorter cut than the one usually prescribed in 
such cases — starvation— that we'd just take the ad- 
ditional liberty of keeping her from being hounded 
to insanity and made a criminal of by legal verdict." 

Mr. Winkle gave a snort that startled John Boler, 
for he had been running on half to himself during 
the last of his talk and had almost forgotten that 
the old man was present. When he heard the ex- 
plosion he mistook its meaning and his conscience 
gave him another smart twinge. 

"Yes, I'm sorry, very sorry, Mr. Winkle, that this 
trouble has come to you in my house, but who could 
have foreseen that — a — that is to say — " 

" Trouble to me ? " exclaimed Mr. Winkle. 
" Trouble to me ? Who's said anything about any 
trouble to me ? Do you suppose I care what those 
young scamps say about me in the papers? Got to 
make a living, haven't they ? Well, society doesn't 
object to their making a living by taking what does 
not belong to 'em, if it happens to be a man's repu- 
tation or a woman's chance to ever make an honest 
living again. Little thefts like that don't count. 
That is not a crime ; but dear me, Johnnie, do you 
suppose I care a tinker's dam about that, so far as 



The Boler House Mystery. 135 

/ go ? God bless my soul, if the dear boys can sell 
their three columns of rot about me, and it will keep 
them off the heels of some poor devil that it might 
ruin, why, I'm satisfied. All I've got to say to you 
is, if they arrest you I'll go bail, and if they fine 
you I'll pay it, and if they jail you — hang it, John- 
nie, I'll serve your term, that's all." 

Mr. Boler laughed. " My punishment shall all 
be vicarious then, hey ? Good idea, only it won't 
work in every-day life. The law doesn't let other 
people serve out your term. But I'm just as 
much obliged, and — and — to tell you the truth, 
Mr. Winkle, I'm — that is to say, I hope you will 
forgive me — the fact is, I forgive you freely for 
the part you took in helping to addle such brains 
as I had when I was a child. There is my hand. 
1 It ' went a little too far this time, and — " 

Mr. Winkle took off his glasses and polished 
them carefully. Then he placed them astride his 
nose and gazed thoughtfully at his old friend's son 
for fully a minute before he said a word. Finally 
he took the extended hand, shook it solemnly, 
and walked slowly away, wondering to himself if it 
could be possible that hard-headed old John Boler's 
son was touched a little in the brain. Mr. Boler 
noticed his perplexed expression and laughed 
merrily to himself as he started toward the ele- 
vator. Before he reached it he turned and beck- 
oned to Mr. Winkle to follow him. On the third 
floor they were joined by Dr. Ralston. 

" She is so much better now, Mr. Winkle," ex- 



136 The Boler House Mystery. 

plained the genial hotel man, " and you are an older 
man than either the doctor or I, so I thought — It 
just struck me that she might feel — That you might 
like — Oh, damn it, would you like to go up to see 
her ? We are going now. A clergyman has called, 
and if she wants to see him we shall not stay but a 
minute ; but as there is no woman about, as she is 
so alone, I thought perhaps she might like to have 
an older man come with us, for she seems to be a 
very sensitive girl. She has been silent about her- 
self so far ; but she is better now, and we want to 
find out what work she can do, and have a place 
ready for her when she is able to get about. Per- 
haps she will talk more freely to you." 

The old gentleman looked perplexed, but made 
no reply until they were out of the elevator. Then 
he took Mr. Boler by the arm and said helplessly, 
" I — I am a bachelor, you know, Johnnie, and — " 

" No !" laughed Mr. Boler. " Well, confound it, 
you don't look it. Anybody would take you for 
the proud father of a large brood. She will think 
you are and it may help her. Come on." 

The old gentleman entered the darkened room 
last and sai down silently in the deepest shadow. 
The doctor stepped to the bed and spoke in a low 
tone. A white face on the pillow turned slowly, so 
that the only band of light that reached in from 
the open door fell full upon it. Mr. Winkle shud- 
dered as he saw for the first time the delicate, 
pallid, hopeless face. 

" A priest ?" she said feebly, in answer to the 



The Boler House Mystery. 1 37 

doctor. " Oh, no. Why should I want to see a 
priest ? You've had your way. You've brought 
me back to battle with a world wherein I only now 
acknowledged my defeat." Her voice trembled 
with weakness and emotion, but she was looking 
steadily at the doctor with great wide eyes, in which 
there burnt the intensity of mental suffering and a 
determination to free her mind even at the risk of 
losing the good-will of those who had intended to 
be kind to her. "A priest! What could he do? 
This life is what I fear. His mission is to deal 
with other worlds — of which I know already what 
he does — and that is nothing. Of this life I know, 
alas ! too much. Far more than he. He cannot 
help me, for I could tell him much he cannot 
know, of suffering and fortitude and hope laid low 
at last, without a refuge even in cloistered walls. I 
know what he would say. His voice would tremble 
and he would offer sympathy and good advice — 
and, maybe, alms. These are not what I want or 
need. I am not very old — just twenty-two — but I 
have thought and thought until my brain is tired, 
and what good could it do for him to sit beside me 
here and say in gentle tones that it is very sad ? 
No doubt that he would tell me, too, how wicked 
I have been that I should choose to die by my own 
hand when life had failed me." 

She smiled a little, and her wan face lit from 
within was beautiful still in spite of its pallor. 
The doctor murmured something about natural 
sympathy, and Mr. Boler remarked that men who 



138 The Bolcr House Mystery. 

were fortunate would gladly help those who were 
in distress if only they knew in time. She did not 
appear to heed them, but presently went on as 
though her mind were on the clergymen below wait- 
ing to see her. 

" To feel that it is sad is only human; but what 
is to be done ? That is the question now. What 
is to be done for suffering in this world ? It is life 
that is hard to bear, not death. Sympathy with 
the unfortunate is good. Kind words and gentle 
tones as your priest recounts their woes are touch- 
ing. Yes, and when they are drawn to fit the 
truth would melt a heart of stone; but unless 
action wings the sympathy and dries the tears, the 
object of his tenderness is in nowise bettered — 
indeed, is injured. Why ? Because he lulls to 
sleep man's conscience and thereby gives relief 
from pangs that otherwise had found an outlet 
through an open purse. And when I say an open 
purse I do not speak of charity, that double blight 
which kills the self-respect in its recipient and 
numbs the conscience of the ' benevolent' man 
who grasps the utmost penny here that he may give 
with ostentation there, wounding the many that he 
may heal the few. All this was safe enough, no 
doubt, while Poverty was ignorant, for ignorance 
is helpless always; but now — " There was a 
pause. She raised her head a little from the pil- 
low and a frightened look crept into her eyes — 
" but now the poor are not so ignorant that it will 
long be safe to play at cross purposes with suffer- 



The Boler House Mystery. 1 39 

ing made too intelligent to drink in patient faith 
the bitter draughts of life and wait the crown of 
gold he promises hereafter — and wears, mean- 
while, himself. A little joy on earth, they think, 
will not bedim the lustre of a life that is to come — 
if such there be. You see I've thought a little in 
these wretched days and months just past." She 
was silent again for a moment. A bitter smile 
crossed her face and vanished. The doctor of- 
fered her a powder which she swallowed without 
a word. John Boler stepped to the table and 
poured out a glass of wine, but when he held it 
toward her she shook her head and closed her 
eyes a moment. Then she spoke again as if no 
break had checked her thought. " Oh, no ; I do 
not care to see your priest. The poor no longer 
fail to note his willingness to risk the needle's eye 
with camel's back piled high with worldly gain. 
If he may enter thus, why may not they with sim- 
pler train and fewer trappings ? The poor are 
asking this to-day of prince and priest alike. No 
answer comes from either. Evasion does not sat- 
isfy. I ask, but no one answers. The day once 
was when silence passed for wisdom. That day is 
gone. To-day we are asking why ? and why ? and 
why ? no longer, when ? And so the old reply, 
' hereafter,' does not fit the query. Why, not 
when, is what we urge to-day, and your replies 
must change to fit the newer, nearer question. 
When I say your replies, I do not mean you, doc- 
tor, nor your friend. You two meant kindly by 



140 The Boler House Mystery. 

me. Yes, I know. I am not claiming that you 
are at fault, nor they — the fortunate — the prince 
and priest. I understand. Blind nature took her 
course and trod beneath her cruel feet the mil- 
lions who were born too weak to struggle with the 
foes they found within themselves and in their 
stronger brothers. I know, I know." 

She lay back on the pillow and closed her eyes 
wearily. Mr. Winkle drew near and stood behind 
the doctor's chair, still keeping in the shadow, but 
watching her pale face with an intensity born of a 
simple nature easy to stir and quick to resolve. 
The doctor touched her pulse with a light finger 
and gravely nodded his head as he glanced at his 
watch. Her heavy eyelids did not lift but her 
voice broke the silence again. There was a ca- 
dence in it that gave a solemn thrill to the three 
men as they listened, the doctor watching with 
professional interest the effect of the powder he 
had given; the other two waited, expecting they 
knew not what. 

" The ignorance and cruelty of all the past, the 
superstitious fears, the cunning prophecies, the 
greeds and needs of men, joined hands and 
marched triumphant. They did not halt to ask 
the fallen what had borne them down. They did 
not silence bugle blasts of joy where new-made 
graves were thick. No silken flag was lowered to 
warm to life the shivering forms of comrades over- 
come and fallen by the way. The strong marched 
on and called themselves the brave. Sometimes 



The Boler House Mystery. 141 

they were. But other times the bravest had gone 
down, plucked at, perchance, by wife or child or 
friend whose sorrow or distress reached out and 
twined itself about the strong but tender heart 
and held it back until the foot lost step, and in 
the end the eye lost sight of those who only now 
had kept him company." 

She lifted her small white hand and pointed as 
if to a distant battlefield, but her eyes remained 
closed. The doctor glanced uneasily at his watch 
and took her other wrist in his fingers again. 

" The next battalion trampled him. The priest 
bent low and whispered ' over there, hereafter,' and 
slipped the treasure of the fallen hero beneath his 
ample robe to swell the coffers of the church, since 
dead men need no treasures." 

iler voice was infinitely sad but she laughed a 
little and opened her eyes. They fixed themselves 
upon the silvered head of Mr. Winkle standing be- 
hind the doctor's chair. 

" Perhaps I shock you. I do not mean to, but 
I have thought and thought these last few wretched 
months, and looking at the battlefields of life 
backward through all the ages, I thought I saw at 
night, in camp, the priest and conqueror meet be- 
side the campfire and council for the next day's 
march. I thought I heard the monarch say, ' I go 
before and cleave my way. You follow me and 
gather up two things — the spoils I miss and all the 
arrows of awakened scorn and wrath embedded 
in the breasts of those of our own ranks who fall 



142 The Boler House Mystery. 

or are borne down, lest they arise and overtake us 
while we sleep and venge themselves on us. Tell 
them to wait. Their time will come. Tell them 
/clear the way for them, andjjw forgive a hatred 
which you see is growing up within their wicked 
breasts. Quiet, soothe, and shame them into 
peace. Assure them that hereafter they, not we, 
shall have the better part. Gain time. Lay 
blame to me if need be; but always counsel pa- 
tience, waiting, acquiescence, peace, submission to 
the will of God — your will and mine. Your task is 
easy. No danger lies therein. I take the risk and 
share with you the glory and the gain.' I heard 
the priest disclaim all greed of gain and go to do 
his part as loyal subject and as holy man. I saw 
all this and more before I took the last resolve you 
balked. You meant it kindly, doctor, yes, I know, 
but I am very tired and what is there ahead for 
me, or such as I, on battlefields like these ?" 

No one ventured a reply. She closed her eyes 
and waited. The doctor took another powder 
from his case and held it above her lips. She 
smiled and swallowed it. 

"We take our powders very docilely," she said, 
with a bitter little laugh as the wine-glass left her 
hand and Mr. Boler's finger touched her own. He 
noticed that hers was very cold. 

" They used to make us sleep in the good old 
days of priest and monarch, but our nerves are 
wrong just now. Our powders only make us think 
the more and have strange visions." 



The Boler House Mystery. 143 

Dr. Ralston glanced at Mr. Boler and nodded 
his head mysteriously. The powder was begin- 
ning to work, he thought, for she had reverted to 
the old vision, and talked as if she were in a 
dream. " That way it was, another way it is, and 
still another will be," she was saying. " To-day 
the honest poor, the hampered weak, are defeated, 
dazed, and some of us are hopeless. Others there 
are who cling to hope and life and brood on ven- 
geance. That is your danger, gentlemen, for days 
that are to come. You will have to change your 
powders. The old prescriptions do not make us 
sleep. We think, and think, and think. We strain 
our nerves and break our hearts, for what ? A life 
as cold and colorless and sad as death itself — to 
some of us far sadder — and yet you will not even 
let us die. Again we ask you, why ? There is no 
place on earth for such as we, unless we will be 
criminals. That is the hinge whereon the future 
turns. How many will prefer the crime to want ? 
What dangers lie behind the door that now is 
swinging open ? Intelligence has taught us scorn 
for such a grovelling lot, has multiplied our needs, 
and turned the knife of suffering in quivering 
wounds no longer deadened by the anaesthetics of 
ignorant content with life or superstitious fear of 
death. The door is swinging on the hinge. The 
future has to face creatures the past has made like 
demons. Some, like myself, behind the door, who 
do not love mere life, will turn the sharpened dag- 
ger on themselves. But there are others — " 



144 2^ Bolcr House Mystery. 

Her voice sank. The three men thought that 
she had fallen asleep at last. The doctor drew a 
long satisfied breath and consulted his watch for 
the fourth time, making a mental note for future 
use in giving the drug whose action he was watch- 
ing. He started and frowned, therefore, when her 
voice broke the silence again. 

" Others there are, in spite of pain and anguish, 
in spite of woe and fear, who cling to life — who 
read in eyes they worship the pangs of hunger, 
cold, and mental agony. Where will their ven- 
geance go ? Who knows ?" 

She opened her great eyes and looked first at 
one and then at another, and repeated, " Who 
knows ?" 

Again there was no reply. After a long pause 
Mr. Winkle said gently: 

" There is a place in life for girls like you. I 
shall charge myself with it. You shall find work 
and joy yet, my child. Now go to sleep. Be 
quiet. We have let you talk too long. Stop think- 
ing sadly now. You think too much. You think 
too much." 

She closed her eyes quickly and there was a 
tightening of the lips that left them paler than be- 
fore. Then a tear rolled slowly down her temple. 
Before it reached the pillow the doctor bent for- 
ward and dried it softly with his silk handkerchief. 
She opened her eyes wide at the touch. " ' Be 
quiet?'" she repeated, " ' stop thinking ?' Oh, yes; 
I will be quiet, but the rest, the others ? Those 



The Bolcr House Mystery. 145 

with whom you do not charge yourself, who find 
no work, no joy ? Will they be quiet, will they 
stop thinking? Oh, yes; I can be quiet, very 
quiet, but the rest, the rest ? The others who 
think too much — all, all?" 

There was a wild look in her dry eyes. The 
doctor touched her wrist again and said softly to 
the men beside him, " It is working now. She 
will sleep. But the shock of all her trouble has 
left her mind unhinged, poor child. ' The rest ? 
the others ?' We cannot care for all the countless 
poor. Her brain is surely touched, poor child, 
poor child. How can we tell whether the others 
will stop thinking, or how, or when ? Her mind 
was wandering, and now she sleeps, poor child. 
Come out. She is best alone." 

They closed the door gently behind them and 
stood a moment in awkward silence outside, each 
one afraid to speak and yet ashamed of his own 
tender helplessness. At last Mr. Winkle looking 
steadily in the crown of his hat, said huskily, "By 
gad, boys, there is something rotten in the state 
of Denmark." They all three laughed with an 
effort, but kept their eyes averted. 

"It is a rat in the wainscoting of the store- 
room," said John Boler, with a desperate attempt 
to regain his old manner and tone, " and I've got 
to go and look after it or there'll be the devil to 
pay with the Boler House." And he ran down 
the stairs three steps at a time heartily ashamed of 
his own remark, but determined not to allow the 



146 The Boler House Mystery. 

tears to show themselves either in his eyes or voice, 
and feeling that his only safety was in flight. 

But Mr. Winkle had not stood silently behind 
the doctor's chair all that time for nothing, and if 
his nature was somewhat light, and if he had taken 
life so far as something of a jest, he was by no 
means without a heart. He did not now trouble 
himself very greatly about the tangled problems of 
existence, but he felt quite equal to dealing with 
any given case effectively and on short notice. 
With systems he was helpless, with individuals he 
could deal promply. Therefore he, in common 
with the doctor and Mr. Boler, and, indeed, with 
most of us, occupied himself with the girl he saw 
suffering and in need. 

When she had cried out, "But the rest, the oth- 
ers, what of them ?" he had said nothing, because 
he had nothing to say. He was vaguely aware 
that when the smallpox broke out on one of Dr. 
Ralston's patients that astute practitioner did not 
essay to treat each individual pustule separately as 
the whole of the disease and so devote his entire 
skill and mind to each in turn until it was cured. 
But then he could not undertake to cure the whole 
human race of its various social ailments any more 
than Dr. Ralston could hope to look after all of 
its physical pains. So Mr. Winkle took this one 
little social pustule upstairs as his particular charge, 
and in his own peculiar way went about securing 
better conditions for her, leaving the " others who 
think too much " to somebody else, or to fate, as 



The Boler House Mystery. 147 

the case might be. Therefore, when Mr. Winkle 
reached the street door and met an officer of the 
law who had come prepared to learn the where- 
abouts of the would-be suicide or else take Mr. 
John Boler and Dr. Ralston into custody, the old 
gentleman made up his mind to begin his part in 
the future proceedings without further delay. 

Unknown to Mr. Winkle himself, literature had 
lost a great novelist when he had gone into the 
mercantile business, and the surprises which he 
now sprang upon the policeman were no less as- 
tonishing and interesting to himself than they were 
to that astute guardian of the public morals. 

" Want to know where she is, do you ? Well, 
don't worry Johnnie Boler any more. They've 
already got him so his mind is a little affected. 
I'll tell you all about that girl. Her name is Estelle 
Morris. She worked for me for nine years as a 
nursery governess. Last month my youngest child 
died, and it upset Estelle so that she has been out of 
her head ever since. I thought if I'd bring her to 
the city maybe she might get over it, but she didn't, 
and the doctor gave her some stuff and she took a 
double dose by mistake, and all the row came from 
that and the long tongues of the servants, pieced 
out by the long pencils of the reporters. See!" 

" Is that so ?" exclaimed the officer. " Where is 
she now?" 

Mr. Winkle had not thought of that, and he did 
not know exactly what to say; but he agreed to 
produce her in court on the following day if so 



148 The Boler House Mystery. 

ordered, and there the matter dropped for the 
moment. 

That evening there appeared in a paper this 
"want:" "A good-looking young woman who is 
willing to lie like a pirate for the space of one hour 
for the sum of $50. May have to go to court." 
The number of handsome girls who were anxious 
to lend the activity of their tongues for the pur- 
pose named and the amount stipulated was quite 
wonderful. One particularly bright young miss 
remarked that she had been in training for just 
that position for years. She was confidential cor- 
respondent for a broker. Mr. Winkle accepted her 
on the spot. 

" Now," said he, " look solemn and sad. That 
is right. You do it first rate. Whatever I tell 
about you you are to stick to. Understand that?" 

" Perfectly. Years of practice," she responded, 
with entire simplicity and without a suspicion of 
humor. 

" Your name is Estelle Morris, and you have 
been the governess of my children for nine years. 
How old are you ?" 

" Nineteen," said Estelle Morris demurely. 

" Good gracious, girl, what could you teach at 
ten years of age ? You've got to be older. Take 
the curl out of your hair in front and put on a 
bonnet with strings. I heard my niece say that 
made her look ten years older. Mind you, you are 
not a day under twenty-six. Not a day." 

" All right," said Estelle Morris thoughtfully. 



The Boler House Mystery. 149 

" You are to look sick, too, and — " 
" Oh, I can fix that easy enough. I'll — " 
" Well, then fix it and come back here at exactly 
two o'clock this afternoon." 

At the appointed hour, Mr. Winkle met Miss 
Estelle Morris and took her with great dignity and 
care to the Boler House, where he was joined by 
another gentleman — an officer of the law — and the 
three started out together. 

" The examination was strictly private in defer- 
ence to the wishes of the parties first implicated, 
John Boler and Dr. Ralston, and because it is now 
believed that the girl is more sinned against than 
sinning," wrote the reporter for the morning rival 
of the Screamer. "It is the object of justice to 
help the erring to start anew in life wherever that 
line of action is consonant with the stern necessi- 
ties of the blind goddess. Neither of the male 
accomplices appeared in the case, but Mr. Silas 
Winkle — whose name has figured somewhat con- 
spicuously in the matter — produced the principal, 
who, it must be confessed, is pretty enough to 
account for all the chivalry which has been dis- 
played in her behalf. She confessed to twenty-six 
years of single wretchedness, although she could 
easily pass for a year or two younger. It would 
appear that she had lived in Mr. Winkle's family 
for nine years as governess to his children and 
came to the city with him about two weeks ago. 
The justice accepted this explanation of the rela- 
tions existing between them, and that there was no 



1 50 The Boler House Mystery. 

attempt at suicide at all, but only an accidental 
overdose of a remedy prescribed by Dr. Ralston, 
which explained satisfactorily the doctor's connec- 
tion with the unsavory case, and places him once 
more in the honorable position from which this un- 
fortunate affair so nearly hurled him. In short, the 
justice said in substance, ' not guilty, and don't do 
it any more.' The young woman bowed modestly, 
and Silas Winkle led her from the court-room a 
sadder, and, let us hope, a wiser woman. Such as 
she must have much to live for. Many a man has 
braved death for a face less lovely than hers. This 
ends the ' Boler House Mystery,' which, after all, 
turns out to be only a tempest in a teapot, with a 
respectable father of a family and his children's 
governess for dramatis persona and a fresh young 
reporter on a certain sensational morning contem- 
porary as general misinformer of the public as usual." 
This was headlined, " Exploded — Another Fake by 
Our Esteemed Contemporary." 

That night John Boler rubbed his eyes when he 
read the report. " I thought you were a bachelor, 
Mr. Winkle," said he, " and here you produce in 
court a governess — " 

" I am," said Mr. Winkle, laughing, and then he 
showed his " want" advertisement. "That is the 
whole case, Johnnie, my boy, but it is all over now. 
Don't you worry ; it might go to your head again. 
You saved the girl and I saved you, and it only cost 
me $50. I'd pay that any time to get ahead of the 
Screamer, and I rather think I salted that enterpris- 



The Boler House Mystery. 1 5 1 

ing sheet down this time, don't you ? But what is 
to become of that girl?" added he, without waiting 
for a reply to his first question. " You've taken 
the liberty to save her life, which she had decided 
she did not want under existing circumstances. 
Has she simply got to go over the same thing again ? 
I told her that I'd look after her, but I don't see 
how in thunder I'm going to do it. She won't take 
money from me and Fve got nothing for her to do. 
Is there nothing ahead of her but a coffin or a 
police court ?" 

" For this individual girl, yes. Dr. Ralston has 
already secured work for her; but for all the thou- 
sands of her kind — " John Boler's voice trembled 
a little and he stopped speaking to hide it. He in 
common with most men was heartily ashamed of 
his better nature. 

"For all the thousands of her kind," broke in 
Mr. Winkle, " there are just exactly three roads 
open — starvation, suicide, or shame, with the courts, 
the legislature, and the newspapers on the side of 
the latter. I just tell you, Johnnie, it makes my 
blood boil. I — I don't see any way out of it — none 
at all. That is the worst of it." 

" I do," said Mr. Boler. 

" You do /" exclaimed Mr. Winkle excitedly, and 
then looked hard at his old friend's son to see if he 
had gone crazy again. 

" Yes, I do. Those same newspapers you are so 
down on will do it. They're bound to. The boys 
go wrong sometimes, as they did in this case ; but 



152 The Boler House Mystery. 

that only makes sensible people indignant, and, 
after all, it called attention to the law that makes 
such things possible. More light on the laws. 
That's the first thing we want, and no matter 
which side of a question the papers take, we are 
bound to get that in the long run. Silence is the 
worst danger. We get pretty mad at the boys if 
they write what we don't like, but that isn't half so 
dangerous as if they didn't write at all. See ?" 

Mr. Winkle turned slowly away and shook his 
head as he murmured to himslf : " Who would have 
believed that old John Boler would have been the 
father of a lunatic ? Dear me, dear me. I'm going 
back to Meadville before I get touched in the head 
myself." And he started to his room to pack his 
valise. John Boler followed him to the elevator. 

" I don't blame you for feeling pretty mad about 
all the stuff they put in the Screamer about you ; 
but — oh, the boys mean all right — " 

" So does the devil," broke in the old man. But 
Mr. Boler gave no evidence of noticing the inter- 
ruption nor of observing the irascibility of his 
guest. 

" The trouble is with the system," he went on, 
entering the elevator after Mr. Winkle. " Why, 
just look at it, man. What I say or do, if it is of a 
public nature, I'm responsible for to the public. 
What you write you put your name to; but it's 
a pretty big temptation to a young fellow who 
knows he has got the swing in a newspaper and 
doesn't have to sign his name to what he says, to 



The Boler House Mystery. 153 

make an effort to 'scoop' his rivals at whatever cost. 
The boys don't mean any harm, but irresponsible 
power is a mighty dangerous weapon to handle. 
Not many older men can be trusted to use it wisely. 
Then why should we expect it of those young 
fellows who don't know yet any of the deeper 
meanings of life ? Great Scott, man ! / think they 
do pretty well under the circumstances. I'm afraid 
I'd do worse." 

Mr. Winkle stroked his chin reflectively. 

" No doubt, no doubt," he said abstractedly, as 
they stepped out of the elevator. 

John Boler looked at him for a brief space 
of time to see if he had intended the thrust 
and then went on: 

" That girl's life or death just meant an item to 
the boys, and it didn't mean much more to you 
or me until — until we stood and heard her talk 
and saw her suffer, and were made personally un- 
comfortable by it. Yet we are old enough to know 
all about it for her and others. We do know it, and 
go right along as if we didn't. We are a pretty bad 
lot, don't you think so ?" 

Silas Winkle unlocked his door before he spoke. 
Then he turned to his old friend's son and shook 
his hand warmly. 

" Good-bye," he said, looking at him steadily. 
" Good-bye, Johnnie. I see it only comes on you 
at odd spells. Come up to Meadville for a while 
and I think you will get over it altogether. Your 
father was the clearest-headed man I ever saw and 



154 The Boler House Mystery. 

you seem to have lucid intervals. Those last 
remarks of yours were worthy of your father, my 
boy," and the old man patted him softly on the 
back. 

John Boler whistled all the way downstairs. 
Then he laughed. 

" I wonder if old Winkle really does think I am 
off my base," said he, as he took down his hat. 
" I suppose we are all more or less crazy. He 
thinks I am and I know he is. It is a crazy world. 
Only lunatics could plan or conduct it on its present 
lines." And he laughed again and then sighed and 
passed out into the human stream on Broadway. 



XTbe Ufme Xocfe of ©ut ancestors. 



" Visiting the iniquity of the fathers tifon the children unto the 
third and fourth generation.' 1 ' 1 — BIBLE. 



THE TIME LOCK OF OUR ANCESTORS. 



" Don't be so hard on yourself, Nellie. I am sure 
it can be no great wrong you have done. Girls like 
you are too apt to be morbid. No doubt we all do 
it, whatever it is. I'm sure I shall not blame you 
when you tell me. Perhaps I shall say you are 
quite right — that is, if there is any right and wrong 
to it, and provided I know which is which, after I 
hear the whole story — as most likely I shall not. 
Right—" 

And here the elder woman smiled a little satiri- 
cally, and looked out of the window with a far-away 
gaze, as if she were retravelling through vast spaces 
of time and experience far beyond anything her 
friend could comprehend. 

The evening shadows had gathered, and cast, as 
they will, a spell of gravity and exchange of confi- 
dences over the two. 

Presently the older woman began speaking again: 

" Do you know, Nell, I was always a little sur- 
prised that Lord Byron, of all people, should have 
put it that way: 

" I know the right, and I approve it too ; 
Condemn the wrong — and yet the wrong pursue. 

" * The right ' — why, it is like a woman to say 

i57 



158 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

that. As if there were but one ' right,' and it were 
dressed in purple and fine linen, and seated on a 
throne in sight of the assembled multitude ! ' The 
right,' indeed ! Yes, it sounds like a woman — and 
a very young woman at that, Nellie." 

The girl looked with large, troubled, passionate 
eyes at her friend, and then broke out into hot, in- 
dignant words — words that would have offended 
many a woman; but Florence Campbell only 
laughed, a light, queer little peal; tipped her chair 
a trifle farther back, put her daintily slippered feet 
on the satin cushion of the low window-seat, and 
looked at her friend, through the gathering dark- 
ness, from under half-closed eyelids. 

Presently — this woman was always deliberate in 
her conversation; long silences were a part of her 
power in interesting and keeping the full attention 
of her listeners — presently she said: 

"Of course you think so. Why shouldn't you? 
So did I — once. And do you know, Nellie, that 
sort of sentiment dies hard — very hard — in a woman. 
At your age — " Florence Campbell always spoke as 
if she were very old, although to look at her one 
would say that she was not twenty-eight. 

These delicately formed Dresden-china women 
often carry their age with such an easy grace — it 
sits upon them so lightly — in spite of ill-health, 
mental storms, and moral defeats, that while their 
more robust sisters grow haggard and worn, and 
hard of feature and tone, under weights less terri- 
ble and with feelings less intense, they keep their 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 159 

grace and gentleness of tone in the teeth of every 
blast. 

" At your age, dear, I would have scorned a 
woman who talked as I do now; and more than 
that, I would have suspected her, as you do not sus- 
pect me, of being a very dangerous and not unlikely 
a very bad person indeed — simply from choice. 
While you — you generous little soul — think that I 
am better than I talk." 

She laughed again, and shifted her position as if 
she were not wholly comfortable under the troubled 
gaze of the great eyes she knew were fastened upon 
her. 

" You think I am better than my opinions. I 
know exactly what you tell yourself about me when 
you are having it out with yourself upstairs. Oh, I 
know ! You excuse me for saying this on the 
theory that it was not deliberate — was an oversight. 
You account for that by the belief that I am not 
well — my nerves are shaken. You are perfectly 
certain that 7" am all right, no matter what I do, or 
say, or think." She took her little friend's soft 
hand as it twisted nervously a ribbon in her lap, 
and held the back of it against her cheek, as she 
often did. " But just suppose it were some one 
else — some other woman, Nellie, you would suspect 
her (no doubt quite unfairly) of all the crimes in 
the statute-books. Oh, I know, I know, child ! I 
did — at your age — and, sad to relate, / had no 
Florence Campbell to soften my judgments on even 
one of my sex." 



160 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

She had grown serious as she talked, and her 
voice almost trembled. The instant she recognized 
this herself, she laughed again, and said gayly: 

" Oh, I was a very severe judge — once — I do as- 
sure you, though you may not think so now." She 
dropped her voice to a tone of mocking solemnity, 
not uncommon with her, and added: " If you won't 
tell on me, I'll make a little confession to you, 
dear;" and she took both of the girl's hands firmly 
in her own and waited until the promise was given. 

"I wouldn't have it get out for the world, but 
the fact is, Nell, I sometimes strongly suspect that, 
at your age, I was — a most unmitigated, self-right- 
eous little prig." 

Nellie's hands gave a disappointed little jerk: but 
her friend held them firmly, laughed gayly at her 
discomfiture — for she recognized fully that the girl 
was attuned to tragedy — buried her face in them 
for an instant, and then deliberately kissed in turn 
each pink little palm — not omitting her own. 
Then she dropped those of her friend, and leaned 
back against her cushions and sighed. 

Nellie was puzzled and annoyed. She was on 
the verge of tears. 

"Florence, darling," she said presently, "if I did 
not know you to be the best woman in the world, 
I shouldn't know what to make of your dark hints, 
and of — and of you. You are always a riddle to 
me — a beautiful riddle, with a good answer, if only 
I could guess it. You talk like a fiend, sometimes, 
and you act like — an angel, always." 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 161 

" Give me up. You can't guess me. Fact is, I 
haven't got any answer," laughed Florence. 

But the girl went steadily on without seeming to 
hear her: " Do you know, there are times when I 
wonder if it would be possible to be insane and 
vicious, mentally and verbally, as it were, and per- 
fectly sane and exaltedly good morally." 

Florence Campbell threw herself back on her 
cushions and laughed gayly, albeit a trifle hysteri- 
cally. " Photograph taken by an experienced ar- 
tist !" she exclaimed. " You've hit me ! Oh, 
you've hit me, Nell." Then sitting suddenly bolt- 
upright, she looked the girl searchingly in the face, 
and said slowly: " Do you know, Nellie, that I am 
sometimes tempted to tell the truth ? About my- 
self, I mean — and to you. Never on any other 
subject, nor to anybody else, of course," she added 
dryly, in comedy tones, strangely contrasting with 
the almost tragic accents as she went on. " But I 
can't. ' The truth !' Why, it is like the right; I'm sure 
I don't know what it is; and it has been so long — 
oh, so cruelly long — since I told it, by word or 
action, that I have lost its very likeness from my 
mind. I have told lies and acted lies so long — " 
Her friend's eyes grew indignant and she began to 
protest, but Florence ran on: "I have evaded facts 
— not only to others, but to myself, until — rntil I'd 
have to swear out a search-warrant and have it served 
on my mental belongings to find out myself what I 
do think or feel or want on any given subject." 

It was characteristic of the woman to use this 



1 62 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

flippant method of expression, even in her most 
intense moments. 

" I change so, Nell; sometimes suddenly — all in 
a flash." 

There was a long silence. Then she began again, 
quite seriously: 

"There is a theory, you know, that we inherit 
traits and conditions from our remote ancestors as 
well as from our immediate ones. I sometimes 
fancy that they descend to some people with a 
Time Lock attachment. A child is born " — she 
held out her hands as if a baby lay on them — " he 
is like his mother, we will say, gentle, sweet, kind, 
truthful, for years — let us say seven. Suddenly the 
Time Lock turns, and the traits of his father 
(modified, of course, by the acquired habits of seven 
years) show themselves strongly — take possession, 
in fact. Another seven years, and the priggishness 
of a great-uncle, the stinginess of an aunt, or the 
dullness, in books, of a rural grandfather. Then, 
in keeping with the next two turns of the Lock, he 
falls in love with every new face he sees, marries 
early and indulges himself recklessly in a large 
family. He is an exemplary husband and father, 
as men go, an ideal business man, and a general 
favorite in society." 

She was running on now as if her words had the 
whip-hand of her. 

" Everybody remarks upon the favorable change 
since his stupid, priggish college days. All this 
time, through every change, he has been honorable 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 163 

and upright in his dealings with his fellows. Sud- 
denly the Time Lock of a Thievish Ancestor is 
turned on; he finds temptation too strong for even 
that greatly under-estimated power — the force of 
habit of a lifetime — and the trust funds in his keep- 
ing disappear with him to Canada. Everybody is 
surprised, shocked, pained — and he, no doubt, more 
so than anyone else. Emotional insanity is offered 
as a possible explanation by the charitable ; long- 
headed, calculating, intentional rascality, by the 
severe or self-righteous. And he ? Well, he is 
wholly unable to account for it at all. He knows 
that he had not lived all these years as a conscious, 
self-controlled thief. He knows that the tempta- 
tions of his past life had never before taken that 
particular form. He knows that the impulse was 
sudden, blinding, overwhelming; but he does not 
know why and how. It was like an awful dream. 
He seemed to be powerless to overcome it. The 
Time Lock had turned without his knowledge, and 
in spite of himself. The unknown, unheard-of 
Thievish Ancestor took possession, as it were, 
through force of superior strength and ability — and 
then it was his hour. The hereditary shadow on 
the dial had come around to him. The great- 
uncle's hour was past. He, no doubt, was ' turned 
on ' to some other dazed automaton — in Maine or 
Texas — who had fallen heir to a drop too much of 
his blood, and she, poor thing, if it happened to be 
a girl this time, forthwith proceeded to fall in love 
with her friend's husband — seeing he was the only 



164 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

man at hand at the time; while the Thievish An- 
cestor left — in shame and contrition — a small but 
light-fingered boy in Georgia, to keep his engage- 
ment with our respectable, highly honored, and 
heretofore highly honorable man of affairs in Wall 
street. The Time Lock of heredity had been set 
for this hour, and the machinery of circumstances 
oiled the wheels and silently moved the dial." 

There was absolute silence when Florence Camp- 
bell's voice ceased. The heavy curtains made the 
shadows in the struggling moonlight deep and sol- 
emn. Two great eyes looked out into the darkness 
and a shudder passed over her frame. She thought 
her little friend had fallen asleep, she lay so still 
and quiet on the rug at her feet. Florence sighed, 
and thought how quickly youth forgot its troubles 
and how lightly Care sat on her throne. Then sud- 
denly a passionate sobbing broke the silence, and 
two arms, covered with lace and jewels, flung them- 
selves around the older woman's knees. 

" O my God ! Florence; O my God ! is there no 
way to stop the wheels ? Must they go blindly on ? 
Can we never know who or what we shall be to-mor- 
row ? It is awful, Florence, awful ; and — it — is 
true ! O God ! it is true /" 

Florence Campbell had been very serious when 
she stopped her little harangue. There had been a 
quality in her voice which, while it was not wholly 
new to her friend, would have been unknown to 
many who thought they knew her well. To them 
she was a beautiful, fashionable, rather light woman, 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 165 

with a gay nature, who either did not know, or did 
not care to investigate too closely, the career of her 
husband, to whom she was devotedly attached. 

She had been quite serious, I say, when she 
stopped her little philosophical speculation; but she 
was greatly surprised at the storm she had raised in 
the breast of her little friend. 

Florence bent down quickly, and putting her 
arms about the girl tried to raise her up; but she 
only sobbed the harder, and clung to her friend's 
knees as a desperate, frightened creature might 
cling to its only refuge. 

"Why, Nellie, little kitten," said the older 
woman, using a term of endearment common with 
her in talking with the girl — " why, Nellie, little 
kitten, what in the world is the matter ? Did I 
scare the life out of you with my Time Locks and 
my gruesome ancestors?" and she tried to laugh a 
little; but the sound of her voice was not altogether 
pleasant to the ear. " I'll ring for a light. I had 
no business to talk such stuff to you when you were 
blue and in the dark too. I guess, Nell, that the 
Time Lock of my remote ancestor, who was a fool, 
must have been turned on me shortly after sundown 
to-day, don't you think ? " And this time her laugh 
lacked the note of bitterness it had held before. 

She ran on, still caressing the weeping girl at her 
feet: 

"Yes, undoubtedly, my Remote Ancestor — the 
fool — has now moved in. Do you think you can 
stand seven years of him, kitten, if you live with me 



1 66 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

that long ? But you won't. You'll go and marry 
some horrid man, and I shall be so jealous that my 
hair will curl at sight of him." 

But the girl would not laugh. She refused to be 
cheered, nor would she have a light. She raised 
herself until her head rested on her friend's bosom, 
and clung to her, sobbing as if her heart would 
break. Florence stroked her hair and sat silent for 
a while, wondering just what had so shaken the 
child. She knew full well that it was not what she 
had hinted of the darkness and her gruesome story. 
Presently Nellie drew her friend's face down, and 
whispered between her sobs: 

" Darling, I must have had some dreadful ancestor, 
a wicked — wicked woman. I — " 

Florence Campbell shrieked with laughter. She 
felt relieved of — she did not know what. She had 
blamed herself for even unconsciously touching the 
secret spring of sorrow in the girl's heart. It was a 
strange sight, the two women clinging to each other, 
the one sobbing, the other laughing, each trying in 
vain to check the other. 

At last Nellie said, still almost in a whisper: " But, 
Florence, you do not know. You do not under- 
stand. You are too good to know. It is you who 
will scorn and hate me when I tell you. O 
Florence, Florence, I can never dare to tell you !" 

Her friend, still laughing, made little ejaculations 
of satirical import as the girl grew more and more 
hysterical. 

" thou wicked wretch !" laughed she. " No 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 167 

doubt you've killed your man, as they say out 
West. Oh, dear — oh, dear ! Nell, this is really 
quite delicious ! Did it step on a bug ? Or was it 
a great big spider ? And does it think it ought to 
be hanged for the crime ? A peal of laughter from 
the one, a shudder from the other, was the only re- 
ply to these efforts to break the force of the girl's 
self-reproach. Florence clinched her small fist in 
mock heroics and began again: 

" Your crimes have found you out ! And mine — 
mine — has been the avenging hand ! Really, this 
is too good, kitten. I shall tell, let me see — I shall 
tell— Tom!" 

The girl was on her feet in a flash. 

" Not that ! not that, Florence ! Anything but 
that ! I will tell you myself first — he shall not ?" 

Florence grew suddenly silent and grave. The 
girl slipped down at her knees again, and clasping 
her hand, went hoarsely on: 

" O Florence, darling, I did not mean to wrong 
you ! Truly, truly, I did not — and I do not believe 
he did— not at — first-. We — oh, it was — " she 
sank on the floor, at the feet of her astonished 
friend, and with upstretched arms in the darkness 
whispered: "Florence, Florence — O my God! I 
cannot tell you ! I must go away ! / must go away .'" 

The older woman did not touch the outstretched 
hands and they sank to the floor, and on them 
rested a tear-stained, wretched face. 

A moment later Tom Campbell entered the room. 

To eyes unaccustomed to the darkness nothing 



1 68 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

was visible. He did not see his wife, who arose 
as he entered, and stood with bated breath over 
the form of the girl on the floor. 

" By Jove ! " he muttered, " this room is as dark 
as Egypt, and then some — Wonder where Florence 
is. Those damned servants ought to be shot ! 
Whole house like a confounded coal-pit ! Didn't 
expect me for hours yet, I suppose ! That's no 
reason for living like a lot of damned bats ! 'Fraid 
of musquitoes, I suppose. Where are those matches ? 
Florence ! She's evidently gone out — or to bed. 
Wonder where her little ' kitten' is ? Umm — wonder 
how much longer Florence means to keep her here ? 
Don't see how the thing's going to go on much 
longer this way, with a girl with a conscience like 
that. Perfectly abnormal ! Perfectly ridiculous ! 
Umm — no more tact than — " 

Nellie moaned aloud. Florence had held her 
breath, hoping he would go. He had almost 
reached the door leading to the hall, after his vain 
search for matches. 

" Hello ! what was that ? " said Campbell, turn- 
ing again into the room. 

His wife knew that escape was not now possible. 
" Nothing, Tom," she said, in a voice that trembled 
a little. " Go upstairs. I will come up soon." 

" Why, hello, Florence, that you ? What are you 
sitting here in the dark for, all alone ? Why didn't 
you speak to me when I came in ? What did you 
let me—" 

Nellie sat up, and in doing so overturned a chair. 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 169 

Tom's eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness. 
He saw the two women outlined before him, and 
he saw that Nellie had been on the floor, and that 
his wife stood over her. 

" What's the matter ?" he demanded. " What's 
up?" 

He came toward them. Nellie sprang to her 
feet, with flashing eyes and outstretched, imploring 
hands to wave him back. She was about to rush 
into a painful explanation. Florence stepped to- 
ward her, put both arms about her, and drew her 
onto the cushioned window-seat at their side. She 
knew she must cover the girl's agitation from her 
husband, and somehow gain time to think. 

" Sit down, dear," she said softly. " Sit down 
here by me. You have been asleep. He frightened 
you coming in so suddenly. You have been dream- 
ing ; you talked in your sleep— but it was all non- 
sense — about an ancestor, whom you blamed very 
bitterly." 

The girl began to speak impulsively, but Florence 
checked her. 

" Yes, I know. You told me. It was all the 
greatest stuff. But the part that was true— I doubt 
if she was to blame. I think, from all I know of — 
of her, and of the gentleman you mentioned, the 
one she— seemed to care for— that — oh, no, kitten! 
I am sure she was not to blame." 

Nellie was trembling violently, clinging to her 
friend in shame and remorse. Tom stood perfectly 
quiet in the deeper darkness, back from the window, 



\yo The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

with a smile on his cheerful face and a puzzled 
light in his handsome eyes. 

" Go upstairs, Tom," said Florence again, this 
time in a steadier tone. " Nellie's head aches; you 
waked her up too suddenly. We don't want more 
light — do we, Nellie ? Not just now. We have quite 
light enough for the present. I assure you we are 
better off just now in the dark. You would think 
so yourself if you could see us as we see ourselves. 
We are quite battered and out at elbow, I assure 
you, and not at all fit for fastidious masculine eyes." 

She was pulling herself up well. " To-morrow 
we will spruce up our bangs, put on fresh gowns, 
and not know ourselves for the wretches we are to- 
night. Until then, Sir Knight, no masculine eye 
shall rest upon our dilapidation. Go ! " 

Tom Campbell had seen his wife in this mood 
before. He went. 

All the way upstairs he wondered what had hap- 
pened. " Never could make women out anyway," 
he muttered; "least of all, Florence. Women are 
a queer lot. More you live with 'em, more you don't 
know what they'll do next. Wonder what in 
thunder's up. ' Kitten' never said a word; but I'm 
damned if I did't hear her groan! Guess the little 
goose feels kind of — queer — with me and the old 
lady both present. Wonder — whew! — wonder how 
much I said aloud, and how much they heard when 
I first went in! Confounded habit, talking aloud 
to myself ! Got to stop it, old boy; must be done 
■ — get you into trouble yet !" 



The Time Lock of Our A ncestors. 1 7 1 

Then he turned off the gas, and was sleeping as 
peacefully as an infant before the two women be- 
low stairs had parted for the night. 

When Tom left the room, Nellie began to sob 
again, and Florence stroked her hair with her icy 
hands and waited for the girl to speak — or grow 
calm. And for herself — she hardly knew what she 
waited for in herself; but she felt that she needed 
time. 

After a long silence she said, quite gently; 
" Nellie, little girl, we will go upstairs now; you 
will go to bed. If you ever feel like it, after you 
take time to think it over, and your nerves are quiet 
—if you ever feel like it, you may tell just what 
trick your troublesome ancestor has tried to play 
you; but I want to say now, dear, don't feel that 
you must tell me, nor that I do not know perfectly 
well that my little kitten is all right, ancestors or 
no ancestors, and that we, together can somehow 
find the combination to that Time Lock that so 
distresses you, and turn it off again. Meantime, 
little girl no one shall harm you. You shall be let 
alone; you are all right! Be sure of that. I am. 
Now, good-night ;" and she kissed the still sobbing 
girl on the forehead and hands, in spite, of her 
protests and self-accusations. 

Suddenly Nellie sank on her knees again, and 
grasped Florence's dress as she had turned to go: 

" O Florence ! O Florence ! are you human ? 
How can you ? You are not like other women! O 
my God! if I could only be like you; but you 



172 The Tune Lock of Our Ancestors. 

frighten me! You are so calm. How cold your 
hands are! oh — " 

" Are they ? I did not notice. Oh well, no mat- 
ter; it is an old trick of theirs, you know." 

Florence Campbell's voice was very steady now. 
Her words were slow and deliberate — they sounded 
as if she was very tired; and her step, as she climbed 
the stairs, had lost its spring and lightness. 

The next morning Nellie's breakfast was carried 
to her room, with a message from Florence not to 
get up until she came to her at their usual hour for 
reading together. 

About noon, as the girl lay thinking for the hun- 
dredth time that she must get up and face life again 
— that she must somehow stop this blinding head- 
ache, and go away — that she must die — Florence 
swept into the room, trailing her soft, long 
gown behind her, and gently closed the door. She 
had put on a gay pink tea-gown, with masses of 
white lace and smart little bows in unexpected 
places. 

" Feel better, dear ?" she asked, gayly. " Griggs 
told me your head ached, and that you had not slept 
well. I confess I did not either — not very. Tom 
and I talked rather late; you know he sails for Liv- 
erpool at noon. Sure enough, you didn't know. 
Well, no matter. The vessel is just about sailing 
now. Yes, it is rather sudden. We talked so much 
of it last night that it seems quite an old story to 
me to-day, though. You know he was to go in two 
weeks, anyway. It seemed best to go earlier, so I 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 173 

helped him pack, and saw him to the steamer two 
hours ago. You know a man doesn't have to take 
anything but a tooth-brush and a smoking-cap. We 
thought it would be best for his health to go at once. 
Tom has not seemed quite himself of late." She 
did not look at her friend as she talked and her 
white face was turned from the light. She talked 
so fast, it seemed as if she had rehearsed and was 
repeating a part with a desire to have it over as soon 
as might be. " His Travelling Ancestor, the one who 
wants change — change — change in all things, has 
had hold of him of late. I'm sure you have noticed 
how restless he was." 

The girl sat up and listened with wide eyes and 
flushed cheeks. She had known many unexpected 
and unexplained things to be done in the house of 
this friend, who had given her a home and a warm 
welcome a year before, when she had left school, 
an orphan and homeless. But this sudden depart- 
ure she had not heard even mentioned before. 
She thought she understood it. 

" O Florence ! Florence ! " she cried, passionately. 
" It is my fault! I have separated you! I have 
brought sorrow to you ! You, who are so good, so 
good; and I — oh, how can you be so kind to me ? 
Hate me ! Hate me ! Thrust me from your house, 
and tell the world I tried to steal your husband ! 
Tell that I am vile' and wicked ! Tell — and now 
I have sent him away from you, who love him — 
whom he loves ! Why do you not blame me ? 
Why do you never blame anyone ? Why — " 



174 The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 

There was a pause ; the girl sobbed bitterly, 
while the older woman seemed afraid to trust her 
voice. After a while in a tired, solemn tone, Nellie 
went on : 

" Do you think you can believe a word I say, 
Florence ? Is there any use for me to tell you the 
truth ?" 

Her friend nodded slowly, looking her steadily in 
the eyes. Her lips were tightly drawn together, 
and her hands were cold and trembling. 

" Then, Florence, I will tell you, truly — truly — 
truly, as I hope for — " She was going to say 
"your forgivness," but it seemed too cruel to ask 
for that just now. " I did not understand, not at 
first, either him or myself. I thought he was like 
you" — she felt Florence shudder — " and loved me, 
as he said, as you did. I was so glad and proud, 
until — until — O Florence ! how can I tell you that 
I let him beg me to go away with him ! After I 
understood what he meant, my heart did leap, even 
in its utter self-abasement and wretchedness. I 
let him beg me twice, and kiss me, after I under- 
stood ! It must have been my fault ; he said it was" 
— Florence took her friend's hand in hers — " and 
he said that no one else had ever taken his thoughts 
away from you." 

The girl thought she saw the drawn lips before 
her curl ; but she must free her whole heart now, 
and lay bare her very soul. 

" He said that he had always been true to you, 
Florence, even in thought, until I — O Florence ! 



The Time Lock of Our Ancestors. 175 

I must be worse than anyone one earth. I — he 
said—" 

Florence Campbell sprang to her feet. " Yes, I 
know, I know !" she exclaimed, breathlessly, "and 
you believed him ! Poor little fool ! Women do. 
Sometimes a second time, but not a third time, dear 
— not a third time ! Do not blame yourself any 
more." She stopped, then hurried on as one will 
do when danger threatens from within. " If it had 
not been you, it would, it might — my God ! it might 
have been worse ! Some poor girl — " 

She stopped again as if choking. The two women 
looked at each other ; the younger one gave a long, 
shuddering moan, and buried her face in her hands. 

Presently Florence said slowly: " All ancestors 
were not thieves. Some were simply fickle, and 
light, and faithless." 

Nellie raised a face full of passionate suffering: 
" Florence ! Florence ! how can you excuse either 
of us ? How can — " 

Suddenly, with a great sob, Florence Campbell 
threw herself into the girl's outstretched arms, and 
with a wail of utter desolation cried: " Hush, Nellie, 
hush ! Never speak of it again, never ! Only lore 
me, love me — lore me ! I need it so ! And no one 
— no one in all the world has ever loved me truly !" 

It was the only time Nellie ever saw Florence 
Campbell lose her self-control. 



Florence Campbell's jfate. 



" ' Tis the good reader that makes the good book ; a good head 
cannot read amiss; in every book he finds passages which seem 
confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant 
for his ear. ..." 

" Every man has a history worth knowing, if he could tell it, or 
if we could draw it from him.'''' — Ralph Waldo Emerson. 



FLORENCE CAMPBELL'S FATE. 



I was sitting in my office, with my head in my 
hands, and with both elbows resting on my desk. 
I was tired in every nerve of my body; more than 
that, I was greatly puzzled over the strange con- 
duct of my predecessor in the college, whose assist- 
ant I had been, and whose place I was appointed 
to fill during the unexpired term for which he had 
been elected lecturer on anatomy. 

That morning he was to introduce me to the 
class formally as his successor, deliver his last 
lecture, and then retire from active connection 
with anatomical instruction. 

Everything appeared to be perfectly arranged, 
and, indeed, some of the younger men — under my 
direction — had taken special pains to provide our 
outgoing and much admired professor with rather 
unusual facilities for a brilliant close to his career 
as our instructor. 

I was feeling particularly pleased with the ar- 
rangements, when, after a neat little speech on his 
part, commendatory of me, and when we supposed 
him to be about to begin his lecture, he suddenly 
turned to me and said, bluntly: "You will be so 
good as to take the class to-day. Young gentle- 

i79 



l8o Florence Campbells Fate. 

men, I bid you good morning," and abruptly took 
up his hat and left. I sat facing an expectant 
and surprised class of shrewd young fellows, and I 
was quite unprepared to proceed. 

I had intended my first lecture to be a great suc- 
cess. It was ready for the following day; but my 
notes were at home, and my position can, there- 
fore, be better imagined than described. 

I was thinking over this and the strange behavior 
of my generally punctilious predecessor, when he 
entered my office, unannounced, and, after the or- 
dinary salutations and apologies for having placed 
me in so undesirable a position in the morning, he 
told me the following episode from his history. 
I will give it in his own words, omitting, as far as 
possible, all comment made by me at the time, thus 
endeavoring to leave you alone with him and his 
story, as I was that night. This will better enable 
me to impart the effect to you as it was conveyed 
to me at the time. It greatly interested me then, 
but the more I think it over, the less am I able to 
decide, in my own mind, all of the psychological 
questions which it aroused then and which it has 
since called up. This is the story. 



I am, as you know, not a young man, and in the 
practice of my profession, which has extended over 
a period of nearly thirty years, I have learned to 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 1 8 1 

diagnose the cases that come under my care very 
slowly and by degrees. Every year has taught me, 
what you will undoubtedly learn — for I have great 
hopes for your future career — that physical symp- 
toms are often the results of mental ailments, and 
that, while cordials and powders are sometimes 
very useful aids, the first and all-important thing is 
to understand fully the true history of my patient. 

I have laid stress upon the word true, simply 
because while a history is easy enough to get, about 
the most difficult matter in this world to secure is 
the history of one who comes to a physician ailing 
in body or in mind. It is easy enough to treat a 
broken leg, a gunshot wound, or even that ghastli- 
est of physical foes, diphtheria, if it is one of these 
and nothing more. 

But if it is a broken leg as to outward sign, and 
a broken heart as an inward fact, then the case is 
quite another matter, and the treatment involves 
skill of a different kind. 

If the bullet that tore its way through the body 
was poisoned with the bitterness of disappointment, 
anxiety, terror, or remorse, something more is 
needed than bandages and beef-tea. 

If diphtheria was contracted solely from a de- 
fective sewage-pipe, it will, no doubt, yield to reme- 
dies and pure air. But if long years of nervous 
and mental prostration have made ready its recep- 
tion, the work to be done is of a much more seri- 
ous nature. 

So when I was first called to see Florence Camp- 



1 82 Florence Campbells Fate. 

bell, the message conveyed to me threw no light 
on the case, beyond what the most ordinary ob- 
server would have detected at a glance. 
The note read thus: 

" Dr. H. Hamilton. 

"Dear Sir: Although I have been in your city 
for several months, it is the first time since I came 
that I have myself felt that I needed medical at- 
tention. I have, therefore, not sent you the en- 
closed note (the history of which you no doubt 
know) until now. If you will read it, it will ex- 
plain that the time has now come when, if you will 
come to me, I need your care. 

" Yours respectfully, 

"Florence Campbell." 

" Parlor 13, F Ave. Hotel." 

The note enclosed was from a physician in Chi- 
cago whom I had known intimately many years be- 
fore, but with whom, contrary to the hint given by 
the lady, I had held no communication for a long 
time past. It said : 

" My Dear Doctor: One of my patients is 
about to visit your city. The length of her stay is 
uncertain, and, as she is often ailing, she has asked 
me to give her a note to one whom I believe to 
be skilful and to possess the qualities which she 
requires in a physician. In thinking over the list 
of those known to me in New York, I have decided 
to give her this note to you. I need not commend 
her to you ; she will do that for herself. You will 



Florence Campbells Fate. 183 

see at a glance that she is a charming woman, and 
you will learn in five minutes' conversation with 
her, that she is a brilliant one. She is also one of 
those rare patients to whom you can afford to tell 
the unvarnished truth — an old hobby of yours, I 
remember — and from whom you can expect it. 
She has had no serious illness recently, but is 
rather subject to slight colds and sick headache. 
I give her sulph. 12. She always responds to that 
in time. 

"Yours, as ever, 

" Thomas C. Griswold." 

I folded the note and laid it on my desk and 
took up a pen. Then, on second thought, I turned 
to the messenger and said, " Say to Miss Campbell 
that I will call at four o'clock this afternoon." 

Before I had finished the sentence he was gone, 
and I laid down the pen and sat thinking. 

How like Tom Griswold that was — the old Tom 
of college days — to write such a note as that and 
give it to a patient! "Sulph. 12" — and then I 
laughed outright at his interpretation of my desire 
for veracious relations between patient and practi- 
tioner, and re-read his note from end to end. 

Then I read hers again. Neither of them indi- 
cated the slightest need of haste on my part. 

I pictured a pretty little blonde — I knew Tom's 
taste. He had been betrothed to three different 
girls during the old days, and they had all been of 
that type; small, blue-eyed, Dresden-china sort of 



184 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

girls, who had each pouted — and married someone 
else in due time, after a "misunderstanding" with 
Tom. 

One of these misunderstandings had been over 
some roses, I remember. They did not "match" 
her dress in color, and she was wretched. She 
told him he should have known better than to get 
that shade, when he knew very well that she never 
wore anything that would "go with" it. 

He had naturally felt a little hurt, since he had 
bought the finest and highest-priced roses to be 
had, and expected ecstatic praise of his taste and 
extravagance. The " misunderstanding" was final, 
and, after a wretched evening and several days of 
tragic grief, five tinted notes of sorrow, reproach, 
and pride, they each began to flirt with some one 
else and to talk of the inconstancy of the other sex. 
They vowed, of course, that they would never 
marry anybody on earth, and finally engaged them- 
selves to marry some one else, who perhaps, 
had just passed through a similar harrowing ex- 
perience and was yearning to be consoled. 

I remember that Tom smoked a great deal dur- 
ing this tragic period, that he looked gloomy, wore 
only black neckties, and allowed a cold to run on 
until it became thoroughly settled and had to be 
nursed all the rest of the winter. 

He knew that smoking injured him, and he 
doubtless had an idea that he would end his misery 
by means of this cold, supplemented by nicotine 
poison. How near he might have approached to 



Florence Campbell s Fate. 185 

success it would be difficult to tell, if he had not 
met my sister Nellie at Christmas-time, and, after 
having told his woes to her, promised her, " as a 
friend," not to smoke again for three days and then 
to report to her. The report was satisfactory, and 
she then confessed that she had forsworn bonbons 
for the same length of time, as a sort of companion- 
ship in sacrifice. 

This, of course, impressed Tom as a truly re- 
markable test of friendship and sympathy, and, 
— well, what is the use to tell the rest ? 

You will know it. It had no new features, so 
far as I can now recall, and I believe that they had 
been betrothed six months before Nellie met grave 
old Professor Menlo and began the study of Greek 
roots and mythology. 

I think that, perhaps, Tom would have been all 
right if it had not been for the mythology. But 
Nellie was romantic, and the professor was an en- 
thusiast in this branch of knowledge, and so, by 
and by, Tom, poor devil, took to smoking again — 
this time it was a pipe — and local papers were filled 
with notices of the romantic marriage of " Wisdom 
and Beauty," and poor little Nellie wrote a pathetic 
note to Tom, and sent it by me, with frantic direc- 
tions not to allow him to kill himself because she 
had not understood her own heart; but that she 
loved him truly — as a friend — still, and he must 
come to see her and her professor in their new 
home on the hill. And, dear, dear, what a time I 
had with Tom! It is funny enough now; but even 



1 86 Florence Campbells Fate. 

I felt sorry for him then, and shielded him from 
the least unnecessary pain by telling the boys that 
they absolutely must not congratulate me on my 
sister's marriage, nor mention it in any way what- 
ever, when Tom was present, unless they wanted 
to have trouble with me personally. 

And to think that Tom married Kittie Johnson 
before he had fairly finished his first year in the 
hospital service; and had to take her home for his 
father to support ! Since then I had seen him 
from time to time, and heard of his large practice, 
his numerous children, and his elegant home ; but 
he never talked of his wife, although I believed 
him to be perfectly satisfied with her. He seemed 
content, was prosperous beyond expectation, and 
had grown fat and gouty, when I last saw him at a 
medical convention. He attributed his too great 
flesh and his gout to the climate of his Western 
home, and was constantly threatening to retire 
from practice, and said that he should ultimately 
come to New York to live. 

Yes, undoubtedly Florence Campbell is a petite 
blonde, with little white teeth and a roseleaf cheek, 
thought I, and I laughed, and rang for my carriage. 

II. 

I do not know that I ever entered a more deli- 
cately perfumed room — and I am very sensitive to 
perfumes — than the one in which Florence Camp- 
bell sat. 



Florence Campbells Fate. 1 87 

She arose from her deep arm-chair as 1 entered, 
and, extending her hand, grasped mine with a vigor 
unusual in a woman, even when she is well. 

"This is Dr. Hamilton?" she said, in a clear 
voice, which told nothing of pain, and was wholly 
free from the usually querulous note struck by 
women who are ill, or who think that they are. 
" This is Dr. Hamilton ? I am very glad to see you, 
doctor. I am Florence Campbell. You received 
a note from your friend, Dr. Griswold, of Chicago, 
and one telling how I came to send it to you — how 
I came into possession of it." Direct of speech, 
clear of voice, hand feverish, but firm in grasp, I 
commented mentally, as she spoke. 

This is not what I had expected. This is not the 
limp little blonde that I had pictured, on a lounge, 
in tears, with the light fluffy hair in disorder, and a 
tone of voice which plead for sympathy. This is 
not the figure I had expected to see. 

She stood with her back to the light, very erect 
and well poised. 

" Come to the window," I said. " Does your 
head ache ?" That is always a safe question to 
ask, you know. 

She laughed. " Oh, I don't know that it does — 
not particularly. I fancy there is not enough inside 
of it to ache much. Mere bone and vacuity could 
not do a great deal in that line, could it, doctor ?" 
Then she laughed again. She looked me in the 
eyes, and I fancied she was diagnosing me. 

Her eyes were deep, large, and brown, or a dark 



1 88 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

gray ; her complexion was dark and clear — al- 
most too transparent ; her cheeks were flushed a 
little ; and the light in her eyes was unnaturally 
intense. 

She was evidently trying to gain time — to take 
my measure. 

" It is always a rather trying thing to get a new 
doctor; don't you think so?" she asked, with an- 
other little laugh. " I always feel so foolish to 
think I have called him to come for so trifling a 
matter as my ailments are. I am never really ill, 
you know," she said with nervous haste ; " but I 
am not very strong, and so I often feel — rather — 
under the weather, and I always fancy that a doc- 
tor can prevent, or cure it ; but I suppose he can- 
not. I shall really not expect a great deal of you, 
in that line, doctor. I cannot expect you to fur- 
nish me with robust ancestors, can I ? Just so you 
keep me out of bed " — and here, for the first time, 
I noticed a slight tremor in her voice — "just keep me 
so that I can read, and — so that I shall not need to 
sit alone, and — think — I shall be quite satisfied — 
quite." She had turned her face away, as she said 
the last ; but I saw that she was having a hard 
struggle to keep back the tears, notwithstanding 
the little laugh that followed. 

I had felt her pulse ; it was hardly perceptible, 
and fluttered rather than beat ; and I had watched 
her closely as she spoke ; but whenever she came 
near the verge of showing deeper than the surface 
she broke in with that non-committal little laugh, or 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 1 89 

turned her face, or half closed her great eyes, and 
I was foiled. Her pulse and the faint blue veins 
told me one story ; she tried to tell me quite another. 

" How are you suffering to-day," I asked. 

She looked steadily at me a moment, then lowered 
her eyes, raised her left hand (upon which I remem- 
ber noticing there was a handsome ring), looked at 
its palm a moment, held her lips tightly closed, and 
then, with a sudden glance at me, again as if on the 
defensive said : 

" I hardly know ; I am only a little under the 
weather ; I am weak. I am losing my — grip — on 
myself ; I am — losing my grip— on my — nerves. I 
cannot afford to do that." The last was said with 
more emotion than she cared to display. So she 
arose, walked swiftly to the dressing-case, took up a 
lace handkerchief, glanced at herself in the mirror, 
moved a picture (I noticed that it was a likeness of 
an old gentleman, perhaps her father), and returned 
to a chair which stood in the shadow, and then, 
with a merry little peal of laughter, said : " Well, I 
don't wonder, doctor, that you are unable to diag- 
nose that case. It would require a barometer to 
do that I fancy, from the amount of weather I got 
into it. But really, now, how am I to know what 
is the matter with me ? That is for you to say ; 
I am not the doctor. If you tell me it is ma- 
laria, as all of you do, I shall be perfectly satisfied 
— and take your powders with the docility of an 
infant in arms. I suppose it is malaria, don't you?" 

I wanted to gain time — to study her a little. I 



190 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

saw that she was, or had been really ill ; ill, that is, 
in mind if not in body. I fancied that she had 
succeeded in deceiving Griswold into treating 
her for some physical trouble which she did not 
have, or, if she had it, only as a result of a much 
graver malady. 

The right branch may have been found and 
nipped off from time time when it grew uncomfort- 
ably long, but the root, I believed, had not -been 
touched, and, I thought, had not been even sus- 
pected by her former physician. 

We of the profession, as you very well know, do 
not always possess that abiding faith in the knowl- 
edge and skill of our brethren that we demand and 
expect from outsiders. 

We claim our right to guess over after our asso- 
ciates, and not always to guess the same thing. 

I believed that Griswold had not fully under- 
stood his former patient. "Sulph. 12," indeed! 
Then I smiled, and said aloud : 

" Dr. Griswold writes me that in such cases as 
yours he advises sulph. 12— that it has given relief. 
Do you call yourself a sulphur patient ?" I watched 
her narrowly, and if she did not smile in a satirical 
way, I was deceived. " Are you out of that rem- 
edy ? and do you want more of it ?" I asked with a 
serious face. 

She did not reply at once. There seemed to be 
a struggle in her mind as to how much she would 
let me know. Then she looked at me attentively 
for a moment, with a puzzled expression, I thought ; 



Floreiice Campbell's Fate. 191 

an unutterably weary look crossed her face. She 
said, slowly, deliberately : " I have no doubt sul- 
phur will do as well as anything else. Oh ! yes 
— I am decidedly a sulphur patient, no doubt. I 
suppose I have taken several pints of that inno- 
cent remedy in my time. A number of physicians 
have given it to me from time to time. Your 
friend is not its only devotee. Sulphur and nux — 
nux and sulphur ! I believe they cure anything 
short of a broken heart, or actual imbecility, do 
they not, doctor ?" She laughed, not altogether 
pleasantly. 

How far would she go. and how far would she 
let me go, with this humbuggery ? I looked gravely 
into her eyes, and said, " Certainly they will do all 
that, and more. They sometimes hold a patient 
until a doctor can decide which of those two inter- 
esting complaints is the particular one to be treated. 
In your case I am inclined to suspect — the — that 
it is — not imbecility. I shall therefore begin by 
asking you to be good enough to tell me what it is 
that affects your heart." 

I had taken her wrist in my hand, as I began to 
speak. My finger was on her *pulse. It gave a 
great bound, and then beat rapidly; and although 
her face grew a shade paler and her eyes wavered 
as they tried to look into mine, I knew that I had 
both surprised and impressed her. 

She recovered herself instantly, and made up her 
mind to hedge still further. " If there is anything 
the matter with my heart, you are the first to sus- 



192 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

pect it. My father, however, died of heart dis- 
ease, and I have — always — hoped that I should — 
die as suddenly. But I shall not ! I shall not ! I 
am so — wiry — so all-enduring. I recover! I al- 
ways recover !" 

She said this passionately, and as if it were a grave 
misfortune — as if she were very old. I pretended 
to take it humorously. 

"Perhaps at your advanced age your father 
might have said the same." 

She laughed. She saw a loophole, and immedi- 
ately took it. " Oh, you think I am very young, 
doctor, but I am not. People always think me 
younger than I am — at first. I look older when 
you get used to me. I am nearly thirty." 

I was surprised; I had taken her to be about 
twenty-three. 

" In years or in experience ?" I said. Which way 
do you count your age ?" 

She got up suddenly again and walked to the 
dressing-case, then to the window. In doing so she 
raised her hand to her eyes. It was the hand with 
the lace handkerchief in it. 

"Experience !" she exclaimed; and then, check- 
ing herself. " No, people never think me so old — 
not at first," she said, returning to her chair. "But 
I suppose I am not too old to be cured with sulph. 
12, ami? Then she laughed her little nervous, 
quick laugh, and added: " Dear old Dr. Griswold, 
what faith he must have in 'sulph. 12.' and in his 
patients. He seems to think that they were made 



Florence Campbells Fate. 193 

for each other, as it were; and — of course, I am 
not a doctor — how do I know they were not ?" 

" Miss Campbell," I said, stepping quickly to her 
side and surprising her, " you do not need sulphur. 
You need to be relieved of this strain on your 
nerves. Make up your mind to tell me your his- 
tory to-morrow morning — to tell it all; I do not 
want some fairy-tale. Until then, take these drops 
to quiet your nerves." 

There were tears in her eyes. She did not at- 
tempt to hide them. They ran down her cheeks, 
and she simply closed the lids and let them flow. 
I took her lace handkerchief and wiped her cheeks. 
Then I dropped it in her lap, placed the phial on 
her stand, took up my hat, and left. 



III. 

But I did not get her story the next day, nor 
the next, nor the next. 

Her tact was perfectly mystifying in its intri- 
cacy; her power of evasion marvellous, and her 
study of me amusing. She grew weaker and more 
languid every day; but insisted that she had no 
pain — " nothing upon which to hang a symptom," 
she would say. 

I suggested that refuge of all puzzled doctors — a 
change. 

" A change !" she said, wearily. " A change ! 
Let me see, I have been here nearly five months. 



194 Florence Campbells Fate. 

I stayed two months in the last place. I was nine 
days in San Francisco, one year doing the whole of 
Europe, and seven months in Asia. Yes, decidedly, 
I must need a change. There are three places left 
for me to try, which one do you advise?" There 
was a bitter little laugh, but her expression was 
sweet, and her eyes twinkled as she glanced at 
me. 

" I am glad I have three places to choose from," 
I said. " I was afraid you were not going to leave 
so many as that, and had already begun to plan 
' electric treatment ' as a final refuge." 

She laughed nervously, but I thought I saw signs 
of a mental change. 

I had always found that I could do most with her 
by falling into her own moods of humor or merry 
satire upon her own condition or upon the various 
stages of medical ignorance and pretence into 
which we are often driven. 

" Where are these three unhappy places that you 
have so shamelessly neglected ? Was it done in 
malice ? I sincerely hope, for their sakes, that it was 
not so bad as that — that it was a mere oversight on 
your part," I went on. 

" Australia has been spared my presence so far 
through malice; the other two, through defective 
theology. I dislike the idea of one of them on ac- 
count of the climate, and of the other, because of 
the stupid company," she said, with a droll assump- 
tion of perplexity; " so, you see, I can't even hope 
for a pleasant change after death. Oh, my case is 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 195 

quite hopeless, I assure you, doctor; quite!" She 
laughed again. 

I had her where I wanted her now. I thought 
by a little adroitness I might get, at least, a part of 
the truth. 

" So you are really afraid to die, and yet think 
that you must," I said, bluntly. 

She turned her great luminous eyes on me, and 
her lip curled slightly, with real scorn, before she 
forced upon her face her usual mask of good-hum- 
ored sarcasm. 

" Afraid !" she exclaimed, " afraid to die ! afraid 
of what, pray ? I cannot imagine being afraid to 
die. It is life I am afraid of. If I could only — " 
This last passionately. She checked herself ab- 
ruptly, and with an evident effort resumed her 
usual light air and tone. " But it does always seem 
so absurdly impossible to me, doctor, to hear grown- 
up people talk about being afraid to die. It almost 
surprised me into talking seriously, a reprehensive 
habit I never allow myself. A luxury few can af- 
ford, you know. It skirts too closely the banks of 
Tragedy. One is safer on the high seas of Frivol- 
ity — don't you think ?" 

" Much safer, no doubt, my child," said I, taking 
her hand, which was almost as cold and white as 
marble; " much safer from those deceived and con- 
fiding persons who prescribe ' sulph. 12.' for the 
broken heart and overwrought nerves of a little 
woman who tries bravely to fly her gay colors in 
the face of defeat and to whistle a tune at a grave." 



196 Florence Campbells Fate. 

I had called late, and we were sitting in the twi- 
light, but I saw tears fall on her lap, and she did 
not withdraw her hand, which trembled violently. 

I had touched the wound roughly — as I had de- 
termined to do — but, old man as I was, and used to 
the sight of suffering as I had been for years, I 
could restrain myself only by an effort from taking 
her in my arms and asking her to forget what I 
had said. She seemed so utterly shaken. We sat 
for some moment in perfect silence, except for her 
quick, smothered little sobs, and then she said, pas- 
sionately: 

" Oh, my God ! doctor, how did you know ? 
And then, with a flash of fear in her voice, " Who 
told you ? No one has talked me over to you ? No 
one has written to you ?" 

" I know nothing except what I have seen of 
your brave fight, my child. All the information I 
have had about you, from outside, was contained in 
that valuable little note of introduction from Gris- 
wold." 

In spite of her tears and agitation she smiled, 
but looked puzzled, as I afterward recalled she al- 
ways did when I mentioned his name, or spoke as 
if she knew him well. 

" I have not watched you for nothing. And I 
never treat a patient without first diagnosing his 
case. I do not say that I am always right. I am 
not vain of the methods nor of the progress of 
my profession; but I am, at least, not blind, and I 
have always been interested in you. I should like 



Florence Campbells Fate. igy 

to help you, if you will let me. I can do nothing 
for you in the dark." Then dropping my voice, 
significantly : " Does he know where you are ? 
Does he know you are ill ?" 

There was a long silence. I did not know but 
that she was offended. She was struggling for 
command of her voice, and for courage. Presently 
she said, in a hoarse whisper, which evidently 
shocked her as much as it startled me, so unnat- 
ural did it sound: 

"Who? My husband?" 

"Your husband!" I exclaimed. "Are you — is 
there — I did not know you were married. Why 
did you always allow me to call you Miss Camp- 
bell ?" 

" I do not know," she said, wearily. " It made 
no difference to me, and it seemed to please your 
fancy to treat me as a child. But I never really 
noticed that you did always call me Miss. If I 
had, I should not have cared. What difference 
could it make to me — or to you — what prefix you 
put to my name ?" 

" But I did not know you were married," I said 
almost sharply. 

She looked up, startled for a moment; but re- 
covering, as from some vague suspicion, in an in- 
stant she said, smiling a little, and with evident 
relief, plunging into a new opening: 

" That had nothing to do with my case. There 
was no need to discuss family relations. I never 
thought of whether you were married or not. You 



198 Florence Campbelts Fate. 

were my doctor — I your patient. What our fam- 
ily relations, wardrobes, or political affiliations 
might be seem to me quite aside from that. We 
may choose to talk of them together, or we may 
not, as the case may be. And in my case, it would 
not be — edifying." There was a moment's pause, 
then she said, rather impatiently, but as if the new 
topic were a relief to her: "The idea that a wom- 
an must be ticketed as married or unmarried, to 
every chance acquaintance, is repellent to me. 
Men are not so ticketed — and that is right. It is 
vulgar to suppose a sign is needed to prevent tres- 
pass, or to tempt approach. ' Miss Jones, this is 
Mr. Smith.' What does it tell ?" She was talking 
very rapidly now — nervously. " It tells her, ' Here 
is a gentleman to whom I wish to introduce you. 
If you find him agreeable you will doubtless learn 
more of him later on.' It tells him, ' Here is a 
lady. She is not married.' Her family relations — 
her most private affairs — are thrust in his face be- 
fore she has even said good evening to him. I 
think it is vulgar, and it is certainly an unnecessary 
personality. What his or her marital relations may 
be would seem to come a good deal later in the 
stage of acquaintance, don't you think so, doctor ?" 
She laughed, but it was not like herself. Even the 
laugh had changed. She was fighting for time. 

" It is a new idea to me," I said, " and I confess 
I like it. Come to think of it, it is a trifle prema- 
ture — this thrusting a title intended to indicate 
private relations onto a name used on all public 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 199 

occasions. By Jove! it is absurd. I never thought 
of it before; but it is never done with men, is it? 
'General,' 'Mr.,' 'Dr.'— none of them. All relate 
to him as an individual, leaving vast fields of pos- 
sibilities all about him. ' Mrs.,' ' Miss ' — they tell 
one thing, and one only. That is of a private 
nature — a personal association. You have started 
me on a new line of thought, and," said I, taking 
her hand again, " you have given me so much that 
is new to think of to-night that I will go home to 
look over the budget. You are tired out. Go to 
bed now. Order your tea brought up. Here is an 
order to see to anything you may ask, promptly. 
Beesley, the manager, is an old friend of mine. 
Any order you may give, if you send it down with 
this note from me, will be obeyed at once. I shall 
come to-morrow. Good-night." 

I put the order on the table, at her side. I know 
my voice was husky. It startled me, as I heard it. 
She sat perfectly still, but she laid her other hand 
on top of mine, with a light pressure, and her voice 
sounded tired and full of tears. 

" Good-night. You are very kind — very thought- 
ful. I will be brave to-morrow. Good-night." 

That night I drove past and saw a light in her 
window at one o'clock. "Poor child!" I said; 
" will she be brave enough to tell me to-morrow, or 
will she die with her burden, and her gay little 
laugh on her lips ?" 



200 Florence Campbells Fate. 



IV. 



The next day I called earlier than usual. I had 
spent an almost sleepless night, wondering what I 
could do for this beautiful, lovable woman, who 
seemed to be all alone in the world, and who evi- 
dently felt that she must remain apart and deso- 
late. 

What had caused her to leave her husband ? Or 
had he left her? What for? What kind of a man 
was he ? Did she love him, and was she breaking 
her heart for him? or did he stand between her 
and some other love ? Had she married young, and 
made a mistake that was eating her life out ? 
Whose fault was it ? How could I help her ? 

All these and a thousand other questions forced 
themselves upon me, and none of the answers came 
to fit the case. Answers there were in plenty, but 
they were not for these questions nor for this wom- 
an—not for this delicate flower of her race. 

As I stepped into the hotel office to send my 
card to " Parlor 13," as was my custom, the clerk 
looked up with his perfunctory smile and said, " Go' 
morning, doctor. Got so in the habit 'coming 
here lately, s'pose it'll take quite a while to taper 
off. That about the size of it ?" 

I stared at the young man in utter bewilderment. 

" Ha! ha! ha! I believe you'd really forgot al- 
ready she'd gone;" and then, with a quick flash of 
surprise and intelligent, detective shrewdness, 



Florence Campbells Fate. 201 

" You knew she was going, doctor ? She did not 
skip her little bill, did she ? Of course not. Her 
husband was in such a deuce of a hurry to catch 
the early train, the night-clerk said he was ringing 
his bell the blessed night for fear they'd get left. 
Front! take water to 273. You hadn't been gone 
five minutes last night, when he came skipping 
down here with your check and order, and we just 
had to make things hum to get cash enough to- 
gether to meet it for her; but we made it, and so 
they got off all right." 

" Have you got my check here yet ?" asked I, in 
in a tone that arrested the attention of the other 
clerk, who looked up in surprise. 

" Good heavens ! no. Do you think we're made 
of ready money, just because you are ? That check 
was in the bank and part of the cash in that desk 
the first thing after banking hours," said he, open- 
ing out the register and reaching for a bunch of 
pens behind him. " You see it cleaned us out last 
night. I couldn't change two dollars for a man 
this morning. I told Campbell last night that you 
must think hotels were run queer, to expect us to 
cash a five-thousand dollar check on five minutes' 
notice. Couldn't 'a' done it at all if 't hadn't been 
pay-night for servants and the rest of us. We all 
had to wait till to-day. But the old man '11 tell 
you. Here he comes." 

"Why, hello! doctor, old boy," said Beesley, 
coming up from behind and clapping me vigorous- 
ly on the shoulder. " Didn't expect to see the 



202 Florence Campbells Fate. 

light of your countenance around here again so 
soon. Thought we owed it all to your profession- 
al ardor for that charming patient of yours up in 
13. They got off all right, but if any other man 
but you had sent that order and check down here 
for us to cash last night I'd have told him to make 
tracks. Of course, I understood that they were 
called away suddenly — unexpectedly, and all that. 
He told me all about it, and that you did not finish 
the trade till the last minute; but — " 

" Trade ? " gasped I, in spite of my determination 
to hear all before disclosing anything. " Trade ? " 

" Oh, come off. Don't be so consumedly skittish 
about the use of English, I suppose you want me 
to say that the ' transaction between you was not 
concluded,' etc., etc. Oh, you're a droll one, doc- 
tor." He appeared to notice a change on my face, 
which he evidently misconstrued, and he added, 
gayly. " Oh, it was all right, my boy, as long as it 
was you — glad to do you a good turn any day ; but 
what a queer idea for that little woman to marry 
such a man ! How did it happen ? I'd like to 
know the history ! Every time I saw him come 
swelling around I made up mind to ask you about 
them, and then I always forgot it when I saw you. 
When he told me you had been his wife's guardian 
I thought some of kicking you the next good 
chance I got, for allowing the match, and for not 
telling me you had such a pretty ward. You 
always were a deep rascal — go off ! " He rattled 
on. 



Florence Campbells Fate. 203 

Several times I had decided to speak, but as 
often restrained myself. My blank face and un- 
settled manner appeared to touch his sense of hu- 
mor. He .concluded that it was good acting. I 
decided to confirm the mistake, until I had time 
to think it all over. Finally, I said, as carelessly 
as I could : 

" How long had this — a — husband been here ? 
That is — when did he get back ? " 

" Been here ! get back ! Been here all the time; 
smoked more good cigars and surrounded more wine 
than any other one man in the house. Oh, he was a 
Jim-dandy of a fellow for a hotel ! " Then, with 
sudden suspicion : " Why ? Had he told you he'd 
go away before ? Oh ! I — see ! That was the 
trade ? Paid him to skip, hey ? M — m — m— yes ! 
I think I begin to catch on." He could hardly 
restrain his mirth, and winked at me in sheer 
ecstasy. 

I went slowly out. When I arrived at the house 
I directed the servant to say to anyone who might 
call that the doctor was not at home. I went to 
my room and wrote to Dr. Griswold, asking him 
for information about Florence Campbell, the fair 
patient he had sent me. "Who was she? What 
did he know of her ? Where were her friends ? " 
I told him nothing of this last development, but 
asked for an immediately reply, adding — " for an 
important reason." 

Three days later a telegram was handed to me as 
I drove up to my office. It was this : 



204 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

" Never heard of her. Why ? Griswold ?" 

I did not sleep that night. For the first time my 
faith in Florence Campbell wavered. Up to that 
time I had blamed her husband for everything. I 
had woven around her a web of plausible circum- 
stances which made her the unwilling victim of a 
designing villain — an expert forger, no doubt, who 
used her, without her own knowledge, as a decoy— 
a man of whom she was both ashamed and afraid, 
but from whom she could not escape. 

But how was all that to be reconciled with this 
revelation ? Griswold did not know her. How 
about his introduction and that " sulph. 12 "? I 
looked through my desk for Griswold's note. It 
was certainly his handwriting ; but I noticed, for 
the first time, that it did not mention her name. 

Perhaps this was a loop-hole through which I 
might bring my fair patient — in whom I was begin- 
ning to fear I had taken too deep an interest — with- 
out discredit to herself. 

Might she not have changed her name since 
Griswold treated her ? I determined to give her 
the benefit of this doubt until I could be sure that 
it had no foundation. 

I felt relieved by this respite, and, heartily 
ashamed of the unjust suspicion of the moment be- 
fore, I gave no hint of it in the letter I now wrote 
Griswold, describing the lady, and in which I en- 
closed his letter of introduction to me. 

The next few days I went about my practice in 
a dream, and it was no doubt due to fortuitous cir- 



Florence Campbells Fate. 205 

cumstances rather than to my skill that several of 
my patients still live to tell the tale of their suffer- 
ing and of my phenomenal ability to cope with dis- 
ease in all its malignant power. 



In due time Griswold's letter came. I went into 
my office to read it. I told myself that I had no 
fears for the good name of Florence Campbell. I 
knew that some explanation would be made that 
would confirm me in my opinion of her ; but, for 
all that, I locked the door, and my hand was less 
steady than I liked to see it, as I tore the end of 
the envelope. 

I even remember thinking vaguely that I usually 
took time to open my letters with more precision 
and with less disregard for the untidy appearance 
of their outer covering afterward. I hesitated to 
read beyond the first line, although I had so has- 
tened to get that far. I read : " My dear old 
friend," and then turned the letter over to see how 
long it was — how much probable information it 
contained. There were four closely written pages. 
I wondered if it could all be about Florence Camp- 
bell, and was vaguely afraid that it was — and that 
it was not. I remembered looking at the clock 
when I came into the office. It was nearly six 
o'clock. I laid the letter down and went to the 
cooler and got oui a bottle of Vichy. I sat it and 



206 Florence Campbells Fate. 

some wine by my elbow on the desk, and took up 
the letter. 

" I never heard of anyone by the name of Flor- 
ence Campbell, so far as I can recall. I certainly 
never had a patient by that name. Some months 
ago I gave the letter you enclose — which I certain- 
ly did write — to a patient of mine who was on her 
way to Europe and expected to stay some time in 
New York on her way through. 

" She, however, was in no way like the lady you 
describe. Her name was Kittie Hatfield, and she 
was small, with dreamy blue eyes and flaxen hair — 
a perfect woman, in fact." Oh ! Tom : Tom ! 
thought I — true to your record, to the last ! I had 
long since ceased to wonder at the lapse, however, 
for Florence Campbell herself was surely sufficient 
explanation of all that. " I understood " — the let- 
ter went on — " that Kittie did not stop but a few 
days in New York, when she was joined by the 
party with which she was to travel. She stayed at 
the F Avenue Hotel, I have learned, and be- 
came intimate with some queer people there — much 
to the indignation of her brother, when he learned 
of it." 

I laid the letter down and put my head on my 
arms, folded as they were on the desk. I was dizzy 
and tired. When I raised my head it was dark. I 
got up, lighted the gas, and found myself stiff and 
as if I had been long in a forced and unnatural 
position. I recalled that I had been indignant. 

This brother of the silly-pated, blue-eyed girl had 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 207 

not liked her to know Florence Campbell, indeed ! 
He was, no doubt, a precious fool — naturally would 
be, with such a sister, I commented mentally. 
What else, I wondered, had Griswold found out ? 
Was the rest of this old fool's letter about her ? I 
began where I had left off. 

" I have since learned from him that the man — 
whose name was Campbell — was a foreigner of 
some kind, with a decidedly vague, not to say, hazy 
reputation, and that his wife, who was supposed to 
be an invalid, and an American of good family, 
never appeared in public, and so was never seen by 
him — that is by Will Hatfield — but was only known 
to him through Kittie's enraptured eyes. She was 
said to be bright and pretty. Kittie is the most 
generous child alive in her estimate of other women; 
however, he thinks it possible that Kittie either 
gave her the letter from me to you, and asked her 
to have proper medical care, or else that the 
woman, or her husband, got hold of it in a less 
legitimate way ; which I think quite likely. Kittie 
thought the Campbell woman was charming." The 
" Campbell woman," indeed ! I felt like a thief, 
even to read such rubbish, and I should have en- 
joyed throttling the whole ill-natured gossipping set 
— not omitting flaxen-haired Kittie herself. 

I determined to finish the letter, however. 

" Hatfield is so ashamed of his sister's friendship 
for the woman that I had the utmost difficulty in 
making him tell me the whole truth, but, from 
what I gathered yesterday, he thinks them most 



208 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

likely the head of a gang of counterfeiters or forg- 
ers and — " 

I read no further, or, if I did, I can recall only 
that. It was burned into my brain, and when a 
loud pounding on my office-door aroused me, I 
found the letter twisted and torn into a hundred 
pieces, the Vichy and wine-bottles at my side half- 
empty, and the hands of the clock pointing to 
half-past ten. 

" Doctor, doctor," called my lackey; " oh, doc- 
tor! Oh, lord, I'm afraid something's wrong with 
the doctor, but I'm afraid to break in the door." 

I went to the door to prevent a scene. One of 
my best patients stood there, with Morgan, the 
man. Both of them were pale and full of sup- 
pressed excitement. 

" Heavens and earth, doctor, we were afraid you 
were dead. I've been waiting here a good hour 
for you to come home. No one knew you were in, 
till Morgan peeped over the transom. What in 
the devil is the matter ? " said my patient. 

"Tired out, went to sleep," said I; but I did 
not know my own voice as I spoke. It sounded 
distant, and its tones were strange. 

They both looked at me suspiciously, and with 
evident anxiety as to my mental condition. I 
caught at the means of escape. 

" I am too tired to see anyone to-night. In fact, 
I am not well. You will have to let me off this 
time. Get Dr. Talbott, next door, if anyone is 
sick; I am going to bed. Good-night." 



Florence Campbell's Fate. 209 

There was a long pause. Then he said, wearily: 
" You are a young man, doctor. You have taken 
the chair I left vacant at the college. I would 
never have told the story to you, perhaps, only I 
wanted you to know why I left the class in your 
care so suddenly this morning, when I uncovered 
the beautiful face of the ' subject ' you had brought 
from the morgue for me to give my closing lecture 
upon. That class of shallow-pated fellows have 
not learned yet that doctors — even old fellows like 
me — know a good deal less than they think they 
do about the human race — themselves included." 

I stammered some explanation of the circum- 
stances, and again there was a long silence. 

Then he said: 

" Found drowned, was she ? Poor girl ! Do 
you believe, with that face, she was ever a bad 
woman ? Or that she had anything to do with the 
rascality of her husband, even if he were con- 
sciously a rascal ? and who is to judge of that, 
knowing so little of him ? Did I ever recover the 
five thousand dollars ? Did I attempt to recover 
it ? Oh, no. All this happened nearly ten years 
ago now; and if that were all it had cost me I 
should not mind. The hotel people never knew. 
Why should they ? This is the first time I have 
told the story. You think I am an old fool ? 
Well, well, perhaps I am — perhaps I am; who can 
say what any of us are, or what we are not ? 
Thirty years ago I knew that I understood myself 
and everybody else perfectly. To-day I know 



210 Florence Campbell's Fate. 

equally well that I understand neither the one nor 
the other. We learn that fact, and then we die — 
and that is about all we do learn. You wonder, 
after what I tell you, if the beautiful face at the 
demonstration class this morning was really hers, 
or whether a strong likeness led my eyes and 
nerves astray You wonder if she drowned herself, 
and why ? Was it an accident ? Did he do it ? 
This last will be decided by each one according as 
he judges of Florence Campbell and her husband 
— of who and what they were. Perhaps I shall try 
to find him now. Not for the money, but to learn 
why she married the man he seemed to be. It is 
hard to tell what I should learn. It is not even 
easy to know just what I should like to learn; and 
perhaps, after all, it is better not to know more — 
who shall say?" 

And the doctor bade me good-night and bowed 
himself out to his carriage with his old courtesy, 
and left me alone with the strange, sad story of 
the beautiful girl whose lifeless form had furnished 
the subject of my first lecture to a class of medical 
students. 



flDp patient's Storp. 



" Things are cruel and blind; their strength detains and deforms: 

And the wearying ivings of the tnitid still beat up the stream of 
their storms. 

Still, as one swimming up stream, they strike out blind in the 
blast. 

In thunders of vision and dream, and lightning of future and 
past. 

We are baffleu ana caugnt in the current, and bruised upon 
edges of shoals ; 

As weeds or as reeds m the torrent of things are the wind- 
shaken souls. " 

Algernon Charles Swinburne. 



■MY PATIENT'S STORY. 



Perhaps I may have told you before, that at the 
time of which I speak, my Summer home — where I 
preferred to spend much more than half of the 
year — was on a sandy beach a few miles out of 
New York, and also that I had retired from active 
practice as a physician, even when I was in the city. 

Notwithstanding these two facts, I was often 
called in consultation, both in and out of the city; 
and was occasionally compelled to take a case 
entirely into my own hands, through some acci- 
dent or unforeseen circumstance. 

It was one of these accidents which brought the 
patient whose story I am about to tell you, under 
my care. 

I can hardly say now, why I retained the case 
instead of turning it over to some brother practi- 
tioner, as was my almost invariable habit; but for 
some reason I kept it in my own hands, and, as it 
was the only one for which I was solely responsible 
at the time, I naturally took more than ordinary 
interest in and paid more than usual attention to 
all that seemed to me to bear upon it. 

As you know I am an "old school " or " regular" 
physician, although that did not prevent me from 

213 



214 My Patient's Story. 

consulting with, and appreciating the strong points 
of many of those who were of other, and younger 
branches of the profession. 

This peculiarity had subjected me, in times gone 
by, to much adverse criticism from some of my 
colleagues who belonged to that rigidly orthodox 
faction which appears to feel that it is a much bet- 
ter thing to allow a patient to die " regularly" — as 
it were — than it is to join forces with one, who, 
being of us, is still not with us in theory and prac- 
tice. 

Recognizing that we were all purblind at best, 
and that there was and still is, much to learn in 
every department of medicine, it did not always 
seem to me that it was absolutely necessary to re- 
ject, without due consideration, the guesses of 
other earnest and careful men, even though they 
might differ from me in the prefix to the " pathy" 
which forms the basis of the conjecture. 

We are all wrong so often that it has never ap- 
peared to be a matter of the first importance — it 
does not present itself to my mind as absolutely 
imperative — that it should be invariably the same 
wrong, or that all of the mistakes should neces- 
sarily follow the beaten track of the " old school." 

I had arrived at that state of beatitude where I 
was not unwilling for a life to be saved — or even 
for pain to be alleviated, by other methods than 
my own. 

I do not pretend that this exalted ethical status 
came to me all at once, nor at a very early stage of 



My Paticnfs Story. 215 

my career ; but it came, and I had reaped the 
whirlwind of wrath, as I have just hinted to you. 

So when my patient let me know, after a time, 
that he had been used to homeopathic treatment, 
I at once suggested that he send for some one of 
that school to take charge of his case. 

He declined — somewhat reluctantly, I thought, 
still, quite positively. But, in the course of events, 
when I felt that a consultation was due to him as 
well as to myself, I asked him if he would not pre- 
fer that the consulting physician should be of that 
school. 

He admitted that he would, and I assured him 
that I should be pleased to send for any one he 
might name. 

He knew no doctor here, he said, and left it to 
me to send for the one in whom I had the greatest 
confidence. 

It is at this point my story really begins. 

I stopped on my way uptown to arrange, with 
Dr. Hamilton, of Madison Avenue, a consultation 
that afternoon, at three o'clock. I told the doctor 
all that I, myself, knew at that time, of my pa- 
tient's history. Three weeks before I had been in 
a Fifth Avenue stage ; a gentleman had politely 
arisen to offer his seat to a lady at the moment that 
the stage gave a sudden lurch which threw them 
both violently against each other and against the 
end of the stage. 

He broke the fall for her ; but he received a 
blow on the head, which member came in contact 



216 My Patients Story. 

with the money-box, with a sharp crack. Accus- 
tomed to the sight of pain and suffering as I was, 
the sound of the blow and his suddenly livid face 
gave me a feeling of sickness which did not wholly 
leave me for an hour afterward. Involuntarily I 
caught him in my arms — he was a slightly built man 
— and directed the driver to stop at the first hotel. 

The gentleman was unconscious and I feared he 
had sustained a serious fracture of the skull. He 
was evidently a man of culture, and I thought not 
an American. I therefore wished, if possible, to 
save him a police or hospital experience. 

By taking him into the first hotel I reasoned, we 
could examine him ; learn who and what he was, 
where he lived, and, after reviving him, send him 
home in a carriage. 

The process of bringing him back to conscious- 
ness was slow, and as the papers on his person, 
which we felt at liberty to examine, gave no clue to 
his residence, we concluded to put him to bed and 
trust to farther developments to show us what to 
do in the matter of removal. The lady on whose 
account he had received the injury had given me 
her card, which bore a name well known on the 
Avenue, and had stated that she would, if neces- 
sary, be responsible for all expense at the hotel. 

It was deemed best, therefore, to put him to bed, 
as I said before, and wait for him to indicate, for 
himself, the next move. I placed in the safe of the 
hotel his pocketbook, which contained a large sum 
of money (large that is, for a man to carry on his 



My Patient's Story. 217 

person in these days of cheques and exchanges) 
and his watch, which was a handsome one, with 
this inscription on the inside cover, " T. C. from 
Florence." 

The cards in his pocket bore different names and 
addresses, mostly foreign, but the ones I took for 
his own were finely engraved, and read " Mr. T. C. 
Lathro," nothing more. No address, no business; 
simply calling cards, of a fashionable size, and of 
the finest quality. 

This, as I say, was about three weeks before I 
concluded to call Dr. Hamilton in consultation ; 
and I had really learned very little more of my pa- 
tient's affairs than these facts taken from his pocket 
that first day while he was still unconscious. 

He was silent about himself, and while he had 
slowly grown better his progress toward health did 
not satisfy me, nor do I think that he was wholly 
of opinion, that I was doing quite all that should 
be done to hasten his recovery. 

He was always courteous, self-poised, and able 
to bear pain bravely; but I thought he watched me 
narrowly, and I several times detected him in a 
weary sigh and an impatient movement of the eye- 
brows, which did not tally with his assumption of 
cheerful indifference and hospitality. 

I use the word hospitality advisedly, for his ef- 
fort always seemed to be to treat me as a guest 
whom he must entertain, and distract from ob- 
serving his ailments, rather than as a physician 
whose business it was to discover and remedy them. 



218 My Patient's Story. 

He had declined to be moved ; said he was a 
stranger; had no preferences as to hotels; felt sure 
this one was as comfortable as any; thanked me 
over and over for having taken him there, and 
changed the subject. He would talk as long as I 
would allow him on any subject, airily, brightly, 
readily. On any subject, that is, except himself; 
yet from his conversation I had gathered that he 
had travelled a great deal; was a man of wealth and 
culture, whether French, Italian or Russian, I could 
not decide. He spoke all of these languages, and 
words from each fitted easily into place when for a 
better English one, he hesitated or was at a loss. 

Indeed, he seemed to have seen much of every 
country and to have observed impartially — without 
national prejudice. He knew men well, too well to 
praise recklessly ; and he sometimes gave me the 
impression, I can hardly say how, that blame was a 
word whose meaning he did not know. 

He spoke of having seen deeds of the most ap- 
palling nature in Russia, and talked of their perpe- 
trators sometimes, as good and brave men. He 
never appeared to measure men by their excep- 
tional acts. 

Occasionally I contested these points with him, 
and I am not sure but that it may have been the 
interest I took in his conversation that held me as 
his physician; for as I said, I was well aware that 
he did not improve as he should have done after 
the first few days. 

But I liked to hear him talk. He was a revela- 



My Patient's Story. 219 

tion to me. I greatly enjoyed his breath and char- 
ity — if I may so express the mental attitude which 
recognized neither the possession of, nor the need 
for, either quality in his judgments of his fellow- 
men. 

He had evidently not been able to pass through 
life under the impression that character, like cloth, 
is cut to fit a certain outline, and that after the 
basting-threads are once in, no farther variation 
need be looked for. Indeed, I question if he 
would have been able to comprehend the mental 
condition of those grown-up " educated " children 
who are never able to outgrow the comfortable be- 
lief that words and acts have a definite, inflexible, 
par-value — that an unabridged dictionary, so to 
speak, is an infallible appeal; who, in short, ex- 
pect their villains to be consistently and invariably 
villainous, in the regulation orthodox fashion. 

Individual shades of meaning, whether of lan- 
guage or of character, do not enter into their sim- 
ple philosophy. Mankind suffers, in their penny- 
weight scales, a shrinkage that is none the less real 
because they never suspect that the dwarfage may 
be due to themselves— to their system of weights and 
measures. All variations from their standard indi- 
cate an unvarying tendency to mendacity. He 
whom they once detect in a quibble, or in an at- 
tempt to acquire the large end of a bargain, never 
recovers (what is perhaps only his rightful heritage, 
in spite of an occasional lapse) the respect and 
confidence of these primer students who are in- 



220 My Patient's Story. 

flexible judges of all mental and moral manifesta- 
tions. 

I repeat that this comfortable and regular phil- 
osophy was foreign to my patient's mental habits, 
and I began to consider, the more I talked with 
him, that it did not agree with my own personal 
observations. I reflected that I was not very 
greatly surprised, nor did I lose faith in a man 
necessarily, when I discovered him in a single mean 
or questionable action. 

Why, then, should I be surprised to find those of 
whom I had known only ill-engaged in deeds of 
the most unselfish nature ? Deeds of heroism and 
generosity such as he often recounted as a part of 
the life of some of these same terrible Russian of- 
ficials. There seems, however, to be that in us 
which finds it far easier to reconcile a single mean 
or immoral action with an otherwise upright life, 
than to believe it likely, or even possible, for a 
depraved nature to perform, upon occasion, deeds 
of exalted or unusual purity. Yet so common is 
the latter, that its failure of recognition by human- 
ity in general can be due it seems to me, only to a 
wrong teaching or to a stupidity beyond even nor- 
mal bounds. 

For, after all, the bad man who is all bad, is 
really a less frequent product than that much 
talked of, but rare creature, a perfect woman. 
Perhaps one could count the specimens of either 
of these to be met with in a life time, on the fingers 
of one hand. 



My Patient's Story. 221 

But to return to my patient and his story. 

It was of these things that he and I had often 
talked, and I had come to greatly respect the self- 
poise and acute observation, as well as the broad 
human sympathy of this reserved and evidently 
sad-hearted man. Sad-hearted I knew, in spite of 
his keen sense of humor, and his firm grasp of phil- 
osophy. 

I gave Dr. Hamilton a brief outline of all this, 
as well as of the physical condition of the man 
whom he was to see ; for I believe it to be quite 
as important for a physician to understand -and di- 
agnose the mental as the physical conditions of 
those who come under his care before he can pre- 
scribe intelligently for other than very trifling ail- 
ments. 

You can imagine my surprise when I tell you that 
the moment Dr. Hamilton stepped into the room, 
and I mentioned his name, my patient, this self- 
poised man of the world, whose nerves had often 
seemed to me to be of tempered steel, looked up 
suddenly as you have seen a timid child do when 
it is sharply reproved, and fainted dead away. 

II. 

I confess that I expected a scene. 

I glanced at the doctor, but he showed no sign 
of ever having seen my patient before, and went to 
work with me in the most methodical and indiffer- 
ent way possible to revive him. 



222 My Patient's Story. 

' You did not mention that this was one of his 
symptoms— a peculiarity of his. Has he been sub- 
ject to this sort of thing? Did he say he was sub- 
ject to it before he hurt his head, or has it devel- 
oped since ? " the doctor inquired quietly as we 
worked. 

I bit my lip. His tone was so exasperatingly 
cool, while, knowing my patient as I did, his 
startled manner and sudden fainting had impressed 
me deeply. 

" It is the first time," I said, " since he was hurt 
— that is, since he recovered consciousness after 
the blow — that he has exhibited the slighest tend- 
ency to anything of the kind." 

I hesitated, then I said: "Doctor, if you know 
him; if this is the result of seeing you suddenly 
(for he did not know who was to come) don't you 
think — would it be well ? — Do you think it best for 
you to be where he will see you when he begins to 
revive ? " 

The doctor stared at me, then at my patient. 
" I don't know him — never saw him before in my 
life so far as I know. What did you say his name 
is ? Mum — oh, yes, Lathro — first and only 
time I ever heard it. Oh, no, I suppose his nerves 
are weak. The excitement of seeing me — the idea 
of — a — er — consultation." I smiled, involuntarily. 
'You don't know the man, doctor," said I. " He 
is bomb proof as to nerves in that sense of the 
word. He — a — There must be some other reason. 
He must have mistaken you for some one else. I 



My Patient's Story. 223 

am sorry to trouble you, doctor, but would you 
kindly step into the other room ? He will open his 
eyes now, you see." 

When, a moment later, my patient regained con- 
sciousuess, he glanced about him furtively, like a 
hunted man. He did not look like himself. 

He examined my face closely — suspiciously, 
I thought — for a moment. Then I laughed lightly, 
and said: "Well, old fellow, you've been trying 
your hand at a faint. That's a pretty way to treat 
a friend. I come in to see you; you step out to 
nobody knows where — to no man's land — and give 
me no end of trouble rowing you back to our 
shore. What did you eat for dinner that served 
you that kind of a trick ?" 

He looked all about the room again, examined 
my face, and then smiled, for the first time since I 
had known him, nervously, and said: 

" I think my digestion must be pretty badly out 
of order. I'll declare I saw double when you came 
in. I thought there were two of you ; and the 
other one — wasn't you." 

I laughed ; " That is good. Two of me, but the 
other one wasn't me. Well, thank heaven there is 
only one of me up to date." 

He smiled, but seemed disturbed still. I decided 
to ask him a direct question : 

" Well now, just suppose there had been two of 
me — is that an excuse for you to faint ? Does as- 
sociating with one of me try you to that extent that 
two of me would prostrate you ?" 



224 My Patient's Story. 

He did not take me up with his old manner. He 
was listless and absent. I said that I would go 
down to the office and order some wine and return 
at once. I slipped into the other room, and with 
my finger on my lips motioned to Dr. Hamilton to 
pass out quietly before me. 

I followed him. " There is something wrong, 
Doctor," I said : " I am sorry, but I shall have to 
ask you to go without seeing him again. I can't 
tell you why yet, but I'll try to find out and let you 
know. Order some champagne sent up to me, 
please, as you go out, and I will see you as soon as 
I can." 

The moment I re-entered the room, my patient, 
whose restless eyes met mine as I opened the door, 
said : " I thought you were talking to some one." 

" I was," said I carelessly ; a bell-boy. I ordered 
wine. It will be up soon." Then I changed the 
subject ; but he was nervous and unlike himself 
and none of the old topics interested him. 

When the door opened for the boy with the wine 
an expression of actual terror passed over my pa- 
tient's face. When I left him a half hour later I 
was puzzled and anxious. 

III. 

The moment I entered his room on the following 
day he said : " I thought you had planned to have 
another doctor come and look me over, yesterday." 
He was watching me closely as he spoke : " Did 
I hear you mention his name ?" 



My Patient's Story. 22$ 

Ah, thought I, here is a mystery in spite of Dr. 
Hamilton's denial. I will try him. 

" Yes," I said, " I had decided to ask the best 
Homeopathic doctor I know, a skilful man, espe- 
cially successful in diagnosing cases, to overhaul you 
and see if he agrees with me that you ought to be 
on your feet this blessed minute, if my diagnosis of 
your case is entirely right. I don't see why you are 
still so weak. He may find the spring that I have 
missed. Why ?" 

" Did you — I am not acquainted with the doctors 
here, — I think you said his name is — ?" 

" I have not mentioned his name to you," I 
said, " but the one I had in mind is Dr. Hamilton 
of Madison Avenue." 

There was no doubt about it, the color rose 
slowly to his face, and he was struggling for self-con- 
trol. At length he said : " No, I do not wish to 
see another doctor. I am perfectly satisfied with 
you. I am — I say — no, positively do not ask him; 
that is, do not ask anyone to come unless I know 
and definitely agree to it. And I certainly shall 
want to know who he is first." 

All this was wholly foreign to the man, to his 
nature and habit. 

" Tell me," I said, " what you have against Dr. 
Hamilton, for I cannot fail to see that there is 
something behind all this." 

He did not reply for some time ; then he said 
wearily, but with great depth of feeling. 



226 My Patients Story. 

'' I suppose I may as well tell you. I cannot 
forgive him for an injury I did him long ago." 

I did not say anything nor did I look at him. 
Presently he went on hoarsely ; " If I had only in- 
jured him, perhaps I could get over it but I took 
a mean advantage of — I did it through a woman 
who liked him — and whom he — loved and trusted." 
There was another long silence; then I said; 
' You were right to tell me, Lathro. You need 
not fear that I will betray you to him, and he does 
not know you. He did not recognize you either 
before or after you fainted. Of course I knew 
there was something wrong. He will not come 
again." 

He sprang to his feet, and a wave of red surged 
into his face. " I knew it! I knew I had seen him! 
I was sure it was not a delusion," he said. " He 
was here. No, he would not know me. He never 
saw me. I did not injure him like a man, I struck 
from behind a woman. A woman who cared for 
his respect, and I let him blame her. I suppose I 
could get over it if it were not for that. I came 
back here partly to let him know, if I could some 
way, that she was not to blame "—there was an- 
other long silence — " and partly to get rid of 
myself. Russia did not do it, — Turkey, — France — 
none of them. I thought perhaps he would — I 
had some sort of a wild idea that he might settle 
with me some way. I have carried that forged 
cheque in my brain, until — " 

I started visibly. I had had no idea that it was 



My Patient's Story. 227 

so bad as this. I changed my position to hide or 
cover the involuntary movement I had made, but 
he had seen it and the color died out of his face. 
He forced himself to begin again. " I carried that 
forged check," he was articulating now with horri- 
ble distinctness, " wherever I went. She never 
knew anything about it. She knew I was — she 
thought, or feared, that I might be somewhat — 
what you Americans call crooked; but she did not 
know the truth, not until the very last. She knew 
that I had been unreliable in some ways long ago; 
but she did not dream of the worst. At last, — 
sometimes I think I was a fool to have done it, — 
but I told her. I told her the whole truth, and — 
she left me. She had borne everything till then. 
I think she came here. Before long I followed. 
She told me not to, and I said I would not ; but 
of course I did. I could not help it. 

I knew then, and I know now, that I am putting 
myself into the clutches of the law ; but I do not 
care — not now — since I cannot find Florence 
Campbell." 

He pronounced the name as if it were a treasure 
wrung from him by force. " It is the only really 
criminal thing I ever did. I do not know why I 
did it. They say that crime — a taste for it, de- 
velops slowly, by degrees. Maybe so ; but not 
with me, not with me. 

I had money enough ; but — oh, my God ! how I 
hated him. I saw that he was growing to love 
her without knowing it. I often heard them 



228 My Patient's Story. 

talking together. They did not know it, and if 
they had it could not have been more innocent ; but 
I was madly jealous, for the first time in my life. 

I determined to make him think ill of her, and 
yet I said just now that forgery was my only crime. 
That was worse, by far, but I believe it is not a 
crime in law. " 

He smiled scornfully. " I have outgrown all 
that now. The storm has left me the wreck you 
see ; but I thought it all out last night, and deter- 
mined to tell you. You are to tell — him — for her 
sake," he said between his set teeth. 

" He may see her yet some day. She will never 
return to me — God bless her ! God help us both !" 

" No, she will never return to you nor to anyone 
else," I said, as gently as I could. 

He sprang up with the energy of a maniac. " How 
do you know? What do you know ?" he demanded. 

" I only know that she is dead, my friend," I 
said, placing my hand on his arm, " and that Dr. 
Hamilton does not wish to punish you. I heard 
it all; the story of the forgery of his name, and 
that a Florence Campbell was in some way con- 
nected with it. I heard it from him long, long 
ago; but he does not know that you are Tom 
Campbell. You are safe." 

" Does not wish to punish me! I am safe! Great 
God, no one could punish me. I do that. Safe ! 
Oh, the irony of language!" 

There was a long pause. He had gone to the 
window and was staring out into the darkness. 



My Patient's Story. 229 

Presently the sound of convulsive sobbing filled 
the room; I thought best to remain near the door 
and make no effort to check his grief with words. 

At last the storm spent itself. He came slowly 
into the middle of the room and stood facing me. 
At length he said: 

" One of the greatest punishments is gone, thank 
God. Florence Campbell is dead, you say. Do 
you know what it is, Doctor, to wish that one you 
loved was dead ?" 

" Yes, yes." I said ; but it is best for you not to 
talk any more — nor think, just now — not of that — 
not of that." 

He broke in impatiently — " Don't you know me 
well enough yet to know that that sort of thing — 
that sort of professional humbug is useless? Must 
not talk more of that — nor think of it, indeed ! 
What else do you suppose I ever think of? The 
good men who are bad and the bad ones who are 
good — the puppets of our recent conversations ? 
Suppose we boil it down a little. Am I a bad man ? 
That is a question that puzzles me. Am I a good 
one ? At least I can answer///^ — and yet I never 
did but one criminal deed in my whole life, and I 
have done a great many so-called good ones to set 
over against it." 

"Then you can answer neither question with a 
single word," I said. He took my hand and 
pressed it with the frenzy of a new hope. 

" At least one man's philosophy is not all words," 



230 My Patient's Story. 

he said. " You act upon your theories. You are 
the only one I ever knew who did." 

" Perhaps I am the only one you ever gave the 
chance," I replied, still holding his hand. 

We stood thus silent for a moment, then he said 
with an inexpressible accent of satire : " Would 
you advise me to try it, doctor, with anyone else?" 

I deliberated some time before I replied. Then 
I said : " No, I am sorry to say that I fear it would 
not be safe. There is still so much tiger in the 
human race. No, do not tell your story again to 
any one ; it can do no good. Most certainly I 
would advise you not to try it ever again." 

As I left the room he said : " True, true. It can 
do no good, none whatever." 

The next day he left. I never saw him again. 

Two years later I received a kind letter from 
him in which he greatly over-estimated all I had 
done for him. The letter came from St. Peters- 
burg and was signed " T. Lathro Campbell, Col. 
Imperial Guard. 

I fancied, in spite of his letter, that he would 
rather sever all connection with this country, and 
feel that he had no ties nor past ; so I never an- 
swered his letter. 

Sometimes I wonder if he misunderstood my 
silence, and accepted it as a token of unfriendli- 
ness — and yet — well, I have never been able to 
decide just what would be least painful to him ; so 
I let it drift into years of silence, and perhaps, 
after all, these very good intentions of mine may 



My Patient's Story. 231 

be only cobble-stones added to the paving of the 
streets of a certain dread, but very populous city 
which is, in these days of agnosticism quite a mat- 
ter of jest in polite society. 

Who shall say ? Which would he prefer, friendly 
communication or silence and forgetfulness ? 



JTHE END. 



"PUSHED BY UNSEEN HANDS." 

By HELEN H. GARDENER. 

i»ecej»» :ivotio:e:js. 

philadelphia inquirer. 

These tales illustrate strange influences that shape human action and 
seem to lie outside of the actor. . . . Dr. Spitzka, the brain special- 
ist, writes that two of the stories deal with curious things usually ob- 
served only by specialists in the field of heredity. 

DETROIT TRIBUNE. 

Setting aside the scientific suggestion, the imaginative faculty of 
Helen Gardener is conspicuous in the conception of plot and the de- 
velopment of character. 

INDIANAPOLIS JOURNAL. 

The stories are vital with earnest thought. . . . This author 
gives indication of having come to stay. 

CHARLESTON (S. C.) NEWS. 
All of the stories are striking and thoughtful. Some of them are 
very dramatic and their literary quality is marked enough to enable 
even a careless reader to enjoy them. 

BOSTON GLOBE. 

An artist reproduces nature in such a way that we recognize it as real 
or ideal. The ideal can be as real to us as any scene beheld with our 
open eyes. . . . "Pushed by Unseen Hands" is a collection of 
short stories so realistic as to leave no doubt of their actuality. 

NEW ORLEANS PICAYUNE. 
A number of good short stories, most of which turn on some of the 
mysterious facts that lie in that borderland between the seen and the un- 
seen, so fascinating to the imagination and so baffling to inquiry. Miss 
Gardener's touch is very exquisite and she draws her mental pictures 
with the hand of a master, showing in a few rapid lines more sharp and 
attractive characteristics than many author's can in labored pages. 

OMAHA BEE. 

As a writer of short stories Helen Gardener has achieved an enviable 
reputation, and her new book gives indication that she does not intend 
to relinquish this charming method of giving to her readers pleasure 
with profit, whatever else she may do. 

CHICAGO TIMES. 
Miss Gardener has been subjected to much censure for her boldness 
and frankness with which she expresses her views on some subjects not 
usually discussed in public. The Orthodox have ever been prone to con- 
found the surgical and the scandalous. . . . From a literary point 
of view the stories are vivid and artistic, while as to their motives and 
spirit they are farther removed from the prurient and scandalous than 
most of those who censure her. She is a woman of remarkable gifts 
and of superb courage. 

Paper, 50 Cents; Cloth, $1.00. 

ARENA PUBLISHING CO., Copley Square, Boston, Mass. 



From the press of the Arena Publishing Company. 



Dujo Powerful Kouels on the ^floral Stanbarb. 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



Helen H. 
Gardener 






Price, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 

IS THIS YOUR SON, J1Y LORD? 

It is the opinion of some of the best contemporary 
critics that this is the most powerful American novel 
written in this generation. It is the fearless protest of a 
high spiritual nature against the hideous brutality of an 
unchristian social code. It is a terrible expose of conven- 
tional immorality and hypocrisy. Every high-minded 
woman who desires the true progression of her sex will 
want to touch the inspiriting power of this book. 

No braver voice was ever raised, no clearer note was ever 
struck, for woman's honor and childhood's purity. — The Van- 
guard, Chicago. 

A novel of power, and one which will stir up a breeze unless 
certain hypocritical classes are wiser than they usually are. — 
Chicago Times. 

It comes very close to any college man who has kept his eyes 
open. When we finish we may say, not, " Is This Your Son, 
My Lord?" but "Is it I?" — Nassau Literary Magazine, 
Princeton. 

Is a remarkable book — a daring arraignment of "society" 
and the public conscience of what we are wont to call an 
advanced and refined Christian civilization, for the widely dif- 
ferent standards by which the " powers that be " measure the 
morality, virtue and respectability of men and women. They 
are alike human beings, and members of the same human fam- 
ily ; through what alchemy, then, does vice in one lose its 
viciousness in the other ? — Detroit Sunday Tribune. 






Price, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 
PRAY YOU, SIR, WHOSE DAUGHTER? 

"The civil and canon law," writes Mrs. Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, "state and church alike, make the mothers of the 
race a helpless, ostracized class, pariahs of a corrupt civilization. 
In Helen Gardener's stories I see the promise of such a work of 
fiction that shall paint the awful facts of woman's position in 
living colors that all must see and feel. Those who know the 
sad facts of woman's life, so carefully veiled from society at 
large, will not consider the pictures in this story overdrawn. 
Some critics say that everyone knows and condemns these 
facts in our social life, and that we do not need fiction to inten- 
sify the public disgnst. But to keep our sons and daughters 
innocent, we must warn them of the dangers that beset 
them. Ignorance under no circumstances ensures safety. 
Honor protected by knowledge is safer than innocence pro- 
tected by ignorance." 
For sale by all newsdealers, or sent postpaid by 

Arena Publishing Co., Boston, Mass. 



"A THOUGHTLESS YES." 

by helen h. gardener. 
Some Press Comments. 

Marked by a quaint philosophy, shrewd, sometimes pungent reflec- 
tion, each one possesses- enough purely literary merit to make its way 
and hold its own. " The Lady of the Club " is indeed a terrible study 
of social abuses and problems, and most of the others suggest more in 
the same direction. — N. Y. Trubine. 

All the stories are distinguished by a remarkable strength, both of 
thought and language. — Pittsburg Bulletin. 

Will do considerable to stir up thought and breed a " divine discon- 
tent " with vested wrong and intrenched injustice. The stories are 
written in a bright, vivacious style. — Boston Transcript. 

She appreciates humor and makes others appreciate it. All of the 
stories, whether humorous or pathetic, have a touch of realism, and are 
written clearly and forcibly. — Boston Herald. 

Bright and light, gloomy and strange, cleverly imagined, fairly amus. 
ing, tragic and interesting, by turns. — N. Y. Independent. 

Thoughtfully conceived and beautifully written. — Chicago Times. 

Each story is a literary gem. — San Francisco Call. 

Full of wit and epigram ; very enjoyable and profitable reading. Just 
long enough to induce the wish that they were a little longer — an ex- 
cellent feature in a story. — Portland (Me.) Transcript. 

Helen Gardener puts moral earnestness and enthusiasm for humanity 
into her stories. Even her pessimism is better than the nerveless super- 
ficiality of her rivals. — Unity (Chicago.) 

Illustrate the indubitable fact that the times are out of joint. — 
Charleston (S. C.) Neivs. 

Exceptionally excellent. Convey a moral lesson in a manner always 
vivid, invariably forcible, sometimes startling. — Arena. 

The author is not morbid ; she is honestly thoughtful. The mystery 
and consequences of heredity is the motive of some of the strongest. — 
N. Y. Herald. 

With a terseness and originality positively refreshing. On subjects 
to suit the thoughtful, sad, or gay. — Mihvaukee Journal. 

Have made their mark as new, original, and strong. She could not 
write ungracefully if she tried, and this book is like a varied string of 
pearls, opals, and diamonds. — N. Y. Truth. 

A work of fiction by one of the few feminine philosophers who have 
boldly faced the problems of life. — Bel/ord's Magazine. 

Bright, thoughtful, and taking. Written by a woman with brains, 
who dares to think for herself. — The Writer (Boston.) 
Paper, 50 Cents; Cloth, $1.00. 

ARENA PUBLISHING CO., Copley Square, Boston, Hass. 



From the press of the Arena Publishing Company. 



" H :ie Hit of the year/ 



Helen H. 
Gardener 



Chicago Times 



The Literary Hit 
of the Season 



Rockford (111.) 
Republican 



Price, paper, 50 cents ; cloth, $1.25. 



AN UNOFFICIAL PATRIOT. 

Have you read Helen H. Gardener's new war story, "An 

Unofficial Patriot"? No? Then read what competent 

critics say of this remarkable historical story of ths Civil 

War. 

" Helen H. Gardener has made for herself within a very few- 
years an enviable fame for the strength and sincerity of her 
writing on some of the most important phases of modern social 
questions. Her most recent novel, now published under the title 
of ' An Unofficial Patriot,' is no less deserving of praise. As an 
artistic piece of character study this book is possessed of supe- 
rior qualities. There is nothing in it to offend the traditions of 
an honest man, north or south. It is written with an evident 
knowledge of the circumstances and surroundings such as might 
have made the story a very fact, and, more than all, it is written 
with an assured sympathy for humanity and a recognition of 
right and wrong wherever found. As to the literary merit of 
the book and its strength as a character study, as has been said 
heretofore, it is a superior work. The study of Griffith Daven- 
port, the clergyman, and of his true friend, ' Lengthy ' Patterson, 
is one to win favor from every reader. There are dramatic 
scenes in their association that thrill and touch the heart. 
Davenport's two visits to President Lincoln are other scenes 
worthy of note for the same quality, and they show an apprecia- 
tion of the feeling and motive of the president more than histori- 
cal in its sympathy. Mrs. Gardener may well be proud of her 
success in the field of fiction." 

" Helen Gardener's new novel, ' An Unofficial Patriot,' which 
is just out, will probably be the most popular and salable novel 
since ' Robert Elsmere.' It is by far the most finished and 
ambitious book yet produced by the gifted author and well de- 
serves a permanent place in literature. 

" The plot of the story itself guarantees the present sale. It 
is ' something new under the sun ' and strikes new sensations, 
new situations, new conditions. To be sure it is a war story, and 
war stories are old and hackneyed. But there has been no such 
war story as this written. It gives a situation new in fiction and 
tells the story of the war from a standpoint which gives the book 
priceless value as a sociological study and as supplemental 
history. 

" The plot is very strong and is all the more so when the 
reader learns that it is true. The story is an absolutely true one 
and is almost entirely a piece of history written in form of fic- 
tion, with names and minor incidents altered." 

For sale by all nevjsdealers, or sent postpaid by 

Arena Publishing Co., Boston, Mass.