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Full text of "The triumphs of Ephraim"

S. 6. & E. L. ELBERT 




James E. McGirt. 



af iEpfyratm 



JAMES E. McGIRT 

Author of 
"For Her Sweet Sake "-Poems 



COPYRIGHTED 1907 



Contents 

PAGE 

Hail the King and the Queen 5 

The Test that Failed 37 

At the Mercy of a Slave 51 

In Love as in War 63 

The Return of Mrs. Steele . , 77 

EIRia 87 

Lifting the Veil 103 

From the Clutches of the Devil 117 



Published by 
THE McGIRT PUBLISHING CO. 
Philadelphia, Pa. 




HAVE no particular Preface for this 
little book. I prefer to send a book 



out to stand on its merits. But, as a 
word of explanation, I will say that we are 
living in an age of strange happenings. 
Hardly a day passes without its chronicle of 
something odd. 

Thus when your mind is wondering if 
such occurrences as are recorded in this book 
could really happen, simply ask yourself if 
there is any truth in the old adage, " Truth is 
stranger than fiction." 

Very truly, 

"The Author." 



2ty? ®rtmnpl|0 nf i£pl|ratm 



"Hail, the King and the Queen' ' 

By James E. McGirt. 

On this particular afternoon Ephraim sat out in 
front of the stable with his face buried in his hands, 
weeping unconsciously as a child. Amid the sobs he 
would say: "Why was I not invited to that party?" 
Then, as if in answer to his own question, he would 
murmur: "Because I am a coachman!" 

Now, dear friends, do not pass judgment upon 
Ephraim and call him a coward, because he is a young 
man weeping simply on account of his not having been 
invited to a party. Every man who sheds tears is not 
a coward. I have known soldiers on the battle-field 
to wade, as it were, into the jaws of death without a 
flinch and snatch victory out of defeat, and the next 
day return to camp and weep over the letters of vil- 
lage maidens with whom they were in love, miles away. 



"the; triumphs op ephraim" 



Now, when I tell you that Ephraim was in love 
with a very pretty maiden, and that eight young men 
had banded themselves together to steal her from him 
— men far his superior, both socially and intellectually 
— and when I further state that on this particular 
afternoon they had cornered him to such an extent 
that he could almost see the girl of his heart being 
dragged from him forever, and he was not able to 
raise a hand or voice in his own behalf, I hope that 
you will at least suspend judgment upon him until you 
have heard the whole story, which I shall now relate. 

In the year 1897, Mr. Lincoln, an old Quaker gen- 
tleman (white), hearing that, on account of some mis- 
understanding among the white and colored citizens 
of Wilmington, North Carolina, the colored citizens 
were preparing to leave the State, made it known far 
and wide that he had nothing against the colored race, 
but desired to help them. He furthermore caused it 
to be known that he had two hundred thousand acres 
of land or more in the central part of the State, and 
if they wished they might come, settle on the land and 
build up a city to their own liking, where they might 
make laws and govern themselves. He would give 
them much time to pay for the land, and not a foot 
should be sold to the whites. Mr. Lincoln not only 
had land but money, and he promised to use it in any 
way to assist those who might come. No sooner was 
this offer known than did the colored people of Wil- 
mington sell out their all and flock to Mr. Lincoln's. 



6 




WHY WAS I NOT INVITED TO THAT PARTY * 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



In less than a year there was on his place a little city, 
composed of eight thousand inhabitants. The city was 
known as Lincolnville. 

Just about this time there was at Price University, 
an institution about forty miles away, a number of 
young men who were finishing their professions. Thus, 
these young men in a few weeks, with the aid of their 
parents, had established themselves in the city, each 
going about his calling with a bright future before 
him. Among them were men of almost every pro- 
fession, and from a professional and business stand- 
point these, and a few others who came from Wil- 
mington, had the city in their grasp. Mr. Lincoln and 
one other family were the only white people that lived 
for miles around. The city continued to grow, and 
these young men, finding themselves in need of funds 
to meet their demands, persuaded their parents to sell 
out their homes and come to live with them. The city 
continued to grow and so did their business. Mr. Lin- 
coln, who had been watching the career of these men 
(knowing that this was a farming section and every- 
thing had to be done on a credit system until fall or 
harvest-time), came to their rescue. The young men 
formed their property and business into a kind of trust, 
gave Mr. Lincoln a mortgage, received their money, 
opened a bank, installed themselves as officers and di- 
rectors, and started out in a business way to make 
their future. They did well, but the rapid growth of 
the city kept them ever enlarging their business in 



9 



"the triumphs of" ephraim" 



order to meet the demands. This being the case, when 
the mortgage was due, Mr. Lincoln, not being in need 
of the money and knowing the circumstances, let them 
keep the money for their own use without renewing 
the mortgage, as they knew and trusted each other ; re- 
newing the mortgage for them would only have been 
a form. 

Lincolnville was a model city, excellently arranged 
and governed. People from far and near came to 
visit it, and no one came but left a word of praise. 
In this city, as in all others, there were three classes 
of citizens — namely, the first or aristocrats, second or 
middle and the third or "low class." The classes were 
distinct, and as far as the third class and the aristo- 
crats socially, they had no dealings at all. This dis- 
tinction, however, caused no trouble, as the common 
class, with the exception of one young man, had no 
desire to "hob-nob" with the aristocrats. Thus, the 
people lived peacefully and happily. 

In speaking of the classes being content to live 
among themselves I said with one exception. This one 
exception was in the person of a real dark young man, 
about twenty-one years of age. He was coachman for 
Mr. Lincoln, known only in the village by the name of 
Ephraim. He was found with Mr. Lincoln when the 
city began its growth. This young man was the son 
of a slave girl who lived until her death on Mr. Lin- 
coln's plantation, as did her mother, both serving as 
cooks in the family. After the death of Ephraim's 

10 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



mother, which occurred on his sixth birthday, it fell 
to Mr. Lincoln's lot to care for and rear him to man- 
hood. This being thirty miles from any city, and Eph- 
raim being the only person that Mr. Lincoln could use 
around the house, having no children of his own, Eph- 
raim grew up almost in ignorance as far as book learn- 
ing was concerned; he was just able to write his own 
name, yet being around the home since infancy his 
manners were excellent, and he was indeed polite. 

Ephraim, as I aforesaid, was serving Mr. Lincoln as 
coachman and stood well in his favor. As he told me 
some time ago in conversation that he knew that he 
had been branded as one of the "common herd," as 
the aristocrats called it, but he felt .something deep 
down in his bosom that he could not explain which told 
him that he was as good as any man, and as long as 
he was honest no one had a right to brand him or re- 
gard him otherwise. Thus, from the day society was 
formed in Lincolnville, Ephraim seemed to have turned 
his back upon the society in which he was placed and 
the middle class which was above him ; branded him- 
self an aristocrat and began knocking at the illustrious 
doors for admittance. Things went on smoothly, as 
no one regarded Ephraim seriously. He was looked 
upon as the "funny man," the amusement of all. 

For had not Ephraim, in passing, brought notes from 
the professional men to the girls? Then why regard 
him? True, Ephraim did oblige one of his "chums," 
as he would call there with the delivery of the mes- 



1 1 



U THD TRIUMPHS OF" EPHRAIM" 



sage. He looked upon it as an act of friendship, but 
the young men looked upon him as being about his 
calling. 

Things might have gone on this way for a long time 
had not one or two things happened, both of which were 
caused by Ephraim himself. He having made a boast 
of being one of the first young men in the city, and 
further said that there was not a young girl but whom 
he had gone with or could go with in preference to 
any of the professional men, exhorted the young men 
who were looked upon as belonging to the "herd" to 
follow him. When it was known that Ephraim was 
raising the ambition of the other young men and mak- 
ing such boasts, it was thought best td show him just 
where he belonged at once. From that day he felt the 
"cold shoulder" of all his former friends. This would 
have pained him very much had not a girl came into 
Ephraim's life which absorbed all of his interest. This 
girl was named Mabel, Dr. Price's daughter. Eph- 
raim had not seen Mabel, but he had seen her photo- 
graph, and, in fact, owned two of them. One he kept 
near his heart, and the other in a frame in his room. 
It may be of interest to know how he came by the 
photograph of Mabel, never having seen her. It hap- 
pened this way: Mabel was a very beautiful girl, 
widely known and well liked. In fact, she was con- 
sidered the most beautiful girl of the colored race. She 
was of a dark, velvety, chocolate color, with hair out- 
rivaling the dark, glistening, feathered raven, and no 



\7 



"hail, the: king and the queen" 



new-born lamb ever wore more beautiful woolly locks ; 
beautiful pearly teeth, hidden by a mouth like Cupid's 
bow, so beautiful was its form. 

In that year the thirst for education among the 
colored race took a rise, and Dr. Price, finding that 
he had more applicants than the dormitory would ac- 
commodate, struck upon a novel plan to raise money for 
a new building; consequently, he had a hundred thou- 
sand photographs of Mabel struck off and sold them 
for a quarter each. In a comparatively short time the 
hundred thousand was exhausted and the building was 
almost completed. A number of the photographs were 
sent to Lincolnville. Ephraim purchased two, and was 
so thrilled by the beauty of the young girl that he 
vowed he would make her his wife or remain forever 
a bachelor. Thus, when he found that he was not 
wanted among the aristocrats he would console himself 
by saying that he had a girl greater than they were, 
both in appearance and class ; as he put it, "Mabel was 
in a class of her own, all to herself." 

The campmeeting at Raleigh's Cross-Roads, which 
had been in session for some time, was to close the 
following Sunday. This was a day looked forward to 
with great interest by the people of Lincolnville. Every 
person, no matter what might be his condition, felt that 
he must have new attire and go to the meeing in a 
conveyance of some kind. 

This Sunday the fact that Dr. Price, president and 
founder of Price University, was to speak, did much 



13 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM" 



to heighten the interest of the occasion. He was to 
bring Mabel to the meeting, and the young men of the 
city were to be there and make it pleasant for her. 
When Ephraim heard that she was to be there he went 
to Mrs. Lincoln at once, and, after showing her Ma- 
bel's photograph, told her of his intentions regarding 
her and that she was his future wife; also that he 
would meet her for the first time on the close of the 
campmeeting. 

Mrs. Lincoln, having to some extent regard for 
Ephraim, began at once to instruct him in the "gentle 
art" of pleasing young ladies. Ephraim was apt in 
learning, and in a little while she sent him away, feel- 
ing that his manner would attract the most cultured of 
the race. 

Mr. Lincoln had just purchased a rubber-tired 
buggy, the latest and best model, the first of its kind 
to be shipped into the State. When he learned Eph- 
raim's intention and saw Mabel's photograph, he was 
pleased with Ephraim's choice, and promised him that 
he should be the very first to use the buggy; he also 
sent at once to the nearest large city and ordered him 
the finest Prince Albert coat and silk hat that could be 
had. 

Sunday came. Ephraim was up and ready bright 
and early; so were Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. As he 
drove smilingly away, Mr. Lincoln, to inspire and en- 
courage him, told him if he brought Mabel back he 
would have the house ready for them and give her a 



14 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



royal welcome. Ephraim was driving away when he 
heard these words; he stopped and asked if he was in 
earnest. When he found that he was he went away 
with no other intention than to bring Mabel back with 
him. 

As Ephraim drove down Liberty Street the clock 
struck six ; he remembered the saying about "the early 
bird," for he was the only one on the way to the 
meeting, but he had great work in front of him, so he 
proceeded onward. 

Ephraim had reasoned to himself that as the Doctor 
had arranged to speak at two o'clock, and, as the train 
was due at the nearest station at 6.12, more than likely 
he would want to refresh himself before he began to 
speak, and while so doing he would have Mabel to 
himself for a short time at least. He reasoned well; 
when he had driven into the yard and was about to 
unhitch his horse he saw another vehicle turn in from 
the road. Sure enough, it was Dr. Price and his 
daughter. 

Ephraim at once began to put in practice his newly 
acquired etiquette. At once leaving his own horse, 
he introduced himself to the Doctor, and he in turn 
presented him to his daughter; thus he found himself 
on the road to win. He immediately took charge of 
the Doctor's team, placing it in a nearby stall, and re- 
turning, found Mabel and her father deeply interested 
in the new-styled buggy which Ephraim was fortunate 
enough to bring. 



15 



THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM 



In a few moments the Doctor had learned a great 
deal about Ephraim, and expressed himself as de- 
lighted to meet such a bright young man of his race. 
He also stated that Lincolnville was blessed to have 
such a young man at the head of her affairs. 

"Doctor," said Ephraim, "this being the day that we 
are supposed to give a few pennies to your University, 
as I suppose that you have not met any one on the way 
to contribute, I beg of you the honor of being the first 
to give." 

With this he handed the Doctor a cheque made out 
by E. L. Lincoln, Senior. The president thanked him 
heartily, and seeing that the cheque was made out by 
the great benefactor of Lincolnville, a man he much 
desired to meet, began to question him as to what he 
knew of the great man. 

When he found that he was foster-father to Eph- 
raim, his estimation of him, though great, rose three- 
fold higher. After some moments had passed and the 
people began to gather, the Doctor went to a nearby 
house to rest a few hours before the service, asking 
Ephraim to kindly see that Mabel was safe during his 
absence. 

This delighted Ephraim, and remembering that she 
had shown some interest in the new buggy, suggested 
that he take her for a drive through the country. She 
very readily acquiesced, and they were soon whirling 
rapidly toward Lincolnville, which was only twelve 
miles away, and so fascinating did they find each 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



other's society until very soon the twelve miles had 
dwindled to two. 

When this fact was noted Mabel was surprised, and 
Ephraim also simulated surprise, for all along it had 
been his intention of bringing her home with him ; then, 
as they were so near home, he asked that she take 
dinner there, at the same time assuring her that she 
would be heartily welcomed. 

Mrs. Lincoln and her husband were sitting on the 
porch engaged in conversation concerning Ephraim's 
fidelity; they heard the sound of horses' hoofs upon 
the gravel, and, on looking up, were surprised to see 
Ephraim, driving up with a young lady, whom they 
readily guessed was Mabel. 

The thought struck Mr. Lincoln that he had told him 
if he brought her home with him that he would turn 
the house over to them, and now he would be as good 
as his word. 

Mabel proved to be a charming guest. Dinner was 
served, and when Mrs. Lincoln attempted to make 
some apology for what she termed "a plain dinner," 
Mabel interrupted her, declaring that she did not know 
of what a better one could consist. Mrs. Lincoln an- 
swered her by assuring her if she would come again, 
and notify her beforehand, that she would know, as 
she would certainly prepare one. 

At the table Mrs. Lincoln became interested in a 
double medal, made of gold and in the shape of a heart, 
which Mabel wore on her bosom. She learned that 



i7 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



the New England Conservatory awarded her the 
medal as a prize which she won in the classical course 
for harmony and melody of execution and composition. 

When they had finished dinner all assembled in the 
parlor to hear Mabel play and sing. She was a singer 
of much native ability, coupled with the best training 
possible, both at home and abroad. While abroad she 
once had the pleasure of singing before the Queen, the 
first honor of its kind ever conferred upon one of her 
race. 

Mabel let her slender fingers sweep over the key- 
board of the instrument, and as she did so she carried 
her hearers into ecstasy; they at once recognized the 
touch of a mistress. She at first played a solo of her 
own composition, entitled "The Voice of Love." It 
was a story that every heart could better understand 
than express, and better in music than in song. It 
began with a strain of longing and expectance; and 
then, before one could adjust himself to the feeling, 
it drifted away into streams of Hope, Fate and Joy. 

During the rendition of this selection all felt the 
spirit of emotion. At times they felt like weeping, 
then laughing, and before one could obey there came- 
on a feeling of strange fear; all sat in ecstasy. 

Mr. Lincoln sat gazing helplessly at his wife and 
then at Mabel. She then sang a selection, "Jerusa- 
lem," and, to the regret of all, rose to go, saying, 
"That she had more than nine miles to drive after 
leaving the church ;" but Mr. Lincoln would not hear 

18 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



of her going. He told her if she would sing another 
song he would put a "tongue" to the buggy, also two 
rested horses, and they could make the drive in about 
half the time. 

Mabel then sang "Calvary," "The Eternal City," and 
then left them as hungry for music as they were at the 
beginning, but as the hour was growing late they felt 
that they must let the "Angel," as they named her, 
make her departure. Not, however, until they had 
gained her promise to return soon, and had also given 
her a cheque for the musical fund of the University. 

As they drove away, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln stood in 
the doorway looking after them until they turned out 
of view. "Mother," said Mr. Lincoln, turning to his 
wife, "we have no children. What do you say to 
making Ephraim and Mabel our real son and daugh- 
ter?" 

Mrs. Lincoln answered, "It would be like bringing 
to me new life, father, if it could only be." 

"It must be," said he, "and we must help our son to 
gain Mabel as his bride." 

While Ephraim and his new parents were beaming 
with the joy of having spent a few pleasant hours with 
Mabel, there were other hearts scorching under the 
heat of the flames which their pleasure had caused. 
They were the twelve young men whose sole object in 
coming to the meeting was to make it pleasant for 
Mabel. 

19 



"the triumphs oe ephraim" 



When they arrived that morning, at an hour they 
termed "early" — eleven o'clock — to their disappoint- 
ment they found that she had been gone for some time 
with another, and that one a man not of their "cloth," 
worse still a servant, an illiterate coachman, who could 
not write his name in an intelligible manner. 

This fact, however, was not patent to the ordinary 
observer, as his language and bearing were such as 
many men better learned would have envied. They 
were angry, indeed, and did not try to hide their dis- 
pleasure from Dr. Price. They told him many things 
of Ephraim that he would have left untold had he 
been introducing himself, though nothing to his dis- 
credit as a man. They were at a loss to see how calmly 
the Doctor listened to their recommendation of Eph- 
raim ; but their say had come too late. He could read 
their countenances and from the expression judge that 
their story was told from jealous rage rather than 
actual fact. 

The Doctor, finding that he and the young men were 
almost the only ones left on the grounds, pulled his 
watch from his pocket, and was surprised at the late- 
ness of the hour. He had just began to make prep- 
arations for his departure, when Ephraim, with a fiery 
double team, drove up with Mabel seated beside him. 

One glance at her rosy face would convince any one 
that she had been well taken care of and had enjoyed 
herself immensely. 



20 



"hail, the; king and the queen" 



The young men, though angry, managed to hide their 
chagrin enough to shake hands with Mabel and ex- 
press to her their disappointment at not seeing her, and 
would have said more on the subject had she not been 
bubbling over with the pleasure of her trip. 

When she had finished telling them how she had 
been entertained by Air. and Airs. Lincoln, she dis- 
played a cheque for fifty dollars, saying that after she 
had finished playing and singing Air. Lincoln placed 
it in her hand, telling her to buy another medal, as 
she deserved two, instead of one ; when she refused 
to take it for herself, he told her to take it for the 
musical fund of the school. He also told her that he 
would increase the size of it on her next visit, and 
Mrs. Lincoln said on her third visit (for they desired 
that she come often) she would make her donation. 

When Mabel had finished talking there was no more 
time for speech, so they all shook hands and drove 
away, but not before Mabel had assured the "Elite" 
that she would grace their reception on "Labor Day," 
which was a little more than two weeks off. 

The twelve young men, smarting under the pain that 
Ephraim's action had inflicted upon them, vowed to 
themselves, and to each other, that they would humili- 
ate him before her face if it took their all. 

Alas ! they were reckoning without their host. They 
had never regarded him seriously, and this act was too 
much ; it only proved to them that he must be dealt 
with in a serious manner. 



2 I 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



"How can we humiliate him most?" This was the 
question of the moment. After much thinking and 
careful debate, it was decided that this punishment 
should be in the form of a reception in which all of 
the aristocracy would take part, and at which time the 
most popular lady and gentleman would be crowned 
King and Queen. Out of these festivities Ephraim 
was to be left entirely, and, to crown his unhappiness, 
Mabel was to be the Queen. It should be a kind of 
May feast affair, and all of the "Elite" from far and 
near should come together and see the acknowledged 
leaders of their society. "The Afro-American Blade/' 
the national paper of the colored race, should an- 
nounce the names of all persons present, and in large 
letters let it be understood that only the "aristocracy" 
was invited. They knew all of their set as well as 
he himself would know why he was left out. But for 
fear that his humiliation would not be as complete as 
they desired, they decided to have put in, in letters 
larger than all of the rest, these words : "Ephraim 
Lincoln is not invited to this party because he is of 
the 'common herd,' yet who tries to be a leader. He 
is an impostor, who has no right to be among us." 

The ceremonies should be elaborate, but the main 
feature would be the crowning. A large throne of 
flowers should be placed upon the stage behind a cur- 
tain, and all of the girls, dressed in white, should form 
a half-circle around the throne; and the men, in even- 
ing dress, should form the same around them. The 



22 



"HAIL, THE KING AND THE QUEEN" 



girls were to have white lilies in their hands. At the 
ringing of the first bell the King and Queen should 
take their seats, two small flower girls place the 
crowns upon their heads, and all of them should bow 
to their knees and sing in chorus, "Hail the King 
and Queen!" 

This was to be kept a secret from Ephraim and the 
other citizens until the night of the fifth, "Labor 
Day." 

As a mark of courtesy to the many people who 
would be there from all States to represent their so- 
ciety, Mabel was chosen Queen by the first ballot, and 
then by acclamation. After much balloting, which 
lasted two days, the different factions got together and 
elected Mr. Blount King. 

The 3d of September had come and almost gone ; 
all arrangements were completed. No one had gotten 
into the secret and would not have had it not been 
for "Fate," which often enters at a time when we 
least expect. 

It happened this way : On the night of the 3d, when 
the committee, which consisted of Mr. Blount, the 
president of the bank (the newly-elected King), also 
the other head officers, had just closed their meeting 
and were returning home laughing over the humilia- 
tion which would surely come to Ephraim, they heard 
a noise as if some one were making a political speech. 
Turning the corner of the street, they saw a large 
crowd of young men gathered on the corner of Lin- 



23 



"the triumphs of" ephraim" 



coin and Freedom Streets. Quickening their steps 
they were almost upon them before they were no- 
ticed ; they then stopped in the shadow, so that they 
might see without being seen and hear all that was 
being said. From this point they could not well be 
seen, but had a good view of the crowd. To their 
surprise, they saw clearly, under the electric light, 
Ephraim standing on a potato barrel, shaking his fist 
and speaking with a force and vim that would have 
done credit to a Reid or a Douglass. 

The fifty or more young men, who were his lis- 
teners, stood on tip-toe gazing into his face, with their 
mouths wide open, drinking in every word that fell 
from his lips, as if they were dew-drops from Heaven. 
The other young men, or as we might call them his 
unseen hearers, moved up a few yards, still in the 
dark, that they might hear every word. 

As they did so, these words came flowing from 
Ephraim's lips into their ears: "Shame on you fine- 
looking young men of the so-called 'common herd!' 
shame on you ! shame on you ! because they brand you 
as common and unfit, you take it and go right on 
as if you were; shame on you! You have just as 
much right to say 'who is who' as they have. Don't 
they make their living off us?" 

As he said this he reached back, with his hands in 
his vest, as if waiting for an answer, and the answer 
came. 



24 



TO THEIR SURPRISE THEY SAW CLEARLY. EFHRAIM STANDING ON 
A POTATO BARREL 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



"Yes, yes," they cried. 

"Then, if we feed them, they are our servants ; they 
call themselves professionals. I wish you could have 
seen the way I did them at the meeting the other Sun- 
day; they rigged up and went to the meeting and had 
to sit and wait while Mabel and I were off enjoying 
ourselves." 

Ephraim told them how he did the professional men 
at the meeting, and they regarded him as a hero. He 
exhorted them to follow him, and then proceeded to 
the climax of his speech with these words : 

"Bill Blount wears broadcloth and a beaver every 
day. If you boys would follow me I would make 
him wear the knees out of his pants and the hair off 
that 'gourd' of a head of his" — bowing on his knees 
■ — "and raising his hat to me." 

"Gee!" cried Nat Jones, one of his listeners, who 
doubled up and fairly shook the rags which he was 
attired in, "did you hear what he said about Mr. 
Blount, the banker? He's goin' to make him bow to 
him and raise his hat; wouldn't it take your bref ?" 

Here Ephraim began again : "And as for that 
stuck-up girl that he goes with, Cleopatra Smith, as 
I go home to-night I am going to stop by her house 
and hire her to cook for Mabel and I when we are 
married." 

When he finished a shout went up from every throat 
and rent the silent night air, but it did not last long 
Ephraim had gotten personal; he had gone too far, 



27 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



further than Mr. Blount could stand. He clenched his 
fist, lowered his head and made a dash at Ephraim 
which would have landed on him no doubt had it not 
been for the quick work of his friends. 

Ephraim motioned the crowd back, "ran out of his 
coat," "squared" himself and begged the crowd to 
loose him, that he might come and get what he had 
needed ever since he left his mother's knee and for- 
got her teaching. 

Mr. Blount's friends led him away, declaring that 
he couldn't afford to fight with such a man as Eph- 
raim. As Mr. Blount strolled away, he cast a scorn- 
ful look at Ephraim and said, "Wait until the fifth and 
we'll see what you can do." Then, as a parting shot, 
exclaimed, "Then the world will know what you are !" 

These words raised Ephraim's curiosity ; he yearned 
to know what would happen on the fifth. 

After much effort, anxious to begin his torture, they 
broke over their original plan and let him know the 
next morning. He heard the full story, surveyed the 
situation, and saw that he was beaten without any 
chance to even raise a hand or voice in his own de- 
fense. He would be humiliated, and that badly ; he 
saw in a vision Mabel, the girl of his heart, disappear 
from his grasp like one in a dream. Yes, his heart 
was aching, and all day he went to and fro with 
bowed head, devoid of all hope, praying that death 
or some other calamity would come to his aid, and 
make, if possible, an escape from the great humilia- 



28 



''hail, the king and the queen" 



tion that would surely come to him on the night of 
the fifth. 

It was the custom of Air. and Airs. Lincoln to take 
an afternoon drive every day at four o'clock. Hither- 
to, when the hour came, it found Ephraim in the 
yard, all ready with the carriage, but this afternoon 
did not find him at his post. 

Four-fifteen came and went, and still no signs of 
Ephraim. Air. and Airs. Lincoln, at a loss to know 
why he was so late, strolled down towards the stable 
to find the cause. Before they reached the stable they 
saw Ephraim sitting upon the shaft of the carriage, 
with his face buried in his hands. Thinking he was 
asleep, they decided to creep upon him and startle him 
when he awoke. They crept up close to him without 
causing him to stir ; they saw him reeling to and fro, 
with his face hidden, as if in great agony and pain. 
Hearing a sound come from his lips, they stood be- 
hind him a few moments to catch it. He continued 
to sob bitterly, and, amid the sobs, came the words 
quoted at the beginning of our story. "Why was I 
not invited to this party?" Sobbing a few moments 
more, he would pause, and say. as if in answer to his 
own question, "Because I am a coachman." 

As he finished speaking these words, Mrs. Lincoln 
placed her hands upon his head and asked him to tell 
her why he wept. 

Feeling her hands on his head, Ephraim sprang to 
his feet, utterly surprised to see who it was. Being 



29 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



late, he rushed to the stable for his horses. Mrs. 
Lincoln, with a motherly voice, called him back, as- 
sured him that it was all right about the drive, if he 
would tell them what ailed him. 

After much persuasion, Ephraim told them the 
whole truth; how they contrived to humiliate him in 
the eyes of Mabel, and how every one would know 
of it through the Afro-American Blade. When he 
had finished tears were running down Mrs. Lincoln's 
face, as she stood gazing upon her newly-adopted son ; 
then, turning to her husband, said, "Shame on them 
to treat him thus." 

"Cowards !" said Mr. Lincoln. "Ephraim, don't cry 
any more; you shall go to the party if I have to close 
up the whole town. Hear me, you shall go." 

Ephraim stood gazing into the face that he trusted 
with the confidence that a child has in its parents. 
When he heard the assurance that he should go, hope 
returned, feeling that, with the aid of a parent, he 
could move mountains ; he raised his head, a smile 
came over his face. He raised his hand and ex- 
claimed, "If I go, I will be King!" 

Mr. Lincoln returned to the house and wrote the 
following letter: 
Mr. W. L. Blount, 

President of Freedmen's Bank. 

Sir: Doubtless you are aware of the fact that the 
mortgage on the syndicate, of which you have the 
honor of being at the head, is far past due. I thought 



30 



"HAIL, THE KING AND THE QUEEN" 



I would be able to oblige you with the use of the 
money for a year or two longer, or as long as it might 
be needed. I find now, however, very different. If 
you will notice the mortgage you will see that it is 
made out to E. L. Lincoln, Jr. As we have no chil- 
dren save Ephraim. and as he has been working for 
us since he was six years old and has never drawn 
his wages, not even a cent ; and further, in considera- 
tion of his faithfulness to us, we thought to put his 
money out that it might draw interest, so that some 
day he would have sufficient means to enable him to 
live more comfortably. Ephraim, Jr., does not need 
the money now, but it seems that he has become dis- 
satisfied over not being invited to a party or social, 
and he says that if he is not good enough to be in- 
vited his money is not good enough to give it. He 
is angry, and declares that unless he receives his 
money by nine o'clock to-morrow, he will close the 
doors of all of the twelve properties listed in the mort- 
gage and place a large red flag of "Sheriff and Mort- 
gage Sale" upon each of them. I do not say I ad- 
mire the hurried course of his, but he is a young man, 
you know, and young men will do many things when 
aroused without due consideration. Yet as the bulk 
of what we have will more than likely be managed by 
him, I mean for the rest of my life to leave him to 
act at his will, so he will see his errors while I live 
and can aid him. Very truly, 

E. L. Lincoln, Sr. 



3i 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM." 



P. S. — I hope you can make it all right with E. L. 
Lincoln, Jr. I would suggest that you extend him an 
invitation to the party. E. L., Sr. 

He called Ephraim, handed him the note, told him 
of its contents, asking him to accept the invitation if 
they extended it and begged his pardon for the insult. 

When Ephraim reached the bank with the note, he 
saw through the door of Air. Blount's office the twelve 
young men sitting in an important meeting. He 
walked to the door of the office, handed him the note, 
and stood on the outside, as no one invited him to 
enter. 

Mr. Blount opened the letter, read it over to him- 
self, then aloud to all. When he had finished, Eph- 
raim heard a deep, low groan coming from the in- 
side of the room which almost caused the windows to 
shake. 

Mr. Blount stepped to the door, threw it wide open 
with a sickly smile upon his face, grasped Ephraim 
by the hand and cordially invited him to enter. 

As he made his appearance in the door, every per- 
son was on his feet, extending his chair and begging 
him to be seated. 

Ephraim, seeing so many chairs offered him at one 
time, hardly knew which to accept, but knowing Mr. 
Blount to be his greatest rival accepted his seat. This 
was an anxious moment, and no time was to be lost. 

"Mr. Lincoln," said Mr. Blount, "we are on the 
eve of a great social, and by some means your in- 



32 



"hail, the kixg and the queen' 



vitation has become misplaced, but I say to yon now 
we want you to attend." 

All of those assembled said, "yes. yes." at the top 
of their voices. 

Continued the president: "We are very sorry that 
the invitation failed to reach you. but we humbly beg 
of you to grace the affair with your presence. We 
cannot get along without you." 

And the others said **Amen." 

"Have you any special young lady that you would 
like to take?" further continued Mr. Blount. 

"Well, gentlemen, if I go." said Ephraim. "I will 
have to take Miss Price." 

As he spoke these words a silence came over the 
crowd. 

"Mr. Lincoln." said Mr. Blount, "all have decided 
that I take Miss Price, and " 

But before he could finish the sentence. Ephraim 
exclaimed, "Then, gentlemen. I cannot attend. The 
other girls say that I am not in their class, so I can- 
not attend." 

As he finished speaking he took his hat. and ex- 
claimed. "I must be going, as it is growing late. Any 
answer to the note?" he asked, turning to the president 
of the bank. 

"Only this," said Mr. Blount, "you may take Ma- 
bel. Lawyer Jackson will tell you the details to-mor- 
row morning." And then they dismissed the meeting. 



33 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM" 



The evening of the fifth. The ground floor of the 
Odd Fellows' Hall was lighted and decorated to the 
fullest ; more than four hundred ladies and gentlemen 
stood within, chatting merrily. It was indeed a beau- 
tiful sight. The ladies were dressed in white silk, all 
made in the prevailing fashion, the men in full dress. 
The automatic walls of the building had been re- 
moved, and it seemed to be a hall of glass. All the 
citizens, both young and old, had gathered on the 
outside, straining their eyes so that nothing would 
go on within those walls that they would not see. 
Ropes were stretched around the hall to keep the on- 
lookers at the proper distance. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln and a few other old persons 
were the only ones invited within the circle of the 
ropes. They stood in the door, where they could see 
it all. 

Finally, the sound of the gong was heard, the outer 
curtain rose and revealed upon the centre of the stage 
a throne covered with flowers, and two flower girls, 
with wings, represented the angels, waiting with the 
crowns in their hands. All of the guests gathered in 
a semi-circle around the throne. In perfect stillness 
they waited. Then the village clock struck eight. When 
it was finished, the gong rang out three clear sounds. 
As it did so the curtain raised back of the throne, and 
out came Ephraim, with Mabel on his arm. They 
were led to the throne, crowns were placed upon their 
heads, all of the guests bowed to their knees, and the 



34 



"hail, the king and the queen" 



young ladies waved their flowers, and all joined in 
singing the chorus, "Hail, the King and Queen!" 

It was nearly two o'clock in the morning when Eph- 
raini entered the door of his home, but at the door his 
foster-mother met him and almost smothered him with 
kisses. 

Our story is nearly finished. From that evening 
Ephraim was the acknowledged suitor for the hand of 
Mabel Price. 

One morning, about a month later, the daily paper 
bore the following announcement: "Dr. and Mrs. 
Price announce the engagement of their daughter, 
Mabel, to Mr. Ephraim Lincoln, Jr." 

No surprise was felt at this, as it was an already 
foreseen fact. Ephraim seemed transformed; if his 
carriage was erect before it was more so now. His 
brow was free from all traces of care; joy shone in 
his flashing eyes and in his every movement. 

During the twelve months which elapsed between 
his betrothal and marriage, Ephraim attended a night 
school, and so rapidly did he improve that none would 
have doubted his statement, if he had told them he 
was a graduate of the University. 

One pleasant morning — just such a one as the morn- 
ing on which he first met her — Ephraim took Mabel 
to the altar. He had for best man no less a person 
than Mr. Blount, the banker, and his erstwhile enemy. 
Mr. Blount not only accepted \he position, but asked 
that it be given him as an especial favor. The other 



35 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



young men were not left out, having posts of more 
or less importance. All had a hand in the wedding, 
and all were as enthusiastic in making it a success 
as they once had been in keeping him out of their social 
gatherings. 

Mabel, looking if possible more beautiful than be- 
fore, blushed prettily as she received the congratula- 
tions of her friends. 

At the close of the evening the young men, who 
had banded themselves together in what was called 
"The Price Glee Club," surprised the bridal pair by 
rendering the same selection which they had on 
the occasion of their crowning; for this occasion it 
had been rewritten and dedicated to the King and 
Queen, now Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Jr. 

Ephraim took his bride to a lovely home, built and 
presented to them by Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Sr., and 
there we leave them, with our best wishes for a happv 
sail over the Hymeneal Sea. 



36 



The Test that Failed 



"Hush, Emma! don't cry any more; you did not 
steal the ring and you shall not suffer for it. If any 
one is to go to prison I will go myself. Cheer up, now. 
It is all right; get ready. It will soon be time for us 
to go to court; it is now twenty minutes to ten. Get 
ready; the carriage will be here in a few minutes. 
Don't be afraid. I will go with you, and when the 
case is called I shall walk up before the Judge's stand, 
plead guilty and you will go free. Hush! No use 
to tell me not to. You need not say one word. I will 
do it, and all the world could not prevent. That is 
all right about mother and all the rest. I have thought 
it all over, and in the face of it all I will do it. When 
mother hears of it she will not blame me. She al- 
ways taught me that it was honor to give my life for 
a good woman's. I know you are good and honest. 
Nothing can keep me from this course. Mrs. Hunt- 
ington says she saw you with your hands in her jew- 
elry box, and her two servants say that they will swear 
that they saw you with the ring. I know they lie, yet 
their lies are enough to convict you. Now, I have one 
request to make of you, and that is this: You must 



37 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



promise me that you will go back to college, finish your 
course with Horace, and if you love him, or any other 
good fellow, marry him and make your mark in the 
world, for yourself, the college and the race. Don't 
think of me. I will be happy. Yes, you can ; you will 
have to let me do it, for I will. I say again, I will be 
happy. Don't think of me. If you were to wait for 
me it would be useless. I would not marry you, even 
if you loved me. I would never go in your company 
again. You are too good a girl to keep company with 
a convict — a .rogue." 

These are the words I chanced to hear a young man 
utter to a young woman a few years ago in connection 
with a case that I hardly think I will ever forget, 
though I might be spared to live a century. I have 
read in fiction of persons serving in prison to save 
some one they loved, but this was the first case in 
my life that I have witnessed, which reminded me of 
the old saying, "That truth is stranger than fiction." 

In the year of 1895, when there was in this coun- 
try what we might term a "money panic," many 
strange things happened that involved persons who 
hitherto had been regarded as strictly honest. But 
the one that I shall mention at this time concerns three 
young people, who were destined some day to make 
a mark in this country that could not be erased. 

As all of the persons mentioned in this story are 
still living, I shall not mention their full names, but 
will introduce them as Emma, Horace and Albert. 



38 



THE TEST THAT FAILED 



Several years ago, when I entered college in beau- 
tiful Greensboro, I found in my class a young man 
whose name was Albert. There were many things 
about this young man I might mention, but they would 
hardly have any bearing on the subject in hand. One 
thing, however, I will state, that for the first five days 
I was in the class he impressed me as being one of 
the dullest specimens of humanity- that I have ever 
seen in a school room. 

But one morning there came to join the class two 
young people, a boy about Albert's age, and a girl a 
few years younger. It could be plainly seen that the 
young man, whose name was Horace, was deeply in 
love with Emma from the start. 

Horace was a fine looking young man, taller by a 
head than Albert; he had a form like a Greek god, 
and for grace and manly beauty w*ould have matched 
the fabled Apollo. Therefore, it was not strange that 
Emma should be instantly attracted to him. Her very- 
heart seemed to leap from her bosom and go to him. 

Albert, too, fell under the spell of Emma's pres- 
ence, and his love, though seemingly hopeless, trans- 
formed him from the dull, stoop-shouldered being he 
was to a wide-awake man, beaming with hope, en- 
thusiasm and ambition. Since the morning these three 
students entered school Albert's record as a scholar 
and gentleman has not been surpassed, not even until 
to-day. From that day a twofold struggle began — 
first to prove to Emma his superiority as a scholar. 



39 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



and second, to prove to her which was the most de- 
serving of her love. 

And it seemed that she, too, began to try and im- 
press upon the two young men that she was indeed 
worthy to be sought. 

The spring of 1895 came and found these young 
people in their Junior year, filled with enthusiasm and 
ambition, dreaming and yearning for the spring of the 
next year that they might be able to go out in the 
world and realize the many air-castles that their fer- 
tile imaginations had constructed. Yes, they were 
yearning for the day when they would be able to ap- 
pear upon the rostrum, make their flowery speeches 
and receive their all-powerful diplomas. Not only did 
they have confidence in themselves, but others, too, felt 
that some day the world would look upon them and 
call them blessed. 

That year, when the closing exercise of the Com- 
mencement was being held and the Doctor was mak- 
ing his announcements, he stated to the audience that 
they should not fail to be present the next year, as 
some great things would be heard. 

Said he : "The graduating class next year will con- 
sist of three young people whose speeches will be mas- 
terpieces of literature and whose lives will be beacon- 
lights for the race." 

Their fame had already gone out, and when he 
mentioned their names the audience went wild and 
would not cease their applause until they had come 



40 




I AM THINE" 



THE TEST THAT FAILED 



upon the rostrum and had the pleasure of seeing their 
faces and hearing their voices. Then, after seeing 
them, the audience clamored "Speech! Speech!" and 
the Doctor, to please them, consented to allow them 
three minutes. 

Emma was the first to speak. She made a short 
talk from the subject, "Women's Influence upon the 
World." Her sweet, melodious voice, pleasing man- 
ner and presentation, combined with her eloquent 
words, that went to the heart of every man and woman, 
took the house by storm. The delighted audience, hav- 
ing given away the flowers which they had bought, 
tore the bouquets from their bosoms and tossed them 
upon the stage until it was literally covered. 

Then the two young men spoke. So great was the 
impression which they made that the President arose 
and said that if the time ever came when two colored 
men would occupy the position of President and Vice- 
President of these United States, they would not be 
a thousand miles away. 

Amid the deafening applause of the audience, the 

"Delta Kappa Epsilon Musical Club" sang the closing 

selection, and, after much hand-shaking, they went to 

their respective homes. 

****** 

As aforestated, in this country there was existing 
what might be termed a money panic, and Emma's 
mother, who was a widow and failing in health, had 
expressed some doubt of being able to furnish enough 



4i 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



money to keep her in school the following year. This 
complaint found its way to the ears of Miss Flint, a 
Yankee teacher from the North, who was Emma's 
confidential friend. She no sooner heard this than she 
wrote one of her friends in Littsfield, Massachusetts, 
and secured a place where Emma might work as 
house girl and make sufficient money to defray her 
expenses in school the next year. 

The two young men, having some doubts about 
finding employment in the South, as the factories were 
all closed, decided to go North. 

Albert had arranged to go to Atlantic City and as- 
sist his brother, who was head waiter at the Mel- 
burne, but when he learned that Miss Flint had se- 
cured Horace a position in Littsfield also, thought it 
an unwise thing to let Horace be nearer Emma than 
he was, decided that his brother would have to find 
other help, as he meant to be in Littsfield that summer 
at any cost. 

The first day of June came, and the three young 
students were found in Littsfield, peaceful and happy. 
So, too, were their employers. 

Mrs. Huntington, with whom Emma had found em- 
ployment, was a sociological student of no mean ability, 
and very, very wealthy and kind. Her servants were 
all Irish, and in truth she did not need Emma, but 
seeing an opportunity to study a member of the col- 
ored race employed her under the guise of a maid. 

After a careful study of the subject, she found that 



42 



THE TEST THAT FAILED 



human nature was the same, whether clothed in black 
or white. Emma's artless affection for Mrs. Hunt- 
ington and her pleasing manner soon won her so com- 
pletely that she found herself loving her as though 
she was her own child. She treated her as such, and 
gave her a room next to that of her own. 

Emma was an artist of rare skill, both with needle 
and brush. Whatever she touched seemed to be im- 
mediately transformed. A piece of plain white cloth 
and a few strands of silk would become a beautiful 
article of fancy work, which could, if placed on sale, 
bring an almost fabulous sum. Common glass, pur- 
chased at the five- and ten-cent store, with a bit of 
paint and a few strokes of Emma's brush, resembled 
freshly-cut rosebuds, sparkling with morning dew. 

Not only did Mrs. Huntington have the pleasure of 
studying Emma, but the two young men, as they 
visited Emma once each week regularly — Thursday 
night — that being the only evening given to the "help" 
in Littsfield as their "off" night. 

Albert and Horace both had to call on Emma the 
same night, which is not the most agreeable thing for 
two suitors to do. Finally, they struck upon a plan 
that worked like a charm. One would call early in 
the evening, have his say, and later on the other would 
call. When this plan had been fully tried, each began 
his procedure to win Emma's hand. 

Mrs. Huntington's room being next to that one oc- 
cupied by Emma as a reception room could easily hear 



43 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



what was said by Emma and her beaux. She was 
ofttime struck with the earnest appeals of the two 
young men, and wondered how Emma would succeed 
in choosing between the two. 

Mrs. Huntington, being on more or less confidential 
terms with Emma, questioned her concerning the two 
young men. She learned from her that she loved them 
both about equal. Emma also stated to Mrs. Hunt- 
ington her inability to choose the one for her life's 
companion and asked her advice. To this Mrs. Hunt- 
ington immediately replied that she was also at a loss. 
Thus, Emma was left to make her own choice, which 
by all means should be done before they returned to 
college. 

Things went well until one night before the week 
that they were to return to college. Albert and Horace 
were invited to Mrs. Huntington's to take tea with 
Emma, Thursday evening, August 13th, at 7.30. 

The two young men walked into the room where a 
beautifully decorated table, laden with flowers and 
many things inviting to the inner man, awaited them. 
In a few minutes all were happy and joyous. Laughter 
filled the room. Just as their pleasure seemed to reach 
its fullest there came a knocking on the door of the 
room. When it was opened, Mrs. Huntington thrust 
her head in, gazed at Emma a moment with stern face, 
then beckoned her to the door. It could be plainly 
seen that something wrong had happened. The door 
was partially pulled to, but failing to latch soon opened 



44 



THE TEST THAT FAILED 



enough to enable those within to catch a glimpse of 
what was transpiring outside. 

Mrs. Huntington stood, with her two Irish maids 
by her side, gazing into Emma s face as though there 
was something far back beyond the cranium that she 
wished to see and understand. She spoke as though 
trying to do so without being heard in the room, and 
yet the young men heard as plainly as if it were loud 
peals of thunder these words : 

"Emma," said she. "I have a painful request to make 
of you, but I want to say if you will do as I ask I 
will forgive you. for I know the temptation was 
greater than you could bear." 

- As she spoke, the color came and went in Emma's 
face, and when she had done speaking she was pale 
as a statue, with an indescribable expression upon her 
:^ce. 

"Heavens! Mercy, what have I done?" 

"You have stolen my diamond ring." answered Mrs. 
Huntington, sharply, "and I give you ten minutes to 
get it or tell where it is." 

"Oh. oh. I did not," cried Emma, and then she threw 
up her hands and fell in a heap on the floor. 

As she fell, qukk as a flash, Albert was at her side, 
lifting her in his arms. and. assisted by Horace, bore 
her to a chair, where he fanned her with his hat which 
he had hastily snatched up. They soon found she had 
not fainted, for she was weeping silently. 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



When it was found that she was not in a serious 
condition, Horace went to Mrs. Huntington, heard the 
story of Mrs. Huntington and the sanctioning of the 
maids. He tried to crush the affair by offering to pay 
twice the price of the ring, but he soon found that 
nothing of the kind could be done, as she seemed bent 
on having the law meted out to Emma to its fullest 
extent. When this was seen, Horace asked her three 
pointed questions. First, the kind of model and make 
of the ring and how much worn. To this Mrs. Hunt- 
ington readily replied: "It was Kann's make, the 58 
model, gift style, and not worn enough to be dis- 
tinguished." She further said that the ring could be 
bought for seventy-five dollars. Horace had her re- 
peat the dimensions, saying that if he saw it he could 
recognize it. When she had done so he stepped into 
the room, raised one of Emma's hands, stroked it with 
his own and bade her good-bye, but before he could 
reach the door two policemen walked in, as Mrs. Hunt- 
ington had sent a "phone" message to the station for 
them. 

The policemen seemed fully bent on taking Emma 
to the station-house, but after much persuasion on the 
part of the young men, who themselves stood for her 
appearance in court the next morning, and also at the 
suggestion of Mrs. Huntington that she keep watch 
over her all night, they consented to let her remain. 
When this was agreed upon and the others had gone, 



46 



the: test that failed 



Horace departed also, but Albert remained many min- 
utes thereafter. 

****** 

Morning came, and at 9.20 Albert walked into 
Emma's room and found her dressed and ready to go. 
She was sitting, with her face resting on her hands, 
weeping as she was when he left her the night be- 
fore. 

As he stepped toward her she heard his step, rushed 
to meet him, threw her arms around his neck, and 
asked him, amid her sobs, "What shall I do? What 
shall I do?" 

Albert bore her to a seat, wiped the tears from her 
face and said: "Hush, Emma; don't cry any more. 
You did not steal the ring and you shall not suffer for 
it. If any one is to go to prison, I will go myself. 
Cheer up, now ; it will be all right. Get ready ; it will 
soon be time to go. The carriage will be here in a 
few moments to take us. Don't be afraid. I will go 
with you, and when the case is called I will walk up 
before the Judge's stand, plead guilty and you will go 
free." 

Emma protested, declaring that it would break his 
mother's heart and he should never do it. She con- 
tinued to do this all through the drive to the Court 
House, and even as she stepped inside the door of the 
court room. 

As they appeared in the door of the room, Horace, 



47 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



whom they had not seen or heard of since the pre- 
vious night, met them and led the way up front. 

Asking Albert to excuse whispering, he told Emma 
how he had gotten Mrs. Huntington to give him the 
dimensions of the ring and where it could be pur- 
chased, caught the 12 A. M. train to Boston, woke the 
clerk at Kann & Co., bought a duplicate of the ring 
for seventy-five dollars, caught the train which left 
Boston at 8.10 A. M., and reached the court just in 
time to see the Judge a few minutes before the open- 
ing of the court. At this time he gave him the ring, 
which he said was given him by a slender woman 
dressed in black and driving a spotted pony. This 
woman, he said, could not bring it herself, as she was 
about to leave town. She also gave him the dimen- 
sions of the ring, which he handed the Judge on a 
card. 

Emma, hearing the story conceived so cleverly and 
told so dramatically, moved nearer to Albert to tell 
him of the cleverly arranged plan. 

At this time the court was called to order, and at 
once her case was called. While the charge was being 
read, the Judge began feeling in his vest-pocket for 
the ring which Horace had given him. When the 
charge was finished and before Emma could speak, 
Albert was on his feet, yelling like mad, "I stole the 
ring! I am guilty!" 

In a moment Emma was on her feet trying to drag 
him to his chair, protesting, while Horace was on his 



4 S 



THE TEST THAT FAILED 



feet, calling to the Judge to exhibit the ring which he 
claimed to have found. 

The few people who had assembled in the court 
room were amazed at the commotion. The Judge 
struck his gavel and the marshal at once had order. 
He had already handed Mrs. Huntington the ring for 
identification. He knew that the trial was a farce, as 
Mrs. Huntington had "phoned"' him the whole pro- 
cedure of the test. 

Again the Judge waved his gavel. Stating that Mrs. 
Huntington had a statement to make, Mrs. Hunting- 
ton stepped out before the Judge's stand and called 
Emma to her. Then she proceeded to tell how she 
had loved her, and, wanting to make her happy and 
comfortable for life, she had planned this test of the 
young men's love. Then taking from her purse three 
checks, each for $10,000, made payable to Emma, she 
pressed them into her hand, threw her arms around 
Emma's neck and whispered "Forgive me." 

Soft and low, Emma replied, "Forgiven." 

"Emma," said the Judge, "I am not here to judge 
you. I am here to try and help you judge the young 
man who has shown the greater love. You are the 
jury ; all I can do in this case is to charge you. Thus 
I say. Albert could conceive of no way to save you, so 
he staked his life. You must decide whether or not 
he should have been clever enough to save you with 
a less sacrifice. In the case of Horace, he was clever 
enough to save you with little sacrifice, and the ques- 



49 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



tion for you to decide with him is, If he could not have 
conceived of the plan, would he have staked his life? 
The case is in your hands," and with these words the 
court was dismissed. 

Emma took the Judge's pen, and, after writing her 
name across the back of two of the checks, presented 
one to each of her friends. Then she turned to one 
of the young men, threw her arms around his neck, 
and 'mid the sobs of joy which she could not con- 
trol, whispered "I am thine." 

****** 

We leave the readers to judge which of the young 
men this was. 



5o 



At the Mercy of a Slave 



I wish to tell you a story, one that will tear the 
black skin from the Negro's bosom and lay bare his 
very soul, that you may see and dissect it- I will call 
it "At the Mercy of a Slave," for want of a better title. 

It tells of a Southerner, a man who owned slaves 
before the war and who believed in the institution of 
slaven'. 

I am that master, but at this late date that is neither 
here nor there. 

It was in the early '60 s, and when the country called 
I did not hesitate to answer her in her need. I am no 
prophet, neither can I read what is in a man's heart, 
but I declare to you that the morning I buckled on my 
sword, bade my young wife and little daughter good- 
bye and left them to the mercy of the slaves (there 
was not an able-bodied white man in the neighbor- 
hood) I felt a presentment of coming ill. Moreover, 
when I went out and shook hands with "Josh," a tall, 
black slave of about twenty-five years of age, I dis- 
, cerned in his glistening eyes, as if by some supernatu- 
ral power, as plain as day, the fiendish, hellish plan 
which was to be perpetrated upon two helpless victims, 



5- 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



my wife and child, as soon as I had gone and they 
were left unprotected. I shall never forget the feel- 
ings that came over me on the day mentioned. 

The war had already begun and the South was at 
this period in great need of trained soldiers to take 
charge of the raw recruits who were offering their 
undisciplined services. I had spent six years in one 
of the best military schools that the country afforded 
in that day, and was regarded by the Governor of my 
State so highly that I had been given a commission as 
colonel, and with it "Jeff" Davis had sent me a letter 
of congratulation. Needless to say that I appreciated 
the honor, yet I would have gone as readily if I had 
gone as a private to serve my country. I had already 
remained away from the front too long. Being a law- 
yer, and having a very extensive practice, I had many 
affairs to straighten out before I could take my de- 
parture. I was administrator for more than a score 
of families, and many of their affairs were so com- 
plicated that a hasty departure on my part meant ruin 
to most of them. 

The months that I had remained at home, when I 
might say all men had gone to the front, wore ter- 
ribly on me. Every time I read of a death in the 
Confederate ranks I felt that had I been in command 
it might have been otherwise. Moreover, I had an- 
other cause for being anxious to leave. Some rivals * 
of mine had insinuated that it was cowardice and not 
business which kept me at home. That lie was started 



52 



AT THE MERCY OF A SLAVE 



by one who felt that the commission given me should 
have rightly been given him, and that there was some 
crook of mine which kept him from it. 

When I learned that this rumor was being circulated 
I at once placed my unsettled business in the hands of 
a friend of mine, an aged judge, a man who, though 
crippled and infirm, was capable of carrying it out, and 
who remained at home only on account of his condi- 
tion. In a short while after the rumor reached my 
ears I was ready and about to take my departure. No 
man cares to be called a coward, but when I was ready 
to go the feelings that overwhelmed me were almost 
enough to drive me mad. 

I want you to put yourself in my place and imagine 
if you can how I felt. To leave a wife and a daughter, 
and to leave them helpless at the mercy of a slave 
whose hellish design was only too patent in the gleam- 
ing eye, and to know that that design, if carried out, 
meant the death of your wife and child; on the other 
hand, to have the call of your country ringing in your 
ears and the people of your neighborhood watching 
your every movement to determine your bravery or 
the ground for the rumor of cowardice which had 
been circulated. I don't know what you would have 
done, but I do know I was virtually an insane man. 

Suppose I had killed Josh. Would that have made 
the safety of the women more secure when it was 
known I had killed him for something he had not done 
but that I felt sure he would do at the first opportu- 



53 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



nity? I analyzed every plan that would relieve the 
situation, but could think of nothing. I returned home 
and told my wife my fears. After much consultation 
we devised a plan that we thought was the most feasi- 
ble. She argued I might be wrong in what I believed 
and demanded that I give him a fair trial, and if I 
found in him the brute I believed was there she'd beg 
for him no mercy. 

Just here I must say my wife was one of the plucki- 
est women in the whole country. Had it not been so 
she would not have come to the conclusion which she 
did. 

I had a friend who lived about ten miles from us. 
He was home on furlough for six weeks, having just 
recovered from a severe attack of typhoid fever. Our 
plan was to have him to come down to my place, rep- 
resent himself as a deserter from the army, and, taking 
advantage of my absence, enlist their sympathies, in- 
gratiate himself into their favor by pretending to be 
at heart in sympathy with them ; also by supplying 
them plentifully with all the delicacies so dear to the 
heart of the slave, not forgetting to provide the men, 
and especially Josh, with plenty of whiskey. 

He was to arrive on the evening of the same day 
that I left (or was supposed to leave). In reality I 
would steal back as soon as the darkness became suf- 
ficiently dense to cover my movements, secrete myself 
and remain in hiding until he had perfected his plans. 
Then, with my faithful Winchester, I was to take up 



54 



AT THE MERCY OF A SLAVE 



a position near enough to my wife and child to ward 
off from them the blow I felt sure was about to fall. 

My wife knew of these arrangements ; therefore it 
was with a light heart I at last tore myself away, and 
left ostensibly for the seat of war. However. I espe- 
cially cautioned Josh to take good care of my wife and 
little one. As I said this I saw, or seemed to see, a 
sinister expression flit over his features, though out- 
wardly he was as docile as ever. 

About half a mile from the house stood an old un- 
used cabin, and though on the edge of my plantation, 
it was supposed by the Negroes to be haunted, and 
not one of them would go near it, even in the daytime. 
It was surrounded by a dense grove of pines, and 
shrubbery grew up to the very threshold of the door : 
therefore, I knew that I was safe from observance if 
I remained there. 

About dusk I was rewarded bv seeing: mv friend 
pass on his way to the house. It had been decided 
that he would secretly visit me and give me news of 
his progress. In my heart I believed he would pro- 
gress, but hoped otherwise. 

As I still had one week at my disposal it had been 
decided that we would not attempt to bring our plans 
to fruition until the fifth night after I had gone, and 
as I left on Tuesday morning, Saturday night was con- 
sidered a good time. This night the slave regards as 
his especial time, and spends it, as far as he dares, in 
carousing and merry-making. Saturday morning 



55 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



dawned cloudy and dismal, the wind sighed mourn- 
fully through the branches of the pines around me and 
occasionally rain would mingle with the fitful gusts. 
Toward evening the wind was hushed and an ominous 
silence seemed to settle over everything, or was it my 
disordered fancy ? I could scarcely contain myself un- 
til the hour when my friend came to summon me to 
the house. 

To my sorrow Josh had, after much urging and 
temptation on my friend's part, consented to destroy 
my wife and child, loot the house and be far away 
before the break of another day. I say I was sorry, 
because his father and mother were among my most 
trusted slaves, and I had raised him from infancy, but 
an anger so deep stirred my bosom that I felt no more 
compunction at shooting him than I had at shooting a 
favorite hound I once had who bit my wife's hand. 
I would deal out to him the death he would so richly 
merit. 

I entered the house by a secret entrance, of which 
none knew the existence save myself and wife, and 
secreted myself, as had been suggested, in a large, old- 
fashioned wardrobe which was near the window — near 
enough for me to see across the yard. 

My wife lay in bed, facing the window, seemingly 
asleep, but our little Bessie, knowing naught of danger, 
slept soundly, the sweet sleep of innocent childhood. 

The clock over the stable strikes the midnight hour ; 
everything is hushed, the same brooding stillness pre- 



56 



AT THE MERCY OF A SLAVE 



vails, the slaves have danced themselves to exhaustion 
and betaken themselves to their cabins. The air, odor- 
ous with the perfume of flowers, sickens me. I shall 
be glad when it is over. The last stroke of the clock 
has scarcely ceased re-echoing when out from the 
shadows glides a figure. By this time my nervousness 
has increased, so that I have left the shelter of the 
wardrobe and am standing in a little curtained alcove 
which commands a full view of the window. The 
figure comes nearer, lurching on its unsteady legs, half 
stops and drawing an almost emptied bottle of whiskey 
from his pocket places it to his lips and drains the fiery 
liquid to the dregs. Coming still closer to the house 
it stops and begins to soliloquize: "Kin I kill missis 
and lil missie? Yes, I will! I will! I is a slave, and 
if I stay here 1 11 die one. Xo, I can't do it/* Thus 
he stands holding communion with himself. Again he 
speaks : "Yes, I will kill them and rob de house, and 
Marse Benson (that was my friend's assumed name ) 
says he knows a place whar dis 'nigger* kin live like 
a white man. 1*11 do it. I ain't no coward. 1*11 do it 
and skin out *fo day and day*ll nebber see Josh er gin." 
His resolution seemed to be strengthened. Coming up 
to the window he puts out one black hand and pulls 
aside the curtain, while with the other he fumbles for 
the long dirk-like knife commonly carried by the lower 
class of whites, balances himself in the window readv 
to step to the floor. My grasp on my Winchester 
tightens; I itch to pull the trigger which would send 



57 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



him tumbling to the ground below, but I am resolved 
to wait. He sits astride the window, then, as if fasci- 
nated, steps just inside the room and halts. My breath 
seems almost suffocating me, but I dare not move. The 
room is dark save for the faint light which comes in 
at the window. He can only distinguish the outlines 
of their forms as they nestle among the pillows, yet 
why does he pause ? Why does he not strike the fatal 
blow? His hand quivers on the handle of the knife. 
The good angel and the evil one are fighting for the 
mastery. If ever human face showed as plainly as on 
a canvas, the workings of the mind within Josh's did 
that night. One moment it would become hard as flint, 
the next it would soften and his tall form would sway 
like a reed shaken by a storm. Finally, with great 
beads of sweat standing on his brow, he raises his head 
and in child-like tones says : "Oh, God, I am a slave, 
but I cannot be a murderer. I don't want to be a 
coward. I cannot kill two helpless creatures left in 
my care. I cannot, but somebody must die. I can't 
be a coward. I can't kill missis ; I can't kill HI missie, 
but I kin kill Josh." And ere the last tones of his 
voice ceased he plunged the dirk into his breast and 
sank to the floor without a moan. 

My wife sprang from the bed, while my friend, who 
was a physician, and I simultaneously leaped from our 
hiding-places and bore him to a couch, where a hasty 
examination was made of his wound, which proved 
to be dangerous, though not mortal. 



58 




HE SITS ASTRIDE THE WINDOW, THEN AS IF FASCINATED HALTS 



AT THE MERCY OF A SLAVE 



Josh's first words on regaining consciousness were : 
"Oh, massa, let me die. I started to kill missis and 
lil missie. Let Josh die." We calmed him by the as- 
surance that we forgave him, and finally he dropped 
into a restful slumber. I remained at home a few 
days longer ; then, as Josh was recovering, I left my 
wife to nurse him, aided by his mother and others of 
the plantation nurses. Dr. West attended him, and 
stripped as he was of his disguise Josh never recog- 
nized him at all as the deserter who had nearly caused 
him to commit the heinous crime. 

My friend, I know I must have worried you, but I 
get to thinking of those days and often tell this to my 
friends to show that a black man can be trusted as 
much as any man under similar circumstances. Is that 
the bell? Some one to see me? Show him in. Good 
evening, sir. You have the advantage of me and yet 
your face is strangely familiar. 

A voice soft as a woman's, but deep and master- 
ful, pronounces the now unfamiliar words, "Master 
Geoff." "Josh," cries Colonel Langdon, and master 
and ex-slave clasp hands, while tears which neither 
feels a shame to their manhood stream down their 
faces. 



61 



In Love as in War 



"Captain, here are my weapons; take care of them 
for me, please. I have come to ask you to bind me 
in chains and place me in the guard-house and keep 
me there. I love you, and I love the soldier life, and 
I want to die in the army ; but last evening Lieutenant 
Vaughn and myself had some words about Princess 
Quinaldo. I do not think we can live out here in 
peace any longer, so I have come to ask you to place 
me in the guard-house." 

While Sergeant Roberts thus spoke, tears were 
streaming down his face, for he was deeply moved. 
When he had finished, he stooped and laid his revolver 
and sword at his captain's feet, made a salute, walked 
over to the guard-house and stood waiting to be locked 
up. 

In reading a statement a few days ago by one of 
the greatest soldiers of this country concerning the 
Negro's fitness as a soldier in the United States Army, 
this general gave the Negro much praise, declaring 
that he made the best soldier the world has known. 
He emphasized one thing as characteristic of the Ne- 
gro, and that was his obedience to his superior officers. 



63 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



Many other things he stated which brought to my 
mind things which I had experienced during my twelve 
years in the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry. 

I am reminded of the case of a lieutenant and a 
colored sergeant of my company who had some 
trouble in a love affair, where the death of one or 
the other would have been the inevitable sequel had 
not Sergeant Roberts, who was better or more famil- 
iarly known as "Sarge," put an end to the conflict by 
presenting himself in the attitude, as described above. 

Just a short while after the Spanish-American war 
had ended, our company was ordered to the Philippine 
Islands to quiet some trouble with the natives. It will 
be remembered that our company led the famous 
charge up San Juan Hill and won the day. We were 
"swapping lies" over our victory when the command 
came. As we were anxious for more trouble, we soon 
made our way to the Philippine Islands. No sooner 
had we landed than trouble came between the lieu- 
tenant and sergeant, but in a way we did not expect. 

When we landed on the island and pitched our tents 
we were the talk of the natives in all the surround- 
ing villages. The native papers were full of accounts 
concerning us, and in them every day were found 
pictures of our officers, including our colored hero, 
the sergeant just mentioned, who, though a non-com- 
missioned officer, had made himself famous as above 
stated at San Juan Hill. 



64 



IN LOVE AS IX WAR 



It will be remembered that when our company was 
ordered up San Juan Hill, in the famous battle, and 
the Spanish shell and fire were sweeping us down so 
rapidly that our captain gave the command "To the 
rear!" it was "Sarge," who had seen blood and in his 
rage yelled, "Hell to the rear!'* and made a dash up 
the hill like a wild devil amid the flying shells, lead- 
ing the company behind him and so startling the 
Spaniards that they dropped their guns and were so 
panic-stricken that they were soon buried in their own 
trenches, and, in truth, the day was saved by "Sarge.** 

When we think of this in connection with his many 
acts of bravery-, we were not at all surprised that his 
picture appeared in the Philippine papers with those 
of higher rank. He was a tall. dark, brown skin man, 
about six feet in height. He had been in the com- 
pany for more than fifteen years; he had fought in 
many skirmishes with the Indians and distinguished 
himself : therefore, he was easily the "pride of the 
company," and not only in the company, for his name 
had become almost a household word throughout the 
country. The Filipinos are a nation who naturally 
admire heroism and dare-deviltry- in war. so when it 
was known on the island that this famous company 
had landed on its shores, the Filipino women, both 
high and low, began to flock around the camp, that 
they might see and know these men. 

"Sarge," being dark in color, many of the native 
women, so to speak, "stumbled" over the commis- 



65 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



sioned officers, seeking the privilege of honoring this 
war demon, "Sarge," if only to kiss his hand. 

Notwithstanding the honors shown "Sarge," not one 
of them was jealous in the slightest except Lieutenant 
Vaughn, for they all felt that he was fully the bravest 
man in the company and deserved all of the honors 
bestowed upon him. 

Lieutenant Vaughn alone evinced any sign of jeal- 
ous envy. He had often spoken of the honors shown 
" Sarge" during the few days he had been on the isl- 
and. Prior to his brave dash up San Juan Hill the 
lieutenant had bid for the favor of the company, and 
now that he had been eclipsed, it did not by any means 
tend to make him feel very good toward him. Yet 
up to the present no open outbreak had occurred. 

Things went along well until Review Day, when all 
of the soldiers were on "dress parade," when they 
were to be inspected by the commander-in-chief. This 
is a great day with all soldiers, and each soldier was 
seen for at least a week in advance cleaning and pol- 
ishing his gun and getting his uniform in proper or- 
der, that he might make the best showing in appear- 
ance. 

"Sarge," not to be outdone, ordered a special uni- 
form for the occasion, and swore to himself that he 
would be outshone by none. 

The day came, the bugle sounded, calling each man 
to his place. All around the field the native women 



66 



IN LOVE AS IN WAR 



had gathered, taking positions where they could see 
every step the soldiers made. 

At the right of the field the officers had ordered a 
number of seats to be placed, so that the women who 
constituted the wealth and royalty of the island might 
be comfortably seated. This was no more than a re- 
turn compliment to them, for they had often lavished 
courtesies upon the officers. The women who occu- 
pied these seats numbered more than a score. Among 
them were some of the wealthiest persons of the whole 
island. Each one came in elaborate style and most 
fashionably clad. Aside from them, there were a 
large number of the ordinary class, or "common 
herd." 

At three o'clock the bugle sounded, and the drill 
was on. The ladies raised their glasses that they might 
take in every detail of the military tactics. The sol- 
diers clearly showed their proficiency in every branch 
of the work, it being pronounced excellent by some 
of the ablest authorities in the military service of our 
country. 

The drill ended, many of the soldiers made directly 
for their tents ; others strolled away to accept the hos- 
pitalities so lavishly showered upon them. 

The royal guests sat in their carriages with trains 
of servants at their disposal, chatting away with the 
commissioned officers. Among the number was Prin- 
cess Quinaldo, acknowledged as the Queen of the Isl- 
and, both by right of beauty and wealth. 



67 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



The lieutenant had recognized her beauty when he 
first saw her, and had said to himself that he would 
woo and win her for his wife or wed no other. The 
lieutenant was a graduate of West Point and a scion 
of one of New Orleans' most blue-blooded families, 
yet when his eyes fell upon this beautiful princess, 
who was closely related to one of the present rulers 
on the throne to-day and who had inherited more than 
a million in her own right, to say nothing of lands and 
cattle, thinking of these things he lost sight of the 
fact that there were women elsewhere of lighter skin, 
but he began with all his might to woo the princess. 
Many of his brother officers desired to do their share 
in entertaining her, but they saw that the lieutenant 
was, to put in common parlance, "hard hit," so they 
laid aside their desire to be with the princess, as they 
knew he was desperately in love with her and gave 
him full sway. 

Perhaps he might have had her in his Southern 
home to-day had it not been for "Sarge," the colored 
soldier who had made himself conspicuous in the bat- 
tle named. While these titled women were standing 
upon the field, chatting with the commissioned offi- 
cers, the princess, who was surrounded by three or 
four admirers, including the lieutenant, spied "Sarge" 
coming from his tent, and was making his way to 
where some of his comrades were talking to a group 
of the middle class native women. As he had not 
spoken to any one, doubtless he was going over to cast 



68 



IN LOVE AS IN WAR 



his lot with them. It happened just at this time the 
princess recognized him at a distance, and expressed 
a desire to meet him, as she had read so much con- 
cerning his bravery, and asked the lieutenant if he 
would kindly beckon him. This was unusual, but she 
being a foreigner he consented and reluctantly called 
"Sarge" over and introduced them. 

"Sarge," with a broad and jovial expression upon 
his face and with his glib tongue, soon became the 
centre of attraction in the group. Knowing the com- 
missioned officers, he could read by the expressions 
on their faces that they were not altogether shouting 
over his coming, so he made several attempts to leave, 
but unsuccessfully, until finally he broke away, ex- 
cusing himself on some conceived pretext, which, being 
somewhat abrupt, was detected by the princess as well 
as the rest of the group. 

After the sergeant had gone, with much handshak- 
ing the members of the party merrily wended their 
way to their homes, to prepare for the reception that 
would be tendered the commissioned officers the same 
evening. 

While "Sarge" was in conversation with the prin- 
cess she had passed him a souvenir in the way of an 
invitation to this reception. After he had disappeared 
he read the invitation, but as it was but a few hours 
before the reception would take place, and for other 
reasons, he decided he would not go. but would write 
his regrets. 

69 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



The next morning, bright and early, as the carrier 
was delivering the mail, "Sarge" was handed a square 
envelope containing a sweet, violet-scented letter, bear- 
ing the monogram of the princess. With confusion, 
"Sarge" spread it open, and found, true enough, it 
was from the princess, expressing her regret at his not 
being present at the reception. She stated that the 
reception had been to her a failure simply on account 
of his absence. Many things she stated in her letter 
that gave him to understand that their friendship was 
genuine. 

After many things which naturally would be said 
by an infatuated, love-stricken princess, she com- 
manded "Sarge" to call that afternoon at three o'clock 
at a rendezvous near her home, that they might have 
their reception there, as many things were revolving 
in her mind and heart which she desired to make 
known to him. She also stated that she had written 
his captain in the same mail asking that he let noth- 
ing deter the sergeant from keeping the appointment. 
She had certainly done this, for before he had fin- 
ished reading the letter, word came from the captain 
that he might be relieved for the day. 

As the clock struck three, "Sarge" was seen enter- 
ing the gateway, and the princess came out smilingly 
to greet him. They talked over many matters in swift 
succession, as though they wished to crowd a lifetime 
in a few hours. Finally, she became interested in a 
medal, inlaid with diamonds and sapphires, which had 



70 



IN LOVE) AS IN WAR 



been given the sergeant for his bravery during the 
many years he had spent in the service of his country. 

"Sarge" had taken it off his breast and given it to 
her, with the assurance that she might wear it as long 
as she liked. She allowed him to place it upon her, 
declaring that she would always be as brave as he. 
He then entertained her with stories of his hair- 
breadth escapes and his daring encounters with the 
Indians, as well as in the Spanish-American war. 
They were thrilling stories, indeed, and startling. The 
princess found herself at times moving, as though she 
herself were facing the enemy or moving among the 
fire of the crafty Spaniards. 

When he had described these things to her until she 
could stand it no longer, she clapped her hands and 
exclaimed, "Brave! wonderfully brave!" 

"Sarge" declared that all of this he had done for her 
sweet sake, saying that years ago, in his imagination 
or at least in his fancy, he had conceived a beautiful 
woman almost her exact counterpart, and that he had 
longed and hoped to see her some day, but had often 
declared that he would never meet the princess his 
imagination had pictured until he had gone through 
the pearly gate and seen the angels that encircled the 
great white throne, but said he, "As fertile as was my 
imagination and as strong as was my fancy, I had not 
pictured a creature half so beautiful as you are." 

As they sat, expressing their love and admiration, 
the lieutenant was seen just a few paces away, walk- 



7i 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



ing directly toward them. So deeply were they en- 
grossed with each other that they did not notice his 
approach, but he had seen their every movement and 
was even near enough to hear their words before they 
became conscious of his presence. He loved the prin- 
cess, and when he heard the words which passed be- 
tween her and the sergeant he felt as though she were 
about to vanish from him forever. 

When he came up to them his eyes were gleaming 
with anger; he was angry and could not conceal it. 
No sooner had he reached them than he began to give 
vent to his feelings, at first in a calm and gentlemanly 
way, but when he saw that the princess and "Sarge" 
loved each other and took no pains to conceal the fact 
he became furious and began to speak as one some- 
what in authority, both to the sergeant and the prin- 
cess, until "Sarge" had calmly stated that he had said 
enough, in fact, too much, and pleaded that he would 
say no more in such a manner, neither to him or the 
princess. 

After much discussion, which "Sarge" finally 
brought to an end by his gentlemanly yet command- 
ing demeanor, the lieutenant finally uttered these 
words, which brought the scene to a climax: "Prin- 
cess, I am a commissioned officer; 'Sarge' is simply 
a common soldier. He has disobeyed military orders 
already by his deportment towards me; that he well 
knows, but I am not discussing that here, as the army 



72 



IN LOVE AS IN WAS 



codes provide for such and I can dispose of it at the 
court." 

While he thus spoke, "Sarge" stood in rage, and 
one familiar with him could have seen that. He wore 
the same expression that he was said to have worn 
in one of his most daring exhibitions upon the battle- 
field, yet, knowing the powerful lieutenant, he curbed 
his anger. 

Finally, the lieutenant turned to the princess and 
said : "Princess, I wish to put the matter before you 
plainly that you may understand. As I said before, 
I am a commissioned officer with authority; more- 
over, my parents are of the best blood in New Or- 
leans. If you know anything about the people of my 
section of the country, you will know that your man- 
ner with 'Sarge' has been altogether insulting to me 
since the day I met you, and to all Americans of the 
company, not to say the least degrading." 

Here "Sarge" spoke up. "Lieutenant," said he, sa- 
luting as was his place, "I wish to speak just these few 
words. I know I have no right to dictate to my supe- 
rior officer, yet I am compelled to ask you not to 
make another such statement as the one just made to 
the princess. I not only ask this, but firmly insist 
upon it, and if you do not regard that request I say 
you must not;" with these words he again saluted his 
superior officer and turned to lead the princess from 
his presence. 



73 



''THE TRIUMPHS OP EPHRAIM" 



But the lieutenant forestalled him in his intention 
by stepping in front of them. 

"Placing the circumstances before you," he said, "I 
wish to say that under such conditions as before stated, 
you must now say plainly whose society you will here- 
after prefer, 'Sarge's' or mine, as by no means can 
you entertain us both." 

With a bow the lieutenant stood, awaiting the reply 
which would direct his future course. 

The sergeant had succeeded in leading the princess 
a few paCes from the lieutenant. She seized his arm, 
as if for support, and, with a fond look into his face, 
replied : "Lieutenant, the test in this case seems rather 
weak for comparison. To make it stronger, you might 
ask whose company would I prefer, that of all the 
lieutenants and generals of the world or that of ser- 
geant, and I would say emphatically I would infinitely 
prefer the company of this noble hero to whom I am 
clinging to the world and all of its goods." 

When she had finished, the lieutenant's hand went 
up to his face as though struck a stinging blow, and 
he uttered a groan that seemed to come from his very 
soul. 

As he walked away he cast a most malignant glance 
at the sergeant, who was leading the princess affec- 
tionately to her home, as though he meant that the 
summary court in the morning would make a final 
comparison between a sergeant who dared to dictate 



74 



IN LOVE AS IN WAR 



to his lieutenant and a lieutenant who had never be- 
fore had his word disputed. 

"Sarge," being of a brave character, did not let the 
little incident mar his evening's enjoyment, but loved 
the princess more for her brave stand, and told her 
to keep his medal forever, as she had performed a 
braver deed than. he. She threw her arms around the 
neck of the great hero, and assured him of her love 
forever. 

As the sergeant returned to the camp late that even- 
ing, after having received sanction from the priest for 
their union in wedlock at a very early date, he real- 
ized the trouble that the defeated and enraged lieu- 
tenant might .make him in having him brought before 
the summary court on the morrow. Reaching his 
camp, he did not stop, but gathered his sword and 
other weapons, went to the captain's door, where he 
found him in conversation with the lieutenant. He 
saluted both, handed the captain his weapons, and 
asked that he be placed in the guard-house for the 
two weeks that remained of his enlistment ; this, how- 
ever, the captain refused to do. The lieutenant had 
already told him how the sergeant could not only win 
victories upon the battle-field with the hostile enemy, 
but could win as well in the game of love. 

Then the lieutenant, by way of vainglorious boast- 
ing, said to the captain, loud enough for "Sarge" to 
hear: "The princess and 'Sarge' both deemed me 
sincere in desiring to win the princess, but in reality 



75 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



I was only jesting to idle away the time. I, a scion of 
one of Louisiana's bluest-blooded families, unite with 
a Filipino; never, even though she were fifty times a 
princess. The blood of my ancestors would be for- 
ever tainted by the union." 

"Sarge" took this for what it was worth and said 
nothing, but smiling a peculiarly knowing smile saluted 
and returned to his tent. 

Three weeks after this occurrence found the ser- 
geant and the princess living happily, man and wife. 
"Sarge" had received an honorable discharge, and 
were you to visit them you would see in their parlor 
a large gilt frame, in which is a record of his brave 
deeds, and words of honorable mention from his com- 
mander-in-chief. 

Well hath he proven the truth of the adage, "None 
but the brave deserve the fair." 



76 



The Return of Mrs. Steele 



This is no ghost story, no matter if Mrs. Steele did 
come back to earth after being dead more than two 
years. Had your love been as strong as hers, under 
similar circumstances you would have done the same. 
She said she would return, and she "made good" her 
word. An hour before her death she sent for me, and 
as I entered her presence I found her with folded 
hands, gazing upwards, with a smile upon her face 
which I can never forget. W hen she saw me she beck- 
oned me to come, and as I did so she took the hands 
of Madge and myself, clasped them together and bade 
us kneel. As we did so she placed her hands upon our 
heads and breathed a prayer. 

She bade us farewell, saying that she was going 
home to live with the Father, and that when we should 
have finished our life on earth she would be found at 
the portal of the pearly gate waiting to welcome us. 
Furthermore, she said she would watch over us, and 
that if the Heavenly Father would permit she would 
return often, and at the last day come and meet us in 
midair. She also had us promise to postpone our wed- 
ding till spring of the next year. 



77 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



This we did. We had just been married two weeks 
when a summons came from the A. A. M. Railroad 
Company, by which I had been employed as civil engi- 
neer. I was to go at once to take charge of the con- 
struction of the suspension bridge over the C. F. River. 
This bridge was almost completed and had been left 
in the hands of the second man, my assistant, Marshall 
Taylor. The letter stated that he had met with an 
accident, and I was needed for duty, without fail, the 
following day at ten o'clock. It was only a matter of 
ten days before the work would be completed. There- 
fore, I must go and complete it. 

I have often heard that it was not the best policy to 
leave a newly- wedded wife alone, at least for the first 
two weeks, and now I believe it. 

The bridge was about fifty miles from Selma, the 
city in which I lived, and at least ten miles from the 
nearest village. Therefore, the workmen were com- 
pelled to live in temporary shanties and I was to oc- 
cupy Taylor's tent. I could by no means take my wife ; 
therefore, I had to leave her behind and content my- 
self with seeing her once a week — Sunday. I had been 
at the works three days, and each morning as the ex- 
press would slow up at the bridge they would throw off 
a small bag of mail, and in that bag each morning 
would be found one of the sweetest letters ever penned 
by a woman's hand ; at least, so I thought. 

Each evening, on the return to my tent after supper, 
I would write her as best I could the expressions of a 



7« 



THE RETURN OF MRS. STEELE 



pining, love-sick heart. One Thursday evening I had 
just written an answer to the letter I received that 
morning, sent it to the office, and was reclining in my 
camp chair for a smoke. It was one of those perfect 
June evenings, that can only be appreciated by a man 
who is in love and feels that the girl he loves recipro- 
cates his affection. I must say that other than a long- 
ing to be with Madge, I was indeed content. A king 
could not have been more so. I sat in my camp chair 
smoking and blowing rings of scented smoke towards 
the brilliant stars above me, and in my mind likened 
them in their brilliancy to my beautiful Madge, who 
reminded me more of them than anything I have seen, 
save a beautiful lily that I saw at the National Flower 
Show when it convened in Paris in 1900. 

Just when my happy thoughts had reached their 
height I was interrupted by a messenger bringing me 
a telegram. I took the telegram from him, opened and 
read it. Glancing at the bottom for the signature I saw 
'only the words "Friend A. A. P." Thinking it was 
sent by my wife through fun, I began to read the con- 
tents. To my surprise these were the words I read : 
"Come home at once. Save your home from scandal. 
A stranger is in the city, exposing your wife in the 
barber shop. He mentioned a birthmark upon her 
bosom shaped like a fan. He claimed to have kissed 
her rosy neck with an indelible ink stain on his lips, 
so that you might see it as proof that he had kissed 



79 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



her. Has engagement with her for theatre to-night. 
Come at once. — Friend A. A. P." 

The "A. A. P." was written in such a manner as to 
cause me to believe it was from a friend and brother 
in a secret order to which I belonged. When I read 
the telegram the most I remembered for a few minutes 
was the constant recurrence of this thought : "Yes, the 
birthmark is there; how did he know? What if I 
should find the ink stain on her neck?" Then my head 
became heavy, my eyes dizzy, and my limbs seemed to 
lose their strength. It seemed as though I was sinking 
to the floor, and all was blank for a few moments. 
When I awoke I found myself lying upon my bed, with 
a half dozen workmen, including the company's doc- 
tor, standing over me. The tent was redolent with the 
odor of camphor. In a few moments I was in a nor- 
mal state, and the doctor consented to my going home 
unattended. 

Looking at my watch I saw it was 8.45 P. M., and 
the express bound for Selma was due at the bridge 
on the old line at 9 P. M. Leaving word for my 
foreman to continue the work as best he could, as I 
was going home and would not return for a day at 
least, and with satchel in hand, I rushed to the bridge 
and boarded it just as the express pulled in. 

As I boarded the train something of a change came 
over me as I realized that in a short time I would 
soon know the truth of the whole matter. 



80 



THE RETURN OF MRS. STEELE 



I read the telegram over and over as the train sped 
along. I was absolutely sure of its falsity until I 
read the words, ''birthmark, shaped like a fan ;" then 
I must confess I was at least anxious to learn the 
situation. 

I have heard a great deal about men in this coun- 
try trying to increase the speed of our trains, and 
until to-night they had seemed to go fast enough, but 
so greatly was my mind wrought up that every mo- 
ment seemed five and the swiftly moving train was 
to my mind merely crawling. Such is the mastery of 
the mind over man. Had I been a wealthy man, and 
if the engineer demanded half of my wealth to double 
the speed of his engine, I would gladly have divided 
with him and thanked him for the favor. I must say 
that as fast as the express was, it seemed that a month 
was consumed in making those forty-odd miles from 
the bridge to Selma. 

When the train arrived at the station, I rushed off 
like a wild man and entered the first cab I saw and 
bade the driver drive as fast as possible, and he did 
so. Reaching my home I rushed in without waiting 
a moment. On entering, I found the room dimly 
lighted, but no Madge. Hurriedly I went through 
each room, uttering calls for Madge all the while, but 
in vain. 

Then it was that I felt convinced that Madge had 
gone, and that the message I received was true. Then 

81 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



it seemed that my disappointment and fury reached 
its height. 

I will say, even if it is concerning myself, that under 
ordinary circumstances I am of a calm and even tem- 
perament, but now it seemed that I lost complete con- 
trol of my feelings. The devil had gotten entire pos- 
session of me and was using me at his will. 

Unconsciously I had taken my sword from its place 
on the wall and whirling it in my hand. I was blaming 
Madge and praising the glittering blade that had done 
me such faithful service during the Spanish- American 
War. As the Grecian warrior, in Homer's beautiful 
poem, pleaded with his steeds not to leave him on the 
battlefield, so pleaded I that my trusted sword would 
make an example of the woman who betrayed my trust. 
In this matter I had no right to fear that either sword 
or right arm would fail when Madge would put in 
her appearance. 

When I had fully fixed my mind upon dealing a 
speedy death to Madge, I heard the door open and 
she stood before me, somewhat frightened and strange. 
The strange look upon her face caused me to some 
extent to delay my action, at least long enough for 
her to give some account of herself. 

"Horace," she cried, "why did you leave? Why did 
you send for me?" 

These words had the effect of quieting me some- 
what until she turned, and, to my horror, I saw the 
"ink spot" on her neck, just as the telegram stated. 



82 



THE RETURN OF MRS. STEELE 



At the sight of this a veritable demon of fury pos- 
sessed me and transformed me from a mad man to 
a raging devil. 

Throwing up my hands in horror at the sight of the 
stain, uttering savage shrieks and cries, I grasped my 
sword, and summoning all of the strength a devil can 
and fixing my eye on the exact spot which I felt would 
be vital, I aimed to sever it at the first blow. 

As the sword came within a few inches from her 
neck I felt a blow upon my arm which sent the blade 
wide of its mark, and it was broken in two upon a 
table nearby. Turning, I saw a tall young man, pant- 
ing and delirious, gazing at me with glaring eyes. Ut- 
tering something about "Christ'' and before I could 
turn, he seized my arms in a vise-like grip, telling me 
he was a messenger from God. 

At first I struggled with him, but seeing it was use- 
less I became passive and waited to hear what he 
further had to say. 

Seeing my changed expression, the stranger slowly 
and distinctly uttered these words, "All is well ; do 
thyself no harm. I come to bring thee a message from 
an angel. I bid thee put up thy sword." Continuing 
he said, "I am he who has done you this mischief. I 
have tried to do you wrong. I will tell you the rea- 
son why. Years ago Madge and I were neighbors — 
children together. She was three and I was nine. One 
summer day. as we played together upon the lawn. I 
chanced to spy upon her bosom a birthmark in the 



83 



"TH£ triumphs op ephraim" 



shape of a fan. Her mother guarded it with the 
greatest care, but by chance I spied it and remem- 
bered. I was out West when I heard you had mar- 
ried Madge. I loved her, but she always regarded me 
as a brother. When I learned that you had married 
her I was insanely jealous, and came with the inten- 
tion of doing you mischief. I arrived in the city and 
saw by the morning papers that you were away. I 
waited until I saw Madge return home after mailing 
your letter. As she was about to open the door I 
crept up behind her and placed an indelible ink stain 
upon her rosy neck. Leaving her frightened and too 
dazed to raise an alarm, I went out and wrote you the 
message concerning the birthmark and bidding you 
come home at once, which I knew you would do. A 
little while before your train was due I came to your 
home, disguised as a messenger, and gave your wife a 
note saying you were at the office waiting for her. I 
brought the cab which took her away, to find you were 
gone. This is why you found her away. A few mo- 
ments ago, while I was standing outside waiting your 
return, a light came to me out of the clouds and almost 
blinded me, and in the light was Mrs. Steele, Madge's 
mother, clothed as an angel, with a lash in her hands ; 
she said she was conscious. She beat me with many 
stripes ; she looked at me with blazing eyes and drove 
me in rapid haste to your door, bidding me tell you all, 
saying that if I failed to do so she would come again 
and woe would follow her coming. This is why I came. 

84 



THE RETURN OF MRS. STEELE 



All I have said is because Madge's mother bade me too. 
Now, I have a favor to ask of you in my own name." 

Saying this, he paused, reached the broken sword 
and placed it in my hands. "Take it," said he. 

I took it, and as I did so he tore, with trembling 
hands, the covering from his bosom, knelt trembling 
to the floor, and, with tears sparkling in his eyes, cried, 
with anxious voice, "Stab me, as I did you." 

Before he could finish, Madge was between us, as 
if in fear that I would do as he asked; but my mind 
was far from doing so. I encircled him with my arm 
and raised him to his feet, assured him of my for- 
giveness, and we then and there swore eternal friend- 
ship for each other. 



85 



El Ria 



The story that I am about to relate is concerning a 
woman, a fiddle and a race-horse. I am not going into 
details concerning my past life, but I shall begin the 
story on the morning of Friday, the 13th, for this was 
the morning that I for the first time had visited any 
city with a population of more than one thousand ; the 
first time I had ever seen a train or a street car. I 
was born and reared in Virginia in Blank County, 
about thirty-seven miles from Washington, and at this 
date was twenty-three years of age. Thus you may 
know how I felt visiting a city for the first time in 
my life. 

I had driven to Washington through the country, 
with a wagonload of produce to sell for myself and 
the neighbors. The products in my wagon were a 
bale of cotton and two coops of chickens, which were 
given me by the Widow Thompson, whose husband 
had died the spring before and who was very anxious 
over a mortgage which she had to give for his burial. 
At the time she signed the mortgage, so full of grief 
was she that she failed to acquaint herself with the 
details of it, so that she was much surprised when 



87 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF" EPHRAIM" 



notice of foreclosure was served on her ten days sooner 
than she expected. This little home was all she had, 
and finding she was about to lose it forever, she got 
together her only available assets, which were two 
coops of chickens, and learning that I was going to 
the city prevailed on me to take them with me, ex- 
pressing the hope that they would bring her $35.00, 
so that she might pay the mortgage and remain in the 
little home which had sheltered her for so many years. 
The bale of cotton was mine. I had come to Wash- 
ington to sell it, and with a part of the money buy a 
suit of clothes, in which I was to be married on the 
following Tuesday in the little church at my home. 
This was to be the event of my life. 

About a year ago I met a beautiful girl, the daughter 
of the principal of the academy in our village. She 
was admitted to be the most lovable girl in the com- 
munity. For me to have won this girl seemed to me 
like a miracle, for the morning I met her I was, to 
use my grandfather's expression, "Not worth the salt 
that goes in my bread." These were the very words 
he said to me two hours before the eyes of Madge 
met mine. It was a June morning, about nine o'clock. 
My grandfather, with whom I had lived nearly all 
of my life, my mother having died when I was but an 
infant and my father a few years later, came into the 
house and found me sitting playing on my fiddle, 
while my grandmother was spreading breakfast on the 
table before me. The old man had been up and on the 



88 



EL RIA 



farm since four o'clock, as had been his daily custom 
since I could remember. As he came in, with the 
sweat dripping from his brow, he stood for about 
three seconds, with a frown upon his face ; then, point- 
ing his finger threateningly at me, he said : 

"Rastus, when you finish eating your breakfast, so 
help me, it is the last you shall eat in this house. All 
of your life I have been working and taking care of 
you for the sake of your mother — my daughter. I've 
tried hard to make something of you. You won't go 
to school and you won't work; it seems that you are 
bent upon nothing but eating all I can 'rake and scrape' 
and playing on that fiddle. Now, when you finish 
your breakfast, I want you to take that fiddle and dog 
and leave this house, never to cross my doorsill again, 
for 'you're not worth the salt that goes in your 
bread.' " 

Accordingly, as soon as I had finished eating, I made 
my clothes into a bundle and left them to be called for 
when I should become settled, took my fiddle, called 
Traylor, my faithful hound, and walked out of the 
house as bitterly insulted as could be. vowing that I 
would live on persimmons until Judgment Day before 
I would cross his doorsill again. 

Walking down the main road about two miles I 
came to a large tree, and sat down beneath its shade 
to rest. I loved my grandmother, and the thought of 
leaving her made me sad. Seating myself. I raised 
my fiddle and began playing a tune which I had never 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



played before, and it was then that Madge, in pass- 
ing, was attracted by the sound of the music, stopped, 
and became so interested that she sat down beside me, 
and in a short while, so quickly does the heart make 
itself heard, she had promised that she would, if need 
be, leave home, friends and everything, and as long 
as breath remained in her body would follow me and 
my riddle. 

From that morning I was a changed man. In less 
than a week I had secured employment on a nearby 
farm, and a little later I joined the church and began 
to prepare for the marriage, which was set for the 
next spring, twelve months hence. 

I told no one of my plan, but made an agreement 
with my employer that I was to receive my board, 
lodging and clothes, and on the first day in June of 
the next year I was to receive a one-hundred-and-fifty 
pound bale of cotton, to be delivered at some cotton 
market. Having secured myself along this line, I at 
once began to show my worth to the church with 
which I had connected myself. 

On this June morning I had gotten my bale of 
cotton as worldly goods and was the head deacon 
in my church, was loved and respected by all, and not 
only respected but trusted, as I must have been when 
I tell you that when they learned that I was going to 
Washington they took from the treasury of the church 
one hundred dollars and gave it to me, asking that I 



90 



Ely RIA 



buy them a new church organ, of Estey make, and 
bring it when I returned. 

I say "loved and respected by all." I should have 
said "By all except Madge's parents," who had sworn 
that I should never, with their consent, become a mem- 
ber of their family. But Madge was a loyal girl, and 
said that she would not let her parents stand in the 
way of her future happiness. We had counted the 
cost, and felt that by judicious manoeuvring on our 
part we could marry in the little village church, and, 
as she was an excellent soprano singer and I a player 
of no mean skill, that we could go North and win 
laurels for ourselves upon the stage. She had no 
money, but with my bale of cotton, for which I would 
receive one hundred and fifty dollars, I could with 
fifty dollars purchase a suit of clothes and a few other 
necessaries with which to make a showing and then 
have enough to take us before the footlights of some 
Northern metropolis. 

Thus, you may imagine how I felt the morning 
after I had reached the city, disposed of my cotton 
and received the desired price for both it and the 
chickens. Having got these matters straight and after 
placing my horse in a stable, I strolled out to Penn- 
sylvania Avenue, gazing at the electric cars and try- 
ing to figure out how such little "coaches" could run 
without either steam or horses. 

As I reached a large building which I heard them 
call "The Mint," I noticed a string of cars filled with 



9i 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



people, as if out for a holiday. Thinking to myself 
that Madge would be pleased to know I had actually 
ridden on one, I boarded a car, to be carried I knew 
not whither. After riding for an hour, enjoying the 
novelty of the sensation for the first time, we came to 
a standstill, and as every one alighted, I did the same. 
The station I learned was Bennings, the great race- 
course, and that the whole world was waiting breath- 
lessly to hear the outcome of the races which would 
soon begin within the enclosure, as this event would 
decide the supremacy of two of the greatest racing 
stables of which the world could boast. Two of the 
horses were American- and two were English-bred, 
and were owned by two of the sportiest millionaires 
of the age. 

Being interested in horses and anxious to see the 
race, I pulled from my inside pocket the roll of money 
which I had and pushed my way to the gate to pur- 
chase a ticket, went in, and, after placing my wad 
carefully in a pocket made especialy for it, I began to 
take in the scene. Walking a few paces I noticed a 
young man, clad in a large-checkered suit, stop and 
fix his eyes on me with the same intent expression 
that a tiger does upon a lamb that has wandered from 
the fold into the jungle. He was of medium height, 
somewhat heavily built and had dark, piercing eyes 
that seemed to read my secret thoughts. After gazing 
at me for about five seconds he came to me, with 
outstretched hands and with as much affection as a 



92 



EL RIA 



mother welcomes her son from college at holiday- 
time. He was smiling that broad, happy smile peculiar 
to the colored race. 

Introducing himself as "Ike," he shook my hand and 
insisted that he knew me almost as well as he knew 
himself, only he could not recall my name. After 
several fruitless attempts on his part to do so, I gave 
him my name in full. He then shook my hand again. 
I did not remember ever having seen him before, but 
as he knew me I scolded myself for not knowing a 
friend as he represented himself to be. 

To-day, when I think of him, I cannot help think- 
ing what a good lawyer for cross-examination he 
would have made. I have been in High Court and met 
a number of lawyers, but I have never met one who 
could, with seemingly no effort, draw out from a man 
all of his past life as though at "confession" as Ike 
could. In less than ten minutes he knew where I lived, 
how much money I had, how I got it, and, in fact, 
knew all that I knew. He seemed to be deeply inter- 
ested in me. He had selected me out of a great throng 
and come to show me how to pick up, as he put it, five 
thousand dollars as easily as if some one had placed it 
on my doorstep or I had found it in the street. 

Taking me to one side he took from his pocket a 
''folder" or programme, on which were the names of 
the horses that were to take part in each race. 

There were only two races to be run, the first be- 
tween Pickett and Snowball, and the second between 



93 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



Lucky Day and El Ria, from London and New York, 
respectively. 

"Friend," said Ike, "you have in your pocket four 
hundred dollars. If you will listen to me and do 
just as I say, you will leave this place with the pret- 
tiest five thousand dollars that you have ever placed 
your eyes upon. I know what I am talking about. I 
have followed the track for fifteen years, and what I 
don't know about it is not worth knowing." 

Then he ceased speaking, gazed affectionately in my 
eyes, then continued : 

"Now, tell me this, don't you want to make five 
thousand dollars in less than an hour?" 

I said "yes," for I certainly did want to. 

"Then are you willing to do just as a man tells 
you who knows ?" 

I saw no reason to be contrary, and answered I 
would. He then took me by the hand, just as a 
father does his little boy as he goes to a show for the 
first time, and led me to where a man stood by a 
table piled with stacks of money as if they were no 
more than stacks of hay in a farmer's barnyard. 

As we stood before this table, Ike assured me that 
I would take home with me at least one stack of those 
bills if I would only bet as he would direct. When 
he had assured me that Pickett in the first race and 
El Ria in the second would walk away from their 
competitors, or, as he put it, "leave them at the post," 



94 



EL RIA 



I raised only one objection. I was a churchman and 
could not bet. 

"Friend," said Ike, "I am not asking you to bet if 
you are a Christian, for I am a Christian myself and 
would not on my life ask you to do what I would 
not do. I only ask you to lay your money and you 
will win just the same." 

When he had succeeded in getting me to agree to all 
he asked, he spoke to the man with the stacks of 
money. I think he asked what odds he was offering 
on the races. I found that in the first race the odds 
were 20 to 1 against Pickett, and in the second 3 to I 
against El Ria. 

Ike told me to place two hundred dollars on each 
race and go home a rich man. I did so, and after giv- 
ing my number walked away with Ike to the track. 
No sooner had we reached the fence that separated 
the crowd from the track than a great stir went 
through the crowd, a bell rang, a pistol was fired, and 
I heard a shout, "They're ofT!" 

The horses were off in a flash, Pickett leading. 
When I saw the horse leading that I had been assured 
would place five thousand dollars in my pocket I felt 
as if I were a Morgan or a Yanderbilt. 

How fertile is man's imagination ! I had in mind 
already spent the money. I had bought with it one 
thousand acres of the finest cotton land in my county, 
and as a surprise was taking home a fine automobile 
just like Lawyer Blake's, the leading man in our sec- 



95 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



tion. I had even, by the aid of my money, overcome 
the prejudice of Madge's parents. I had in fancy 
done all of these things and was experiencing a very 
pleasurable sensation in having accomplished my de- 
signs. So sure was I that Pickett would lead all the 
way that I had taken my eyes from them. All at 
once the crowd began to shout, and looking up I saw 
Snowball more than three lengths ahead of Pickett 
and gaining at every leap ; what was worse, they were 
not more than twenty yards from the post. I grew 
dizzy and would have fallen had not Ike come to my 
rescue. Snowball won by five lengths, and two hun- 
dred dollars that were entrusted to me were gone 
forever. 

To lose two hundred dollars was bad enough, but to 
lose that amount which did not belong to me was 
worse. I was crazed. Ike saw it and slunk away 
into the crowd. Between the races a short recess was 
given. During this period I realized for the first time 
since I met Ike just what I was doing. All would 
have seemed like a dream had I not felt in my pocket 
and found it empty. It was no dream. 

I had placed my money on two horses ; one had 
run and lost,, the other would soon run and perhaps 
do the same. Mercy! I cried. What if the second 
horse should lose? How could I return home? What 
could I say? What of the church organ? What of 
Widow Thompson's money? How could I face them? 1 



9 6 



EL RIA 



What of Madge? Could I tell them I had staked the 
money on a race — I, a head deacon in the church? 

I was now frenzied; tears streamed from my eyes. 
Wringing my hands, I walked to and fro among the 
finely dressed men and women, asking. "What shall 
I do?" No one heeded me. All was in commotion. 
Some were laughing and shouting over the result of 
the race. All but me were "sports." who had come to 
risk their judgment, bet their money and accept their 
fate — win or lose. 

I thought of God and His power. The words came 
to my mind, "Ask what you will, doubting nothing, and 
it shall be done to you." I wanted to step aside and 
pray, but I looked at the clock and found that in a 
few minutes the race would begin. There was no 
time for stealing away in secret nor for pride, so I 
dropped upon my knees just where I was and made 
the prayer of my life. I called upon the Heavenly 
Father in earnest pleading that he would give El Ria 
speed and have her win. 

"Oh, God," I said, "I know I should not ask Thee 
to take a part in this horse-race, but Thou knowest my 
condition. If Thou wilt deliver me I will never be 
found in the seat of the scornful, but will serve Thee 
the balance of my life." 

When I had finished I heard the tinkle of the bell 
which told me the race had begun. Springing to my 
feet I rushed to the fence just in time to see the two 
horses dash away. They "broke" even and went off 



97 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



in a dash, Lucky Day a little in the lead, but El Ria 
soon gained the few paces and both horses raced side 
by side. Thus they remained for the first quarter, but 
when the flag was reached which marked the begin- 
ning of the second quarter El Ria fell back and Lucky 
Day took the lead by more than a length and seemed 
destined to keep it the rest of the way. 

Seeing El Ria dropping behind a stinging sensation 
crept over me and great drops of perspiration rolled 
down my face, although the weather was cool. 

Finally, as the horses came to what is known as 
the homestretch, they seemed to understand that they 
were in a race; they began straining every nerve to 
be the first at the post. The jockeys, too, began crying 
and coaxing their steeds forward, but somehow neither 
could gain an inch. My trembling hands were press- 
ing the fence until they began to grow numb. It 
seemed that by such effort I could aid El Ria to in- 
crease her speed. 

Neck and neck and nose to nose, they came closer 
each instant toward the point which would determine 
my fate. Finally, the post was reached. No one could 
from the outside tell which was an inch ahead. As 
they passed it seemed that the hearts of the vast throng 
seemed to stop beating. Not a sound could be heard ; 
perfect silence reigned. All eyes were fixed upon the 
judge, who lowered a pair of glasses from his eyes, 
wiped the perspiration from his brow, and in a voice 
clear and sweet began to call out, "El Ria " but 



98 



EL RIA 



so overwrought was my condition that ere the last 
tones of his voice ceased reverberating I had become 
entirely unconscious of my surroundings and knew 
nothing until I awoke to find people gathering around 
me and saying, some pityingly, "Poor fellow, the ex- 
citement was too much for him ;" others roughly, "He 
must be a "greenie," fainting like a woman." 

I looked dazedly around until my eyes met those of 
Ike, who now bustled up with a great show of friend- 
liness and slapped me on the back and exclaimed, 
"You're in luck, old man. El Ria won by a nose." 

I jumped to my feet with a bound. I staggered as 
though about to fall. The reaction was almost as 
great as had been the action. The crowds were shout- 
ing, for the American horse had won from the Eng- 
lish one. Tears streamed down my face. I wept, yet 
scarcely knew why. 

I walked over to the table and was handed the six 
hundred dollars I had won. Ike, knowing I had not 
won the half of what he said I would, accepted the 
ten dollars which I proffered him and walked away 
without a word. I immediately left the ground and 
turned my steps toward the great organ house, where 
I was to purchase an instrument for the church. As 
I entered the beautiful building I was shown two 
handsome organs that could be bought for the money 
the church gave me, but my eyes fell on one of a 
better grade. I had in my pocket the one hundred 
and fifty dollars I had received for my cotton and 



101 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



nearly two hundred dollars I had won at the race, so 
I put one hundred dollars of my money with that of 
the church and purchased it. 

As I made my way home with it I came to a dense 
woods. No one was near, and I stopped and dedi- 
cated the organ to God. Often as I sit and listen to 
an instrument which the church prizes for its sweet- 
ness, I think how God makes the wrath of man to 
praise Him. 

There can be but one ending to this story and that 
can be easily imagined. I married Madge and left 
immediately for New York. We have been here for 
two weeks and have been successful in finding a man- 
ager who would listen to us. We have performed our 
parts before him and a few critics whom he had 
present, and to-morrow night we will make our first 
public appearance. How we will be received I know 
not, but if Madge's voice will retain its pristine sweet- 
ness and my fiddle yields its wonted obedience I am 
not fearful of the outcome. 



102 



Lifting the Veil 



In traveling through the Southland, tourists will find 
no character more unique than the old Southern 
"mamy." I have known many and found in all of 
them the same loveable traits. One thing is to be de- 
plored ; they are so rapidly dying out. With them will 
go many secrets, which if revealed would be both en- 
tertaining and instructive to coming generations, for 
they were loved and trusted by all who came in touch 
with them, so much so that they were entrusted with 
their most secret thoughts. Connected with a family 
I knew was an old mamy whom they called Aunt 
Diana, and in whose bosom was secreted romance, 
fiction, and that "truth which is stranger than fiction," 
enough to supply for a lifetime subjects for any one 
who has mastered the art of story-telling. Knowing 
naught of story-craft, I have always regretted my in- 
ability to properly clothe some of the facts as told me 
by Aunt Diana in her childish way. I have in an old 
note-book more than twenty outlines from which could 
be written as many different stories, had I the ability. 
I shall not try to write a story, but shall relate the facts 
concerning the first outline in my book as they were 



103 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



told me, with the hope that they may come to the notice 
of some novelist, who may obtain a suggestion for a 
leal story. I shall call this narration "Lifting the Veil. ,, 

"One evening, about eight years after the war," said 
good old Aunt Diana, "Jake and I were sitting in our 
little cottage, bitterly bemoaning our childless condi- 
tion, when suddenly I heard a faint rap on our door, 
and, on opening it, who should be there but Miss Flor- 
ence, or, as I should call her, Mrs. Clay, my former 
mistress, whom I had served before the war. In her 
arms she had a bundle, and as she undid the wrapping 
I beheld the sweetest little new-born baby boy imagi- 
nable. He lay fast asleep, totally unconscious of his 
surroundings. She at once placed him in my arms, 
and with tears in her eyes asked me to take him and 
rear him as my own. I was so surprised at first I 
could not speak. Seeing my hesitancy, she said : 

" 'Sit down, Dinah, and I will tell you the whole 
shameful story. This baby was placed on my door- 
step last night, with a note pinned to its dress. Fortu- 
nately, I was the last to retire, and as I was fastening 
the window I saw the basket and took it in, so no one 
has seen it but myself and Mr. Clay. My son has al- 
ways been a little wild, but I never dreamed it would 
come to this/ 

"Seeing the question in my eyes, she said: 'Myra 
Mayhew, that pretty girl at the mill, is its mother.' 

"Here the poor lady broke down and wept, asking us 
piteously all the while to keep the shameful story a 

104 




SHE AT ONCE PLACED HIM IX MY ARMS 



LIFTING THE VEIL 



secret, and promising to pay us well. Jake and I con- 
sented readily enough, not alone for the sake of the 
money, but for the love we bore Miss Florence. Then, 
too, this offer coming at a time when we were wishing 
for a little one to cheer our declining years, made us 
all the more ready to accept the charge. The only re- 
quest Miss Florence made of us was that we go away 
where we were not known, and as we had never had 
enough money to travel very far since the war we were 
glad of the chance to do this. On leaving, Miss Flor- 
ence gave me a large sum of money, which was suffi- 
cient, she said, to last until she returned from abroad, 
it having been aranged that she would leave imme- 
diately for Europe, to be gone one year and a half. 
Her son was to accompany her. When she returned 
we were to receive a sum of equal value. Little did 
either of us dream how many years would pass before 
we saw or heard from each other again. 

"Having aranged these details, she left us, and the 
next morning we began to pack our household goods, 
and before the neighbors knew of our intention or had 
a chance to satisfy their curiosity concerning the baby, 
we had gone to make our home in the State of North 
Carolina, in a little town by the name of Reedy Fork. 
With the money we had saved and a part of what Miss 
Florence gave us. Jake bought a nice little farm, 
planted it, and started out to be happy and prosperous. 
This we might have been if the people among whom 
we settled had been different. They were inquisitive 

107 



"the triumphs of ephraim" 



about our business, but more especially about Eddie, 
as we had named the baby. They either could not or 
would not understand our silence regarding our affairs, 
and they began making unpleasant remarks, which 
were annoying to both of us, but especially to Jake. I 
tried to show him wherein, if he would turn a deaf ear 
to them, we would soon cease being annoyed, but he 
had a fiery temper, and, though easily controlled when 
sober, if he had had a little too much of his favorite 
'toddy,' of which I must say he was only too fond, I 
could do nothing with him. One night, being a little 
intoxicated, he got into a "fracas" with a white man, 
and before it was settled guns came into play. Jake 
being, it seemed, the better marksman, inflicted what 
proved to be a mortal wound. Fortunately, he man- 
aged to elude his captors and escape. Before leaving, 
however, he was successful in getting a message home, 
in which I was instructed what to do. Frightened and 
anxious for his safety, yet I was able by the aid of the 
few friends we had made to get away without attract- 
ing any notice, and soon after joined Jake. I had to 
leave nearly all of my household goods behind, but the 
most heartrending thing of all was to leave the little 
home, which, though it had been ours for only one 
year, I had grown to love. 

"This time we settled in a little village by the name 
of Canton, in the state of Missouri,- far removed from 
the scene of our blighted hopes. Here we found the 
people, if a little rough, hospitable and genial, with the 

1 08 



LIFTING THE VEIL 



open-heartedness peculiar to the people of the West. 
They asked no questions, expressed no surprise at any- 
thing, but took us in their midst and made us welcome. 
In a short while, so genial were our new friends, I al- 
most ceased to regret my little home among the Caro- 
lina hills. We learned that it had been thoroughly ran- 
sacked in the vain attempt to find us, and afterwards 
burned to the ground. The detective force at this time 
being very deficient, the thousands of miles between 
Reedy Fork and us seemed to have placed us in a new 
world, entirely beyond their reach. With our names 
changed we began life for the third time. This narrow 
escape from certain death seemed to have worked a 
change in Jake. He no longer craved the fiery liquor, 
but became a sober, God-fearing man. Thank Heaven, 
in this home we lived without further trouble. Many 
times things went hard with us, and we felt that we 
could not 'win out' without the aid which would have 
been ours, and rightly, had we been able to communi- 
cate with Miss Florence. Jake could not write, neither 
could I, and there was no one we felt like trusting, and 
so we lived solely by the 'sweat of our brow,' and little 
Eddie, who was a hearty little fellow, had to go with- 
out the little luxuries with which we wished to provide 
him, but Jake and I both loved him, and counted no 
sacrifice too great to give him at all times as good a 
fare as was enjoyed by the neighboring children. 

"During all of the years he was with us he never 
missed a day of school unless for illness or bad weather. 

109 



"the triumphs op ephraim" 



He finished in the public school at the age of thirteen. 
He was a bright little fellow, and we were very proud 
of him. Many times I longed to let Mrs. Clay know 
of his progress, but I thought of the old adage, 'Let 
well enough alone.' The passing of a single letter, I 
reasoned, might mean detection, so I refrained from so 
doing. There was an academy in the town where we 
lived, and the next year after leaving the public school 
Eddie was enrolled as a pupil. Here he was a model 
scholar, studying hard. He graduated with the honor 
of being second in his class. 

"The village school, which he had first attended, was 
offered him, and this he accepted, saying, as he told us 
his decision : 

" T wish to help take care of you and father. You 
have worked for me all of my life/ 

"Right here the reader may wonder if Eddie never 
thought for a moment of the difference in our color 
and wondered if he were really our own son. If he 
did he never by word or look intimated it. After he 
had been teaching school for about two years he heard 
of a school where young men went to finish their edu- 
cation. It was called Douglass University. Eddie was 
very anxious to go, and we were no less anxious to 
have him go, so that summer, as soon as his school 
closed, he began to look around for other means of 
employment. Seeing an advertisement in the paper 
for agents for a new book that was just out on the 



1 10 



LIFTING THE VEIL 



market, which offered very liberal terms, he accepted 
an agency, and all through the summer he worked 
early and late, saving up money to enter the university 
in October. I was sorry to have him go so far from 
home, for since we had never been separated, two hun- 
dred miles seemed an awful long distance, but feeling 
that it was for his good, I hid my feelings and helped 
him get ready to go. 

"At first the loneliness seemed unbearable, but he was 
a dutiful child, and wrote us long, cheerful, newsy 
letters every week, and that helped to brighten us up. 
At the end of the first session he returned to us with a 
handsome gold medal, which was given him as the best 
all-round scholar of his class. This medal inspired us 
as well as Eddie, and so pleased was the faculty of the 
school with his ability and pluck that he was given a 
scholarship for the two years that remained of his 
course. This made it easier for us all. Jake, though 
getting old, was still active, and worked at the trade of 
carpenter every day. He found it paid better than 
farming, and I did odd jobs in sewing for the neigh- 
bors, and even for some of the white ladies in the town, 
so with what we did ourselves and what Eddie made in 
the summer we lived very comfortably. 

"At last the third year of his school life was drawing 
to a close. Eddie had been such a brilliant student that 
his name was constantly on every lip. He was called 
the coming orator of the colored race. The citizens of 



1 1 1 



"the triumphs of" ephraim" 



our town were so proud of him that they arranged to 
give him a royal welcome in the form of a banquet 
when commencement was over. For this purpose they 
had secured the Odd Fellows' Hall, which was the 
largest public building in the town. Eddie at this time 
had grown into a fine-looking young man. He had sent 
us photographs of himself taken at various times and 
in various costumes, and over these we would pore 
from time to time while eagerly awaiting his coming. 

"Eddie had graduated with the degree of A. B., and 
every one called him 'Professor/ but, of course, to us 
he was still 'Eddie.' The day arrived and with it 'our 
boy.' Oh, how proud I was of him. Again I wished 
Miss Florence could see him. I was sure they would 
be pleased to see him now. 

"Promptly at 8 o'clock a carriage rolled up to our 
door. Carriage, horses and driver were all gaily deco- 
rated with ribbons and flowers. We stepped in and the 
horses dashed off at a smart pace. We soon reached 
the hall, and as Eddie was being escorted to a seat on 
the platform the crowded house shook with applause. 
We were given seats nearby, and as soon as the hand- 
clapping had ceased the village band, which was a good 
one, struck up the air 'Hail to the Chief!' When all 
was quiet Elder Jackson, of the M. E. Church, arose 
and introduced Eddie as one of the rising leaders of 
the race. Eddie arose and with a graceful bow and a 
few well-chosen words thanked those present for their 



112 



LIFTING THE) VEIL 



royal welcome, and assured them of his pleasure at be- 
ing present. After these preliminary remarks he 
launched out in a stream of eloquence which held his 
hearers spellbound. 

"After this the banquet was served, and a magnifi- 
cent one it was. 

"Now that Eddie had finished his education, a plan 
of which I had long been thinking recurred to me. I 
felt that I should make some effort to find out if Mrs. 
Clay had any plan for Eddie. Although I was told to 
rear him as my own, and had done so, yet he was a 
man, and I wondered ought he not to know the truth, 
then he might decide for himself if he wished to remain 
with us or not. I did not know what to do, but after 
a talk with Jake he felt just as I did. So we asked 
Eddie how he would like the plan of going back to his 
birth place. He was delighted, so one morning, about 
six months after his graduation, we again turned faces 
toward our native land, for which I think Jake and I 
both were secretly longing. We notified no one of our 
coming; in fact, we did not know who to notify. So 
we reached home strangers in our own land. We 
stopped at a boarding house, and the next morning I 
wended my way to the home of Mrs. Clay. I knew not 
whether she was living or dead. However, I found the 
old place, which was but little changed, rang the bell, 
which was answered by a neat young girl, whom I 
asked if Mrs. Clay was at home. She asked did I mean 



113 



"the triumphs op ephr'aim" 



Mrs. Nelson (that was my old mistress) or Mrs. Wil- 
bur Clay? Telling her which one I wished to see, I 
was given a seat and the girl left to summon Miss 
Florence. Now that I had come I began to feel a little 
nervous. So many years had passed, would she re- 
member me? 

"I was so lost in thought I did not hear the door 
open until a faint voice called my name. Quickly turn- 
ing I saw Miss Florence standing in the door. I arose 
and she came to meet me with outstretched hands, 
murmuring in a faint, husky voice : 

"'Diana, is it really you?' 

"I led her to a seat, and as soon as she recovered 
herself I began and told her all that had occurred since 
our last meeting. She in turn related her story, how 
she had returned from abroad, and Master Wilbur, 
feeling that he really loved Myra Mayhew and desiring 
to rectify the wrong he had done, braved public opin- 
ion and married her immediately on his return. How 
he had instituted a search for us, but without success, 
until finally they had given us up. After each of us 
had related our story, old Mr. Clay, Master Wilbur and 
his wife were called in, and, on hearing that her first- 
born was living, it was with difficulty she was pre- 
vented from going into hysterics. A carriage was 
sent for Eddie and Jake, and as soon as Eddie entered 
the room, he was amazed to find four pairs of strange 
arms around him at once, four pairs of eyes eagerly 



114 



LIFTING THE VEIL 



devouring him and as many voices calling his name. 
As soon as he could get the chance, he turned to me. 
with a look of bewilderment, and asked : 

" 'What does this mean, mother?' 

"There was a deathlike silence for a moment, as I. 
controlling my voice as best I could, said : 

" 'It means. Eddie, that I am not your mother. I 
only reared you. and. though you could not possibly be 
dearer to me than you are. there is your mother.' and 
I pointed to Mrs. Wilbur Clay : and she. attempting to 
reach his side, fell into a swoon. Mr. Wilbur sprang 
forward, and after assisting us to lift his wife to a 
couch, he turned to his son and. putting his arm around 
him. asked, in heartrending tones : 

" "My son. can you ever forgive me? I have long 
since repented of my wrong and have as far as pos- 
sible made reparation. I have searched for you far 
and near, but 'til now my search has been fruitless, 
but thank God and "mammy Dinah." we have met at 
last.' 

"With tears streaming down his cheeks he turned to 
Jake and I. and assured us of his unfailing devotion to 
us for what we had done. 

"Regardless of comment Eddie was at once installed 
into the family, and to those who were overcurious it 
is told that he is their adopted son. Jake and I were 
made independent for life, and have had built for us 
a lovely home on a part of the same lot where Mr. 

ii5 



THE TRIUMPHS 01? EPHRAIM 



Clay and his family reside. Though Eddie has found 
his own, he still calls me mother and Jake father. 
Every day he comes to see us, and very often spends 
the night with us, and in every way makes us see that 
he loves us just the same. 

"Eddie has come into his own." 

The veil is lifted at last. 



FINIS. 



From the Clutches of the Devil 



When a young man says that he will do this or 
that "in spite of the devil," you may just put your 
foot down on it that he is in earnest and will do it 
regardless of the cost. 

Furthermore, when a young man says that he loves 
a girl with his whole heart and will win her in spite 
of the devil, you may bet he is in love, and it will not 
be healthy for any one who tries to come between 
them. 

I preface the story which I am about to relate 
with these remarks, as they will be brought out very 
clearly throughout this narrative. The happenings of 
which I am about to speak occurred in North Caro- 
lina, in a little village known as Bangor, about six 
miles from Salisbury. 

We call it a village, but it should more properly 
be called "Bangor's Plantation," for it was no more 
than a large plantation, on which more than three 
thousand acres of cotton were planted and picked each 
year. 

In winter there were not more than twenty-five 
people residing on this plantation, but as soon as 



117 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM " 



spring came the number would increase and would 
steadily continue until by the close of the season the 
inhabitants numbered about a thousand. Men, women, 
and children would gather at this place from fifty 
miles around to help carry on the work of the farm, 
and especially in the fall to help pick the cotton. 

There were people of every description, as far as 
appearance was concerned. Handsome, passably so, 
and the homeliest were all to be found there. 

But without going further into details, we will men- 
tion the four characters who figure most prominently 
in this story. 

They were four persons by the names of Phoebe, 
Mose, Prince Hermann, and Josh. Though they all 
had surnames, they were better known by their Chris- 
tian names as mentioned. 

Phoebe was a beautiful little black-eyed girl, with 
a wealth of dark matted hair and a form which na- 
ture, unassisted by art, had molded into Venus-like 
proportions. 

She was about 16 years old, and her home was 
about twenty miles across the Yadkin River. 

Mose was not handsome, as far as features went, 
but his stature and carriage, being tall and erect, made 
him a noticeable figure wherever he went. 

Aside from this there was nothing that would dis- 
tinguish him from the ordinary young farm hand. 

Mose, who at this time was 21 years of age, was 
one of the chief wagon men, and in the fall his duty 

118 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE DETTL 



was to help haul t 
properly stored in b 
at her own home, i 
to convey her fami 
known that they co 
or train. 

When Mr. Bangor sent him on this errand he left 
early in the morning, so that he might make the 
twenty-mile drive, remain overnight at the Jacksons* 
(who were Phoebe's parents), and start on his return 
to the plantation early the next morning. After many 
inquiries, he reached their home, and found them 
already prepared to depart for the plantation, which 
they did the next morning. 

To Mose these people were simply the commonplace 
type, such as he had seen for years on the plantation, 
and so did not have any effect on him, but when he 
saw Phoebe, the third member of the little family, he 
felt that she was the most striking girl that had ever 
come under his notice. Though already entered into 
manhood, this was his first love, for he fell in love 
with her at first sight, and you who have experienced 
that feeling know what a well of love bubbles up in 
the heart when it first meets the girl whom you fell 
that it was death to be without. 

To take his own words. Mose savs r "The evening? 
I saw this beautiful girl — tall, and lithe as a sapting 
— the world seemed rosy, and I felt like singing for 
joy. I knew that I loved her. and it was not long be- 



across the river, having beet 
ly to this plantation when i 
uld not reach there either tq 



119 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM " 



fore I told her so; and, more than that, I vowed I 
would win her, if need be, in spite of the devil him- 
self." He further said that if any one attempted to 
come between him and this girl, he would chase him 
to Hades, and if possible, search every hole and corner, 
find and destroy him. 

When he began to tell of his feelings for her he 
would become a changed man. His tall form would 
become taller still ; his eyes would glow like live coals, 
and he would express himself artlessly, yet more elo- 
quently than any actor on a mimic stage. One looking 
at him would be reminded of a hero as he neared the 
climax in some Shakespearean drama. 

Hearing him express himself, one could not doubt 
that he was ardently in love and determined to win the 
object of his love. This, however, was a case of 
mutual love, as was shown by their actions. Their 
dinner hour was spent together, sitting on a pile of 
cotton sacks, billing and cooing like two turtle doves. 

As Mose was a wagon driver, his principal work 
did not begin until late in the afternoon, when it was 
time to haul in the cotton, the time that he had pre- 
viously spent in sleeping he now spent by Phoebe's 
side in the cotton patch. 

He would take his place in a row beside her and 
pick many sacks of cotton, which he would turn over 
to her to be weighed with her own. 

The course of true love ran smoothly with them 
until three young men from the North, who formed 



1 20 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE DEVIL 



a little minstrel troupe, came to the village to give 
entertainments twice a week during the last month 
before the cotton-picking season closed. 

They announced that their programme would vary, 
and each night would be more and more interesting. 

The first night's entertainment was to be on Satur- 
day night preceding the last four weeks of the season. 
As this was the first of the kind ever given in that 
section, the hall was packed to the doors. It had 
been announced that the entertainment would consist 
of singing, dancing, and works of magic. 

The singing and dancing would be done by the two 
elder men of the troupe, and the works of magic would 
be performed by Prince Hermann. This young man 
was well styled, for he had been with the "Great 
Hermann," who excelled the world in this particular 
art, and before his death, anxious that the work might 
go on, and thinking a great deal of this young man, 
had imparted to him the secret on condition that he 
would take his name and carry on the work which 
he had done for a quarter of a century; and young 
Prince Hermann had obeyed him to the letter. 

After the audience was seated the curtain went up, 
revealing the presence of the corked-face dancers, 
who sang and danced until the audience went wild 
with enthusiasm. 

They were called back again and again until they 
had gone through the entire programme, and an hour 



121 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM ' ' 



had elapsed with what only promised to be the first 
number on it. 

When they had disappeared for the last time the 
curtain was thrown back, and out stepped a young 
man dressed as a magician and announcing himself 
as the world-renowned Prince Hermann. 

Swaying his wand to and fro, he declared that he 
would perform some simple tricks that he defied the 
world to excel. 

He asked that some one from the audience would 
pass him two glasses of clear water, which was done. 
These were then passed back through the audience, 
so that all might see that there was nothing in them 
but clear water. 

To their satisfaction it was proven to be nothing 
but clear well water with no adulteration whatever. 
The village parson was standing near, and to him last 
of all the magician handed the glasses, for, said he, 
"I am sure you will be all the more positive if the 
assertion is verified by your pastor, who has min- 
istered so long to your spiritual needs." 

All were doubly assured and satisfied, until he an- 
nounced that after he had changed the water into 
wine he would turn it into ink, to milk, and then into 
two glasses of the best brandy. A young man who 
was standing near the door arose and said that he was 
a good judge of brandy, and being a little chilled from 
the night air, he would promise to give them a re- 
liable opinion if the brandy were passed to him. 



122 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE DEVIL 



Prince Hermann desired to pass at least one glass 
of it to the pastor, but he declined, saying that he 
never took anything stronger than a little locust and 
persimmon beer. 

After much amusement, the glasses were passed to 
Prince Hermann, and he began his performance. 
Waving his wand gently over the two glasses, lo! in 
the twinkling of an eye they were changed into ink. 
After showing this to the audience, he placed them 
again on the table, and in a vernacular known only to 
the initiated, spoke, and the ink was changed into 
milk. Again passing his wand over them and utter- 
ing incantations in a sing-song tone, then winding up 
by saying quickly. "Presto, change!" he produced 
from the milk two glasses of sparkling brandy, look- 
ing sufficiently tempting to cause the liquor-loving 
among them to smack their lips with anticipation. 

As he held the glasses up and announced that it 
was free for all to sample, a crowd of young men 
and boys rushed pell-mell on the stage, and the glasses 
were overturned in the general mix-up which fol- 
lowed. 

His fortune was made. The sum realized by the 
entertainment had already exceeded their highest ex- 
pectations. 

When quiet had at length been restored he con- 
tinued to perform. Various articles of apparel were 
taken from some young men in the audience; pro- 



123 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM " 



duced full-grown guinea pigs from broken eggs, and 
many other feats too numerous to mention. 

Lastly, he took an empty vase — perfectly empty — 
sprinkled a little earth in the bottom, waved his wand, 
and, presto! change! from it grew a tiny rose bush, 
with a lovely rose nodding and swaying from its 
stem. 

After making a few remarks, during which he 
continued to look in the direction in which Phoebe 
was sitting, leaning on the shoulder of Mose, he 
walked directly to her, and with a courteous bow, 
handed her the rose, with the request that she keep 
it until it had faded and then press it between the 
leaves of a book and keep it in remembrance of him. 

As he handed her the flower, Mose noticed a change 
come over her face, and further noticed that the young 
magician held her hand very tightly, and he was not 
sure but he pressed it. 

A presentiment told him that he was the serpent 
that would come into his Eden. This presentiment 
was a true one, for Prince Hermann had indeed fallen 
a captive to the beautiful country maiden. 

Hitherto these three men who composed the troupe 
had been spending their time in Salisbury, but after 
that night Prince Hermann seldom left the plantation, 
but could always be found by the side of Phoebe 
whenever opportunity presented itself. Every day at 
the dinner hour Phoebe found herself with two 
suitors, Mose and Prince Hermann. 



124 




HIS EYES WERE glaring, his lifs drawn rack, exposing his TEETH 
shi t TOGETHER, HIS HANDS clenched, one on the handle of the 

RAZOR, THE OTHER HANGING BY HIS SIDE. AM. THE WHILE HE W AS 
UTTERING CURSES AND YELLS LIKE A MANIAC. 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE DEVIL 



He being the superior in every way, Mose saw that 
he had almost won her from him. 

In order to bring our story to a climax, or to reach 
the crucial moment, we will have to leave out many 
events. It was the magician's determination to add 
this girl as one of the attractions of his little troupe. 
Learning that she had a good voice and was a grace- 
ful dancer, he told her to practice and take lessons 
from Josh, the elder of the two men, who was a most 
expert dancer. As it happened, Mose had to go to 
the city to get provisions for the farm hands. This 
caused him to be absent from the farm two or three 
days. 

While Phoebe was taking lessons in dancing she 
was told by Josh that old fable that if she allowed the 
Devil to instruct her in the art of dancing she would 
become the best dancer in the world. 

He told her that he was incurring the displeasure 
of Mose by being seen with her, but that if she could 
keep a secret he would tell her how to secure the 
services of the Devil with no harm to herself, and no 
one would be the wiser. 

She consented, and he told her to steal out three 
Sunday mornings before sunrise to the forks of the 
road and dance from the moment the first beam of 
the sun met her eyes until she was in full view. This 
she was to do for three mornings, and on the third 
morning the Devil would appear, not to harm, but to 
teach her the finishing steps in the art of dancing. 



127 



"THE TRIUMPHS OP BPHRAIM" 



He further told her that she was not to be afraid, 
as he would leave his pitchfork behind and come only 
for the purpose mentioned. 

He told her that after the Devil came she would be 
able to dance better each time she tried. 

As she was a brave girl, and being very ambitious, 
as she desired to become a professional dancer, join 
a troupe and go away to some large city, she con- 
sented to have the Devil come and teach her. 

Now the cross-roads were about half a mile from 
Phoebe's home and about two hundred yards from 
that of Mose, and here she had danced as commanded 
by the crafty Josh for two Sunday mornings in suc- 
cession. No one had seen her, so she felt safe in 
making the venture the third time. Josh, to make 
his word true about the visit she would receive from 
his "Satanic Majesty," set himself about carrying 
out his plans. 

Going to an old trunk in which he kept his theat- 
rical costumes, he took from it a suit which he had 
once used in playing "Faust." In this play he had 
taken the part of Mephistopheles ; therefore he knew 
exactly how to proceed to make up for the dastardly 
part he was now about to play. 

This done, he hied himself away to the cross-roads 
and secreted himself in a little hollow nearby, in- 
tending at the set time to appear and impersonate the 
Evil One. 

It so happened that as Phoebe went tripping 



128 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE DEVIL 



through the woods Mose espied her, and thinking it 
strange that she should be out so early, resolved to 
follow her. Stepping back into the house he took 
from a chest a razor nearly a foot long, which he 
placed in his pocket and hastily followed in pursuit 
of Phoebe. 

He reached a spot within fifty yards of the place 
where she was, and, unseen by her, secreted himself 
where he could see her and not be seen himself. 

By this time she had laid aside her hat, and, true 
to her teaching, began to dance, with her eyes fixed 
upon the rising sun until it had shown about half of 
its red disc, when a figure as like the popularly con- 
ceived idea of the Devil as possible appeared from 
behind a pile of rocks and underbrush, emerged, and, 
holding one hand aloft, moved straight toward 
Phoebe. 

Just as he was near enough to stretch forth his 
hand and touch her she turned and saw him. 

Fear paralyzed her utterance; she tried to scream 
and run, but only succeeded in uttering a faint shriek, 
while remaining rooted to the spot. Fearing lest she 
should raise an alarm, he stifled her feeble cries with 
his hand, at the same time uttering the formula con- 
cerning her dancing that Josh had said he would, 
but to no effect. She seemed almost dead with fright, 
and he was now compelled to hold her to keep her 
from falling to the ground. 

While wondering how he could get out of this pre- 



129 



"THE TRIUMPHS OF EPHRAIM " 



dicament, and thinking of the unexpected turn affairs 
had taken, he heard footsteps approaching, and turn- 
ing, beheld Mose coming toward him on a run, bearing 
in his hand an immense razor. 

In a different way he presented as fearful an ap- 
pearance as had the supposed Devil. His eyes were 
glaring, his lips drawn back, exposing his teeth shut 
together, his hands clenched, one on the handle of 
the razor and the other hanging by his side, while 
all the while uttering curses and yells like a maniac. 

The spectacle Mose presented frightened the 
"Devil" as much as he had previously frightened 
Phoebe, and he was all the more so, because he had 
nothing with which to defend himself, not even a 
stick, and being further hampered with the form of 
Phoebe, who had now fainted, there was nothing left 
him but flight. 

Dropping the unconscious form to the ground, he 
fled as if on wings. 

Mose, seeing the Devil going with such rapid strides, 
and being solicitous of Phoebe's condition, decided 
not to attempt to overtake him, but turned his atten- 
tion to her. When she returned to consciousness she 
was delirious, but when she found that it was Mose 
who held her she soon became quiet, and told him 
the whole story. 

Believing that she had really escaped from the 
clutches of the Evil One himself, and resolving to 
run no more risks, they decided to be married at 

130 



FROM THE CLUTCHES OF TEE DEVIL 



once. So on that same night Mose led Phoebe to the 
altar, where they were married., to the delight of the 
entire village. 

The last performance of Prince Hermann was 
never given. Josh returned to his room, woke Prince 
Hermann, and, after relating the whole story, they 
made their way hastily through the woods, leaving 
the third man to follow with their belongings. 

Neither Mose nor Phoebe have any idea that it was 
Josh who impersonated the Devil so cleverly, and. 
though they keep it a secret, they firmly believe that 
she was rescued by Mose from the clutches of the 
very Devil himself. 



131 



LIBRARY OF 
WELLESLEY COLLEGE 




BEQUEST OF 
Ella Smith Elbert '88