HAROLD L. LEUPP
HAROLD L. LEUPP
WORKS BY ALFRED NOYES
COLLECTED POEMS 2 Vols.
THE LORD OF MISRULE
A BELGIAN CHRISTMAS EVE (RADA)
WALKING SHADOWS Prose
TALES OF THE MERMAID TAVERN
THE ENCHANTED ISLAND AND OTHER
DRAKE: AN ENGLISH EPIC
SEA TALES AND OTHERS
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
UNIVERSil Y CF CALIFORNIA
Copyright, 1918, by
Copyright, 1928, by
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
All Rights Reserved
CHAPTER PAGI *
I. THE LIGHT-HOUSE i
II. UNCLE HYACINTH 28
III. THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 82
IV. THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 117
V. THE Lusitania WAITS 138
VI. THE LOG OF THE Evening Star . . . . 151
VII. GOBLIN PEACHES i?7
VIII. MAY MARGARET 205
IX. MAROONED 249
X. THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF . . . .281
XI. THE HAND OF THE MASTER .... 292
Of those who fought and died
Breaking no hearts but two or three that
Of multitudes that gave
Their memories to the grave,
And the unrevealing seas of night removed
Of those unnumbered hosts
Who smile at all our boasts
And are not blazed on any scroll of glory;
Mere out-posts in the night,
Mere keepers of the light,
Where history stops, let shadows weave a
Shadows, but ah, they know
That history's pomp and show
Are shadows of a shadow, gilt and painted.
They see the accepted lie
In robes of state go by.
They see the prophet stoned, the trickster
And so my shadows turn
To truths that they discern
Beyond the ordered "facts" that fame would
They walk awhile with dreams,
They follow flying gleams
And lonely lights at sea that pass and per
Not tragic all indeed,
Not all without remede
Of clean-edged mirth. Our Rosalie of
The bayonet of a jest,
May pierce the devil's breast,
And give us room and time for grief, here
So let them weep or smile
Or kneel, or dance awhile,
Fantastic shades, by wandering fires be
Remembrancers of themes
That dawn may mock as dreams.
Then let them sleep, at dawn, with the for
THE position of a light-house keeper, in
a sea infested by submarines, is a pe
culiar one; but Peter Ramsay, keeper
of the Hatchets' Light, had reasons for feeling
that his lonely tower, six miles from the main
land, was the happiest habitation in the world.
At five o'clock, on a gusty October after
noon, of the year 1916, Peter had just finished
his tea and settled down, with a pipe and the
last number of the British Weekly, for five
minutes' reading, before he turned to the secret
of his happiness again. Precisely at this mo
ment, the Commander of the U-99, three miles
away to the north, after making sure through
his periscope that there were no patrol boats in
the vicinity, rose to the surface, and began to
look for the Hatchets'. He, too, had reasons
for wishing to get inside the light-house, if
2 WALKING SHADOWS
only for half an hour. It was possible only by
trickery; but he thought it might be done un
der cover of darkness, and he was about to
When he first emerged, he had some diffi
culty in descrying his goal across that confused
sea. His eye was guided by a patch of foam,
larger than the ordinary run of white-caps,
and glittering in the evening sun like a black
thorn blossom. As the sky brightened behind
it, he saw, rising upright, like the single slim
pistil of those rough white petals, the faint
shaft of the light-house itself.
He stole nearer, till these pretty fancies were
swallowed up in the savagery of the place. It
greeted him with a deep muffled roar as of a
hundred sea-lions, and the air grew colder
with its thin mists of spray. The black thorns
and white petals became an angry ship-wreck
ing ring of ax-headed rocks, furious with
surf ; and the delicate pistil assumed the stature
of the Nelson Column.
It made his head reel to look up at its firm
height from the tossing conning-tower, as he
circled the reef, making his observations. He
noted the narrow door, twenty feet up, in the
smooth wall of the shaft. There was no way
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 3
of approaching it until the rope-ladder was let
down from within. But, after midnight,
when the custodian's wits might be a little
drowsy, he thought his plan might succeed.
He noted the pool on the reef, and the big
boulder near the base of the tower. There
was only one thing which he did not see, an un
important thing in war-time. He did not see
the beauty of that unconscious monument to
the struggling spirit of man.
Its lofty silence and endurance, in their
stern contrast with the tumult below, had
touched the imagination of many wanderers
on that sea; for it soared to the same sky as
their spires on land, and its beauty was height
ened by the simplicity of its practical purpose.
But it made no more impression on Captain
Bernstein than on the sea-gulls that mewed
and swooped around it.
When his observations were completed, the
U-99 sheered off and submerged. She had to
lie "doggo," at the bottom of the sea, for the
next few hours ; and there were several of her
sisters waiting, a mile or so to the north, on
a fine sandy bottom, to compare notes. Two
of these sisters were big submarine mine-lay
ers of a new type. The U-99 settled down
4 WALKING SHADOWS
near them, and began exchanging under-water
messages at once.
"If you lay your mines properly, and lie as
near as possible to the harbor mouth, you can
leave the rest to me. They will come out in
a hurry, and you ought to sink two-thirds of
them." This was the final message from Cap
tain Bernstein ; and, shortly after eight o'clock,
all the other submarines moved off, in the di
rection of the coast. The U-99 remained in
her place, till the hour was ripe.
About midnight, she came to the sur
face again. Everything seemed propitious.
There were no patrols in sight; and, in any
case, Captain Bernstein knew that they seldom
came within a mile of the light-house, for
ships gave it a wide berth, and there was not
likely to be good hunting in the neighborhood.
This was why the U-boats had found it so
useful as a rendezvous lately.
It was a moonless night; and, as the U-99
stole towards the Hatchets' for the second
time, even Captain Bernstein was impressed
by the spectacle before him. Against a sky
of scudding cloud and flying stars, the light
house rose like the scepter of the oldest Sea-
god. The mighty granite shaft was gripped
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 5
at the base by black knuckles of rock in a
welter of foam. A hundred feet above, the
six-foot reflectors of solid crystal sheathed the
summit with fire, and flashed as they revolved
there like the facets of a single burning jewel.
"They could be smashed with a three-inch
gun," thought Bernstein, "and they are very
costly. Many thousand pounds of damage
could thus be done, and perhaps many ships
endangered." But he concluded, with some
regret, that his other plans were more promis
It was long past Peter's usual bedtime ; but
he was trimming his oil lamp, just now, in his
tiny octagonal sitting-room, half-way up the
tower. He had been busy all the evening,
with the secret of his happiness, which was a
very queer one indeed. He was trying to
write a book, trying and failing. His papers
were scattered all over the worn red cloth
that tried and failed to cover his oak table,
exactly as poor Peter's language was trying
to clothe his thought. Indeed, there were
many clues to his life and character in that
room, which served many purposes. It had
only one window, hardly larger than the ar-
6 WALKING SHADOWS
row-defying slits of a Norman castle. It was
his kitchen, and a cooking-stove was fitted
compactly into a corner. It was his li
brary; and, facing the window, there was a
book-shelf, containing several tattered vol
umes by Mark Rutherford; a Bible; the "Im
pregnable Rock of Holy Scripture," by Glad
stone; the "First Principles" of Herbert
Spencer; and the Essays of Emerson. There
was also a small volume, bound in blue leather,
called "The Wonders of the Deep." The
leather binding was protected by a brown
paper jacket, for it was a prize, awarded by
the Westport Grammar School, in 1864, to
Peter Ramsay, aged fourteen, for his excel
lence in orthography. This, of course, was
the beginning of all his dreams; and it was
still their sustainment, though the death of
his father, who had been the captain of a
small coasting steamer, had thrown Peter on
the world before he was fifteen, and ended
his hopes of the scholarship, which was to
have carried him eventually to the heights.
The bound volumes were buttressed be
tween piles of the British Weekly. The only
picture on the wall was a framed oleograph of
Gladstone, his chief hero, though Peter had
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 7
long ago renounced the theology of the Im
pregnable Rock. Whether the great states
man deserved this worship or not is a matter
for historians. The business of this chronicle
is to record the views of Peter, and these were
He was restless to-night. It was his sixty-
sixth birthday, and it reminded him that he
was behindhand with his great work. No
body else had reminded him of it, for he was
quite alone in the world. He was beginning
to wonder, almost for the first time, whether
he was really destined to fail. He had begun
to look his age at last; but he was a fine figure
of a man still. His white hair and flowing
white beard framed a face of the richest ma
hogany brown, in which the blood mantled
like wine over the cheek-bones. His deep
eyes, of the marine blue, that belongs only
to the folk of the sea, were haunted sometimes
by visionary fires, like those in the eyes of an
imaginative child. He might have posed
for the original fisherman of his first name.
Of course, he was regarded as a little eccentric
by the dwellers on the coast, whom he had
often amazed by what they called his "inno
cence." The red nosed landlord of the Blue
8 WALKING SHADOWS
Dolphin had often been heard, on Sundays,
to say that we should all do well if we were
as innocent as Peter. When he visited the
little town of Westport (which was now a
naval base), the urchins in the street some
times expressed their view of the matter by
waiting until he was safely out of hearing, and
then crowing like cocks.
Nobody knew of Peter Ramsay's secret, or
the urchins might not have waited at all, and
even the kindest of his friends would have re
garded him as daft. But the comedy was not
without its tragic aspect. Peter Ramsay may
have been cracked, but it was with the peculiar
kind of crack that you get in the everlasting
hills, a rift that shows the sky. With his im
perfect equipment and hopeless lack of tech
nique, he was trying to write down certain
truths, for the lack of which the civilized
world, at that moment, was in danger of de
This does not mean that Peter was the sole
possessor of those truths. He was only one
among millions of simple and unsophisticated
souls, all over the world, who possessed those
truths dumbly, and knew, with complete cer
tainty, that their intellectual leaders, for the
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 9
most part, lacked them, or had lost them in a
multitude of details. These dumb millions
were right about certain important matters;
and their leaders, for all their dialectical clev
erness, had lost sight of the truth which has
always proceeded ex ore infantium. It was
the tragedy of the twentieth century, and it
had culminated in the tragedy of philosophi
cal Germany. There were certain features of
modern books, modern paintings, and modern
music, that mopped and mowed like faces
through the bars of a mad-house, clamoring
for dishonor and brutality in every depart
ment of life. These things could not be dis
sociated from the international tragedy.
They were its heralds. Peter Ramsay was
one of those obscure millions who were the
most important figures in Armageddon be
cause they, and they alone, in our modern
world, had retained the right to challenge the
sophistries of Germany. They had not
needed the war to teach them the reality of
evil ; and if they had sinned, they had never
for a moment tried to prove that they did right
Peter knew all this, though he would not
have said it in so many words. In his book,
10 WALKING SHADOWS
he was trying to meet the main onset of all
those destructive forces. He had realized
that the modern world had no faith, since the
creeds had gone into the melting pot; and he
was trying to write down, plainly, for plain
men, exactly what he believed.
He turned over the red-lined pages of the
big leather-bound ledger, half diary, half com
monplace book, in which, for the last forty
years, he had made his notes. It was a queer
medley, beginning with passages written in
his youth, that recalled many of his old strug
gles. There was one, in particular, that al
ways reminded him of a school friend named
Herbert Potts, who had eventually won the
coveted scholarship. They used to go for
walks together, over the hills, and talk about
science and religion.
"So you don't believe there is any future
life," Peter had said to him one day.
"Not for the individual," replied Herbert
Potts, adjusting his glasses, with a singularly
"But if there is none for the individual, it
means the end of all we are fighting for, be
cause the race will come to an end, eventu
ally," said Peter. "Why, think, Potts, think,
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 11
it means that all your progress drops over a
precipice at last. It means that instead of
the Figure of Love, we must substitute the
Figure of Death, stretching out his arms and
saying to the whole human race, 'Come unto
Me! Suffer little children to come unto
"I am afraid all the evidence points that
way," said Potts, and as he had just passed
the London matriculation examination, the
words rang like a death-knell in Peter's fool
ish heart. He remembered how the words
had recurred to him in his dreams that night,
and how he awoke in the gray dawn to find
that his pillow was wet with tears.
There were many other memories in his
book, memories of the long struggle, the wrest
ling with the angel, and at last the music of
that loftier certainty which he longed to im
A little after midnight, he threw aside the
hopeless chaos of the manuscript, into which
he had been trying to distil the essence of his
scrap-book. He rose and went upstairs to
his bedroom on the next floor. It was a lit
tle smaller than his sitting-room, and con
tained a camp-bed, a wash-stand, with a
12 WALKING SHADOWS
cracked blue jug and basin, and a chest of
drawers. Over the head of the bed was a pho
togravure reproduction of The Light of the
World; and on the wall, facing it, an illumi
nated prayer: Lighten our darkness, we be
seech Thee, O Lord! Under this, affixed to
the wall, was the telephone which connected
the Hatchets' with the Naval Station on the
coast, by an under-sea wire.
But in spite of this modern invention, Peter
Ramsay had quietly gone back through the
centuries. He looked as if he were talking
to a very great distance indeed, a distance so
great that it became an immediate presence.
(Do not mathematicians declare that if you
could throw a stone into infinity, it would re
turn to your hand?) He was kneeling down
by the bed, clasping his hands, lifting his face,
closing his eyes, and moving his lips, exactly
like a child at his prayers.
It is an odd fact, and doubtless it would
have fortified the great ironic intellects of
our day (though seventy feet in this unfath
omable universe may hardly be reckoned as
depth) to know that in the darkness of the
reef outside, seventy feet below, four shadowy
figures had just landed from a collapsible
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 13
boat, belonging to the U-99. Three of them
were now hauling it out of reach of the waves.
The fourth was Captain Bernstein. He
stood, fingering his revolver, and looking up
at the two lighted windows.
Concerning these things, Peter received no
enlightenment; but he rose from his knees
with a glowing countenance, and hurried
down to his work again.
"I'll begin at the beginning," he muttered.
He took a clean sheet of paper and headed
it: Chapter I. Under this, he wrote the
first four words of the Bible: "In the begin
ning, God!' Then he crossed them out, and
wrote again: "First Principles," as a better
means of approach to the moderns.
He consulted his ledger, and decided that
a certain paragraph, written long ago, must
take the first place in his book. He wrote it
down just as it stood.
"We have forgotten the first principles of
straight thinking the axioms. We have for
gotten that the whole is greater than the part.
Hence comes much fallacy among modern
writers, even great ones, like that pessimist
who has said that man, the creature, possesses
more nobility than that from Which he came.
14 WALKING SHADOWS
"One thing must be acknowledged as
known, even by agnostics, namely, that if we
have experienced here on earth the grandeurs
of the soul of Beethoven and Shakespeare,
there must be at the heart of things, before
ever this earth was born, something infinitely
greater. It is infinitely greater because it is
the Producer not the Product.
"There are some who say that this is only
putting the mystery back a stage. This is not
a true statement. The mystery is that there
should be anything in existence at all. The
moment you have a grain of sand in existence,
the impossible has happened, and the miracle
of the things that we see around us can only
be referred to some primal miracle, greater
than all, because it contained all their possi
bilities within itself.
"Beyond this, we are all agnostics. But our
reason, building on what we see around us,
carries us thus far. Modern thinkers have re
versed this process. They begin with man as
the summit, and explain him by something
less. This again they explain by something
less; and slowly whittle away all the visible
universe till they arrive at the smallest possi
ble residuum. There is no more tragic spec-
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 15
tacle in this age than that of the philosophers
who, like Herbert Spencer, having reduced
the whole universe to a nebula, try to bridge
the gulf between this nebula and nothingness.
The great intellect of Spencer grovels below
the mental capacity of a child of ten as he
makes this absurd attempt, announcing that
perhaps the primal nebula might be conceived
as thinning itself out until nothingness were
reached. It is the agnostics who evade the
issue. For there are certain things here and
now which we must accept. We know that
Love and Thought are greater than the dust
to which we consign them. There is only one
choice before us. Either there is nothing be
hind these things, or else there is everything
behind them. If we say that there is nothing
behind them, all our human struggle goes for
nothing. We abandon even the axioms of our
reason, and we are doubly traitors to the divine
light that lives in every man. If we say that
there is everything behind the universe, each
of us has his own private door into that divine
reality, the door of his own heart."
At this moment three of the shadowy figures
on the reef below were ensconcing themselves
behind a boulder of rock, close to the base of
16 WALKING SHADOWS
the tower, and the fourth figure was groping
about on the reef, collecting a handful of
"I have heard men say," Peter continued,
"that they cannot believe in a God who would
permit all the suffering on this earth, or else he
must be a limited God who cannot help him
"This is another question involving the free
dom of the will. How long would a world
hold together if we could all depend on a
miracle to help us at every turn, or even to
save the innocent from the consequences of
our guilt? Those who ask the question
usually assume that our sufferings here are the
end of all. The fact that the opposite assump
tion accords better with our sense of justice is
surely no reason for denying it, especially
when it follows from the answer given in the
first paragraph. These men, asking for mi
raculous proof of omnipotence, to save the
world from suffering, are asking for nothing
less than the abolition of law in the universe;
and it is only in law that freedom can be found.
The rising of the sun cannot be timed to suit
each individual; but this is what modern
thinkers demand. They say that an all-pow-
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 17
erful God could do even this. When they
have settled between themselves exactly what
they wish, doubtless the Almighty could an
swer their prayer. Till then, it is better to
say 'Thy law is a lantern unto my feet.' '
At this moment a stone came through the
little window behind Peter. The glass scat
tered itself in splinters all over his red table
cloth. He leapt to his feet, blew the lamp out,
and went to the window. He could see noth
ing in the darkness at first; but as he stood
and listened, he thought he heard a voice in
the pauses of the wind, crying for help.
Instantly, he hurried out and down' the
winding stair to the narrow door. He shot
back the great bolts, and opened it. He stood
there fifteen feet above the rocks, framed in
the opening, his white hair and beard blowing
about him, as he peered to right and left.
"Come down and help us, for God's sake!"
the voice cried again.
And as Peter's eyes grew accustomed to the
darkness, he saw a dark figure crawling labori
ously over the reef to the foot of the tower,
where it fell as if in a faint. Peter's only
thought was that a fishing boat had foundered.
He dropped the rope ladder at once and de-
i8 WALKING SHADOWS
scended. He stooped over the fallen man.
In the same flash of time, he recognized that
this was an enemy seaman, and three more
shadowy figures leapt from their hiding-place
behind a boulder of rock and gripped him.
"There is no cause for fear," said their
leader, rising to his feet. "Our boat has
foundered ; but we shall die of cold if we stay
out here. You must take us into the light
Peter regarded them curiously, saying noth
ing. The leader went up the ladder, and
beckoned to the others, who ordered Peter to
go next, and then followed him.
"I regret that it was necessary to smash your
window," said Captain Bernstein, as the queer
group gathered round the lamp in Peter's
living room. "But we might have died out
there on a night like this, before you could
have heard us shouting. We shall not harm
you, although there are four of us. We are
in danger ourselves. My friends and I are
sick of this work; and, if we are sure of good
treatment, we are prepared to help the British
with all the information in our possession."
"How did you escape from the submarine?"
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 19
"We were alone on deck," replied Bern
stein, "and we took our chance of swimming
for the Hatchets'."
Peter surveyed the four drenched figures
thoughtfully. One of them was not realistic
enough to satisfy him. There were several
obviously dry patches about the shoulders.
"There's a pool on the reef," said Peter at
last to this man. "Did you find it too cold?"
A change came over Bernstein's face at once.
"There's no time to be wasted," he said.
"If you want to help your country, go to your
telephone and give this message to the naval
base, exactly as I tell it to you. You must say
you have just sighted three submarines, two
hundred yards due north of the Hatchets'
light. You must say that you have sighted
them yourself, because they would not take
our word for it; and you must not say anything
about our being here at present. If you de
part from these instructions, you will be shot
instantly. Now, then, go to your telephone
Peter gathered up his beloved leather-
bound book from the table, and held it under
his arm. It was his most precious possession,
and the protective act was quite unconscious.
20 WALKING SHADOWS
Then, for the second time that night, he went
into his bed-room, followed by the four Ger
mans. He was white and shaking. He
could not understand what these men were
after, and the message they proposed seemed
to be useful to his own side. After all, the
only kind of message that he could send would
be something very like it. He might as well
deliver it, since these crazy autocrats had de
cided that it must be given thus, and not other
He laid the precious book down on the bed,
turned to the telephone, and lifted the receiver
to his ear. As he did so, the cold muzzle of
a revolver pressed against his right temple.
The first buzzings of the telephone resolved
themselves into a voice from the coast of
England, asking what he wanted. Then, it
seemed as if a new light were thrown upon the
character of the words he was about to speak.
He knew instinctively that, if he spoke them,
he would be working for the enemy.
In the same instant, he saw exactly what he
"This is Peter Ramsay speaking/' he said,
"from the Hatchets' Light. I have just
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 21
sighted three submarines due north of the
He paused. Then, with a rush, he said :
"Trap! Germans in light-house, forcing
me to say this!"
The hand of one of his captors struck down
the hook of the receiver. In the same instant,
the shot rang out, and Peter Ramsay dropped
sidelong, a mere bundle of old clothes and
white hair, dabbled with blood.
The German at the telephone replaced the
receiver on the hook which he was still hold
"Crazy old fool," muttered Bernstein. He
was staring at the red-lined scrap-book on
the bed. It lay open at a page describing in
Peter's big sprawling hand, an open-air serv
ice among some Welsh miners which he had
once witnessed, a memorial service on the day
of Gladstone's funeral. He had been greatly
impressed by their choral singing of what was
supposed to be Gladstone's favorite hymn, and
it ended with a quotation :
"While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyelids close In death,
When I soar through tracts unknown.
22 WALKING SHADOWS
See Thee on Thy Judgment Throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!'
The murderer stooped and laid the revolver
near the right hand of the dead man. One of
his men touched him on the elbow as he did it,
and pointed to Peter's own old-fashioned re
volver on the little shelf beside the bed. Cap
tain Bernstein nodded and smiled. The idea
was a good one, and he put Peter's own re
volver in his stiffening fingers. He had just
succeeded in making it look quite a realistic
suicide, when the telephone bell rang sharply,
making him start upright, as if a hand were
laid upon his shoulder. He took the receiver
again and listened.
"Can't hear," he said, trying to imitate
Peter's gruff voice. "No I dropped the
telephone on the floor no it was a mistake
no I said three submarines two hundred
yards due north of the Hatchets Light all
He hung the receiver up again, and looked
at the others.
"We may succeed yet," he said. "Come
A minute later they were standing on the
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 23
lee of the reef. Bernstein blew a whistle
thrice. It was answered from the darkness
by another, shrill as the cry of a sea-gull ; and
in five minutes more, the four men and the
collapsible boat were aboard their submarine.
It submerged at once, and went due south at
twelve knots an hour below the unrevealing
Commander Pickering, the officer on duty
at the naval base, was not sure whether it was
worth while paying any attention to the mes
sage from the old man at the Hatchets'. He
went to the window and looked at the starry
flash of the light-house in the distance.
"Old Peter probably sighted a school of
porpoises. They frightened him into a fit,"
The two men of the naval reserve who were
waiting for orders, watched him like school
boys expecting a holiday; but he could not
make up his mind. He left the window and
studied the big chart on the wall, where the
movements of a dozen submarines were
marked in red ink from point to point as the
daily reports came in, till the final red star
announced their destruction. He chewed his
24 WALKING SHADOWS
lip as he pondered. There was a fleet of
submarine destroyers in Westport Harbor at
this moment, but they had only just come in
from a long spell, and he was loath to turn
them out on a wild-goose chase.
"Confound the old idiot," he muttered
again. "He can't even talk straight.
Wanted to say that he had seen submarines,
and starts jabbering about Germans in the
light-house. Ring him up again, Dawkins,
and find out whether he is drunk or talking in
Dawkins went to the telephone. For five
minutes, he alternately growled into the
mouth-piece and moved the hook up and
"Don't get any answer at all, sir."
"That's queer. He can't be asleep yet after
that beautiful conversation."
Commander Pickering went to the window
again with his night-glasses.
"Damned if there isn't a light in both his
rooms, and it's getting on for two o'clock in
the morning. There's something rum hap
pening. We'll take a sporting chance on it,
and make a regular sweep of the bay. I'll go
out to the Hatchets' myself on the Silver King.
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 25
I think the old boy is dotty, and I suppose the
Admiral will have my scalp for it to-morrow;
but there's just one chance in a hundred thou
sand that Mr. Peter Ramsay did spot a squad
ron of U-boats. If so, we may as well strafe
He went to the telephone himself this time,
and began issuing orders all over the base.
His final sentence was an after-thought, an
echo and an elaboration of the queer warning
he had received from the Hatchets'.
"Don't go straight out. Make a sweep
round by the south. There may be a trap;
and you may as well let the dirigibles go ahead
of you and do some scouting."
"It often happens with these chaps," said
Commander Pickering to Dawkins, as they
stood in Peter's bed-room an hour before
dawn. "It's the lonely life that does it.
They ought always to have a couple of men
in these places ; and, if it hadn't been for the
war, of course, there would have been two men
at the Hatchets'. Look here, at all this stuff.
The poor chap had religious mania or some
thing. See what he has written on these
scraps of paper, twenty or thirty times over,
26 WALKING SHADOWS
every blessed text he could find about lanterns
and lights, and it's all mixed up with bits from
Herbert Spencer on the Unknowable."
"It was well known all over Westport,"
said Dawkins, "that old Peter had a screw
loose about religion, but he seemed such a reli
able old boy. You don't think he could have
seen anything to set him off like, sir? It seems
funny that the door was left open like that."
"Lord knows what he may have been play
ing at before he did this. We'd better go up
stairs, and have a look at the light."
The two men plodded up the steep winding
stair, poking into every corner on their way
up, till they emerged on the little railed plat
form under the great crystal moons of the lan
tern. The glare blinded them.
"Turn those lights off," said Commander
Dawkins ducked into the tower and obeyed.
Half a dozen patrol boats, each with its tiny
black gun, at bow and stern, were cruising to
and fro over rough seas, that looked from that
height very much like the wrinkles on poor
old Peter's gray face. Another sailor hauled
himself to the platform, breathing hard from
the ascent, and saluted.
THE LIGHT-HOUSE 27
"A telephone message for you, sir," he said.
"There's been a lot of mines discovered off
the point. We should have run straight into
them, if we had neglected your warning and
steered a straight course out."
Commander Pickering looked at Dawkins
in silence. Far away to eastward, the dawn
was breaking, red as blood, through a low
fringe of ragged gray clouds. In a few mo
ments the crystal moons of the Hatchets' Light
were afire with it, and breaking it up into the
colors of the rainbow round the black figures
of the three men.
"We'll have to apologize to Peter," said
Dawkins at last.
"It was a very lucky coincidence," said
Commander Pickering; and he led the way
downstairs at a smart pace to Peter's room
"There's no doubt that he shot himself," he
said. "Look at all this. The man was stark
mad. See what he has written on the title-
page, under his own name : 'Thou art Peter;
and upon this rock I 'will build my Church' "
ON a bright morning, early in the year
1917, Herr Sigismund Krauss, secret
agent for the German Government,
stopped at the entrance of Harrods' Stores,
looked at himself in one of the big mirrors,
thought that he really did look a little like
Bismarck, and adjusted his tie. To relieve
the tension, let it be added that this scene was
not enacted in London, but in the big branch
of Harrods' that had recently been opened in
Nevertheless, it was because it looked so
very much like the London branch that it had
rasped the nerves of Herr Krauss. He was in
a very nervous condition, owing to the state
of his digestive system, and he was easily irri
tated. He had been annoyed in the first place
because the German houses in Buenos Aires
were unable to sell him several things which
he thought necessary for the voyage he was
about to take across the Atlantic. He had
UNCLE HYACINTH 29
been almost angry when the bald-headed Eng
lishman who had waited on him in Harrods'
advised him to buy a safety waistcoat. All
that he needed for his safety was the fraudu
lent Swedish passport, made out in the name
of Erik Neilsen, which he carried in his breast
"I am an American citizen," he said, com
plicating matters still further. "I am sailing
to Barcelona on an Argentine ship, vich the
Germans are pledged nod to sink."
"This is the exact model of the waistcoat
that saved the life of Lord Winchelsea," said
the Englishman. "I advise you to procure
one. You never know what those damned
Germans will do."
Here was a chance of raising a little feeling
against the United States, and Herr Krauss
never lost an opportunity. He pretended to
be even more angry than he really was.
"That is a most ungalled-for suggestion to a
citizen of a neutral guntry," he snorted. "I
shall report id to the authorities."
These mixed emotions had disarranged his
tie. But he had obtained all that he wanted,
and when he emerged into the street the magic
of the blue sky and the brilliance of the sun-
30 WALKING SHADOWS
light on the stream of motor cars and gay
dresses cheered him greatly. After all, it was
not at all like London; and there were still
places where a good German might speak his
mind, if he did not insist too much on his
He was in a great hurry, for his ship, the
Hispaniola, sailed that afternoon. When he
reached his hotel he had only just time enough
to pack his hand luggage and drive down to
the docks. His trunk had gone down in ad
vance. It was very important, indeed, that
he should not miss the boat. There was
trouble pending, which might lead to his ar
rest if he remained in Argentina for another
week; and there was urgent and profitable
work for him to do in Europe.
In his cab on the way to the docks he exam
ined the three letters which had been waiting
for him at the hotel. Two of them were re
quests for a settlement of certain bills. "They
can wait," he murmured to himself euphemis
tically, "till after the war."
The third letter ran thus:
Dear Erik: Bon voyage! Most amusing news. Op
eration successful. Uncle Hyacinth's appetite splendid.
Six meals daily. Yours affectionately, Bolo.
UNCLE HYACINTH 31
This was the most annoying thing of all.
Herr Krauss knew nothing about any opera
tion. He knew even less about Uncle Hya
cinth; and in order to interpret the message
he would require the code Number Six, as
indicated by the last word but two, and the
code was locked up in his big brass-bound
steamer trunk. It was not likely to be any
thing that required immediate attention. He
had received a number of code messages lately
which did not even call for a reply. It was
When he reached the docks he found that
his trunk was buried under a mountain of
other baggage on the lower deck of the His-
paniola, and that he would not be able to get
at it before they sailed. He had just ten min
utes to dash ashore and ring up the German
legation on the telephone. He wasted nearly
all of them in getting the right change to slip
into the machine. A most exasperating con
"I wish to speak to the German minister."
"He is away for the week-end. This is his
"This is Sigismund Krauss speaking."
32 WALKING SHADOWS
"I have received a message about Uncle
"I can't hear."
"Uncle Hyacinth's appetite!" This was
"Oh, yes." The voice was very cautious
"I want to know if it's important."
"Whose appetite did you say?"
"Uncle Hyacinth's!" This was like Hin-
denburg himself thundering.
There seemed to be some sort of consulta
tion at the other end of the wire. Then the
reply came very clearly:
"I'm sorry, but we cannot talk over the tele
phone. I can't hear anything you say.
Please put your question in writing."
It was an obvious lie for any one to say he
could not hear the tremendous voice in which
Herr Krauss had made his touching inquiry;
but he fully understood the need for caution.
He had tapped too many wires himself to
blame his colleagues for timidity. He had
only a minute to burst out of the telephone
booth and regain the deck, before the gang
planks were hoisted in and the ship began to
slide away to the open sea.
UNCLE HYACINTH 33
He was more than annoyed, he was dis
gusted, to find that half the people on board
were talking English. Two or three of them,
including the captain, were actually British
subjects; while the purser, a few of the stew
ards and several passengers were citizens of
the United States.
It was late that evening and the shore lights
had all died away over the pitch-black water
when the brass-bound trunk belonging to Mr.
Neilsen, as we must call him henceforward,
was carried into his stateroom by two grunting
stewards. The mysterious letter could be of
no use to the Fatherland now, and he certainly
did not expect it to be important from a selfish
point of view. Also, he was hungry, and he
did not hurry over his dinner in order to de
code it. It was only his curiosity that im
pelled him to do so before he turned in; but a
kind of petrefaction overspread his well-fed
countenance as the significance of the message
dawned upon him. He sat on a suitcase in his
somewhat cramped quarters and translated it
methodically, looking up the meaning of each
word in the code, like a very unpleasant
schoolboy with a dictionary. He was nothing
if not efficient, and he wrote it all down in
34 WALKING SHADOWS
pencil on a sheet of note-paper, in two parallel
Bon voyage U-boats
Uncle Hyacinth's Hispaniola
Six Code number
Perhaps to make sure that his eyes did not
deceive him Mr. Neilsen wrote the translation
out again mechanically, in its proper form, at
the foot of the page, thus :
U-boats instructed sink Argentine ships. Destruction
Hispaniola essential. Cancel passage immediately.
It seemed to have exactly the same meaning.
It was ghastly. He knew exactly what that
word "destruction" meant as applied to the
Hispaniola. He had been present at a secret
meeting only a month ago, at which it was
definitely decided that it would be inadvisable
to carry out a certain amiable plan of sinking
UNCLE HYACINTH 35
the Argentine ships without leaving any traces,
while an appearance of friendship was main
tained with the Argentine Government. Evi
dently this policy had suddenly been reversed.
There would be a concentration of half a
dozen U-boats, a swarm of them probably,
for the express purpose of sinking the His-
paniola, just as they had concentrated on the
Lusitania; but in this case there would be no
survivors at all. The ship's boats would be
destroyed by gunfire, with all their occupants,
because it was necessary that there should be
no evidence of what had happened ; and neces
sity knows no law. There was no chance of
their failing. They would not dare to fail ;
and he himself had organized the system by
which the most precise information with re
gard to sailings was conveyed to the German
He crushed all the papers into his breast
pocket and hurried up on deck. It was hor
ribly dark. At the smoking-room door he
met one of the ship's officers.
"Tell me," said Mr. Neilsen, "is there any
possibility of our of our meeting a ship er
bound the other way?"
The officer stared at him, wondering
36 WALKING SHADOWS
whether Mr. Neilsen was drunk or seasick.
"Certainly," he said; "but it's not likely for
some days on this course."
"Will it be possible for me to be taken off
and return? I have found among my mail an
important letter. A friend is very ill."
"I'm afraid it's quite impossible. In the
first place we are not likely to meet anything
but cattle ships till we are in European
"Oh, but in this case, even a cattle ship "
said Mr. Neilsen with great feeling.
"It is impossible, I am afraid, in any case.
It is absolutely against the rules; and in war
time, of course, they are more strict than ever."
"Even if I were to pay?"
"Time is not for sale in this war, unfortu
nately. It's verboten" said the officer with a
smile; and that of course Mr. Neilsen under
stood at once.
He was naturally an excitable man, and his
inability to obtain his wish made him feel that
he would give all his worldly possessions at
this moment for a berth in the dirtiest cattle
boat that ever tramped the seas, if only it were
going in the opposite direction.
He returned to his stateroom almost panic-
UNCLE HYACINTH 37
stricken. He sat down on the suitcase and
held his head between his hands while he tried
to think. He was a slippery creature and his
fellow countrymen had often admired his
"slimness" in former crises ; but it was difficult
to discover a cranny big enough for a cock
roach here, unless he made a clean breast of it
to the captain. In that case he would be in
criminated with all the belligerents and most
of the neutrals. There would be no place in
the world where he could hide his head, ex
cept perhaps Mexico. He would probably be
penniless as well.
At this point in his cogitations there was a
knock on the door, which startled him like a
pistol shot. He opened it a cautious inch or
two for his papers were all over his berth
and a steward handed him a telegram.
"This was waiting for you at the purser's
office, sir," he said. "The mail has only just
been sorted. If you wish to reply by wire
less you can do so up to midnight." The man
was smiling as if he knew the contents. There
had been some jesting, in fact, about this tele
gram at the office.
A gleam of hope shot through Mr. Neilsen's
chaotic brain as he opened the envelope with
38 WALKING SHADOWS
trembling fingers. Perhaps it contained reas
suring news. His face fell. It simply re
peated the former sickening message about
Uncle Hyacinth. But the steward had re
minded him of one last resource.
"Yes," he said, trying hard to be calm; "I
shall want to send a reply."
"Here is a form, sir. You'll find the regu
lations printed on the back."
Mr. Neilsen closed the door and sank, gasp
ing, on to the suitcase to examine the form.
The regulations stated that no message would
be accepted in code. This did not worry him
at first, as he thought he could concoct an ap
parently straightforward and harmless mes
sage with the elaborate vocabulary of his
Number Six. But the code had not been in
tended for agonizing moments like these. It
abounded in commercial phrases, medical
terms and domestic greetings; and though
there were a number of alternative words and
synonyms it was not so easy as he had expected
to make a coherent message which should be
apparently a reply to the telegram he had re
ceived. After half an hour of seeking for the
mot juste which would have melted the heart
of a Flaubert, he arrived at the purser's office
UNCLE HYACINTH 39
with wild eyes and handed in the yellow form.
"I wish to send this by Marconi wireless,"
The purser tapped each word with his pen
cil as he read it over:
Splendid. Most amusing. Use heaps butter. Con
gratulate Uncle Hyacinth. Love. Erik.
"I beg your pardon, sir," said the purser,
"but we can only accept messages en clair."
"It is as clear as I can make it," said Mr.
Neilsen; and he was telling the truth. "It is
the answer to the telegram which was handed
to me on board."
"It looks a little unusual, sir."
"It is gonnected with an unusual operation,"
said Mr. Neilsen, who was getting thoroughly
rattled, "and goncerns the diet of the batient."
"I see," said the purser. "Well, I'll take
your word for it, sir, and tell the operator."
At this moment the steward, who had en
tered Mr. Neilsen's stateroom during his ab
sence, was laying out that gentleman's pyjamas
on his berth. He shook them out in order to
fold them properly; and in doing so he shook
a round ball of paper on to the floor. He un
rolled it and discovered two parallel columns
40 WALKING SHADOWS
of words, which gave a new meaning to the
telegram. He put it in his pocket, looked
carefully round the room, took all the torn
scraps out of the wastepaper basket and put
those also in his pocket. Then he went out,
just in time to avoid meeting Mr. Neilsen, and
trotted by another companionway to the
Ten minutes later a consultation was held in
the captain's cabin. The two messages and
the scraps of paper were spread out on the
table, while the purser took another large,
clean sheet, on which he jotted down as many
of the words as could be deciphered, together
with their equivalents, in two parallel col
umns, almost as neat as those of Mr. Neilsen
himself. When he had finished there was a
very nice little vocabulary though it was
only a small part of the code; and in a very
short time they were staring in amazement at
the full translation of the messages concerning
Uncle Hyacinth. Then they proceeded to
Captain Abbey was an Englishman who had
commanded many ships in many parts of the
world. He had worked his way up from be
fore the mast, and in moments of emotion he
UNCLE HYACINTH 41
was still inclined to be reckless with his
aitches. He was very large and red-faced,
and looked as the elder Weller might have
looked if he had taken to the sea in youth.
Captain Abbey was not a vindictive man ; but
the Hispaniola was the finest ship he had yet
commanded, and the opportunity had come to
him as a result of the war and the general
dearth of neutral skippers who were ready to
take risks. He was not anxious to lose the
ship on his first voyage, and his face grew red
der and redder as he sat reading the messages
on the table.
"What's the translation of 'onions'?" he
"I think it means 'abroad/ according to this
column," s^id the purser.
"Put it down. Now, what does 'tonsils'
"Tonsils? Tonsils? Oh, yes; here we are.
It means 'von Tirpitz.' '
"The devil it does," said Captain Abbey.
"And what does 'meat' mean?"
"'German; I think."
"I had it here a moment ago. Ah, 'colos
sal' means twenty."
42 WALKING SHADOWS
"Just like 'em," said the captain. "Here's
appendix! I suppose they find these medical
terms useful. How do you translate that?"
"Appendix? H'm; let me see. Appendix
" 'E deserves to 'ave it cut out with a blunt
saw, blast 'is eyes. And what d'you make of
this message 'e's just 'anded in?"
"As far as I can make it out this is the trans
lation: 'Cancel instructions sink; message
too late; aboard Hispaniola.' "
"And the lily-livered little skunk wanted to
get orf and save his own 'ide! But 'e was
quite ready to let the rest of us go to 'ell I
There are twenty women and four children
aboard, too; and we're guaranteed by the Ger
man Government! It would serve 'im right
if we made 'im walk the plank, like they used
to do. But drowning's too good for 'im. If
we put 'im in irons 'e'll know we're on the
watch, and that'll ease 'is mind too much. I
know what to do with 'im when we get 'im on
the other side. But in the meantime we'll
give that little bit of sauerkraut a taste of 'is
own medicine. 'Ere's the idea: We've got
enough of the code to work it. We'll give
UNCLE HYACINTH 43
him another radiogram to take to bed with 'im
to-night. 'Ow's this? Steward, get me one
of them yellow telegraph forms and one of the
proper envelopes. We'll fix it all up in good
shape. And, look 'ere, steward; not a word
about this to any one, you understand?''
The steward departed on his errand. Cap
tain Abbey took another sheet of paper and
laboriously, with tongue outthrust, constructed
a sentence, consulting the purser's two columns
from time to time, and occasionally chuckling
as he altered or added a word.
The purser slapped his thighs with delight
as he followed the work over the captain's
shoulder; and when the form arrived he wrote
out the captain's composition in a very large,
clear hand, with the fervor of a man announc
ing good news. Then he licked the flap of the
yellow envelope, closed it, addressed it and
handed it to the steward.
"Give this wireless message to Mr. Neilsen
in half an hour. Tell him it has just arrived.
If there is any reply to-night he must send it
before twelve o'clock."
"I 'ope that will make 'im sit up and think,"
said Captain Abbey. "I'll consider what
44 WALKING SHADOWS
steps I'd better take to save the ship ; and then
I shall probably 'ave a wireless or two of my
own to send elsewhere."
Mr. Neilsen was greatly excited when the
steward knocked at his door and handed him
the second wireless message. He opened it
with trembling fingers and read :
Still more successful. Uncle Hyacinth's tonsils re
moved. Appetite now colossal. Bless him. Taking
large quantities frozen meat.
He could hardly wait to translate it. He
sat down on his suitcase again, and spelled it
out with the help of his Number Six, word by
word, refusing to believe his eyes, refusing
even to read it as a consecutive sentence till the
bottom of the two parallel columns had been
Uncle Hyacinth's Hispaniola
Tonsils Von Tirpitz
Bless him . . .Submarines
UNCLE HYACINTH 45
This was hideous. He remembered all that
he had done all over the world in the interests
of the Fatherland. He remembered the skil
ful way in which long before the war he had
stirred up feeling in America against Japan,
and in Japan against both America and Eng
land. He remembered the way in which he
had manipulated the peace societies in the in
terest of militarism. He had spent several
years in London before the war, and he be
lieved he had helped to make the very name
of England a reproach in literary coteries; so
that current English literature, unless it went
far beyond honest criticism of English life,
unless indeed it manifested a complete con
tempt for that pharisaical country and painted
it as rotten from head to foot, lost caste among
the self-enthroned British intellectuals.
It was very easy to do this, because, though
English editors paid considerable attention to
46 WALKING SHADOWS
their leading articles, some of them did not
care very much what kind of stuff was printed
in their literary columns ; and they would al
low the best of our literature, old and new,
and the most representative part of it, to be
misrepresented by an anonymous Sinn Feiner
in half a dozen journals simultaneously. The
editors were patriotic enough, but they didn't
think current literature of much importance.
He had been able, therefore, to quote extracts
from important London journals in the for
He had been helped, too, by lecturers who
drew pensions from the British Government
for their literary merits, and told American
audiences that the one flag they loathed was
the flag of the land that pensioned them. He
had reprinted these utterances, together with
the innocent bleatings of the intellectuals, and
scattered them all over the world in pamphlet
form. He had marked passages in their
books and sent them to friends. Thousands of
columns were devoted to them in the news
papers of foreign countries, while the English
press occasionally referred to them in brief
paragraphs, announcing to a drugged public
at home that the vagaries of these writers were
UNCLE HYACINTH 47
of no importance. He had carried out the
program of his country to the letter, and poi
soned the intellectual wellsprings.
No grain of poison was too small. He had
even written letters to the newspapers in Scot
land, which had stimulated the belief of cer
tain zealous Scots that whenever the name of
England was used it was intended as a delib
erate onslaught upon the Union. There was
hardly any destructive force or thought or
feeling, good, bad or merely trivial, which
he had not turned to the advantage of Ger
many and the disadvantage of other nations.
Then when the war broke out he had re
doubled his activities. He was amazed when
he thought of the successful lies he had fos
tered all over the world. He had plotted
with Hindus on the coast of California, and
provided them with the literature of freedom
in the interests of autocracy. He worked for
dissension abroad and union in Germany.
He was hand-in-glove with the I. W. W. He
was idealist, socialist, pacifist, anarchist, fu
turist, suffragist, nationalist, internationalist
and always publicist, all at once, and for one
cause only the cause of Germany.
And this was the gratitude of the of the
48 WALKING SHADOWS
swine! Well, he would teach them a lesson.
God in heaven ! There was only one thing he
could do to save his skin. He would send
them an ultimatum! It was their last chance.
He shivered to think that it might be his own!
But it was not so easy as he thought it would
be to burn all his boats. It cost him two days
and two nights of tortuous thinking before he
could bring himself to the point. At eleven
o'clock on the third night the purser brought
the captain a new message, which Mr. Neilsen
had just handed in to be despatched by wire
less. It ran as follows :
Continue treatment. Vastly amusing. Uncle Hya
cinth's magnificent constitution stand anything. Apply
mustard. Try red pepper.
The group that met to consider this new
development included three passengers, whom
the captain had invited to share what he called
the fun. They were a Miss Depew, an Amer
ican girl who was going to Europe to do Red
Cross work; and a Mr. and Mrs. Penny-
feather, English residents of Buenos Aires,
with whom she was traveling. The message,
as they interpreted it, ran as follows:
UNCLE HYACINTH 49
Unless instructions to sink Hispaniola countermanded,
shall inform captain. No alternative. Most important
papers my possession.
"Good!" said Captain Abbey. " 'E's be
ginning to show symptoms of blackmail. I'd
send this message on, only we're likely to make
a bigger bag by keeping quiet. We'll let 'im
'ave the reply to-morrow morning. What
shall we do to 'im next?"
"Shoot him," said Miss Depew with com
"Oh, I want to 'ave a little fun with 'im
first," said Captain Abbey. "I'm afraid you
'aven't got much sense of humor, Miss
"Do you think so?" she said. She was of
the purest Gibson type, and never flickered an
innocent eyelash or twisted a corner of her red
Cupid's bow of a mouth as she drawled: "I
think it would be very humorous indeed to
shoot him, now that we know he is a Ger
"Well, after 'is trying to leave us without
warning 'e deserves to be skinned and stuffed.
But we're likely to make much more of it if
we keep 'im alive for our entertainment. Be-
50 WALKING SHADOWS
sides, Vs going to be useful on the other side.
Now, what do you think of this for a scheme?"
The heads of the conspirators drew closer
round the table; and Mr. Neilsen, wandering
on deck like a lost spirit, pondered on the
tragic ironies of life. The thoughtless laugh
ter that rippled up to him from the captain's
cabin filled him with no compassion toward
any one but himself. It was merely one more
proof that only the Germans took life seri
ously. All the same, if he could possibly help
it, he was not going to let them take his own
There was no radiogram for Mr. Neilsen on
the following day; and he was perplexed by a
new problem as he walked feverishly up and
down the promenade deck.
Even if he received an assurance that the
Hispaniola would be spared, how could he
know that he was being told the truth? Ne
cessity, as he knew quite well, was the mother
of murder. It was very necessary, indeed,
that his mouth should be sealed. Besides, he
had more than a suspicion that his use was ful
filled in the eyes of the German Government,
UNCLE HYACINTH 51
and that they would not be sorry if they could
conveniently get rid of him. He possessed a
lot of perilous knowledge; and he wished
heartily that he didn't. He was tasting, in
fact, the inevitable hell of the criminal, which
is not that other people distrust him, but that
he can trust nobody else.
He leaned over the side of the ship and
watched the white foam veining the black
"Curious, isn't it?" said dapper little Mr.
Pennyfeather, who stood near him. "Ex
actly like liquid marble. Makes you think of
that philosophic Johnny What's-his-name
fellow that said 'everything flows,' don't you
know. And it does, too, by Jove! Every
thing! Including one's income! It's curi
ous, Mr. Neilsen, how quickly we've changed
all our ideas about the value of human life,
isn't it? By Jove, that's flowing too! The
other morning I caught myself saying that
there was no news in the paper; and then I
realized that I'd overlooked the sudden death
of about ten thousand men on the Western
Front. Well, we've all got to die some day,
and perhaps it's best to do it before we deterio
rate too far. Don't you think so?"
52 WALKING SHADOWS
Mr. Neilsen grunted morosely. He hated
to be pestered by these gadflies of the steamer.
He particularly disliked this little English
man with the neat gray beard, not only because
he was the head of an obnoxious bank in
Buenos Aires, but because he would persist in
talking to him with a ghoulish geniality about
submarine operations and the subject of death.
Also, he was one of those hopeless people who
had been led by the wholesale slaughter of the
war to thoughts of the possibility of a future
life. Apparently Mr. Pennyfeathtr had no
philosophy, and his spiritual being was grop
ing for light through those materialistic fogs
which brood over the borderlands of science.
His wife was even more irritating; for she,
too, was groping, chiefly because of the fash
ion; and they both insisted on talking to Mr.
Neilsen about it. They had quite spoiled his
breakfast this morning. He did not resent it
on spiritual grounds, for he had none ; but he
did resent it because it reminded him of his
mortality, and also because a professional
quack does not like to be bothered by amateurs.
Mrs. Pennyfeather approached him now on
the other side. She was a faded lady with
hair dyed yellow, and tortoise-shell spectacles.
UNCLE HYACINTH 53
"Have you ever had your halo read, Mr.
Neilsen?" she asked with a sickly smile.
"No. I don't believe in id," he said
"But surely you believe in the spectrum,"
she continued with a ghastly inconsequence
that almost curdled the logic in his German
"Certainly," he replied, trying hard to be
"And therefore in specters," she cooed in
gratiatingly, as if she were talking to a very
"Nod at all! Nod at all!" he exploded
somewhat violently, while Mr. Pennyfeather,
on the other side, came to his rescue, sagely
repudiating the methods of his wife.
"No, no, my dear! I don't think your train
of thought is quite correct there. My wife
and I are very much interested in recent occult
experiments, Mr. Neilsen. We've been won
dering whether you wouldn't join us one night,
round the ouija board."
"Id is all nonsense to me," said Mr. Neil-
sen, gesticulating with both arms.
"Quite so; very natural. But we got some
very curious results last night," continued Mr.
54 WALKING SHADOWS
Pennyfeather. "Most extraordinary. The
purser was with us, and he thought it would
interest you. I wish you would join us."
"I should regard id as gomplete waste of
time," said Mr. Neilsen.
"Surely, nothing can be waste of time that
increases our knowledge of the bourne from
which no traveler returns," replied the lyric
lips of Mrs. Pennyfeather.
"To me the methods are ridiculous," said
Mr. Neilsen. "All this furniture removal!
"Ah," said Mr. Pennyfeather, "you should
read WhatVhis-name. You know the chap,
Susan. Fellow that said it's like a ship
wrecked man waving a shirt on a stick to at
tract attention. Of course it's ridiculous I
But what else can you do if you haven't any
other way of signaling? Why, man alive!
You'd use your trousers, wouldn't you, if you
hadn't anything else? And the alternative
drowning remember drowning beneath
what Thingumbob calls 'the unplumbed salt,
estranging sea.' "
"Eggscuse me," said Mr. Neilsen; "I have
some important business with the captain. I
UNCLE HYACINTH 55
Mr. Neilsen had been trying hard to make
up his mind, despite these irrelevant interrup
tions. He had received no assurance by wire
less, and he had convinced himself that even
if he did receive one it would be wiser to in
form the captain. But there were many dif
ficulties in the way. He had taken great care
never to do anything that might lead to the
death penalty that is to say, among nations
less civilized than his own. But there was
that affair of the code. It might make things
very unpleasant. A dozen other suspicious
circumstances would have to be explained
away. A dozen times he had hesitated, as he
did this morning. He met the captain at the
foot of the bridge.
"Ah, Mr. Neilsen," said Captain Abbey
with great cordiality, "you're the very man I
want to see. We're 'aving a little concert to
night in the first-class dining room on behalf
of the wives and children of the British mine
sweepers and the auxiliary patrols. You see,
though this is a neutral ship, we depend upon
them more or less for our safety. I thought it
would be pleasant if you as a neutral would
say just a few words. I understand that
they've rescued a good many Swedish crews
56 WALKING SHADOWS
from torpedoed ships ; and whatever view we
may take of the war we 'ave to admit that these
little boats are doing the work of civilization."
Mr. Neilsen thought he saw an opportunity
of ingratiating himself, and he seized it. He
could broach the other matter later on. "I
vill do my best, captain."
" 'Ere is a London newspaper that will tell
you all about their work."
Mr. Neilsen retired to his stateroom and
studied the newspaper fervently.
The captain took the chair that evening, and
he did it very well. He introduced Mr. Neil-
sen in a few appropriate words; and Mr.
Neilsen spoke for nearly five minutes, in Eng
lish, with impassioned eloquence and a rap
idly deteriorating accent.
"Dese liddle batrol boads," he said in his
peroration, "how touching to the heart is der
vork! Some of us forget ven ve are safe on
land how much ve owe to them. But no mat
ter vot your nationality, ven you are on the
high seas, surrounded with darkness and dan
gers, not knowing ven you shall be torpedoed,
vot a grade affection you feel then to dese lid-
die batrol boads! As a citizen of Sweden I
speak vot I know. The ships of my guntry
UNCLE HYACINTH 57
have suffered much in dis war. The sailors
of my guntry have been thrown into the water
by thousands through der submarines. But
dese liddle batrol boads, they save them from
drowning. They give them blankets and hot
goffee. They restore them to their veeping
Mr. Neilsen closed amid tumultuous ap
plause, and when the collection was taken up
by Miss Depew his contribution was the larg
est of the evening.
The rest of the entertainment consisted
chiefly of music and recitation. Mr. Penny-
feather contributed a song, composed by
himself. Typewritten copies of the words
were issued to the audience; and a very fat
and solemn Spaniard accompanied him with
thunderous chords on the piano. Every one
joined in the chorus; but Mr. Neilsen did
not like the song at all. It was concerned with
Mr. Pennyf earner's usual gruesome subject;
and he rolled it out in a surprisingly rich bary
tone with the gusto of a schoolboy:
// they sink us we shall be
All the nearer to the sea!
That's no hardship to deplore!
We've all been in the sea before.
58 WALKING SHADOWS
And then we'll go a-rambling,
With all the little lobsters
From Frisco to the Nore.
If we swim it's one more tale,
Round the hearth and over the ale;
When your lass is on your knee,
And love comes laughing from the sea.
And then we'll go a-rambling,
A-rambling, a-rambling f
A-rambling through the roses
That ramble round the door.
If we drown, our bones and blood
Mingle with the eternal flood.
That's no hardship to deplore!
We've all been in the sea before.
And then we'll go a-rambling,
The road that Jonah rambled
And twenty thousand more.
"Now," said Mr. Pennyfeather, holding
out his hands like the conductor of a revival
meeting, "all the ladies, very softly, please."
UNCLE HYACINTH 59
The solemn Spaniard rolled his great black
eyes at the audience, and repeated the refrain
pianissimo, while the silvery voices caroled:
With all the little lobsters
From Frisco to the Nore.
"Now, all the gentlemen, please," said Mr.
Pennyfeather. The Spaniard's eyes flashed.
He rolled thunder from the piano, and Mr.
Neilsen found himself bellowing with the rest
of the audience:
The road that Jonah rambled
From Hull to Singapore,
And twenty thousand, thirty thousand f
Forty thousand, fifty thousand,
Sixty thousand, seventy thousand,
Eighty thousand more!
It was an elaborate conclusion, accom
panied by elephantine stampings of Captain
Abbey's feet; but Mr. Neilsen retired to his
.room in a state of great depression. The fri
volity of these people, in the face of his coun
trymen, appalled him.
On the next morning he decided to act, and
sent a message to the captain asking for an
interview. The captain responded at once,
60 WALKING SHADOWS
and received him with great cordiality. But
the innocence of his countenance almost para
lyzed Mr. Neilsen's intellect at the outset, and
it was very difficult to approach the subject
"Do you see this, Mr. Neilsen?" said the
captain, holding up a large champagne bottle.
"Do you know what I've got in this?"
"Champagne," said Mr. Neilsen with the
weary pathos of a logician among idiots.
"No, sir! Guess again."
"No, sir I It's plain sea water. I've just
filled it. I'm taking it 'ome to my wife. She
takes it for the good of 'er stummick, a small
wineglass at a time. She always likes me to
fill it for her in mid-Atlantic. She's come to
depend on it now, and I wouldn't dare to go
'ome without it. I forgot to fill it once till
we were off the coast of Spain. And, would
you believe it, Mr. Neilsen, that woman knewl
The moment she tasted it she knew it wasn't
the right vintage. Well, sir, we shall soon
be in the war zone now. But you are not
looking very well, Mr. Neilsen. I 'ope
you've got a comfortable room."
"I have reason to believe, captain, that
there will be an attempt made by the subma-
UNCLE HYACINTH 61
rines to sink the Hispaniola," said Mr. Neil-
"Nonsense, my dear sir! This is a neutral
ship and we're sailing to a neutral country,
under explicit guarantees from the German
Government. They won't sink the Hispan-
iola for the pleasure of killing her superan
nuated English captain/ 1
"I have reason to believe they intended to
er change their bolicy. I was not sure of id
till I opened my mail on the boad ; but er
I have a friend in Buenos Aires who vas in
glose touch er business gonnections with
members of the German legation; he er
advised me, too late, I had better gancel my
bassage. I fear there is no doubt they vill
change their bolicy. 7 '
"But they couldn't. There ain't any policy !
The Argentine Republic is a neutral country.
You can't make me believe they'd do a thing
like that. It wouldn't be honest, Mr. Neilsen.
Of course, it's war-time; but the German Gov
ernment wants to be honorable, don't it like
any other government?"
"I don'd understand the reasons; but I fear
there is no doubt aboud the facts," said Mr.
62 WALKING SHADOWS
"Have you got the letter?"
"No; I thought as you do, ad first, and I
tore id up."
"Was that why you wanted to get off and
go back?" the captain inquired mercilessly.
"I gonfess I vas a liddle alarmed; but I
thought perhaps I vas unduly alarmed at the
time. I gouldn't trust my own judgment, and
I had no ride to make other bassengcrs nerv
"That was very thoughtful of you. I trust
you will continue to keep this matter to your
self, for I assure you though I consider the
German Government 'opelessly wrong in this
war they wouldn't do a dirty thing like that.
They're very anxious to be on good terms with
the South American republics, and they'd ruin
themselves for ever."
"But my information is they vill sink the
ships vithoud leaving any draces."
"What do you mean? Pretend to be
friendly, and then Come, now! That's an
awful suggestion to make!"
At these words Mr. Neilsen had a vivid
mental picture of his conversation with the
bald-headed Englishman in Harrods'.
"Do you mean," the captain continued,
UNCLE HYACINTH 63
waxing eloquent, "do you mean they'd sink
the ships and massacre every blessed soul
aboard, regardless of their nationality? Of
course I'm an Englishman, and I don't love
'em, but that ain't even murder. That's plain
beastliness. It couldn't be done by anything
that walks on two legs. I tell you what, Mr.
Neilsen, you're a bit overwrought and nerv
ous. You want a little recreation. You'd
better join the party to-night in my cabin.
Mr. and Mrs. Pennyfeather are coming, and
a very nice American girl Miss Depew.
We're going to get a wireless message or two
from the next world. Ever played with the
ouija board? Nor had I till this voyage; but
I must say it's interesting. You ought to see
it, as a scientific man. I understand you're
interested in science, and you know there's no
end of scientists big men too taking this
thing up. You'd better come. Half past
eight. Right you are!"
And so Mr. Neilsen was ushered out into
despair for the rest of the day, and booked for
an unpleasant evening. He had accepted the
captain's invitation as a matter of policy; for
he thojght he might be able to talk further
with him. and it was not always easy to secure
64 WALKING SHADOWS
an opportunity. In fact, when he thought
things over he was inclined to feel more ami
ably toward the Pennyfeathers, who had put
the idea of psychical research into the cap
Promptly at half past eight, therefore, he
joined the little party in the captain's cabin.
Miss Depew looked more Gibsonish than
ever, and she smiled at him bewitchingly;
with a smile as hard and brilliant as dia
monds. Mrs. Pennyfeather looked like a
large artificial chrysanthemum; and she ex
amined his black tie and dinner jacket with
the wickedly observant eye of a cockatoo.
Three times in the first five minutes she made
his hand travel over his shirt front to find out
which stud had broken loose. They had
driven him nearly mad in his stateroom that
evening, and he had turned his trunk inside
out in the process of dressing, to find some
Moreover, he had left his door unlocked.
He was growing reckless. Perhaps the high
sentiments of every one on board had made
him trustful. If he had seen the purser ex
ploring the room and poking under his berth
he might have felt uneasy, for that was what
UNCLE HYACINTH 65
the purser was doing at this moment. Mr.
Neilsen might have been even more mystified
if he had seen the strange objects which the
purser had laid, for the moment, on his pil
low. One of them looked singularly like a
rocket, of the kind which ships use for signal
ing purposes. But Mr. Neilsen could not see ;
and so he was only worried by the people
Captain Abbey seemed to have washed his
face in the sunset. He was larger and more
like a marine Weller than ever in his best
blue and gilt. And Mr. Pennyfeather was
just dapper little Mr. Pennyfeather, with his
beard freshly brushed.
"You've never been in London, Miss De-
pew?" said Captain Abbey reproachfully,
while the Pennyfeathers prepared the ouija
board. "Ah, but you ought to see the Thames
at Westminster Bridge I No doubt the Ama
zon and the Mississippi, considered as rivers,
are all right in their way. They're ten times
bigger than our smoky old river at 'ome. But
the Thames is more than a river, Miss Depew.
The Thames is liquid 'istory!"
As soon as the ouija board was ready they
began their experiment. Mr. Neilsen
66 WALKING SHADOWS
thought he had never known anything more
sickeningly illustrative of the inferiority of
all intellects to the German. He tried the
ouija board with Mrs. Pennyfeather, and the
accursed thing scrawled one insane syllable.
It looked like "cows," but Miss Depew de
cided that it was "crows." Then Mrs. Penny-
feather tried it with Captain Abbey; and they
got nothing at all, except an occasional giggle
from the lady to the effect that she didn't think
the captain could be making his mind a blank.
Then Mr. Pennyfeather tried it with Miss
Depew with no result but the obvious de
light of that sprightly middle-aged gentleman
at touching her polished finger tips, and the
long uneven line that was driven across the
paper by the ardor of his pressure. Finally
Miss Depew subduing the glint of her smile
slightly, a change as from diamonds to rubies,
but hard and clear-cut as ever declared, on
the strength of Mr. Neilsen's first attempt,
that he seemed to be the most sensitive of the
party, and she would like to try it with him.
Strangely enough Mr. Neilsen felt a little
mollified, even a little flattered, by the sugges
tion. He was quite ready to touch the finger
tips of Miss Depew, and try again. She had
UNCLE HYACINTH 67
a small hand. He could not help remember
ing the legend that after the Creator had made
the rosy ringers of the first woman the devil
had added those tiny, gemlike nails; but he
thought the devil had done his work, in this
case, like an expert jeweler. Mr. Neilsen
was always ready to bow before efficiency,
even if its weapons were no more imposing
than a manicure set.
The ouija board was quiet for a moment or
two. Then the pencil began to move across
the paper. Mr. Neilsen did not understand
why. Miss Depew certainly looked quite
blank; and the movement seemed to be inde
pendent of their own consciousness. It was
making marks on the paper, and that was all
he expected it to do.
At last Miss Depew withdrew her hand and
exclaimed: "It's too exhausting. Read it,
Mr. Pennyfeather picked it up, and
"Looks to me as if the spirits are a bit
erratic to-night. But the writing's clear
enough, in a scrawly kind of way. I'm
afraid it's utter nonsense."
He began to read it aloud:
68 WALKING SHADOWS
"Exquisitely amusing 1 Uncle Hyacinth's
little appendix "
At this moment he was interrupted. Mr.
Neilsen had risen to his feet as if he were be
ing hauled up by an invisible rope attached
to his neck. His movement was so startling
that Mrs. Pennyfeather emitted a faint,
mouselike screech. They all stared at him,
waiting to see what he would do next.
But Mr. Neilsen recovered himself with
great presence of mind. He drew a hand
kerchief from his trousers pocket, as if he had
risen only for that purpose. Then he sat
"Bardon me," he said; "I thought I vas
aboud to sneeze. Vat is the rest of id?' 7
He sat very still now, but his mouth opened
and shut dumbly, like the mouth of a fish,
while Mr. Pennyfeather read the message
through to the end:
"Exquisitely amusing! Uncle Hyacinth's
little appendix cut out. Throat enlarged.
Consuming immense quantities pork sausages;
also onions wholesale. Best greetings. Fond
"I'm afraid they're playing tricks on us to-
UNCLE HYACINTH 69
night," said Mr. Pennyfeather. /'They do
sometimes, you know. Or it may be frag
ments of two or three messages which have got
"Hold on, though!" said the captain.
"Didn't you send a wireless the other day, Mr.
Neilsen, to somebody by the name of Hya
"Well ha I ha! ha! It was aboud some
body by that name. I suppose I must have
moved my hand ungonsciously. IVe been
thinking aboud him a great deal. He's ill,
"How very interesting" cooed Mrs. Penny-
feather, drawing her chair closer. "Have
you really an uncle named Hyacinth? Such
a pretty name for an elderly gentleman, isn't
it? Doesn't the rest of the message mean any
thing to you, then, Mr. Neilsen?"
He stared at her, and then he stared at the
message, licking his lips. Then he stared at
Captain Abbey and Miss Depew. He could
read nothing in their faces but the most child
like amusement. The thing that chilled his
heart was the phrase about onions. He could
not remember the meaning, but it looked like
one of those innocent commercial phrases that
70 WALKING SHADOWS
had oeen embodied in the code. Was it pos
sible that in his agitation he had unconsciously
written this thing down?
He crumpled up the paper and thrust it
into his side pocket. Then he sniggered
mirthlessly. Greatly to his relief the captain
began talking to Miss Depew, as if nothing
had happened, about the Tower of London;
and he was able to slip away before they
brought the subject down to modern times.
Mr. Neilson may have been a very skeptical
person. Perhaps his intellect was really
paralyzed by panic, for the first thing he did
on reaching his stateroom that night was to
get out the code and translate the message of
the ouija board. It was impossible that it
should mean anything; but he was impelled by
something stronger than his reason. He
broke into a cold sweat when he discovered
that it had as definite a meaning as any of the
preceding messages; and though it was not
the kind of thing that would have been sent by
wireless he recognized that it was probably
far nearer the truth than any of them. This
is how he translated it:
UNCLE HYACINTH 71
"Imperative sink Hispaniola after treach
erous threat. Wiser sacrifice life. Other
wise death penalty inevitable. Flight abroad
futile. Enviable position. Fine opportu
He could not understand how this thing had
happened. Was it possible that in great crises
an agitated mind two thousand miles away
might create a corresponding disturbance in
another mind which was concentrated on the
same problem? Had he evolved these
phrases of the code out of some subconscious
memory and formed them into an intelligible
sentence? Trickery was the only other al
ternative, and that was out of the question.
All these people were of inferior intellect.
Besides, they were in the same peril them
selves; and obviously ignorant of it. His
code had never been out of his possession.
Yet he felt as if he had been under the micro
scope. What did it mean? He felt as if he
were going mad.
He crept into his berth in a dazed and
blundering way, like a fly that has just crawled
out of a honey pot. After an hour of fever
ish tossing from side to side he sank into a
72 WALKING SHADOWS
doze, only to dream of the bald-headed man
in Harrods 7 who wanted to sell him a safety
waistcoat, the exact model of the one that
saved Lord Winchelsea. The most hideous
series of nightmares followed. He dreamed
that the sides of the ship were transparent, and
that he saw the periscopes of innumerable sub
marines foaming alongside through the black
water. He could not cry out, though he was
the only soul aboard that saw them, for his
mouth seemed to be fastened with official seal
ing wax black sealing wax stamped with
the German eagle. Then to his horror he
saw the quick phosphorescent lines of a dozen
torpedoes darting toward the Hispanlola from
all points of the compass. A moment later
there was an explosion that made him leap,
gasping and fighting for breath, out of his
berth. But this was not a dream. It was
the most awful explosion he had ever heard,
and his room stank of sulphur. He seized the
cork jacket that hung on his wall, pulled his
door open and rushed out, trying to fasten it
round him as he went.
When the steward arrived, with the purser,
they had the stateroom to themselves; and
after the former had thrown the remains of
UNCLE HYACINTH 73
the rocket through the porthole, together with
the ingenious contrivance that had prevented
it from doing any real damage under Mr.
Neilsen's berth, the purser helped him with
his own hands to carry the brass-bound trunk
down to his office.
"We'll tell him that his room was on fire
and we had to throw the contents overboard.
We'll give him another room and a suit of old
clothes for to-morrow. Then we can examine
his possessions at leisure. We've got the code
now; but there may be lots of other things in
his pockets. That's right. I hope he doesn't
jump overboard in his fright. It's lucky that
we warned these other staterooms. It made a
hellish row. You'd better go and look for
him as soon as we get this thing out of the
But it was easier to look for Mr. Neilsen
than to find him. The steward ransacked the
ship for three-quarters of an hour, and he
began to fear that the worst had happened.
He was peering round anxiously on the boat
deck when he heard an explosive cough some
where over his head. He looked up into the
rigging as if he expected to find Mr. Neilsen
in the crosstrees; but nobody was to be seen,
74 WALKING SHADOWS
except the watch in the crow's nest, dark
against the stars.
"Mr. Neilsen!" he called. "Mr. Neilsen!"
"Are you galling me?" a hoarse voice re
plied. It seemed to come out of the air, above
and behind the steward. He turned with a
start, and a moment later he beheld the head
of Mr. Neilsen bristling above the thwarts of
Number Six boat. He had been sitting in the
bottom of the boat to shelter himself from the
wind, and some symbolistic Puck had made
him fasten his cork jacket round his pyjamas
very firmly, but upside down, so that he cer
tainly would have been drowned if he had
been thrown into the water.
"It's all right, Mr. Neilsen," said the stew
ard. "The danger is over."
"Are ve torpedoed?" The round-eyed
visage with the bristling hair was looking
more and more like Bismarck after a debauch
of blood and iron, and it did not seem inclined
"No, sir! The shock damaged your room a
little, but we must have left the enemy behind.
You had a lucky escape, sir."
"My Gott! I should think so, indeed!
The ship is not damaged in any vay?"
UNCLE HYACINTH 75
"No, sir. There was a blaze in your room,
and I'm afraid they had to throw all your
things overboard. But the purser says he can
rig you out in the morning; and we have an
other room ready for you."
"Then I vill gum down," said Mr. Neilsen.
And he did so. His bare feet paddled after
the steward on the cold wet deck. At the
companionway they met the shadowy figure of
"I'm afraid you've 'ad an unpleasant upset,
Mr. Neilsen," he said.
"Onbleasant! It vos derrible! Derrible!
But you see, captain, I vas correct. And this
is only the beginning, aggording to my infor
mation. I hope now you vill take every bre-
"They must have mistaken us for a British
ship, Mr. Neilsen, I'm afraid. I'm having
the ship lighted up so that they can't mistake
us again. You see? IVe got a searchlight
playing on the Argentine flag aloft; and we've
got the name of the ship in illuminated letters
three feet high, all along the hull. They
could read it ten miles away. Come and
Mr. Neilsen looked with deepening horror.
76 WALKING SHADOWS
"But dis is madness I" he gurgled. "The
Hispaniola is marked, I tell you, marked, for
gomplete destruction I"
The captain shook his head with a smile of
skepticism that withered Mr. Neilsen's last
"Very veil, then I should brefer an inside
cabin this time."
"Yes. You don't get so much fresh air, of
course; but I think it's better on the 'ole. If
we're torpedoed we shall all go down together.
But you're safer from gunfire in an inside
The unhappy figure in pyjamas followed
the steward without another word. The cap
tain watched him with a curious expression
on his broad red face. He was not an un
kindly man; and if this German in the cork
jacket had not been so ready to let everybody
else aboard drown he might have felt the
sympathy for him that most people feel toward
the fat cowardice of Falstaff. But he thought
of the women and children, and his heart hard
As soon as Mr. Neilsen had gone below, the
lights were turned off, and the ship went on
her way like a shadow. The captain pro-
UNCLE HYACINTH 77
ceeded to send out some wireless messages of
his own. In less than an hour he received an
answer, and almost immediately the ship's
course was changed.
It was a strange accident that nobody on
board seemed to have any clothes that would
fit Mr. Neilsen on the following day. He ap
peared at lunch in a very old suit, which the
dapper little Mr. Pennyfeather had worn out
in the bank. Mr. Neilsen was now a perfect
illustration of the schooldays of Prince Blood
and Iron, at some period when that awful ef
figy had outgrown his father's pocket and
burst most of his buttons. But his face was so
haggard and gray that even the women pitied
him. At four o'clock in the afternoon the
captain asked him to come up to the bridge,
and began to put him out of his misery.
"Mr. Neilsen,'' he said, "I'm afraid you've
had a very anxious voyage; and, though it's
very unusual, I think in the circumstances it's
only fair to put you on another ship if you
prefer it. You'll 'ave your chance this eve
ning. Do you see those little smudges of
smoke out yonder? Those are some British
patrol boats; and if you wish I'm sure I can
get them to take you off and land you in
78 WALKING SHADOWS
Plymouth. There's a statue of Sir Francis
Drake on Plymouth 'Oe. You ought to see
it. What d'you think?"
Mr. Neilsen stared at him. Two big tears
of gratitude rolled down his cheeks.
"I shall be most grateful," he murmured.
"They're wonderful little beggars, those pa
trol boats," the captain continued. "Always
on the side of the angels, as you said so feel
ingly at the concert. They're the police of the
seas. They guide and guard us all, neutrals
as well. They sweep up the mines. They
warn us. They pilot us. They pick us up
when we're drowning; and, as you said, they
give us 'ot coffee; in fact, these little patrol
boats are doing the work of civilization.
Probably you don't like the British very much
in Sweden, but "
"I have no national brejudices," Mr. Neil-
sen said hastily. "I shall indeed be most
"Very well, then," said the captain ; "we'll
let 'em know."
At half past six, two of the patrol boats were
alongside. They were the A uld Robin Gray
and the Ruth; and they seemed to be in high
feather over some recent success.
UNCLE HYACINTH 79
Mr. Neilsen was mystified again when he
came on deck, for he could have sworn that he
saw something uncommonly like his brass-
bound trunk disappearing into the hold of the
A uld Robin Gray. He was puzzled also by
the tail end of the lively conversation that was
taking place between Miss Depew and the ab
surdly young naval officer, with the lisp, who
was in command of the patrols.
"Oh, no! I'm afraid we don't uth the dun-
geonth in the Tower," said that slender youth,
while Miss Depew, entirely feminine and
smiling like a morning glory now, noted all
the details of his peaked cap and the gold
stripes on his sleeve. "We put them in coun
try houtheth and feed them like fighting
cockth, and give them flower gardenth to
He turned to Captain Abbey joyously, and
lisped over Mr. Neilsen's head:
"That wath a corking metthage of yourth,
captain. I believe we got three of them right
in the courth you would have been taking to
day. You'll hear from the Admiralty about
thith, you know. It wath magnifithentl
He saluted smartly, and taking Mr. Neil-
8o WALKING SHADOWS
sen tightly by the arm helped him down to
the deck of the Ruth.
"Good-by and good luck!" called Captain
He beamed over the bulwarks of the His-
paniola like a- large red harvest moon through
the thin mist that began to drift between them.
"Good-by, Mr. Neilsen !" called Mr. and
Mrs. Pennyfeather, waving frantically.
"Good-by, Herr Kraussl" said Miss De-
pew; and the dainty malice in her voice
pierced Mr. Neilsen like a Rontgen ray.
But he recovered quickly, for he was of an
elastic disposition. He was already looking
forward to the home comforts which he knew
would be supplied by these idiotic British for
the duration of the war.
The young officer smiled and saluted Miss
Depew again. He was a very ladylike young
man, Mr. Neilsen had thought, and an obvi
ous example of the degeneracy of England.
But Mr. Neilsen's plump arm was still bruised
by the steely grip with which that lean young
hand had helped him aboard, so his conclu
sions were mixed.
The engines of the Ruth were thumping
now, and the Hispaniola was melting away
UNCLE HYACINTH 81
over the smooth gray swell. They watched
her for a minute or two, till she became spec
tral in the distance. Then the youthful rep
resentative of the British Admiralty turned,
like a thoughtful host, to his prisoner.
"Would you like thum tea?" he lisped sym
pathetically. "Your Uncle Hyathinth mutht
have given you an awfully anxiouth time."
Herr Krauss grunted inarticulately. He
was looking like a very happy little Bismarck.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE
UNDOUBTEDLY Captain Julius Van-
dermeer had made a pile of money.
A Dutch sea-captain who had been the
chief owner of his vessel in the first two years
of the war was a lucky dog. A couple of voy
ages might bring him more than he could hope
to make in half a century of peace. If he
were lucky enough to make forty or fifty suc
cessful voyages across the Atlantic he could do
exactly what Captain Vandermeer had done
retire from the sea, invest his money, look for
a handsome young wife, and expect the re
mainder of his years to mellow round him like
an orchard, dropping all the most pleasant
fruits of life at his feet. Best of all, despite
the gray streaks in his bushy red beard, he was
only halfway through the forties, and he knew
how to enjoy himself.
He sat on the veranda of his white bunga
low under the foothills of the Sierra Madre,
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 83
puffing at his big meerschaum pipe and ex
plaining these things to the lady whom he had
"Long ago I settled it in my mind, Mi-
mika," he said, "if ever I came to be rich there
should only be one country in the world for
me, and that should be Southern California.
Look at it!"
He waved the stem of his pipe at the broad
slopes below. As far as the eye could see,
from the petals that dropped over the dainty
little electric car before the porch, to the dis
tant horizon, they were one gorgeous pattern
of fruit trees in blossom. Masses of white
and pink bloom surged like foam against the
veranda; and the soft wind blowing across
that odorous wilderness was like the whisper
of wings at sunset in Eden. Behind the win
dows of the dining room a Chinese manserv
ant glided to and fro like a blue shadow.
"Man lives by contrast, Mimika," Vander-
meer continued. "For a quarter of a century
salt water was all my world. Now I have
chosen seas of peach blossom; and no danger
of shipwreck, heh? Ah, but it smells fine,
Mimika fine ! When I saw my fortune com
ing I asked a friend in New York what was
84 WALKING SHADOWS
the place out of all the world where a man
might live most happily, most healthily, in the
most beautiful climate, to the age of ninety or
even to the age of a hundred, enjoying himself
also. 'Southern California,' he said. At
once I knew that my friend was right. I
remembered San Diego when I was a boy, and
the roses tumbling at my feet on Christmas
Day. I remembered the women, Mimika;
and the cantaloupe melons, cut in halves, with
the ice melting in their lovely yellow hearts;
and as soon as the money was in the bank I
took the train to the City of the Angels. Los
Angeles what a name, heh? In three weeks
I had found my ranch with its beautiful bun
galow, waiting like a palace for its queen. In
six months I had found the queen, Mimika,
Mimika rose from her rocking-chair, re
marking, "Now listen, Julius!" This did not
mean that she had anything of great impor
tance to say. But she had a trick, which Van-
dermeer found fascinating, of prefacing most
of her remarks with the command to listen.
"Listen, Julius! You won't come down with
me to meet Roy?" she said.
"No, Mimika, no. The little sister will
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 85
have much to tell her brother when she sees
him for the first time after how long has he
been in Europe? Two years? And she will
have to tell him all about her honeymoon,
heh?" He pinched her ear playfully as she
stooped to kiss him.
"I guess Roy will open his eyes when he
sees my electric," she said.
She went down to the car in a skipping
walk, while Captain Vandermeer surveyed her
with the eye of one who has found a prize.
She was wearing a Panama hat, a sweater of
emerald green, and a very short yellow skirt
that fluttered round her yellow silk stockings
like the petals of a California poppy. This
was not altogether out of keeping with the
blaze of the landscape; but her high-heeled
white shoes prevented her from walking
gracefully; and this was really a pity, for she
could dance like a wave of the sea if she
chose. Sadder still, her nose was as white
with powder as if she had dipped it into a bag
of meal and her lips looked as if she had been
eating damson jam. This was more pathetic
than comic, because in its natural state her face
was pretty as a wild flower.
Captain Vandermeer sat blowing rings of
86 WALKING SHADOWS
blue smoke for a minute or two longer. Then
he entered the bungalow and went to a room
at the back of the house which he had reserved
as his own den. It was a very bare room at
present, chiefly furnished by the bright new
safe which he now proceeded to unlock.
He drew out a bundle of papers and exam
ined them with loving care. There were
American railroad bonds to the value of fifty
thousand dollars; some Liberty Loan Bonds
to the value of fifty thousand more; twenty-
five thousand dollars' worth of Anglo-French
bonds; and the same amount of the City of
Paris, risky enough if the Germans were go
ing to break through, but he did not think
they were, and they yielded more than ten per
cent. It was very wonderful, he thought, and
he replaced them like a man saying good night
to his child. Then he drew out a chamois-
leather bag and poured the glittering contents
into his left palm. He was a very wise man
in his generation.
"You never know," he muttered "you
never know what will happen, in these days,
to bonds. These are perhaps the best invest
ment of all. These are the reserves of my
little army. It was a good idea to keep them.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 87
Besides, you can put them in your pocket and
go where you wish at a moment's notice. It
is not possible always to get money at once for
His face glowed with satisfaction as he put
the bag in the safe and locked it.
On the way up to the ranch from the rail
way station Mimika had been chattering hard
to her brother; but he noticed certain changes
in her appearance with a feeling akin to re
morse. He was not at all sure that she was
really happy, despite her apparent enthusiasm
over what she called the generosity of Julius.
He wished that his mother had delayed things
till he had returned from Europe; and he
could not help wondering how far his failure
to send home more than two-thirds of his own
scanty income as a newspaper correspondent
had contributed to the haste of this marriage.
He had not been able to learn much about it.
His mother was a vague widow, who, like so
many widows, regarded marriage with a kind
of ghostly detachment and a more than maid
enly innocence. She was devoted to Mimika,
but quite ready, he feared, to sacrifice Mi
mika to himself.
88 WALKING SHADOWS
Roy himself had not had too easy a time in
the last few years. He was one of those not
uncommon Americans who combine an ex
traordinary knowledge of the world with the
unworldliness and sometimes the gullibility
of an Eastern sage. He knew more about the
cathedrals of England than almost any Eng
lishman; more about the chateaux of France
than most Frenchmen. He could have dic
tated an encyclopedia of useful knowledge
about Italy and Egypt. He had been a war
correspondent in four quarters of the globe,
and he had acquired a sense of the larger
movements in politics that gave his opinions
an unusual interest. He flew over the big
guns of international affairs like a man in an
airplane; and, though his European hearers
might not always like his signals, they usually
felt that he was looking beyond their horizon.
But his ambition was to do creative work,
and he had not yet succeeded. He marveled
how some other men, without expending a
tithe of his energy, had produced a shelf of
books while he was still taking his notes. He
never seemed to have the time for creation,
and whenever he approached any original
work he gravitated toward the method of
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 89
the newspaper correspondent. He wondered
sometimes whether this was due to a lack of
what he called the 'creative impulse. 7 One of
the things to which he had been looking for
ward on this visit was the opportunity that it
would give him of obtaining some first-hand
material from a real live sea-captain. Yet he
was not sure whether he would ever be able to
transmute it into an original book.
His boyish smile was in somewhat pathetic
contrast with his gold-spectacled, and curi
ously dreamy, yet overstrained eyes, which
sometimes gave his face in repose the expres
sion of a youthful Buddha. His frequent
abrupt changes between a violently active life
and an almost completely sedentary one had
not been good for him physically, and he was
subject to fits of depression, relieved by fits of
If only Mimika were happy he thought he
might feel very optimistic about the material
that Vandermeer could give him for the book
he was contemplating. Indeed already he
could not help sharing a little in her enthu
siasm over her 'electric.'
"And listen, Roy, weVe got a marble swim
ming pool in the garden, all surrounded with
90 WALKING SHADOWS
heliotropes," she concluded, almost breathless,
as they rolled up the long aisle of palms and
"Is that so?" said Roy. "And you love
"He's a dear," said Mimika. "And of
course " She was going to add that Captain
Vandermeer would do a great deal for Roy;
but she had misgivings, and checked herself.
She had almost broached the subject to her
lord this morning, and had checked herself
then, too, feeling instinctively that Vander
meer had grown rich too recently for him to
help any one but himself just at present.
The introduction of brother to husband
went off very well indeed. Vandermeer was
so hearty, and held Roy's hand so affection
ately, that when they were getting ready for
dinner Mimika ventured to approach the sub
"And listen, Julius, you'll be able to help
Roy just a little, too, won't you?" she said,
putting her hands up to her hair before the
mirror in her bedroom.
"What do you mean, Mimika, by help?"
Vandermeer's voice rolled in a very unsatis
factory way from the adjoining room.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 91
"Oh, of course there's only one kind of help
Roy would accept," she replied hastily.
"He's going to write something about the sea,
and he thinks you might give him some hints."
"Why, certainly, Mimika. They say
there's a book in every man's life." The
voice was thoroughly hearty again now. "In
mine I should say there would be a hundred
books. I will tell him some splendid things."
Even more jovial was the mood of Julius
Vandermeer that evening after dinner; and
he expanded his rosy views of the future to
his brother-in-law over their cigars and a
steaming rum punch flavored with lemon,
which was his own invention for coping with
the cold of a California night. He called it
his "smudge pot"
"And now, Roy," he said at last, "I hope
your own affairs go well. It is a great thing,
the gift of expression. I wish I had it. Ah,
what books I could write! The things I have
seen, things you will never see in print!"
"That's precisely what I want to discuss
with you, Julius. I have just signed a con
tract with the Copley-Willard Publishing
Company to write them a serial dealing with
the heroism of the merchant marine in war-
92 WALKING SHADOWS
time. I don't mind confessing that I told
them a little about you said you had no end
of crackajack material I could use. The re
sult was the best contract I've yet made with
any publisher; so I owe that to you. The
Star News Company was very well satisfied
with my record as a correspondent; but I
bungled the contract with them. If I can put
this thing through it means that I shan't be a
poor relation much longer. Now if you can
only give me a good subject and put me wise
on the seamanship and help me to get the local
color, the rest will be as easy as falling off a
log. You must have had a good many expe
riences, for instance, with the submarines,
when you were crossing the Atlantic twice a
"Experiences why, yes, many experiences;
but my good fortune comes well from my
good fortune. I am like the happy nation. I
have not had much history for these two years.
But I have seen things oh, yes, I have seen
things that were like what you call clues
clues to many strange tales."
"That's precisely what I want a rattling
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 93
"Well now, let me think. There were some
interesting things about those big merchant
submarines that the Germans sent at one time
across the Atlantic."
"Like the Deutschland, you mean?"
"Yes; and there were others, never men
tioned in the newspapers. One or two of
them disappeared. Perhaps the British de
stroyed them. Nobody knows. But it was
reported that one of them was carrying a mil
lion dollars' worth of diamonds to the United
States. Think of that, Roy! A submarine
full of diamonds! Doesn't that kindle your
"Gee! I should say it would!" remarked
Mimika, putting down the highly colored
magazine in which she had been studying the
latest New York fashions.
"Depends what happened to it," said Roy.
"Come, then, I will tell you a little story,"
said Vandermeer; "but you must not mention
my name about this one. How did I come to
know it? Ah, perhaps by some strange acci
dent I met the only man who could tell the
truth about it. Perhaps I was able to do him
some small service. In any case that is a dif-
94 WALKING SHADOWS
ferent matter. This story must be your own,
Roy. It shall come from what you call your
Mimika plumped down on a cushion at her
lord's feet to listen. He patted her shoulder
affectionately with his big left paw, which
showed up in a somewhat startling contrast
with its rough skin and long red hairs against
that smooth whiteness. With his right hand
he filled himself the third glass of rum punch
that he had taken that evening. He smacked
his lips between two sips.
"Help yourself, Roy," he said, "and take
another cigar. Yes, I will tell you. Take a
sip, Mimika. That is good, heh? Now I
shall need no more sugar.
"Well, Roy, just imagine. This big mer
chant submarine leaves Hamburg loaded with
diamonds! A million dollars' worth of dia
monds, all going to the United States, because
it is necessary that Germany shall pay some of
her bills. There is a crew of only twenty men,
because they need them for the U-boats. All
of these men are sulky, rebellious. They have
been forced to do this work against their will.
They were happy on their ships in the Kiel
Canal, except that there was always the chance
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 95
of being picked for submarine duty. When
they are lined up for that ah, it is like wait
ing to be named for the guillotine, in the Reign
of Terror! They have courage, but their
hands shake, their lips are blue and their
hearts are sick. It is the death sentence.
Either this week, or the next, or the next they
will be missing. Certainly in eight weeks
their places must be filled again. They are
just fishes' food. Picture then the choosing of
these men. There is your first chapter, heh?
"Now for the second. You must picture
the captain. He is the most rebellious of all,
for his life has been spared longer than most,
but his life on the submarine is a living death.
He is a good sailor, yes, in any surface vessel ;
but in the first place the submarine makes him
sick at the stomach the smells, the bad air,
the joggle-joggle of the engine, the lights
turned down to save the batteries. All that
depresses him ; and he has always the thought
that, if one little thing goes wrong, he will die
like a man buried alive in a big steel coffin,
with nineteen others, all fighting for breath.
It is a nightmare the only nightmare that
ever frightened him."
Captain Vandermeer certainly had a vivid
96 WALKING SHADOWS
imagination or else his own creative impulse,
aided by frequent draughts of rum punch, was
carrying him away; for his bulging blue eyes
looked as if they would burst out of their
"Moreover, this captain has been in a fight
ing submarine that has shocked his nerves.
He has grown used to scenes of death. He
has come to the surface and seen many scores
of men and women drowning, and he has
watched them till he minds it no more than
drowning flies. But twice he has found him
self entangled in a steel net, and escaped by
miracle. That is not so pleasant. When it
was decided to send him to the United States
on a merchant submarine, what was his first
thought? What would be yours, Roy, in that
"A bedroom and bath at the hotel Vander-
bilt," replied Roy promptly.
"You follow the clue very well, my boy.
You have a clever brother, Mimika. The first
thought of the captain is this: If I can get
safely through the ring of the enemy the rest
of the voyage will not be so bad. I shall make
most of it on the surface, and I shall have a
breathing spell in a great city outside the war.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 97
That will make the second chapter, heh?
Now what is his next thought, Mimika?"
"Why, listen! If I once got to New York
I should want to stay there," replied Mimika,
helping herself to a large piece of candy.
"Ah, what a clever sister you have, my dear
Roy!" said Vandermeer, and both his red
streaked paws descended approvingly on Mi-
mika's white shoulders. "How beautifully
we compose this tale together, heh? But he
has not yet reached America, and he has a sub
marine full of diamonds on his hands; also a
crew of twenty men ; also his orders as an of
ficer in the German Navy.
"Well, let us suppose he has come safely
through the ring of the enemy, after several
nightmares. He runs on the surface almost
always now, and he is losing his bad dreams
for a time.
"One night he is on deck looking at the stars
and thinking, who knows what thoughts, when
the youngest engineer, a nice little fellow, a
Bavarian, you might say, with flaxen hair and
blue eyes, just as pretty as a girl, comes up to
him. His face is as white and smooth as Mi-
mika's shoulders but there is no powder on
it, heh? And his blue eyes are frightened.
98 WALKING SHADOWS
" 'Captain,' he says, 'I want to warn you.
There is a plot among the men to kill you.'
"To kill me!' the captain says. 'Why
should they wish to kill me, Otto?'
" They've gone crazy about the diamonds.
They say they have had enough of this life,
and they will never go back to Germany.
They mean to take the diamonds and sell
them a few at a time in America. Then they
will live like princes. They think I'm join
" 'Is there nobody but yourself on my side?'
says the captain.
'Nobody now,' says Otto.
'Very well. Thank you, my boy. I will
see that you are rewarded for this. When are
they going to do it?'
" 'When we are submerged and nearing the
" Thank you, Otto,' says the captain again.
"And there's your third chapter; and your
fourth, too, Roy a dramatic situation, heh?"
Roy appeared to think so, and on the
strength of it he filled Vandermeer's glass
again. He was anxious to help the creative
"What follows?" continued Vandermeer.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 99
"In your tales to-day you must have psychol
ogy. The captain is a clever man. What
would you do in that position, Roy? He can
not fight them all. I will tell you what he
does. He is a diplomatist. He shapes his
policy, standing there on the deck of the sub
marine all alone, under the stars.
"The next evening he orders rum all round,
just like this good rum, from his own little
cask, which he keeps for the sake of his stom
ach. It is a beautiful evening, a sea like oil,
and the setting sun makes a road of gold to the
shores of America. They are approaching
the happy land. The men themselves are
more cheerful, and like a good diplomatist he
seizes the cheerful moment.
"Not only does he give them rum but he
gives them cigars, also from his private box-
expensive cigars, just like these.
" 'I have a proposition to make,' he says.
'We are all sick of the war, and I myself am
more sick of it than anybody.'
"They all stare at him, wondering what he
will say next; and the little Bavarian opens his
blue eyes like a girl, and stares more than any
of them. He thinks perhaps the end of the
world will come now.
ioo WALKING SHADOWS
" 'There is nobody here,' says the captain,
'that wishes to return. Why should we re
turn? There is a million dollars in diamonds
aboard, enough to make every one of us rich.
We are going to the great republic. Good!
We will share equally. Every one of us shall
have the same amount. I myself, though I
am your captain, will take no more than Otto.
That will be more than fifty thousand dollars
for each one of us.'
"Immediately the last of the clouds vanishes
like magic from the crew. There is nothing
but smiles all round him, smiles and the smell
of rum and good cigars, just like these. They
are all good comrades together, shaking hands,
except the little Bavarian. He is sitting back
behind the gyroscopic compass watching the
captain, with big eyes and a solemn face like
the infant Saint John.
"And why should they not all be satisfied
except the captain, who is perhaps only pre
tending to be satisfied? They lose only a
twentieth part of their money by including
him. On the other hand the captain loses a
million dollars, to which these robbers had no
more right than you or I."
"I guess the little Bavarian was sorry he
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 101
spoke," said Roy; and he filled Vandermeer's
"The little Bavarian was a child, an inno
cent He had no will to power, heh? He
comes again to the captain late that night, on
deck under the stars. His face looks thin and
miserable. 'Captain,' he says, 'did you mean
your words to those men?'
" What else could I say, Otto, to save the
diamonds, and my life, and perhaps yours?
You do not understand diplomacy, Otto. J
"The face of the little Bavarian grows
brighter. 'Forgive me, my captain I 7 he says.
'But I had begun to doubt even you, for
a moment. I was thinking of the Father
"Now, the captain was much obliged to
Otto. His policy was complete in his mind
for fooling those robbers, and he would have
been glad to save this little Bavarian, who had
warned him. But he begins to see an obsta
cle. He thinks he will put this little fellow
to the trial.
" 'Come now, Otto,' he says, 'it is very well
to think of the Fatherland if you and I could
save it. But do you think a few hundred shin
ing pebbles will make any odds? These rob-
102 WALKING SHADOWS
bers shall not have them. But supposing we
share them, there is nobody in the Fatherland
that would be any poorer. They belong to
the state, Otto, and if they should be shared
with every one in Germany not one man would
be a pfennig the better.
" ( But see what a difference this would make
to you and me! We are in a state of necessity,
Otto ; and above that state there is no power,
as the Chancellor told the Reichstag. Very
well, in this case I quote Louis the Fourteenth :
"L'etat, c'est moi!" and Frederick the Great,
also. Have I the might to do it, Otto? Very
well, then, according to the spokesman of the
Fatherland I have also the right.'
" 'I do not understand you, my captain,' says
this little blue-eyed baby, 'but I know well
that you mean to do right.'
" 'You shall have not fifty but a hundred
thousand dollars' worth for your share, Otto,
because you have been faithful,' says the cap
tain; 'but you must not think too many beau
tiful thoughts till we are safe on shore. I have
arranged everything in my mind. Go down
" 'For God's sake, captain,' cries this funny
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 103
little fellow, dropping on his knees, 'tell me
what you mean to do!' And the tears begin
to roll down his face.
" 'It is not safe to trust you yet, Otto. You
might talk in your sleep,' says the captain.
'Do as I bid you. We shall see what we shall
"Very well, Roy, there is at least four chap
ters to be made from that, heh?
"We come now to the crisis. The subma
rine is nearing the end of her voyage. They
begin to see ships and they submerge. The
captain has told them, instead of making for
New York he is heading for the coast of
Maine, where there will be better opportuni
ties of destroying the submarine and landing
unobserved. It is about six o'clock in the eve
ning, when he peeks through the periscope.
They are within a short distance of the main
land, but they must lie on the bottom till mid
night, when it will be safer to go ashore.
They are all very happy. Once more he gives
them rum all round, just like this, and advises
them to sleep, for they will get no sleep after
"They sleep very soundly, all except the
104 WALKING SHADOWS
little Bavarian and the captain. Why? Be
cause the captain keeps the medicine chest as
well as the diamonds. If he had had some
thing stronger in his medicine chest it would
have saved him much trouble and danger.
"While they sleep the captain takes out the
diamonds from the strong box and puts them
in his inside pockets. Then he examines the
batteries. He is an expert engineer. He can
make the batteries work when every one else
thinks they are dead. Also he can make them
die, so that even he can never make them work
again. He examines other parts of the ma
chinery those which enable the submarine to
rise to the surface. He will not allow the lit
tle Bavarian to watch what he is doing. Then
he puts on his life-belt, and looks at the men
snoring in their hammocks and on the floor.
Some of them are stirring in their sleep.
There is no time to lose or he may be inter
rupted. At last he is ready. The submarine
will never rise to the surface again, and the
sea will never betray the secret.
"There is only one way for him to get out,
and it is not a pleasant way. But in his night
mares he has often rehearsed it, and he has
always made sure that it could be done before
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 105
he went to sea. There must always be a way
out for one man at least, if not for more.
'L'etat, cest moi/'
"He beckons to the little Bavarian. 'I have
all the diamonds in my pocket,' he says. 'The
time is come for you to help me, Otto.'
"Now, Roy, you know what the conning
tower of a submarine is like inside? It is like
a round chimney, with a lid at the top to keep
out the water when you are submerged. You
can climb up into this conning tower and steer
the ship from it if you wish. There is also
another lid at the bottom of the conning tower,
which you can close as well. Then if you
wish you can flood your chimney with water.
"Now, if a submarine cannot rise to the sur
face, it is possible for a man to climb into this
conning tower. Another man then closes the
lid below and floods the tower very slowly.
When the water reaches the head of the man
in the tower there is just enough pressure for
him to push open the lid at the top and shoot
up to the surface. The lid at the top can then
be closed from the interior of the submarine.
The lower lid can be opened slowly, and the
water from the tower pours out into the hull.
Then, perhaps, another man can climb up into
io6 WALKING SHADOWS
the tower, and the process can be repeated.
There is room for only one man at a time.
"The captain tells the little Bavarian that he
is going to do this. 'But, my captain, it is very
dangerous. You may be drowned. It is not
certain that you can open it. The pressure
may be too great above/
" 'It is for the Fatherland, Otto/ says the
captain ; and the little Bavarian salutes, stand
ing at attention, just like a pretty little wax
" When the men wake, you will be able to
follow by the same road/ says the captain, and
he climbs up into the conning tower.
"The lower lid is closed. The water begins
to creep up round the captain's knees in the
darkness. He is horribly frightened. He has
a crowbar in his hand to help him to open the
upper lid quickly, but he still thinks perhaps
it will not open. When the water has reached
his waist he begins to push at the upper
lid, but it cannot move yet. The weight
of the whole sea above is pressing down.
He knows it cannot move but he cannot help
pushing at it, till the sweat breaks out on him,
though the water is like ice. It is worse than
he expected, worse than any of his nightmares.
The water reaches to his neck. He struggles
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 107
with all his strength, and still the lid will not
move. A prayer comes to his lips. The cold
water creeps creeps over his chin. There is
only three inches now between his face and the
lid. He holds his head back to keep his nos
trils above the water, fighting, fighting always
to open the lid. Then the water covers his
face. The conning tower is full.
"He holds his breath, gives one last push,
and feels the lid opening, opening softly, like
the big steel door of a safe in a bank. His
crowbar is wedged under the lid, between the
hinges, just as he wished. In four seconds he
is shooting up, up to the surface, with his chest
bursting, like a diver that has seen a shark.
"For a minute he floats there in the dark
ness, under the stars. Then perhaps the
struggle has been greater even than he knew
he faints. It is fortunate that his life-belt is a
good one, for when he recovers he has floated
perhaps a long time. He is very cold. He
takes a drink of rum from his flask and gets his
bearings. He is two miles from the coast.
Yes, but he is a clever man. There is one of
those little islands, covered with pine trees,
just a hundred and fifty yards away. There is
also a wooden house on the island ; and a land-
io8 WALKING SHADOWS
ing stage with a dinghy hauled up on the
"The owner of the boat is careful. He has
taken his oars to bed with him. But the cap
tain is a clever man. It is a beautiful night.
He has plenty of time, and he can paddle with
one of the loose boards in the bottom of the
"But listen ! What became of the little Ba
varian?" said Mimika.
"Well, I was not there to see," said Captain
Vandermeer, lighting a cigar, "but when the
men woke they must all have tried to get out
by the same way."
"And they couldn't?" asked Roy. He was
watching Vandermeer with a very curious ex
pression almost as if he were examining an
"The captain was an expert engineer ah, a
magnificent engineer I as I told you, Roy, and
there was a leetle crowbar wedged under what
we have been calling the lid of the conning
"Good God, what an ideal You mean they
couldn't close the upper lid again?"
"They might think they had closed it."
Vandermeer gave a deep guttural chuckle.
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 109
"Then they would open the lower lid, heh?"
"Why, then the sea would come running
into the hull, and they would be drowned."
"Oh, but not the poor little Bavarian!" said
"L'etat, cest moi," said Vandermeer with a
Roy was looking at him still with the same
pensive expression as of a youthful Buddha.
"I suppose he had no difficulty in getting
rid of the diamonds," he said.
"Probably not," said Vandermeer. "Per
haps he would keep a few as a reserve a kind
of Landsturm. But he would buy Liberty
"And you mean to say that a man like that
is going about in the United States now?" said
Vandermeer chuckled again.
"Who knows?" he said. "Perhaps he has
come to Southern California. Perhaps he has
bought a nice little ranch a fruit ranch, just
like this, heh? where he shall live a happy
and healthy life to the age of a hundred. And
now, Mimika, it is getting time for little girls
to go to bed."
no WALKING SHADOWS
About two o'clock in the morning Mimika
was wakened by a guttural choking cry from
her husband. She was so startled that she
slipped out of bed and stood staring at him.
The moon was flooding the room almost like a
searchlight, and Captain Vandermeer lay in
the full stream of it. While she watched him
he rose slowly to a sitting posture, with his
eyes still shut and his hands clenched above
his face. He began muttering to himself, in
a low voice at first, and then so loudly that it
echoed through the house; and the words
sounded more like German than Dutch.
Then he began fighting for breath, like a man
in a nightmare. He tore his pyjama jacket
open over the great red hairy chest.
"Otto!" he shouted at the top of his voice.
"Otto!" Then with a huge sigh he sank back
on the pillows, whispering "I have opened it."
There was a tap on the door. Mimika
snatched up a dressing gown, the first garment
she could lay her hands on it happened to be
Vandermeer's wrapped it round her, glided
across the room and opened the door. Her
brother stood there, also in a dressing gown
and bare-footed. Their eyes met without a
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 111
word. He took her hand, led her outside and
closed the door quietly behind them.
"You heard him, Roy?" she whispered.
"Come downstairs," he said. "I want to
ask you some questions about this."
They went down to the den at the back of
the house, and stood there looking at each
"He told us a tale to-night," said Roy at
"Yes," said Mimika faintly.
"Do you know what he was calling out in
"It sounded like German," she said.
"Yes, it was German ; and it gave me a good
deal more local color than I expected. That
was a true story all right, Mimika."
"You mean that he "
"Oh, but, Roy!"
"That's his dressing gown you're wearing,
"Yes, I picked it up in a hurry."
"There's been too much hurry about every
thing, I'm afraid. Why the devil did I go to
Europe! Here, Mimika, take off that thing
112 WALKING SHADOWS
and put mine on. I don't like to see you in it.
It doesn't suit you, little sister."
She obeyed him, with a small white fright
ened face; but it was not the white of powder
now. Roy thrust his hand into the pocket
of Vandermeer's dressing gown. Something
jingled. He pulled out a bunch of keys.
"Vandermeer told me I was good at follow
ing up a clue. I'm going to follow one now,
Mimika," he said. "This is the key of the
He opened the safe, looked hastily at the
bundles of papers and then pulled out the
chamois leather bag. "Look here, MimiksM"
he said and poured a glittering river of dia
monds, several hundred of them, on to the
table. The moonlight played over them with
an uncanny brilliance.
"That's his Landsturm," said Roy; "and
that settles it."
He took Mimika's hand, and she made no
protest as he withdrew the wedding ring from
her finger and added it to the glittering heap
on the table.
There was a heavy footstep in the room
above. Vandermeer was awake and moving
about upstairs. The boards creaked over
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 113
their heads, then they heard his bedroom door
open, and the heavy footsteps began to descend
Mimika shrank behind her brother and both
stood motionless, waiting. They could hear
the heavy breathing of Vandermeer, the
breathing of a man roused from a dyspeptic
sleep. He came down with an intolerable
precision, making the twelve steps of that
short descent seem almost interminable. At
every step Mimika felt the edges of her heart
freezing. At last that ugly rhythm reached
the foot of the stairs; and with three more
shuffling steps, as of a gigantic ape, the hairy
bulk of Vandermeer stood in the doorway,
facing them across the glittering mound
of gems. The sharp searchlight of the moon
made his face corpselike, showing up the
puffy blue pouches under his eyes and picking
out the coarse red hairs of his bushy beard like
strands of copper wire. His eyes protruded,
his mouth opened twice without any sound but
the soft smacking of his tongue as he tried to
moisten his lips.
"What are you doing here?" he said at last.
"Looking at your Landsturm," said Roy
with all the deadly calm of his nation.
114 WALKING SHADOWS
Vandermeer swayed a little on his feet, like
a drunken man. Then he moved forward to
the table and blinked at the diamonds and the
gold ring crowning them.
"I don't understand," he said at last.
"You'd better get dressed, Mimika," said
Roy. "Our train goes at a quarter after four."
He led her to the door, watched her pathetic
little figure mounting the stairs and turned to
Mimika never knew what passed between
the two men. When she came out of her
room, ten minutes later, Roy was waiting,
fully dressed, at the foot of the stairs, with his
suit case in his hand. She heard the heavy
breathing of Vandermeer in his den; and out
of the corner of her eye as they passed the door
she saw that glowing mass on the table, as if a
fragment of the moon had been dropped there.
They walked down the long avenue of palms
in silence. In the waiting-room at the station
neither of them spoke till they heard the long
hoot of the approaching train, and the clangor
of the bell on the transcontinental locomo
Six months later Mimika and her mother
were sitting up for Roy, in their fourth-floor
THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 115
flat near the offices of the Copley-Willard
Publishing Company, in Philadelphia.
"I wish he didn't have to keep these late
hours," said her mother. "I thought that
everything was turning out for the best when
you were married to Julius. I have never
been able to understand why you got your di
vorce so quickly. It was all kept so quiet, and
you and Roy are so mysterious about it.
YouVe never even told me the real grounds,
"Yes, I did. It was desertion," said Mi-
"Does nobody know what became of him?
It seems so strange that he should have gone
away and left all the furniture in that house.
He had some lovely things too. I think you
might at least have claimed the furniture."
"Please, mother, don't talk about that or we
shall be making the same mistake again. I
expect he's shaved his beard by now."
"Mimika, child, what do you mean? Are
"I think we were both crazy, mother, a year
"Well, I thought it was all for your happi
ness, my pet," said her mother, dabbing her
ii6 WALKING SHADOWS
eyes with her handkerchief. "I'm afraid it
will be a long time before you can marry this
other young man, that Roy likes so much.
He isn't earning half so good a salary as Roy."
"I don't know that I'm going to marry any
one, mother. But listen I I feel like marry
ing the first good American that comes to me
with a piece of the original Mayflower in his
And, this time, her mother almost listened.
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO
THE patrol boats had been buffeting
their way all night against wind and
weather, and before daybreak the
long line had lost its order. It was broken
up now into little wandering loops and sec
tions, busily comparing notes by Morse flashes
and wireless. Last evening the Morning
Glory, a converted yacht of American owner
ship, had been working with forty British
trawlers; and her owner, Matthew Hudson,
who had obtained permission to go out with
her on this trip, had watched with admiration
the way in which they strung themselves over
twenty miles of confused sea, keeping their
exact distances till nightfall. This morning,
as he lurched in gleaming oilskins up and
down the monkey house irreverent name for
his canvas-screened bridge he could see only
three of his companions the Dusty Miller,
the Christmas Day and the Betsey Barton.
ii8 WALKING SHADOWS
They were all having a lively time. They
swooped like herring gulls into the broad
troughs of the swell, where the black water
looked like liquid marble with white veins
of foam in it. Morning-colored rainbows
dripped from their bows as they rose again
through the green sunlit crests. But the
Morning Glory was the brightest and the live
liest of them all. The seas had been washing
her decks all night. Little pools of color
shone in the wet, crumpled oilskins of the
crew, and the tarpaulin that covered the gun
in her bow gleamed like a cloak dropped there
by the Angel of the Dawn.
When like the morning mist in early day
Rose from the foam the daughter of the sea
Matthew Hudson quoted to himself. He was
full of poetry this morning while he waited
for his breakfast; and the radiant aspect of the
weapon in the bow reminded him of some
thing else if the smell of the frying bacon
would not blow his way and distract his mind
something about "celestial armories." Was
it Tennyson or Milton who had written it?
There was a passage about guns in "Paradise
Lost." He must look it up.
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 119
Like many Americans, Matthew Hudson
was quicker to perceive the true romance of
the Old Country than many of its own inhabi
tants. He had been particularly interested in
the names of the British trawlers. "It's like
seeing Shakespere's Sonnets or Percy's Rel-
iques of Ancient English Poetry going out to
fight," he had written to his son, who had just
left Princeton to join the Mosquito Fleet; and
the youngster had replied with a sonnet of his
Matthew Hudson had carried it about with
him and read it to English statesmen, greatly
to their embarrassment most of them looked
as if they were receiving a proposal of mar
riage and he had found a huge secret joy
in their embarrassment, which, as he said,
"tickled him to death." But he murmured
the verses to himself now, with paternal pride,
thinking that the boy had really gone to the
heart of the matter:
Out of Old England's inmost heart they go,
A little fleet of ships, whose every name
Daffodil, Sea Lark, Rose, and Surf, and Snow
Burns in this blackness like an altar flame.
Out of her past they sail, three thousand strong
The people's fleet, that never knew its worth;
120 WALKING SHADOWS
And every name is a broken phrase of song
To some remembered loveliness on earth.
There's Barbara Cowie, Comely Bank and May,
Christened at home } in worlds of dawn and dew.
There's Ruth, and Kindly Light, and Robin Gray,
With Mizpah. May that simple prayer come true!
Out of Old England's inmost heart they sail,
A fleet of memories that can never fail.
At this moment the Morning Glory ran into
a bank of white mist, which left him nothing
to see from the bridge. The engines were
slowed down and he decided that it was time
The cabin where he breakfasted with the
skipper was very little changed, except that it
seemed by contrast a little more palatial than
in peace time. Tfiere had been many changes
on the exterior of the ship. Her white and
gold had been washed over with service gray,
and many beautiful fittings had been removed
to make way for grimmer work. But within
there were still some corners of the yacht that
shone like gems in a setting of lead.
The Morning Glory had been a very beau
tiful boat. She had been built for summer
cruising among the pine-clad islands off the
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 121
coast of Maine, or to carry her master down to
the palms of his own little island off the coast
of Florida, where he basked for a month or so
among the ripening oranges, the semitropical
blossoms and the cardinal birds, while Buffalo
cleared the worst of the snow from her streets.
For Matthew Hudson was a man of many
millions, which he had made in almost the
only country where millions can be made hon
estly and directly out of its enormous natural
His own method had been a very simple one,
though it required great organizing ability
and a keen eye and brain at the outset. All he
had done was to harness a river at the right
place and make it drive a light-and-power
plant. But he had done it on a scale that en
abled him, from this one central station, to
drive all the electric trolleys and light all the
lamps in more than a hundred cities. He
could supply all the light and all the power
they wanted to cities a hundred miles away
from his plant, and he talked of sending it
three hundred miles farther.
Now that the system was established, it
worked as easily as the river flowed; and his
power house was a compact little miracle of
122 WALKING SHADOWS
efficiency. All that the casual visitor could
see was a long, quiet room, in which it
seemed that a dozen clocks were slumbrously
ticking. These were the indicators, from the
dials of which the amount of power distrib
uted over a district as big as England could be
read by the two leisurely men on duty. In the
meantime, night and day, the river poured
power of another kind into the treasury of
But his life was as unlike that of the mil
lionaires of fiction as could be imagined. It
reminded one of the room with the slumbrous
He was, indeed, as his own men described it,
preeminently the "man behind the gun."
When the Morning Glory had been accepted
by the naval authorities he had obtained per
mission to equip her for her own work in Eu
ropean waters at his own cost, and to make cer
tain experiments in the equipment.
The Admiralty had not looked with favor
on some of his ideas, which were by no means
suitable for general use in the patrol fleet.
But Matthew Hudson had too many weapons
at work against Germany for them to deny him
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 123
a sentimental pleasure in his own yacht He
seemed to have some particular purpose of his
own in carrying out his ideas ; and so it came
about that the Morning Glory was regarded
among her companions as a mystery-ship.
The two men breakfasted in silence. They
were both drowsy, for there had been a U-boat
alarm during the night, which had kept them
very much awake; but Hudson was roused
from his reverie over the second rasher by a
loud report, followed by a confused shouting
above and the stoppage of the engines.
"That's not a submarine !" said the skipper.
"What the devil is it?" And the two men
rushed on deck.
The mist had lifted a little; and, looming
out of it, a few hundred yards away, there
was something that looked, at first glance, like
a great gray reef. For a fraction of a mo
ment Hudson thought they had run into Heli
goland in the mist. At the second glance
he knew that the gray, mist-wreathed monster
before him was an armored ship, and the skip
per enlightened him further by saying, in a
"That settles it enemy cruiser 1 We're
124 WALKING SHADOWS
stopped, broadside on. They've got a couple
of guns trained on us and they're sending a
boat. What's the next move?"
Matthew Hudson's face was a curious study
at this moment. It suggested a leopard en
dowed with a sense of humor. His mouth
twitched at the corners and his amazingly
clear eyes were lit with an almost boyish jubi
lation. It was a somewhat fierce jubilation ;
but it undoubtedly twinkled with the humor
of the New World. Then he asked the skip
per a mysterious question :
"Is it impossible?"
"Impossible I We're in the wrong position ;
and if we try to get right they'll blow us to
bits. Besides, they'll be aboard in half a min
ute. We're drifting a little in the right direc
tion; but it will be too late. They'll search
"How long will it take us to drift into the
"If we go on like this, about four minutes.
But it will be all over by then."
"Look here, Davis; I'll try and detain them
on deck. You know Americans have a repu
tation for oratory. You'd better go through
my room. And look here I'll be the skip-
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 125
per for the time being. I'm afraid they'll
want to take Matthew Hudson prisoner; so
I'll be the kind of American they'll recognize
Commander Jefferson B. Thrash, out of the
best British fiction. You don't happen to
have a lasso in your pocket, do you? I lent
mine to ex-President Eliot of Harvard, and
he hasn't returned it. Tell the men there.
That's right! I don't want to be playing the
fool in Ruhleben for the next three years."
A few moments later, a step at a time, Davis
disappeared into Hudson's cabin, which lay in
the fore part of the ship. Two other men
prepared to slip after him by lounging cas
ually in the companionway, while the men in
front moved a little closer to screen them.
They seized their chance as the German
boat stopped, twenty yards away from the
Morning Glory, and the officer in command
announced through a megaphone, in very
good English, that he was in a great hurry.
They were friends, he said ; and there was no
need for alarm, so long as the Morning Glory
carried out all instructions. All they wanted
was the confidential chart of the British mine
fields, which the Morning Glory, of course,
possessed, and all other confidential papers of
126 WALKING SHADOWS
a similar kind. If the Morning Glory did
not carry out his instructions in every detail
the guns of the cruiser would sink her. He
was now coming aboard to secure the papers.
"I guess that's all right, captain!" bawled
Matthew Hudson in an entirely new voice and
the accent that Europe accepts as American,
with about as much reason as America would
have for accepting the Lancashire, Yorkshire
and Glasgow dialects, all rolled into one, as
The quiet member of the Century Club had
disappeared, and the golden, remote Wild
Westerner, almost unknown in America itself,
had risen. In half a minute more the Ger
man officer and half a dozen armed sailors
were standing on the deck of the Morning
"So you see England does not gompletely
rule the waves," was the opening remark of
the officer, who had not yet received the full
benefit of Hudson's adopted accent.
"Been finding it stormy in the canal, cap?"
drawled Hudson. "Don't blame it on me,
anyway. I'm a good Amurrican Jefferson
B. Thrash, of Buffalo."
"Is this an American ship? I much regret
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 127
to find an American ship fighting her best
"Well, cap, I confess I haven't much use
for the British, myself; not since their press
talked about my picture-postcard smile an
ill-considered phrase, by which they uncon
sciously meant that, among the effete aristoc
racies of Europe, they were not used to seeing
good teeth. They lack humor, sir. To re
gard good teeth as abnormal shows a lack of
humor on the part of the British press.
"However, as George Bernard Shaw says,
President Wilson has put it up to the German
people in this way: 'Become a republic and
we'll let up on you. Go on Kaisering and
we'll smash you!' "
"I am in a great hurry," the German officer
replied. "I must ask you at once for your
"That's all right, admiral!" said Hudson.
"I've sent a man down below to get them out
of my steamer trunk. They'll be here right
He looked reflectively at the guns of the
destroyer and added ingratiatingly:
"Of course I disapprove of George Bernard
Shaw's vulgarizing the language of diplomacy
128 WALKING SHADOWS
in that way. I would rather interpret Presi
dent Wilson's message as saying to the German
people, in courteous phrase: 'Emerge from
twelfth-century despotism into twentieth-cen
tury democracy. Send the imperial liar who
misrules you to join Nick Romanoff on his
ranch. Give the furniture-stealing Crown
Prince a long term in any Sing Sing you like
to choose; and we will again buy dyestuffs
and toys of you, and sell you our beans and
"Are you aware that you endanger your life
by this language? Do you see those guns?"
Matthew Hudson looked at the guns and
spat over the side of the ship meditatively.
Then he looked the questioner squarely in the
eye. He had taken the measure of his man
and he only needed three and a half minutes
more. Any question that could be raised was
clear gain; and the cruiser would probably
not use her guns while members of the Ger
man crew were aboard the Morning Glory.
"Yes," he said; "and you'd better not use
your guns till you get those confidential pa
pers, for there's not a chance that you'll find
them without my help. They're worth hav
ing, and I've no objection to handing them
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 129
over, though I don't lay much store by your
promise not to shoot afterward. When
youVe got them, how am I to know that you
won't shoot, anyway, and what's the latest
language of your diplomacy? 'leave no
traces'? By cripes, there's no mushy senti
ment about your officials! No, sir! Leave
no traces! and they said it about neutrals,
remember! Leave no traces! That's virile!
That's red-blooded stuff! The effete humani-
tarianism of our democracy, sir, would call
that murder. In England they would call it
bloody murder! I don't agree. I think that
war is war. Of course it's awkward for non-
"With regard to the crews, it has been an
nounced in Germany that they would be saved
and kept prisoners in the submarines. Your
man is taking too long to find your papers.
I can allow you only one minute more."
"He'll be right back, captain, with all the
confidential goods you want. But, say, be
tween one sailorman and another, that story
about planning to hide crews and passengers
aboard the submarines must have been meant
for our Middle West. Last time I was on a
submarine I had to sleep behind the cookstove ;
130 WALKING SHADOWS
and then the commander had to sit up all
night. It's the right stuff for the prairies,
though. Ever hear of our senator, cap, who
wanted to know why the women and kids on
the Lusitania weren't put into the water-tight
compartments? They cussed the Cunard
Company from hell to breakfast out Kalama-
zoo way for that scandalous oversight. Won
der what's keeping that son of a gun!"
At this moment the son of a gun announced
from the companionway that he was unable to
find the confidential papers.
"I can wait no longer. The ship must be
searched by my own men," said the German
peremptorily. "Are the papers in your
"Sure! But I can save you a lot of time,
captain. I'll lead you right to them."
The Morning Glory had drifted round till
her nose was now pointing towards that of the
cruiser. In a minute or two more she would
be pointing directly amidships if the drifting
continued. Matthew Hudson took a long,
affectionate look at the guns and the guns'
crews that kept watch over his behavior from
the gray monster ahead ; then he led the way
below to his cabin.
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 131
The Hamburg-Amerika Line had many a
less imposing room than this, the only part of
the yacht that retained all its old aspect. It
ran the whole breadth of the ship and had two
portholes on each side. There was a brass
bedstead, with a telephone beside it and an
electric reading lamp. There were half a
dozen other electric bulbs overhead.
"I don't sleep very well, cap; so I decided
to keep this bit of sinful splendor for my own
use. Bathroom, you see." He opened a tiny
door near the bed and showed the compact
room, with its white bath-tub let into the floor.
This was too much for the German officer.
"Where do you keep your confidential
papers?" he bellowed, leveling a revolver at
the maddeningly complacent American, while
three of his men closed up behind him, ready
"Better not shoot, admiral, for you won't
find them without my help; and I'm going to
hand you the goods in half a minute. I can't
quite remember where I put them. There's
some confidential stuff in here, I think."
He unlocked a drawer and pulled out a
bundle of papers. A small white object
dropped from the bundle and lay on the floor
132 WALKING SHADOWS
between him and the German. It was a
baby's shoe. Hudson nodded at it as he
looked through the papers.
"Got any kids, cap? That came from
Queenstown. Ah, this looks like your chart.
No. Came from Queenstown, I say. It was
a little girl belonging to a friend of mine in
the City of Brotherly Love. Lots of 'em on
the Lusitania, you know. We collect souve
nirs in America, and I asked him for this as a
keepsake when I came on this gunning expedi
tion. He kept the other for himself. She
was a pretty little thing. Only six! Used to
call me Uncle Jack."
He stole a look through the porthole and
drew another document from the drawer.
"Ah! Now I remember. Here's the stuff
you want some of it, anyhow. Tied round
with yaller ribbon. Take it, cap. I wish I
hadn't seen that little shoe; but you've got the
drop on me this time and I suppose it's my
duty to save the lives of the men. There's a
good bit of information there about the mine
The German hurriedly examined the
papers, while Hudson hummed to himself as
he stared through the porthole:
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 133
Around her little neck she wore a yaller ribbon;
She wore it in December and the merry month of May.
And when, oh, when they asked her why in hell she
She said she loved a sailor, a sailor, a sailor;
But he was wrecked and drownded in Mississippi Bay.
"This is very good," said the German, "and
very useful. I think we shall not require
more of you; though it will be necessary to
destroy your ship and make you prisoners."
"Why, certainly! I didn't suppose you
could keep your contract in wartime. You
can't leave traces of a deal like this. But
while you're about it, you may as well have
/ all the confidential stuff."
"Good! Good!" said the German, strut
ting toward him. "So there's more to come!
I am glad you see the advantage in being too
proud to fight, my friend, eh?"
Matthew Hudson's eye twinkled. His
slouch began to slip away from him like a
loose coat, leaving once more the quiet up
standing member of the Century Club.
"Of course," he said, "you would make that
mistake. The British made it. They forgot
that it was said about Mexico, at a time when
you wanted us to be kept busy down there.
134 WALKING SHADOWS
There are times, also, when for diplomatic
reasons it is necessary to talk." He had re
sumed his natural voice. "When you are get
ting ready, for instance. This is where we
keep the real stuff."
He crossed the cabin; and the German
watched him closely with a puzzled expres
sion, covering him with his revolver.
"No treachery!" he said. "What does this
mean? You are not the man you were pre
tending to be."
Hudson laughed, and tossed him a little
scrap of bunting, which he had been holding
crumpled up in his hand.
"Ever seen that flag before?" he said.
The German stared at it, his eyes growing
round with amazement.
"The Kaiser's flag has flown on this yacht
at the Kiel Regatta many a time," said Hud
son. "His Majesty used to come and lunch
with me. I don't advise you to shoot me.
He might remember some of my cigars. He
gave me that flag himself. Of course I shan't
use it again not till it's been sprinkled with
holy water. But I thought you might like a
brief exhibition of shirt-sleeve navalism, as I
suppose you'd call it.
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 135
"Most Europeans like us to live up to their
ideas of us. The British do. Ever hear of
Senator Martin? Whenever he's in London
and goes to see his friends in the House of
Commons, he wears a sombrero and a red cow
boy shirt. He says they expect it and like it.
He wouldn't care to do it in New York. As
a fact, you know, we invented the electric tele
graph and the submarine, and a lot of little
things that you fellows have been stealing from
us. Do you hear that?"
There were two sharp clicks in the bows,
followed by a faint sound like the whirring
of an electric fan under water; and Hudson
pulled open the door that led into the fore part
of the ship.
"Gott! Gott/" cried the German, and his
men echoed it inarticulately; for there, in the
semidarkness of the bows of the Morning
Glory, they saw the dim shapes of seamen
crouching beside two gleaming torpedo tubes.
The torpedoes had just been discharged.
"You're too late to save your ship," said
Matthew Hudson. "If you want to save your
own skins you'd better keep still and listen for
Then came a concussion that rocked the
136 WALKING SHADOWS
Morning Glory like a child's cradle and sent
her German visitors lurching and sprawling
round the brass bedstead. When they recov
ered they found a dozen revolvers gleaming in
front of their noses.
"Before we say anything more about this,"
said Hudson, "let's go on deck and look.
"Do you mind giving me that little shoe at
your feet there?"
The officer turned a shade whiter than the
Then, stooping, he picked it up and handed
it to Hudson, who thrust it into his breast
"Thank you!" he said. "Now if you will
all leave your guns on this bed we'll go on
deck and see the traces."
When they reached the deck there was
something that looked like an enormous
drowning cockroach trying to crawl out of the
water four hundred yards away. Round it
there seemed to be a mass of drowning flies.
"It's not a pleasant sight, is it?" said Hud
son. "But it's good to know they were all
fighting men, ready to kill or be killed. No
women and children among them! The
Lusitanla must have looked much worse."
THE MAN FROM BUFFALO 137
"My brother is on board ! Are you not try
ing to save them?" gasped the officer.
Hudson took out the little shoe again and
looked at it. Then he turned to the German
boat's crew, where they huddled, sick with
"Take your boat and pick up as many as
you can," he said.
"It is not safe not till she sinks," a guttural
Almost on the word the cruiser went down
with a rush. The sleek waters and the white
mists closed above her, while the Morning
Glory rocked again like a child's cradle.
"That is true," said Matthew Hudson to
the shivering figure beside him. "And we've
got as many as we can handle on the ship. If
we took more of you aboard, according to the
laws laid down in your text-books, you'd cut
our throats and call us idiotic Yankees for
"Please don't weep. We sent out a call a
minute ago for the Betsy Barton and the Dusty
Miller and the Christmas Day. I'm not an
effete humanitarian myself; but the men on
these trawlers aren't bad sorts. I hope they'll
pick up your brother."
THE LUSITANIA WAITS
ON a stormy winter's night three skip
pers averaging three score years
and five were discussing the news,
around a roaring fire, in the parlor of the
White Horse Inn. Five years ago they had
retired, each on a snug nest-egg. They were
looking forward to a mellow old age in port
and a long succession of evenings at the White
Horse, where they gathered to debate the poli
tics of their district. The war had given them
new topics; but Captain John Kendrick who
had become a parish councilor and sometimes
carried bulky blue documents in his breast
pocket, displaying the edges with careful
pride still kept the local pot a-boiling. He
was mainly successful on Saturday nights,
when the Gazette, their weekly newspaper,
appeared. It was edited by a Scot named
Macpherson, who had learned his job on the
Arbroath Free Press.
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 139
"Macpherson will never be on the council
now," said Captain Kendrick. "There's a
rumor that he's a freethinker. He says that
Christianity has been proved a failure by the
"Well, these chaps of ours now," said Cap
tain Davidson, "out at sea on a night like this,
trying to kill Germans. It's necessary, I
know, because the Germans would kill our
own folks if we gave 'em a chance. But don't
it prove that there's no use for Christianity?
In modern civilization, I mean."
"Macpherson's no freethinker," said Cap
tain Morgan, who was a friend of the editor,
and inclined on the strength of it to occupy
the intellectual chair at the White Horsa.
"Macpherson says we'll have to try again after
the war, or it will be blood and iron all
"He's upset by the war," said Captain Da
vidson, "and he's taken to writing poytry in
his paper. He'd best be careful or he'll lose
"Ah!" said Kendrick. "That's what 'ull
finish him for the council. What we want is
practical men. Poytry would destroy any
man's reputation. There was a great deal of
I 4 o WALKING SHADOWS
talk caused by his last one, about our trawler
chaps. 'Fishers of Men/ he called it ; and I'm
not sure that it wouldn't be considered blas-
phemious by a good many."
Captain Morgan shook his head. "Every
Sunday evening," he said, "my missus asks me
to read her Macpherson's pome in the Gazette,
and I've come to enjoy them myself. Now,
what does he say in 'Fishers of Men'?"
"Read it," said Kendrick, picking the Ga
zette from the litter of newspapers on the table
and handing it to Morgan. "If you know
how to read poytry, read it aloud, the way
you do to your missus. I can't make head or
tail of poytry myself; but it looks blasphe-
mious to me."
Captain Morgan wiped his big spectacles
while the other two settled themselves to lis
ten critically. Then he began in his best
Sunday voice, very slowly, but by no means
Long, long ago He said,
He who could wake the dead t
And walk upon the sea
"Come, follow Me.
"Leave your broivn nets and bring
Only your hearts to sing t
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 141
Only your souls to pray,
Rise, come away.
"Shake out your spirit-sails,
And brave those wilder gales,
And I will make you then
Fishers of men''
Was this, then, what He meant?
Was this His high intent,
After two thousand years
Of blood and tears?
God help us, if we fight
For right and not for might.
God help us if we seek
To shield the weak.
Then, though His heaven be far
From this blind welter of war,
He'll bless us on the sea
"It seems to rhyme all right," said Ken-
drick. "It's not so bad for Macpherson."
"Have you heard," said Davidson reflec
tively, "they're wanting more trawler skippers
down at the base?"
"I've been fifty years, man and boy, at sea,"
said Captain Morgan; "that's half a century,
142 WALKING SHADOWS
"Ah, it's hard on the women, too," said Da
vidson. "We're never sure what boats have
been lost till we see the women crying. I
don't know how they get the men to do it."
Captain John Kendrick stabbed viciously
with his forefinger at a picture in an illus
"Here's a wicked thing now," he said.
"Here's a medal they've struck in Germany to
commemorate the sinking of the Lusitanla.
Here's a photograph of both sides of it. On
one side, you see the great ship sinking, loaded
up with munitions which wasn't there ; but not
a sign of the women and children that was
there. On the other side you see the passen
gers taking their tickets from Death in the
New York booking office. Now that's a fear
ful thing. I can understand 'em making a
mistake, but I can't understand 'em wanting
to strike a medal for it."
"Not much mistake about the Lusitania"
growled Captain Davidson.
"No, indeed. That was only my argy-
ment," replied the councilor. "They're a
treacherous lot. It was a fearful thing to do
a deed like that. My son's in the Cunard;
and, man alive, he tells me it's like sinking a
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 143
big London hotel. There was ladies in eve
ning dress, and dancing in the big saloons
every night ; and^ lifts to take you from one
deck to another; and shops with plate-glass
windows, and smoking-rooms; and glass
around the promenade deck, so that the little
children could play there in bad weather, and
the ladies lay in their deck-chairs and sun
themselves like peaches. There wasn't a sol
dier aboard, and some of the women was
bringing their babies to see their Canadian
daddies in England for the first time. Why,
man, it was like sinking a nursing homel"
"Do you suppose, Captain Kendrick, that
they ever caught that submarine?" asked Cap
tain Morgan. They were old friends, but al
ways punctilious about their titles.
"Ah, now I'll tell you something 1 Hear
The three old men listened. Through the
gusts of wind that battered the White Horse
they heard the sound of heavy floundering
footsteps passing down the cobbled street, and
a hoarse broken voice bellowing, with un
canny abandonment, a fragment of a hymn :
"While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground."
144 WALKING SHADOWS
"That's poor old Jim Hunt," said Captain
Morgan. He rose and drew the thick red
curtains from the window to peer out into the
"Turn the lamp down," said the councilor,
"or we'll be arrested under the anti-aircraft
Davidson turned the lamp down and they
all looked out of the window. They saw the
figure of a man, black against the glimmering
water of the harbor below. He walked with
a curious floundering gait that might be mis
taken for the effects of drink. He waved his
arms over his head like a windmill and bel
lowed his hymn as he went, though the words
were now indistinguishable from the tumult
of wind and sea.
Captain Morgan drew the curtains, and the
three sat down again by the fire without turn
ing up the lamp. The firelight played on the
furrowed and bronzed old faces and revealed
them as worthy models for a Rembrandt.
"Poor old Jimmy Hunt!" said Captain
Kendrick. "You never know how craziness
is going to take people. Jimmy was a terror
for women and the drink, till he was taken off
the Albatross by that German submarine.
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 145
They cracked him over the head with an iron
bolt, down at the bottom of the sea, because
he wouldn't answer no questions. He hasn't
touched a drop since. All he does is to walk
about in bad weather, singing hymns against
the wind. But there's more in it than that."
Captain Kendrick lighted his pipe thought
fully. The wind rattled the windows. Out
side, the sign-board creaked and whined as
"A man like Jim Hunt doesn't go crazy,"
he continued, "through spending a night in a
'IP boat, and then floating about for a bit.
Jimmy won't talk about it now; won't do noth
ing but sing that blasted hymn; but this is
what he said to me when they first brought
him ashore. They said he was raving mad,
on account of his experiences. But that don't
explain what his experiences were. Follow
me? And this is what he said. '/ been
down/ he says, half singing like. 'I been
down, down, in the bloody submarine that
sank the Lusitanla. And what's more' he
says, 'I seen 'em!'
" 'Seen what?' I says, humoring him like,
and I gave him a cigarette. We were sitting
close together in his mother's kitchen. 'Ah!'
146 WALKING SHADOWS
he says, calming down a little, and speaking
right into my ear, as if it was a secret. 'It
was Christmas Eve the time they took me
down. We could hear 'em singing carols on
shore; and the captain didn't like it, so he blew
a whistle, and the Germans jumped to close
the hatchways; and we went down, down,
down, to the bottom of the sea.
" 'I saw the whole ship/ he says; and he
described it to me, so that I knew he wasn't
raving then. 'There was only just room to
stand upright,' he says, 'and overhead there
was a track for the torpedo carrier. The crew
slept in hammocks and berths along the wall ;
but there wasn't room for more than half to
sleep at the same time. They took me
through a little foot-hole, with an air-tight
door, into a cabin.
" 'The captain seemed kind of excited and
showed me the medal he got for sinking the
Lusitania; and I asked him if the Kaiser gave
it to him for a Christmas present. That was
when he and another officer seemed to go mad ;
and the officer gave me a blow on the head
with a piece of iron.
" 'They say I'm crazy,' he says, 'but it was
the men on the "U" boat that went crazy. I
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 147
was lying where I fell, with the blood running
down my face, but I was watching them/ he
says, 'and I saw them start and listen like
trapped weasels. At first I thought the trawl
ers had got 'em in a net. Then I heard a
funny little tapping sound all round the hull
of the submarine, like little soft hands it was,
tapping, tapping, tapping.
" 'The captain went white as a ghost, and
shouted out something in German, like as if
he was calling "Who's there?" and the mate
clapped his hand over his mouth, and they
both stood staring at one another.
" 'Then there was a sound like a thin little
voice, outside the ship, mark you, and sixty
fathom deep, saying, "Christmas Eve, the
Waits, sir!" The captain tore the mate's
hand away and shouted again, like he was ask
ing "Who's there!" and wild to get an answer,
too. Then, very thin and clear, the little voice
came a second time, "The Waits, sir. The
Lusitania, ladies!" And at that the captain
struck the mate in the face with his clenched
fist. He had the medal in it still between his
fingers, using it like a knuckle-duster. Then
he called to the men like a madman, all in Ger
man, but I knew he was telling 'em to rise to
148 WALKING SHADOWS
the surface, by the way they were trying to
" 'The submarine never budged for all that
they could do; and while they were running
up and down and squealing out to one another,
there was a kind of low sweet sound all round
the hull, like a thousand voices all singing
together in the sea:
"Fear not, said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind"
" 'Then the tapping began again, but it was
much louder now; and it seemed as if hun
dreds of drowned hands were feeling the hull
and loosening bolts and pulling at hatchways;
and all at once a trickle of water came
splashing down into the cabin. The captain
dropped his medal. It rolled up to my hand
and I saw there was blood on it. He screamed
at the men, and they pulled out their life-
saving apparatus, a kind of air-tank which
they strapped on their backs, with tubes to
rubber masks for clapping over their mouths
and noses. I watched 'em doing it, and man
aged to do the same. They were too busy to
THE LUSITANIA WAITS 149
take any notice of me. Then they pulled a
lever and tumbled out through a hole, and I
followed 'em blindly. Something grabbed
me when I got outside and held me for a
minute. Then I saw 'em, Captain Kendrick,
I saw 'em, hundreds and hundreds of 'em, in
a shiny light, and sixty fathom down under
the dark sea they were all waiting there, men
and women and poor little babies with hair
like sunshine. . . .
" 'And the men were smiling at the Ger
mans in a friendly way, and unstrapping the
air-tanks from their backs, and saying, "Won't
you come and join us? It's Christmas Eve,
" Then whatever it was that held me let me
go, and I shot up and knew nothing till I
found myself in Jack Simmonds's drifter, and
they told me I was crazy.' '
Captain Kendrick filled his pipe. A great
gust struck the old inn again and again till all
the timbers trembled. The floundering step
passed once more, and the hoarse voice bel
lowed away in the darkness against the bellow
A Savior which is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign.
150 WALKING SHADOWS
Captain Davidson was the first to speak.
"Poor old Jim Hunt!" he said. "There's
not much Christ about any of this war.' 7
"I'm not so sure of that neither," said Cap
tain Morgan. "Macpherson said a striking
thing to me the other day. 'Seems to me,' he
says, 'there's a good many nowadays that are
touching the iron nails.' '
He rose and drew the curtains from the
"The sea's rattling hollow," he said;
"there'll be rain before morning."
"Well, I must be going," said Captain
Davidson. "I want to see the naval secretary
down at the base."
"Why, I'm not too old for a trawler, am I?"
"My missus won't like it, but I'll come with
you," said Captain Morgan; and they went
through the door together, lowering their
heads against the wind.
"Hold on! I'm coming, too," said Captain
Kendrick; and he followed them, buttoning
up his coat.
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR
WE were sitting in the porch of a low
white bungalow with masses of
purple bougainvillea embowering
its eaves. A ruby-throated humming-bird,
with green wings, flickered around it. The
tall palms and the sea were whispering to
gether. Over the water, the West was begin
ning to fill with that Californian sunset which
is the most mysterious in the world, for one is
conscious that it is the fringe of what Euro
peans call the East, and that, looking west
ward across the Pacific, our faces are turned
towards the dusky myriads of Asia. All
along the Californian coast there is a tang of
incense in the air, as befits that silent orchard
of the gods where dawn and sunset meet and
intermingle; and, though it is probably caused
by some gardener, burning the dead leaves of
the eucalyptus trees, one might well believe
that one breathed the scent of the joss-sticks,
152 WALKING SHADOWS
wafted across the Pacific, from the land of
A Japanese servant, in a white duck suit,
marched like a ghostly little soldier across the
lawn. The great hills behind us quietly
turned to amethysts. The lights of Los An
geles ten miles away to the north began to
spring out like stars in that amazing air be
loved of the astronomer; and the evening star
itself, over the huge slow breakers crumbling
into lilac-colored foam, looked bright enough
to be a companion of the city lights.
"I should like to show you the log of the
Evening Star" said my visitor, who was none
other than Moreton Fitch, president of the
insurance company of San Francisco. "I
think it may interest you as evidence that our
business is not without its touches of romance.
I don't mean what you mean," he added cheer
fully, as I looked up smiling. "The Evening
Star was a schooner running between San
Francisco and Tahiti and various other places
in the South Seas. She was insured in our
company. One April, she was reported over
due. After a search had been made, she was
posted as lost in the maritime exchanges.
There was no clue to what had happened, and
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 153
we paid the insurance money, believing that
she had foundered with all hands.
"Two months later, we got word from Ta
hiti that the Evening Star had been found
drifting about in a dead calm, with all sails
set, but not a soul aboard. Everything was in
perfect order, except that the ship's cat was
lying dead in the bows, baked to a bit of sea
weed by the sun. Otherwise, there wasn't the
slightest trace of any trouble. The tables be
low were laid for a meal and there was plenty
of water aboard."
"Were any of the boats missing?"
"No. She carried only three boats and all
were there. When she was discovered, two of
the boats were on deck as usual; and the third
was towing astern. None of the men has been
heard of from that day to this. The amazing
part of it was not only the absence of anything
that would account for the disappearance of
the crew, but the clear evidence that they had
been intending to stay, in the fact that the
tables were laid for a meal, and then aban
doned. Besides, where had they gone, and
how? There are no magic carpets, even in
the South Seas.
"The best brains of our Company puzzled
154 WALKING SHADOWS
over the mystery for a year and more; but at
the end of the time nothing had turned up and
we had to come out by the same door wherein
we went. No theory, even, seemed to fit the
case at all; and, in most mysteries, there is
room for a hundred theories. There were
twelve persons aboard, and we investigated
the history of them all. There were three
American seamen, all of the domesticated
kind, with respectable old mothers in gold-
rimmed spectacles at home. There were five
Kanakas of the mildest type, as easy to handle
as an infant school. There was a Japanese
cook, who was something of an artist. He
used to spend his spare time in painting things
to palm off on the unsuspecting connoisseur as
the work of an obscure pupil of Hokusai,
which I suppose he might have been in a way.
I am told he was scrupulously careful never
to tell a direct lie about it.
"Then there was Harper, the mate, rather
an interesting young fellow, with the wander
lust. He had been pretty well educated.
I believe he had spent a year or two at one
of the Californian colleges. Altogether,
about the most harmless kind of a ship's fam
ily that you could pick up anywhere between
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 155
the Golden Gate and the Baltic. Then there
was Captain Burgess, who was the most do
mesticated of them all, for he had his wife
with him on this voyage. They had been mar
ried only about three months. She was the
widow of the former captain of the Evening
Star, a fellow named Dayrell; and she had
often been on the ship before. In fact, they
were all old friends of the ship. Except one
or two of the Kanakas, all the men had sailed
on the Evening Star for something like two
years under Captain Dayrell. Burgess him
self had been his mate. Dayrell had been
dead only about six months; and the only
criticism we ever heard against anybody
aboard was made by some of Dayrell's rela
tives, who thought the widow might have
waited more than three months before marry
ing the newly promoted Burgess. They sug
gested, of course, that there must have been
something between them before Dayrell was
out of the way. But I hardly believed it. In
any case, it threw no light on the mystery."
"What sort of a man was Burgess?"
"Big burly fellow with a fat white face and
curious little eyes, like huckleberries in a lump
of dough. He was very silent and inclined
156 WALKING SHADOWS
to be religious. He used to read Emerson
and Carlyle, quite an unusual sort of sea-cap
tain. There was a Sartor Resartus in the
cabin with a lot of the queerest passages
marked in pencil. What can you make of it?"
"Nothing at all, except that there was a
woman aboard. What was she like?"
"She was one of our special Californian
mixtures, touch of Italian, touch of Irish,
touch of American, but Italian predominated,
I think. She was a good deal younger than
Burgess; and one of the clerks in our office
who had seen her described her as a 'peach,'
which, as you know, means a pretty woman, or
if you prefer the description of her own lady
friends, Vurry attractive.' '
"She had the dusky Italian beauty, black
hair and eyes like black diamonds, but her
face was very pale, the kind of pallor that
makes you think of magnolia blossoms at dusk.
She was obviously fond of bright colors, tawny
reds and yellows, but they suited her. If I
had to give you my impression of her in a
single word, I should say that she looked like
a gipsy. You know the song, 'Down the
World with Marna, 7 don't you? Well, I
could imagine a romantic vagabond singing it
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 157
about her. By the by, she had rather a fine
voice herself. Used to sing sentimental songs
to Dayrell and his friends in 'Frisco, 'Love's
Old Sweet Song' and that sort of stuff. Ap
parently, they took it very seriously. Several
of them told me that if she had been trained
well, you know the old story every prima
donna would have had to retire from business.
I fancy they were all a little in love with her.
The curious thing was that after Dayrell's
death she gave up her singing altogether.
Now, I think I have told you all the facts
about the ship's company."
"Didn't you say there was a log you wanted
to show me?"
"There were no ship's papers of any kind,
and no log was found on the derelict; but, a
week or two ago, we had a visit from the
brother of the Japanese cook, who made us all
feel like fifteen cents before the wisdom of the
East. I have to go over and see him to-mor
row afternoon. He is a fisherman, lives on
the coast, not far from here. I'd like you to
see what I call the log of the Evening Star. I
won't say any more about it now. It isn't
quite worked out yet; but it looks as if it's
going to be interesting. Will you come to-
158 WALKING SHADOWS
morrow afternoon? I'll call for you at a
quarter after two. It won't take us long in
the automobile. This is where he lives, see?"
I switched on the electric light in the porch
while Fitch spread out a road map, and
pointed to our destination of the morrow.
The Californian night comes quickly, and the
tree-toads that make it musical were chirrup
ing and purring all around us as we walked
through the palms and the red-tasseled pepper
trees to his car. Somewhere among the fune
real clouds and poplarlike spires of the euca
lyptus, a mocking-bird began to whistle one of
his many parts, and a delicious whiff of orange
blossom blew on the cool night wind across
a ranch of a thousand acres, mostly in fruit,
but with a few trees yet in blossom, on the road
to the Sunset Inn.
I watched his red rear lamp dwindling
down that well-oiled road, and let the Eve
ning Star go with it until the morrow, for I
could make little of his yarn, except that Fitch
was not a man to get excited over trifles.
Promptly at the time appointed on the fol
lowing afternoon, Fitch called for me ; and a
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 159
minute later we were gliding through orange
groves along- one of those broad smooth roads
that amaze the European whose impressions
of California have been obtained from tales
of the forty-niners. The keen scent of the
orange blossom yielded to a tang of new in
cense, as we turned into the Sunset Boulevard
and ran down the long vista of tall eucalyptus
trees that stand out so darkly and distinctly
against the lilac-colored ranges of the Sierra
Madre in the distance, and remind one of the
poplar-bordered roads of France. Once we
passed a swarthy cluster of Mexicans under a
wayside palm. Big fragments, gnawed half-
moons, of the blood-red black-pipped water
melon they had been eating, gleamed on the
dark oiled surface of the road, as a splash of
the sunset is reflected in a dark river. Then
we ran along the coast for a little way between
the palms and the low white-pillared houses,
all crimson poinsettias and marble, that looked
as if they were meant for the gods and god
desses of Greece, but were only the homes of
a few score lotus-eating millionaires. In an
other minute, we had turned off the good
highway, and were running along a narrow
sandy road. On one side, rising from the
160 WALKING SHADOWS
road, were great desert hills, covered with
gray-green sage-brush, tinged at the tips with
rusty brown; and, on the other, there was a
strip of sandy beach where the big slow break
ers crumbled, and the unmolested pelicans
waddled and brooded like goblin sentries.
In three minutes more, we sighted a cluster
of tiny wooden houses ahead of us, and pulled
up on the outskirts of a Japanese fishing vil
lage, built along the fringe of the beach it
self. It was a single miniature street, nest
ling under the hill on one side of the narrow
road and built along the sand on the other.
Japanese signs stood over quaint little stores,
with here and there a curious tinge of Ameri
canism. RICE CAKES AND CANDIES were ad
vertised by one black-haired and boyish-look
ing gentleman who sat at the door of his hut,
playing with three brown children, one of
whom squinted at us gleefully with bright
sloe-black eyes. Every tiny house, even when
it stood on the beach, had its own festoon
of flowers. Bare-legged, almond-eyed fisher
men sat before them, mending their nets.
Wistaria drooped from the jutting eaves; and
perhaps only the Japanese could explain the
miracle tall and well-nourished red gera-
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 161
niums rose, out of the salt sea-sand apparently,
around their doors. A few had foregone
their miracles and were content with window
boxes, but all were in blossom. In the center
of the village, on the seaward side, there was
a miniature mission house. A beautifully
shaped bell swung over the roof; and there
was a miniature notice-board at the door.
The announcements upon it were in Japanese,
but it looked as if East and West had certainly
met, and kissed each other there. Some of
the huts had oblong letter boxes of gray tin,
perched on stumps of bamboo fishing poles, in
front of their doors. It is a common device
to help the postman in country places where
you sometimes see a letter-box on a broomstick
standing half a mile from the owner's house.
But here, they looked curiously Japanese, per
haps because of the names inscribed upon
them, or through some trick of arrangement,
for a Japanese hand no sooner touches a dead
staff than it breaks into cherry blossom. We
stopped before one that bore the name of Y.
Kato. His unpainted wooden shack was the
most Japanese of all in appearance; for the
yellow placard underneath the window adver
tising SWEET CAPORAL was balanced by a sin-
162 WALKING SHADOWS
gle tall pole, planted in the sand a few feet to
the right, and lifting a beautiful little bird-
house high above the roof.
Moreton Fitch knocked at the door, which
was opened at once by a dainty creature, a
piece of animated porcelain four feet high,
with a black-eyed baby on her back; and we
were ushered with smiles into a very bare
living-room to be greeted by the polished ma
hogany countenance of Kato himself and the
shell-spectacled intellectual pallor of Howard
Knight, professor in the University of Cali
"Amazing, amazing, perfectly amazing,"
said Knight, who was wearing two elderly tea-
roses in his cheeks now from excitement. "I
have just finished it. Sit down and listen."
"Wait a moment," said Fitch. "I want our
friend here to see the original log of the Eve
"Of course," said Knight, "a human docu
ment of the utmost value." Then, to my sur
prise, he took me by the arm and led me in
front of a kakemono, which was the only deco
ration on the walls of the room.
"This is what Mr. Fitch calls the log of the
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 163
Evening Star/' he said. "It was found among
the effects of Mr. Kato's brother on the
schooner; and, fortunately, it was claimed by
Mr. Kato himself. Take it to the light and
I took it to the window and looked at it with
curiosity, though I did not quite see its bear
ing on the mystery of the Evening Star. It
was a fine piece of work, one of those weird
night-pictures in which the Japanese are mas
ters, for they know how to give you the single
point of light that tells you of the unseen life
around the lamp of the household or the tem
ple. This was a picture of a little dark house,
with jutting eaves, and a tiny rose light in one
window, overlooking the sea. At the brink of
the sea rose a ghostly figure that might only
be a drift of mist, for the curve of the vague
body suggested that the off-shore wind was
blowing it out to sea, while the great gleaming
eyes were fixed on the lamp, and the shadowy
arms outstretched towards it in hopeless long
ing. Sea and ghost and house were suggested
in a very few strokes of the brush. All the
rest, the peace and the tragic desire and a
thousand other suggestions, according to the
164 WALKING SHADOWS
mood of the beholder, were concentrated into
that single pinpoint of warm light in the win
"Turn it over," said Fitch.
I obeyed him, and saw that the whole back
of the kakemono, which measured about four
feet by two, was covered with a fine scrawl of
Japanese characters in purple copying-pencil.
I had overlooked it at first, or accepted it, with
the eye of ignorance, as a mere piece of Orien
"That is what we all did," said Fitch. "We
all overlooked the simple fact that Japanese
words have a meaning. We didn't trouble
about it you know how vaguely one's eye
travels over a three-foot sign on a Japanese
tea-house we didn't even think about it till
Mr. Kato turned up in our office a week or two
ago. You can't read it. Nor can I. But we
got Mr. Knight here to handle it for us."
"It turns out to be a message from Harper,"
said Knight. "Apparently, he was lying
helpless in his berth, and told the Japanese to
write it down. A few sentences here and
there are unintelligible, owing to the refrac
tion of the Oriental mind. Fortunately, it is
Harper's own message. I have made two
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 165
versions, one a perfectly literal one which re
quires a certain amount of re-translation.
The other is an attempt to give as nearly as
possible what Harper himself dictated. This
is the version which I had better read to you
now. The original has various repetitions,
and shows that Harper's mind occasionally
wandered, for he goes into trivial detail some
times. He seems to have been possessed, how
ever, with the idea of getting his account
through to the owners; and, whenever he got
an opportunity, he made the Japanese take up
his pencil and write, so that we have a very
Knight took out a note-book, adjusted his
glasses, and began to read, while the ghostly
original fluttered in my hand, as the night-
wind blew from the sea.
"A terrible thing has happened, and I think
it my duty to write this, in the hope that it may
fall into the hands of friends at home. I am
not likely to live another twenty-four hours.
The first hint that I had of anything wrong
was on the night of March the fifteenth, when
Mrs. Burgess came up to me on deck, looking
very worried, and said, 'Mr. Harper, I am in
great trouble. I want to ask you a question,
166 WALKING SHADOWS
and I want you to give me an honest answer.'
She looked round nervously, and her hands
were fidgeting with her handkerchief, as if she
were frightened to death. 'Whatever your
answer may be/ she said, 'you'll not mention
what I've said to you.' I promised her. She
laid her hand on my arm and said with the
most piteous look in her face I have ever seen,
*I have no other friends to go to, and I want
you to tell me. Mr. Harper, is my husband
"I had never doubted the sanity of Burgess
till that moment. But there was something in
the dreadfulness of that question, from a
woman who had only been married a few
months, that seemed like a door opening into
the bottomless pit.
"It seemed to explain many things that
hadn't occurred to me before. I asked her
what she meant and she told me that last night
Burgess had come into the cabin and waked
her up. His eyes were starting out of his
head, and he tqld her that he had seen Captain
Dayrell walking on deck. She told him it
was nothing but imagination; and he laid his
head on his arms and sobbed like a child. He
said he thought it was one of the deckhands
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 167
that had just come out of the foc'sle, but all
the men were short and smallish, and this was
a big burly figure. It went ahead of him like
his own shadow, and disappeared in the bows.
But he knew it was Dayrell, and there was a
curse on him. To-night, she said, half an
hour ago, Burgess had come down to her,
taken her by the throat, and sworn he would
kill her if she didn't confess that Dayrell was
still alive. She told him he must be crazy.
'My mind may be going,' he said, 'but you
sha'n't kill my soul.' And he called her a
name which she didn't repeat, but began to
cry when she remembered it. He said he had
seen Dayrell standing in the bows with the
light of the moon full on his face, and he
looked so brave and upright that he knew he
must have been bitterly wronged. He looked
like a soldier facing the enemy, he said.
"While she was telling me this, she was
looking around her in a very nervous kind of
way, and we both heard some one coming up
behind us very quietly. We turned round,
and there as God lives stood the living
image of Captain Dayrell looking at us, in the
shadow of the mast. Mrs. Burgess gave a
shriek that paralyzed me for the moment, then
168 WALKING SHADOWS
she ran like a wild thing into the bows, and
before any one could stop her, she climbed
up and threw herself overboard. Evans and
Barron were only a few yards away from her
when she did it, and they both went overboard
after her immediately, one of them throwing
a life-belt over ahead of him as he went.
They were both good swimmers, and as the
moon was bright, I thought we had only to
launch a boat to pick them all up. I shouted
to the Kanakas, and they all came up running.
Two of the men and myself got into one of the
starboard boats, and we were within three feet
of the water when I heard the crack of a re
volver from somewhere in the bows of the
Evening Star. The men who were lowering
away let us down with a rush that nearly cap
sized us. There were four more shots while
we were getting our oars out. I called to the
men on deck, asking them who was shooting,
but got no reply. I believe they were panic-
stricken and had bolted into cover. We
pulled round the bows, and could see nothing.
There was not a sign of the woman or the two
men in the water.
"We could make nobody hear us on the
ship, and all this while we had seen nothing
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 169
of Captain Burgess. It must have been
nearly an hour before we gave up our search,
and tried to get aboard again. We were still
unable to get any reply from the ship, and we
were about to try to climb on board by the
boat's falls. The men were backing her in,
stern first, and we were about ten yards away
from the ship when the figure of Captain Day-
rell appeared leaning over the side of the Eve
ning Star. He stood there against the moon
light, with his face in shadow; but we all of
us recognized him, and I heard the teeth of
the Kanakas chattering. They had stopped
backing, and we all stared at one another.
Then, as casually as if it were a joke, Dayrell
stretched out his arm, and I saw the moon
light glint on his revolver. He fired at us,
deliberately, as if he were shooting at clay
pigeons. I felt the wind of the first shot going
past my head, and the two men at once began
to pull hard to get out of range. The second
shot missed also. At the third shot, he got the
man in the bows full in the face. He fell
over backwards, and lay there in the bottom
of the boat. He must have been killed instan
taneously. At the fourth shot, I felt a sting
ing pain on the left side of my body, but
iyo WALKING SHADOWS
hardly realized I had been wounded at the
moment. A cloud passed over the moon just
then, and the way we had got on the boat had
carried us too far for Dayrell to aim very
accurately, so that I was able to get to the oars
and pull out of range. The other man must
have been wounded also, for he was lying in
the bottom of the boat groaning, but I do not
remember seeing him hit. I managed to pull
fifty yards or so, and then fainted, for I was
bleeding very badly.
"When I recovered consciousness I found
that the bleeding had stopped, and I was able
to look at the two men. Both of them were
dead and quite cold, so that I must have been
unconscious for some time.
"The Evening Star was about a hundred
yards away, in the full light of the moon, but
I could see nobody on deck. I sat watching
her till daybreak, wondering what I should
do, for there was no water or food in the boat,
and I was unarmed. Unless Captain Burgess
and the other men aboard could disarm Day
rell, I was quite helpless. Perhaps my wound
had dulled my wits ; for I was unable to think
out any plan, and I sat there aimlessly for
more than an hour.
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 171
"It was broad daylight, and I had drifted
within fifty yards of the ship, when, to my
surprise, Captain Burgess appeared on deck
and hailed me. 'All right, Harper/ he said,
"I was able to scull the boat alongside, and
Captain Burgess got down into her without a
word and helped me aboard. He took me
down to my berth, with his arm around me,
for I almost collapsed again with the effort,
and he brought me some brandy. As soon as
I could speak, I asked him what it all meant,
and he said, 'The ship is his, Harper; we've
got to give it up to him. That's what it
means. I am not afraid of him by daylight,
but what we shall do to-night, God only
knows.' Then, just as Mrs. Burgess had told
me, he put his head down on his arms, and
began to sob like a child.
" 'Where are the other men?' I asked him.
" 'There's only you and I and Kato,' he said,
'to face it out aboard this ship.'
"With that, he got up and left me, saying
that he would send Kato to me with some food,
if I thought I could eat. But I knew by this
time that I was a dying man.
"There was only one thing I had to do, and
172 WALKING SHADOWS
that was to try to get this account written, and
hide it somehow in the hope of some one find
ing it later, for I felt sure that neither Burgess
nor myself would live to tell it. There was
no paper in my berth, and it was Kato that,
thought of writing it down in this way.
"About an hour later. Burgess has just
been down to see me. He said that he had
buried the two men who were shot in the boat.
I wanted to ask him some questions, but he
became so excited, it seemed useless. Neither
he nor Kato seemed to have any idea where
Dayrell was hiding. Kato believes, in fact,
in ghosts, so that it is no use questioning him.
"I must have lost consciousness or slept very
heavily since the above was written, for I re
membered nothing more till nightfall, when
I woke up in the pitch darkness. Kato was
sitting by me. He lit the lamp, and gave me
another drink of brandy. The ship was dead
still, but I felt that something had gone wrong
"I do not know whether my own mind is
going, but we have just heard the voice of Mrs.
Burgess singing one of those sentimental songs
that Captain Dayrell used to be so fond of. It
seemed to be down in the cabin, and when she
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 173
came to the end of it, I heard Captain Day-
rell's voice calling out, 'EncoreJ Encore/'
just as he used to do. Then I heard some one
running down the deck like mad, and Captain
Burgess came tumbling down to us with the
whites of his eyes showing. 'Did you hear
it?' he said. 'Harper, you'll admit you heard
it. Don't tell me I'm mad. They're in the
cabin together now. Come and look at them.'
Then he looked at me with a curious, cunning
look, and said, 'No, you'd better stay where
you are, Harper. You're not strong enough.'
And he crept on the deck like a cat.
"Something urged me to follow him, even
if it took the last drop of my strength. Kato
tried to dissuade me, but I drained the brandy
flask, and managed to get out of my berth on
to the deck by going very slowly, though the
sweat broke out on me with every step. Bur
gess had disappeared, and there was nobody on
deck. It was not so difficult to get to the sky
light of the cabin. I don't know what I had
expected to see, but there I did see the figure
of Captain Dayrell, dressed as I had seen him
in life, with a big scarf round his throat, and
the big peaked cap. There was an open chest
in the corner, with a good many clothes scat-
174 WALKING SHADOWS
tered about, as if by some one who had been
dressing in a hurry. It was an old chest be
longing to Captain Dayrell in the old days,
and I often wondered why Burgess had left it
lying there. The revolver lay on the table,
and as Dayrell picked it up to load it, the scarf
unwound itself a little around his throat and
the lower part of his face. Then, to my
amazement, I recognized him."
"There," said Knight, "the log of the Eve
ning Star ends except for a brief sentence by
Kato himself, which I will not read to you
"I wonder if the poor devil did really see,"
said Moreton Fitch. "And what do you sup
pose he did when he saw who it was?"
"Crept back to his own berth, barricaded
himself in with Kato's help, finished his ac
count, died in the night, with Dayrell tapping
on the door, and was neatly buried by Burgess
in the morning, I suppose."
"Tidied everything up, and then jumped
"Probably, in his own clothes; for it's
quite true that we did find a lot of Dayrell's
THE LOG OF THE EVENING STAR 175
old clothes in a sea-chest in the cabin. Funny
idea, isn't it, a man ghosting himself like
"Yes, but what did Harper mean by saying
he heard Mrs. Burgess singing in the cabin
"Ah, that's another section of the log re
corded in a different way."
Moreton Fitch made a sign to the little
Japanese, and told him to get a package out of
his car. He returned in a moment, and laid it
at our feet on the floor.
"Dayrell was very proud of his wife's
voice," said Fitch as he took the covers off the
package. "Just before he was taken ill he
conceived the idea of getting some records
made of her songs to take with him on board
ship. The gramophone was found amongst
the old clothes. The usual sentimental stuff,
you know. Like to hear it? She had rather
a fine voice."
He turned a handle, and, floating out into
the stillness of the California night, we heard
the full rich voice of a dead woman :
"Just a song at twilight, when the lights are low,
And the flickering shadows softly come and go."
176 WALKING SHADOWS
At the end of the stanza, a deep bass voice
broke in with, "Encore! Encore!"
Then Fitch stopped it.
When we were in the car on our way home,
I asked if there were any clue to the fate of
the Japanese cook, in the last sentence of the
log of the Evening Star.
"I didn't want to bring it up before his
brother," said Knight, "they are a sensitive
folk; but the last sentence was to the effect
that the Evening Star had now been claimed
by the spirit of Captain Dayrell, and that the
writer respectfully begged to commit harl
Our road turned inland here, and I looked
back toward the fishing village. The night
was falling, but the sea was lilac-colored with
the afterglow. I could see the hut and the lit
tle birdhouse black against the water. On a
sand dune just beyond them, the figures of the
fisherman Kato and his wife were sitting on
their heels, and still watching us. They must
have been nearly a mile away by this time;
but in that clear air they were carved out sharp
and black as tiny ebony images against the
fading light of the Pacific.
THE big liner was running like a ghost,
with all lights out on deck and every
porthole shrouded. This might seem
to the layman almost humorously inconsistent;
for, every minute or two the blast of her fog
horn went bellowing away into the night,
loudly enough to disturb the slumbers of any
U-boat lying "doggo" within five miles.
Duncan Drew and I were alone in the
smoking-room when the steward brought us
our coffee. There were very few passengers;
and the first cabin-folk were curiously differ
ent from those of peace-time. Most of them,
I fancied, were crossing the Atlantic on some
business directly connected with the war.
There was a Belgian professor from Louvain,
for instance, who was taking his family over
to the new post that had been found for him
at an American University; and there was
the wife of an Italian statesman, an American
178 WALKING SHADOWS
woman, who was returning home to raise
funds for the Red Cross of her adopted coun
try. There were others whom it was not so
easy to place ; and Duncan Drew would have
been among them, I think, if I had not known
him. Nobody could have looked more like
a civilian and less like an officer of the British
Navy than Duncan did at this moment. But
I knew the job on which he was engaged.
When he found that I knew the Maine coast,
he asked me to help him in a certain matter.
It was in the days before America entered
the war; and his mission was to present cer
tain evidence of a widespread German con
spiracy to the United States Government. If
they approved, he was to cooperate in unearth
ing the ring-leaders. The conspiracy was a
very simple one. It seemed likely, at the
time, that the U-boats would soon be unable
to operate from European bases ; and the Ger
man admiralty, always looking a few months
ahead, though perhaps ignoring remoter pos
sibilities, was calmly planning, with the help
of its agents in America, to work from the
other side of the water. The thousand-mile
coast line of the United States had many ad
vantages from the German point of view, espe-
GOBLIN PEACHES 179
cially in its lonelier regions, where there are
hundreds of small islands, either uninhabited
or privately owned, and not necessarily owned
by American citizens. The U-boats, it is
true, would have to travel further if they were
to work in European waters. But already
they had been forced by the British patrols to
travel more than fifteen hundred miles from
their European bases, far to the north of
Scotland and west of Ireland, before they
could operate against the Atlantic shipping.
The slight increase in the distance would be
more than repaid by the comparative safety of
the submarines. They planned, in short, to
work from American bases, while a dull-
witted British Navy should be vainly endeav
oring to close European doors, which the
enemy was no longer using.
We didn't talk "shop" in the smoking-room,
even when we were alone, for the ground had
been covered so often. On this particular
evening, I remember, we talked chiefly about
food. The dinner had been excellent; and it
had been a curious sensation to pass from the
slight but obvious restrictions of London, to a
ship which seemed to possess all the resources
of the United States.
i86 WALKING SHADOWS
"I've only been in Berlin once," said Dun
can, "but I was there long enough to know that
they will feel the pinch first, and feel it worst.
They are rum beggars, the Boches. Think of
the higher command marking out the early
stages of the war by the dinners it was going
to have, every menu carefully planned, one
for Brussels, one for Paris, and probably one
for London! I remember lunching at a hotel
when I was in Berlin, and seeing rather a curi
ous thing. There was a table in the center of
the room, laid for what was evidently going to
be a very grand affair. It was laid for about
twenty people, and I saw a thing I had never
seen before. Every champagne glass con
tained a peach. I asked my waiter what it
meant, and he said that von Schramm, the fel
low who is one of the moving spirits behind
this new submarine campaign, was entertain
ing some of his pals that day; and this was one
of his pretty little fads. He thought it im
proved the wine, and also that it prevented
gout, or some rot of that sort."
"How very German! My chief objection
would be that there wouldn't be much room
left for the champagne."
"Trust the German for that, my lad. The
GOBLIN PEACHES 181
glasses were extra large, and of a somewhat
unusual pattern. As a matter of fact, the dec
orative effect was rather pretty. It's queer
the way some things stick in your memory
and others vanish. I believe that my most
vivid impression of the few months I passed
in Germany is that blessed table, waiting for
its guests, with the peaches in the champagne
glasses. I didn't see the guests arrive. Wish
I had now. There's always something a little
stagey, don't you think, about a table waiting
for its guests; but this was more so. It af
fected me like the throne of melodrama wait
ing for its emperor. Funny that it should
have made such an impression, isn't it?"
I thought not; for it was part of Duncan's
business to be impressed by unusual things
more especially when they were symptomatic
of something else. It was this that made him
so useful, for instance, in that exciting little
episode of the cargo of onions which was in
tercepted owing to one of his impressions
in a Scandinavian ship. They were perfectly
good onions, the first few layers of them; and
they looked like perfectly good onions when
you burrowed into the lower layers. But
Duncan had been seized by an absurd de-
182 WALKING SHADOWS
sire to see whether they would bounce or not;
and when he experimented on the deck, they
did bounce, bounce like cricket balls, as high
as the ship's funnels.
This capture of one of the largest cargoes of
contraband rubber was due to an impression
he got from two innocent cablegrams which
had been intercepted and brought to him at
the Admiralty, one of them apparently con
cerning an operation for appendicitis, and the
other announcing the death of the patient.
His intuitions, indeed, resembled those of the
artist; and, though he was one of the smartest
sailors in the Navy, he looked more like a pre-
Raphaelite painter's conception of Galahad
than any one I had ever seen in the flesh. He
looked exceedingly youthful, and the dead
whiteness of his face, which his Philistine
brethren described as lantern-jawed, was
lighted by the alert eyes of the new age. They
had that peculiar glitter which one sees in the
eyes of aviators, and sometimes in those of the
business men accustomed to the electric cities
of the new world. His hands were like those
of a musician, long and quick and nervous.
But I could easily imagine them throttling an
GOBLIN PEACHES 183
We turned in early that night, and I dozed
fitfully, revolving fragments of our some
what disconnected conversation. The beauti
ful sea-cry "All's well" came to me from the
watch in the bow, as the bell tolled the passage
of the hours; and it was not till daybreak that
I slept, only to dream of that table in Berlin,
waiting for its guests, with a peach in every
As we waited in the cold brilliance of New
York harbor, a few mornings later, and looked
with considerable satisfaction at the German
steamers that were huddled like gigantic red
and black cattle in the docks of the Hamburg-
Amerika and North German-Lloyd, a tele
gram was brought aboard which settled our
Duncan was to go down to Washington that
night, while I was to go up to Rockport, a
little fishing village on the coast of Maine.
At this place I was to take a motor-car and
drive some fifteen miles to a certain lonely
strip of pine-clad coast. There we were to
camp out in a tiny cottage, which we could
rent from an old sea-captain whom I knew be-
184 WALKING SHADOWS
fore the war. Two artists, in quest of a quiet
place for work, could hardly find a happier
hunting-ground. I was particularly glad to
find that we could hire a trim little motor-
launch, in which we could go exploring among
the islands that dotted the blue sea for scores
of miles. It was a beautiful coast, and their
dark peaks of pine were printed like tiny black
feathers against a sky of unimaginable sap
phire. Nothing could seem more remote
from the devilries of modern war.
Duncan joined me, a week later, in Captain
Humphrey's cottage it was a small white-
painted wooden house among the pine trees on
the main land, built on the rocks which over
hung a deep blue inlet of the Atlantic. We
discussed our plans on the little veranda, from
which we could see half a dozen of those pine-
crowned islands, which were the objects of
suspicion. There were scores of others we
could not see, to north and south of us, and
we checked them off on the map as we sat
there under the dried sunfish and the other
queer marine trophies, which the old skipper
had brought back with him from the South
The nights were quite cold enough for a
GOBLIN PEACHES 185
fire, though it was only mid-July; and we fin
ished all our plans that evening round the big
stove, the kind of thing you see in the foc'sle
of a steam trawler, which stood in the center
of Captain Humphrey's parlor. We were
more than a little glad indeed to let our pipes
and the good-smelling pine logs waft their
incense abroad; for like all the dwellers in
those parts the old skipper subsisted through
the winter on the codfish which he had salted
and stored during the summer in his attic; and
though his abode was clean and neat as him
self, it had the healthy reek of a trawler, as
well as its heating apparatus. A large oil
lamp, which hung from the ceiling, was none
the worse, moreover, for the moderating influ
ence of a little wood-smoke.
"To-morrow, then," said Duncan, "we take
the motor-launch and have a look at all the
islands between this place and Rockport.
They've been awfully decent down in Wash
ington about it. The only trouble is that they
don't and can't believe it. Exactly the state
of mind we were in, before the war. Every
body laughing at exactly the same things, from
spy-stories to signals on the coast. I met a
man in the Government who had been taken
186 WALKING SHADOWS
to a window at midnight to see a light doing
the Morse code, off this very coast, and he
laughed at it. Didn't believe it. Thought it
was the evening-star. We were like that our
selves. No decent man can believe certain
things, till they are beyond question.
"It's our own fault. We told them all was
well before the war; and I don't see how we
can blame them for thinking their own inter
vention unnecessary now. We keep on telling
America that it's all over except the shouting.
We paint the rosiest kind of picture to-day
about the prospects of the allies; and then we
grumble amongst ourselves because Ameri
cans don't turn the whole of their continent
upside down to come and help us. We delib
erately lulled America to sleep, and then we
kicked because we heard that she had only
one eye open.
"Well, they've given us a blessing on our
wild-goose chase. We may do all the investi
gating we like, as I understand the position,
so long as we leave any resultant action to the
United States. This means, I suppose, in
old Captain Humphrey's language that we
may be 'rubber-necks/ but we mustn't shoot.
All the same, I brought the guns with me."
GOBLIN PEACHES 187
He laid two automatic pistols on the table.
"It's more than likely, from what I've been
able to gather, that we may have to defend our
own skins; and I suppose that's permissible.
Oh, damn that mosquito!" He slapped his
ankle, and complained bitterly that the old
sea-captain's faith in his own tough exterior
had prevented him from providing his doors
and windows with mosquito netting.
It was on the fourth morning of our search
that things began to happen. For my own
part, I had already begun to be so absorbed
in the peace of the world about us, that the
whole business of the war seemed unreal and
our own quest futile. I could no longer won
der at those inhabitants of the new world who
were said to look upon our European Arma
geddon as a bad dream, or a morbid tale in a
book, which it was better not to open. As we
chug-chugged along the coast, close under the
thick pine woods, which grew almost to the
edge of the foam, I thought I had never
breathed an air so fragrant, or seen color so
brilliant in earth and sky and sea. Once or
twice, as we shut off the motor and lay idle, we
i88 WALKING SHADOWS
heard a hermit-thrush in the woods, breaking
the silence with a peculiarly plaintive liquid
call, quite unlike the song of our thrushes at
home, but very beautiful. Here and there we
passed the little red, blue and green buoys of
lobster-pots, shining like jewels as the clear
water lapped about them in that a^nazing sun
We were making for a certain island about
which we had obtained some interesting de
tails from Captain Humphrey himself. He
told us that it had been purchased two or
three years ago by a New Yorker who was
building himself quite a fine place on it. He
seemed to be a somewhat mysterious character,
for he was never seen on the mainland, and all
his supplies were brought up to him on his
own large private yacht.
"There's a wharf on the island," said Cap
tain Humphrey, "with deep water running up
to it, so that a yacht can sail right up to his
porch, as you might say, and you wouldn't
know it was there. The cove runs in on the
slant, and the pines grow between it and the
sea. You wouldn't notice it, unless you ran
right in at the mouth. It makes a fine private
harbor for a yacht, and I believe it has held
GOBLIN PEACHES 189
two at a time. There's a good beach for clams
on the west shore, but of course, it's pri
We certainly saw no sign of yacht or harbor
as we approached the island from the land
ward side; but we made no departure from
our course to look for either. We were bound
for clam-beach, where we intended to do a
"It doesn't look promising," said Duncan,
as we approached the shore. "There doesn't
seem to be anybody to warn trespassers off.
But perhaps clam-beach is not regarded as
dangerous, and the trespassing begins further
In a few moments we had moored the
launch in four feet of water, and were ashore
with a couple of clam-rakes. We had dug a
hundred, as we walked towards the pine-wood,
when Duncan straightened up and said:
"This makes my back ache, and it's blazing
hot. I'm going to have a pipe in the shade,
I shouldered my rake, and followed him
into the wood. As soon as we were well
among the trees, we began to walk quickly up
the thin winding path, which we supposed
190 WALKING SHADOWS
would lead us to the neighborhood of the
"Not at all promising," said Duncan.
"They would never let us ramble about like
this if they had anything to conceal. Just for
the fun of it, we'll go up to the house, and ask
if Mr. Chutney Bilge, the novelist, doesn't
live there. You want his autograph, don't
In five minutes, we had emerged from the
pines, and saw before us a very pleasant look
ing wooden house with a wide veranda,
screened all round with mosquito-netting, and
backed by glimpses of blue sea between dark
pine-trunks. There was not a soul to be seen,
and no sign of its occupants anywhere. We
walked up to the porch, pulled open the netted
door in the outer screen, and knocked on the
door of the house, which stood wide open.
We waited and listened; but there was no
sound except the ticking of a clock. There
was another open door on the right side of the
hall. Duncan felt a sudden impulse to look
through it, and tip-toed quietly forward. He
had no sooner looked than he stood as if
turned to stone, with so queer an expression on
his face that I instantly came to his side to see
GOBLIN PEACHES 191
what Medusa had caused it. It seemed a very
harmless Medusa; but I doubt if anything
could have startled me more at the moment.
We stood there, staring at a table, laid
for lunch. There were twelve champagne
glasses, of a somewhat unusual pattern; and
each of these glasses contained a peach.
Before I could be quite sure whether I was
dreaming or waking, Duncan had dashed into
the room on the other side of the hall, and
grabbed up a bundle of papers that had been
dropped as if by some one in a great hurry, all
over the table. He glanced at one or two.
"But this, this settles it," he cried.
"Come out of it quickly." And, in a few
seconds, we were in the cover of the woods
"Schramm himself is over here, apparently.
He must have come by U-boat," Duncan mut
tered, as we hurried down the path towards
our launch. "If they catch us, we're simply
dead and buried, and past praying for."
"But what does it mean? Where are they?
Why the devil have they left everything open
to the first-comer?"
192 WALKING SHADOWS
"Beats me completely. But we'd better not
wait to inquire. The next move is up to
"Look here, Duncan, we'd better be careful
about our exit from the woods. If any one
happens to have spotted the launch, we may
run our heads into a trap."
I had an uneasy feeling that we were being
watched, and that every movement we made
was plainly seen by a gigantic but invisible
spectator, very much the kind of feeling, I
suppose, that insects must have under the mi
croscope. I felt sure that we were not going
to have it all our own way with this quiet is
land. Duncan hesitated for a moment, but I
was insistent that we should take a look at our
landing place before we left our cover. It
was a characteristic of Duncan that as soon as
he had discovered what he wanted, he became
as forthright a sailor as you could wish to
find; and I knew that if we were to escape
with whole skins, or even to make use of our
discovery, I should have to exercise my own
wits. Fortunately, my own "impressions" be
gan when his finished; for, after he had
yielded to my persuasion, we made a slight
circuit through the woods, and crept out
GOBLIN PEACHES 193
through the long grass on the top of the little
cliff, overlooking the beach where we had
landed. Our clams were still there, in two
neat little dumps. So was the launch, but in
the stern of it there sat a tall red-bearded man,
who looked like a professor, and a couple of
sailors. They were all three talking German
in low, excited tones, and they were all three
armed with rifles.
The launch lay almost directly below us,
and we could hear some of their conversation.
I gathered that the luncheon party had gone
on board a U-boat which had just arrived, to
inspect the latest improvements. Something
had gone wrong. They had submerged ; and
it seemed to be doubtful whether they could
get her up again. That, of course, was why
the house was deserted and our trespassing
unforbidden. It was probably also the reason
why the sentries had been absent, and had only
just discovered our launch on their rounds.
One of the sailors was aggrieved, it seemed to
me, that no effort was being made to obtain
other help for the submerged men than the
island itself could lend. His best friend was
aboard; and he thought it wicked not to give
them a chance, even if it meant their intern-
194 WALKING SHADOWS
ment. The red-bearded professor was ex
plaining to him, however, in the most highly
approved style of modern Germany, that his
feelings were by no means logical ; and that it
was far nobler to sacrifice one's friends than to
endanger the State.
"But, if the State is a kind of devil," said
the sailor, who was a bit of a logician himself,
"I prefer my friends, who in the meantime are
"That is a fallacy," the professor was an
swering. Then, from the direction of the
house, there came a confused sound of shout
A fourth sailor came tearing down the
beach like a maniac.
"Where are the clam-fishers?" he called to
the three philosophers. "They are to be
taken, dead or alive."
At the same moment, I saw the glint of the
sun on the revolvers of several other men, who
were advancing through the woods towards
the beach, peering to right and left of them.
Without a whisper between us, Duncan and
I crawled off along the cliff, through the thick
Obviously, the submarine had come to the
GOBLIN PEACHES 195
surface again, and the whole merry crowd was
on our track. The island was not more than
a quarter of a mile in diameter; and I saw no
hope of evading our pursuers, of whom there
must be at least twenty, judging from the cries
that reached us. There was nothing for it,
but to choose the best place for putting up a
fight; and, as luck would have it, we were
already on the best line of defense. The un
dergrowth between the cliff's edge and the
woods was so thick that nobody could discover
us, except by crawling up the trail by which
we had ourselves entered. It proved to be the
only way by which the cliff's edge could be ex
plored, and we had a full half-mile of the
island's circumference, a long ledge, only a
few feet wide, on which we could crawl in
security for the time being, till the hunt came
up behind us. I remember noticing even in
those moments of peril that the ground and
the bushes were littered with big crab claws
and clam shells that had been dropped and
picked there by the sea gulls and crows ; and
I was thinking in some queer way of the
easy life that these birds lead, when I almost
put my hand on a human skull, protruding
from a litter of loose earth, white flakes of
196 WALKING SHADOWS
shell and crabs' backs. Duncan pulled a heap
of the evil-smelling stuff away with his clam-
rake, and bared the right side of the skeleton.
There was a half-rotten clam-rake in the bony
clutch of the dead man. Evidently, somebody
else had paid the penalty before us. The
body had been buried, and rain, snow, or the
insatiable sea-gulls had uncovered the yellow-
A few yards further on, the cliff projected
so far out that even when one hung right over
the edge, it was only just possible to see where
it met the swirling water, which seemed very
deep here. About fifteen yards out, there was
a big boulder of rock, covered with brown sea
"Look here, Duncan," I said, "there's only
one real chance for us. We've got to swim
to the mainland, but we can't do it by daylight.
We've got to pass six hours till it's dark
enough, and there's only one way to do it.
How far can you swim under water?"
"About fifty feet," he said. "You're going
crazy, old man, it's a mile and a half to the
"Duncan, you're a devil of a man for get
ting into a scrape. But when it comes to
GOBLIN PEACHES 197
getting out of one, I feel a little safer in my
own hands. Can you get as far as that rock
"I think so," he said, and caught on to the
suggestion at once.
The cries were coming along the cliff's edge
now, and it was a question of only half a min
ute before some of our pursuers would be on
the top of us.
"Hurry, then. Swim to the north of the
rock, and don't come up till you're on the other
side. If you feel yourself rising, grab hold of
the sea-weed, and keep yourself down till
you've hauled round the rock. Quick!"
There was a crashing in the bushes, not fifty
yards away, along the cliff, as we dived into
the clear green water. The plunge carried
one further than I expected, and four or five
strokes along the bottom of the sea brought
me to the base of the rock. It was quite easy
to turn it, and I was relieved to find that there
was a good ledge for landing on the further
side, only an inch or two above the level of
the water, and quite screened from the island
by the rock itself, which was about ten feet in
length, and curved in a half-moon shape, with
the horns pointing towards the mainland. In
198 WALKING SHADOWS
fact, it was like a large Chesterfield couch of
stone, covered with brown sea-weed, and reso
lutely turning its back on the island. We
were luckier than I had dared to hope; and
when, in a few seconds, Duncan had coiled
himself on the ledge beside me, I saw by his
grin that he thought we had solved the prob
lem of escape. For five minutes we lay dead
still, listening to the clamor along the cliff
from which we had just dived.
"Thank the Lord, we get the sun here,"
said Duncan at last, as the sounds died away.
"There's only one thing that worries me now.
What are we to do when they come round in a
"They won't think of that for some time," I
said, "but when they do, we must take to the
water again, and work round behind the rock.
We ought to be able to keep it between us and
the blighters, with any luck. We've only got
to keep enough above water to breathe with;
and I've seen some fine camouflage done with
a little sea-weed before now."
We looked at the yard-long fringes of
brown sea-weed, and decided that it would be
possible to defy anything but the closest in
spection of our rock by the simple process of
GOBLIN PEACHES 199
sliding down into the water and pulling the
sea-weed over our heads, on the side next to
the island. There was a reef which would
prevent a boat passing on that side.
Our clothes were almost dried by the blaz
ing sun before we were disturbed again.
Duncan was ruefully contemplating a corn
cob pipe, which he affirmed had been ruined
by the salt water. He poked the stem at a
huge sea-anemone, which immediately sucked
it in, and held it as firmly as a smoker's mouth,
with so ludicrous an effect that Duncan's ris
ible faculties were dangerously moved. I was
half afraid of one of his volcanic guffaws,
when we both heard a sound that struck us
dumb, the sound of oars coming steadily in
our direction. We slipped into the water, ac
cording to plan, hauled ourselves round be
hind the rock, and drew the long thick fringes
of sea-weed over our heads. We held our
selves anchored there by the brown stems, and
kept little more than our noses above the
water. No concealment could have been
more complete. The boat passed on; and in
five minutes we were back again on our ledge,
and drying in the sun.
"Good Lord," said Duncan, suddenly,
200 WALKING SHADOWS
"that was a near shave. I'd forgotten that
He pointed to the sea-anemone, which was
still sucking at the yellow corn-cob pipe. It
looked like the bristling red mouth of some
drunken and half-submerged sea-god, and
could hardly have been missed by the boat's
crew, if they had been looking for anything
"Lord, what a shave!" he said again.
"What would Schramm have said if he had
Then, as we stared at the absurd marine
creature, we rocked in silent spasms of mirth
human beings are made of a very queer clay
picturing the bewildered faces of the Boches
at a sight which would have meant our death.
The sense of humor was benumbed in both
of us before long. The sun was dropping
low, and we did not dry as quickly as before.
There was a stillness on the island, which
boded no good, I thought, though our pursu
ers evidently believed that we had escaped
"They probably think we swam ashore ear
lier in the game," said Duncan. "They must
be sick at not having spotted us."
GOBLIN PEACHES 201
"I wonder what they are up to now?"
"Probably destroying evidence, and getting
ready to clear out, if they really have a notion
that their big men over here may be involved.
.Unfortunately, these papers don't give any
thing away, so far as I can see except that
they're addressed to Schramm; but it's quite
obvious what they were doing."
We lay still and waited, listening to the
strangely peaceful lapping of the water round
our rock, and watching the big sea-perch and
rock-cod that moved like shadows below.
"I wonder if that fellow suspects mischief,"
said Duncan, pointing over the cliff. "By
Jove! isn't he splendid?"
Over the highest point of the island a white-
headed eagle was mounting, in great, slow,
sweeping circles, without one beat of the long,
dark wings that must have measured seven feet
from tip to tip.
"It's too splendid to be the German eagle.
Praise the Lord, it's the native species; and
he's taking his time because he has to take
wide views. He has to soar high enough to
get his bearings."
Up and up, the. glorious creature circled,
till he dwindled in the dazzling blue to the
202 WALKING SHADOWS
size of a sea-gull; and still he wheeled and
mounted, till he became a black dot no bigger
than an English sky-lark. Then he moved,
like a bullet, due east.
"I almost believe in omens," said Duncan.
"Ah, look out ! There they come 1"
The masts of a large yacht, which must
have emerged from the private harbor of
which Captain Humphrey spoke, came slowly
round the island. We had only just time
to slip into the water, behind our rock, be
fore she came into full view. She passed
so near to us that the low sun cast the traveling
shadows of her railing almost within reach of
my hand; and the shadows of her two boats on
the port side came along the clear green water
between us and the island, like the gray ghosts
of some old pirate's dinghies.
She must have been still in sight, and we
were still in our hiding-place, when it seemed
as if the island tried to leap towards the sky,
and we were deafened by a terrific concussion.
Fragments of wood, and great pieces of stone,
dropped all round us in the poppling water,
and more than one deadly missile struck the
"They've blown up the whole show!" cried
GOBLIN PEACHES 203
Duncan. "There can't be anybody left alive
on the island!"
We waited ten minutes or more to see if
other explosions were to follow. Then we
swam for clam-beach to investigate. It was
littered with fragments of the buildings that
had been destroyed. The tarred roof of a
shed had been dropped there almost intact, as
if from the claws of some gigantic eagle. The
pine-wood looked as if it had been subjected
to a barrage fire; and, in many places, the un
dergrowth was burning furiously.
We dashed up the path, with the smoke
stinging our eyes, towards the dull red glow,
which was already beginning to rival the deep
ening crimson of the Maine sunset. The cen
tral portion of the house was still standing,
though much of it had been blown bodily
away, and the fire was laying fierce hands
upon it from all sides. We turned to the
north, where we supposed the wharf had been.
The remains of half a dozen sheds were burn
ing on one side of the cove, and it looked as if
half the cliff had been tumbled into it on the
The heat of the fire along the wharf was so
fierce that we turned back to the house again.
204 WALKING SHADOWS
"Well," said Duncan, "there's evidence
enough to give a few good headlines to the
neutral press, 'Gasoline Explosion on Maine
Coast! W eathly New Yorker Escapes Death
in Fiery Furnace!' Fortunately, there's also
enough for Washington to lay up in its mem
Another section of the house fell as we
looked at it; and we saw the interior of the
dining-room, with the flames licking up the
three remaining walls. By one of those curi
ous freaks of high-explosive, the table was
hardly disarranged ; and our last glimpse of it,
through a fringe of fire, showed us those
twelve queer champagne glasses. They stood
there, flickering like evil goblins, a peach in
every glass. . . .
We watched them for five minutes. Then
the whole scintillating fabric collapsed; and
we sat down to wait for the frantic motor-
boat, which was already thumping towards us,
with the reporter of the Rockport Sentinel
furiously writing in her bows.
"Clerk Sanders and May Margaret
Walked ower yon garden green f
And sad and heavy was the love
That fell thae twa between."
MAY MARGARET was an American
girl, married to a lieutenant in the
British Army named Brian David
son. When the regretful telegram from the
War Office, announcing his depth in action,
was delivered to her in her London apartment,
she read it without a quiver, crumpled it up,
threw it into the fire, and leaned her head
against her arm, under his photograph on the
mantel-piece. When her heart began to beat
again, she went to her bed-room and locked
the door. This was not the Anglo-American
love-affair of fiction. Both of them were pov
erty-stricken in the estimation of their friends;
and it was only by having her black evening
dress "done over," and practising other strict
2o6 WALKING SHADOWS
economies for a whole year, that May Mar
garet had been able to sail from New York
to work in an European hospital. The mar
riage had taken place a little more than three
months ago, while Davidson was home on a
few days' leave.
After the announcement of his death, she
did not emerge from her room until the usual
letter arrived from the front, explaining with
the usual helplessness of the brother officer,
that Davidson was really "one of the best,"
that "everybody liked him," and that "he was
the life and soul of his company." But the
letter contained one thing that she was not ex
pecting, an official photograph of the grave,
a quarter-plate picture of an oblong of loose
earth, marked with a little cross made, appar
ently, of two sticks of kindling wood. And it
was this that had brought her back to life
again. It was so strangely matter-of-fact, so
small, so complete, that it brought her out of
the great dark spaces of her grief. It re
minded her of something that Davidson had
once written in a letter from the trenches.
"Things out here are not nearly so bad as peo
ple at home imagine. At home, one pictures
the war as a great blaze of horror. Out here,
MAY MARGARET 207
things become more sharply defined, as the
lights of a city open up when you approach
them, or as the Milky Way splits itself up into
points of light under the telescope. I have
never seen a dead body yet that looked more
imposing than a suit of old clothes. The real
man was somewhere else."
She examined the photograph with a kind
of curiosity. In this new sense of the reality
of death, the rattle of the traffic outside had
grown strange and dreamlike, and the rattle
of the tea-things and the smell of the buttered
toast which an assiduous, but discreet landlady
placed at her side, seemed as fantastic and re
mote as any fairy-tale. All the trivial details
of the life around her had assumed a new and
mysterious quality. She seemed to be moving
in a phantasmagorical world. The round red
face of the landlady came and went like the
goblin things you may see over your shoulder
in a looking-glass at twilight. And the center
of all this insubstantial dream-stuff was that
one vivid oblong of loose earth, marked with
two sticks of kindling wood, in the neat and
sharply defined official photograph.
There was something that looked like a
black thread entwining the arms of the tiny
208 WALKING SHADOWS
cross; and she puzzled over it stupidly, won
dering what it could be. "I suppose I could
write and ask," she said to herself. Then
an over-mastering desire seized her. She
must go and see it. She must go and see the
one fragment of the earth that remained to
her, if only for the reason that there, perhaps,
she might find the relief of tears. But she had
another reason also, a reason that she would
never formulate, even to herself, an overmas
tering impulse from the depths of her being.
May Margaret had no intimate friends in
London. She had established herself in these
London lodgings with the cosmopolitan inde
pendence of the American girl, whose own
country contains distances as great as that
from London to Petrograd. The world
shrinks a little when your own country is a
continent; and it was with no sense of remote
ness that she now went to the telephone and
rang up the London office of the Chicago Bul
"I want to speak to Mr. Harvey," she said.
"Is this Mr. Harvey? This is Mrs. David
son, Margaret Grant you remember, don't
you? I want to see you about something very
important. You are sending people out to the
MAY MARGARET 209
front all the time, aren't you, in connection
with your newspapers? Well, I want to
know if you can arrange for me to go. . . .
Yes, as a woman correspondent. . . . Oh, they
don't allow it? Not at the British front? . . .
Well, I've got to arrange it somehow. . . .
Won't you come and see me and talk it over?
... All right, at six-thirty. Good-by."
The official photograph was still in her
hand when Mr. William K. Harvey, of the
Chicago Bulletin, was announced. He was a
very young man to be managing the London
office of a great newspaper, but this was not
a disadvantage for May Margaret's purpose.
"So you want to go to the front," he said,
settling down into the arm-chair on the other
side of the fire. "It would certainly make a
great story. We ought to be able to syndicate
it all through the Middle West; but you'll
have to give up the idea of the British fiont.
We might manage the French front, I think."
"But I want particularly to go to Arras.
Surely, you can manage it, Mr. Harvey. You
must know all sorts of influential people here."
Her voice, with its husky contralto notes,
rather like those of a boy whose voice has
lately broken, had always an appeal for Mr.
210 WALKING SHADOWS
Harvey, and it was particularly pleasing just
then. He beamed through his glasses and ran
his hand through his curly hair.
"I was talking to Sir William Robertson
about a very similar proposition only yester
day, and Sir William told me that he'd do
anything on earth for the Chicago Bulletin,
but the War Office, which is in heaven, had
decided finally to allow no women correspond
ents at the British front."
May Margaret rose and went to the win
dow. For a moment she pressed her brow
against the cool glass and, as she stared hope
lessly at the busses rumbling by, an idea came
to her. She wondered that she had not
thought of it before.
"Come here, Mr. Harvey," she said. "I
want to show you something."
He joined her at the window. A bus had
halted by the opposite pavement. The con
ductor was swinging lightly down by the
hand-rail, a very youthful looking conductor,
in breeches and leggings.
"Is that a man or a woman?" said May
"A woman, isn't it?"
"And that?" She pointed to another fig-
MAY MARGARET 211
ure striding by in blue overalls and a slouch
"I don't know. There are so many of them
about now, that on general principles, I guess
it's a woman. Besides, it looks as if it would
be in the army if it were not a woman."
"Yes, but I am an American correspond
ent," said May Margaret.
"Gee!" said Mr. Harvey, surveying her
from head to foot. His face looked as if all
the printing presses of the Chicago Bulletin
were silently at work behind it. She was tall
and lean a college friend had described her
exactly as "half goddess and half gawk."
Her face was of the open-air type. Her hair
would have to be cropped, of course. "Gee!"
he said again. "It would be the biggest scoop
of the war." . . .
A fortnight later, a slender youth in khaki-
colored clothes, with leggings, arrived at the
Foreign Office, presented a paper to a sad-
eyed messenger in the great hall, and was led
to the disreputable old lift which, as usual,
bore a notice to the effect that it was not work
ing to-day. The sad-eyed messenger heaved
the usual sigh, and led the way up three flights
of broad stone stairs to a very dark waiting-
212 WALKING SHADOWS
room. There were three other young men in
the room, but it was almost impossible to see
"Mr. Grant, of the Tribune, wasn't it, sir?"
said the messenger.
"Mr. Martin Grant, of the Chicago Bulle
tin," said May Margaret, and the messenger
shuffled into the distance along a gloomy cor
ridor which seemed to be older than any tomb
of the Pharaohs, and destined to last as long
In a few minutes, a young Englishman, who
looked like an army officer in mufti, but was
really a clerk in the Foreign Office, named
Julian Sinclair, was making himself very
charming to the four correspondents. To one
of them he talked very fluently in Spanish: to
another he spoke excellent Swedish, bridging
several moments of misunderstanding with
smiles and gestures that would have done
credit to a Macchiavelli ; to the third, because
he was a Greek, he spoke French ; and to Mar
tin Grant, because he was an American, he
spoke the language of George Washington,
and behaved as if he were a fellow-country
man of slightly different, possibly more broad-
minded, but certainly erroneous politics.
MAY MARGARET 213
Then he gave them all a few simple direc
tions. He was going to have the pleasure of
escorting them to the front. It was necessary
that they should be accompanied by some one
from the Foreign Office, he explained, in or
der to save them trouble; and they had been
asked to meet him there to-day for purposes of
identification and to get their passports.
These would have to be stamped by both the
British and French military authorities at an
address which he gave them, and they would
please meet him at Charing Cross Station at
twelve o'clock to-morrow morning. It was
all very simple, and Mr. Martin Grant felt
There was a drizzle of rain the next morn
ing, for which May Margaret was grateful.
It was a good excuse for appearing at the sta
tion in the Burberry raincoat, which gave her
not only a respite from self-consciousness, but
an almost military air. Her cloth cap, too,
the peak of which filled her strong young face
with masculine shadows, approximated to the
military shape. It was a wise choice; for the
soft slouch hat, which she had tried at first,
had persistently assumed a feminine aspect,
an almost absurdly picturesque effect, no mat-
214 WALKING SHADOWS
ter how she twisted it or pulled it down on
her close-cropped head.
She was the first of the party to arrive, and
when Julian Sinclair hurried along the plat
form with the three foreign correspondents,
there was no time left for conversation before
they were locked in their compartment of the
military train. They were the only civilians
She dropped into a corner seat with her
newspaper. But her eyes and brain were busy
with the scene outside. The train was
crammed with troops, just as it had been on
that other day when she stood outside on the
platform, like those other women there, and
said good-by to Brian. She was living it all
over again, as she watched those farewells;
but she felt nearer to him now, as if she were
seeing things from his own side, almost as if
she had broken through the barriers and taken
some dream-train to the next world, in order
to follow him.
There was a very young soldier leaning
from the window of the next compartment.
He was talking to a girl with a baby in her
arms. Her wide eyes were fixed on his face
MAY MARGARET 215
with the same solemn expression as those of
the child, dark innocent eyes with the haunted
beauty of a Madonna. They were trying to
say something to each other, but the moment
had made them strangers, and they could not
find the words.
"You'll write," she said faintly.
He nodded and smiled airily. A whistle
blew. There was a banging of doors, and a
roar of cheering. The little mother moved
impulsively forward, climbed on to the foot
board, threw her right arm around the neck of
her soldier, and drew his face down to her
"Stand back there," bellowed the porters.
But the girPs arm was locked round the lad's
neck as if she were drowning, and they took no
notice. The train began to move. A crip
pled soldier, in blue hospital uniform and red
tie, hobbled forward on his crutch, and took
hold of the girl.
"Break away," he said gruffly. "Break
He pulled her back to the platform. Then
he hobbled forward with the moving train and
spoke to the young soldier.
216 WALKING SHADOWS
"If you meet the blighter wot gave me
this," he said, pointing to his amputated thigh,
"you give 'im 'ell for me!"
It was a primitive appeal, but the boy pulled
himself together immediately, as the veteran
face, so deeply plowed with suffering, sav
agely confronted his own. And, as the train
moved on, and the wounded man stood there,
upright on his crutch, May Margaret saw that
there were tears in those fierce eyes eyes so
much older than their years and a tenderness
in the coarse face that brought her heart into
The journey to Folkestone was all a dream,
a dream that she was glad to be dreaming, be
cause she was now on the other side of the bar
rier that separated people at home from those
at the front. The queerest thoughts passed
through her mind. She understood for a
moment the poor groping endeavors of the
war-bereft to break through those darker bar
riers of the material world, and get into touch,
no matter how vaguely, with the world be
yond. She felt that in some strange way she
They had lunch on the train. She forced
herself to drink some black coffee, and nibble
MAY MARGARET 217
at some tepid mutton. She was vaguely con
scious that the correspondents were enjoying
themselves enormously at the expense of the
State, and she shuddered at the grotesque
sense of humor which she discovered amongst
her thoughts at this moment.
The Channel-crossing on the troop-ship
brought her nearer yet. There was hardly
standing-room on any of the decks, and the
spectacle was a very strange one, for all the
crowded ranks in khaki, officers and men, had
been ordered to wear life-belts. A hospital
ship which had just arrived was delivering its
loads of wounded men to the docks, and these
also were wearing life-belts.
The sunset-light was fading as the troop
ship moved out, and the seas had that peculiar
iridescent smoothness, as of a delicately tinted
skin of very faintly burning oils, which they
so often wear when the wind falls at evening.
On one side of the ship a destroyer was plow
ing through white mounds of foam; and over
head there was one of the new silver-skinned
Away to the east, a great line of transports
was returning home with the wounded, and
the horizon was one long stream of black
218 WALKING SHADOWS
smoke. It was all so peaceful that the life
belts seemed an anomaly, and it was difficult
to realize the full meaning of this traffic.
The white cliffs of England wore a spiritual
aspect that only the hour and its grave signifi
cance could lend them; and May Margaret
thought that England had never looked so
beautiful. There were other troop-ships all
crowded, about to follow, and their cheers
came faintly across the water. The throb of
the engines carried May Margaret's ship away
rhythmically, and somewhere on the lower
deck a mouth organ began playing, almost
inaudibly, "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipper-
ary." The troops were humming the tune,
too softly for it to be called singing, and it all
blended with the swish of the water and the
hum of the engine-room, like a memory of
other voices, lost in France and Flanders.
May Margaret looked down at the faces.
They, too, were grave and beautiful with eve
ning light; and the brave unquestioning sim
plicity of it all seemed to her an inexpressibly
noble thing. She thought for a moment that
no pipes among the mists of glen or mountain,
no instrument on earth, ever had the beauty of
that faint music. It was one of those unheard
MAY MARGARET 219
melodies that are better than any heard. The
sea bore the burden. The winds breathed it
in undertone; and its message was one of a
peace that she could not understand. Per
haps, under and above all the tragedies of the
hour, the kingdom of heaven was there.
The cliffs became ghostly in the distance,
and suddenly on the dusky waters astern there
shone a great misty star. It was the first flash
of the shore search-lights, and May Margaret
watched it flashing long after the English
coast had disappeared. Then she lost the
search-light also; and the transport was left,
with the dark destroyer, to find its way,
through whatever perils there might be, to the
French coast. Millions of men she had
read it had been transported, despite mines
and submarines, without the loss of a single
life. She had often wondered how it was pos
sible. Now she saw the answer.
A little black ship loomed up ahead of them
and flashed a signal to their escort. Far
through the dusk she saw them, little black
trawlers and drifters, Lizzie and Maggie and
Betsy Jane, signaling all that human courage
could discover, of friend or foe, on the face of
the waters or under them.
220 WALKING SHADOWS
In a very short time they caught the first
glimpse of the search-lights on the French
coast; and, soon afterwards, they drew into a
dark harbor, amid vague cheerings and occa
sional bursts of the "Marseillaise" from
wharves thronged with soldiers of a dozen na
tionalities. A British officer edged his way
through the crowd below them on the quay,
and waved his hand to Julian Sinclair.
"Ah, there's our military guide, Captain
Crump. Now, if you'll follow me and keep
together, we'll get our passports examined
quickly, and join him," said the latter, obvi
ously relieved at the prospect of sharing his
neutrals with a fellow-countryman.
There followed a brief, but very exact, scru
tiny and stamping of papers by an aquiline
gentleman whose gold-rimmed spectacles sug
gested a microscopical carefulness; a series of
abrupt introductions to Captain Crump on the
gloomy wharf; a hasty bite and sup in a sta
tion restaurant, where blue uniforms mingled
with khaki, and some red-tabbed British staff-
officers, at the next table, were drinking wine
with some turbaned Indian Princes. It was
a strange glimpse of color and light rifting the
darkness for a moment. Then they followed
MAY MARGARET 221
Captain Crump again, through great tarpau
lined munition-dumps and loaded motor-
lorries, to the two motor-cars behind the sta
tion. In these they were whirled, at forty
miles an hour, along one of the poplar-bor
dered roads of France that seemed to-night as
ghostly as those titanic alleys of Ulalume, in
the song of May Margaret's national poet.
Once or twice, as they passed through a cluster
of cottages, the night-wind brought a whirl of
iodoform, and reminded her that flesh and
blood were fighting with pain and death some
where in that darkness.
Every few minutes they passed troops of
dark marching men. Several times it seemed
to her that she recognized the face for which
she was looking, in some momentary glimmer
At last they reached the village where the
guests of G. H. Q. were to be quartered. The
foreigners were assigned to the chateau which
was used as a guest-house ; but there had been
one or two unexpected arrivals, and Captain
Crump asked the American correspondent if
he would mind occupying a room in the house
of the cure, a hundred yards away up the
village street. The American correspondent
222 WALKING SHADOWS
was exceedingly glad to do so, and was soon
engaged in attempts at conversation with the
friendly old man in the black cassock who did
his best to make her welcome. There were no
more difficulties for her that night, except that
the cure had very limited notions as to the
amount of water she required for washing.
They set out early the next morning on their
way to that part of the front which she had
particularly asked to see. The long straight
poplar-bordered road, bright with friendly
sunshine now, absorbed her. She heard the
chatter of the correspondents at her side as in
"Have you read Anatole France?" said the
Spaniard. (He was anxious for improving
conversation, and wore a velvet coat totally
unsuited to the expedition.) But May Mar
garet's every thought was plodding along with
the plodding streams of dusty, footsore men,
in steel hats, and she did not answer. She
pointed vaguely to the women working in the
fields to save the harvest, and the anti-aircraft
guns that watched the sky from behind the
sheaves. At every turn she saw something
that reminded her of things she had seen be
fore, in some previous existence, when she had
MAY MARGARET 223
lived in the life of her lover and traveled
through it all with his own eyes. She was
passing through his existence again. He was
part of all this: these camps by the roadside,
where soldiers, brown as gipsies, rambled
about with buckets; these endless processions
of motor-lorries, with men and munitions and
guns all streaming to the north on every road,
as if whole nations were setting out on a pil
grimage and taking their possessions with
them; these endless processions of closed am
bulances returning, marked with the Red
Once, over a bare brown stretch of open
country, a magnificent body of Indian cavalry
swept towards them, every man sitting his
horse like a prince; and the British officers,
with their sun-burned faces and dusky turbans,
hardly distinguishable from their native
"Glorious, aren't they?' 7 said Sinclair, lean
ing back from his place beside the chauffeur.
"But they haven't had a chance yet. If only
we could get the Boches out of their burrows
and loose our cavalry at them!"
She nodded her head ; but her thoughts were
elsewhere. This picturesque display seemed
224 WALKING SHADOWS
to belong to a bygone age; it was quite unre
lated to this war of chemists and spectacled old
men who disbelieved in chivalry, laughed at
right and wrong, and had killed the happiness
of the entire world.
She noticed, whenever they passed a vil
lage or a farm-house, or even a cattle-shed
now, that the smell of iodoform brooded over
everything. All these wounded acres of
France were breathing it out like the scent of
some strange new summer blossoms. A hun
dred yards away from the ruined outhouses of
every village she began to breathe it. Her
senses were unusually keen, but it dominated
the summer air so poignantly that she could
not understand why these meticulously vivid
men the foreign correspondents were un
aware of it. It turned the whole countryside
into a series of hospital wards; and the Greek
was now disputing with the Spaniard about
home-rule for Ireland.
At last, in the distance, they heard a new
sound that enlarged the horizon as when one
approaches the sea. It was the mutter of the
guns, a deep many-toned thunder, rolling up
and dying away, but without a single break,
incessant as the sound of the Atlantic in storm.
MAY MARGARET 225
The cars halted in what had once been a
village, and was now a rubbish heap of splin
ters and scarred walls and crumbling mortar.
The correspondents alighted and followed
Captain Crump across a broad open plain,
pitted with shell-holes. The incessant thun
der of the guns deepened as they went.
"Don't touch anything without consulting
me," snapped Crump at the Spaniard, who
was nosing round an unexploded shell and
thinking of souvenirs. "The Boches have a
charming trick of leaving things about that
may go off in your hands. A chap picked up
a spiked helmet here the other day. They
buried him in the graveyard that Mr. Grant
wants to see. It's a very small grave. There
wasn't much left of him."
The burial-ground lay close under a ridge
of hills, and they approached it through a
maze of recently captured German trenches.
It was a strange piece of sad ordered garden
ing in a devastated world. Every minute or
two the flash and shock of a concealed how
itzer close at hand shook the loose earth on
the graves, but only seemed to emphasize the
still sleep of this acre. It held a great regi
ment of graves, mounds of fresh-turned earth
226 WALKING SHADOWS
in soldierly ranks, most of them marked with
tiny wooden crosses, rough bits of kindling
wood. Some of the crosses bore names, writ
ten in pencil. There was one that bore the
names of six men, and the grave was hardly
large enough for a child. They had been
blown to pieces by a single shell.
They passed through the French section
first. Here there was an austere poetry, a
simplicity that approached the sublime in the
terrible regularity of the innumerably re
peated inscription, "Mort pour la France."
In the British section there was a striking con
trast. There was not a word of patriotism;
but, though the graves were equally regular,
an individuality of inscription that interested
the Spanish correspondent greatly.
"It is here we pass from Racine to Shake
speare," he said, pointing to a wooden cross
that bore the words :
"In loving memory of Jim,
From his old pal,
The artful dodger,
'Gone but not forgotten.' "
"No, no, no," cried the Greek correspond
ent, greatly excited by the literary suggestion.
MAY MARGARET 227
"From Flaubert to Dickens! Is it not so,
Captain Crump grunted vaguely and moved
on towards the soldier in charge. May Mar
garet followed him, the photograph in her
"We want to find number forty-eight," said
The soldier saluted and led the way to the
other end of the ground. Many of the graves
here had not been named. There had evi
dently been some disaster which made it diffi
cult. Some of them carried the identification
"This is number forty-eight, sir," said the
soldier, pausing before a mound that May
Margaret knew already by heart. "May I
look at the photograph, sir? Yes. You see,
that's the rosary that black thing round the
"The rosary! I don't understand." May
Margaret looked at the string of beads on the
cross that bore the name of Brian Davidson.
"I suppose he was a Roman Catholic, sir.
They must have taken it from the body."
"No, he was not a Catholic," whispered
May Margaret. She felt as if she must drop
228 WALKING SHADOWS
on her knees and call on the mute earth to
speak, to explain, to tell her who lay beneath.
"There must be a mistake," she said at last,
and her own voice rang in her ears like the
voice of a-stranger. "I must find out. How
can I find out?"
Her face was bloodless as she confronted
"There's some terrible mistake," she said
again. "I can't face his people at home till I
find out. He may be " But that awful
word of hope died on her lips.
"I'll do my best," said Captain Crump.
"It's very odd, certainly; but I shouldn't er
hope for too much. You see, if he were
living, they wouldn't have been likely to over
look it. It's possible that he may be there, or
there." He pointed to two graves without a
name. "Or again, he may be missing, of
course, or a prisoner. His lot are down at
Arras now. We'll get into touch with them
to-morrow and I'll make inquiries. You want
to pass a night in the trenches, don't you?
I think it can be arranged for you to go to that
section to-morrow night. Then we can kill
two birds with one stone."
May Margaret thanked him. Behind
MAY MARGARET 229
them, she heard, with that strange sense of
double meanings which the most common
place accidents of life can awake at certain
moments the voice of one of the correspond
ents, still arguing with the others. "Here, if
you like, is Shakespeare," he said:
"How should I your true love know
From another one"
The quotation, lilted inanely as a nursery
rime, pierced her heart like a flight of silver
"You have not a very pleasant business,"
the correspondent continued, addressing a sol
dier at work in an open grave.
"I've 'ad two years in the trenches, sir, and
I'm glad to get it," he replied.
"Little Christian crosses, planted against the
heathen, creeping nearer and nearer to the
Rhine," murmured Julian Sinclair, on the
other side of May Margaret.
The multiplicity of the ways in which it
seemed possible for both soldiers and civilians
to regard the war was beginning to rob her of
the power to think.
On their way back, through the dusk, they
passed a body of men marching to the trenches,
230 WALKING SHADOWS
with a song that she had heard Brian hum
"Fat Fritz went out, all camouflaged, like a beautiful
With daffodil stripes and 'airy legs to see what he
By the light of the moon, in No Man's Land, he climbed
an apple tree
And he put on his big round spectacles, to look for
But I don't suppose he'll do it again
For months, and months, and months;
But I don't suppose he'll do it again
For months, and month, and months; 9
For Archie is only a third class shot,
But he brought him down at once,
I don't suppose he'll do it again
For months, and months, and months.
Soon afterwards, with all these themes
interchanging in her bewildered mind,. May
Margaret heard Julian Sinclair calling
through the dark from the car ahead : "Take
a good look at the next village; it's called
Crecy." The stars that watched the ancient
bowmen had nothing new to tell her ; but a few
minutes later, as another body of troops came
MAY MARGARET 231
tramping through the dark to another stanza
of their song, there seemed to be'an ancient and
unconquerable mass of marching harmonies
within the lilt of the Cockney.ballad; like the
mass of the sea behind the breaking wave :
"'E called 'em the Old Contemptible*,
But 'e only did it once,
And I don't suppose 'e'll do it again,
For months, and months, and months."
They dined at the chateau, and she slipped
away early to the house of the cure. Before
she slept, she took out Brian's last letter and
read it. She sat on the narrow bed, under the
little black crucifix with the ivory Christ look
ing down at her from the bare wall. She was
glad that it was there; for it embodied- the
master-thought of that day's pilgrimage.
Never before had she realized how that sym
bol was dominating this war; how it was re
peated and repeated over thousands of acres of
young men's graves; and with what a new sig
nificance the wayside crosses of France were
now stretching out their arms in the night of
In Brian's letter there was very little about
himself. He had always been somewhat im
patient of the "lyrical people," as he called
232 WALKING SHADOWS
them, who were "so eloquently introspective"
about the war, and he had carried his preju
dice even into his correspondence. She was
reading his letter again to-night because she
remembered that it expressed something of her
own bewilderment at the multiplicity of ways
in which people were talking and thinking of
the international tragedy. "I have heard," he
wrote, "every possible kind of opinion out
here, with the exception of one. I have never
heard any one suggest any possible end for this
war but the defeat of the Hun. But I have
heard, over and over again, ridicule of the
idea that this war is going to end war, or even
make the world better.
"Along with that, I've often heard praise
of the very militaristic system that we are
trying so hard to abolish altogether. Of
course, this is only among certain sets of men.
But this war has become a war of ideas; and
ideas are not always contained or divided by
the lines of trenches. We are fighting things
out amongst ourselves, in all the belligerent
countries, and the most crying need of the
Allies to-day is a leader who can crystallize
their own truest thoughts and ideals for
MAY MARGARET 233
"You know what my dream was, always, in
the days when I was trying my prentice hand
in literature. I wanted to help in the greatest
work of modern times the task of bringing
your country and mine together. Our com
mon language (and that implies so much more
than people realize) is the greatest political
factor in the modern world; and, thank God,
it's beyond the reach of the politicians. In
England, we exaggerate the importance of the
mere politician. We do not realize the su
preme glory of our own inheritance; or even
the practical aspects of it; the practical value
of the fact that every city and town and village
over the whole of your continent paid homage
to Shakespeare during the tercentenary. Car-
lyle was right when he compared that part of
our inheritance with the Indian Empire. It
is in our literature that we can meet and read
each other's hearts and minds, and that has
been our greatest asset during the war. Think
what it will mean when two hundred million
people, thirty years hence, in North America,
are reading that literature and sharing it.
Shelley understood it. You remember what
he says in the 'Revolt of Islam.' The Ger
mans understand, that's why they're so anx-
234 WALKING SHADOWS
ious to introduce compulsory German into
your schools and colleges. But our own reac
tionaries are afraid to understand it.
"After all, this war is only a continuation of
the Revolutionary war, when the Englishmen
who signed the Declaration of Independence
fought an army of hired Germans, directed by
Germans. Even their military maps were
drawn up in German. It's the same war, and
the same cause, and I believe that the New
World eventually will come into it. Then
we shall have a real leadership. The schem
ing reactionaries in Europe will fail to keep
us apart. We shall yet see our flags united.
And then despite all the sneers of the little
folk, on both sides of the Atlantic, we shall
be able to suppress barbarism in Europe and
say (as you and I have said) : Those whom
God hath joined let no man put asunder.
"There seems to be an epidemic of verse
among the armies. I haven't caught it very
badly yet; but these were some of my symp
toms in a spare moment last week:
"How few are they that voyage through the night,
On that eternal quest,
For that strange light beyond our light,
That rest beyond our rest.
MAY MARGARET 235
dnd they who, seeking beauty, once descry
Her face, to most unknown;
Thenceforth like changelings from the sky
Must walk their road alone.
So once I dreamed. So idle was my mood;
But now, before these eyes,
From those foul trenches, black with blood>
W hat radiant legions rise.
And loveliness over the wounded earth awakes
Like wild-flowers in the Spring.
Out of the mortal chrysalis breaks
Immortal wing on wing.
They rise like flowers, they wander on wings of light,
Through realms beyond our ken.
The loneliest soul is companied to-night
By hosts of unknown men."
At ten o'clock the next morning, the two
cars were moving at sixty miles an hour along
a road that ran parallel with the German
trenches. There was a slight screen of canvas
to hide the traffic, for the road by Dead-ManV
Corner was not the safest way into Arras at
that time. But they reached the city without
misadventure, and May Margaret felt nearer
now than ever to the secret of the quest.
236 WALKING SHADOWS
No dream was ever so strange as this great
echoing shell of the deserted city where he,
too, had walked so recently. He, too, had
passed along these cracked pavements, keep
ing close to the wall, in order to escape ob
servation from the enemy, whose lines ran
through one end of the city at this moment.
He had seen these pitiful interiors of shat
tered houses, where sometimes the whole front
had been blown away, leaving the furniture
still intact on two floors, and even pictures, a
little askew, on the walls. He had seen that
little black crucifix over that bed ; crossed this
grass-grown square; and gone into the shat
tered railway-station, where the many-colored
tickets were strewn like autumn leaves over the
glass-littered floor. The Spaniard filled his
pockets with them.
They went down a narrow street to the ruins
of the cathedral. On one of the deserted
houses there was a small placard advertising
the Paris edition of a London paper, the only
sign of the outside world in all that echoing
solitude. The neutrals rejoiced greatly be
fore a deserted insurance office, which still dis
played an advertisement of its exceedingly
reasonable rates for the lives of peaceful citi-
MAY MARGARET 237
zens. Their merriment was stopped abruptly
by a hollow boom that shook the whole city
and rumbled echoing along the deserted streets
from end to end.
"That's a Boche shell," said Crump. "It
sounds as if they've got the cathedral again."
At noon they lunched under the lee of a hill
just outside Arras, that had been drenched
with blood a few weeks earlier. The great
seas of thunder ebbed and flowed incessantly
from sky to sky, as if the hill were the one
firm island in the universe and all the rest
were breaking up and washing around them.
The amazing incongruity of things bewildered
May Margaret again. It was more fantastic
than any dream. They sat there at ease, eat
ing chicken, munching sandwiches, filling
their cups with red wine and white, and end
ing with black coffee, piping hot from the
thermos bottle. Great puffs of brown smoke
rose in the distance where our shells were
dropping along the German line. It looked
as if the trees were walking out from a certain
distant wood. Little blue rings of smoke rose
from the peaceful cigarettes around her.
Bees and butterflies came and went through
the sunshine; and, in the stainless blue sky
238 WALKING SHADOWS
overhead there was a rush and rumor as of
invisible trains passing to and fro. The neu
trals amused themselves by trying to dis
tinguish between our own and the enemy
At two o'clock Crump rose. "I'll take you
along now, Grant, if you are ready," he said.
"The rest of you wait here. I shall be back
in about ten minutes."
May Margaret stumbled after him down
the hill. At the foot, a soldier was waiting;
and, hardly conscious of the fact that she had
exchanged one guide for another, she found
herself plodding silently beside him on her
unchanging quest, toward the communication
"What do they think about things in Eng
land, sir?" said her new companion at last,
with a curiously suppressed eagerness.
"They are very hopeful," said May Mar
"When do they think it will be over?"
"Some of them say in six months."
"Ah, yes. I've been here three years now,
and they always say that. At the end of the
six months they'll say it again."
It was the first open note of depression that
MAY MARGARET 239
May Margaret had heard. "Do most of the
men feel like that?" she said.
"They don't say so, sir, but they all want it
to be over." Then he added, with the dogged-
ness of his kind, "Not till we get what we're
fighting for, of course. You're a correspond
ent, sir, aren't you? Well, I never seen the
real fax put in the papers yet. There was
one of these soldier writers the other day. I
saw his book in the Y. M. C. A. hut. He
said that the only time he nearly broke his
heart was when there was a rumor that Ger
many was asking for peace before he was able
to get into it hisself. That's what I call
bloody selfish, sir. All this poytry! (he spat
into a shell-hole) making pictures out of it
and talking about their own souls. Mind you
I'm all for finishing it properly; but it ain't
right, the way they look at it. It's like
saying they're glad the Belgians had their
throats cut because it's taught their own
bloody selves the beauty of sacrifice. If what
they say is true, why in the hell do they want
the war ever to stop at all? P'raps if it went
on for ever, we should all of us learn the
bloody beauty of it, and keep on learning it
till there wasn't any one left. There was a
240 WALKING SHADOWS
member of Parliament out here the other day.
He saw three poor chaps trying to wash in a
mine-crater full of muddy water. Covered
with lice they was. The paper described it
afterwards. The right honorable gentleman
laughed 'artily, it said, same as they say about
royalty. Always laughing 'artily. P'raps he
didn't laugh. I dunno about that. But if he
did, I'd like him to 'ave a taste of the fun his-
They were entering the long tunnel of the
communication-trench now. The soldier
went ahead, and May Margaret followed,
through smells of earth, and the reek of stale
uniforms, for a mile or more, till they came
to the alert eyes along the fire-step of the front
"Here's Major Hilton, sir." A lean young
man with a thin aquiline nose and a face of
Indian red approached them, stepping like a
cat along the trench.
"Mr. Grant," he said.
May Margaret nodded, and they were about
to shake hands, when one side of the trench
seemed to rise up and smash against their
faces, with a roar that stunned them. May
Margaret picked herself up at once, wiping
MAY MARGARET 241
the bits of grit out of her eyes. The bombard
ment appeared to be growing in intensity.
"That was pretty near," said Major Hilton.
"You'd better come into my dugout till this
He led the way into his gloomy little cav
ern. It was not much of a shelter from a
direct hit; but it would protect them from
flying splinters at least.
"Mr. Davidson was my friend," said May
Margaret at once. "I know his people. I
think there must be some mistake about . . .
about the grave."
"You're not a relative of his, are you?" said
Major Hilton. "Had you known him for
"No. Less than a year."
"Well, I don't mind telling you that there
was a mistake. We discovered it a few hours
after it was made; but we thought it better
not to upset his people by giving them further
"He was killed, then," May Margaret whis
pered ; and, if the darkness of the dugout had
not veiled her face, Major Hilton would not
"Yes. It was a trench raid. The Boches
242 WALKING SHADOWS
took a section of our trenches. When we re
covered it, we found him. You'd better not
tell his people, but I don't mind telling you.
It was a pretty bad case."
"What do you mean?"
"One of those filthy Boche tricks. They'd
nailed him up against the lining of the trench
with bayonets. He was still alive when we
found him. But they'll get it all back.
We're going to give 'em hell to-night."
May Margaret was silent for so long that
Major Hilton peered at her more closely.
Her white face looked like a bruised thing in
"I'm sorry," he said. "Perhaps I shouldn't
have told you. They have done so much of
that kind of thing, I suppose we've got used
to it. Well, you've been tramping about all
day, and if I were you, as you're going to
spend the night here, I should settle down for
a bit in the dugout. The bombardment seems
to be easing off a little, and you'll want to be
awake all night. There'll be some sights com
ing on of the picturesque kind fireworks and
things, which is what you want, I suppose, for
the blessed old public."
Far away, in another section of the trenches,
MAY MARGARET 243
there was a burst of cheering. Major Hilton
pricked up his ears to listen; but it was
drowned immediately in another blast outside
that sealed the mouth of the dugout like a
blow from a gigantic hammer and plunged
them into complete darkness thick with dust
"Are you all right?" said Hilton, in a mo
ment or two. "They've blown the parapet
over us. Our chaps will soon get us out."
They sat down and waited. The sound of
their rescuers' shovels was followed almost
immediately by the pulling away of a sand
bag, and the dusty daylight filtered in again,
bringing with it another roar of cheering,
nearer now, and rolling along the trenches
like an Atlantic breaker.
"What the hell are they shouting about?"
Hilton grunted, as he scrambled through the
opening. May Margaret was about to follow
him, when the abrupt answer struck her mo
"America has declared war, sir."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, sir. They are passing the President's
message along the line. It looks as if they
244 WALKING SHADOWS
May Margaret had moved further back
into the darkness of the dugout. She was
breathing quickly, panting like a thirsty dog.
She dropped on her knees by an old packing-
case in the corner.
"Thank God. Thank God," she repeated,
with her eyes shut. Then the tears came, and
her whole body shook.
A hand touched her shoulder. She rose to
her feet and saw the bewildered face of Major
Hilton, peering again at her own.
"I'm sorry," she said. "It's the first time
I've done it since I was a kid; but IVe been
hoping for this ever since the beginning. It's
my country, you see."
"I've just been looking at the President's
message," said Hilton. "I'm an Englishman,
but if a democracy can discipline itself I'm
not sure that yours won't be the greatest coun
try in the world. I suppose it must be, or the
Lord wouldn't have entrusted so much to you.
He gave you the best that we ever had to give,
and that was our Englishman, George Wash
ington ; and the best thing that George Wash
ington ever did, was to fight the German King
and his twenty thousand Hessians. Eh,
MAY MARGARET 245
It was a little after dusk when the unex
pected happened. There had been a lull in
the bombardment; and, on Major Hilton's
advice, May Margaret was resting in the dug
out in readiness for the long wakeful night of
She lay there, dazed as from shell-shock by
the account of Brian's death; and the declara
tion of war from her own country had burst
upon her with an equal violence, leaving her
stunned in a kind of "No Man's Land," a
desolate hell, somewhere between despair and
triumph. Her world had broken up. Her
mind was no longer her own. Her thoughts
were helpless things between enormous con
flicting forces ; and, as if to escape from their
rending clutches, as if to cling to the present
reality, she whispered to herself the words of
the wounded soldier at Charing Cross station:
"If you meet him, give him hell for me!
Give him hell for me." It seemed as if it
were Brian himself speaking. Once, with a
swift sense of horror, catching herself upon the
verge of insanity, she found that her imagina
tion was furtively beginning to picture his last
agony, and she stopped it, screwing her face
up, like a child pulling faces at a nightmare,
246 WALKING SHADOWS
and making inarticulate sounds to drive it
Of one thing she was quite certain now.
She did not wish to live any longer in a world
where these things were done. She meant, by
hook or by crook, to get to the dangerous bit
of the trench, where our men were only sepa
rated by six yards from the enemy, and to stay
there until she was killed. Even if she
couldn't throw bombs herself, she supposed
that she could hand them up to others. And
any thought that conflicted with this idea she
suppressed, automatically, with her monoto
nous echo of the wounded soldier, "Give them
hell for me."
But she was spared any further trouble
about the execution of her plans; and she
knew, at once, that she had come to the end
of her quest, when she heard the quick sharp
cries of warning outside.
It was a trench-raid, brief, and unimportant
from a military point of view. The news
papers told London, on the next day, that noth
ing of importance had happened. Half a
dozen revolvers cracked. There were curses
and groans, a sound of soft thudding blows and
grunting, gasping men, followed by a loud
MAY MARGARET 247
pig-like squeal. Then May Margaret saw
three faces peering cautiously into the dugout,
faces of that strange brutality, heavy-boned,
pig-eyed, evil-skulled, which has impressed
itself upon the whole world as a distinct re
version from all civilized types of humanity.
She knew them, as one recognizes the smell
of carrion ; and her whole soul exulted as she
seized her supreme chance of striking at the
evil thing. She had picked up a revolver al
most unconsciously, and without pausing to
think she fired three times with a steady hand.
Two of them she knew that she had killed.
The third had been too quick for her, and in
another second she was down on her back, with
a blood-greased boot on her throat, and a
throng of evil-smelling cattle around her.
Unhappily, they did not kill her at once; and
so the discovery was made, amidst a storm of
When the trench was retaken, half an hour
later, a further discovery was made by Major
Hilton. A locket containing a photograph of
Brian Davidson was buried in what remained
of her left breast, as if it had been trying to
hide in her heart. It was almost the only
thing about her that was unhurt
248 WALKING SHADOWS
Major Hilton made no explanations; but
when the body was removed, he gave strict
orders for it to be buried by the side of Lieu
A week later, Mr. Harvey, of the Chicago
Bulletin, was informed that his correspondent,
Mr. Martin Grant, had died of pneumonia.
The authorities left the responsibility of in
forming others, who might be interested, to his
He went to see Julian Sinclair about it; but
he could not discover whether that sincerely
regretful young diplomat with the dazzling
smile and the delightful manners knew any
thing more. It may have been a coincidence
that, shortly afterwards, Mr. Harvey was re
called to the shores of Lake Michigan, and
replaced by another manager.
RACHEL HEPBURN believed that
her first lover had been drawn to her
when she was twenty-two years old
by the way in which she played the violin.
She played it remarkably well; and she was
also exceedingly pretty, in a frank open-air
fashion. Until she was seventeen, she had
lived on the mountainous coast of Cumber
land, where she rode astride, and swam half a
mile every morning before breakfast. Her
family nicknamed her "the Shetland Pony";
and that was her picture to the life, as she
used to come in from her swim, with her face
glowing and her dark eyes like mountain
pools, and the thick mane of hair blowing
about her broad forehead. Her sturdy build
helped the picture at the time; but she had
shot up in height since then, and the phrase
was no longer applicable. At twenty-four,
250 WALKING SHADOWS
she became beautiful, and her music began to
show traces of genius. Unfortunately, she
had the additional attraction of ten thousand
pounds a year in her own right; and, when the
marriage settlement was discussed, she pro
posed to share the money with her three
The young man behaved very badly. She
told him very quietly that this was the re
sult of her own folly; for, in her family,
hitherto, marriages had always been "ar
ranged." He replied for he was an intel
lectual young man, who understood women,
and read the most advanced novelists that
she was one of those who were ruining Eng
land with their feudal ideas. Then they
parted, the young man cursing under his
breath, and Rachel lilting the ballad to which
she had hitherto attributed her good fortune.
"Maxwelton's braes are bonnie, where early fa's the dew,
And it's there that Annie Laurie g'led me her promise
Gi'ed me her promise true, which ne'er forgot shall be,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie, I'd lay me doon and dee' 1
He had quoted it so often in his letters that
she was justified, perhaps, in thinking that it
had influenced her fate. "You know, darling,
that those words were supposed to tell the love
of a soldier, who died in Flanders, fighting for
England, more than a hundred years ago, and
when you sing them, I feel that I, too, . . ."
So it was the obvious thing to toss at him as she
went through the door, holding her head up
almost as gallantly as a soldier. But he didn't
seem to mind, and the parting was final.
Rachel, apparently, minded very much in
deed ; but she kept it to herself and her violin,
till on a certain day, she decided that she must
escape from all her old surroundings and
Her guardian was the only person she con
sulted, and he made no criticism of her scheme
of travel so far as she divulged it. She had
been brought up to complete freedom, while
her parents were alive, and in the six years
since their death, she had proved that she was
capable of taking care of herself. He was
wise or unwise enough not to let her know that
he understood her trouble. But he tried to
express a certain sympathy in his gruff parting
words, "London is a grimy cavern."
"Yes, and the people are grimy, too," she
replied, waving her hand to him, as she went
252 WALKING SHADOWS
out into the fog. She looked brighter than
she had looked for months past. His last
impression of her was that she looked as roses
would look if they could wear furs and carry
stars in their eyes.
She had been studying the sailings of the
ocean-steamers for some time, but it was not
her intention to follow the traveled routes
more than was necessary. Her brain was
busy with a new music, the music of the names
in a hundred tales that she had read. The
Golden Gate and Rio Grande called to her
like chords in a Beethoven symphony. Yoko
hama and Singapore stirred her like Rossini.
But it was the folk-song of travel that she
wanted, something wilder and sweeter even
than Tahiti, some fortunate Eden island in
the South Seas.
Egypt and Ceylon were only incidents on
her way. They only set the fever burning a
little more restlessly in her veins; and her
first moment of content was when the yacht of
thirty tons, which she chartered in San Diego,
carried her out to the long heave of the Pa
cific, and turned southward on the endless trail
to the Happy Islands.
This was a part of her scheme about which
she had not consulted any one at home, or she
might have received some good advice about
the choice of her ship. It was a sturdy little
craft, with small but excellent cabins for her
self and her maid. The captain and his wife
were apparently created for her special bene
fit, being very capable people, with the quality
of effacing themselves. The crew, of half a
dozen Kanakas in white shirts and red pareos,
was picturesque and remote enough from all
the associations of cities to satisfy her desire
The maid was the only mistake, she thought,
and she did not discover this until they had
been a fortnight at sea. Her own maid had
fallen ill at an early stage of her travels, and
had been sent home from Cairo. Rachel had
engaged this new one in San Diego, chiefly
because she thought it necessary to take some
body with her. When Marie Mendoza had
come to do Rachel's hair at San Diego, she
had a somewhat pathetic story to tell about a
husband who had deserted her and forced her
to work for her living. Rachel thought there
might be two sides to the story when she dis
covered that the captain was playing the part
of Samson to this Delilah. It was a vivid
254 WALKING SHADOWS
moonlight picture that she saw in the bows one
night, when she had come up on deck unex
pectedly for a breath of air. Captain Ryan
was an ardent wooer, and he did not see her.
Marie Mendoza looked rather like a rainbow
in the arms of a black-bearded gorilla, and
Rachel retired discreetly, hoping that it was
merely a temporary aberration.
She would have been more disturbed, prob
ably, if she had heard a little of the conversa
tion of this precious pair.
"I tell you, it's a cinch, Mickey. I never
seen pearls like 'em. They're worth fifty
thousand dollars in Tiffany's, if they're worth
a cent. She keeps 'em locked up in her
steamer-trunk, but I seen her take 'em out
"Well, I've been hunting pearls up and
down the South Seas for twenty years, and
never had a chance of making good like this."
But Rachel did not hear the conversation, or
she might have been able to change the course
of events considerably. She might even have
taken an opportunity of explaining to Marie
that the real pearls were in the bank at home,
and that the necklace in her trunk was a clever
imitation, useful when she wished to adorn
herself without too much responsibility, and
worth about thirty-five pounds in London, or
perhaps a little more than one hundred and
fifty dollars in New York.
But Rachel knew nothing of all this ; and so,
on a certain morning, when the Seamew
dropped anchor off the coral island of her
dreams, she went ashore without any misgiv
ings. It was an island paradise, not recog
nized by any map that she had seen, though
Captain Ryan seemed to know all about it.
Rachel had particularly wanted to hear the
real music of the islanders, and Captain Ryan
had assured her that she would find it at its
best among the inhabitants of this island, who
had been unspoiled by travelers, and yet were
among the most gentle of the natives of the
South Seas. Marie Mendoza pleaded a head
ache, and remained on board; but the Cap
tain and his wife accompanied Rachel up
the white beach, leaving the boat in charge of
the Kanakas. A throng of brown-skinned,
flower-wreathed islanders watched them tim
idly from under the first fringe of palm trees;
but the Captain knew how to ingratiate him
self; and, after certain gifts had been prof
fered to the bolder natives, the rest came for-
256 WALKING SHADOWS
ward with their own gifts of flowers and long
stems of yellow fruit. Two young goddesses
seized Rachel by the hands, and examined her
clothes, while the rest danced round her like
the figures from the Hymn to Pan in "En-
Before the morning was over, Rachel had
made firm friends of these two maidens, who
rejoiced in the names of Tinovao and Amaru ;
and, when she signified to them that she
wanted to swim in the lagoon, they danced off
with her in an ecstasy of mirth at the Euro
pean bathing dress which she carried over her
arm, to their own favorite bathing beach,
which was hidden from the landing-place by
a palm-tufted promontory.
It was more than an hour later when she
returned, radiant, with her radiant compan
ions. She was a superb swimmer, and she
had lost all her troubles for the time in that
rainbow-colored revel. She thought of tell
ing the Captain that they would stay here for
some days. She wanted to drink in the beauty
of the island, and make it her own ; to swim in
the lagoon, and bask in the healing sun; to
walk through the palms at dusk, and listen to
the songs of the islanders. But where was the
Captain? Surely, this was the landing-
place. There were the foot-prints and the
mark of the boat on the beach. Then she saw
with a quick contraction of the heart not
only that the boat was missing, but that there
was no sign of the yacht. She stared at the
vacant circle of the sea, and could find no trace
of it. There was no speck on that blazing
Her last doubt as to whether she had been
deliberately marooned was removed by Tino-
vao, who pointed to a heap of her belongings
that had been dumped on the beach, all in
accordance with the best sea-traditions, though
it was due in this case to a sentimental spasm
on the part of Marie Mendoza, who remem
bered the kindness of Rachel at San Diego.
The heap was a small one. But Rachel was
glad to see that it included her violin-case.
She knew that her stay was like to be a long
one. They had been looking for islands out
of the way of ships ; and she knew that it might
even be some years before another sail ap
peared on that stainless horizon. The thieves
would disappear, and they were not likely to
258 WALKING SHADOWS
talk. Her own movements had been so erratic
that she doubted whether her friends could
trace her. But she took it all very pluckily;
so that the round-eyed Amaru and Tinovao
were unable to guess the full meaning of her
plight. They came to the conclusion, and Ra
chel thought it best to encourage them in it,
that she was voluntarily planning to live
amongst them for a little while, and that the
yacht would of course return for her. They
had heard of white people doing these strange
things, and they were delighted at the pros
In a very short time, they had lodged Rachel
in a hut of palm leaves, with all the fruits of
the island at her door. They carried up the
small heap of her possessions, and she gave
them each a little mirror from her dressing
bag, which lifted them into the seventh
heaven. Thenceforward, they were her de
voted slaves. Rachel discovered, moreover,
while they were turning over her possessions
and examining her clothes, that her ignorance
of their language was but a slight barrier
to understanding. They communicated, it
seemed, by a kind of wireless telegraphy,
through that universal atmosphere of their
sex. They helped her to do her hair; and, as
it fell over her shoulders, they held it up to
one another, admiring its weight and beauty.
When it was dark, there came a sound of sing
ing from the beach; and they crowned her
with fresh frangipanni blossoms, and led her
out like a bride, to hear the songs of the
It was a night of music. In the moonlight,
on the moon-white sands, a few of the younger
islanders, garlanded like the sunburnt lovers
of Theocritus, danced from time to time; but,
for the most part, they were in a restful mood,
attuned to the calm breathing of the sea.
Their plaintive songs and choruses rose and
fell as quietly as the night-wind among the
palms; and Rachel thought she had never
heard or seen anything more exquisite. The
beauty of the night was deepened a thousand
fold by her new loneliness. The music
plucked at her heart-strings. Beautiful
shapes passed her, that made her think of
"Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain"
She murmured the lines to herself; .and
260 WALKING SHADOWS
while her lips yet moved, a young islander
stood before her who might have posed as the
model for Endymion. He was hardly darker
than herself, and, to her surprise, he spoke to
her in quaint broken English.
"Make us the music of your own country,"
was what she understood him to say, and Tino-
vao confirmed it by darting off to the hut and
returning with the violin. Rachel took it,
and without any conscious choice of a melody,
began to play and sing the air which had been
pulsing just below the level of her conscious
ness ever since she had left England:
"Like dew on the gowan lying is the fa of her fairy feet,
And like winds in simmer sighing, her voice is low and
Her voice is low and sweet, and she's a' the world to me,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie, I'd lay me doon and dee."
The islanders listened, as if spellbound; but
she could not tell whether the music went
home to any of them, except the boy who lay
at her feet with his eyes fixed on her face.
When the last notes died away, the crowd
broke into applause, with cries of "Malo!
Malo!" But the boy lay still, looking at her,
as a dog looks at his mistress. Then the moon-
light glistened in his eyes, and she thought
that she saw tears. She bent forward a little
to make sure. He rose with a smile, and
lifted her hand to his face, so that she might
feel that his eyes were wet.
"Tears," he said, "and I only listen. But
you you make the music, and no tears are in
your eyes." He looked into her face.
"No," she said, "there are no tears in my
eyes." Then she continued hurriedly, as If
speaking to herself (and perhaps only a musi
cian would have felt that the catch in her voice
went a little deeper than tears) : "That's one
of the things you lose when you go in for
music. It used to be so with me, too."
"I like your music," the boy went on. "My
father English sailor. My mother learn
speak English from him. She teach me.
My father only stay here little time. I never
see English people before this."
Rachel looked at him with a quick realiza
tion of what his words meant. The boy was
at least eighteen years old.
"You remember no ship coming to this
island?" she said.
"No. I never see my father. He only stay
here little time. My mother think for long
262 WALKING SHADOWS
time he will come again. That is how she
die, only a little time ago. Too much wait
ing. Make some more music. You have
made my ears hungry."
But Rachel was facing the truth now, and
she played and sang no more that night.
For a week or two, Rachel spent much time
alone, thinking hard, thinking things out as
she had never done before. She did not quite
understand her isolation till the first shock of
the full discovery had passed. Then, one
morning, sitting alone, and gazing out over the
spotless blue, she found herself accepting the
plain fact, that this might indeed be for ever.
She found herself weighing all the chances, all
that she had lost, and all that yet remained to
her. It dawned upon her, for the first time,
that youth does not lightly surrender the ful
ness of its life, at the first disillusionment.
She knew now that she would have recovered
from that first disastrous love-affair. She
knew now that she had always known it, and
that her search had been only for some healing
dittany, some herb of grace that would heal
her wound more quickly. She faced it all
the loss of her birthright as a woman, the loss
of the unknown lover. She saw herself grow
ing old in this loneliness.
She weighed everything that was left to her,
the freedom from all the complications of life,
the beauty of her prison, the years of youth and
strength that might yet rejoice in the sun and
the sea, and even find some companionship
among these children of nature that rejoiced
in them also. She compared them with the
diseased monstrosities, the hideous bodies and
brutal faces that swarmed in the gray cities of
Europe. She saw nothing to alter her former
opinion here. She was condemned at any rate
to live among a folk that had walked out of an
ode by Keats. But always, at the end, she pic
tured herself growing old, with her own life
Then, one day, a change came over her.
She had lost all count of time in that island
of lasting summer; but she must have been
marooned for many months when it happened.
One afternoon, when she had been swim
ming with Tinovao and Amaru, the two girls
had run up into the woods, to get some fruit,
leaving Rachel to bask on the beach alone.
The sunlight of the last few months had tinted
264 WALKING SHADOWS
her skin with a smooth rosy brown that would
have made it difficult to distinguish her from
a native, except for the contours of her face
and the deep violet of her eyes, as she lay on
that milk-white sand. Before she followed
her friends, she thought she would take one
more ride through the surf. She made her
way out, through the gap in the reef, till she
had reached the right distance. Then she
rested, treading water, while she waited for
the big comber that was to carry her back
It was her civilized intelligence, perhaps,
that betrayed her now, for she turned her back
to the sea for a moment, while she drank in the
beauty of the feathery green palms and deli
cate tresses of the ironwood that waved along
the shore. She was roused from her dreams
by the familiar muffled roar of the approach
ing breaker, and she turned her head a few
seconds too late to take the rush of it as it
ought to have been taken. It was a giant and,
for almost the first time in her life, she knew
the sensation of fear in the sea, as the green
crest crumbled into white high over her. In
that instant, too, she caught a glimpse of a
figure on the reef watching her. It was the
figure of Rua, the boy who spoke English;
and, as the breaker crashed down with all its
tons of water over her head, she carried with
her the impression that he was about to dive
to her rescue. She was whirled helplessly,
heels over head, downward and downward,
then swept forward with the rushing whirl
pools in the blackness below, like a reed in a
subterranean river. She knew that if she
could hold her breath long enough, she would
rise to the surface ; but she had reckoned with
out the perils of the gap in the reef. Twice
she was whirled and caught against a jagged
piece of coral, which would probably have
killed her if it had struck her head. She took
the warning, and held her arms in the best way
she could to ward off any head-blow. A
lacerated body would not matter so much as
the momentary stunning that might prevent
her from keeping afloat when she rose. At
last, when it seemed that she could hold her
breath no longer, she shot with a wild gasp
to the surface again.
She found that she was only half-way
through the gap, not in mid-stream where she
would have been comparatively safe, but in an
eddy of boiling water, close to the reef and
266 WALKING SHADOWS
among sharp fangs of coral that made it im
possible to swim. All that she could do, at
the moment, was to hold on to the coral and
prevent herself from being lacerated against
it. The sharp edges of the little shells, with
which it was covered here, cut her hands, as
the water swirled her to and fro; but she held
on, and looked round for help.
Then she saw that she was not fated to re
ceive help, but to give it; and, like lightning in
a tropic night, the moment changed her world.
She had no time to think it out now; for she
saw the face of Rua, swirling up towards her
through the green water, and it looked like
the face of a drowned man. His head and
arms emerged, and sank again, twice, before
she caught him by the hand and drew him,
with the strength of a woman fighting for life,
to her side.
She was not sure whether he was alive or
dead ; but she saw that, in his hasty plunge to
help her, a dive that no native would have
taken at that place in ordinary circumstances,
he had struck one of the coral jags. Blood
was flowing from his head and, as she held him
floating there helplessly for a minute, the clear
water went away over the white coral tinted
with little clouds of crimson. She waited
for the next big wave, thinking that it would
save or destroy them both. Happily, it had
not broken when it reached them; and, as they
rose on the smooth back of it, she held her
companion by the hand, and struck out fiercely
for a higher shelf of the reef. It had been out
of her reach before ; but the wave carried them
both up to its level, and left them stranded
From this point, the reef rose by easy stages ;
and, with the aid of two more waves, she was
able to lug Rua to a point where there was no
risk of their being washed away, though the
clear water still swirled up about them, and
went away clouded with red. She lay there
for a moment exhausted; but, as her strength
came back to her, the strange sensation that
flashed through her when she had first come
to the surface returned with greater force.
Much has been said and sung about the dawn
of wonder on the primitive mind. This was
an even stranger dawn, the dawn of wonder
on a daughter of the twentieth century. It
seemed to her that she was looking at the world
for the first time, while she lay there panting
and gazing out to sea, with those red stains on
268 WALKING SHADOWS
the white coral, and her hands gripping the
slender brown hands of the half-drowned is
lander. It seemed that she had returned to
her childhood, and that she was looking at a
primal world that she had forgotten. She
saw now that Rua was breathing, and she knew
instinctively that he would recover. The
wave of joy that went through her had some
thing primitive and fierce in it, like the joy of
the wild creatures. She felt like an islander
herself, and when the sea-birds hovered over
head, she called to them, in the island tongue,
and felt as if she had somehow drawn nearer
to them. She looked at the sea with new eyes,
as if it were a fierce old play-mate of her own,
an old tiger that had forgotten to sheath its
claws when it buffeted its cubs. There was a
glory in the savor of life, like the taste of
freedom to a caged bird. Only it was Europe
now, and the world of houses, that seemed the
cage. The sea had never been so blue. The
brine on her lips was like the sacramental wine
of her new kinship with the world. . . .
Then, looking at Rua's face, as the life came
back to it, a wave of compassion went through
her. Every contour of that face told her that
this boy also was a victim of her own kindred.
He, too, was marooned, and more hopelessly
than herself, for there must be a soul within
him that could never even know what it had
lost or what it hungered for, unless, . . . un
less, perhaps, she could help him out of the
treasures of her own memory, and give him
glimpses of that imperial palace whence he
It was growing dark when they slipped into
the water of the lagoon and swam slowly to
wards the beach. There, she helped him to
limp as far as his hut, neither of them speak
ing. He dropped on his knees, as she turned
to go, and laid his face at her feet. She stayed
for a moment, looking at him, and half stooped
to raise him ; but she checked the impulse, and
left him abruptly.
At the edge of the wood, she turned to look
again, and he was there still, in the same atti
tude. There was a dumb pathos in it that re
minded her curiously of certain pictures of her
lost world, the peasants in the Angelus of Mil
let, though this was a picture unmarred by the
curse of Adam, the picture of a dumb brown
youthful god, perfect in physical beauty, pray
ing in Paradise garden to the star that trem
bled above the palms.
270 WALKING SHADOWS
Many women (and most men) in their un
guarded moments, impute their own good and
evil to others; read their own thoughts in the
eyes around them; pity their own tears, or the
tears of Vergil, in the eyes of "Geist." But
Rua was praying to the best he knew.
The prayer was a long one. It lasted, in
various forms, for more than a year. At
dawn, she would wake, and find offerings of
fruit and flowers left at her door by her faith
ful worshiper; and often she would talk with
him on the beach, telling him of her own
country, about which he daily thirsted to hear
more; for the more he learned, the more he
seemed to share her own exile. Music, too,
they shared, that universal language whose
very spirituality is its chief peril; for it is
emotion unattached to facts, and it may mean
different things to different people ; so that you
may accompany the sacking of cities by the
thunders of Wagner, or dream that you see
angels in an empty shrine. Sometimes, in the
evening, Rua would steal like a shadow from
the shadows around her hut, where he had
been waiting to see her pass, and would beg
her to play the music of her own country.
Then she would sing, and he would stand in
the doorway listening, with every pulse of his
body beating time, and one brown foot tapping
in the dust.
One night, she had been wandering with
Tinovao and Amaru by the lagoon, in which
the reflected stars burned so brightly that one
might easily believe the island hung in mid-
heaven. She looked at them for a long time;
then, with her arms round the two girls, who
understood her words only vaguely, she mur
mured to herself: "What does it matter?
What does anything matter when one looks
up there? And life is going . . . life and
She said good-night to her friends, and
laughingly plucked the red hibiscus flower
from behind the shell-like ear of Tinovao as
they parted. When she neared her door, a
shadow stole out of the woods, and stood be
fore her on the threshold. His eyes were
shining like dark stars, the eyes of a fawn.
"Music," he pleaded, "the music of your
Then he saw the red flower that she wore
behind her ear, exactly as Tinovao had worn
272 WALKING SHADOWS
it. He stared at her, as Endymion must have
stared at Diana among the poppies of Latmos,
half frightened, half amazed. He dropped
to his knees, as on that night when she had
saved him. He pressed his face against her
bare feet. They were cold and salt from the
sea. But she stooped now, and raised him.
"In my country, in our country," she said,
"love crowns a man. Happy is the love that
does not bring the woman to the dust."
There followed a time when she was happy,
or thought herself happy. It must have lasted
for nearly seven years, the lifetime of that
dancing ray of sunlight, the small son, whom
she buried with her own hands under a palm-
tree. Then Rua deserted her, almost as a
child forsakes its mother. He was so much
younger than herself, and he took a younger
wife from among the islanders. When she
first discovered his intention, Rachel laughed
mockingly at herself, and said also to her
self, for she knew that she had somehow lost
the power to make Rua understand her,
"Have you, too, become an advanced thinker,
But Rua understood that it was some kind
of mockery; and, as her mockery was keeping
him away from his new fancy, and he was an
undisciplined child, he leapt at her in fury,
seized her by the throat, and beat her face
against the ground. When she rose to her
feet, with the blood running from her mouth,
he saw that he had broken out two of her
teeth. This effectively wrecked her beauty,
and convinced him, as clearly as if he had in
deed been an advanced thinker, that love must
be free to develop its own life, and that, in the
interests of his own soul, he must get away as
quickly as possible. Thereafter, he avoided
her carefully, and she led a life of complete
solitude, spending all her days by the little
grave under the palm-tree.
She lost all count of time. She only knew
that the colors were fading from things, and
that while she used to be able to watch the
waves breaking into distinct spray on the reef,
she could only see now a blur of white, from
her place by the grave. She was growing old,
she supposed, and it was very much like going
to sleep, after all. The slow pulse of the sea,
the voice of the eternal, was lulling her to rest.
274 WALKING SHADOWS
When the schooner Pearl, with its party
of irresponsible European globe-trotters,
dropped anchor off the island, it was the first
ship that had been seen there since the arrival
of the Seamew, the first that had ever been
seen there by many of the young islanders.
The visitors came ashore, shouting and sing
ing, the men in white duck suits, with red and
blue pareos fastened round their waists; the
women in long flowing lava-lavas of yellow
and rose and green, which they had bought in
Tahiti, for they were going to do the thing
properly. The lady in yellow had already
loosened her hair and crowned herself with
frangipanni blossoms. The islanders flocked
around them, examining everything they
wore, and decorating them with garlands of
flowers, just as they had done with Rachel's
party. The new arrivals feasted on the white
beach of the lagoon, in what they believed to
be island fashion ; and when the stars came
out, and the banjos were tired, they called on
the islanders for the songs and dances of the
South Seas. The lady in yellow tittered ap
prehensively, and remarked to her neighbor
in green, that she had heard dreadful things
about some of those dances. But she was
disappointed on this occasion. The plaintive
airs rose and fell around them, like the very
voice of the wind in the palm trees; and the
dancers moved as gracefully as the waves
broke on the shore.
When the islanders had ended their enter
tainment, amidst resounding applause, one of
the young native women called out a name that
seemed to amuse her companions. They in
stantly echoed it, and one of them snatched a
banjo from the hands of a white man. Then
they all flew, like chattering birds, towards a
hut, which had kept its door closed through
out the day.
They clamored round it, gleefully nudging
each other, as if in expectation of a huge joke.
At last, the door opened, and a gray, bent old
woman appeared. She was of larger build
than most of the islanders, and there was some
thing in her aspect that silenced the chatterers,
even though they still nudged each other slyly.
The native with the banjo offered it to her
almost timidly, and said something, to which
the old woman shook her head.
"They say she is a witch," said the Captain
of the Pearl, who had been listening to the
conversation of the group nearest to him.
276 WALKING SHADOWS
"They want her to give us some of her music.
She used to sing songs, apparently, before her
man drove her out of his house, in the old days,
but she has not sung them since. They think
she might oblige our party, for some strange
reason. Evidently, they've got some little
joke they want to play on us. You know these
Kanakas have a pretty keen sense of humor."
The visitors gathered round curiously. An
island witch was certainly something to re
cord in their diaries. The old woman looked
at them for a moment, with eyes like burning
coals through her shaggy elf-locks. They
seemed to remind her of something unpleas
ant. A savage sneer bared her broken teeth.
Then she took the banjo in her shaking hands.
They were queerly distorted by age or some
disease and they looked like the claws of a
land-crab. She sat down on her own thresh
old, and touched the strings absently with her
misshapen fingers. The faint sound of it
seemed to rouse her, seemed to kindle some
sleeping fire within her, and she struck it
The banjo is not a subtle instrument, but
the sound of those two chords drew the crowd
to attention, as a master holds his audience
breathless when he tests his violin before play
"Holy smoke!" muttered the owner of the
banjo, "where did the old witch learn to do
Then the miracle began. The decrepit fin
gers drew half a dozen chords that went like
fire through the unexpectant veins of the Euro
peans, went through them as a national march
shivers through the soul of a people when its
armies return from war. The haggard burn
ing eyes, between the tattered elf-locks, moist
ened and softened like the eyes of a Madonna,
and the withered mouth, with its broken teeth,
began to sing, very softly and quaveringly, at
first, but, gathering strength, note by note, the
words that told of the love of a soldier who
fought in Flanders more than a hundred years
"Maxweltons braes are bonnie, where early fa's the dew,
And it's there that Annie Laurie gi'ed me her promise
"But it's a white woman," said the lady in
the yellow lava-lava, who had expected only
the islanders to shock her, "a white woman
gone native! How disgustinM"
278 WALKING SHADOWS
"Ssh!" said somebody else, "she's going to
give us more."
The old witch hardly seemed conscious of
their presence now. The slumbering sea of
music within her was breaking up the ice
which had sealed and silenced it for so long.
She nodded at them, with shining eyes, and
muttered thickly, an almost childlike boast:
"Oh, but I could do better than that once.
My fingers are stiff. Wait!"
She went into her hut, and returned with
the violin. Tremblingly, she opened a little
packet of violin strings.
"It's my last," she said. "I've kept it very
carefully; but it won't be as good as it used to
The throng watched her breathlessly, as she
made ready, and the trade-wind hushed itself
to sleep among the palms.
"When I was in Europe last," she said, "it
seemed to me there was darkness coming.
People had forgotten the meaning of music
like this. They wanted discord and blood and
wickedness. I didn't understand it. But you
could see it coming everywhere. Horrible
pictures. Women like snakes. Books like
lumps of poison. Hatred everywhere. Even
the musicians hated each other; and if they
thought any one had genius, O ever so little of
that do you know I think they wanted to
kill. Of course, I chose wrong. I ought to
have stayed and fought them. It's too late
now. But you know the meaning of this?
It's the cry over the lost city, before the win
dows were darkened and the daughters of
music brought low."
"Crazy as a loon!" whispered the lady in
the yellow lava-lava.
The old woman stood upright in the shadow
of a tall palm-tree, a shadow that spread round
her on the milk-white beach like a purple star.
Then her violin began to speak, began to cry,
through the great simple melody of the Largo
of Handel, like the soul of an outcast angel.
At the climax of its infinite compassion, two
strings snapped in quick succession, and she
sank to the ground with a sob, hugging the
violin to her breast, as if it were a child.
"That was the last," she said.
They saw her head fall over on her shoul
der, as she lay back against the stem of the
palm, an old, old woman asleep in the deep
280 WALKING SHADOWS
heart of its purple star of shadow; and they
knew, instinctively, even before the Captain
of the Pearl advanced to make quite sure, that
it was indeed the last.
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF
I DON'T know about three acres and a
cow, but every man ought to have his
garden. That's the way I look at it,"
said the old fisherman, picking up another
yard of the brown net that lay across his knees.
"There's gardens that you see, and gardens
that you don't see. There's gardens all shut
in with hedges, prickly hedges that 'ull tear
your hand if you try to make a spy-hole in
them ; and some that you wouldn't know was
there at all invisible gardens, like the ones
that Cap'n Ellis used to talk about.
"I never followed him rightly; for I sup
posed he meant the garden of the heart, the
same as the sentimental song; but he hadn't
any use for that song, so he told me. My wife
sent it to him for a Christmas present, think
ing it would please him; and he used it for
pipe-lights. The words was very pretty, I
thought, and very appropriate to his feelings:
282 WALKING SHADOWS
'Ef I should plant a little seed of love,
In the garden of your heart.
That's how it went. But he didn't like it.
"Then there's other gardens that every one
can see, both market-gardens and flower-gar
dens. Cap'n Ellis told me he knew a man
once that wore a cauliflower in his buttonhole,
whenever he went to chapel, and thought it
was a rose. Leastways, he thought that every
one else thought it was a rose. Kind of an
orstrich he must have been. But that wasn't
the way with Cap'n Ellis. Every one could
see his garden, though he had a nice big hedge
round three sides of it, and it wasn't more than
three-quarters of an acre. Right on the edge
of the white chalk coast it was; and his little
six-room cottage looked like a piece of the
white chalk itself.
"But he was a queer old chap, and he always
would have it that nobody could really see his
garden. I used to take him a few mackerel
occasionally he liked 'em for his supper
and he'd walk in his garden with me for half
an ho'ur at a time. Then, just as I'd be going
he'd give a little smile and say, 'Well, you
haven't seen my garden yet! You must come
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF 283
" 'Haven't seen your garden,' I'd say. 'I've
been looking at it this half hour an' more!'
" 'Once upon a time, there was a man that
couldn't see a joke,' he'd say. Then he'd go
off chuckling, and swinging his mackerel
against the hollyhocks.
"Funny little old chap he was, with a
pinched white face, and a long nose, and big
gray eyes, and fluffy white hair for all the
world like swans' down. But he'd been a
good seaman in his day.
"He'd sit* there, in his porch, with his spy
glass to his eye, looking out over his garden
at the ships as they went up and down the
Channel. Then he'd lower his glass a little to
look at the butterflies, fluttering like little
white sails over the clumps of thrift at the
edge of the cliff, and settling on the little pink
flowers. Very pretty they was too. He
planted them there at the end of his garden,
which ran straight down from his cottage to
the edge of the cliff. He said his wife liked
to see them nodding their pink heads against
the blue sea, in the old days, when she was
waiting for him to come home from one of his
voyages. 'Pink and blue,' he says, 'is a very
pretty combination.' They matched her eyes
284 WALKING SHADOWS
and cheeks, too, as I've been told. But she's
been dead now for twenty-five years or more.
"He had just one little winding path
through the garden to the edge of the cliff;
an' all the rest, at the right time of the year,
was flowers. He'd planted a little copse of
fir trees to the west of it, so as to shelter the
flowers; and every one laughed at him for
doing it. The sea encroaches a good many
yards along this coast every year, and the cliffs
were crumbling away with every tide. The
neighbors told him that, if he wanted a flower-
garden, he'd better move inland.
" 'It was a quarter of a mile inland,' he says,
'when Polly and me first came to live here;
and it hasn't touched my garden yet. It never
will touch it,' he says, 'not while I'm alive.
There are good break-waters down below, and
it will last me my time. Perhaps the trees
won't grow to their full height, but I shan't be
here to see,' he says, 'and it's not the trees I'm
thinking about. It's the garden. They don't
have to.be very tall to shelter my garden. As
for the sea,' he says, 'it's my window, my bay-
window, and I hope you see the joke. If I
was inland, with four hedges around my gar
den, instead of three,' he says, 'it would be
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF 285
like living in a house without a window.
Three hedges and a big blue bay-window,
that's the garden for me,' he says.
"And so he planted it full of every kind of
flowers that he could grow. He had sweet
Williams, and larkspurs, and old man's beard,
and lavender, and gilly-flowers, and a lot of
them old-fashionf d sweet-smelling flowers,
with names tha he used to say were like
church-bells at evening, in the old villages,
out of reach of the railway-lines.
"And they all had a meaning to him which
others didn't know. You might walk with
him for a whole summer's afternoon in his
garden, but it seemed as if his flowers kept the
sweetest part of their scents for old Cap'n
Ellis. He'd pick one of them aromatic
leaves, and roll it in his fingers, and put it to
his nose and say 'Ah,' like as if he was talking
to his dead sweetheart.
" 'It's a strange thing/ he'd say, 'but when
she was alive, I was away at sea for fully three
parts of the year. We always talked of the
time when I'd retire from the sea. We
thought we'd settle down together in our gar
den and watch the ships. But, when that time
came, it was her turn to go away, and it's my
286 WALKING SHADOWS
turn to wait. But there's a garden where we
meet,' he'd say, 'and that's the garden you've
"There was one little patch, on the warmest
and most sheltered side that he called his
wife's garden ; and it was this that I thought
he meant. It was just about as big as her
grave, and he had little clusters of her favorite
flowers there rosemary, and pansies and
Canterbury bells, and her name Ruth, done
very neat and pretty in Sussex violets. It
came up every year in April, like as if the
garden was remembering.
"Parson considered that Cap'n Ellis was a
very interesting man.
" 'He's quite a philosopher/ he said to me
one day; and I suppose that was why the old
chap talked so queer at times.
"One morning, after the war broke out, I'd
taken some mackerel up to Cap'n Ellis.
" 'Are you quite sure they're fresh,' he said,
the same as he always did, though they were
always a free gift to him. But he meant no
" 'Fresh as your own lavender,' I says, and
then we laughs as usual, and sat down to look
at the ships, wondering whether they were
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF 287
transports, or Red Cross, or men-of-war, as
they lay along the horizon. Sometimes we'd
see an air-plane. They used to buzz up and
down that coast all day; and Cap'n Ellis
would begin comparing it through his glass
with the dragon flies that flickered over his
gilly-flowers. There was a southwest wind
blowing in from the sea over his garden, and
it brought us big puffs of scent from the
" 'Hour after hour/ he says, 'day after day,
sometimes for weeks I've known the south
west wind to blow like that. It's the wind
that wrecked the Armada,' he says, 'and,
though it comes gently to my garden, you'd
think it would blow all the scents out of the
flowers in a few minutes. But it don't,' he
says. 'The more the wind blows, the more
sweetness they give out,' he says. 'Have you
ever considered,' he says, 'how one little clump
of wild thyme will go on pouring its heart out
on the wind? Where does it all come from?'
"I was always a bit awkward when ques
tions like that were put to me; so just to turn
him off like I says 'Consider the lilies of the
" 'Ah,' he says, turning to me with his eyes
288 WALKING SHADOWS
shining. 'That's the way to look at it.' I
heard him murmuring another text under his
breath, 'Come, thou south, and blow upon
my garden/ And he shook hands with me
when I said good-bye, as if I'd shown him my
feelings, which made me feel I wasn't treat
ing him right, for I'd only said the first thing
that came into my mind, owing to my awk
wardness at such times.
"Well, it was always disturbing me to think
what might happen to Cap'n Ellis, if one day
he should find his garden slipping away to the
beach. It overhung quite a little already;
and there had been one or two big falls of
chalk a few hundred yards away. Some said
that the guns at sea were shaking down the
"Of course, he was an old man now, three
score years and ten, at least; and my own be
lief was that if his garden went, he would go
with it. The parish council was very anxious
to save a long strip of the cliff adjoining his
garden, because it was their property; and
they'd been building a stone wall along the
beach below to protect it from the high tide.
But they were going to stop short of Cap'n
Ellis's property, because of the expense, and
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF 289
he couldn't afford to do it himself. A few of
us got together in the Plough and tried to
work out a plan of carrying on the wall, by
mistake, about fifteen feet further, which was
all it needed. We'd got the foreman on our
side, and it looked as if we should get it done
at the council's expense after all, which was
hardly honest, no doubt, in a manner of speak
ing, though Cap'n Ellis knew nothing about it.
"But the end came in a way that no wall
could have prevented, though it proved we
were right about the old man having set his
heart in that garden. David Copper, the
shepherd, saw the whole thing. It happened
about seven o'clock of a fine summer morn
ing, when the downs were all laid out in little
square patches, here a patch of red clover, and
there a patch of yellow mustard, for all the
world like a crazy quilt, only made of flowers,
and smelling like Eden garden itself for the
dew upon them.
"It was all still and blue in the sky, and the
larks going up around the dew-ponds and
bursting their pretty little hearts for joy that
they was alive, when, just as if the shadow of
a hawk had touched them, they all wheeled off
and dropped silent.
290 WALKING SHADOWS
"Pretty soon, there was a whirring along
the coast, and one of them air-planes came up,
shining like silver in the morning sun. Cop
per didn't pay much attention to it at first,
for it looked just as peaceable as any of our
own, which he thought it was. Then he sees
a flash, in the middle of Cap'n Ellis's garden,
and the overhung piece, where the little
clumps of thrift were, goes rumbling down to
the beach, like as if a big bag of flour had
been emptied over the side. The air-plane
circled overhead, and Copper thinks it was
trying to hit the coast-guard station, which
was only a few score yards away, though no
body was there that morning but the coast
guard's wife, and the old black figurehead in
front of it, and there never was any guns there
at any time.
"The next thing Copper saw was Cap'n El
lis running out into what was left of his gar
den, with his night-shirt flapping around him >
for all the world like a little white sea-swal
low. He runs down with his arms out, as if
he was trying to catch hold of his garden an'
save it. Copper says he never knew whether
the old man would have gone over the edge of
the cliff or not. He thinks he would, for he
THE GARDEN ON THE CLIFF 291
was running wildly. But before he reached
the edge there was another flash and, when the
smoke had cleared, there was no garden or
cottage or Cap'n Ellis at all, but just another
big bite taken out of the white chalk coast.
"We found him under about fifteen ton of
it down on the beach. The curious thing was
that he was all swathed and shrouded from
head to foot in the flowers of his garden.
They'd been twisted all around him, lavender,
and gilly-flowers, and hollyhocks, so that you'd
think they were trying to shield him from
harm. P'raps they've all gone with him to
one of them invisible gardens he used to talk
about, where he was going to meet his dead
"They buried him on the sunny side of the
churchyard. You can see a bit of blue sea
between the yew trees from where he lies, so
he's got his window still; and there's a very
appropriate inscription on his tombstone:
"Awake, O north wind, and come, thou
south: Blow upon my garden, that the spices
thereof may flow forth."
THE HAND OF THE MASTER
IT was on Christmas Day, 1914, that I re
ceived one of the strangest documents I
had ever read. It was in the form of a
letter from Jonathan Martin, who had made
himself a torch of ambition and fear to many
moths in London by painting portraits that
were certain to be the pictures of the year, but
also certain to reveal all the idiosyncrasies,
good and bad, of their subjects. It was the
fashion to call him cynical. In fact, he was
an artist, and a great one.
His unusual power of eliciting unexpected
meanings from apparently meaningless inci
dents and objects was not confined to his art.
In private conversation, he would often startle
you with a sentence that was like the striking
of a match in a dark room. You didn't know
that the room was dark until he spoke; and
then, in a flash, mysterious relationships at
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 293
which you had never guessed, were estab
lished. You caught a glimpse of an order
and a meaning that you had not discerned
before. The aimless thing over which you
had barked your shin became a coal scuttle;
the serried row of dark objects that irritated
your left elbow became the works of Shake
speare; and, if you were lucky, you perhaps
discovered the button by which you could
switch on the electric light, and then sit down
by the hearth and read of "beauty, making
beautiful old rhyme."
But this is a very faint hint of the kind of
illumination with which he would surprise
you on all kinds of occasions. I shall never
forget the way in which he brought into a
queer juxtaposition "the Day" that Germany
had been toasting for forty years and the
final request for an answer before midnight,
which was embodied in the British ultimatum.
He would give you a patch of unexpected or
der in the chaos of politics, and another in the
chaos of the creeds patches that made you
feel a maddening desire to widen them until
they embraced the whole world. You felt
sure that he himself had done this, that he
lived in a re-integrated universe, and that if
294 WALKING SHADOWS
only there were time enough he could give
you the whole scheme. In short, he saw the
whole universe as a work of art; and he con
ceived it to be his business, in his own art, to
take this or that apparently isolated subject
and show you just the note it was meant to
strike in the harmony of the whole. He was
very fond of quoting the great lines of Dante,
where he describes the function of the poet as
that of one who goes through the world and
where he sees the work of Love, records it.
But, please to remember, this did not imply
that the subject was necessarily a pleasant one.
Beauty was always there, but the beauty was
one of relationships, not of the thing itself.
As he once said, "an old boot in the gutter
will serve as a subject if you can make it sig
nificant, if you can set it in relation to the
enduring things." It is necessary to make this
tedious preface to his odd letter, or the point
of it may be lost.
"I want to tell you about the most haunting
and dramatic episode I have encountered dur
ing these years of war," he wrote. "It was
a thing so slight that I hardly know how to put
it into words. It couldn't be painted, because
it includes two separate scenes, and also in
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 295
paint it would be impossible to avoid the
merely sentimental effect.
"It happened in London, during the very
early days of the struggle. One afternoon, I
was riding down Regent Street on the top of
a bus. The pavements were crowded with the
usual throng. Women in furs were peering
into the windows of the shops. Newspaper
boys were bawling the latest lies. Once, I
thought I saw a great scribble of the Hand
that writes history, where a theater pos
ter, displaying a serpentine woman, a kind
of Aubrey-Beardsley vampire, was half ob
literated by a strong diagonal bar of red, bear
ing the words, 'Kitchener 'wants a hundred
thousand men! My mind was running on
symbols that afternoon, and I wondered if it
did perhaps mean the regeneration of art and
life in England at last.
"Then we overtook a strange figure, a blind
man, tapping the edge of the pavement with
a rough stick, cut out of some country hedge
row. He was carrying, in his left hand, a
four-foot pole, at the top of which there was
nailed a board, banner-wise, about three feet
long and two feet wide. On the back of the
board, as we overtook him, I read the French
296 WALKING SHADOWS
text in big red letters: VENEZ A MOI, VOUS
TOUS QUI ETES TRAVAILLES ET CHARGES, ET JE
"On the other side of the board, as we halted
by the curb a little in front of him, there was
the English version of the same text, in big
black letters : 'COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT
LABOR AND ARE HEAVY-LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE
"The blind man was tall and lean-faced,
and held himself very upright. He was
poorly dressed, but very clean and neat. The
tap of his stick was like the smart tap of a
drum, and he marched more rapidly than any
of those who were going in the same direc
"There were several things about him that
puzzled me. There was no advertisement of
any sect, or any religious meeting, nothing but
the two texts on his placard. He went past
us like a soldier, and he carried it like the flag
of his regiment. He did not look as if he
were asking for alms. The pride on his face
forbade the suggestion; and he never slack
ened his quick pace for a moment. He
seemed entirely unrelated to the world around
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 297
"Possibly, I thought, he was one of those
pathetic beings whose emotions had been so
stirred by the international tragedy that, de
spite their physical helplessness, they were
forced to find some outlet. Perhaps he was
an old soldier, blinded in some earlier war.
Perhaps he was merely a religious fanatic.
In any case, in the great web of the world's
events, he seemed to be a loose fantastic
thread; and although he was carrying a more
important message than any one else, nobody
paid any attention to him.
"In a few moments, the bus had carried my
thoughts and myself into other regions, and,
for the time; I forgot him. I occupied my
self, as I often do, in composing a bit of dog
gerel to the rhythm of the wheels. Here it is.
It is pretty bad, but the occasion may make it
Once, as in London busses t
At dusk I used to ride.
The faces Hogarth painted
Would rock from side to side.
All gross and sallow and greasy,
And dull and leaden-eyed.
They nodded there before me
In such fantastic shape,
298 WALKING SHADOWS
The donkey and the gosling,
The sheep, the whiskered ape,
With so much empty chatter,
So many and foolish lies,
I lost the stars of heaven
Through looking in their eyes.
"Late in the afternoon, I was returning
westward, along the Strand. I remember
walking slowly to look at the beauty of the
sunset sky, against which the Nelson column,
in those first days of the fight, rose with a more
spiritual significance than ever before. The
little Admiral stood like a watchman, looking
out to sea, from the main mast of our Ship of
State, against that dying glory. It was the
symbol of the national soul, high and stead
fast over the great dark lions, round which so
many quarreling voices had risen, so many
quarreling faces had surged and drifted
away like foam in the past. This was the
monument of the enduring spirit, a thing to
still the heart and fill the eyes of all who speak
our tongue to-day.
"I was so absorbed in it that I did not notice
the thick crowd, choking the entrances to
Charing Cross Station, until I was halted by
it. But this was a very different crowd from
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 299
those of peace-time. They were all very si
lent, and I did not understand what swarming
instinct had drawn them together. Nor did
they understand it themselves yet. 'I think
they are expecting something/ was the only
reply I got to my inquiry.
"I made my way round to the front of the
station, but the big iron gates were closed and
guarded by police. Nobody was allowed to
enter the station. Little groups of railway
porters were clustered here and there, talking
in low voices. I asked one of these men what
" 'They're expecting something, some train.
But we don't know what it is bringing.'
"As he spoke, there was a movement in the
crowd. A compact body of about forty am
bulance men marched through, into the open
space before the station. Some of them were
carrying stretchers. They looked grave and
anxious. Some of their faces were tense and
white, as if they too were expecting something,
something they almost dreaded to see. This
was very early in the war, remember, before
we knew what to expect from these trains.
"The gates of the station swung open. The
ambulance men marched in. A stream of
3oo WALKING SHADOWS
motor ambulances followed. Then the gates
were closed again.
"I waited, with the waiting crowd, for half
an hour. It was impossible now to make one's
way through the dense crush. From where I
stood, jammed back against the iron railings,
in front of the station, I could see that all the
traffic in the Strand was blocked. The busses
were halted, and the passengers were standing
up on the top, like spectators in some enor
mous crowded theater. The police had more
and more difficulty in keeping the open space
before the station. At last, the gates were
swung apart again, and the strangest proces
sion that London had ever seen began to come
"First, there were the sitting-up cases
four soldiers to a taxicab, many of them still
bandaged about the brows with the first blood
stained field dressings. Most of them sat like
princes, and many of them were smiling; but
all had a new look in their faces. Officers
went by, gray-faced; and the measure of their
seriousness seemed to be the measure of their
intelligence, rather than that of their wounds.
Without the utterance of a word, the London
crowd began to feel that here was a new thing.
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 301
The army of Britain was making its great
fighting retreat, before some gigantic force
that had brought this new look into the faces
of the soldiers. It was our first real news
from the front. From the silent faces of these
men who had met the first onset with their
bodies, we got our first authentic account of
the new guns and the new shells, and the new
hell that had been Igosed over Europe.
"But the crowd had not yet fully realized it.
A lad in khaki came capering out of the sta
tion, waving his hands to the throng and shout
ing something that sounded like a music-hall
jest. The crowd rose to what it thought was
the old familiar occasion.
" 'Hello, Tommy! Good boy, Tommy!
Shake hands, Tommy I Are we down
hearted, Tommy? 7 The old vacuous roar be
gan and, though all the faces near me seemed
to have two eyes in them, every one began to
look cheerful again.
"The capering soldier stopped and looked
at them. Then he made a grotesque face, and
thrust his tongue out. He looked more like
a gargoyle than a man.
"The shouts of Tommy, Tommy,' still con
tinued, though a few of the shouters were evi-
302 WALKING SHADOWS
dently puzzled. Then a brother soldier, with
his left arm in the sling, took the arm of the
comedian, and looked a little contemptuously
at the crowd.
" 'Shell-shock,' he said quietly. And the
crowd shouted no more that day. It was not
a pleasant mistake ; and it was followed by a
procession of closed ambulances, containing
the worst cases.
"Then came something newer even than
wounded men, a motley stream of civilians, the
Belgian refugees. They came out of the sta
tion like a flock of sheep, and the fear of the
wolf was still in their eyes. The London
crowd was confronted by this other crowd, so
like itself, a crowd of men in bowler hats and
black coats, of women with children clinging
to their skirts; and it was one of the most dra
matic meetings in history. The refugees were
carrying their household goods with them, as
much as could be tied in a bundle or shut in a
hand-bag. Some of the women were weep
ing. One of them I heard afterwards had
started with four children but had been sep
arated from the eldest in the confusion of their
flight. It was doubtful whether they would
ever be re-united.
THE HAND OF THE MASTER 303
"Now, as this new crowd streamed out of
the gates of the station towards the vehicles
that had been prepared for them, some of their
faces lifted a little, and a light came into them
that was more than the last radiance of the
sunset. They looked as if they had seen a
friend. It was a look of recognition; and
though it was only a momentary gleam, it had
a beauty so real and vivid that I turned my
head to see what had caused it.
"And there, over the sea of faces that
reached now to the foot of the Nelson column,
I saw something that went through me like
great music. Facing the gates of the station,
and lifting out of the midst of the crowd like
the banner of a mighty host, nay, like the ban
ner of all humanity, there was a placard on a
pole. The sunset-light caught it and made it
blaze like a star. It bore, in blood-red letters,
the solemn inscription that I had seen in the
earlier part of the day: 'VENEZ A MOI, VOUS
TOUS QUI ETES TRAVAILLES ET CHARGES, ET JE
"My blind man had found his niche in the
universe. It was hardly possible that he was
even conscious of what he was doing; hardly
possible that he knew which side of his ban-
304 WALKING SHADOWS
ner was turned towards the refugees, whether
it was the English, that would mean nothing
to them, or the French that would speak to
them like a benediction. He had been swung
to his place and held in it by external forces,
held there, as I myself was jammed against
the iron railings. But he had become, in one
moment, the spokesman of mankind; and if
he had done nothing else in all his life, it had
been worth living for that one unconscious
"You may be interested to hear the conclu
sion of the doggerel which came into my head
as I went home :
Now, as I ride through London,
The long wet vistas shine,
Beneath the wheeling searchlights,
As they were washed with wine,
And every darkened window
Is holy as a shrine.
The deep-eyed men and women
Are fair beyond belief,
Ennobled by compassion,
And exquisite with grief.
Along the streets of sorrow
A river of beauty rolls.
The faces in the darkness
Are like immortal souls.
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