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Full text of "Walking shadows; sea tales and others"

HAROLD L. LEUPP 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

DAVIS 



3/^/2.2. 



HAROLD L. LEUPP 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

DAVIS 



WALKING SHADOWS 



WORKS BY ALFRED NOYES 

COLLECTED POEMS 2 Vols. 

THE LORD OF MISRULE 

A BELGIAN CHRISTMAS EVE (RADA) 

THE WINE-PRESS 

WALKING SHADOWS Prose 

OPEN BOATS 

TALES OF THE MERMAID TAVERN 

SHERWOOD 

THE ENCHANTED ISLAND AND OTHER 

POEMS 
DRAKE: AN ENGLISH EPIC 



WALKING SHADOWS 

SEA TALES AND OTHERS 
BY 

ALFRED NOYES 




NEW YORK 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSil Y CF CALIFORNIA 
DAVIS 



Copyright, 1918, by 
ALFRED NOYES 



Copyright, 1928, by 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 



All Rights Reserved 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGI * 

PRELUDE xi 

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 



Prelude 

Of those who fought and died 
Unreckoned, undescried, 

Breaking no hearts but two or three that 

loved them; 
Of multitudes that gave 
Their memories to the grave, 

And the unrevealing seas of night removed 

them; 

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 
story. 

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 
sainted. 



And so my shadows turn 
To truths that they discern 

Beyond the ordered "facts" that fame would 

cherish. 

They walk awhile with dreams, 
They follow flying gleams 

And lonely lights at sea that pass and per 
ish. 

Not tragic all indeed, 
Not all without remede 

Of clean-edged mirth. Our Rosalie of 

laughter, 

The bayonet of a jest, 
May pierce the devil's breast, 
And give us room and time for grief, here 
after. 

So let them weep or smile 
Or kneel, or dance awhile, 

Fantastic shades, by wandering fires be 
gotten ; 

Remembrancers of themes 
That dawn may mock as dreams. 

Then let them sleep, at dawn, with the for 
gotten. 



WALKING SHADOWS 

i 

THE LIGHT-HOUSE 

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 
reconnoiter. 

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 
ing. 

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 
quite clear. 

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 
struction. 

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 
in sinning. 

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 
intellectual expression. 

"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 
Mef? 

"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 
part. 

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 
stones. 

"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 
self. 

"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 
house." 

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?" 
said Peter. 



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 
and speak." 

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 
wise. 

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 
must do. 

"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 
Hatchets'." 

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 
ing down. 

"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 
right, sir." 

He hung the receiver up again, and looked 
at the others. 

"We may succeed yet," he said. "Come 
quickly." 

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 
seas. 

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," 
he said. 

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 
his sleep." 

Dawkins went to the telephone. For five 
minutes, he alternately growled into the 
mouth-piece and moved the hook up and 
down. 

"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 
them properly." 

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 
Pickering. 

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 
again. 

"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' " 



II 

UNCLE HYACINTH 

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 
Buenos Aires. 

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 

28 



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 
pocket. 

"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 
allegiance. 

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 
merely irritating. 

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 
versation followed. 

"I wish to speak to the German minister." 

"He is away for the week-end. This is his 
secretary.' 7 

"This is Sigismund Krauss speaking." 

"Oh, yes." 



32 WALKING SHADOWS 

"I have received a message about Uncle 
Hyacinth." 

"I can't hear." 

"Uncle Hyacinth's appetite!" This was 
bellowed. 

"Oh, yes." The voice was very cautious 
and polite. 

"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 
columns, thus: 

Bon voyage U-boats 

Most Instructed 

Amusing Sink 

News Argentine 

Operation Ships 

Successful Destruction 

Uncle Hyacinth's Hispaniola 

Appetite Essential 

Splendid Cancel 

Six Code number 

Meals Passage 

Daily Immediately 

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 
Admiralty. 

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 
waters." 

"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," 
he said. 

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 
purser's office. 

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 
business. 

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 
said. 

"I think it means 'abroad/ according to this 
column," s^id the purser. 

"Put it down. Now, what does 'tonsils' 
mean?" 

"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." 

"And 'colossal'?" 

"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 
means false." 

" '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 
reached, thus: 

Still Impossible 

More Total 

Successful Destruction 

Uncle Hyacinth's Hispaniola 

Tonsils Von Tirpitz 

Removed Advises 

Appetite Essential 

Now Squadron 

Colossal Twenty 

Bless him . . .Submarines 



UNCLE HYACINTH 45 

Taking Waiting 

Large Appropriate 

Quantities Death 

Frozen Good 

Meat German 

Best Enviable 

Greetings Position 

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 
eign press. 

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 
plete calm. 

"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 
Depew." 

"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 



man." 



"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 
life. 

II 

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 
water. 

"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 
gruffly. 

"But surely you believe in the spectrum," 
she continued with a ghastly inconsequence 
that almost curdled the logic in his German 
brain. 

"Certainly," he replied, trying hard to be 
polite. 

"And therefore in specters," she cooed in 
gratiatingly, as if she were talking to a very 
small child. 

"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! 
Ach!" 

"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 
must go." 



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 
mothers." 

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 

Chorus: 
And then we'll go a-rambling, 

A-rambling, 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. 

Chorus: 
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. 

Chorus: 
And then we'll go a-rambling, 

A-rambling, 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." 

"Pilsener!" 

"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- 
sen abruptly. 

"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. 
Neilsen. 



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 



ous." 



"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 
tain's head. 

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 
socks. 

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 
round him. 

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, 
somebody!" 

Mr. Pennyfeather picked it up, and 
laughed. 

"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 
down again. 

"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 
love. Kisses." 

"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 
mixed." 

"Hold on, though!" said the captain. 
"Didn't you send a wireless the other day, Mr. 
Neilsen, to somebody by the name of Hya 
cinth?" 

"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, 
you see." 

"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. 

Ill 

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 
nity hero." 

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 
way." 

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 
to budge. 

"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 
the captain. 

"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- 



caution." 



"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 
look!" 

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 
hope. 

"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 



room." 



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 
ened. 

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 
grateful." 

"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 
walk in." 

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 
Good-bye!" 

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 
Abbey. 

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. 



Ill 

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, 

82 



THE CREATIVE IMPULSE 83 

puffing at his big meerschaum pipe and ex 
plaining these things to the lady whom he had 
just married. 

"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, 
heh?" 

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 
bonds." 

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 
extreme optimism. 

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 
pepper trees. 

"Is that so?" said Roy. "And you love 
him, Mimika?" 

"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 
ject again. 

"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 
month." 

"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 
good clue!" 



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 
imagination?" 

"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 
creative impulse." 

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 
canary-lashed lids. 

"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 
position?" 

"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 
ing them.' 

" '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 
three-mile limit.' 

" 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 
impulse. 

"What follows?" continued Vandermeer. 



r 
u r 



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 
glass again. 

"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 
land.' 

"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 
and sleep.' 

" '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 
see.' 

"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 
midnight. 

"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 
doll. 

" 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 
shore. 

"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 
dinghy." 

"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 
eyewitness. 

"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 
tower." 

"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?" 

"And then?" 

"Why, then the sea would come running 
into the hull, and they would be drowned." 

"Oh, but not the poor little Bavarian!" said 
Mimika. 

"L'etat, cest moi," said Vandermeer with a 
smile. 

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 
Bonds, heh?" 

"And you mean to say that a man like that 
is going about in the United States now?" said 
Mimika. 

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 
other's faces. 

"He told us a tale to-night," said Roy at 
last. 

"Yes," said Mimika faintly. 

"Do you know what he was calling out in 
his nightmare?" 

"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 " 

"Yes." 

"Oh, but, Roy!" 

"That's his dressing gown you're wearing, 
isn't it?" 

"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 
safe." 

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 
the stairs. 

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 
Vandermeer again. 

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 
tive. 

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, 
I'm sure." 

"Yes, I did. It was desertion," said Mi- 
mika grimly. 

"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 
you crazy?" 

"I think we were both crazy, mother, a year 
ago." 

"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 
buttonhole." 

And, this time, her mother almost listened. 



IV 
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. 

117 



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 
own. 

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 
for breakfast. 

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 
resources. 

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 
Matthew Hudson. 

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 
clocks. 

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 
matter-of-fact voice: 

"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 
the ship." 

"How long will it take us to drift into the 
right position?" 

"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 
English. 

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 
Glory. 

"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 
friends." 

"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 
confidential papers." 

"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 
away." 

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 
bacon/ " 

"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- 
combatants " 

"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 
cabin?" 

"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 
for action. 

"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 
fields." 

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 

wore itj 
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 
a moment." 

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 
shoe. 

Then, stooping, he picked it up and handed 
it to Hudson, who thrust it into his breast 
pocket. 

"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 
fear, amidships. 

"Take your boat and pick up as many as 
you can," he said. 

"It is not safe not till she sinks," a guttural 
voice replied. 

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 
trusting you. 

"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. 

138 



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 



war." 



"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 
round." 

"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 
his circulation." 

"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 
unimpressively: 

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 
From Calvary. 

"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, 
mind you." 



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 
trated paper. 

"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 
that?" 

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 
blackness. 

"Turn the lamp down," said the councilor, 
"or we'll be arrested under the anti-aircraft 
laws." 

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 
it swung. 

"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 
obey him. 

" '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, 
you know." 

" 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 
ing sea: 

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 
window again. 

"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." 

"About what?" 

"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. 



VI 

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, 

151 



152 WALKING SHADOWS 

wafted across the Pacific, from the land of 
paper lanterns. 

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. 

II 

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 
fornia. 

"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 
ning Star" 

"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 
examine it." 

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 
dow. 

"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 
tal decoration. 

"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 
full account." 

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 
sane?' 

"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, 
'come aboard.' 

"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 
again. 

"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 
now." 

"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." 

"And, Burgess?" 

"Tidied everything up, and then jumped 
overboard." 

"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 
that?" 

"Yes, but what did Harper mean by saying 
he heard Mrs. Burgess singing in the cabin 
that night?" 

"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 
kari." 

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. 



VII 
GOBLIN PEACHES 

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 

177 



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 
enemy. 



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 
champagne glass. 

II 

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 
plans. 

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 
Seas. 

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 
light. 

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 
vate." 

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 
little clam-poaching. 

"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 



on." 



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, 
up there." 

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 
house. 

"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 
you?" 

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. 

Ill 

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 
again. 

"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 
Washington." 

"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 
being suffocated." 

"That is a fallacy," the professor was an 
swering. Then, from the direction of the 
house, there came a confused sound of shout 
ing. 

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 
undergrowth. 

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- 
toothed head. 

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 
weed. 

"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 
mainland." 

"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 
under water?" 

"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 
boat?" 

"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 
beastly thing." 

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 
like it. 

"Lord, what a shave!" he said again. 
"What would Schramm have said if he had 
seen it!" 

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 
them. 

"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 
rock itself. 

"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 
other. 

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 
ory." 

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. 



VIII 
MAY MARGARET 

"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 

205 



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 
letin. 

"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 
Margaret. 

"A woman, isn't it?" 

"And that?" She pointed to another fig- 



MAY MARGARET 211 

ure striding by in blue overalls and a slouch 
hat. 

"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 
their faces. 

"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 
again. 

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 
greatly relieved. 

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 
aboard. 

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 
own. 

"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 
away, lass." 

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 
her throat. 

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 
was succeeding. 

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 
scouting air-ships. 

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 
of starlight. 

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 
a dream. 

"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 
Cross. 

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 
troops. 

"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?" 

Captain Crump grunted vaguely and moved 
on towards the soldier in charge. May Mar 
garet followed him, the photograph in her 
hand. 

"We want to find number forty-eight," said 
Captain Crump. 

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 
disc. 

"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 
cross." 

"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 
Captain Crump. 

"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 
arrows. 

"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 
ming: 

"Fat Fritz went out, all camouflaged, like a beautiful 

bumble-bee, 
With daffodil stripes and 'airy legs to see what he 

could see, 
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 
gay Paree. 

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, 

AND 

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 
disaster. 

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 
them. 



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." 

II 

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 
shells. 

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 
trenches. 

"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 
garet. 

"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- 
self." 

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 
line trench. 

"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 
blows over." 

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 
long?" 

"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 
details." 

"He was killed, then," May Margaret whis 
pered ; and, if the darkness of the dugout had 
not veiled her face, Major Hilton would not 
have continued. 

"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 
the darkness. 

"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 
and sand. 

"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 
tionless. 

"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 
mean business." 



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, 
what?" 



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 
the trenches. 

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 
away. 

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 
guttural exclamations. 

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 
tenant Davidson. 

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 
capable hands. 

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. 



IX 
MAROONED 



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, 

249 



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 
younger sisters. 

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 

true, 

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 



MAROONED 251 

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 
forget. 

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 



MAROONED 253 

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 
for isolation. 

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 
several times." 

"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 



MAROONED 255 

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- 
dymion." 

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 



MAROONED 257 

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 
sapphire. 

II 

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 
pect. 

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 



MAROONED 259 

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 
islanders. 

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 
Keats : 

"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 

sweet, 

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- 



MAROONED 261 

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. 

ill 

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 



MAROONED 263 

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 
unfulfilled. 

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 
again. 

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 



MAROONED 265 

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 



MAROONED 267 

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 
there. 

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. 



MAROONED 269 

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 
came. 

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. 

IV 

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 



MAROONED 271 

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 
youth." 

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 
country." 

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, 
Rua?" 



MAROONED 273 

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 



MAROONED 275 

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 
twice, vigorously. 

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 



MAROONED 277 

breathless when he tests his violin before play 
ing. 

"Holy smoke!" muttered the owner of the 
banjo, "where did the old witch learn to do 
that?" 

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 
ago: 

"Maxweltons braes are bonnie, where early fa's the dew, 
And it's there that Annie Laurie gi'ed me her promise 
true" 

"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 
be." 

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 



MAROONED 279 

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. 



X 

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: 

281 



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 
again.' 



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 
never seen.' 

"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 
offense. 

" '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 
flowers. 

" '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 
field.' 

" '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 
loose boulders. 

"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 
sweetheart. 

"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." 



XI 

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 

292 



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 
VOUS SOULAGERAI.' 

"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 
YOU REST.' 

"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 
tion. 

"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 

him. 

\ 



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 
interesting: 

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 
was happening. 

" '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 
out. 

"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 
VOUS SOULAGERAI.' 

"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 
moment. 

"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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Walking shadows* 



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