by Benjamin A. Heydrick
IN SCHOOL DAYS
THE LAND OF
H. C. BUNNER
SOCIETY IN OUR
THE PASSING OF
A PAIR OF LOVERS
THE GIFT OF THE
THE GOLD BRICK
HIS MOTHER'S SON
AFTER THE BIG
IN THE LUMBER
FLINT AND FIRE
HOW “FLINT AND
THE ORDEAL AT
WITH THE POLICE
AND TRIUMPH OF
ISIDRO DE LOS
THEY WHO BRING
LIST OF AMERICAN
STORIES OF AMERICAN LIFE OF TO-DAY
EDITED BY BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK Editor Types of the Short Story,
[Illustration: Publisher's logo]
NEW YORK HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC.
PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY THE QUINN &BODEN COMPANY RAHWAY. N. J.
For permission to reprint the stories in this volume,
acknowledgement is made to the owners of the copyrights, as follows:
For The Right Promethean Fire, to Mrs. Atwood, R. Martin and
Doubleday, Page &Company.
For The Land of Heart's Desire, to Messrs. Doubleday, Page
For The Tenor, to Alice I. Bunner and to Charles Scribners' Sons.
For The Passing of Priscilla Winthrop, to William Allen White and
The Macmillan Company.
For The Gift of the Magi, to Messrs. Doubleday, Page &Company.
For The Gold Brick, copyright 1910, to Brand Whitlock and to The
Bobbs, Merrill Company.
For His Mother's Son, to Edna Ferber and the Frederick A. Stokes
For Bitter-Sweet, to Fannie Hurst and Harper &Brothers.
For The Riverman, to Stewart Edward White and Doubleday, Page &
For Flint and Fire, to Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Messrs. Henry
For The Ordeal at Mt. Hope, to Mrs. Alice Dunbar, Mrs. Mathilde
Dunbar, and Messrs. Dodd, Mead &Company.
For Israel Drake, to Katherine Mayo and Messrs. Houghton Mifflin
For The Struggles and Triumph of Isidro, to James M. Hopper.
For The Citizen, to James F. Dwyer and the Paget Literary Agency.
In the years before the war, when we had more time for light
pursuits, a favorite sport of reviewers was to hunt for the Great
American Novel. They gave tongue here and there, and pursued the quarry
with great excitement in various directions, now north, now south, now
west, and the inevitable disappointment at the end of the chase never
deterred them from starting off on a fresh scent next day. But in spite
of all the frenzied pursuit, the game sought, the Great American Novel,
was never captured. Will it ever be captured? The thing they sought was
a book that would be so broad, so typical, so true that it would stand
as the adequate expression in fiction of American life. Did these
tireless hunters ever stop to ask themselves, what is the Great French
Novel? what is the Great English Novel? And if neither of these nations
has produced a single book which embodies their national life, why
should we expect that our life, so much more diverse in its elements,
so multifarious in its aspects, could ever be summed up within the
covers of a single book?
Yet while the critics continued their hopeless hunt, there was
growing up in this country a form of fiction which gave promise of some
day achieving the task that this never-to-be written novel should
accomplish. This form was the short story. It was the work of many
hands, in many places. Each writer studied closely a certain locality,
and transcribed faithfully what he saw. Thus the New England village,
the western ranch, the southern plantation, all had their chroniclers.
Nor was it only various localities that we saw in these one-reel
pictures; they dealt with typical occupations, there were stories of
travelling salesmen, stories of lumbermen, stories of politicians,
stories of the stage, stories of school and college days. If it were
possible to bring together in a single volume a group of these, each
one reflecting faithfully one facet of our many-sided life, would not
such a book be a truer picture of America than any single novel could
The present volume is an attempt to do this. That it is only an
attempt, that it does not cover the whole field of our national life,
no one realizes better than the compiler. The title Americans All
signifies that the characters in the book are all Americans, not that
they are all of the Americans.
This book then differs in its purpose from other collections of
short stories. It does not aim to present the world's best short
stories, nor to illustrate the development of the form from Roman times
to our own day, nor to show how the technique of Poe differs from that
of Irving: its purpose is none of these things, but rather to use the
short story as a means of interpreting American life. Our country is so
vast that few of us know more than a small corner of it, and even in
that corner we do not know all our fellow-citizens; differences of
color, of race, of creed, of fortune, keep us in separate strata. But
through books we may learn to know our fellow-citizens, and the
knowledge will make us better Americans.
The story by Dorothy Canfield has a unique interest for the student,
in that it is followed by the author's own account of how it was
written, from the first glimpse of the theme to the final typing of the
story. Teachers who use this book for studying the art of short story
construction may prefer to begin with Flint and Fire and follow with
The Citizen, tracing in all the others indications of the authors'
BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK.
NEW YORK CITY,
I. IN SCHOOL DAYS
THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE George Madden Martin 3
Sketch of George Madden Martin 16
II. JUST KIDS
THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE Myra Kelly 21
Sketch of Myra Kelly 37
THE TENOR H. C. Bunner 41
Sketch of H. C. Bunner 54
IV. SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN
THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP William Allen White
Sketch of William Allen White 73
V. A PAIR OF LOVERS
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI O. Henry 79
Sketch of O. Henry 86
VI. IN POLITICS
THE GOLD BRICK Brand Whitlock 91
Sketch of Brand Whitlock 111
VII. THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN
HIS MOTHER'S SON Edna Ferber 117
Sketch of Edna Ferber 130
VIII. AFTER THE BIG STORE CLOSES
BITTER-SWEET Fannie Hurst 135
Sketch of Fannie Hurst 166
IX. IN THE LUMBER COUNTRY
THE RIVERMAN Stewart Edward White_173
Sketch of Stewart E. White 185
X. NEW ENGLAND GRANITE
FLINT AND FIRE Dorothy Canfield 191
HOW FLINT AND FIRE STARTED AND GREW Dorothy Canfield
Sketch of Dorothy Canfield 221
XI. DUSKY AMERICANS
THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE Paul Laurence Dunbar_227
Sketch of Paul Laurence Dunbar 249
XII. WITH THE POLICE
ISRAEL DRAKE Katherine Mayo 255
Sketch of Katherine Mayo 273
XIII. IN THE PHILIPPINES
THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH
OF ISIDRO DE LOS MAESTROS James M. Hopper 279
Sketch of James M. Hopper 295
XIV. THEY WHO BRING DREAMS TO AMERICA
THE CITIZEN James F. Dwyer 299
Sketch of James F. Dwyer 318
XV. LIST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 321
Classified by locality
XVI. NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 325
IN SCHOOL DAYS
Are any days more rich in experiences than school days? The day
one first enters school, whether it is the little red schoolhouse or
the big brick building that holds a thousand pupils,that day marks
the beginning of a new life. One of the best records in fiction of the
world of the school room is called EMMY LOU. In this book George
Madden Martin has traced the progress of a winsome little maid from the
first grade to the end of high school. This is the story of the first
days in the strange new world of the school room.
THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE
GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN
Emmy Lou, laboriously copying digits, looked up. The boy sitting in
line in the next row of desks was making signs to her.
She had noticed the little boy before. He was a square little boy,
with a sprinkling of freckles over the bridge of the nose and a
cheerful breadth of nostril. His teeth were wide apart, and his smile
was broad and constant. Not that Emmy Lou could have told all this. She
only knew that to her the knowledge of the little boy concerning the
things peculiar to the Primer World seemed limitless.
And now the little boy was beckoning Emmy Lou. She did not know him,
but neither did she know any of the seventy other little boys and girls
making the Primer Class.
Because of a popular prejudice against whooping-cough, Emmy Lou had
not entered the Primer Class until late. When she arrived, the seventy
little boys and girls were well along in Alphabetical lore, having long
since passed the a, b, c, of initiation, and become glibly eloquent to
a point where the l, m, n, o, p slipped off their tongues with the
liquid ease of repetition and familiarity.
But Emmy Lou can catch up, said Emmy Lou's Aunt Cordelia, a plump
and cheery lady, beaming with optimistic placidity upon the infant
populace seated in parallel rows at desks before her.
Miss Clara, the teacher, lacked Aunt Cordelia's optimism, also her
plumpness. No doubt she can, agreed Miss Clara, politely, but without
enthusiasm. Miss Clara had stepped from the graduating rostrum to the
schoolroom platform, and she had been there some years. And when one
has been there some years, and is already battling with seventy little
boys and girls, one cannot greet the advent of a seventy-first with
acclaim. Even the fact that one's hair is red is not an always sure
indication that one's temperament is sanguine also.
So in answer to Aunt Cordelia, Miss Clara replied politely but
without enthusiasm, No doubt she can.
Then Aunt Cordelia went, and Miss Clara gave Emmy Lou a desk. And
Miss Clara then rapping sharply, and calling some small delinquent to
order, Emmy Lou's heart sank within her.
Now Miss Clara's tones were tart because she did not know what to do
with this late comer. In a class of seventy, spare time is not offering
for the bringing up of the backward. The way of the Primer teacher was
not made easy in a public school of twenty-five years ago.
So Miss Clara told the new pupil to copy digits.
Now what digits were, Emmy Lou had no idea, but being shown them on
the black-board, she copied them diligently. And as the time went on,
Emmy Lou went on copying digits. And her one endeavor being to avoid
the notice of Miss Clara, it happened the needs of Emmy Lou were
frequently lost sight of in the more assertive claims of the seventy.
Emmy Lou was not catching up, and it was January.
But to-day was to be different. The little boy was nodding and
beckoning. So far the seventy had left Emmy Lou alone. As a general
thing the herd crowds toward the leaders, and the laggard brings up the
But to-day the little boy was beckoning. Emmy Lou looked up. Emmy
Lou was pink-cheeked and chubby and in her heart there was no guile.
There was an ease and swagger about the little boy. And he always knew
when to stand up, and what for. Emmy Lou more than once had failed to
stand up, and Miss Clara's reminder had been sharp. It was when a bell
rang one must stand up. But what for, Emmy Lou never knew, until after
the others began to do it.
But the little boy always knew. Emmy Lou had heard him, too, out on
the bench glibly tell Miss Clara about the mat, and a bat, and a black
rat. To-day he stood forth with confidence and told about a fat hen.
Emmy Lou was glad to have the little boy beckon her.
And in her heart there was no guile. That the little boy should be
holding out an end of a severed india-rubber band and inviting her to
take it, was no stranger than other things happening in the Primer
World every day.
The very manner of the infant classification breathed mystery, the
sheep from the goats, so to speak, the little girls all one side the
central aisle, the little boys all the otherand to over-step the line
of demarcation a thing too dreadful to contemplate.
Many things were strange. That one must get up suddenly when a bell
rang, was strange.
And to copy digits until one's chubby fingers, tightly gripping the
pencil, ached, and then to be expected to take a sponge and wash those
digits off, was strange.
And to be told crossly to sit down was bewildering, when in answer
to c, a, t, one said Pussy. And yet there was Pussy washing her face,
on the chart, and Miss Clara's pointer pointing to her.
So when the little boy held out the rubber band across the aisle,
Emmy Lou took the proffered end.
At this the little boy slid back into his desk holding to his end.
At the critical moment of elongation the little boy let go. And the
property of elasticity is to rebound.
Emmy Lou's heart stood still. Then it swelled. But in her filling
eyes there was no suspicion, only hurt. And even while a tear splashed
down, and falling upon the laboriously copied digits, wrought havoc,
she smiled bravely across at the little boy. It would have made the
little boy feel bad to know how it hurt. So Emmy Lou winked bravely and
Whereupon the little boy wheeled about suddenly and fell to copying
digits furiously. Nor did he look Emmy Lou's way, only drove his pencil
into his slate with a fervor that made Miss Clara rap sharply on her
Emmy Lou wondered if the little boy was mad. One would think it had
stung the little boy and not her. But since he was not looking, she
felt free to let her little fist seek her mouth for comfort.
Nor did Emmy Lou dream, that across the aisle, remorse was eating
into a little boy's soul. Or that, along with remorse there went the
image of one Emmy Lou, defenceless, pink-cheeked, and smiling bravely.
The next morning Emmy Lou was early. She was always early. Since
entering the Primer Class, breakfast had lost its savor to Emmy Lou in
the terror of being late.
But this morning the little boy was there before her. Hitherto his
tardy and clattering arrival had been a daily happening, provocative of
accents sharp and energetic from Miss Clara.
But this morning he was at his desk copying from his Primer on to
his slate. The easy, ostentatious way in which he glanced from slate to
book was not lost upon Emmy Lou, who lost her place whenever her eyes
left the rows of digits upon the blackboard.
Emmy Lou watched the performance. And the little boy's pencil drove
with furious ease and its path was marked with flourishes. Emmy Lou
never dreamed that it was because she was watching that the little boy
was moved to this brilliant exhibition. Presently reaching the end of
his page, he looked up, carelessly, incidentally. It seemed to be borne
to him that Emmy Lou was there, whereupon he nodded. Then, as if moved
by sudden impulse, he dived into his desk, and after ostentatious
search in, on, under it, brought forth a pencil, and held it up for
Emmy Lou to see. Nor did she dream that it was for this the little boy
had been there since before Uncle Michael had unlocked the Primer door.
Emmy Lou looked across at the pencil. It was a slate-pencil. A fine,
long, new slate-pencil grandly encased for half its length in gold
paper. One bought them at the drug-store across from the school, and
one paid for them the whole of five cents.
Just then a bell rang. Emmy Lou got up suddenly. But it was the bell
for school to take up. So she sat down. She was glad Miss Clara was not
yet in her place.
After the Primer Class had filed in, with panting and frosty
entrance, the bell rang again. This time it was the right bell tapped
by Miss Clara, now in her place. So again Emmy Lou got up suddenly and
by following the little girl ahead learned that the bell meant, go out
to the bench.
The Primer Class according to the degree of its infant precocity was
divided in three sections. Emmy Lou belonged to the third section. It
was the last section and she was the last one in it though she had no
idea what a section meant nor why she was in it.
Yesterday the third section had said, over and over, in chorus, One
and one are two, two and two are four, etc.but to-day they said,
Two and one are three, two and two are four.
Emmy Lou wondered, four what? Which put her behind, so that when she
began again they were saying, two and four are six. So now she knew.
Four is six. But what is six? Emmy Lou did not know.
When she came back to her desk the pencil was there. The fine, new,
long slate-pencil encased in gold paper. And the little boy was gone.
He belonged to the first section, and the first section was now on the
bench. Emmy Lou leaned across and put the pencil back on the little
Then she prepared herself to copy digits with her stump of a pencil.
Emmy Lou's were always stumps. Her pencil had a way of rolling off her
desk while she was gone, and one pencil makes many stumps. The little
boy had generally helped her pick them up on her return. But strangely,
from this time, her pencils rolled off no more.
But when Emmy Lou took up her slate there was a whole side filled
with digits in soldierly rows across, so her heart grew light and free
from the weight of digits, and she gave her time to the washing of her
desk, a thing in which her soul revelled, and for which, patterning
after her little girl neighbors, she kept within that desk a bottle of
soapy water and rags of gray and unpleasant nature, that never dried,
because of their frequent using. When Emmy Lou first came to school,
her cleaning paraphernalia consisted of a sponge secured by a string to
her slate, which was the badge of the new and the unsophisticated
comer. Emmy Lou had quickly learned that, and no one rejoiced in a
fuller assortment of soap, bottle, and rags than she, nor did a sponge
longer dangle from the frame of her slate.
On coming in from recess this same day, Emmy Lou found the pencil on
her desk again, the beautiful new pencil in the gilded paper. She put
But when she reached home, the pencil, the beautiful pencil that
costs all of five cents, was in her companion box along with her stumps
and her sponge and her grimy little slate rags. And about the pencil
was wrapped a piece of paper. It had the look of the margin of a Primer
page. The paper bore marks. They were not digits.
Emmy Lou took the paper to Aunt Cordelia. They were at dinner.
Can't you read it, Emmy Lou? asked Aunt Katie, the prettiest
Emmy Lou shook her head.
I'll spell the letters, said Aunt Louise, the youngest aunty.
But they did not help Emmy Lou one bit.
Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. She doesn't seem to be catching up,
No, said Aunt Katie.
No, agreed Aunt Louise.
Noron, said Uncle Charlie, the brother of the aunties, lighting
up his cigar to go downtown.
Aunt Cordelia spread the paper out. It bore the words:
It is for you.
So Emmy Lou put the pencil away in the companion, and tucked it
about with the grimy slate rags that no harm might befall it. And the
next day she took it out and used it. But first she looked over at the
little boy. The little boy was busy. But when she looked up again, he
The little boy grew red, and wheeling suddenly, fell to copying
digits furiously. And from that moment on the little boy was moved to
Three times before recess did he, boldly ignoring the preface of
upraised hand, swagger up to Miss Clara's desk. And going and coming,
the little boy's boots with copper toes and run-down heels marked with
thumping emphasis upon the echoing boards his processional and
recessional. And reaching his desk, the little boy slammed down his
slate with clattering reverberations.
Emmy Lou watched him uneasily. She was miserable for him. She did
not know that there are times when the emotions are more potent than
the subtlest wines. Nor did she know that the male of some species is
moved thus to exhibition of prowess, courage, defiance, for the
impressing of the chosen female of the species.
Emmy Lou merely knew that she was miserable and that she trembled
for the little boy.
Having clattered his slate until Miss Clara rapped sharply, the
little boy rose and went swaggering on an excursion around the room to
where sat the bucket and dipper. And on his return he came up the
center aisle between the sheep and the goats.
Emmy Lou had no idea what happened. It took place behind her. But
there was another little girl who did. A little girl who boasted curls,
yellow curls in tiered rows about her head. A lachrymosal little girl,
who affected great horror of the little boys.
And what Emmy Lou failed to see was this: the little boy, in
passing, deftly lifted a cherished curl between finger and thumb and
proceeded on his way.
The little girl did not fail the little boy. In the suddenness of
the surprise she surprised even him by her outcry. Miss Clara jumped.
Emmy Lou jumped. And the sixty-nine jumped. And, following this, the
little girl lifted her voice in lachrymal lament.
Miss Clara sat erect. The Primer Class held its breath. It always
held its breath when Miss Clara sat erect. Emmy Lou held tightly to her
desk besides. She wondered what it was all about.
Then Miss Clara spoke. Her accents cut the silence.
Billy Traver stood forth. It was the little boy.
Since you seem pleased to occupy yourself with the little girls,
Billy, go to the pegs!
Emmy Lou trembled. Go to the pegs! What unknown, inquisitorial
terrors lay behind those dread, laconic words, Emmy Lou knew not.
She could only sit and watch the little boy turn and stump back down
the aisle and around the room to where along the wall hung rows of
Here he stopped and scanned the line. Then he paused before a hat.
It was a round little hat with silky nap and a curling brim. It had
rosettes to keep the ears warm and ribbon that tied beneath the chin.
It was Emmy Lou's hat. Aunt Cordelia had cautioned her to care
The little boy took it down. There seemed to be no doubt in his mind
as to what Miss Clara meant. But then he had been in the Primer Class
from the beginning.
Having taken the hat down he proceeded to put it upon his own shock
head. His face wore its broad and constant smile. One would have said
the little boy was enjoying the affair. As he put the hat on, the
sixty-nine laughed. The seventieth did not. It was her hat, and
besides, she did not understand.
Miss Clara still erect spoke again: And now, since you are a little
girl, get your book, Billy, and move over with the girls.
Nor did Emmy Lou understand why, when Billy, having gathered his
belongings together, moved across the aisle and sat down with her, the
sixty-nine laughed again. Emmy Lou did not laugh. She made room for
Nor did she understand when Billy treated her to a slow and
surreptitious wink, his freckled countenance grinning beneath the
rosetted hat. It never could have occurred to Emmy Lou that Billy had
laid his cunning plans to this very end. Emmy Lou understood nothing of
all this. She only pitied Billy. And presently, when public attention
had become diverted, she proffered him the hospitality of a grimy
little slate rag. When Billy returned the rag there was something in
itsomething wrapped in a beautiful, glazed, shining bronze paper. It
was a candy kiss. One paid five cents for six of them at the
On the road home, Emmy Lou ate the candy. The beautiful, shiny paper
she put in her Primer. The slip of paper that she found within she
carried to Aunt Cordelia. It was sticky and it was smeared. But it had
reading on it.
But this is printing, said Aunt Cordelia; can't you read it?
Emmy Lou shook her head.
Try, said Aunt Katie.
The easy words, said Aunt Louise.
But Emmy Lou, remembering c-a-t, Pussy, shook her head.
Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. She certainly isn't catching up,
said Aunt Cordelia. Then she read from the slip of paper:
Oh, woman, woman, thou wert made
The peace of Adam to invade.
The aunties laughed, but Emmy Lou put it away with the glazed paper
in her Primer. It meant quite as much to her as did the reading in that
Primer: Cat, a cat, the cat. The bat, the mat, a rat. It was the jingle
to both that appealed to Emmy Lou.
About this time rumors began to reach Emmy Lou. She heard that it
was February, and that wonderful things were peculiar to the
Fourteenth. At recess the little girls locked arms and talked
Valentines. The echoes reached Emmy Lou.
The valentine must come from a little boy, or it wasn't the real
thing. And to get no valentine was a dreadfuldreadful thing. And even
the timidest of the sheep began to cast eyes across at the goats.
Emmy Lou wondered if she would get a valentine. And if not, how was
she to survive the contumely and shame?
You must never, never breathe to a living soul what was on your
valentine. To tell even your best and truest little girl friend was to
prove faithless to the little boy sending the valentine. These things
reached Emmy Lou.
Not for the world would she tell. Emmy Lou was sure of that, so
grateful did she feel she would be to anyone sending her a valentine.
And in doubt and wretchedness did she wend her way to school on the
Fourteenth Day of February. The drug-store window was full of
valentines. But Emmy Lou crossed the street. She did not want to see
them. She knew the little girls would ask her if she had gotten a
valentine. And she would have to say, No.
She was early. The big, empty room echoed back her footsteps as she
went to her desk to lay down book and slate before taking off her
wraps. Nor did Emmy Lou dream the eye of the little boy peeped through
the crack of the door from Miss Clara's dressing-room.
Emmy Lou's hat and jacket were forgotten. On her desk lay something
square and white. It was an envelope. It was a beautiful envelope, all
over flowers and scrolls.
Emmy Lou knew it. It was a valentine. Her cheeks grew pink.
She took it out. It was blue. And it was gold. And it had reading on
Emmy Lou's heart sank. She could not read the reading. The door
opened. Some little girls came in. Emmy Lou hid her valentine in her
book, for since you must notshe would never show her
The little girls wanted to know if she had gotten a valentine, and
Emmy Lou said, Yes, and her cheeks were pink with the joy of being able
to say it.
Through the day, she took peeps between the covers of her Primer,
but no one else might see it.
It rested heavy on Emmy Lou's heart, however, that there was reading
on it. She studied it surreptitiously. The reading was made up of
letters. It was the first time Emmy Lou had thought about that. She
knew some of the letters. She would ask someone the letters she did not
know by pointing them out on the chart at recess. Emmy Lou was
learning. It was the first time since she came to school.
But what did the letters make? She wondered, after recess, studying
the valentine again.
Then she went home. She followed Aunt Cordelia about. Aunt Cordelia
What does it read? asked Emmy Lou.
Aunt Cordelia listened.
B, said Emmy Lou, and e?
Be, said Aunt Cordelia.
If B was Be, it was strange that B and e were Be. But many things
Emmy Lou accepted them all on faith.
After dinner she approached Aunt Katie.
What does it read? asked Emmy Lou, m and y?
My, said Aunt Katie.
The rest was harder. She could not remember the letters, and had to
copy them off on her slate. Then she sought Tom, the house-boy. Tom was
out at the gate talking to another house-boy. She waited until the
other boy was gone.
What does it read? asked Emmy Lou, and she told the letters off
the slate. It took Tom some time, but finally he told her.
Just then a little girl came along. She was a first-section little
girl, and at school she never noticed Emmy Lou.
Now she was alone, so she stopped.
Get any valentines?
Yes, said Emmy Lou. Then moved to confidence by the little girl's
friendliness, she added, It has reading on it.
Pooh, said the little girl, they all have that. My mamma's been
reading the long verses inside to me.
Can you show themvalentines? asked Emmy Lou.
Of course, to grown-up people, said the little girl.
The gas was lit when Emmy Lou came in. Uncle Charlie was there, and
the aunties, sitting around, reading.
I got a valentine, said Emmy Lou.
They all looked up. They had forgotten it was Valentine's Day, and
it came to them that if Emmy Lou's mother had not gone away, never to
come back, the year before, Valentine's Day would not have been
forgotten. Aunt Cordelia smoothed the black dress she was wearing
because of the mother who would never come back, and looked troubled.
But Emmy Lou laid the blue and gold valentine on Aunt Cordelia's
knee. In the valentine's center were two hands clasping. Emmy Lou's
forefinger pointed to the words beneath the clasped hands.
I can read it, said Emmy Lou.
They listened. Uncle Charlie put down his paper. Aunt Louise looked
over Aunt Cordelia's shoulder.
B, said Emmy Lou, eBe.
The aunties nodded.
M, said Emmy Lou, ymy.
Emmy Lou did not hesitate. V, said Emmy Lou, a, l, e, n, t, i, n,
eValentine. Be my Valentine.
There! said Aunt Cordelia.
Well! said Aunt Katie.
At last! said Aunt Louise.
H'm! said Uncle Charlie.
GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN
In the South it is not unusual to give boys' names to girls, so it
happens that George is the real name of the woman who wrote Emmy Lou. George Madden was born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 1866. She
attended the public schools in Louisville, but on account of ill health
did not graduate. She married Atwood R. Martin, and they made their
home at Anchorage, a suburb of Louisville. Here in an old house
surrounded by great catalpa trees, with cardinals nesting in their
branches, she was recovering from an illness, and to pass the time
began to write a short story. The title was How They Missed the
Exposition; when it was sent away, and a check for seventy-five
dollars came in payment, she was encouraged to go on. Her next work was
the series of stories entitled Emmy Lou, Her Book and Heart.
This at once took rank as one of the classics of school-room
literature. It had a wide popularity in this country, and was
translated into French and German. One of the pleasant tributes paid to
the book was a review in a Pittsburgh newspaper which took the form of
a letter to Emmy Lou. It ran in part as follows:
Dear Little Emmy Lou:
I have read your book, Emmy Lou, and am writing this letter to
you how much I love you. In my world of books I know a great
assembly of lovely ladies, Emmy Lou, crowned with beauty and
garlanded with grace, that have inspired poets to song and the
hearts of warriors to battle, but, Emmy Lou, I love you better
them all, because you are the dearest little girl I ever met.
I felt very sorry for you when the little boy in the Primer
who could so glibly tell the teacher all about the mat and the
and the black rat and the fat hen, hurt your chubby fist by
snapping an india-rubber band. I do not think he atoned quite
enough when he gave you that fine new long slate pencil, nor
he sent you your first valentine. No, he has not atoned quite
enough, Emmy Lou, but now that you are Miss McLaurin, you will
doubtless even the score by snapping the india-rubber band of
disdain at his heart. But only to show him how it stings, and
of course, you'll make up for the hurt and be his
you, Emmy Lou?...
And when, at twelve years, you find yourself dreaming, Emmy
and watching the clouds through the schoolroom window, still I
you, Emmy Lou, for your conscience, which William told about
essay. You remember, the two girls who met a cow.
Look her right in the face and pretend we aren't afraid, said
biggest girl. But the littlest girlthat was youhad a
conscience. Won't it be deceiving the cow? she wanted to
Brave, honest Emmy Lou!
Yes, I love you, Emmy Lou, better than all the proud and
heroines in the big grown-up books, because you are so
trustful, so sweet and bravebecause you have a heart of
Emmy Lou. And I want you to tell George Madden Martin how glad
that she has told us all about you, the dearest little girl
Alice dropped down into Wonderland.
The book is more than a delightful piece of fiction. Through its
faithful study of the development of a child's mind, and its criticism
of the methods employed in many schools, it becomes a valuable
contribution to education. As such it is used in the School of Pedagogy
of Harvard University.
George Madden Martin told more about Emmy Lou in a second book of
stories entitled Emmy Lou's Road to Grace, which relates the
little girl's experience at home and in Sunday school. Other works from
her pen are: A Warwickshire Lad, the story of William
Shakespeare's early life; The House of Fulfillment, a novel;
Abbie Ann, a story for children; Letitia; Nursery Corps, U. S.
A., a story of a child, also showing various aspects of army life;
Selina, the story of a young girl who has been brought up in
luxury, and finds herself confronted with the necessity of earning a
living without any equipment for the task. None of these has equalled
the success of her first book, but that is one of the few successful
portrayals of child life in fiction.
That part of New York City known as the East Side, the region
south of Fourteenth Street and east of Broadway, is the most densely
populated square mile on earth. Its people are of all races; Chinatown,
Little Hungary and Little Italy elbow each other; streets where the
signs are in Hebrew characters, theatres where plays are given in
Yiddish, notices in the parks in four or five languages, make one rub
his eyes and wonder if he is not in some foreign land. Into this region
Myra Kelly went as a teacher in the public school. Her pupils were
largely Russian Jews, and in a series of delightfully humorous stories
she has drawn these little citizens to the life.
THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE
Isaac Borrachsohn, that son of potentates and of Assemblymen, had
been taken to Central Park by a proud uncle. For weeks thereafter he
was the favorite bard of the First Reader Class and an exceeding great
trouble to its sovereign, Miss Bailey, who found him now as garrulous
as he had once been silent. There was no subject in the Course of Study
to which he could not correlate the wonders of his journey, and Teacher
asked herself daily and in vain whether it were more pedagogically
correct to encourage spontaneous self-expression or to insist upon
logically essential sequence.
But the other members of the class suffered no such uncertainty.
They voted solidly for spontaneity in a self which found expression
Und in the Central Park stands a water-lake, und in the water-lake
stands birdsa big all of birdsund fishes. Und sooner you likes you
should come over the water-lake you calls a bird, und you sets on the
bird, und the bird makes go his legs, und you comes over the
They could be awful polite birds, Eva Gonorowsky was beginning
when Morris interrupted with:
I had once a auntie und she had a bird, a awful polite bird; on'y
sooner somebody calls him he couldn't to come the while he sets
in a cage.
Did he have a rubber neck? Isaac inquired, and Morris reluctantly
admitted that he had not been so blessed.
In the Central Park, Isaac went on, all the birds is got rubber
What color from birds be they? asked Eva.
All colors. Blue und white und red und yellow.
Und green, Patrick Brennan interjected determinedly. The green
ones is the best.
Did you go once? asked Isaac, slightly disconcerted.
Naw, but I know. Me big brother told me.
They could to be stylish birds, too, said Eva wistfully. Stylish
und polite. From red und green birds is awful stylish for hats.
But these birds is big. Awful big! Mans could ride on 'em und
ladies und boys.
Und little girls, Ikey? Ain't they fer little girls? asked the
only little girl in the group. And a very small girl she was, with a
softly gentle voice and darkly gentle eyes fixed pleadingly now upon
Yes, answered Isaac grudgingly; sooner they sets by somebody's
side little girls could to go. But sooner nobody holds them by the hand
they could to have fraids over the rubber-neck-boat-birds und the
water-lake, und the fishes.
What kind from fishes? demanded Morris Mogilewsky, monitor of Miss
Bailey's gold fish bowl, with professional interest.
From gold fishes und red fishes und black fishesPatrick stirred
uneasily and Isaac rememberedund green fishes; the green ones is the
biggest; and blue fishes und all kinds from fishes. They lives
way down in the water the while they have fraids over the
rubber-neck-boat-birds. Saywhat you think? Sooner a
rubber-neck-boat-bird needs he should eat he longs down his neck und
eats a from-gold fish.
'Out fryin'? asked Eva, with an incredulous shudder.
Yes, 'out fryin'. Ain't I told you little girls could to have
fraids over 'em? Boys could have fraids too, cried Isaac; and then
spurred by the calm of his rival, he added: The rubber-neck-boat-birds
they hollers somethin' fierce.
I wouldn't be afraid of them. Me pop's a cop, cried Patrick
stoutly. I'd just as lief set on 'em. I'd like to.
Ah, but you ain't seen 'em, und you ain't heard 'em holler, Isaac
Well, I'm goin' to. An' I'm goin' to see the lions an' the tigers
an' the el'phants, an' I'm goin' to ride on the water-lake.
Oh, how I likes I should go too! Eva broke out. O-o-oh, how
I likes I should look on them things! On'y I don't know do I need a
ride on somethings what hollers. I don't know be they fer me.
Well, I'll take ye with me if your mother leaves you go, said
Patrick grandly. An' ye can hold me hand if ye're scared.
Me too? implored Morris. Oh, Patrick, c'n I go too?
I guess so, answered the Leader of the Line graciously. But he
turned a deaf ear to Isaac Borrachsohn's implorings to be allowed to
join the party. Full well did Patrick know of the grandeur of Isaac's
holiday attire and the impressionable nature of Eva's soul, and gravely
did he fear that his own Sunday finery, albeit fashioned from the blue
cloth and brass buttons of his sire, might be outshone.
At Eva's earnest request, Sadie, her cousin, was invited, and Morris
suggested that the Monitor of the Window Boxes should not be slighted
by his colleagues of the gold fish and the line. So Nathan Spiderwitz
was raised to Alpine heights of anticipation by visions of a window box
as big as blocks and streets, where every plant, in contrast to his
lanky charges, bore innumerable blossoms. Ignatius Aloysius
Diamantstein was unanimously nominated as a member of the expedition;
by Patrick, because they were neighbors at St. Mary's Sunday-school; by
Morris, because they were classmates under the same rabbi at the
synagogue; by Nathan, because Ignatius Aloysius was a member of the
Clinton Street gang; by Sadie, because he had long pants sailor
suit; by Eva, because the others wanted him.
Eva reached home that afternoon tingling with anticipation and
uncertainty. What if her mother, with one short word, should close
forever the gates of joy and boat-birds? But Mrs. Gonorowsky met her
small daughter's elaborate plea with the simple question:
Who pays you the car-fare?
Does it need car-fare to go? faltered Eva.
Sure does it, answered her mother. I don't know how much, but
some it needs. Who pays it?
Patrick ain't said.
Well, you should better ask him, Mrs. Gonorowsky advised, and, on
the next morning, Eva did. She thereby buried the leader under the
ruins of his fallen castle of clouds, but he struggled through them
with the suggestion that each of his guests should be her, or his, own
But ain't you got no money 't all? asked the guest of
Not a cent, responded the host. But I'll get it. How much have
A penny. How much do I need?
I don't know. Let's ask Miss Bailey.
School had not yet formally begun and Teacher was reading. She was
hardly disturbed when the children drove sharp elbows into her shoulder
and her lap, and she answered Eva'sMiss Baileyoh, Missis Bailey,
with an abstractedWell, dear?
Missis Bailey, how much money takes car-fare to the Central Park?
Still with divided attention, Teacher repliedFive cents, honey,
and read on, while Patrick called a meeting of his forces and made
embarrassing explanations with admirable tact.
There ensued weeks of struggle and economy for the exploring party,
to which had been added a chaperon in the large and reassuring person
of Becky Zalmonowsky, the class idiot. Sadie Gonorowsky's careful
mother had considered Patrick too immature to bear the whole
responsibility, and he, with a guile which promised well for his
future, had complied with her desires and preserved his own authority
unshaken. For Becky, poor child, though twelve years old and of an
aspect eminently calculated to inspire trust in those who had never
held speech with her, was a member of the First Reader Class only until
such time as room could be found for her in some of the institutions
where such unfortunates are bestowed.
Slowly and in diverse ways each of the children acquired the
essential nickel. Some begged, some stole, some gambled, some bartered,
some earned, but their greatest source of income, Miss Bailey, was
denied to them. For Patrick knew that she would have insisted upon some
really efficient guardian from a higher class, and he announced with
much heat that he would not go at all under those circumstances.
At last the leader was called upon to set the day and appointed a
Saturday in late May. He was disconcerted to find that only Ignatius
Aloysius would travel on that day.
It's holidays, all Saturdays, Morris explained; und we dassent to
ride on no cars.
Why not? asked Patrick.
It's law, the rabbi says, Nathan supplemented. I don't know why
is it; on'y rides on holidays ain't fer us.
I guess, Eva sagely surmised; I guess rubber-neck-boat-birds
rides even ain't fer us on holidays. But I don't know do I need rides
on birds what hollers.
You'll be all right, Patrick assured her. I'm goin' to let ye
hold me hand. If ye can't go on Saturday, I'll take ye on Sundaynext
Sunday. Yous all must meet me here on the school steps. Bring yer money
and bring yer lunch too. It's a long way and ye'll be hungry when ye
get there. Ye get a terrible long ride for five cents.
Does it take all that to get there? asked the practical Nathan.
Then how are we goin' to get back?
Poor little poet soul! Celtic and improvident! Patrick's visions had
shown him only the triumphant arrival of his host and the beatific joy
of Eva as she floated by his side on the most fancy of boat-birds. Of
the return journey he had taken no thought. And so the saving and
planning had to be done all over again. The struggle for the first
nickel had been wearing and wearying, but the amassment of the second
was beyond description difficult. The children were worn from long
strife and many sacrifices, for the temptations to spend six or nine
cents are so much more insistent and unusual than are yearnings to
squander lesser sums. Almost daily some member of the band would
confess a fall from grace and solvency, and almost daily Isaac
Borrachsohn was called upon to descant anew upon the glories of the
Central Park. Becky, the chaperon, was the most desultory collector of
the party. Over and over she reached the proud heights of seven or even
eight cents, only to lavish her hoard on the sticky joys of the candy
cart of Isidore Belchatosky's papa or on the suddy charms of a
Then tearfully would she repent of her folly, and bitterly would the
others upbraid her, telling again of the joys and wonders she had
squandered. Then loudly would she bewail her weakness and plead in
extenuation: I seen the candy. Mouses from choc'late und Foxy Gran'pas
from sugarund I ain't never seen no Central Park.
But don't you know how Isaac says? Eva would urge. Don't you know
how all things what is nice fer us stands in the Central Park? Say,
Isaac, you should better tell Becky, some more, how the Central Park
And Isaac's tales grew daily more wild and independent of fact until
the little girls quivered with yearning terror and the boys burnished
up forgotten cap pistols. He told of lions, tigers, elephants, bears,
and buffaloes, all of enormous size and strength of lung, so that
before many days had passed he had debarred himself, by whole-hearted
lying, from the very possibility of joining the expedition and seeing
the disillusionment of his public. With true artistic spirit he omitted
all mention of confining house or cage and bestowed the gift of speech
upon all the characters, whether brute or human, in his epic. The
merry-go-round he combined with the menagerie into a whole which was
not to be resisted.
Und all the am'blins, he informed his entranced listeners; they
goes around, und around, und around, where music plays und flags is.
Und I sets a lion und he runs around, und runs around, und runs around.
Saywhat you think? He had smiling looks und hair on the neck, und
sooner he says like that 'I'm awful thirsty,' I gives him a peanut und
I gets a golden ring.
Where is it? asked the jealous and incredulous Patrick.
To my house. Isaac valiantly lied, for well he remembered the
scene in which his scandalized but sympathetic uncle had discovered his
attempt to purloin the brass ring which, with countless blackened
duplicates, is plucked from a slot by the brandishing swords of the
riders upon the merry-go-round. Truly, its possession had won him
another ridethis time upon an elephant with upturned trunk and wide
earsbut in his mind the return of that ring still ranked as the only
grief in an otherwise perfect day.
Miss Baileyably assisted by Æsop, Rudyard Kipling, and Thompson
Setonhad prepared the First Reader Class to accept garrulous and
benevolent lions, cows, panthers, and elephants, and the exploring
party's absolute credulity encouraged Isaac to higher and yet higher
flights, until Becky was strengthened against temptation.
At last, on a Sunday in late June, the cavalcade in splendid raiment
met on the wide steps, boarded a Grand Street car, and set out for
Paradise. Some confusion occurred at the very beginning of things when
Becky Zalmonowsky curtly refused to share her pennies with the
conductor. When she was at last persuaded to yield, an embarrassing
five minutes was consumed in searching for the required amount in the
nooks and crannies of her costume where, for safe-keeping, she had
cached her fund. One penny was in her shoe, another in her stocking,
two in the lining of her hat, and one in the large and dilapidated
chatelaine bag which dangled at her knees.
Nathan Spiderwitz, who had preserved absolute silence, now
contributed his fare, moist and warm, from his mouth, and Eva turned to
Ain't Teacher told you money in the mouth ain't healthy fer you?
she sternly questioned, and Nathan, when he had removed other pennies,
was able to answer:
I washed 'em offfirst. And they were indeed most brightly clean.
There's holes in me these here pockets, he explained, and promptly
corked himself anew with currency.
But they don't tastes nice, do they? Morris remonstrated. Nathan
shook a corroborative head. Und, the Monitor of the Gold Fish further
urged, you could to swallow 'em und then you couldn't never to come by
your house no more.
But Nathan was not to be dissuaded, even when the impressionable and
experimental Becky tried his storage system and suffered keen
discomfort before her penny was restored to her by a resourceful fellow
traveler who thumped her right lustily on the back until her crowings
ceased and the coin was once more in her hand.
At the meeting of Grand Street with the Bowery, wild confusion was
made wilder by the addition of seven small persons armed with transfers
and clamoringall except Nathanfor Central Park. Two newsboys and a
policeman bestowed them upon a Third Avenue car and all went well until
Patrick missed his lunch and charged Ignatius Aloysius with its
abstraction. Words ensued which were not easily to be forgotten even
when the refreshment was foundflat and horribly distortedunder the
portly frame of the chaperon.
Jealousy may have played some part in the misunderstanding, for it
was undeniable that there was a sprightliness, a joyant brightness, in
the flowing red scarf on Ignatius Aloysius's nautical breast, which was
nowhere paralleled in Patrick's more subdued array. And the tenth
commandment seemed very arbitrary to Patrick, the star of St. Mary's
Sunday-school, when he saw that the red silk was attracting nearly all
the attention of his female contingent. If Eva admired flaunting ties
it were well that she should say so now. There was yet time to spare
himself the agony of riding on rubber-neck-boat-birds with one whose
interest wandered from brass buttons. Darkly Patrick scowled upon his
unconscious rival, and guilefully he remarked to Eva:
Red neckties is nice, don't you think?
Awful nice, Eva agreed; but they ain't so stylish like
high-stiffs. High-stiffs und derbies is awful stylish.
Gloom and darkness vanished from the heart and countenance of the
Knight of Munster, for around his neck he wore, with suppressed agony,
the highest and stiffest of high-stiffs and his browsand the back
of his neckwere encircled by his big brother's work-a-day derby.
Again he saw and described to Eva the vision which had lived in his
hopes for now so many weeks: against a background of teeming jungle,
mysterious and alive with wild beasts, an amiable boat-bird floated on
the water-lake: and upon the boat-bird, trembling but reassured, sat
Eva Gonorowsky, hand in hand with her brass-buttoned protector.
As the car sped up the Bowery the children felt that they were
indeed adventurers. The clattering Elevated trains overhead, the crowds
of brightly decked Sunday strollers, the clanging trolley cars, and the
glimpses they caught of shining green as they passed the streets
leading to the smaller squares and parks, all contributed to the
holiday upliftedness which swelled their unaccustomed hearts. At each
vista of green they made ready to disembark and were restrained only by
the conductor and by the sage counsel of Eva, who reminded her
impulsive companions that the Central Park could be readily identified
by the hollers from all those things what hollers. And so, in happy
watching and calm trust of the conductor, they were borne far beyond
59th Street, the first and most popular entrance to the park, before an
interested passenger came to their rescue. They tumbled off the car and
pressed towards the green only to find themselves shut out by a high
stone wall, against which they crouched and listened in vain for
identifying hollers. The silence began to frighten them, when suddenly
the quiet air was shattered by a shriek which would have done credit to
the biggest of boat-birds or of lions, but which wasthe children
discovered after a moment's paniconly the prelude to an outburst of
grief on the chaperon's part. When the inarticulate stage of her sorrow
was passed, she demanded instant speech with her mamma. She would seem
to have expressed a sentiment common to the majority, for three heads
in Spring finery leaned dejectedly against the stone barrier while
Nathan removed his car-fare to contribute the remark that he was
growing hungry. Patrick was forced to seek aid in the passing crowd on
Fifth Avenue, and in response to his pleading eyes and the depression
of his party, a lady of gentle aspect and kind looks stopped and
spoke to them.
Indeed, yes, she reassured them; this is Central Park.
It has looks off the country, Eva commented.
Because it is a piece of the country, the lady explained.
Then we dassent to go, the while we ain't none of us got no
sickness, cried Eva forlornly. We're all, all healthy, und the
country is for sick childrens.
I am glad you are well, said the lady kindly; but you may
certainly play in the park. It is meant for all little children. The
gate is near. Just walk on near this wall until you come to it.
It was only a few blocks, and they were soon in the land of their
hearts' desire, where were waving trees and flowering shrubs and
smoothly sloping lawns, and, framed in all these wonders, a beautiful
little water-lake all dotted and brightened by fleets of tiny boats.
The pilgrims from the East Side stood for a moment at gaze and then
bore down upon the jewel, straight over grass and border, which is a
course not lightly to be followed within park precincts and in view of
park policemen. The ensuing reprimand dashed their spirits not at all
and they were soon assembled close to the margin of the lake, where
they got entangled in guiding strings and drew to shore many a craft,
to the disgust of many a small owner. Becky Zalmonowsky stood so
closely over the lake that she shed the chatelaine bag into its shallow
depths and did irreparable damage to her gala costume in her attempts
to dibble for her property. It was at last recovered, no wetter than
the toilette it was intended to adorn, and the cousins Gonorowsky had
much difficulty in balking Becky's determination to remove her gown and
dry it then and there.
Then Ignatius Aloysius, the exacting, remembered garrulously that he
had as yet seen nothing of the rubber-neck-boat-birds and suggested
that they were even now graciously hollering like an'thing in some
remote fastness of the park. So Patrick gave commands and the march was
resumed with bliss now beaming on all the faces so lately clouded.
Every turn of the endless walks brought new wonders to these little
ones who were gazing for the first time upon the great world of growing
things of which Miss Bailey had so often told them. The policeman's
warning had been explicit and they followed decorously in the paths and
picked none of the flowers which as Eva had heard of old, were sticking
right up out of the ground. But other flowers there were dangling high
or low on tree or shrub, while here and there across the grass a bird
came hopping or a squirrel ran. But the pilgrims never swerved. Full
well they knew that these delights were not for such as they.
It was, therefore, with surprise and concern that they at last
debouched upon a wide green space where a flag waved at the top of a
towering pole; for, behold, the grass was covered thick with children,
with here and there a beneficent policeman looking serenely on.
Dast we walk on it? cried Morris. Oh, Patrick, dast we?
Ask the cop, Nathan suggested. It was his first speech for an
hour, for Becky's misadventure with the chatelaine bag and the
water-lake had made him more than ever sure that his own method of
safe-keeping was the best.
Ask him yerself, retorted Patrick. He had quite intended to accost
a large policeman, who would of course recognize and revere the buttons
of Mr. Brennan père, but a commander cannot well accept the
advice of his subordinates. But Nathan was once more beyond the power
of speech, and it was Morris Mogilewsky who asked for and obtained
permission to walk on God's green earth. With little spurts of running
and tentative jumps to test its spring, they crossed Peacock Lawn to
the grateful shade of the trees at its further edge and there disposed
themselves upon the ground and ate their luncheon. Nathan Spiderwitz
waited until Sadie had finished and then entrusted the five gleaming
pennies to her care while he wildly bolted an appetizing combination of
dark brown bread and uncooked eel.
Becky reposed flat upon the chatelaine bag and waved her still damp
shoes exultantly. Eva lay, face downward beside her, and peered
wonderingly deep into the roots of things.
Don't it smells nice! she gloated. Don't it looks nice! My, ain't
we havin' the party-time!
Don't mention it, said Patrick, in careful imitation of his
mother's hostess manner. I'm pleased to see you, I'm sure.
The Central Park is awful pretty, Sadie soliloquized as she lay on
her back and watched the waving branches and blue sky far above. Awful
pretty! I likes we should live here all the time.
Well, began Ignatius Aloysius Diamantstein, in slight
disparagement of his rival's powers as a cicerone; well, I ain't seen
no lions, nor no rubber-neck-boat-birds. Und we ain't had no rides on
nothings. Und I ain't heard no hollers neither.
As if in answer to this criticism there arose, upon the road beyond
the trees, a snorting, panting noise, growing momentarily louder and
culminating, just as East Side nerves were strained to breaking point,
in a long hoarse and terrifying yell. There was a flash of red, a cloud
of dust, three other toots of agony, and the thing was gone. Gone, too,
were the explorers and gone their peaceful rest. To a distant end of
the field they flew, led by the panic-stricken chaperon, and followed
by Eva and Patrick, hand in hand, he making show of bravery he was far
from feeling, and she frankly terrified. In a secluded corner, near the
restaurant, the chaperon was run to earth by her breathless charges:
I seen the lion, she panted over and over. I seen the fierce, big
red lion, und I don't know where is my mamma.
Patrick saw that one of the attractions had failed to attract, so he
Le's go an' see the cows, he proposed. Don't you know the po'try
piece Miss Bailey learned us about cows?
Again the emotional chaperon interrupted. I'm loving much mit Miss
Bailey, too, she wailed. Und I don't know where is she neither. But
the pride of learning upheld the others and they chanted in sing-song
chorus, swaying rhythmically the while from leg to leg:
The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart Robert Louis Stevenson.
Becky's tears ceased. Be there cows in the Central Park? she
Sure, said Patrick.
Und what kind from cream will he give us? Ice cream?
Sure, said Patrick again.
Let's go, cried the emotional chaperon. A passing stranger turned
the band in the general direction of the menagerie and the reality of
the cow brought the whole memory gem into strange and undreamed
Gaily they set out through new and always beautiful ways; through
tunnels where feet and voices rang with ghostly boomings most pleasant
to the ear; over bridges whence they sawin partial proof of Isaac
Borrachsohn's veracitymans und ladies ridin'. Of a surety they rode
nothing more exciting than horses, but that was, to East Side eyes, an
unaccustomed sight, and Eva opined that it was owing, probably, to the
shortness of their watch that they saw no lions and tigers similarly
amiable. The cows, too, seemed far to seek, but the trees and grass and
flowers were everywhere. Through long stretches of for sure country
they picked their way, until they came, hot but happy, to a green and
shady summerhouse on a hill. There they halted to rest, and there
Ignatius Aloysius, with questionable delicacy, began to insist once
more upon the full measure of his bond.
We ain't seen the rubber-neck-boat-birds, he complained. Und we
ain't had no rides on nothings.
You don't know what is polite, cried Eva, greatly shocked at this
carping spirit in the presence of a hard-worked host. You could to
think shame over how you says somethings like that on a party.
This ain't no party, Ignatius Aloysius retorted. It's a
'scursion. To a party somebody gives you what you should eat; to
a 'scursion you brings it. Und anyway, we ain't had no rides.
But we heard a holler, the guest of honor reminded him. We heard
a fierce, big holler from a lion. I don't know do I need a ride on
something what hollers. I could to have a fraid maybe.
Ye wouldn't be afraid on the boats when I hold yer hand, would ye?
Patrick anxiously inquired, and Eva shyly admitted that, thus
supported, she might not be dismayed. To work off the pride and joy
caused by this avowal, Patrick mounted the broad seat extending all
around the summerhouse and began to walk clatteringly upon it. The
other pilgrims followed suit and the whole party stamped and danced
with infinite enjoyment. Suddenly the leader halted with a loud cry of
triumph and pointed grandly out through one of the wistaria-hung
openings. Not De Soto on the banks of the Mississippi nor Balboa above
the Pacific could have felt more victorious than Patrick did as he
There's the water-lake!
His followers closed in upon him so impetuously that he was borne
down under their charge and fell ignominiously out on the grass. But he
was hardly missed, he had served his purpose. For there, beyond the
rocks and lawns and red japonicas, lay the blue and shining water-lake
in its confining banks of green. And upon its softly quivering surface
floated the rubber-neck-boat-birds, white and sweetly silent instead of
red and screamingand the superlative length and arched beauty of
their necks surpassed the wildest of Ikey Borrachsohn's descriptions.
And relying upon the strength and politeness of these wondrous birds
there were indeed mans und ladies und boys und little girls
embarking, disembarking, and placidly weaving in and out and round
about through scenes of hidden but undoubted beauty.
Over rocks and grass the army charged towards bliss unutterable,
strewing their path with overturned and howling babies of prosperity
who, clumsy from many nurses and much pampering, failed to make way.
Past all barriers, accidental or official, they pressed, nor halted to
draw rein or breath until they were established, beatified, upon the
Three minutes later they were standing outside the railings of the
landing and regarding, through welling tears, the placid lake, the
sunny slopes of grass and tree, the brilliant sky and the gleaming
rubber-neck-boat-bird which, as Ikey described, made go its legs, but
only, as he had omitted to mention, for money. So there they stood,
seven sorrowful little figures engulfed in the rayless despair of
childhood and the bitterness of poverty. For these were the children of
the poor, and full well they knew that money was not to be diverted
from its mission: that car-fare could not be squandered on bliss.
Becky's woe was so strong and loud that the bitter wailings of the
others served merely as its background. But Patrick cared not at all
for the general despair. His remorseful eyes never strayed from the
bowed figure of Eva Gonorowsky, for whose pleasure and honor he had
striven so long and vainly. Slowly she conquered her sobs, slowly she
raised her daisy-decked head, deliberately she blew her small pink
nose, softly she approached her conquered knight, gently and all
untruthfully she faltered, with yearning eyes on the majestic swans:
Don't you have no sad feelings, Patrick. I ain't got none. Ain't I
told you from long, how I don't need no rubber-neck-boat-bird rides? I
don't need 'em! I don't need 'em! Iwith a sob of passionate
longingI'm got all times a awful scare over 'em. Let's go home,
Patrick. Becky needs she should see her mamma, und I guess I needs my
Is it necessary to say that she was Irish? The humor, the sympathy,
the quick understanding, the tenderness, that play through all her
stories are the birthright of the children of Erin. Myra Kelly was born
in Dublin, Ireland. Her father was Dr. John E. Kelly, a well-known
surgeon. When Myra was little more than a baby, the family came to New
York City. Here she was educated at the Horace Mann High School, and
afterwards at Teachers College, a department of Columbia University,
New York. She graduated from Teachers College in 1899. Her first school
was in the primary department of Public School 147, on East Broadway,
New York, where she taught from 1899 to 1901. Here she met all the
little aliens, the Morris and Isidore, Yetta and Eva of her stories,
and won her way into their hearts. To her friends she would sometimes
tell of these children, with their odd ideas of life and their dialect.
Why don't you write these stories down? they asked her, and at last
she sat down and wrote her first story, A Christmas Present for a
Lady. She had no knowledge of editorial methods, so she made four
copies of the story and sent them to four different magazines. Two of
them returned the story, and two of them accepted it, much to her
embarrassment. The two acceptances came from McClure's Magazine
and The Century. As McClure's replied first she gave the
story to them, and most of her other stories were first published in
When they appeared in book form, they were welcomed by readers all
over the country. Even the President of the United States wrote to
express his thanks to her, in the following letter:
Oyster Bay, N. Y.
July, 26, 1905.
My dear Miss Kelly:
Mrs. Roosevelt and I and most of the children know your very
amusing and very pathetic accounts of East Side school
almost by heart, and I really think you must let me write and
you for them. When I was Police Commissioner I quite often
the Houston Street public school, and was immensely impressed
what I saw there. I thought there were a good many Miss
there, and the work they were doing among their scholars (who
largely of Russian-Jewish parentage like the children you
was very much like what your Miss Bailey has done.
Very sincerely yours,
After two years of school room work, Miss Kelly's health broke down,
and she retired from teaching, although she served as critic teacher in
the Speyer School, Teachers College, for a year longer. One of the
persons who had read her books with delight was Allen Macnaughton. Soon
after he met Miss Kelly, and in 1905 they were married. They lived for
a time at Oldchester Village, New Jersey, in the Orange mountains, in a
colony of literary people which her husband was interested in
establishing. After several years of very successful literary work, she
developed tuberculosis. She went to Torquay, England, in search of
health, and died there March 31, 1910.
Her works include the following titles: Little Citizens;
The Isle of Dreams; Wards of Liberty; Rosnah; the
Golden Season; Little Aliens; New Faces. One of the
leading magazines speaks of her as the creator of a new dialect.
Most of us are hero-worshippers at some time of our lives. The
boy finds his hero in the baseball player or athlete, the girl in the
matinée idol, or the movie star. These objects of worship are not
always worthy of the adoration they inspire, but this does not matter
greatly, since their worshippers seldom find it out. There is something
fine in absolute loyalty to an ideal, even if the ideal is far from
reality. The Tenor is the story of a famous singer and two of his
H. C. BUNNER
It was a dim, quiet room in an old-fashioned New York house, with
windows opening upon a garden that was trim and attractive, even in its
wintry daysfor the rose-bushes were all bundled up in straw ulsters.
The room was ample, yet it had a cosy air. Its dark hangings suggested
comfort and luxury, with no hint of gloom. A hundred pretty trifles
told that it was a young girl's room: in the deep alcove nestled her
dainty white bed, draped with creamy lace and ribbons.
I was so afraid that I'd be late!
The door opened, and two pretty girls came in, one in hat and furs,
the other in a modest house dress. The girl in the furs, who had been
afraid that she would be late, was fair, with a bright color in her
cheeks, and an eager, intent look in her clear brown eyes. The other
girl was dark-eyed and dark-haired, dreamy, with a soft, warm dusky
color in her face. They were two very pretty girls indeedor, rather,
two girls about to be very pretty, for neither one was eighteen years
The dark girl glanced at a little porcelain clock.
You are in time, dear, she said, and helped her companion to take
off her wraps.
Then the two girls crossed the room, and with a caressing and almost
a reverent touch, the dark girl opened the doors of a little carven
cabinet that hung upon the wall, above a small table covered with a
delicate white cloth. In its depths, framed in a mat of odorous double
violets, stood the photograph of the face of a handsome man of fortya
face crowned with clustering black locks, from beneath which a pair of
large, mournful eyes looked out with something like religious fervor in
their rapt gaze. It was the face of a foreigner.
O Esther! cried the other girl, how beautifully you have dressed
I wanted to get more, Esther said; but I've spent almost all my
allowanceand violets do cost so shockingly. Come, now with another
glance at the clockdon't let's lose any more time, Louise dear.
She brought a couple of tiny candles in Sevrès candlesticks, and two
little silver saucers, in which she lit fragrant pastilles. As the pale
gray smoke arose, floating in faint wreaths and spirals before the
enshrined photograph, Louise sat down and gazed intently upon the
little altar. Esther went to her piano and watched the clock. It struck
two. Her hands fell softly on the keys, and, studying a printed program
in front of her, she began to play an overture. After the overture she
played one or two pieces of the regular concert stock. Then she paused.
I can't play the Tschaikowski piece.
Never mind, said the other. Let us wait for him in silence.
The hands of the clock pointed to 2:29. Each girl drew a quick
breath, and then the one at the piano began to sing softly, almost
inaudibly, les Rameaux in a transcription for tenor of Fauré's great
song. When it was ended, she played and sang the encore. Then,
with her fingers touching the keys so softly that they awakened only an
echo-like sound, she ran over the numbers that intervened between the
first tenor solo and the second. Then she sang again, as softly as
The fair-haired girl sat by the little table, gazing intently on the
picture. Her great eyes seemed to devour it, and yet there was
something absent-minded, speculative, in her steady look. She did not
speak until Esther played the last number on the program.
He had three encores for that last Saturday, she said, and Esther
played the three encores.
Then they closed the piano and the little cabinet, and exchanged an
innocent girlish kiss, and Louise went out, and found her father's
coupé waiting for her, and was driven away to her great, gloomy,
brown-stone home near Central Park.
Louise Laura Latimer and Esther Van Guilder were the only children
of two families which, though they were possessed of the three Rs
which are all and more than are needed to insure admission to New York
societyRiches, Respectability and Religionyet were not in Society;
or, at least, in the society that calls itself Society. This was not
because Society was not willing to have them. It was because they
thought the world too worldly. Perhaps this was one reasonalthough
the social horizon of the two families had expanded somewhat as the
girls grew upwhy Louise and Esther, who had been playmates from their
nursery days, and had grown up to be two uncommonly sentimental,
fanciful, enthusiastically morbid girls, were to be found spending a
bright Winter afternoon holding a ceremonial service of worship before
the photograph of a fashionable French tenor.
It happened to be a French tenor whom they were worshiping. It might
as well have been anybody or any thing else. They were both at that
period of girlish growth when the young female bosom is torn by a
hysterical craving to worship somethingany thing. They had been
studying music and they had selected the tenor who was the sensation of
the hour in New York for their idol. They had heard him only on the
concert stage; they were never likely to see him nearer. But it was a
mere matter of chance that the idol was not a Boston Transcendentalist,
a Popular Preacher, a Faith-Cure Healer, or a ringleted old maid with
advanced ideas of Woman's Mission. The ceremonies might have been
different in form: the worship would have been the same.
M. Hyppolite Rémy was certainly the musical hero of the hour. When
his advance notices first appeared, the New York critics, who are a
singularly unconfiding, incredulous lot, were inclined to discount his
When they learned that M. Rémy was not only a great artist, but a
man whose character was wholly free from that deplorable laxity which
is so often a blot on the proud escutcheon of his noble profession;
that he had married an American lady; that he had embraced the
Protestant religionno sect was specified, possibly to avoid
jealousyand that his health was delicate, they were moved to suspect
that he might have to ask that allowances be made for his singing. But
when he arrived, his triumph was complete. He was as handsome as his
picture, if he was a trifle short, a shade too stout.
He was a singer of genius, too; with a splendid voice and a sound
methodon the whole. It was before the days of the Wagner autocracy,
and perhaps his tremolo passed unchallenged as it could not now; but he
was a great artist. He knew his business as well as his advance-agent
knew his. The Rémy Concerts were a splendid success. Reserved seats,
$5. For the Series of Six, $25.
* * * * *
On the following Monday, Esther Van Guilder returned her friend's
call, in response to an urgent invitation, despatched by mail. Louise
Latimer's great bare room was incapable of transmutation into a cosy
nest of a boudoir. There was too much of its heavy raw silk
furnituretoo much of its vast, sarcophagus-like bedtoo much of its
upholsterer's elegance, regardless of costand taste. An enlargement
from an ambrotype of the original Latimer, as he arrived in New York
from New Hampshire, and a photograph of a child subject by Millais,
were all her works of art. It was not to be doubted that they had
climbed upstairs from a front parlor of an earlier stage of social
development. The farm-house was six generations behind Esther; two
Esther found her friend in a state of almost feverish excitement.
Her eyes shone; the color burned high on her clear cheeks.
You never would guess what I've done, dear! she began, as soon as
they were alone in the big room. I'm going to see himto speak
to himEsther! Her voice was solemnly hushed, to serve
Oh, Louise! what do you mean?
To serve himwith my own hands! Totohelp him on with his
coatI don't knowto do something that a servant doesanything, so
that I can say that once, once only, just for an hour, I have been near
him, been of use to him, served him in one little thing as loyally as
he serves OUR ART.
Music was THEIR art, and no capitals could tell how much it was
theirs or how much of an art it was.
Louise, demanded Esther, with a frightened look, are you crazy?
No. Read this! She handed the other girl a clipping from the
advertising columns of a newspaper.
CHAMBERMAID AND WAITRESS.WANTED, A NEAT and willing girl, for
light work. Apply to Mme. Rémy, The Midlothian, ... Broadway.
I saw it just by accident, Saturday, after I left you. Papa had
left his paper in the coupé. I was going up to my First Aid to the
Injured Classit's at four o'clock now, you know. I made up my mind
right offit came to me like an inspiration. I just waited until it
came to the place where they showed how to tie up arteries, and then I
slipped out. Lots of the girls slip out in the horrid parts, you know.
And then, instead of waiting in the ante-room, I put on my wrap, and
pulled the hood over my head and ran off to the Midlothianit's just
around the corner, you know. And I saw his wife.
What was she like? queried Esther, eagerly.
Oh, I don't know. Sort of horridactressy. She had a pink silk
wrapper with swansdown all over itat four o'clock, think! I was
awfully frightened when I got there; but it wasn't the least
trouble. She hardly looked at me, and she engaged me right off. She
just asked me if I was willing to do a whole lot of thingsI forgot
what they wereand where I'd worked before. I said at Mrs.
Why, yesmy Aunt Amanda, don't you knowup in Framingham. I
always have to wash the teacups when I go there. Aunty says that
everybody has got to do something in her house.
Oh, Louise! cried her friend, in shocked admiration; how can you
think of such things?
Well, I did. And shehis wife, you knowjust said: 'Oh, I suppose
you'll do as well as any oneall you girls are alike.'
But did she really take you for aservant?
Why, yes, indeed. It was raining. I had that old ulster on, you
know. I'm to go at twelve o'clock next Saturday.
But, Louise! cried Esther, aghast, you don't truly mean to go!
I do! cried Louise, beaming triumphantly.
Now, listen, dear, said Miss Latimer, with the decision of an
enthusiastic young lady with New England blood in her veins. Don't say
a word till I tell you what my plan is. I've thought it all out, and
you've got to help me.
You foolish child! cried Louise. Her eyes were sparkling: she was
in a state of ecstatic excitement; she could see no obstacles to the
carrying out of her plan. You don't think I mean to stay there,
do you? I'm just going at twelve o'clock, and at four he comes back
from the matinée, and at five o'clock I'm going to slip on my things
and run downstairs, and have you waiting for me in the coupé, and off
we go. Now do you see?
It took some time to bring Esther's less venturesome spirit up to
the point of assisting in this undertaking; but she began, after a
while, to feel the delights of vicarious enterprise, and in the end the
two girls, their cheeks flushed, their eyes shining feverishly, their
voices tremulous with childish eagerness, resolved themselves into a
committee of ways and means; for they were two well-guarded young
women, and to engineer five hours of liberty was difficult to the verge
of impossibility. However, there is a financial manoeuvre known as
kiting checks, whereby A exchanges a check with B and B swaps with A
again, playing an imaginary balance against Time and the Clearing
House; and by a similar scheme, which an acute student of social ethics
has called kiting calls, the girls found that they could make
Saturday afternoon their own, without one glance from the watchful eyes
of Esther's mother or Louise's auntLouise had only an aunt to reckon
And, oh, Esther! cried the bolder of the conspirators, I've
thought of a trunkof course I've got to have a trunk, or she would
ask me where it was, and I couldn't tell her a fib. Don't you remember
the French maid who died three days after she came here? Her trunk is
up in the store-room still, and I don't believe anybody will ever come
for itit's been there seven years now. Let's go up and look at it.
The girls romped upstairs to the great unused upper story, where
heaps of household rubbish obscured the dusty half-windows. In a
corner, behind Louise's baby chair and an unfashionable hat-rack of the
old steering-wheel pattern, they found the little brown-painted tin
trunk, corded up with clothesline.
Louise! said Esther, hastily, what did you tell her your name
I just said 'Louise'.
Esther pointed to the name painted on the trunk,
It is the hand of Providence, she said. Somehow, now, I'm sure
you're quite right to go.
And neither of these conscientious young ladies reflected for one
minute on the discomfort which might be occasioned to Madame Rémy by
the defection of her new servant a half-hour before dinner-time on
* * * * *
Oh, child, it's you, is it? was Mme. Rémy's greeting at twelve
o'clock on Saturday. Well, you're punctualand you look clean. Now,
are you going to break my dishes or are you going to steal my rings?
Well, we'll find out soon enough. Your trunk's up in your room. Go up
to the servant's quartersright at the top of those stairs there. Ask
for the room that belongs to apartment 11. You are to room with their
Louise was glad of a moment's respite. She had taken the plunge; she
was determined to go through to the end. But her heart would
beat and her hands would tremble. She climbed up six flights of
winding stairs, and found herself weak and dizzy when she reached the
top and gazed around her. She was in a great half-story room, eighty
feet square. The most of it was filled with heaps of old furniture and
bedding, rolls of carpet, of canvas, of oilcloth, and odds and ends of
discard of unused household gearthe dust thick over all. A little
space had been left around three sides, to give access to three rows of
cell-like rooms, in each of which the ceiling sloped from the very door
to a tiny window at the level of the floor. In each room was a bed, a
bureau that served for wash-stand, a small looking-glass, and one or
two trunks. Women's dresses hung on the whitewashed walls. She found
No. 11, threw off, desperately, her hat and jacket, and sunk down on
the little brown tin trunk, all trembling from head to foot.
Hello, called a cheery voice. She looked up and saw a girl in a
dirty calico dress.
Just come? inquired this person, with agreeable informality. She
was a good-looking large girl, with red hair and bright cheeks. She
leaned against the door-post and polished her finger-nails with a
little brush. Her hands were shapely.
Ain't got onto the stair-climbing racket yet, eh? You'll get used
to it. 'Louise Levy,' she read the name on the trunk. You don't look
like a sheeny. Can't tell nothin' 'bout names, can you? My name's
Slattery. You'd think I was Irish, wouldn't you? Well, I'm straight Ne'
York. I'd be dead before I was Irish. Born here. Ninth Ward an' next to
an engine house. How's that? There's white Jews, too. I worked for one,
pickin' sealskins down in Prince Street. Most took the lungs out of me.
But that wasn't why I shook the biz. It queered my handssee? I'm
goin' to be married in the Fall to a German gentleman. He ain't so
Dutch when you know him, though. He's a grocer. Drivin' now; but he
buys out the boss in the Fall. How's that? He's dead stuck on my hooks,
an' I have to keep 'em lookin' good. I come here because the work was
light. I don't have to workonly to be doin' somethin', see? Only got
five halls and the lamps. You got a fam'ly job, I s'pose? I wouldn't
have that. I don't mind the Sooprintendent; but I'd be dead before I'd
be bossed by a woman, see? Say, what fam'ly did you say you was with?
The stream of talk had acted like a nerve-tonic on Louise. She was
able to answer:
Ramy?oh, lord! Got the job with His Tonsils? Well, you won't keep
it long. They're meaner'n three balls, see? Rent their room up here and
chip in with eleven. Their girls don't never stay. Well, I got to step,
or the Sooprintendent'll be borin' my ear. Wellso long!
But Louise had fled down the stairs. His Tonsils rang in her ears.
What blasphemy! What sacrilege! She could scarcely pretend to listen to
Mme. Rémy's first instructions.
The household was parsimonious. Louise washed the caterer's
disheshe made a reduction in his price. Thus she learned that a late
breakfast took the place of luncheon. She began to feel what this
meant. The beds had been made; but there was work enough. She helped
Mme. Rémy to sponge a heap of faded fineryher dresses. If they
had been his coats! Louise bent her hot face over the tawdry
silks and satins, and clasped her parboiled little finger-tips over the
wet sponge. At half-past three Mme. Rémy broke the silence.
We must get ready for Musseer, she said. An ecstatic joy filled
Louise's being. The hour of her reward was at hand.
Getting ready for Musseer proved to be an appalling process. First
they brewed what Mme. Rémy called a teaze Ann. After the tisane, a host of strange foreign drugs and cosmetics were marshalled in
order. Then water was set to heat on a gas-stove. Then a little table
was neatly set.
Musseer has his dinner at half-past four, Madame explained. I
don't take mine till he's laid down and I've got him off to the
concert. There, he's coming now. Sometimes he comes home pretty
nervous. If he's nervous, don't you go and make a fuss, do you hear,
The door opened, and Musseer entered, wrapped in a huge frogged
overcoat. There was no doubt that he was nervous. He cast his hat upon
the floor, as if he were Jove dashing a thunderbolt. Fire flashed from
his eyes. He advanced upon his wife and thrust a newspaper in her
facea little pinky sheet, a notorious blackmailing publication.
Zees, he cried, is your work!
What is it now, Hipleet? demanded Mme. Rémy.
Vot it ees? shrieked the tenor. It ees ze history of how zey have
heest me at Nice! It ees all zairhow I have been heestin zis sacre
sheetin zis handkairchif of infamy! And it ees you zat have told it
to zat devil of a Rastignactraitresse!
Now, Hipleet, pleaded his wife, if I can't learn enough French to
talk with you, how am I going to tell Rastignac about your being
This reasoning silenced Mr. Rémy for an instantan instant only.
You vood have done it! he cried, sticking out his chin and
thrusting his face forward.
Well, I didn't, said Madame, and nobody reads that thing, any
way. Now, don't mind it, and let me get your things off, or you'll be
Mr. Rémy yielded at last to the necessity of self-preservation, and
permitted his wife to remove his frogged overcoat, and to unwind him
from a system of silk wraps to which the Gordian knot was a slip-noose.
This done, he sat down before the dressing-case, and Mme. Rémy, after
tying a bib around his neck, proceeded to dress his hair and put
brilliantine on his moustache. Her husband enlivened the operation by
reading from the pinky paper.
It ees not gen-air-al-lee knownzat zees dees-tin-guished tenor
vos heest on ze pob-lic staidj at Nicein ze year
Louise leaned against the wall, sick, faint and frightened, with a
strange sense of shame and degradation at her heart. At last the
tenor's eye fell on her.
Anozzair eediot? he inquired.
She ain't very bright, Hipleet, replied his wife; but I guess
she'll do. Louise, open the doorthere's the caterer.
Louise placed the dishes upon the table mechanically. The tenor sat
himself at the board, and tucked a napkin in his neck.
And how did the Benediction Song go this afternoon? inquired his
Ze Bénédiction? Ah! One encore. One on-lee. Zese pigs of
Ameéricains. I t'row my pairls biffo' swine. Chops once more!
You vant to mordair me? Vat do zis mean, madame? You ar-r-re in lig wiz
my enemies. All ze vorlt is against ze ar-r-r-teest!
The storm that followed made the first seem a zephyr. The tenor
exhausted his execratory vocabulary in French and English. At last, by
way of a dramatic finale, he seized the plate of chops and flung it
from him. He aimed at the wall; but Frenchmen do not pitch well. With a
ring and a crash, plate and chops went through the broad window-pane.
In the moment of stricken speechlessness that followed, the sound of
the final smash came softly up from the sidewalk.
The tenor rose to his feet with the howl of an anguished hyena.
Oh, good gracious! cried his wife; he's going to have one of his
creezeshis creezes de nare!
He did have a crise de nerfs. Ten dollair! he yelled, for
ten dollair of glass! He tore his pomaded hair; he tore off his bib
and his neck-tie, and for three minutes without cessation he shrieked
wildly and unintelligibly. It was possible to make out, however, that
arteest and ten dollair were the themes of the improvisation.
Finally he sank exhausted into the chair, and his white-faced wife
rushed to his side.
Louise! she cried, get the foot-tub out of the closet while I
spray his throat, or he can't sing a note. Fill it up with warm
water102 degreesthere's the thermometerand bathe his feet.
Trembling from head to foot, Louise obeyed her orders, and brought
the foot-tub, full of steaming water. Then she knelt down and began to
serve the maestro for the first time. She took off his shoes. Then she
looked at his socks. Could she do it?
Eediot! gasped the sufferer, make haste! I die!
Hold your mouth open, dear, said Madame, I haven't half sprayed
Ah! you! cried the tenor. Cat! Devil! It ees you zat have
killed me! And moved by an access of blind rage, he extended his arm,
and thrust his wife violently from him.
Louise rose to her feet, with a hard set, good old New England look
on her face. She lifted the tub of water to the level of her breast,
and then she inverted it on the tenor's head. For one instant she gazed
at the deluge, and at the bath-tub balanced on the maestro's skull like
a helmet several sizes too largethen she fled like the wind.
Once in the servant's quarters, she snatched her hat and jacket.
From below came mad yells of rage.
I kill hare! give me my knifegive me my rivvolvare! Au secours!
Miss Slattery appeared in the doorway, still polishing her nails.
What have you done to His Tonsils? she inquired. He's pretty hot,
How can I get away from here? cried Louise.
Miss Slattery pointed to a small door. Louise rushed down a long
stairwayanotherand yet othersthrough a great room where there was
a smell of cooking and a noise of firespast white-capped cooks and
scullionsthrough a long stone corridor, and out into the street. She
cried aloud as she saw Esther's face at the window of the coupé.
She drove homecured.
 From Stories of H. C. Bunner, copyright, 1890, 1896, by Alice
L. Bunner; published by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the
H. C. BUNNER
Henry Cuyler Bunner was his full name, H. C. Bunner was the way he
always signed his writings, and Bunner was his name to his friends,
and even to his wife. He was born in Oswego, New York, August 3, 1855.
His parents soon moved to New York City, and Bunner was educated in the
public schools there. Then he became a clerk in a business house, but
this did not satisfy him, and he began to write for newspapers, finally
getting a position on the Arcadian, a short-lived journal. In
1877 the publishers of Puck, a humorous weekly printed in the
German language, decided to issue an edition in English, and made
Bunner assistant editor. It was a happy choice. He soon became
editor-in-chief, and under his direction the paper became not only the
best humorous journal of its time, but a powerful influence in politics
as well. Bunner wrote not only editorials, humorous verse, short
stories, and titles for pictures, but often suggested the cartoons,
which were an important feature of the paper.
Outside the office he was a delightful conversationalist. His
friends Brander Matthews, Lawrence Hutton and others speak of his ready
wit, his kindness of heart, and his wonderfully varied store of
information. He was a constant reader, and a good memory enabled him to
retain what he read. It is said that one could hardly name a poem that
he had not read, and it was odds but that he could quote its best
lines. Next to reading, his chief pleasure was in wandering about odd
corners of the city, especially the foreign quarters. He knew all the
queer little restaurants and queer little shops in these places.
His first literary work of note was a volume of poems, happily
entitled Airs from Arcady. It contains verses both grave and
gay: one of the cleverest is called Home, Sweet Home, with
Variations. He writes the poem first in the style of Swinburne, then
of Bret Harte, then of Austin Dobson, then of Oliver Goldsmith and
finally of Walt Whitman. The book also showed his skill in the use of
French forms of verse, as in this dainty triolet:
A PITCHER OF MIGNONETTE
A pitcher of mignonette
In a tenement's highest casement:
Queer sort of flower-potyet
That pitcher of mignonette
Is a garden in heaven set,
To the little sick child in the basement
The pitcher of mignonette
In the tenement's highest casement.
The last poem in the book, called To Her, was addressed to Miss
Alice Learned, whom he married soon after, and to whom, as A. L. B.
all his later books were dedicated. Soon after his marriage he moved to
Nutley, New Jersey. Here he was not only the editor and man of letters
but the neighbor who could always be called on in time of need, and the
citizen who took an active part in the community life, helping to
organize the Village Improvement Society, one of the first of its kind.
He followed up his first volume by two short novels, The Midge
and The Story of a New York House. Then he undertook the writing
of the short story, his first book being Zadoc Pine and other
Stories. The title story of this book contains a very humorous and
faithful delineation of a New Englander who is transplanted to a New
Jersey suburb. Soon after writing this he began to read the short
stories of Guy de Maupassant. He admired them so much that he half
translated, half adapted a number of them, and published them under the
title Made in France. Then he tried writing stories of his own,
in the manner of de Maupassant, and produced in Short Sixes a
group of stories which are models of concise narrative, crisply told,
artistic in form, and often with a touch of surprise at the end. Other
volumes of short stories are More Short Sixes, and Love in
Old Cloathes. Jersey Street and Jersey Lane was a book which
grew out of his Nutley life. He also wrote a play, The Tower of
Babel, which was produced by Marie Wainwright in 1883. He died at
Nutley, May 11, 1896. He was one of the first American authors to
develop the short story as we know it to-day, and few of his successors
have surpassed him in the light, sure style and the firmness of
construction which are characteristic of his later work.
SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN
Life in a small town, which means any place of less than a
hundred thousand people, is more interesting than life in a big city.
Both places have their notables, but in the small town you know these
people, in the city you only read about them in the papers. IN OUR
TOWN is a series of portraits of the people of a typical small city
of the Middle West, seen through the keen eyes of a newspaper editor.
This story tells how the question of the social leadership of the town
was finally settled.
THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP
WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE
What a dreary waste life in our office must have been before Miss
Larrabee came to us to edit a society page for the paper! To be sure we
had known in a vague way that there were lines of social cleavage in
the town; that there were whist clubs, and dancing clubs and women's
clubs, and in a general way that the women who composed these clubs
made up our best society, and that those benighted souls beyond the
pale of these clubs were out of the caste. We knew that certain persons
whose names were always handed in on the lists of guests at parties
were what we called howling swells, but it remained for Miss Larrabee
to sort out ten or a dozen of these howling swells, who belonged to
the strictest social caste in town, and call them howling dervishes.
Incidentally it may be said that both Miss Larrabee and her mother were
dervishes, but that did not prevent her from making sport of them. From
Miss Larrabee we learned that the high priestess of the howling
dervishes of our society was Mrs. Mortimer Conklin, known by the
sisterhood of the mosque as Priscilla Winthrop. We in our office had
never heard her called by that name, but Miss Larrabee explained,
rather elaborately, that unless one was permitted to speak of Mrs.
Conklin thus, one was quite beyond the hope of a social heaven.
In the first place, Priscilla Winthrop was Mrs. Conklin's maiden
name; in the second place, it links her with the Colonial Puritan stock
of which she is so justly proudbeing scornful of mere Daughters of
the Revolutionand finally, though Mrs. Conklin is a grandmother, her
maiden name seems to preserve the sweet, vague illusion of girlhood
which Mrs. Conklin always carries about her like the shadow of a dream.
And Miss Larrabee punctuated this with a wink which we took to be a
quotation mark, and she went on with her work. So we knew we had been
listening to the language used in the temple.
Our town was organized fifty years ago by Abolitionists from New
England, and twenty years ago, when Alphabetical Morrison was getting
out one of the numerous boom editions of his real estate circular, he
printed an historical article therein in which he said that Priscilla
Winthrop was the first white child born on the town site. Her father
was territorial judge, afterward member of the State Senate, and after
ten years spent in mining in the far West, died in the seventies, the
richest man in the State. It was known that he left Priscilla, his only
child, half a million dollars in government bonds.
She was the first girl in our town to go away to school. Naturally,
she went to Oberlin, famous in those days for admitting colored
students. But she finished her education at Vassar, and came back so
much of a young lady that the town could hardly contain her. She
married Mortimer Conklin, took him to the Centennial on a wedding trip,
came home, rebuilt her father's house, covering it with towers and
minarets and steeples, and scroll-saw fretwork, and christened it
Winthrop Hall. She erected a store building on Main Street, that
Mortimer might have a luxurious office on the second floor, and then
settled down to the serious business of life, which was building up a
titled aristocracy in a Kansas town.
The Conklin children were never sent to the public schools, but had
a governess, yet Mortimer Conklin, who was always alert for the call,
could not understand why the people never summoned him to any office of
honor or trust. He kept his brass signboard polished, went to his
office punctually every morning at ten o'clock, and returned home to
dinner at five, and made clients wait ten minutes in the outer office
before they could see himat least so both of them say, and there were
no others in all the years. He shaved every day, wore a frock-coat and
a high hat to churchwhere for ten years he was the only male member
of the Episcopalian flockand Mrs. Conklin told the women that
altogether he was a credit to his sex and his familya remark which
has passed about ribaldly in town for a dozen years, though Mortimer
Conklin never knew that he was the subject of a town joke. Once he
rebuked a man in the barber shop for speaking of feminine extravagance,
and told the shop that he did not stint his wife, that when she asked
him for money he always gave it to her without question, and that if
she wanted a dress he told her to buy it and send the bill to him. And
we are such a polite people that no one in the crowded shop
laugheduntil Mortimer Conklin went out.
Of course at the office we have known for twenty-five years what the
men thought of Mortimer, but not until Miss Larrabee joined the force
did we know that among the women Mrs. Conklin was considered an oracle.
Miss Larrabee said that her mother has a legend that when Priscilla
Winthrop brought home from Boston the first sealskin sacque ever worn
in town she gave a party for it, and it lay in its box on the big
walnut bureau in the spare room of the Conklin mansion in solemn state,
while seventy-five women salaamed to it. After that Priscilla Winthrop
was the town authority on sealskins. When any member of the town
nobility had a new sealskin, she took it humbly to Priscilla Winthrop
to pass judgment upon it. If Priscilla said it was London-dyed, its
owner pranced away on clouds of glory; but if she said it was
American-dyed, its owner crawled away in shame, and when one admired
the disgraced garment, the martyred owner smiled with resigned
sweetness and said humbly: Yesbut it's only American-dyed, you
No dervish ever questioned the curse of the priestess. The only time
a revolt was imminent was in the autumn of 1884 when the Conklins
returned from their season at Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Mrs. Conklin
took up the carpets in her house, heroically sold all of them at the
second-hand store, put in new waxed floors and spread down rugs. The
town uprose and hooted; the outcasts and barbarians in the Methodists
and Baptist Missionary Societies rocked the Conklin home with their
merriment, and ten dervishes with set faces bravely met the onslaughts
of the savages; but among themselves in hushed whispers, behind locked
doors, the faithful wondered if there was not a mistake some place.
However, when Priscilla Winthrop assured them that in all the best
homes in Boston rugs were replacing carpets, their souls were at peace.
All this time we at the office knew nothing of what was going on. We
knew that the Conklins devoted considerable time to society; but
Alphabetical Morrison explained that by calling attention to the fact
that Mrs. Conklin had prematurely gray hair. He said a woman with
prematurely gray hair was as sure to be a social leader as a spotted
horse is to join a circus. But now we know that Colonel Morrison's view
was a superficial one, for he was probably deterred from going deeper
into the subject by his dislike for Mortimer Conklin, who invested a
quarter of a million dollars of the Winthrop fortune in the Wichita
boom, and lost it. Colonel Morrison naturally thought as long as
Conklin was going to lose that money he could have lost it just as well
at home in the Queen City of the Prairies, giving the Colonel a
chance to win. And when Conklin, protecting his equities in Wichita,
sent a hundred thousand dollars of good money after the quarter million
of bad money, Colonel Morrison's grief could find no words; though he
did find language for his wrath. When the Conklins draped their
Oriental rugs for airing every Saturday over the veranda and portico
railings of the house front, Colonel Morrison accused the Conklins of
hanging out their stamp collection to let the neighbors see it. This
was the only side of the rug question we ever heard in our office until
Miss Larrabee came; then she told us that one of the first requirements
of a howling dervish was to be able to quote from Priscilla Winthrop's
Rug book from memory. The Rug book, the China book and the Old
Furniture book were the three sacred scrolls of the sect.
All this was news to us. However, through Colonel Morrison, we had
received many years ago another sidelight on the social status of the
Conklins. It came out in this way: Time honored custom in our town
allows the children of a home where there is an outbreak of social
revelry, whether a church festival or a meeting of the Cold-Nosed Whist
Club, to line up with the neighbor children on the back stoop or in the
kitchen, like human vultures, waiting to lick the ice-cream freezer and
to devour the bits of cake and chicken salad that are left over.
Colonel Morrison told us that no child was ever known to adorn the back
yard of the Conklin home while a social cataclysm was going on, but
that when Mrs. Morrison entertained the Ladies' Literary League,
children from the holy Conklin family went home from his back porch
with their faces smeared with chicken croquettes and their hands sticky
This story never gained general circulation in town, but even if it
had been known of all men it would not have shaken the faith of the
devotees. For they did not smile when Priscilla Winthrop began to refer
to old Frank Hagan, who came to milk the Conklin cow and curry the
Conklin horse, as François, the man, or to call the girl who did the
cooking and general housework Cosette, the maid, though every one of
the dozen other women in town whom Cosette, the maid had worked for
knew that her name was Fanny Ropes. And shortly after that the homes of
the rich and the great over on the hill above Main Street began to fill
with Lisettes and Nanons and Fanchons, and Mrs. Julia Neal Worthington
called her girl Grisette, explaining that they had always had a
Grisette about the house since her mother first went to housekeeping in
Peoria, Illinois, and it sounded so natural to hear the name that they
always gave it to a new servant. This story came to the office through
the Young Prince, who chuckled over it during the whole hour he
consumed in writing Ezra Worthington's obituary.
Miss Larrabee says that the death of Ezra Worthington marks such a
distinct epoch in the social life of the town that we must set down
hereeven if the narrative of the Conklins halts for a momenthow the
Worthingtons rose and flourished. Julia Neal, the eldest daughter of
Thomas Nealwho lost the O before his name somewhere between the
docks of Dublin and the west bank of the Missouri Riverwas for ten
years principal of the ward school in that part of our town known as
Arkansaw, where her term of service is still remembered as the reign
of terror. It was said of her then that she could whip any man in the
wardand would do it if he gave her a chance. The same manner which
made the neighbors complain that Julia Neal carried her head too high,
later in life, when she had money to back it, gave her what the women
of the State Federation called a regal air. In her early thirties she
married Ezra Worthington, bachelor, twenty years her senior. Ezra
Worthington was at that time, had been for twenty years before, and
continued to be until his death, proprietor of the Worthington Poultry
and Produce Commission Company. He was owner of the stockyards,
president of the Worthington State Bank, vice-president, treasurer and
general manager of the Worthington Mercantile Company, and owner of
five brick buildings on Main Street. He bought one suit of clothes
every five years whether he needed it or not, never let go of a dollar
unless the Goddess of Liberty on it was black in the face, and died
rated at $350,000 by all the commercial agencies in the country. And
the first thing Mrs. Worthington did after the funeral was to telephone
to the bank and ask them to send her a hundred dollars.
The next important thing she did was to put a heavy, immovable
granite monument over the deceased so that he would not be restless,
and then she built what is known in our town as the Worthington Palace.
It makes the Markley mansion which cost $25,000 look like a barn. The
Worthingtons in the life-time of Ezra had ventured no further into the
social whirl of the town than to entertain the new Presbyterian
preacher at tea, and to lend their lawn to the King's Daughters for a
social, sending a bill in to the society for the eggs used in the
coffee and the gasoline used in heating it.
To the howling dervishes who surrounded Priscilla Winthrop the
Worthingtons were as mere Christian dogs. It was not until three years
after Ezra Worthington's death that the glow of the rising Worthington
sun began to be seen in the Winthrop mosque. During those three years
Mrs. Worthington had bought and read four different sets of the best
hundred books, had consumed the Chautauque course, had prepared and
delivered for the Social Science Club, which she organized, five papers
ranging in subject from the home life of Rameses I., through a Survey
of the Forces Dominating Michael Angelo, to the Influence of Esoteric
Buddhism on Modern Political Tendencies. More than that, she had been
elected president of the City Federation clubs and being a delegate to
the National Federation from the State, was talked of for the State
Federation Presidency. When the State Federation met in our town, Mrs.
Worthington gave a reception for the delegates in the Worthington
Palace, a feature of which was a concert by a Kansas City organist on
the new pipe-organ which she had erected in the music-room of her
house, and despite the fact that the devotees of the Priscilla shrine
said that the crowd was distinctly mixed and not at all representative
of our best social grace and elegance, there is no question but that
Mrs. Worthington's reception made a strong impression upon the best
local society. The fact that, as Miss Larrabee said, Priscilla
Winthrop was so nice about it, also may be regarded as ominous. But
the women who lent Mrs. Worthington the spoons and forks for the
occasion were delighted, and formed a phalanx about her, which made up
in numbers what it might have lacked in distinction. Yet while Mrs.
Worthington was in Europe the faithful routed the phalanx, and Mrs.
Conklin returned from her summer in Duxbury with half a carload of old
furniture from Harrison Sampson's shop and gave a talk to the
priestesses of the inner temple on Heppelwhite in New England.
Miss Larrabee reported the affair for our paper, giving the small
list of guests and the long line of refreshmentswhich included
alligator-pear salad, right out of the Smart Set Cook Book. Moreover,
when Jefferson appeared in Topeka that fall, Priscilla Winthrop, who
had met him through some of her Duxbury friends in Boston, invited him
to run down for a luncheon with her and the members of the royal family
who surrounded her. It was the proud boast of the defenders of the
Winthrop faith in town that week, that though twenty-four people sat
down to the table, not only did all the men wear frock coatsnot only
did Uncle Charlie Haskins of String Town wear the old Winthrop butler's
livery without a wrinkle in it, and with only the faint odor of
mothballs to mingle with the perfume of the rosesbut (and here the
voices of the followers of the prophet dropped in awe) not a single
knife or fork or spoon or napkin was borrowed! After that, when any of
the sisterhood had occasion to speak of the absent Mrs. Worthington,
whose house was filled with new mahogany and brass furniture, they
referred to her as the Duchess of Grand Rapids, which gave them much
But joy is short-lived. When Mrs. Worthington came back from Europe
and opened her house to the City Federation, and gave a colored
lantern-slide lecture on An evening with the Old Masters, serving
punch from her own cut-glass punch bowl instead of renting the
hand-painted crockery bowl of the queensware store, the old dull pain
came back into the hearts of the dwellers in the inner circle. Then
just in the nick of time Mrs. Conklin went to Kansas City and was
operated on for appendicitis. She came back pale and interesting, and
gave her club a paper called Hospital Days, fragrant with iodoform
and Henley's poems. Miss Larrabee told us that it was almost as
pleasant as an operation on one's self to hear Mrs. Conklin tell about
hers. And they thought it was rather brutalso Miss Larrabee afterward
told uswhen Mrs. Worthington went to the hospital one month, and gave
her famous Delsarte lecture course the next month, and explained to the
women that if she wasn't as heavy as she used to be it was because she
had had everything cut out of her below the windpipe. It seemed to the
temple priestesses that, considering what a serious time poor dear
Priscilla Winthrop had gone through, Mrs. Worthington was making light
of serious things.
There is no doubt that the formal rebellion of Mrs. Worthington,
Duchess of Grand Rapids, and known of the town's nobility as the
Pretender, began with the hospital contest. The Pretender planted her
siege-guns before the walls of the temple of the priestess, and
prepared for business. The first manoeuver made by the beleaguered one
was to give a luncheon in the mosque, at which, though it was
midwinter, fresh tomatoes and fresh strawberries were served, and a
real authoress from Boston talked upon John Fiske's philosophy and, in
the presence of the admiring guests, made a new kind of salad dressing
for the fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Thirty women who watched her forgot
what John Fiske's theory of the cosmos is, and thirty husbands who
afterward ate that salad dressing have learned to suffer and be strong.
But that salad dressing undermined the faith of thirty mere menraw
outlanders to be surein the social omniscience of Priscilla Winthrop.
Of course they did not see it made; the spell of the enchantress was
not over them; but in their homes they maintained that if Priscilla
Winthrop didn't know any more about cosmic philosophy than to pay a
woman forty dollars to make a salad dressing like thatand the whole
town knows that was the pricethe vaunted town of Duxbury,
Massachusetts, with its old furniture and new culture, which Priscilla
spoke of in such repressed ecstasy, is probably no better than Manitou,
Colorado, where they get their Indian goods from Buffalo, New York.
Such is the perverse reasoning of man. And Mrs. Worthington, having
lived with considerable of a man for fifteen years, hearing echoes of
this sedition, attacked the fortification of the faithful on its
weakest side. She invited the thirty seditious husbands with their
wives to a beefsteak dinner, where she heaped their plates with planked
sirloin, garnished the sirloin with big, fat, fresh mushrooms, and
topped off the meal with a mince pie of her own concoction, which would
make a man leave home to follow it. She passed cigars at the table, and
after the guests went into the music-room ten old men with ten old
fiddles appeared and contested with old-fashioned tunes for a prize,
after which the company danced four quadrilles and a Virginia reel. The
men threw down their arms going home and went over in a body to the
Pretender. But in a social conflict men are mere non-combatants, and
their surrender did not seriously injure the cause that they deserted.
The war went on without abatement. During the spring that followed
the winter of the beefsteak dinner many skirmishes, minor engagements,
ambushes and midnight raids occurred. But the contest was not decisive.
For purposes of military drill, the defenders of the Winthrop faith
formed themselves into a Whist Club. The Whist Club they called
it, just as they spoke of Priscilla Winthrop's gowns as the black and
white one, the blue brocade, the white china silk, as if no other
black and white or blue brocade or white china silk gowns had been
created in the world before and could not be made again by human hands.
So, in the language of the inner sanctuary, there was The Whist Club,
to the exclusion of all other possible human Whist Clubs under the
stars. When summer came the Whist Club fled as birds to the
mountainssave Priscilla Winthrop, who went to Duxbury, and came home
with a brass warming-pan and a set of Royal Copenhagen china that were
set up as holy objects in the temple.
But Mrs. Worthington went to the National Federation of Women's
Clubs, made the acquaintance of the women there who wore clothes from
Paris, began tracing her ancestry back to the Maryland Calvertson her
mother's side of the housebrought home a membership in the Daughters
of the Revolution, the Colonial Dames and a society which referred to
Charles I. as Charles Martyr, claimed a Stuart as the rightful king
of England, affecting to score the impudence of King Edward in sitting
on another's throne. More than this, Mrs. Worthington had secured the
promise of Mrs. Ellen Vail Montgomery, Vice-President of the National
Federation, to visit Cliff Crest, as Mrs. Worthington called the
Worthington mansion, and she turned up her nose at those who worshiped
under the towers, turrets and minarets of the Conklin mosque, and
played the hose of her ridicule on their outer wall that she might have
it spotless for a target when she got ready to raze it with her big
The week that Ellen Vail Montgomery came to town was a busy one for
Miss Larrabee. We turned over the whole fourth page of the paper to her
for a daily society page, and charged the Bee Hive and the White Front
Dry Goods store people double rates to put their special advertisements
on that page while the National Vice, as the Young Prince called her,
was in town. For the National Vice brought the State President and
two State Vices down, also four District Presidents and six District
Vices, who, as Miss Larrabee said, were monsters of so frightful mien,
that to be hated need but to be seen. The entire delegation of
visiting stateswomenVices and Virtues and Beatitudes as we called
themwere entertained by Mrs. Worthington at Cliff Crest, and there
was so much Federation politics going on in our town that the New York
Sun took five hundred words about it by wire, and Colonel
Alphabetical Morrison said that with all those dressed-up women about
he felt as though he was living in a Sunday supplement.
The third day of the ghost-dance at Cliff Crest was to be the day of
the big eventas the office parlance had it. The ceremonies began at
sunrise with a breakfast to which half a dozen of the captains and
kings of the besieging host of the Pretender were bidden. It seems to
have been a modest orgy, with nothing more astonishing than a new
gold-band china set to dishearten the enemy. By ten o'clock Priscilla
Winthrop and the Whist Club had recovered from that; but they had been
asked to the luncheonthe star feature of the week's round of gayety.
It is just as well to be frank, and say that they went with fear and
trembling. Panic and terror were in their ranks, for they knew a crisis
was at hand. It came when they were ushered into the dining-hall, as
our paper so grandly put it, and saw in the great oak-beamed room a
table laid on the polished bare wooda table laid for forty-eight
guests, with a doily for every plate, and every glass, and every
salt-cellar, andhere the mosque fell on the heads of the howling
dervishesforty-eight soup-spoons, forty-eight silver-handled knives
and forks; forty-eight butter-spreaders, forty-eight spoons,
forty-eight salad forks, forty-eight ice-cream spoons, forty-eight
coffee spoons. Little did it avail the beleaguered party to peep slyly
under the spoon-handlesthe word Sterling was there, and, more than
that, a large, severely plain W with a crest glared up at them from
every piece of silver. The service had not been rented. They knew their
case was hopeless. And so they ate in peace.
When the meal was over it was Mrs. Ellen Vail Montgomery, in her
thousand-dollar gown, worshiped by the eyes of forty-eight women, who
put her arm about Priscilla Winthrop and led her into the conservatory,
where they had a dear, sweet quarter of an hour, as Mrs. Montgomery
afterward told her hostess. In that dear, sweet quarter of an hour
Priscilla Winthrop Conklin unbuckled her social sword and handed it to
the conqueror, in that she agreed absolutely with Mrs. Montgomery that
Mrs. Worthington was perfectly lovely, that she was delighted to be
of any service to Mrs. Worthington; that Mrs. Conklin was sure no one
else in our town was so admirably qualified for National Vice as Mrs.
Worthington, and that it would be such a privilege for Mrs. Conklin
to suggest Mrs. Worthington's name for the office. And then Mrs.
Montgomery, National Vice and former State Secretary for Vermont of
the Colonial Dames, kissed Priscilla Winthrop and they came forth
wet-eyed and radiant, holding each other's hands. When the company had
been hushed by the magic of a State Vice and two District Virtues,
Priscilla Winthrop rose and in the sweetest Kansas Bostonese told the
ladies that she thought this an eminently fitting place to let the
visiting ladies know how dearly our town esteems its most distinguished
townswoman, Mrs. Julia Neal Worthington, and that entirely without her
solicitation, indeed quite without her knowledge, the women of our
townand she hoped of our beloved Statewere ready now to announce
that they were unanimous in their wish that Mrs. Worthington should be
National Vice-President of the Federation of Women's Clubs, and that
she, the speaker, had entered the contest with her whole soul to bring
this end to pass. Then there was hand-clapping and handkerchief waving
and some tears, and a little good, honest Irish hugging, and in the
twilight two score of women filed down through the formal garden of
Cliff Crest and walked by twos and threes in to the town.
There was the usual clatter of home-going wagons; lights winked out
of kitchen windows; the tinkle of distant cow-bells was in the air; on
Main Street the commerce of the town was gently ebbing, and man and
nature seemed utterly oblivious of the great event that had happened.
The course of human events was not changed; the great world rolled on,
while Priscilla Winthrop went home to a broken shrine to sit among the
WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE
(Written by Mr. White especially for this book.)
I was born in Emporia, Kansas, February 10, 1868, when Emporia was a
pioneer village a hundred miles from a railroad. My father came to
Emporia in 1859 and my mother in 1855. She was a pioneer school teacher
and he a pioneer doctor. She was pure bred Irish, and he of Yankee
lineage since 1639. When I was a year old, Emporia became too effete
for my parents, and they moved to El Dorado, Kansas. There I grew up.
El Dorado was a town of a dozen houses, located on the banks of the
Walnut, a sluggish, but a clear and beautiful prairie stream, rock
bottom, and spring fed. I grew up in El Dorado, a prairie village boy;
went to the large stone school house that reared its awful form on
the hill above the town before there were any two-story buildings in
In 1884, I was graduated from the town high school, and went to the
College of Emporia for a year; worked a year as a printer's devil;
learned something of the printer's trade; went to school for another
year, working in the afternoons and Saturdays at the printer's case;
became a reporter on the Emporia News; later went to the State
University for three years. After more or less studying and working on
the Lawrence papers, I went back to El Dorado as manager of the El
Dorado Republican for State Senator T. B. Murdock.
From the El Dorado Republican, I went to Kansas City to work
for the Kansas City Journal, and at 24 became an editorial
writer on the Kansas City Star. For three years I worked on the
Star, during which time I married Miss Sallie Lindsay, a Kansas
City, Kansas, school teacher. In 1895 I bought the Emporia Gazette
on credit, without a cent in money, and chiefly with the audacity and
impudence of youth. It was then a little paper; I paid three thousand
dollars for it, and I have lived in Emporia ever since.
In 1896, I published a book of short stories called The Real
Issue; in 1899, another book of short stories called The Court
of Boyville. In 1901, I published a third book of short stories
called Stratagems and Spoils; in 1906, In Our Town. In
1909, I published my first novel, A Certain Rich Man. In 1910, I
published a book of political essays called The Old Order Changeth
; in 1916, a volume of short stories entitled God's Puppets. A
volume half novel and half travel sketches called The Martial
Adventures of Henry &Me filled the gap between my two novels; and
the second novel, In the Heart of a Fool was published in 1918.
I am a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters; the
Short Ballot Association; the International Peace Society; National
Civic Federation; National Academy of Political Science; have honorary
degrees from the College of Emporia, Baker University, and Columbia
University of the City of New York; was regent of the Kansas State
University from 1905 to 1913. Politically I am a Republican and was
elected National Republican Committeeman from Kansas in 1912, but
resigned to be Progressive National Committeeman from Kansas that year.
I am now a member of the Republican National Committee on Platforms and
Policies appointed by the National Chairman, Will S. Hays. I am a
trustee of the College of Emporia; a member of the Congregational
Church, and of the Elks Lodge, and of no other organization.
WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE.
To the above biography a few items about Mr. White's literary work
may be added. It was through an editorial that he first became famous.
This appeared in the Emporia Gazette in 1896, with the title,
What's the matter with Kansas? It contained so much good sense, and
was written in such vigorous English that it was copied in newspapers
all over the country. Perhaps no other editorial ever brought such
sudden recognition to its author. In the same year he published his
first book, The Real Issue, a volume of short stories. Some of
them pictured the life of a small town, some centered about politics,
and some were stories of small boys. These three subjects were the
themes of most of Mr. White's later books.
Stratagems and Spoils, a volume of short stories, dealt
chiefly with politics, as seen from the inside. In Our Town,
from which The Passing of Priscilla Winthrop is taken, belongs to the
studies of small-town life. His first novel, A Certain Rich Man,
was published in 1909. Its theme is the development of an American
multi-millionaire, from his beginning as a small business man with a
reputation for close dealing, his success, his reaching out to greater
schemes, growing more and more unscrupulous in his methods, until at
last he achieves the great wealth he had sought, but in winning it he
loses his soul.
This book was written during a vacation in the Colorado mountains.
His family were established in a log cabin, and he set up a tent near
by for a workshop. This is his account of his method of writing:
My working day was supposed to begin at nine o'clock in the
morning, but the truth is I seldom reached the tent before
Then it took me some time to get down to work. From then on
late in the afternoon I would sit at my typewriter, chew my
and pound away. Each night I read to my wife what I had
that day, and Mrs. White would criticise it. While my work was
redhot I couldn't get any perspective on iteach day's
seemed to me the finest literature I had ever read. She didn't
always agree with me. When she disapproved of anything I threw
awayafter a rowand re-wrote it.
In his next book, The Old Order Changeth, Mr. White turned
aside from fiction to write a series of papers dealing with various
reform movements in our national life. He shows how through these much
has been done to regain for the people the control of municipal and
state affairs. The material for this book was drawn largely from Mr.
White's participation in political affairs.
In 1917 he was sent to France as an observer by the American Red
Cross. The lighter side of what he saw there was told in The Martial
Adventures of Henry and Me. His latest book is a long novel, In
the Heart of a Fool, another study of American life of to-day.
All in all, he stands as one of the chief interpreters in fiction of
the spirit of the Middle West,a section of our country which some
observers say is the most truly American part of America.
A PAIR OF LOVERS
The typical love story begins by telling us how two young people
fall in love, allows us to eavesdrop at a proposal, with soft moonlight
effects, and then requests our presence at a wedding. Or perhaps an
elopement precedes the wedding, which gives us an added thrill. The
scene may be laid anywhere, the period may be the present or any time
back to the Middle Ages, (apparently people did not fall in love at any
earlier periods), but the formula remains the same. O. Henry wrote a
love story that does not follow the formula. He called it The Gift of
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of
it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing
the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks
burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing
implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven
cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little
couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection
that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles
While the mistress of the house is gradually subsiding from the
first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at
$8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly
had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would
go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a
ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name Mr.
James Dillingham Young.
The Dillingham had been flung to the breeze during a former period
of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when
the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of Dillingham looked
blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a
modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came
home and reached his flat above he was called Jim and greatly hugged
by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della.
Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder
rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking
a gray fence in a gray backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and
she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving
every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a
week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated.
They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a
happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something
fine and rare and sterlingsomething just a little bit near to being
worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you
have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person
may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal
strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being
slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her
eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within
twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in
which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had
been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair.
Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della
would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to
depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the
janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would
have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck
at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining
like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made
itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously
and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a
tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a
whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she
fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All
Kinds. One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting.
Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the Sofronie.
Will you buy my hair? asked Della.
I buy hair, said Madame. Take yer hat off and let's have a sight
at the looks of it.
Down rippled the brown cascade.
Twenty dollars, said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised
Give it to me quick, said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the
hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one
else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had
turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain, simple and
chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance and not
by meretricious ornamentationas all good things should do. It was
even worthy of The Watch.
As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like
him. Quietness and valuethe description applied to both. Twenty-one
dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87
cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about
the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at
it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place
of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to
prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas
and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to
love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friendsa mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying
curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She
looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
If Jim doesn't kill me, she said to herself, before he takes a
second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl.
But what could I dooh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven
At seven o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the
back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat
on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then
she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight and she
turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent
prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered:
Please God, make him think I am still pretty.
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and
very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-twoand to be burdened
with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent
of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression
in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not
anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the
sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her
fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went to him.
Jim, darling, she cried, don't look at me that way. I had my hair
cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas
without giving you a present. It'll grow out againyou won't mind,
will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say 'Merry
Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nicewhat a
beautiful, nice gift I've got for you.
You've cut off your hair? asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not
arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
Cut it off and sold it, said Della. Don't you like me just as
well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?
Jim looked about the room curiously.
You say your hair is gone? he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
You needn't look for it, said Della. It's sold, I tell yousold
and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for
you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered, she went on with a
sudden serious sweetness, but nobody could ever count my love for you.
Shall I put the chops on, Jim?
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to awake. He enfolded his
Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some
inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or
a million a yearwhat is the difference? A mathematician or a wit
would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but
that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the
Don't make any mistake, Dell, he said, about me. I don't think
there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that
could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package
you may see why you had me going a while at first.
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an
ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to
hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of
all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The combsthe set of combs, side and back, that Della
had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure
tortoise shell, with jewelled rimsjust the shade to wear in the
beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her
heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of
possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have
adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look
up with dim eyes and a smile and say: My hair grows so fast, Jim!
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, Oh,
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him
eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash
with reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll
have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch.
I want to see how it looks on it.
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands
under the back of his head and smiled.
Dell, said he, let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em
a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to
get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.
The magi, as you know, were wise menwonderfully wise menwho
brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of
giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise
ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of
duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful
chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely
sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in
a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who
give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive
gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are
He came to New York in 1902 almost unknown. At his death eight years
later he was the best known writer of short stories in America. His
life was as full of ups and downs, and of strange turns of fortune, as
one of his own stories. William Sidney Porter, who always signed his
stories as O. Henry, was born in Greenboro, North Carolina, September
11, 1862. His mother died when he was but three years old; and an aunt,
Miss Evelina Porter, cared for him and gave him nearly all his
education. Books, too, were his teachers. He says that between his
thirteenth and nineteenth years he did more reading than in all the
years since. His favorite books were The Arabian Nights, in
Lane's translation, and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, an old
English book in which bits of science, superstition and reflections
upon life were strangely mingled. Other books that he enjoyed were the
works of Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. He
early showed ability as a cartoonist, and was noted among his friends
as a good story teller. After school days he became a clerk in his
uncle's drug store, and here acquired that knowledge which he used to
such good effect in stories like Makes the Whole World Kin and The
Love Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein.
His health was not robust, and confinement in a drug store did not
improve it. A friend who was going to Texas invited him to go along,
and from 1882 to 1884 he lived on a ranch, acting as cowboy, and at odd
moments studying French, German and Spanish. Then he went to Austin,
where at various times he was clerk, editor, bookkeeper, draftsman,
bank teller, actor and cartoonist. In 1887 he married Miss Athol Roach.
He began contributing short stories and humorous sketches to
newspapers, and finally purchased a paper of his own, which he called
Rolling Stones, a humorous weekly. After a year the paper failed,
and the editor went to Houston to become a reporter on the Daily
Post. A year later, it was discovered that there were serious
irregularities in the bank in which he had worked in Austin. Several
arrests were made, and O. Henry was called to stand trial with others.
He had not been guilty of wrong doing, but the affairs of the bank had
been so loosely managed that he was afraid that he would be convicted,
so he fled to Central America. After a year there, he heard that his
wife's health was failing, and returned to Austin to give himself up.
He was found guilty, and sentenced to five years in the Ohio
penitentiary. His wife died before the trial. His time in prison was
shortened by good behavior to a little more than three years, ending in
1901. He wrote a number of stories during this time, sending them to
friends who in turn mailed them to publishers. The editor of
Ainslie's Magazine had printed several of them and in 1902 he wrote
to O. Henry urging him to come to New York, and offering him a hundred
dollars apiece for a dozen stories. He came, and from that time made
New York his home, becoming very fond of Little
Old-Bagdad-on-the-Subway as he called it.
He had found the work which he wished to do, and he turned out
stories very rapidly. These were first published in newspapers and
magazines, then collected in book form. The first of these volumes,
Cabbages and Kings, had Central America as its setting. He said
that while there he had knocked around chiefly with refugees and
consuls. The Four Million was a group of stories of New York; it
contained some of his best tales, such as The Gift of the Magi, and
An Unfinished Story. The Trimmed Lamp and The Voice of the
City also dealt with New York. The Gentle Grafter was a
collection of stories about confidence men and crooks. The material
for these narratives he had gathered from his companions in his prison
days. Heart of the West reflects his days on a Texas ranch.
Other books, more or less miscellaneous in their locality, are Roads
of Destiny, Options, Strictly Business, Whirligigs
; and Sixes and Sevens. He died in New York, June 5, 1910. After
his death a volume containing some of his earliest work was published
under the title Rolling Stones.
His choice of subjects is thus indicated in the preface to The
Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were
only 'Four Hundred' people in New York who were really worth noticing.
But a wiser man has arisenthe census takerand his larger estimate
of human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these
little stories of the 'Four Million.'
It was the common man,the clerk, the bartender, the policeman, the
waiter, the tramp, that O. Henry chose for his characters. He loved to
talk to chance acquaintances on park benches or in cheap lodging
houses, to see life from their point of view. His stories are often of
the picaresque type; a name given to a kind of story in which the hero
is an adventurer, sometimes a rogue. He sees the common humanity, and
the redeeming traits even in these. His plots usually have a turn of
surprise at the end; sometimes the very last sentence suddenly
illuminates the whole story. His style is quick, nervous, often slangy;
he is wonderfully dextrous in hitting just the right word or phrase.
His descriptions are notable for telling much in a few words. He has
almost established a definite type of short story writing, and in many
of the stories now written one may clearly see the influence of O.
Politics is democracy in action. If we believe in democracy, we
must recognize in politics the instrument, however imperfect, through
which democracy works. Brand Whitlock knew politics, first as a
political reporter, then as candidate for mayor in four campaigns, in
each of which he was successful. Under his administration the city of
Toledo became a better place to live in. In THE GOLD BRICK he
describes a municipal campaign, as seen from the point of view of the
THE GOLD BRICK
Ten thousand dollars a year! Neil Kittrell left the office of the
Morning Telegraph in a daze. He was insensible of the raw February
air, heedless of sloppy pavements, the gray day had suddenly turned
gold. He could not realize it all at once; ten thousand a yearfor him
and Edith! His heart swelled with love of Edith, she had sacrificed so
much to become the wife of a man who had tried to make an artist of
himself, and of whom fate, or economic determinism, or something, had
made a cartoonist. What a surprise for her! He must hurry home.
In this swelling of his heart he felt a love not only of Edith but
of the whole world. The people he met seemed dear to him; he felt
friendly with every one, and beamed on perfect strangers with broad,
cheerful smiles. He stopped to buy some flowers for Edithdaffodils,
or tulips, which promised spring, and he took the daffodils, because
the girl said:
I think yellow is such a spirituelle color, don't you? and
inclined her head in a most artistic manner.
But daffodils, after all, which would have been much the day before,
seemed insufficient in the light of new prosperity, and Kittrell bought
a large azalea, beautiful in its graceful spread of pink blooms.
Where shall I send it? asked the girl, whose cheeks were as pink
as azaleas themselves.
I think I'll call a cab and take it to her myself, said Kittrell.
And she sighed over the romance of this rich young gentleman and the
girl of the azalea, who, no doubt, was as beautiful as the young woman
who was playing Lottie, the Poor Saleslady at the Lyceum that
Kittrell and the azalea bowled along Claybourne Avenue; he leaned
back on the cushions, and adopted the expression of ennui appropriate
to that thoroughfare. Would Edith now prefer Claybourne Avenue? With
ten thousand a year they could, perhapsand yet, at first it would be
best not to put on airs, but to go right on as they were, in the flat.
Then the thought came to him that now, as the cartoonist on the
Telegraph, his name would become as well known in Claybourne Avenue
as it had been in the homes of the poor and humble during his years on
the Post. And his thoughts flew to those homes where tired men
at evening looked for his cartoons and children laughed at his funny
pictures. It gave him a pang; he had felt a subtle bond between himself
and all those thousands who read the Post. It was hard to leave
them. The Post might be yellow, but as the girl had said, yellow
was a spiritual color, and the Post brought something into their
liveslives that were scorned by the Telegraph and by these
people on the avenue. Could he make new friends here where the cartoons
he drew and the Post that printed them had been contemned, if
not despised? His mind flew back to the dingy office of the Post
; to the boys there, the whole good-natured, happy-go-lucky gang; and to
Hardyah, Hardy!who had been so good to him, and given him his big
chance, had taken such pains and interest, helping him with ideas and
suggestions, criticism and sympathy. To tell Hardy that he was going to
leave him, here on the eve of the campaignand Clayton, the mayor, he
would have to tell him, toooh, the devil! Why must he think of these
After all, when he had reached home, and had run up-stairs with the
news and the azalea, Edith did not seem delighted.
But, dearie, business is business, he urged, and we need the
Yes, I know; doubtless you're right. Only please don't say
'business is business;' it isn't like you, and
But think what it will meanten thousand a year!
Oh, Neil, I've lived on ten thousand a year before, and I never had
half the fun that I had when we were getting along on twelve hundred.
Yes, but then we were always dreaming of the day when I'd make a
lot; we lived on that hope, didn't we?
Edith laughed. You used to say we lived on love.
You're not serious. He turned to gaze moodily out of the window.
And then she left the azalea, and perched on the flat arm of his chair.
Dearest, she said, I am serious. I know all this means to you.
We're human, and we don't like to 'chip at crusts like Hindus,' even
for the sake of youth and art. I never had illusions about love in a
cottage and all that. Only, dear, I have been happy, so very happy,
with you, becausewell, because I was living in an atmosphere of
honest purpose, honest ambition, and honest desire to do some good
thing in the world. I had never known such an atmosphere before. At
home, you know, father and Uncle James and the boyswell, it was all
money, money, money with them, and they couldn't understand why I
Could marry a poor newspaper artist? That's just the point.
She put her hand to his lips.
Now, dear! If they couldn't understand, so much the worse for them.
If they thought it meant sacrifice to me, they were mistaken. I have
been happy in this little flat; only she leaned back and inclined
her head with her eyes asquintonly the paper in this room is
atrocious; it's a typical landlord's selectionMcGaw picked it out.
You see what it means to be merely rich.
She was so pretty thus that he kissed her, and then she went on:
And so, dear, if I didn't seem to be as impressed and delighted as
you hoped to find me, it is because I was thinking of Mr. Hardy and the
poor, dear common little Post, and thenof Mr. Clayton. Did you
think of him?
You'll have toto cartoon him?
I suppose so.
The fact he had not allowed himself to face was close to both of
them, and the subject was dropped until, just as he was going
down-townthis time to break the news to Hardyhe went into the room
he sarcastically said he might begin to call his studio, now that he
was getting ten thousand a year, to look for a sketch he had promised
Nolan for the sporting page. And there on his drawing-board was an
unfinished cartoon, a drawing of the strong face of John Clayton. He
had begun it a few days before to use on the occasion of Clayton's
renomination. It had been a labor of love, and Kittrell suddenly
realized how good it was. He had put into it all of his belief in
Clayton, all of his devotion to the cause for which Clayton toiled and
sacrificed, and in the simple lines he experienced the artist's
ineffable felicity; he had shown how good, how noble, how true a man
Clayton was. All at once he realized the sensation the cartoon would
produce, how it would delight and hearten Clayton's followers, how it
would please Hardy, and how it would touch Clayton. It would be a
tribute to the man and the friendship, but now a tribute broken,
unfinished. Kittrell gazed a moment longer, and in that moment Edith
The dear, beautiful soul! she exclaimed softly. Neil, it is
wonderful. It is not a cartoon; it is a portrait. It shows what you
might do with a brush.
Kittrell could not speak, and he turned the drawing-board to the
When he had gone, Edith sat and thoughtof Neil, of the new
position, of Clayton. He had loved Neil, and been so proud of his work;
he had shown a frank, naive pleasure in the cartoons Neil had made of
him. That last time he was there, thought Edith, he had said that
without Neil the good old cause, as he called it, using Whitman's
phrase, could never have triumphed in that town. And now, would he come
again? Would he ever stand in that room and, with his big, hearty
laugh, clasp an arm around Neil's shoulder, or speak of her in his good
friendly way as the little woman? Would he come now, in the terrible
days of the approaching campaign, for rest and sympathycome as he
used to come in other campaigns, worn and weary from all the brutal
opposition, the vilification and abuse and mud-slinging? She closed her
eyes. She could not think that far.
Kittrell found the task of telling Hardy just as difficult as he
expected it to be, but by some mercy it did not last long. Explanation
had not been necessary; he had only to make the first hesitating
approaches, and Hardy understood. Hardy was, in a way, hurt; Kittrell
saw that, and rushed to his own defense:
I hate to go, old man. I don't like it a little bitbut, you know,
business is business, and we need the money.
He even tried to laugh as he advanced this last conclusive reason,
and Hardy, for all he showed in voice or phrase, may have agreed with
It's all right, Kit, he said. I'm sorry; I wish we could pay you
more, butwell, good luck.
That was all. Kittrell gathered up the few articles he had at the
office, gave Nolan his sketch, bade the boys good-bybade them good-by
as if he were going on a long journey, never to see them moreand then
After he had made the break it did not seem so bad as he had
anticipated. At first things went on smoothly enough. The campaign had
not opened, and he was free to exercise his talents outside the
political field. He drew cartoons dealing with banal subjects, touching
with the gentle satire of his humorous pencil foibles which all the
world agreed about, and let vital questions alone. And he and Edith
enjoyed themselves: indulged oftener in things they loved; went more
frequently to the theater; appeared at recitals; dined now and then
downtown. They began to realize certain luxuries they had not known for
a long timesome he himself had never known, some that Edith had not
known since she left her father's home to become his bride. In more
subtle ways, too, Kittrell felt the change: there was a sense of larger
leisure; the future beamed with a broader and brighter light; he formed
plans, among which the old dream of going ere long to Paris for serious
study took its dignified place. And then there was the sensation his
change had created in the newspaper world; that the cartoons signed
Kit, which formerly appeared in the Post, should now adorn the
broad page of the Telegraph was a thing to talk about at the
press club; the fact of his large salary got abroad in that little
world as well, and, after the way of that world, managed to exaggerate
itself, as most facts did. He began to be sensible of attentions from
men of prominencesmall things, mere nods in the street, perhaps, or
smiles in the theater foyer, but enough to show that they recognized
him. What those children of the people, those working-men and women who
used to be his unknown and admiring friends in the old days on the
Post, thought of himwhether they missed him, whether they
deplored his change as an apostasy or applauded it as a promotionhe
did not know. He did not like to think about it.
But March came, and the politicians began to bluster like the
season. Late one afternoon he was on his way to the office with a
cartoon, the first in which he had seriously to attack Clayton. Benson,
the managing editor of the Telegraph, had conceived it, and
Kittrell had worked on it that day in sickness of heart. Every line of
this new presentation of Clayton had cut him like some biting acid; but
he had worked on, trying to reassure himself with the argument that he
was a mere agent, devoid of personal responsibility. But it had been
hard, and when Edith, after her custom, had asked to see it, he had
Oh, you don't want to see it; it's no good.
Is it ofhim? she had asked.
And when he nodded she had gone away without another word. Now, as
he hurried through the crowded streets, he was conscious that it was no
good indeed; and he was divided between the artist's regret and the
friend's joy in the fact. But it made him tremble. Was his hand to
forget its cunning? And then, suddenly, he heard a familiar voice, and
there beside him, with his hand on his shoulder, stood the mayor.
Why, Neil, my boy, how are you? he said, and he took Kittrell's
hand as warmly as ever. For a moment Kittrell was relieved, and then
his heart sank; for he had a quick realization that it was the coward
within him that felt the relief, and the man the sickness. If Clayton
had reproached him, or cut him, it would have made it easier; but
Clayton did none of these things, and Kittrell was irresistibly drawn
to the subject himself.
You heard of mynew job? he asked.
Yes, said Clayton, I heard.
Well Kittrell began.
I'm sorry, Clayton said.
So was I, Kittrell hastened to say. But I felt itwell, a duty,
some wayto Edith. You knowweneed the money. And he gave the
cynical laugh that went with the argument.
What does she think? Does she feel that way about it?
Kittrell laughed, not cynically now, but uneasily and with
embarrassment, for Clayton's blue eyes were on him, those eyes that
could look into men and understand them so.
Of course you know, Kittrell went on nervously, there is nothing
personal in this. We newspaper fellows simply do what we are told; we
obey orders like soldiers, you know. With the policy of the paper we
have nothing to do. Just like Dick Jennings, who was a red-hot
free-trader and used to write free-trade editorials for the Times
he went over to the Telegraph, you remember, and writes all
those protection arguments.
The mayor did not seem to be interested in Dick Jennings, or in the
ethics of his profession.
Of course, you know I'm for you, Mr. Clayton, just exactly as I've
always been. I'm going to vote for you.
This did not seem to interest the mayor, either.
And, maybe, you knowI thought, perhaps, he snatched at this
bright new idea that had come to him just in the nick of time; that I
might help you by my cartoons in the Telegraph; that is, I might
keep them from being as bad as they might
But that wouldn't be dealing fairly with your new employers, Neil,
the mayor said.
Kittrell was making more and more a mess of this whole miserable
business, and he was basely glad when they reached the corner.
Well, good-by, my boy, said the mayor, as they parted. Remember
me to the little woman.
Kittrell watched him as he went on down the avenue, swinging along
in his free way, the broad felt hat he wore riding above all the other
hats in the throng that filled the sidewalk; and Kittrell sighed in
When he turned in his cartoon, Benson scanned it a moment, cocked
his head this side and that, puffed his briar pipe, and finally said:
I'm afraid this is hardly up to you. This figure of Clayton,
hereit hasn't got the stuff in it. You want to show him as he is. We want the people to know what a four-flushing, hypocritical,
demagogical blatherskite he iswith all his rot about the people and
their damned rights!
Benson was all unconscious of the inconsistency of having concern
for a people he so despised, and Kittrell did not observe it, either.
He was on the point of defending Clayton, but he restrained himself and
listened to Benson's suggestions. He remained at the office for two
hours, trying to change the cartoon to Benson's satisfaction, with a
growing hatred of the work and a disgust with himself that now and then
almost drove him to mad destruction. He felt like splashing the piece
with India ink, or ripping it with his knife. But he worked on, and
submitted it again. He had failed, of course; failed to express in it
that hatred of a class which Benson unconsciously disguised as a hatred
of Clayton, a hatred which Kittrell could not express because he did
not feel it; and he failed because art deserts her devotees when they
are false to truth.
Well, it'll have to do, said Benson, as he looked it over; but
let's have a little more to the next one. Damn it! I wish I could draw.
I'd cartoon the crook!
In default of which ability, Benson set himself to write one of
those savage editorials in which he poured out on Clayton that venom of
which he seemed to have such an inexhaustible supply.
But on one point Benson was right: Kittrell was not up to himself.
As the campaign opened, as the city was swept with the excitement of
it, with meetings at noon-day and at night, office-seekers flying about
in automobiles, walls covered with pictures of candidates, hand-bills
scattered in the streets to swirl in the wild March winds, and men
quarreling over whether Clayton or Ellsworth should be mayor, Kittrell
had to draw a political cartoon each day; and as he struggled with his
work, less and less the old joy came to cheer and spur him on. To read
the ridicule, the abuse, which the Telegraph heaped on Clayton,
the distortion of facts concerning his candidature, the unfair reports
of his meetings, sickened him, and more than all, he was filled with
disgust as he tried to match in caricature these libels of the man he
so loved and honored. It was bad enough to have to flatter Clayton's
opponent, to picture him as a noble, disinterested character, ready to
sacrifice himself for the public weal. Into his pictures of this man,
attired in the long black coat of conventional respectability, with the
smug face of pharisaism, he could get nothing but cant and hypocrisy;
but in his caricatures of Clayton there was that which pained him
worsedisloyalty, untruth, and now and then, to the discerning few who
knew the tragedy of Kittrell's soul, there was pity. And thus his work
declined in value; lacking all sincerity, all faith in itself or its
purpose, it became false, uncertain, full of jarring notes, and, in
short, never once rang true. As for Edith, she never discussed his work
now; she spoke of the campaign little, and yet he knew she was deeply
concerned, and she grew hot with resentment at the methods of the
Telegraph. Her only consolation was derived from the Post,
which of course, supported Clayton; and the final drop of bitterness in
Kittrell's cup came one evening when he realized that she was following
with sympathetic interest the cartoons in that paper.
For the Post had a new cartoonist, Banks, a boy whom Hardy
had picked up somewhere and was training to the work Kittrell had laid
down. To Kittrell there was a cruel fascination in the progress Banks
was making; he watched it with a critical, professional eye, at first
with amusement, then with surprise, and now at last, in the discovery
of Edith's interest, with a keen jealousy of which he was ashamed. The
boy was crude and untrained; his work was not to be compared with
Kittrell's, master of line that he was, but Kittrell saw that it had
the thing his work now lacked, the vital, primal thingsincerity,
belief, love. The spark was there, and Kittrell knew how Hardy would
nurse that spark and fan it, and keep it alive and burning until it
should eventually blaze up in a fine white flame. And Kittrell
realized, as the days went by, that Banks' work was telling, and that
his own was failing. He had, from the first missed the atmosphere of
the Post, missed the camaraderie of the congenial spirits
there, animated by a common purpose, inspired and led by Hardy, whom
they all lovedloved as he himself once loved him, loved as he loved
him stilland dared not look him in the face when they met!
He found the atmosphere of the Telegraph alien and
distasteful. There all was different; the men had little joy in their
work, little interest in it, save perhaps the newspaper man's inborn
love of a good story or a beat. They were all cynical, without loyalty
or faith; they secretly made fun of the Telegraph, of its
editors and owners; they had no belief in its cause; and its
pretensions to respectability, its parade of virtue, excited only their
derision. And slowly it began to dawn on Kittrell that the great moral
law worked always and everywhere, even on newspapers, and that there
was reflected inevitably and logically in the work of the men on that
staff the hatred, the lack of principle, the bigotry and intolerance of
its proprietors; and this same lack of principle tainted and made
meretricious his own work, and enervated the editorials so that the
Telegraph, no matter how carefully edited or how dignified in
typographical appearance, was, nevertheless, without real influence in
Meanwhile Clayton was gaining ground. It was less than two weeks
before election. The campaign waxed more and more bitter, and as the
forces opposed to him foresaw defeat, they became ugly in spirit, and
desperate. The Telegraph took on a tone more menacing and
brutal, and Kittrell knew that the crisis had come. The might of the
powers massed against Clayton appalled Kittrell; they thundered at him
through many brazen mouths, but Clayton held on his high way
unperturbed. He was speaking by day and night to thousands. Such
meetings he had never had before. Kittrell had visions of him before
those immense audiences in halls, in tents, in the raw open air of that
rude March weather, making his appeals to the heart of the great mass.
A fine, splendid, romantic figure he was, striking to the imagination,
this champion of the people's cause, and Kittrell longed for the lost
chance. Oh, for one day on the Post now!
One morning at breakfast, as Edith read the Telegraph,
Kittrell saw the tears well slowly in her brown eyes.
Oh, she said, it is shameful! She clenched her little fists.
Oh, if I were only a man I'd She could not in her impotent feminine
rage say what she would do; she could only grind her teeth. Kittrell
bent his head over his plate; his coffee choked him.
Dearest, she said presently, in another tone, tell me, how is he?
Do youever see him? Will he win?
No, I never see him. But he'll win; I wouldn't worry.
He used to come here, she went on, to rest a moment, to escape
from all this hateful confusion and strife. He is killing himself! And
they aren't worth itthose ignorant peoplethey aren't worth such
He got up from the table and turned away, and then realizing
quickly, she flew to his side and put her arms about his neck and said:
Forgive me, dearest, I didn't meanonly
Oh, Edith, he said, this is killing me. I feel like a dog.
Don't dear; he is big enough, and good enough; he will understand.
Yes; that only makes it harder, only makes it hurt the more.
That afternoon, in the car, he heard no talk but of the election;
and down-town, in a cigar store where he stopped for cigarettes, he
heard some men talking mysteriously, in the hollow voice of rumor, of
some sensation, some scandal. It alarmed him, and as he went into the
office he met Manning, the Telegraph's political man.
Tell me, Manning, Kittrell said, how does it look?
Damn bad for us.
Well, for our mob of burglars and second story workers herethe
gang we represent. He took a cigarette from the box Kittrell was
And will he win?
Will he win? said Manning, exhaling the words on the thin level
stream of smoke that came from his lungs. Will he win? In a walk, I
tell you. He's got 'em beat to a standstill right now. That's the
But what about this story of
Aw, that's all a pipe-dream of Burns'. I'm running it in the
morning, but it's nothing; it's a shine. They're big fools to print it
at all. But it's their last card; they're desperate. They won't stop at
anything, or at any crime, except those requiring courage. Burns is in
there with Benson now; so is Salton, and old man Glenn, and the rest of
the bunco family. They're framing it up. When I saw old Glenn go in,
with his white side-whiskers, I knew the widow and the orphan were in
danger again, and that he was going bravely to the front for 'em. Say,
that young Banks is comin', isn't he? That's a peach, that cartoon of
Kittrell went on down the hall to the art-room to wait until Benson
should be free. But it was not long until he was sent for, and as he
entered the managing editor's room he was instantly sensible of the
somber atmosphere of a grave and solemn council of war. Benson
introduced him to Glenn, the banker, to Salton, the party boss, and to
Burns, the president of the street-car company; and as Kittrell sat
down he looked about him, and could scarcely repress a smile as he
recalled Manning's estimate of Glenn. The old man sat there, as solemn
and unctuous as ever he had in his pew at church. Benson, red of face,
was more plainly perturbed, but Salton was as reserved, as immobile, as
inscrutable as ever, his narrow, pointed face, with its vulpine
expression, being perhaps paler than usual. Benson had on his desk
before him the cartoon Kittrell had finished that day.
Mr. Kittrell, Benson began, we've been talking over the political
situation, and I was showing these gentlemen this cartoon. It isn't, I
fear, in your best style; it lacks the force, the argument, we'd like
just at this time. That isn't the Telegraph Clayton, Mr.
Kittrell. He pointed with the amber stem of his pipe. Not at all.
Clayton is a strong, smart, unscrupulous, dangerous man! We've reached
a crisis in this campaign; if we can't turn things in the next three
days, we're lost, that's all; we might as well face it. To-morrow we
make an important revelation concerning the character of Clayton, and
we want to follow it up the morning after by a cartoon that will be a
stunner, a clencher. We have discussed it here among ourselves, and
this is our idea.
Benson drew a crude, bald outline, indicating the cartoon they
wished Kittrell to draw. The idea was so coarse, so brutal, so
revolting, that Kittrell stood aghast, and, as he stood, he was aware
of Salton's little eyes fixed on him. Benson waited; they all waited.
Well, said Benson, what do you think of it?
Kittrell paused an instant, and then said:
I won't draw it; that's what I think of it.
Benson flushed angrily and looked up at him.
We are paying you a very large salary, Mr. Kittrell, and your work,
if you will pardon me, has not been up to what we were led to expect.
You are quite right, Mr. Benson, but I can't draw that cartoon.
Well, great God! yelled Burns, what have we got herea gold
brick? He rose with a vivid sneer on his red face, plunged his hands
in his pockets, and took two or three nervous strides across the room.
Kittrell looked at him, and slowly his eyes blazed out of a face that
had gone white on the instant.
What did you say, sir? he demanded.
Burns thrust his red face, with its prognathic jaw, menacingly
I said that in you we'd got a gold brick.
You? said Kittrell. What have you to do with it? I don't work for
You don't? Well, I guess it's us that puts up
Gentlemen! Gentlemen! said Glenn, waving a white, pacificatory
Yes, let me deal with this, if you please, said Benson, looking
hard at Burns. The street-car man sneered again, then, in ostentatious
contempt, looked out the window. And in the stillness Benson continued:
Mr. Kittrell, think a minute. Is your decision final?
It is final, Mr. Benson, said Kittrell. And as for you, Burns,
he glared angrily at the man, I wouldn't draw that cartoon for all the
dirty money that all the bribing street-car companies in the world
could put into Mr. Glenn's bank here. Good evening, gentlemen.
It was not until he stood again in his own home that Kittrell felt
the physical effects which the spiritual squalor of such a scene was
certain to produce in a nature like his.
Neil! What is the matter? Edith fluttered toward him in alarm.
He sank into a chair, and for a moment he looked as if he would
faint, but he looked wanly up at her and said:
Nothing; I'm all right; just a little weak. I've gone through a
sickening, horrible scene
And I'm off the Telegraphand a man once more!
He bent over, with his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands,
and when Edith put her calm, caressing hand on his brow, she found that
it was moist from nervousness. Presently he was able to tell her the
It was, after all, Edith, a fitting conclusion to my experience on
the Telegraph. I suppose, though, that to people who are used to
ten thousand a year such scenes are nothing at all. She saw in this
trace of his old humor that he was himself again, and she hugged his
head to her bosom.
Oh, dearest, she said, I'm proud of youand happy again.
They were, indeed, both happy, happier than they had been in weeks.
The next morning after breakfast, she saw by his manner, by the
humorous, almost comical expression about his eyes, that he had an
idea. In this mood of satisfactionthis mood that comes too seldom in
the artist's lifeshe knew it was wise to let him alone. And he
lighted his pipe and went to work. She heard him now and then, singing
or whistling or humming; she scented his pipe, then cigarettes; then,
at last, after two hours, he called in a loud, triumphant tone:
She was at the door in an instant, and, waving his hand grandly at
his drawing-board, he turned to her with that expression which connotes
the greatest joy gods or mortals can knowthe joy of beholding one's
own work and finding it good. He had, as she saw, returned to the
cartoon of Clayton he had laid aside when the tempter came; and now it
was finished. Its simple lines revealed Clayton's character, as the
sufficient answer to all the charges the Telegraph might make
against him. Edith leaned against the door and looked long and
It was fine before, she said presently; it's better now. Before
it was a portrait of the man; this shows his soul.
Well, it's how he looks to me, said Neil, after a month in which
to appreciate him.
But what, she said, stooping and peering at the edge of the
drawing, where, despite much knife-scraping, vague figures appeared,
Oh, I'm ashamed to tell you, he said. I'll have to paste over
that before it's electrotyped. You see, I had a notion of putting in
the gang, and I drew four little figuresBenson, Burns, Salton and
Glenn; they were plottingoh, it was foolish and unworthy. I decided I
didn't want anything of hatred in itjust as he wouldn't want anything
of hatred in it; so I rubbed them out.
Well, I'm glad. It is beautiful; it makes up for everything; it's
an appreciationworthy of the man.
When Kittrell entered the office of the Post, the boys
greeted him with delight, and his presence made a sensation, for there
had been rumors of the break which the absence of a Kit cartoon in
the Telegraph that morning had confirmed. But, if Hardy was
surprised, his surprise was swallowed up in his joy, and Kittrell was
grateful to him for the delicacy with which he touched the subject that
consumed the newspaper and political world with curiosity.
I'm glad, Kit, was all that he said. You know that.
Then he forgot everything in the cartoon, and he showed his instant
recognition of its significance by snatching out his watch, pushing a
button, and saying to Garland, who came to the door in his
Tell Nic to hold the first edition for a five-column first-page
cartoon. And send this up right away.
They had a last look at it before it went, and after gazing a moment
in silence Hardy said:
It's the greatest thing you ever did, Kit, and it comes at the
psychological moment. It'll elect him.
Oh, he was elected anyhow.
Hardy shook his head, and in the movement Kittrell saw how the
strain of the campaign had told on him. No, he wasn't; the way they've
been hammering him is something fierce; and the Telegraphwell,
your cartoons and all, you know.
But my cartoons in the Telegraph were rotten. Any work
that's not sincere, not intellectually honest
Hardy interrupted him:
Yes; but, Kit, you're so good that your rotten is better than 'most
anybody's best. He smiled, and Kittrell blushed and looked away.
Hardy was right. The Kit cartoon, back in the Post, created
its sensation, and after it appeared the political reporters said it
had started a landslide to Clayton; that the betting was 4 to 1 and no
takers, and that it was all over but the shouting.
That night, as they were at dinner, the telephone rang, and in a
minute Neil knew by Edith's excited and delighted reiteration of yes,
yes, who had called up. And he then heard her say:
Indeed I will; I'll come every night and sit in the front seat.
When Kittrell displaced Edith at the telephone, he heard the voice
of John Clayton, lower in register and somewhat husky after four weeks'
speaking, but more musical than ever in Kittrell's ears when it said:
I just told the little woman, Neil, that I didn't know how to say
it, so I wanted her to thank you for me. It was beautiful in you, and I
wish I were worthy of it; it was simply your own good soul expressing
And it was the last delight to Kittrell to hear that voice and to
know that all was well.
But one question remained unsettled. Kittrell had been on the
Telegraph a month, and his contract differed from that ordinarily
made by the members of a newspaper staff in that he was paid by the
year, though in monthly instalments. Kittrell knew that he had broken
his contract on grounds which the sordid law would not see or recognize
and the average court think absurd, and that the Telegraph might
legally refuse to pay him at all. He hoped the Telegraph would
do this! But it did not; on the contrary, he received the next day a
check for his month's work. He held it up for Edith's inspection.
Of course, I'll have to send it back, he said.
Do you think me quixotic?
Well, we're poor enough as it islet's have some luxuries; let's
be quixotic until after election, at least.
Sure, said Neil; just what I was thinking. I'm going to do a
cartoon every day for the Post until election day, and I'm not
going to take a cent. I don't want to crowd Banks out, you know, and I
want to do my part for Clayton and the cause, and do it, just once, for
the pure love of the thing.
Those last days of the campaign were, indeed, luxuries to Kittrell
and to Edith, days of work and fun and excitement. All day Kittrell
worked on his cartoons, and in the evening they went to Clayton's
meetings. The experience was a revelation to them boththe crowds, the
waiting for the singing of the automobile's siren, the wild cheers that
greeted Clayton, and then his speech, his appeals to the best there was
in men. He had never made such speeches, and long afterward Edith could
hear those cheers and see the faces of those working-men aglow with the
hope, the passion, the fervent religion of democracy. And those days
came to their glad climax that night when they met at the office of the
Post to receive the returns, in an atmosphere quivering with
excitement, with messenger boys and reporters coming and going, and in
the street outside an immense crowd, swaying and rocking between the
walls on either side, with screams and shouts and mad huzzas, and the
wild blowing of hornsall the hideous, happy noise an American
election-night crowd can make.
Late in the evening Clayton had made his way, somehow unnoticed,
through the crowd, and entered the office. He was happy in the great
triumph he would not accept as personal, claiming it always for the
cause; but as he dropped into the chair Hardy pushed toward him, they
all saw how weary he was.
Just at that moment the roar in the street below swelled to a mighty
crescendo, and Hardy cried:
They ran to the window. The boys up-stairs who were manipulating the
stereopticon, had thrown on the screen an enormous picture of Clayton,
the portrait Kittrell had drawn for his cartoon.
Will you say now there isn't the personal note in it? Edith asked.
Clayton glanced out the window, across the dark, surging street, at
Oh, it's not me they're cheering for, he said; it's for Kit,
Well, perhaps some of it's for him, Edith admitted loyally.
They were silent, seized irresistibly by the emotion that mastered
the mighty crowd in the dark streets below. Edith was strangely moved.
Presently she could speak:
Is there anything sweeter in life than to know that you have done a
good thingand done it well?
Yes, said Clayton, just one: to have a few friends who
You are right, said Edith. It is so with art, and it must be so
with life; it makes an art of life.
It was dark enough there by the window for her to slip her hand into
that of Neil, who had been musing silently on the crowd.
I can never say again, she said softly, that those people are not
worth sacrifice. They are worth all; they are everything; they are the
hope of the world; and their longings and their needs, and the
possibility of bringing them to pass, are all that give significance to
That's what America is for, said Clayton, and it's worth while to
be allowed to help even in a little way to make, as old Walt says, 'a
nation of friends, of equals.'
Brand Whitlock, lawyer, politician, author and ambassador, was born
in Urbana, Ohio, March 4, 1869. His father, Rev. Elias D. Whitlock, was
a minister of power and a man of strong convictions. Brand was educated
partly in the public schools, partly by private teaching. He never went
to college, but this did not mean that his education stopped; he kept
on studying, and to such good purpose that in 1916 Brown University
gave him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Like many other writers, he
received his early training in newspaper work. At eighteen he became a
reporter on a Toledo paper, and three years later was reporter and
political correspondent for the Chicago Herald. While in Chicago
he was a member of the old Whitechapel Club, a group of newspaper men
which included F. P. Dunne, the creator of Mr. Dooley; Alfred
Henry Lewis, author of Wolfville; and George Ade, whose
Fables in Slang were widely popular a few years ago.
He was strongly drawn to the law, and in 1893 went to Springfield,
Illinois, and entered a law office as a student. He was admitted to the
bar, and shortly after went to Toledo, Ohio, to practice. In eight
years he had established himself as a successful lawyer, and something
more. He was recognized as a man of high executive ability, and as
being absolutely square. Such men are none too common, and Toledo
decided that it needed him in the mayor's chair. Without a political
machine, without a platform, and without a party, he was elected mayor
in 1905, reelected in 1907, again in 1909, again in 1911and could
probably have had the office for life if he had been willing to accept
it. In the meantime he had written several successful novels; he wanted
more time for writing, and when in 1913 he was offered the post of
United States Minister to Belgium, he accepted, thinking that he would
find in this position an opportunity to observe life from a new angle,
and leisure for literary work. In August 1914 he was on his vacation,
and had begun work on a new novel. In his own words:
I had the manuscript of my novel before me.... It was somehow
beginning to take form, beginning to show some signs of life;
times some characters in it gave evidence of being human and
they were beginning to act now and then spontaneously,
say and to do things after the manner of human beings; the
vista before me, the months of laborious drudging toil and
the long agony of effort necessary to write any book, even a
one, was beginning to appear less weary, less futile; there
first faint glow of the joy of creative effort.
and then suddenly the telephone bell rang, and announced that the
Archduke of Austria had been assassinated at Sarajevo.
The rest of the story belongs to history. How he went back to
Brussels; how when the city seemed doomed, and all the government
officials left, he stayed on; how when the city was preparing to resist
by force, he went to Burgomaster Max and convinced him that it was
useless, and so saved the city from the fate of Louvain; how he took
charge of the relief work, how the King of Belgium thanked him for his
services to the country; how the city of Brussels in gratitude gave him
a picture by Van Dyck, a priceless thing, which he acceptednot for
himself but for his home city of Toledo; how after the war, he went
back, not as Minister but as Ambassador,all these are among the proud
memories of America's part in the World War.
Brand Whitlock is so much more than an author that it is with an
effort that we turn to consider his literary work. His first book,
The Thirteenth District, published in 1902, was a novel of American
politics; it contains a capital description of a convention, and shows
the strategy of political leaders as seen by a keen observer. In Her
Infinite Variety he dealt with the suffrage movement as it was in
1904, with determined women seeking the ballot, and equally determined
women working just as hard to keep it away from them. The Happy
Average was a story of an every-day American couple: they were not
rich, nor famous, nor divorced,yet the author thinks their story is
typical of most American lives. The Turn of the Balance is a
novel that grew out of his legal experiences: it deals with the
underworld of crime, and often in a depressing way. It reflects the
author's belief that the present organization of society, and our
methods of administering justice, are the cause of much of the misery
in the world. Following these novels came two volumes of short stories,
The Gold Brick and The Fall Guy: both deal with various
aspects of American life of to-day. In 1914 he published an
autobiography under the title Forty Years of It. This is
interesting as a picture of political life of the period in Ohio. His
latest book, Memories of Belgium under the German Occupation,
tells the story of four eventful years. In all that trying time, each
night, no matter how weary he was, he forced himself to set down the
events of the day. From these records he wrote a book that by virtue of
its first-hand information and its literary art ranks among the most
important of the books called forth by the Great War.
THE TRAVELING SALESMAN
The traveling salesman is a characteristic American type. We
laugh at his stories, or we criticise him for his nerve, but we do
not always make allowance for the fact that his life is not an easy
one, and that his occupation develops nerve just as an athlete's work
develops muscle. The best presentation of the traveling salesman in
fiction is found in the stories of Edna Ferber. And the fact that her
salesman is a woman only adds to the interest of the stories. When
ex-President Roosevelt read Miss Ferber's book, he wrote her an
enthusiastic letter telling her how much he admired Emma McChesney. We
meet her in the first words of this story.
HIS MOTHER'S SON
Full? repeated Emma McChesney (and if it weren't for the
compositor there'd be an exclamation point after that question mark).
Sorry, Mrs. McChesney, said the clerk, and he actually looked it,
but there's absolutely nothing stirring. We're full up. The Benevolent
Brotherhood of Bisons is holding its regular annual state convention
here. We're putting up cots in the hall.
Emma McChesney's keen blue eyes glanced up from their inspection of
the little bunch of mail which had just been handed her. Well, pick
out a hall with a southern exposure and set up a cot or so for me, she
said, agreeably, because I've come to stay. After selling Featherloom
Petticoats on the road for ten years I don't see myself trailing up and
down this town looking for a place to lay my head. I've learned this
one large, immovable truth, and that is, that a hotel clerk is a hotel
clerk. It makes no difference whether he is stuck back of a marble
pillar and hidden by a gold vase full of thirty-six-inch American
Beauty roses at the Knickerbocker, or setting the late fall fashions
for men in Galesburg, Illinois.
By one small degree was the perfect poise of the peerless personage
behind the register jarred. But by only one. He was a hotel night
It won't do you any good to get sore, Mrs. McChesney, he began,
suavely. Now a man would
But I'm not a man, interrupted Emma McChesney. I'm only doing a
man's work and earning a man's salary and demanding to be treated with
as much consideration as you'd show a man.
The personage busied himself mightily with a pen, and a blotter, and
sundry papers, as is the manner of personages when annoyed. I'd like
to accommodate you; I'd like to do it.
Cheer up, said Emma McChesney, you're going to. I don't mind a
little discomfort. Though I want to mention in passing that if there
are any lady Bisons present you needn't bank on doubling me up with
them. I've had one experience of that kind. It was in Albia, Iowa. I'd
sleep in the kitchen range before I'd go through another.
Up went the erstwhile falling poise. You're badly mistaken, madam.
I'm a member of this order myself, and a finer lot of fellows it has
never been my pleasure to know.
Yes, I know, drawled Emma McChesney. Do you know, the thing that
gets me is the inconsistency of it. Along come a lot of boobs who never
use a hotel the year around except to loaf in the lobby, and wear out
the leather chairs, and use up the matches and toothpicks and get the
baseball returns, and immediately you turn away a traveling man who
uses a three-dollar-a-day room, with a sample room downstairs for his
stuff, who tips every porter and bell-boy in the place, asks for no
favors, and who, if you give him a halfway decent cup of coffee for
breakfast, will fall in love with the place and boom it all over the
country. Half of your Benevolent Bisons are here on the European plan,
with a view to patronizing the free-lunch counters or being asked to
take dinner at the home of some local Bison whose wife has been cooking
up on pies, and chicken salad and veal roast for the last week.
Emma McChesney leaned over the desk a little, and lowered her voice
to the tone of confidence. Now, I'm not in the habit of making a
nuisance of myself like this. I don't get so chatty as a rule, and I
know that I could jump over to Monmouth and get first-class
accommodations there. But just this once I've a good reason for wanting
to make you and myself a little miserable. Y'see, my son is traveling
with me this trip.
Son! echoed the clerk, staring.
Thanks. That's what they all do. After a while I'll begin to
believe that there must be something hauntingly beautiful and girlish
about me or every one wouldn't petrify when I announce that I've a
six-foot son attached to my apron-strings. He looks twenty-one, but
he's seventeen. He thinks the world's rotten because he can't grow one
of those fuzzy little mustaches that the men are cultivating to match
their hats. He's down at the depot now, straightening out our baggage.
Now I want to say this before he gets here. He's been out with me just
four days. Those four days have been a revelation, an eye-opener, and a
series of rude jolts. He used to think that his mother's job consisted
of traveling in Pullmans, eating delicate viands turned out by the
hotel chefs, and strewing Featherloom Petticoats along the path. I gave
him plenty of money, and he got into the habit of looking lightly upon
anything more trifling than a five-dollar bill. He's changing his mind
by great leaps. I'm prepared to spend the night in the coal cellar if
you'll just fix him upnot too comfortably. It'll be a great lesson
for him. There he is now. Just coming in. Fuzzy coat and hat and
English stick. Hist! As they say on the stage.
The boy crossed the crowded lobby. There was a little worried,
annoyed frown between his eyes. He laid a protecting hand on his
mother's arm. Emma McChesney was conscious of a little thrill of pride
as she realized that he did not have to look up to meet her gaze.
Look here, Mother, they tell me there's some sort of a convention
here, and the town's packed. That's what all those banners and things
were for. I hope they've got something decent for us here. I came up
with a man who said he didn't think there was a hole left to sleep in.
You don't say! exclaimed Emma McChesney, and turned to the clerk.
This is my son, Jock McChesneyMr. Sims. Is this true?
Glad to know you, sir, said Mr. Sims. Why, yes, I'm afraid we are
pretty well filled up, but seeing it's you maybe we can do something
He ruminated, tapping his teeth with a penholder, and eying the pair
before him with a maddening blankness of gaze. Finally:
I'll do my best, but you can't expect much. I guess I can squeeze
another cot into eight-seven for the young man. There'slet's see
nowwho's in eighty-seven? Well, there's two Bisons in the double bed,
and one in the single, and Fat Ed Meyers in the cot and
Emma McChesney stiffened into acute attention. Meyers? she
interrupted. Do you mean Ed Meyers of the Strauss Sans-silk Skirt
That's so. You two are in the same line, aren't you? He's a great
little piano player, Ed is. Ever hear him play?
When did he get in?
Oh, he just came in fifteen minutes ago on the Ashland division.
He's in at supper.
Oh, said Emma McChesney. The two letters breathed relief.
But relief had no place in the voice, or on the countenance of Jock
McChesney. He bristled with belligerence. This cattle-car style of
sleeping don't make a hit. I haven't had a decent night's rest for
three nights. I never could sleep on a sleeper. Can't you fix us up
better than that?
Best I can do.
But where's mother going? I see you advertise 'three large and
commodious steam-heated sample rooms in connection.' I suppose mother's
due to sleep on one of the tables there.
Jock, Emma McChesney reproved him, Mr. Sims is doing us a great
favor. There isn't another hotel in town that would
You're right, there isn't, agreed Mr. Sims. I guess the young man
is new to this traveling game. As I said, I'd like to accommodate you,
butLet's see now. Tell you what I'll do. If I can get the housekeeper
to go over and sleep in the maids' quarters just for to-night, you can
use her room. There you are! Of course, it's over the kitchen, and
there may be some little noise early in the morning
Emma McChesney raised a protesting hand. Don't mention it. Just
lead me thither. I'm so tired I could sleep in an excursion special
that was switching at Pittsburgh. Jock, me child, we're in luck. That's
twice in the same place. The first time was when we were inspired to
eat our supper on the diner instead of waiting until we reached here to
take the leftovers from the Bisons' grazing. I hope that housekeeper
hasn't a picture of her departed husband dangling life-size on the wall
at the foot of the bed. But they always have. Good-night, son. Don't
let the Bisons bite you. I'll be up at seven.
But it was just 6.30 A.M. when Emma McChesney turned the little bend
in the stairway that led to the office. The scrub-woman was still in
possession. The cigar-counter girl had not yet made her appearance.
There was about the place a general air of the night before. All but
the night clerk. He was as spruce and trim, and alert and smooth-shaven
as only a night clerk can be after a night's vigil.
'Morning! Emma McChesney called to him. She wore blue serge, and a
smart fall hat. The late autumn morning was not crisper and sunnier
Good-morning, Mrs. McChesney, returned Mr. Sims, sonorously. Have
a good night's sleep? I hope the kitchen noises didn't wake you.
Emma McChesney paused with her hand on the door. Kitchen? Oh, no. I
could sleep through a vaudeville china-juggling act. Butwhat an
extraordinarily unpleasant-looking man that housekeeper's husband must
That November morning boasted all those qualities which
November-morning writers are so prone to bestow upon the month. But the
words wine, and sparkle, and sting, and glow, and snap do not seem to
cover it. Emma McChesney stood on the bottom step, looking up and down
Main Street and breathing in great draughts of that unadjectivable air.
Her complexion stood the test of the merciless, astringent morning and
came up triumphantly and healthily firm and pink and smooth. The town
was still asleep. She started to walk briskly down the bare and ugly
Main Street of the little town. In her big, generous heart, and her
keen, alert mind, there were many sensations and myriad thoughts, but
varied and diverse as they were they all led back to the boy up there
in the stuffy, over-crowded hotel roomthe boy who was learning his
Half an hour later she reentered the hotel, her cheeks glowing. Jock
was not yet down. So she ordered and ate her wise and cautious
breakfast of fruit and cereal and toast and coffee, skimming over her
morning paper as she ate. At 7:30 she was back in the lobby, newspaper
in hand. The Bisons were already astir. She seated herself in a deep
chair in a quiet corner, her eyes glancing up over the top of her paper
toward the stairway. At eight o'clock Jock McChesney came down.
There was nothing of jauntiness about him. His eyelids were red. His
face had the doughy look of one whose sleep has been brief and
feverish. As he came toward his mother you noticed a stain on his coat,
and a sunburst of wrinkles across one leg of his modish brown trousers.
Good-morning, son! said Emma McChesney. Was it as bad as that?
Jock McChesney's long fingers curled into a fist.
Say, he began, his tone venomous, do you know what
Say it! commanded Emma McChesney. I'm only your mother. If you
keep that in your system your breakfast will curdle in your stomach.
Jock McChesney said it. I know no phrase better fitted to describe
his tone than that old favorite of the erotic novelists. It was vibrant
with passion. It breathed bitterness. It sizzled with savagery. ItOh,
alliteration is useless.
Well, said Emma McChesney, encouragingly, go on.
Well! gulped Jock McChesney, and glared; those two double-bedded,
bloomin', blasted Bisons came in at twelve, and the single one about
fifteen minutes later. They didn't surprise me. There was a herd of
about ninety-three of 'em in the hall, all saying good-night to each
other, and planning where they'd meet in the morning, and the time, and
place and probable weather conditions. For that matter, there were
droves of 'em pounding up and down the halls all night. I never saw
such restless cattle. If you'll tell me what makes more noise in the
middle of the night than the metal disk of a hotel key banging and
clanging up against a door, I'd like to know what it is. My three
Bisons were all dolled up with fool ribbons and badges and striped
paper canes. When they switched on the light I gave a crack imitation
of a tired working man trying to get a little sleep. I breathed
regularly and heavily, with an occasional moaning snore. But if those
two hippopotamus Bisons had been alone on their native plains they
couldn't have cared less. They bellowed, and pawed the earth, and threw
their shoes around, and yawned, and stretched and discussed their plans
for the next day, and reviewed all their doings of that day. Then one
of them said something about turning in, and I was so happy I forgot to
snore. Just then another key clanged at the door, in walked a fat man
in a brown suit and a brown derby, and stuff was off.
That, said Emma McChesney, would be Ed Meyers, of the Strauss
Sans-silk Skirt Company.
None other than our hero. Jock's tone had an added acidity. It
took those four about two minutes to get acquainted. In three minutes
they had told their real names, and it turned out that Meyers belonged
to an organization that was a second cousin of the Bisons. In five
minutes they had got together a deck and a pile of chips and were
shirt-sleeving it around a game of pinochle. I would doze off to the
slap of cards, and the click of chips, and wake up when the bell-boy
came in with another round, which he did every six minutes. When I got
up this morning I found that Fat Ed Meyers had been sitting on the
chair over which I trustingly had draped my trousers. This sunburst of
wrinkles is where he mostly sat. This spot on my coat is where a Bison
drank his beer.
Emma McChesney folded her paper and rose, smiling. It is sort of
trying, I suppose, if you're not used to it.
Used to it! shouted the outraged Jock. Used to it! Do you mean to
tell me there's nothing unusual about
Not a thing. Oh, of course you don't strike a bunch of Bisons every
day. But it happens a good many times. The world is full of Ancient
Orders and they're everlastingly getting together and drawing up
resolutions and electing officers. Don't you think you'd better go in
to breakfast before the Bisons begin to forage? I've had mine.
The gloom which had overspread Jock McChesney's face lifted a
little. The hungry boy in him was uppermost. That's so. I'm going to
have some wheat cakes, and steak, and eggs, and coffee, and fruit, and
toast, and rolls.
Why slight the fish? inquired his mother. Then, as he turned
toward the dining-room, I've two letters to get out. Then I'm going
down the street to see a customer. I'll be up at the Sulzberg-Stein
department store at nine sharp. There's no use trying to see old
Sulzberg before ten, but I'll be there, anyway, and so will Ed Meyers,
or I'm no skirt salesman. I want you to meet me there. It will do you
good to watch how the overripe orders just drop, ker-plunk, into my
Maybe you know Sulzberg &Stein's big store? No? That's because
you've always lived in the city. Old Sulzberg sends his buyers to the
New York market twice a year, and they need two floor managers on the
main floor now. The money those people spend for red and green
decorations at Christmas time, apple-blossoms and pink crêpe paper
shades in the spring, must be something awful. Young Stein goes to
Chicago to have his clothes made, and old Sulzberg likes to keep the
traveling men waiting in the little ante-room outside his private
Jock McChesney finished his huge breakfast, strolled over to
Sulzberg & Stein's, and inquired his way to the office only to find
that his mother was not yet there. There were three men in the little
waiting-room. One of them was Fat Ed Meyers. His huge bulk overflowed
the spindle-legged chair on which he sat. His brown derby was in his
hands. His eyes were on the closed door at the other side of the room.
So were the eyes of the other two travelers. Jock took a vacant seat
next to Fat Ed Meyers so that he might, in his mind's eye, pick out a
particularly choice spot upon which his hard young fist might landif
only he had the chance. Breaking up a man's sleep like that, the great
big overgrown mutt!
What's your line? said Ed Meyers, suddenly turning toward Jock.
Prompted by some impSkirts, answered Jock. Ladies' petticoats.
(As if men ever wore 'em! he giggled inwardly.)
Ed Meyers shifted around in his chair so that he might better stare
at this new foe in the field. His little red mouth was open
Who're you out for? he demanded next.
There was a look of Emma McChesney on Jock's face. Whyerthe
Union Underskirt and Hosiery Company of Chicago. New concern.
Must be, ruminated Ed Meyers. I never heard of 'em, and I know
'em all. You're starting in young, ain't you, kid! Well, it'll never
hurt you. You'll learn something new every day. Now me, I
In breezed Emma McChesney. Her quick glance rested immediately upon
Meyers and the boy. And in that moment some instinct prompted Jock
McChesney to shake his head, ever so slightly, and assume a blankness
of expression. And Emma McChesney, with that shrewdness which had made
her one of the best salesmen on the road, saw, and miraculously
How do, Mrs. McChesney, grinned Fat Ed Meyers. You see I beat you
So I see, smiled Emma, cheerfully. I was delayed. Just sold a
nice little bill to Watkins down the street. She seated herself across
the way, and kept her eyes on that closed door.
Say, kid, Meyers began, in the husky whisper of the fat man, I'm
going to put you wise to something, seeing you're new to this game. See
that lady over there? He nodded discreetly in Emma McChesney's
Pretty, isn't she? said Jock, appreciatively.
Know who she is?
WellIshe does look familiar, but
Oh, come now, quit your bluffing. If you'd ever met that dame you'd
remember it. Her name's McChesneyEmma McChesney, and she sells T. A.
Buck's Featherloom Petticoats. I'll give her her dues; she's the best
little salesman on the road. I'll bet that girl could sell a ruffled,
accordion-plaited underskirt to a fat woman who was trying to reduce.
She's got the darndest way with her. And at that she's straight, too.
If Ed Meyers had not been gazing so intently into his hat, trying at
the same time to look cherubically benign he might have seen a quick
and painful scarlet sweep the face of the boy, coupled with a certain
tense look of the muscles around the jaw.
Well, now, look here, he went on, still in a whisper. We're both
skirt men, you and me. Everything's fair in this game. Maybe you don't
know it, but when there's a bunch of the boys waiting around to see the
head of the store like this, and there happens to be a lady traveler in
the crowd, why, it's considered kind of a professional courtesy to let
the lady have the first look-in. See? It ain't so often that three
people in the same line get together like this. She knows it, and she's
sitting on the edge of her chair, waiting to bolt when that door opens,
even if she does act like she was hanging on the words of that lady
clerk there. The minute it does open a crack she'll jump up and give me
a fleeting, grateful smile, and sail in and cop a fat order away from
the old man and his skirt buyer. I'm wise. Say, he may be an oyster,
but he knows a pretty woman when he sees one. By the time she's through
with him he'll have enough petticoats on hand to last him from now
until Turkey goes suffrage. Get me?
I get you, answered Jock.
I say, this is business, and good manners be hanged. When a woman
breaks into a man's game like this, let her take her chances like a
man. Ain't that straight?
You've said something, agreed Jock.
Now, look here, kid. When that door opens I get up. See? And shoot
straight for the old man's office. See? Like a duck. See? Say, I may be
fat, kid, but I'm what they call light on my feet, and when I see an
order getting away from me I can be so fleet that I have Diana looking
like old Weston doing a stretch of muddy country road in a
coast-to-coast hike. See? Now you help me out on this and I'll see that
you don't suffer for it. I'll stick in a good word for you, believe me.
You take the word of an old stager like me and you won't go far
The door opened. Simultaneously three figures sprang into action.
Jock had the seat nearest the door. With marvelous clumsiness he
managed to place himself in Ed Meyers' path, then reddened, began an
apology, stepped on both of Ed's feet, jabbed his elbow into his
stomach, and dropped his hat. A second later the door of old Sulzberg's
private office closed upon Emma McChesney's smart, erect, confident
Now, Ed Meyers' hands were peculiar hands for a fat man. They were
tapering, slender, delicate, blue-veined, temperamental hands. At this
moment, despite his purpling face, and his staring eyes, they were the
most noticeable thing about him. His fingers clawed the empty air,
quivering, vibrant, as though poised to clutch at Jock's throat.
Then words came. They spluttered from his lips. They popped like
corn kernels in the heat of his wrath; they tripped over each other;
You darned kid, you! he began, with fascinating fluency. You
thousand-legged, double-jointed, ox-footed truck horse! Come on out of
here and I'll lick the shine off your shoes, you blue-eyed babe, you!
What did you get up for, huh? What did you think this was going to
bea flag drill?
With a whoop of pure joy Jock McChesney turned and fled.
They dined together at one o'clock, Emma McChesney and her son Jock.
Suddenly Jock stopped eating. His eyes were on the door. There's that
fathead now, he said, excitedly. The nerve of him! He's coming over
Ed Meyers was waddling toward them with the quick light step of the
fat man. His pink, full-jowled face was glowing. His eyes were bright
as a boy's. He stopped at their table and paused for one dramatic
So, me beauty, you two were in cahoots, huh? That's the second
low-down deal you've handed me. I haven't forgotten that trick you
turned with Nussbaum at DeKalb. Never mind, little girl. I'll get back
at you yet.
He nodded a contemptuous head in Jock's direction. Carrying a
Emma McChesney wiped her fingers daintily on her napkin, crushed it
on the table, and leaned back in her chair. Men, she observed,
wonderingly, are the cussedest creatures. This chap occupied the same
room with you last night and you don't even know his name. Funny! If
two strange women had found themselves occupying the same room for a
night they wouldn't have got to the kimono and back hair stage before
they would not only have known each other's names, but they'd have
tried on each other's hats, swapped corset cover patterns, found mutual
friends living in Dayton, Ohio, taught each other a new Irish crochet
stitch, showed their family photographs, told how their married
sister's little girl nearly died with swollen glands, and divided off
the mirror into two sections to paste their newly-washed handkerchiefs
on. Don't tell me men have a genius for friendship.
Well, who is he? insisted Ed Meyers. He told me everything but
his name this morning. I wish I had throttled him with a bunch of
Bisons' badges last night.
His name, smiled Emma McChesney, is Jock McChesney. He's my one
and only son, and he's put through his first little business deal this
morning just to show his mother that he can be a help to his folks if
he wants to. Now, Ed Meyers, if you're going to have apoplexy, don't
you go and have it around this table. My boy is only on his second
piece of pie, and I won't have his appetite spoiled.
A professor of literature once began a lecture on Lowell by saying:
It makes a great deal of difference to an author whether he is born in
Cambridge or Kalamazoo. Miss Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, but it
hasn't made much difference to her. The date was August 15, 1887. She
attended high school at Appleton, Wisconsin, and at seventeen secured a
position as reporter on the Appleton Daily Crescent. That she
was successful in newspaper work is shown by the fact that she soon had
a similar position on the Milwaukee Journal, and went from there
to the staff of the Chicago Tribune, one of the leading
newspapers in the United States.
But journalism, engrossing as it is, did not take all of her time.
She began a novel, working on it in spare moments, but when it was
finished she was so dissatisfied with it that she threw the manuscript
into the waste basket. Here her mother found it, and sent it to a
publisher, who accepted it at once. The book was Dawn O'Hara. It
was dedicated To my dear mother who frequently interrupts, and to my
sister Fannie who says Sh-sh-sh outside my door. With this book Miss
Ferber, at twenty-four, found herself the author of one of the
successful novels of the year.
Her next work was in the field of the short story, and here too she
quickly gained recognition. The field that she has made particularly
her own is the delineation of the American business woman, a type
familiar in our daily life, but never adequately presented in fiction
until Emma McChesney appeared. The fidelity with which these stories
describe the life of a traveling salesman show that Miss Ferber knew
her subject through and through before she began to write. Her
knowledge of other things is shown in an amusing letter which she wrote
to the editor of the Bookman in 1912. He had criticized her for
writing a story about baseball, saying that no woman really knew
baseball. This was her reply, in part:
You, buried up there in your office, or your apartment, with
books, books, books, and your pipe, and your everlasting
manuscripts, and makers of manuscripts, don't you know that
woman secretary knows more about baseball than you do? Don't
know that every American girl knows baseball, and that most of
read the sporting page, not as a pose, but because we're
in things that happen on the field, and track, and links, and
gridiron? Bless your heart, that baseball story was the worst
in the book, but it was written after a solid summer of
our bush league team play ball in the little Wisconsin town
used to call home.
Humanity? Which of us really knows it? But take a fairly
intelligent girl of seventeen, put her on a country daily
newspaper, and then keep her on one paper or another, country
city, for six years, andwell, she just naturally can't help
learning some things about some folks, now can she?...
You say that two or three more such books may entitle me to
consideration. If I can get the editors to take more stories,
suppose there'll be more books. But please don't perform any
serious consideration stuff over 'em. Because me'n Georgie
we jest aims to amuse.
Her first book of short stories was called Buttered Side Down
(her titles are always unusual). This was followed by Roast Beef,
Medium, in which Mrs. McChesney appears as the successful
distributor of Featherloom skirts. Personality Plus tells of the
adventures of her son Jock as an advertising man. Cheerfulby
Request introduces Mrs. McChesney and some other people. By this
time her favorite character had become so well known that the stage
called for her, so Miss Ferber collaborated with George V. Hobart in a
play called Our Mrs. McChesney, which was produced with Ethel
Barrymore in the title role. Her latest book, Fanny Herself, is
a novel, and in its pages Mrs. McChesney appears again.
Her stories show the effect of her newspaper training. The style is
crisp; the descriptions show close observation. Humor lights up every
page, and underlying all her stories is a belief in people, a faith
that life is worth while, a courage in the face of obstacles, that we
like to think is characteristically American. In the structure and the
style of her stories, Miss Ferber shows the influence of O. Henry, or
as a newspaper wit put it,
O. Henry's fame, unless mistaken I'm
Goes ednaferberating down through time.
AFTER THE BIG STORE CLOSES
We all go to the Big Store to buy its bargains, and sometimes we
wonder idly what the clerks are like when they are not behind the
counter. This story deals with the lives of two people who punched the
time-clock. When the store closes, it is like the striking of the clock
in the fairy tales: the clerks are transformed into human beings, and
become so much like ourselves that it is hard to tell the difference.
Much of the tragical lore of the infant mortality, the malnutrition,
and the five-in-a-room morality of the city's poor is written in
statistics, and the statistical path to the heart is more figurative
It is difficult to write stylistically a per-annum report of 1,327
curvatures of the spine, whereas the poor specific little vertebra of
Mamie O'Grady, daughter to Lou, your laundress, whose alcoholic husband
once invaded your very own basement and attempted to strangle her in
the coal-bin, can instantly create an apron bazaar in the church
That is why it is possible to drink your morning coffee without
nausea for it, over the head-lines of forty thousand casualties at
Ypres, but to push back abruptly at a three-line notice of little
Tony's, your corner bootblack's, fatal dive before a street-car.
Gertie Slayback was statistically down as a woman wage-earner; a
typhoid case among the thousands of the Borough of Manhattan for 1901;
and her twice-a-day share in the Subway fares collected in the present
year of our Lord.
She was a very atomic one of the city's four millions. But after
all, what are the kings and peasants, poets and draymen, but great,
greater, or greatest, less, lesser, or least atoms of us? If not of the
least, Gertie Slayback was of the very lesser. When she unlocked the
front door to her rooming-house of evenings, there was no one to expect
her, except on Tuesdays, which evening it so happened her week was up.
And when she left of mornings with her breakfast crumblessly cleared up
and the box of biscuit and condensed-milk can tucked unsuspectedly
behind her camisole in the top drawer there was no one to regret her.
There are some of us who call this freedom. Again there are those
for whom one spark of home fire burning would light the world.
Gertie Slayback was one of these. Half a life-time of opening her
door upon this or that desert-aisle of hall bedroom had not taught her
heart how not to sink or the feel of daily rising in one such room to
seem less like a damp bathing-suit, donned at dawn.
The only pictureor call it atavism if you willwhich adorned Miss
Slayback's dun-colored walls was a passe-partout snowscape, night
closing in, and pink cottage windows peering out from under eaves. She
could visualize that interior as if she had only to turn the frame for
the smell of wood fire and the snap of pine logs and for the scene of
two high-back chairs and the wooden crib between.
What a fragile, gracile thing is the mind that can leap thus from
nine bargain basement hours of hairpins and darning-balls to the downy
business of lining a crib in Never-Never Land and warming No Man's
slippers before the fire of imagination.
There was that picture so acidly etched into Miss Slayback's brain
that she had only to close her eyes in the slit-like sanctity of her
room and in the brief moment of courting sleep feel the pink penumbra
of her vision begin to glow.
Of late years, or, more specifically, for two years and eight
months, another picture had invaded, even superseded the old. A
stamp-photograph likeness of Mr. James P. Batch in the corner of Miss
Slayback's mirror, and thereafter No Man's slippers became number
eight-and-a-half C, and the hearth a gilded radiator in a
dining-living-room somewhere between the Fourteenth Street Subway and
the land of the Bronx.
How Miss Slayback, by habit not gregarious, met Mr. Batch is of no
consequence, except to those snug ones of us to whom an introduction is
the only means to such an end.
At a six o'clock that invaded even Union Square with heliotrope
dusk, Mr. James Batch mistook, who shall say otherwise, Miss Gertie
Slayback, as she stepped down into the wintry shade of a Subway kiosk,
for Miss Whodoesitmatter. At seven o'clock, over a dish of lamb stew
à la White Kitchen, he confessed, and if Miss Slayback affected too
great surprise and too little indignation, try to conceive six
nine-hour week-in-and week-out days of hairpins and darning-balls, and
then, at a heliotrope dusk, James P. Batch, in invitational mood,
stepping in between it and the papered walls of a dun-colored evening.
To further enlist your tolerance, Gertie Slayback's eyes were as blue
as the noon of June, and James P. Batch, in a belted-in coat and five
kid finger-points protruding ever so slightly and rightly from a breast
pocket, was hewn and honed in the image of youth. His the smile of one
for whom life's cup holds a heady wine, a wrinkle or two at the eye
only serving to enhance that smile; a one-inch feather stuck upright in
his derby hatband.
It was a forelock once stamped a Corsican with the look of emperor.
It was this hat feather, a cock's feather at that and worn without
sense of humor, to which Miss Slayback was fond of attributing the
consequences of that heliotrope dusk.
It was the feather in your cap did it, Jimmie. I can see you yet,
stepping up with that innocent grin of yours. You think I didn't know
you were flirting? Cousin from Long Island City! 'Say,' I says to
myself, I says, 'I look as much like his cousin from Long Island City,
if he's got one, as my cousin from Hoboken (and I haven't got any)
would look like my sister if I had one.' It was that sassy little
feather in your hat!
They would laugh over this ever-green reminiscence on Sunday park
benches and at intermission at moving pictures when they remained
through it to see the show twice. Be the landlady's front parlor ever
so permanently rented out, the motion-picture theater has brought to
thousands of young city starvelings, if not the quietude of the home,
then at least the warmth and a juxtaposition and a deep darkness that
can lave the sub-basement throb of temples and is filled with music
with a hum in it.
For two years and eight months of Saturday nights, each one of them
a semaphore dropping out across the gray road of the week, Gertie
Slayback and Jimmie Batch dined for one hour and sixty cents at the
White Kitchen. Then arm and arm up the million-candle-power flare of
Broadway, content, these two who had never seen a lake reflect a moon,
or a slim fir pointing to a star, that life could be so manifold. And
always, too, on Saturday, the tenth from the last row of the De Luxe
Cinematograph, Broadway's Best, Orchestra Chairs, fifty cents; Last Ten
Rows, thirty-five. The give of velvet-upholstered chairs, perfumed
darkness, and any old love story moving across it to the ecstatic ache
of Gertie Slayback's high young heart.
On a Saturday evening that was already pointed with stars at the
six-o'clock closing of Hoffheimer's Fourteenth Street Emporium, Miss
Slayback, whose blondness under fatigue could become ashy, emerged from
the Bargain Basement almost the first of its frantic exodus, taking the
place of her weekly appointment in the entrance of the Popular Drug
Store adjoining, her gaze, something even frantic in it, sifting the
At six o'clock Fourteenth Street pours up from its basements, down
from its lofts, and out from its five-and-ten-cent stores, shows, and
arcades, in a great homeward torrenta sweeping torrent that flows
full flush to the Subway, the Elevated, and the surface car, and then
spreads thinly into the least pretentious of the city's homesthe five
flights up, the two rooms rear, and the third floor back.
Standing there, this eager tide of the Fourteenth Street Emporium,
thus released by the six-o'clock flood-gates, flowed past Miss
Slayback. White-nosed, low-chested girls in short-vamp shoes and
no-carat gold vanity-cases. Older men resigned that ambition could be
flayed by a yard-stick; young men still impatient of their clerkship.
It was into the trickle of these last that Miss Slayback bored her
glance, the darting, eager glance of hot eyeballs and inner trembling.
She was not so pathetically young as she was pathetically blond, a
treacherous, ready-to-fade kind of blondness that one day, now that she
had found that very morning her first gray hair, would leave her ashy.
Suddenly, with a small catch of breath that was audible in her
throat, Miss Slayback stepped out of that doorway, squirming her way
across the tight congestion of the sidewalk to its curb, then in and
out, brushing this elbow and that shoulder, worming her way in an
absolutely supreme anxiety to keep in view a brown derby hat bobbing
right briskly along with the crowd, a greenish-black bit of feather
upright in its band.
At Broadway, Fourteenth Street cuts quite a caper, deploying out
into Union Square, an island of park, beginning to be succulent at the
first false feint of spring, rising as it were from a sea of asphalt.
Across this park Miss Slayback worked her rather frenzied way, breaking
into a run when the derby threatened to sink into the confusion of a
hundred others, and finally learning to keep its course by the faint
but distinguishing fact of a slight dent in the crown. At Broadway,
some blocks before that highway bursts into its famous flare, Mr.
Batch, than whom it was no other, turned off suddenly at right angles
down into a dim pocket of side-street and into the illuminated entrance
of Ceiner's Café Hungarian. Meals at all hours. Lunch, thirty cents.
Dinner, fifty cents. Our Goulash is Famous.
New York, which expresses itself in more languages to the square
block than any other area in the world, Babylon included, loves thus to
dine linguistically, so to speak. To the Crescent Turkish Restaurant
for its Business Men's Lunch comes Fourth Avenue, whose antique-shop
patois reads across the page from right to left. Sight-seeing
automobiles on mission and commission bent allow Altoona, Iowa City,
and Quincy, Illinois, fifteen minutes' stop-in at Ching Ling-Foo's
Chinatown Delmonico's. Spaghetti and red wine have set New York racing
to reserve its table d'hôtes. All except the Latin race.
Jimmie Batch, who had first seen light, and that gaslight, in a
block in lower Manhattan which has since been given over to a
milk-station for a highly congested district, had the palate, if not
the purse, of the cosmopolite. His digestive range included borsch
and chow main; risotta and ham and.
To-night, as he turned into Café Hungarian, Miss Slayback slowed and
drew back into the overshadowing protection of an adjoining
office-building. She was breathing hard, and her little face, somehow
smaller from chill, was nevertheless a high pink at the cheek-bones.
The wind swept around the corner, jerking her hat, and her hand flew
up to it. There was a fair stream of passers-by even here, and
occasionally one turned for a backward glance at her standing there so
Suddenly Miss Slayback adjusted her tam-o'-shanter to its flop over
her right ear, and, drawing off a pair of dark-blue silk gloves from
over immaculately new white ones, entered Ceiner's Café Hungarian. In
its light she was not so obviously blonder than young, the pink spots
in her cheeks had a deepening value to the blue of her eyes, and a
black velvet tam-o'-shanter revealing just the right fringe of yellow
curls is no mean aid.
First of all, Ceiner's is an eating-place. There is no music except
at five cents in the slot, and its tables for four are perpetually set
each with a dish of sliced radishes, a bouquet of celery, and a mound
of bread, half the stack rye. Its menus are well thumbed and badly
mimeographed. Who enters Ceiner's is prepared to dine from barley soup
to apple strudel. At something after six begins the rising sound of
cutlery, and already the new-comer fears to find no table.
Off at the side, Mr. Jimmie Batch had already disposed of his hat
and gray overcoat, and tilting the chair opposite him to indicate its
reservation, shook open his evening paper, the waiter withholding the
menu at this sign of rendezvous.
Straight toward that table Miss Slayback worked quick, swift way,
through this and that aisle, jerking back and seating herself on the
chair opposite almost before Mr. Batch could raise his eyes from off
the sporting page.
There was an instant of silence between themthe kind of silence
that can shape itself into a commentary upon the inefficacy of mere
speecha widening silence which, as they sat there facing, deepened
until, when she finally spoke, it was as if her words were pebbles
dropping down into a well.
Don't look so surprised, Jimmie, she said, propping her face
calmly, even boldly, into the white-kid palms. You might fall off the
Above the snug, four-inch collar and bow tie Mr. Batch's face was
taking on a dull ox-blood tinge that spread back, even reddening his
ears. Mr. Batch had the frontal bone of a clerk, the horn-rimmed
glasses of the literarily astigmatic, and the sartorial perfection that
only the rich can afford not to attain.
He was staring now quite frankly, and his mouth had fallen open.
Gert! he said.
Yes, said Miss Slayback, her insouciance gaining with his
discomposure, her eyes widening and then a dolly kind of glassiness
seeming to set in. You wasn't expecting me, Jimmie?
He jerked up his hand, not meeting her glance. What's the idea of
You don't look glad to see me, Jimmie.
If youthink you're funny.
She was working out of and then back into the freshly white gloves
in a betraying kind of nervousness that belied the toss of her voice.
Well, of all things! Mad-cat! Mad, just because you didn't seem to be
IThere's some things that are just the limit, that's what they
are. Some things that are just the limit, that no fellow would stand
from any girl, and thisthis is one of them.
Her lips were trembling now. Youyou bet your life there's some
things that are just the limit.
He slid out his watch, pushing back. Well, I guess this place is
too small for a fellow and a girl that can follow him around the town
She sat forward, grasping the table-sides, her chair tilting with
her. Don't you dare to get up and leave me sitting here! Jimmie Batch,
don't you dare!
The waiter intervened, card extended.
Wewe're waiting for another party, said Miss Slayback, her hands
still rigidly over the table-sides and her glance like a steady drill
into Mr. Batch's own.
There was a second of this silence while the waiter withdrew, and
then Mr. Batch whipped out his watch again, a gun-metal one with an
Now look here. I got a date here in ten minutes, and one or the
other of us has got to clear. Youyou're one too many, if you got to
Oh, I do know it, Jimmie! I been one too many for the last four
Saturday nights. I been one too many ever since May Scully came into
five hundred dollars' inheritance and quit the Ladies' Neckwear. I been
one too many ever since May Scully became a lady.
If I was a girl and didn't have more shame!
Shame! Now you're shouting, Jimmie Batch. I haven't got shame, and
I don't care who knows it. A girl don't stop to have shame when she's
fighting for her rights.
He was leaning on his elbow, profile to her. That movie talk can't
scare me. You can't tell me what to do and what not to do. I've given
you a square deal all right. There's not a word ever passed between us
that ties me to your apron-strings. I don't say I'm not without my
obligations to you, but that's not one of them. No, sireeno
I know it isn't, Jimmie. You're the kind of a fellow wouldn't even
talk to himself for fear of committing himself.
I got a date here now any minute, Gert, and the sooner you
You're the guy who passed up the Sixty-first for the Safety First
I'll show you my regiment some day.
II know you're not tied to my apron-strings, Jimmie. II
wouldn't have you there for anything. Don't you think I know you too
well for that? That's just it. Nobody on God's earth knows you the way
I do. I know you better than you know yourself.
You better beat it, Gertie. I tell you I'm getting sore.
Her face flashed from him to the door and back again, her anxiety
almost edged with hysteria. Come on, Jimmieout the side entrance
before she gets here. May Scully ain't the company for you. You think
if she was, honey, I'dI'd see myself come butting in between you this
way, likelike acommon girl? She's not the girl to keep you
straight. Honest to God she's not, honey.
My business is my business, let me tell you that.
She's speedy, Jimmie. She was the speediest girl on the main floor,
and now that she's come into those five hundred, instead of planting it
for a rainy day, she's quit work and gone plumb crazy with it.
When I want advice about my friends I ask for it.
It's not the good name that worries me, Jimmie, because she ain't
got any. It's you. She's got you crazy with that five hundred,
toothat's what's got me scared.
Gee! you ought to let the Salvation Army tie a bonnet under your
She's always had her eyes on you, Jimmie. Ain't you men got no
sense for seein' things? Since the day they moved the Gents'
Furnishings across from the Ladies' Neckwear she's had you spotted. Her
goings-on used to leak down to the basement, alrighty. She's not a good
girl, May ain't, Jimmie. She ain't, and you know it. Is she? Is she?
Aw! said Jimmie Batch.
You see! See! Ain't got the nerve to answer, have you?
Awmaybe I know, too that she's not the kind of a girl that would
turn up where she's not
If you wasn't a classy-looking kind of boy, Jimmie, that a fly girl
like May likes to be seen out with, she couldn't find you with
magnifying glasses, not if you was born with the golden rule in your
mouth and had swallowed it. She's not the kind of girl, Jimmie, a
fellow like you needs behind him. Ifif you was ever to marry her and
get your hands on them five hundred dollars
It would be my business.
It'll be your ruination. You're not strong enough to stand up under
nothing like that. With a few hundred unearned dollars in your pocket
youyou'd go up in spontaneous combustion, you would.
It would be my own spontaneous combustion.
You got to be drove, Jimmie, like a kid. With them few dollars you
wouldn't start up a little cigar-store like you think you would. You
and her would blow yourselves to the dogs in two months. Cigar-stores
ain't the place for you, Jimmie. You seen how only clerking in them was
nearly your ruinationthe little gambling-room-in-the-back kind that
you pick out. They ain't cigar-stores; they're only false faces for
You know it all, don't you?
Oh, I'm dealing it to you straight! There's too many sporty crowds
loafing around those joints for a fellow like you to stand up under. I
found you in one, and as yellow-fingered and as loafing as they come, a
new job a week, a
Yeh, and there was some pep to variety, too.
Don't throw over, Jimmie, what my getting you out of it to a decent
job in a department store has begun to do for you. And you're making
good, too. Higgins teld me to-day, if you don't let your head swell,
there won't be a fellow in the department can stack up his sales-book
Don't throw it all over, Jimmieand mefor a crop of dyed red
hair and a few dollars to ruin yourself with.
He shot her a look of constantly growing nervousness, his mouth
pulled to an oblique, his glance constantly toward the door.
Don't keep no date with her to-night, Jimmie. You haven't got the
constitution to stand her pace. It's telling on you. Look at those
fingers yellowing againlooka
They're my fingers, ain't they?
You see, Jimmie, II'm the only person in the world that likes you
just for whatyou ain'tand hasn't got any pipe dreams about you.
That's what counts, Jimmie, the folks that like you in spite, and not
We will now sing psalm number two hundred and twenty-three.
I know there's not a better fellow in the world if he's kept nailed
to the right job, and I know, too, there's not another fellow can go to
the dogs any easier.
To hear you talk, you'd think I was about six.
I'm the only girl that'll ever be willing to make a whip out of
herself that'll keep you going and won't sting, honey. I know you're
soft and lazy and selfish and
Don't forget any.
And I know you're my good-looking good-for-nothing, and I know,
too, that youyou don't care as muchas much for me from head to toe
as I do for your little finger. But Ilike you just the same, Jimmie.
Thatthat's what I mean about having no shame. Ido like you soso
I know it, Jimmiethat I ought to be ashamed. Don't think I
haven't cried myself to sleep with it whole nights in succession.
Don't think I don't know it, that I'm laying myself before you
pretty common. I know it's common for a girl toto come to a fellow
like this, butbut I haven't got any shame about itI haven't got
anything, Jimmie, except fight forfor what's eating me. And the way
things are between us now is eating me.
IWhy, I got a mighty high regard for you, Gert.
There's a time in a girl's life, Jimmie, when she's been starved
like I have for something of her own all her days; there's times, no
matter how she's held in, that all of a sudden comes a minute when she
I understand, Gert, but
For two years and eight months, Jimmie, life has got to be worth
while living to me because I could see the day, even if weyounever
talked about it, when you would be made over from a flip kid toto the
kind of a fellow would want to settle down to making a little
two-by-four home for us. A little two-by-four all our own, with you
steady on the job and advanced maybe to forty or fifty a week and
For God's sake, Gertie, this ain't the time or the place to
Oh yes, it is! It's got to be, because it's the first time in four
weeks that you didn't see me coming first.
But not now, Gert. I
I'm not ashamed to tell you, Jimmie Batch, that I've been the
making of you since that night you threw the wink at me. Andand it
hurts, this does. God! how it hurts!
He was pleating the table-cloth, swallowing as if his throat had
constricted, and still rearing his head this way and that in the tight
Inever claimed not to be a bad egg. This ain't the time and the
place for rehashing, that's all. Sure you been a friend to me. I don't
say you haven't. Only I can't be bossed by a girl like you. I don't say
May Scully's any better than she ought to be. Only that's my business.
You hear? my business. I got to have life and see a darn sight more
future for myself than selling shirts in a Fourteenth Street department
May Scully can't give it to youher and her fast crowd.
Maybe she can and maybe she can't.
Them few dollars won't make you; they'll break you.
That's for her to decide, not you.
I'll tell her myself. I'll face her right here and
Now, look here, if you think I'm going to be let in for a holy show
between you two girls, you got another think coming. One of us has got
to clear out of here, and quick, too. You been talking about the side
door; there it is. In five minutes I got a date in this place that I
thought I could keep like any law-abiding citizen. One of us has got to
clear, and quick, too. Gad! you wimmin make me sick, the whole lot of
If anything makes you sick, I know what it is. It's dodging me to
fly around all hours of the night with May Scully, the girl who put the
tang in tango. It's eating around in swell sixty-cent restaurants like
Gad! your middle name ought to be Nagalene.
Aw, now, Jimmie, maybe it does sound like nagging, but it ain't,
honey. Itit's only mymy fear that I'm losing you, andand my hate
for the every-day grind of things, and
I can't help that, can I?
Why, therethere's nothing on God's earth I hate, Jimmie, like I
hate that Bargain-Basement. When I think it's down there in that
manhole I've spent the best years of my life, II wanna die. The day I
get out of it, the day I don't have to punch that old time-clock down
there next to the Complaints and Adjustment Desk, II'll never put my
foot below sidewalk level again to the hour I die. Not even if it was
to take a walk in my own gold-mine.
It ain't exactly a garden of roses down there.
Why, I hate it so terrible, Jimmie, that sometimes I wake up nights
gritting my teeth with the smell of steam-pipes and the tramp of feet
on the glass sidewalk up over me. Oh, God! you dunnoyou dunno!
When it comes to that, the main floor ain't exactly a maiden's
dream, or a fellow's, for that matter.
With a man it's different. It's his job in life, earning, andand
the woman making the two ends of it meet. That's why, Jimmie, these
last two years and eight months, if not for what I was hoping for us,
whywhyIwhy, on your twenty a week, Jimmie, there's nobody could
run a flat like I could. Why, the days wouldn't be long enough to
putter in. IDon't throw away what I been building up for us, Jimmie,
step by step! Don't, Jimmie!'
Good Lord, girl! You deserve better'n me.
I know I got a big job, Jimmie, but I want to make a man out of
you, temper, laziness, gambling, and all. You got it in you to be
something more than a tango lizard or a cigar-store bum, honey. It's
only you ain't got the stuff in you to stand up under a
five-hundred-dollar windfall andaand a sporty girl. Ifif two
glasses of beer make you as silly as they do, Jimmie, why, five hundred
dollars would land you under the table for life.
Awthere you go again!
I can't help it, Jimmie. It's because I never knew a fellow had
what's he's cut out for written all over him so. You're a born clerk,
Sure, I'm a slick clerk, but
You're born to be a clerk, a good clerk, even a two-hundred-a-month
clerk, the way you can win the trade, but never your own boss. I know
what I'm talking about. I know your measure better than any human on
earth can ever know your measure. I know things about you that you
don't even know yourself.
I never set myself up to nobody for anything I wasn't.
Maybe not, Jimmie, but I know about you andand that Central
Street gang that time, and
Yes, honey, and there's not another human living but me knows how
little it was your fault. Just bad company, that was all. That's how
much II love you, Jimmie, enough to understand that. Why, if I
thought May Scully and a set-up in business was the thing for you,
Jimmie, I'd say to her, I'd say, if it was like taking my own heart out
in my hand and squashing it, I'd say to her, I'd say, 'Take him, May.'
That's how II love you, Jimmie. Oh, ain't it nothing, honey, a girl
can come here and lay herself this low to you
Well, haven't I just said youyou deserve better.
I don't want better, Jimmie. I want you. I want to take hold of
your life and finish the job of making it the kind we can both be proud
of. Us two, Jimmie, inin our own decent two-by-four. Shopping on
Saturday nights. Frying in our own frying-pan in our own kitchen.
Listening to our own phonograph in our own parlor. Geraniums andand
kidsandand things. Gas-logs. Stationary washtubs. Jimmie! Jimmie!
Mr. James P. Batch reached up for his hat and overcoat, cramming the
newspaper into a rear pocket.
Come on, he said, stalking toward the side door and not waiting to
see her to her feet.
Outside, a banner of stars was over the narrow street. For a chain
of five blocks he walked, with a silence and speed that Miss Slayback
could only match with a running quickstep. But she was not out of
breath. Her head was up, and her hand where it hooked into Mr. Batch's
elbow, was in a vise that tightened with each block.
You who will mete out no other approval than that vouched for by the
stamp of time and whose contempt for the contemporary is from behind
the easy refuge of the classics, suffer you the shuddering analogy that
between Aspasia who inspired Pericles, Theodora who suggested the
Justinian code, and Gertie Slayback who commandeered Jimmie Batch, is a
sistership which rounds them, like a lasso thrown back into time, into
one and the same petticoat dynasty behind the throne.
True, Gertie Slayback's mise en scène was a two-room
kitchenette apartment situated in the Bronx at a surveyor's farthest
point between two Subway stations, and her present state one of
frequent red-faced forays down into a packing-case. But there was that
in her eyes which witchingly bespoke the conquered, but not the
conqueror. Hers was actually the titillating wonder of a bird which,
captured, closes its wings, that surrender can be so sweet.
Once she sat on the edge of the packing-case, dallying with a
hammer, then laid it aside suddenly, to cross the littered room and
place the side of her head to the immaculate waistcoat of Mr. Jimmie
Batch, red-faced, too, over wrenching up with hatchet-edge a
Jimmie darling, II just never will get over your finding this
place for us.
Mr. Batch wiped his forearm across his brow, his voice jerking
between the squeak of nails extracted from wood.
It was you, honey. You give me the to let ad. and I came to look,
Just the samey, it was my boy found it. If you hadn't come to look
we might have been forced into taking that old dark coop over on
What's all this junk in this barrel?
Them's kitchen utensils, honey.
Kitchen things that you don't know nothing about except to eat good
things out of.
Don't bend it! That's a celery-brush. Ain't it cute?
A celery-brush! Why didn't you get it a comb, too?
Ah, now, honey-bee, don't go trying to be funny and picking through
these things you don't know nothing about! They're just cute things I'm
going to cook something grand suppers in, for my something awful bad
He leaned down to kiss her at that. Gee!
She was standing, her shoulder to him and head thrown back against
his chest. She looked up to stroke his cheek, her face foreshortened.
I'm all black and blue pinching myself, Jimmie.
Every night when I get home from working here in the flat I say to
myself in the looking-glass, I say, 'Gertie Slayback, what if you're
I say to myself, 'Are you sure that darling flat up there, with the
new pink-and-white wall-paper and the furniture arriving every day, is
going to be yours in a few days when you're Mrs. Jimmie Batch?'
Mrs. Jimmie Batchsay, that's immense.
I keep saying it to myself every night, 'One day less.' Last night
it was two days. To-night it'll beone day, Jimmie, till I'mher.
She closed her eyes and let her hand linger up to his cheek, head
still back against him, so that, inclining his head, he could rest his
lips in the ash-blond fluff of her hair.
Talk about can't wait! If to-morrow was any farther off they'd have
to sweep out a padded cell for me.
She turned to rumple the smooth light thatch of his hair. Bad boy!
Can't wait! And here we are getting married all of a sudden, just like
that. Up to the time of this draft business, Jimmie Batch, 'pretty
soon' was the only date I could ever get out of you, and now here you
are crying over one day's wait. Bad honey boy!
He reached back for the pink newspaper so habitually protruding from
his hip-pocket. You ought to see the way they're neck-breaking for the
marriage-license bureaus since the draft. First thing we know the whole
shebang of the boys will be claiming exemption of sole support of
It's a good thing we made up our minds quick, Jimmie. They'll be
getting wise. If too many get exemption from the army by marrying right
away, it'll be a give-away.
I'd like to know who can lay his hands on the exemption of a little
wife to support.
Oh, Jimmie, itit sounds so funny. Being supported! Me that always
did the supporting, not only to me, but to my mother and
great-grandmother up to the day they died.
I'm the greatest little supporter you ever seen.
Me getting up mornings to stay at home in my own darling little
flat, and no basement or time-clock. Nothing but a busy little hubby to
eat him nice, smelly, bacon breakfast and grab him nice morning
newspaper, kiss him wifie, and run downtown to support her. Jimmie,
every morning for your breakfast I'm going to fry
You bet your life he's going to support her, and he's going to pay
back that forty dollars of his girl's that went into his wedding duds,
that hundred and ninety of his girl's savings that went into
We got to meet our instalments every month first, Jimmie. That's
what we wantno debts and every little darling piece of furniture paid
WeI'm going to pay it, too.
And my Jimmie is going to work to get himself promoted and quit
being a sorehead at his steady hours and all.
I know more about selling, honey, than the whole bunch of dubs in
that store put together if they'd give me a chance to prove it.
She laid her palm to his lips.
Shh-h-h! You don't nothing of the kind. It's not conceit, it's work
is going to get my boy his raise.
If they'd listen to me, that department would
Sh-h-h! J. G. Hoffheimer don't have to get pointers from Jimmie
Batch how to run his department store.
There you go again. What's J. G. Hoffheimer got that I ain't? Luck
and a few dollars in his pocket that, if I had in mine, would
It was his own grit put those dollars there, Jimmie. Just put it
out of your head that it's luck makes a self-made man.
Self-made! You mean things just broke right for him. That's
two-thirds of this self-made business.
You mean he buckled right down to brass tacks, and that's what my
boy is going to do.
The trouble with this world is it takes money to make money. Get
your first few dollars, I always say, no matter how, and then when
you're on your feet scratch your conscience if it itches. That's why I
said in the beginning, if we had took that hundred and ninety furniture
money and staked it on
Jimmie, pleaseplease! You wouldn't want to take a girl's savings
of years and years to gamble on a sporty cigar proposition with a
card-room in the rear. You wouldn't, Jimmie. You ain't that kind of
fellow. Tell me you wouldn't, Jimmie.
He turned away to dive into the barrel. Naw, he said. I
The sun had receded, leaving a sudden sullen gray; the little square
room, littered with an upheaval of excelsior, sheet-shrouded furniture,
and the paper-hanger's paraphernalia and inimitable smells, darkening
and seeming to chill.
We got to quit now, Jimmie. It's getting dark and the gas ain't
turned on in the meter yet.
He rose up out of the barrel, holding out at arm's-length what might
have been a tinsmith's version of a porcupine.
What inWhat's this thing that scratched me?
She danced to take it. It's a grater, a darling grater for
horseradish and nutmeg and cocoanut. I'm going to fix you a cocoanut
cake for our honeymoon supper to-morrow night, honey-bee. Essie
Wohlgemuth over in the cake-demonstrating department is going to bring
me the recipe. Cocoanut cake! And I'm going to fry us a little steak in
this darling little skillet. Ain't it the cutest!
Cute she calls a tin skillet.
Look what's pasted on it. 'Little Housewife's Skillet. The Kitchen
Fairy.' That's what I'm going to be, Jimmie, the kitchen fairy. Give me
that. It's a rolling-pin. All my life I've wanted a rolling-pin. Look
honey, a little string to hang it up by. I'm going to hang everything
up in rows. It's going to look like Tiffany's kitchen, all shiny. Give
me, honey; that's an egg-beater. Look at it whiz. And thisthis is a
pan for war bread. I'm going to make us war bread to help the
You're a little soldier yourself, he said.
That's what I would be if I was a man, a soldier all in brass
There's a bunch of the fellows going, said Mr. Batch, standing at
the window, looking out over roofs, dilly-dallying up and down on his
heels and breaking into a low, contemplative whistle.
She was at his shoulder, peering over it. You wouldn't be afraid,
would you, Jimmie?
You bet your life I wouldn't.
She was tiptoes now, her arms creeping up to him. Only my boy's got
a wifea brand-new wifie to support, ain't he?
That's what he has, said Mr. Batch, stroking her forearm, but
still gazing through and beyond whatever roofs he was seeing.
Look! We got a view of the Hudson River from our flat, just like we
lived on Riverside Drive.
All the Hudson River I can see is fifteen smokestacks and
somebody's wash-line out.
It ain't so. We got a grand view. Look! Stand on tiptoe, Jimmie,
like me. There, between that water-tank on that black roof over there
and them two chimneys. See? Watch my finger. A little stream of
something over there that moves.
No, I don't see.
Look, honey-bee, close! See that little streak?
All right, then, if you see it I see it.
To think we got a river view from our flat! It's like living in the
country. I'll peek out at it all day long. God! honey, I just never
will be over the happiness of being done with basements.
It was swell of old Higgins to give us this half-Saturday. It shows
where you stood with the management, Gertthis and a five-dollar gold
piece. Lord knows they wouldn't pony up that way if it was me getting
married by myself.
It's because my boy ain't shown them down there yet the best that's
in him. You just watch his little safety-first wife see to it that from
now on he keeps up her record of never in seven years pushing the
time-clock even one minute late, and that he keeps his stock shelves O.
K. and shows his department he's a comer-on.
With that bunch of boobs a fellow's got a swell chance to get
It's getting late, Jimmie. It don't look nice for us to stay here
so late alone, not tillto-morrow. Ruby and Essie and Charley are
going to meet us in the minister's back parlor at ten sharp in the
morning. We can be back here by noon and get the place cleared up
enough to give 'em a little lunch, just a fun lunch without fixings.
I hope the old guy don't waste no time splicing us. It's one of the
things a fellow likes to have over with.
Jimmie! Why, it's the most beautiful thing in the world, like a
garden of lilies oror something, a marriage ceremony is! You got the
ring safe, honey-bee, and the license?
Pinned in my pocket where you put 'em, Flirty Gertie.
Flirty Gertie! Now you'll begin teasing me with that all our
lifethe way I didn't slap your face that night when I should have. I
just couldn't have, honey. Goes to show we were just cut and dried for
each other, don't it? Me, a girl that never in her life let a fellow
even bat his eyes at her without an introduction. But that night when
you winked, honeysomething inside of me just winked back.
You mean it, boy? You ain't sorry about nothing, Jimmie?
Sorry? Well, I guess not!
You seen the waysheMayyou seen for yourself what she was,
when we seen her walking, that next night after Ceiner's, nearly
staggering, up Sixth Avenue with Budge Evans.
I never took no stock in her, honey. I was just letting her like
She sat back on the box edge, regarding him, her face so soft and
wont to smile that she could not keep its composure.
Get me my hat and coat, honey. We'll walk down. Got the key?
They skirmished in the gloom, moving through slit-like aisles of
furniture and packing-box.
Oh, the running water is hot, Jimmie, just like the ad. said! We
got red-hot running water in our flat. Close the front windows, honey.
We don't want it to rain in on our new green sofa. Not till it's paid
They met at the door, kissing on the inside and the outside of it;
at the head of the fourth and the third and the second balustrade down.
We'll always make 'em little love landings, Jimmie, so we can't
ever get tired climbing them.
Outside there was still a pink glow in a clean sky. The first flush
of spring in the air had died, leaving chill. They walked briskly, arm
in arm, down the asphalt incline of sidewalk leading from their
apartment-house, a new street of canned homes built on a hillsidethe
sepulchral abode of the city's trapped whose only escape is down the
fire-escape, and then only when the alternative is death. At the base
of the hill there flows, in constant hubbub, a great up-and-down artery
of street, repeating itself, mile after mile, in terms of the butcher,
the baker, and the every-other-corner drug-store of a million dollar
corporation. Housewives with perambulators and oilcloth shopping bags.
Children on roller-skates. The din of small tradesmen and the humdrum
of every city block where the homes remain unboarded all summer, and
every wife is on haggling terms with the purveyor of her evening
roundsteak and mess of rutabaga.
Then there is the soap-box provender, too, sure of a crowd, offering
creed, propaganda, patent medicine, and politics. It is the pulpit of
the reformer and the housetop of the fanatic, this soap-box. From it
the voice to the city is often a pious one, an impious one, and almost
always a raucous one. Luther and Sophocles and even a Citizen of
Nazareth made of the four winds of the street corner the walls of a
temple of wisdom. What more fitting acropolis for freedom of speech
than the great out-of-doors!
Turning from the incline of cross-street into this petty Bagdad of
the petty wise, the voice of the street corner lifted itself above the
inarticulate din of the thoroughfare. A youth, thewed like an ox,
surmounted on a stack of three self-provided canned-goods boxes, his
in-at-the-waist silhouette thrown out against a sky that was almost
ready to break out in stars; a crowd tightening about him.
It's a soldier-boy talkin', Gert.
If it ain't! They tiptoed at the fringe of the circle, heads back.
Look, Gert, he's a lieutenant; he's got a shoulder-bar. And those
four down there holding the flag are just privates. You can always tell
a lieutenant by the bar.
Say, them boys do stack up some for Uncle Sam.
I'm here to tell you that them boys stack up some.
A banner stiffened out in the breeze, Mr. Batch reading: Enlist
before you are drafted. Last chance to beat the draft. Prove your
patriotism. Enlist now! Your country calls!
Come on, said Mr. Batch.
Wait. I want to hear what he's saying.
... there's not a man here before me can afford to shirk his duty
to his country. The slacker can't get along without his country, but
his country can very easily get along without him.
The poor exemption boobs are already running for doctors'
certificates and marriage licenses, but even if they get by with
itand it is ninety-nine to one they won'tthey can't run away from
their own degradation and shame.
Come on, Jimmie.
Men of America, for every one of you who tries to dodge his duty to
his country there is a yellow streak somewhere underneath the hide of
you. Women of America, every one of you that helps to foster the spirit
of cowardice in your particular man or men is helping to make a coward.
It's the cowards and the quitters and the slackers and dodgers that
need this war more than the patriotic ones who are willing to buckle on
Don't be a buttonhole patriot! A government that is good enough to
live under is good enough to fight under!
If there is any reason on earth that has manifested itself for this
devastating and terrible war it is that it has been a maker of men.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am back from four months in the trenches
with the French army, and I've come home, now that my own country is at
war, to give her every ounce of energy I've got to offer. As soon as a
hole in my side is healed up I'm going back to those trenches, and I
want to say to you that them four months of mine face to face with life
and with death have done more for me than all my twenty-four civilian
years put together.
I'll be a different man, if I live to come back home after this war
and take up my work again as a draftsman. Why, I've seen weaklings and
self-confessed failures and even ninnies go into them trenches and come
outoh yes, plenty of them do come outmen. Men that have got close
enough down to the facts of things to feel new realizations of what
life means come over them. Men that have gotten back their pep, their
ambitions, their unselfishness. That's what war can do for your men,
you women who are helping them to foster the spirit of holding back, of
cheating their government. That's what war can do for your men. Make of
them the kind of men who some day can face their children without
having to hang their heads. Men who can answer for their part in making
the world a safe place for democracy.
An hour they stood there, the air quieting but chilling, and
lavishly sown stars cropping out. Street lights had come out, too,
throwing up in ever darker relief the figure above the heads of the
crowd. His voice had coarsened and taken on a raw edge, but every
gesture was flung from the socket, and from where they had forced
themselves into the tight circle Gertie Slayback, her mouth fallen open
and her head still back, could see the sinews of him ripple under khaki
and the diaphragm lift for voice.
There was a shift of speakers then, this time a private, still too
rangy, but his looseness of frame seeming already to conform to the
exigency of uniform.
Come on, Jimmie. II'm cold.
They worked out into the freedom of the sidewalk, and for ten
minutes, down blocks of petty shops already lighted, walked in a
silence that grew apace.
He was suddenly conscious that she was crying, quietly, her
handkerchief wadded against her mouth. He strode on with a scowl and
his head bent.
Let's sit down in this little park, Jimmie. I'm tired.
They rested on a bench on one of those small triangles of
breathing-space which the city ekes out now and then; mill ends of land
He took immediately to roving the toe of his shoe in and out among
the gravel. She stole out her hand to his arm.
Well, Jimmie? Her voice was in the gauze of a whisper that hardly
left her throat.
Well, what? he said, still toeing.
Therethere's a lot of things we never thought about, Jimmie.
You mean you never thought about.
What do you mean?
I know what I mean alrighty.
II was the one that suggested it, Jimmie, butbut you fell in.
II just couldn't bear to think of it, Jimmieyour going and all. I
suggested it, butyou fell in.
Say, when a fellow's shoved he falls. I never gave a thought to
sneaking an exemption until it was put in my head. I'd smash the fellow
in the face that calls me coward, I will.
You could have knocked me down with a feather, Jimmie, looking at
it his way, all of a sudden.
You couldn't me. Don't think I was ever strong for the whole
business. I mean the exemption part. I wasn't going to say nothing.
What's the use, seeing the way you had your heart set onon things?
But the whole business, if you want to know it, went against my grain.
I'll smash the fellow in the face that calls me a coward.
I know, Jimmie; youyou're right. It was me suggested hurrying
things like this. Sneakin'! Oh, God! ain't I the messer-up!
Lay easy, girl. I'm going to see it through. I guess there's been
fellows before me and will be after me who have done worse. I'm going
to see it through. All I got to say is I'll smash up the fellow calls
me coward. Come on, forget it. Let's go.
She was close to him, her cheek crinkled against his with the frank
kind of social unconsciousness the park bench seems to engender.
Come on, Gert. I got a hunger on.
'Shh-h-h, Jimmie! Let me think. I'm thinking.
Too much thinking killed a cat. Come on.
Jimmiewould youhad you ever thought about being a soldier?
Sure. I came in an ace of going into the army that time
afterafter that little Central Street trouble of mine. I've got a
book in my trunk this minute on military tactics. Wouldn't surprise me
a bit to see me land in the army some day.
It's a fine thing, Jimmie, for a fellowthe army.
Yeh, good for what ails him.
She drew him back, pulling at his shoulder so that finally he faced
I got an idea.
You remember once, honey-bee, how I put it to you that night at
Ceiner's how, if it was for your good, no sacrifice was too much to
You didn't believe it.
Aw, say now, what's the use digging up ancient history?
You'd be right, Jimmie, not to believe it. I haven't lived up to
what I said.
Oh Lord, honey! What's eating you now? Come to the point.
She would not meet his eyes, turning her head from him to hide lips
that would quiver. Honey, itit ain't coming offthat's all. Not
You know what I mean, Jimmie. It's like everything the soldier boy
on the corner just said. II saw you getting red clear behind your
ears over it. II was, too, Jimmie. It's like that soldier boy was put
there on that corner just to show me, before it was too late, how wrong
I been in every one of my ways. Us women who are helping to foster
slackers. That's what we're making of themslackers for life. And here
I been thinking it was your good I had in mind, when all along it's
been mine. That's what it's been, mine!
Aw, now, Gert
You got to go, Jimmie. You got to go, because you want to go
andbecause I want you to go.
He took hold of her two arms because they were trembling. Aw, now,
Gert, I didn't say anything complaining. I
You did, Jimmie, you did, andand I never was so glad over you
that you did complain. I just never was so glad. I want you to go,
Jimmie. I want you to go and get a man made out of you. They'll make a
better job out of you than ever I can. I want you to get the yellow
streak washed out. I want you to get to be all the things he said you
would. For every line he was talking up there, I could see my boy
coming home to me some day better than anything I could make out of
him, babying him the way I can't help doing. I could see you,
honey-bee, coming back to me with the kind of lift to your head a
fellow has when he's been fighting to make the world a safe place for
demfor whatever it was he said. I want you to go, Jimmie. I want you
to beat the draft, too. Nothing on earth can make me not want you to
Why, Gertyou're kiddin'!
Honey, you want to go, don't you? You want to square up those
shoulders and put on khaki, don't you? Tell me you want to go!
Whywhy, yes, Gert, if
Oh, you're going, Jimmie! You're going!
Why, girlyou're crazy! Our flat! Our furnitureour
What's a flat? What's furniture? What's anything? There's not a
firm in business wouldn't take back a boy's furniturea boy's
everythingthat's going out to fight forfor dem-o-cracy! What's a
flat? What's anything?
He let drop his head to hide his eyes.
Do you know it is said that on the Desert of Sahara, the slope of
Sorrento, and the marble of Fifth Avenue the sun can shine whitest?
There is an iridescence to its glittering on bleached sand, blue bay,
and Carrara façade that is sheer light distilled to its utmost.
On one such day when, standing on the high slope of Fifth Avenue
where it rises toward the Park, and looking down on it, surging to and
fro, it was as if, so manifest the brilliancy, every head wore a tin
helmet, parrying sunlight at a thousand angles of refraction.
Parade-day, all this glittering midstream is swept to the clean
sheen of a strip of moiré, this splendid desolation blocked on each
side by crowds half the density of the sidewalk.
On one of these sun-drenched Saturdays dedicated by a growing
tradition to this or that national expression, the Ninety-ninth
Regiment, to a flare of music that made the heart leap out against its
walls, turned into a scene thus swept clean for it, a wave of olive
drab, impeccable row after impeccable row of scissors-like legs
advancing. Recruits, raw if you will, but already caparisoned, sniffing
and scenting, as it were, for the great primordial mire of war.
There is no state of being so finely sensitized as national
consciousness. A gauntlet down, and it surges up. One ripple of a flag
defended can goose-flesh a nation. How bitter and how sweet it is to
give a soldier!
To the seething kinetic chemistry of such mingling emotions there
were women who stood in the frontal crowds of the sidewalks stifling
hysteria, or ran after in terror at sight of one so personally hers,
receding in that great impersonal wave of olive drab.
And yet the air was martial with banner and with shout. And the
ecstasy of such moments is like a dam against reality, pressing it
back. It is in the pompless watches of the night or of too long days
that such dams break, excoriating.
For the thirty blocks of its course Gertie Slayback followed that
wave of men, half run and half walk. Down from the curb, and at the
beck and call of this or that policeman up again, only to find
opportunity for still another dive out from the invisible roping off of
the sidewalk crowds.
From the middle of his line, she could see, sometimes, the tail of
Jimmie Batch's glance roving for her, but to all purports his eye was
solely for his own replica in front of him, and at such times, when he
marched, his back had a little additional straightness that was almost
Nor was Gertie Slayback crying. On the contrary, she was inclined to
laughter. A little too inclined to a high and brittle sort of
dissonance over which she seemed to have no control.
'By, Jimmie. So long! Jimmie! You-hoo!
Tramp. Tramp. Tramp-tramp-tramp.
You-hoo! Jimmie! So long, Jimmie!
At Fourteenth Street, and to the solemn stroke of one from a tower,
she broke off suddenly without even a second look back, dodging under
the very arms of the crowd as she ran out from it.
She was one and three-quarter minutes late when she punched the
time-clock beside the Complaints and Adjustment Desk in the
I find myself at twenty-nine exactly where at fourteen I had
planned I would be. So Miss Hurst, in a sketch written for the
American Magazine (March, 1919), sums up the story of a remarkable
Fannie Hurst was born in St. Louis, October 19, 1889. She attended
the public schools, and began to writewith the firm intention of
becoming an authorbefore she was out of grammar school. At
fourteen, she tells us in the article just referred to, the one
pigeon-hole of my little girl's desk was already stuffed with packets
of rejected verse which had been furtively written, furtively mailed,
and still more furtively received back again by heading off the postman
a block before he reached our door. To this dream of authorshipthe
secret of which was carefully guarded from her familyshe sacrificed
her play and even her study hours. The first shock to her family came
on St. Valentine's Day. There was to be a party that night, her first
real party. A new dress was ready for the occasion, and a boy escort
was to call for her in a cab. It happened that Valentine's day fell on
Saturday, and Saturday was her time for writing. That day she turned
from poetry to fiction, and was just in the middle of her first story
when it came time to get ready for the party. She did not get ready.
The escort arrived, cab and all; the family protested, but all to no
purpose. She finished the story, mailed it, three weeks later received
it back, and began her second story. All through her high school days
she mailed a manuscript every Saturday, and they always came back.
After high school she entered Washington University, St. Louis,
graduating in 1909. And still she kept writing. To one journal alone
she sent during those four years, thirty-four short stories. And they
all came backall but one. Just before graduation she sold her first
article, a little sketch first written as a daily theme, which was
published in a local weekly, and brought her three dollars. This was
the total result of eight years' literary effort. So quite naturally
she determined to go on.
She announced to her family that she was going to New York City to
become a writer. There was a stormy discussion in the Hurst family, but
it ended in her going away, with a bundle of manuscripts in her trunk,
to brave the big city alone. She found a tiny furnished room and set
forth to besiege the editors' offices. One evening she returned, to
find the house being raided, a patrol wagon at the curb, and the
lodgers being hustled into it. She crossed the street and walked on,
and never saw her bag or baggage again. By the help of the Young
Women's Christian Association she found another room, in different
surroundings, and set out again to make the round of the editorial
Then followed months and months of writing, rewriting, rejections,
and re-rejections. From home came letters now beseeching, now
commanding her to return, and at length cutting off her allowance. So
she returned her rented typewriter and applied at a theatrical agency.
She secured a small part in a Broadway company, and then came her first
acceptance of a story, with an actual check for thirty dollars. She
left the stage and rented another typewriter,but it was six months
before she sold another story.
In all this time she dipped deeply into the great stream of the
city's life. To quote her own account:
For a month I lived with an Armenian family on West Broadway,
room over a tobacconist's shop. I apprenticed myself as a
sales-girl in New York's most gigantic department store. Four
one-quarter yards of ribbon at seven and a half cents a yard
my Waterloo, and my resignation at the end of one week was not
entirely voluntary. I served as waitress in one of New York's
gigantic chain of white-tiled lunch rooms. I stitched boys'
in a Polish sweatshop, and lived for two days in New York's
rococo hotel. I took a graduate course in Anglo Saxon at
University, and one in lamp-shade making at Wanamaker's:
into a Broadway musical show as wardrobe girl, and went out on
self-appointed newspaper assignment to interview the mother of
richest baby in the world.
All these experiences yielded rich material for stories, but no one
would print them. Her money was gone; so was a diamond ring that had
been a Commencement present; it seemed as if there was nothing left but
to give up the struggle and go back home. Then, just as she had struck
bottom, an editor actually told her she could write, and followed up
his remark by buying three stories. Since that time she has never had a
story rejected, and her checks have gone up from two figures into four.
And so, at the end of a long fight, as she says, I find myself at
twenty-nine exactly where at fourteen I had planned I would be. And
best of all, what popular success I am enjoying has come not from
pandering to popular demand or editorial policy, but from pandering to
my own inner convictions, which are like little soul-tapers, lighting
All her work has been in the form of the short story. Her first
book, Just Around the Corner, published in 1914, is a collection
of stories dealing with the life of working girls in a city. Every
Soul Hath Its Song is a similar collection; the title suggests the
author's outlook upon life. Some one has said that in looking at a
puddle of water, you may see either the mud at the bottom or the sky
reflected on its surface. Miss Hurst sees the reflection of the sky.
The Boston Transcript said of this book: Here at last is a
story writer who is bent on listening to the voices of America and
interpreting them. Gaslight Sonatas, from which Bitter-Sweet
is taken, showed an advance over her earlier work. Two of the stories
from this volume were selected by Mr. O'Brien for his volume, Best
Short Stories, for 1916 and 1917. Humoresque, her latest
work, continues her studies of city types, drawn from New York and St.
Louis. The stories show her insight into character and her graphic
descriptive power. Miss Hurst is also the author of two plays, The
Land of the Free and The Good Provider.
IN THE LUMBER COUNTRY
The men of the woods are not as the men of the cities. The great
open spaces where men battle with the primeval forest set their mark
upon their inhabitants, not only in physique but in character. The
lumberman,rough, frank, independent, humorous, equally ready for a
fight or a frolic, has been portrayed at full length by Stewart Edward
White in THE BLAZED TRAIL and THE RIVERMAN. In the
following sketch, taken from his BLAZED TRAIL STORIES, he shows
the lumberman at work and at play.
STEWART EDWARD WHITE
I first met him one Fourth of July afternoon in the middle eighties.
The sawdust streets and high board sidewalks of the lumber town were
filled to the brim with people. The permanent population, dressed in
the stiffness of its Sunday best, escorted gingham wives or
sweethearts; a dozen outsiders like myself tried not to be too
conspicuous in a city smartness; but the great multitude was composed
of the men of the woods. I sat, chair-tilted by the hotel, watching
them pass. Their heavy woollen shirts crossed by the broad suspenders,
the red of their sashes or leather shine of their belts, their short
kersey trousers stagged off to leave a gap between the knee and the
heavily spiked cork bootsall these were distinctive enough of their
class, but most interesting to me were the eyes that peered from
beneath their little round hats tilted rakishly askew. They were all
subtly alike, those eyes. Some were black, some were brown, or gray, or
blue, but all were steady and unabashed, all looked straight at you
with a strange humorous blending of aggression and respect for your own
business, and all without exception wrinkled at the corners with a
suggestion of dry humor. In my half-conscious scrutiny I probably
stared harder than I knew, for all at once a laughing pair of blue eyes
suddenly met mine full, and an ironical voice drawled,
Say, bub, you look as interested as a man killing snakes. Am I your
The tone of the voice matched accurately the attitude of the man,
and that was quite non-committal. He stood cheerfully ready to meet the
emergency. If I sought trouble, it was here to my hand; or if I needed
help he was willing to offer it.
I guess you are, I replied, if you can tell me what all this
outfit's headed for.
He thrust back his hat and ran his hand through a mop of closely
cropped light curls.
Birling match, he explained briefly. Come on.
I joined him, and together we followed the crowd to the river, where
we roosted like cormorants on adjacent piles overlooking a patch of
clear water among filled booms.
Drive just over, my new friend informed me. Rear come down last
night. Fourther July celebration. This little town will scratch fer th'
tall timber along about midnight when the boys goes in to take her
A half-dozen men with peavies rolled a white-pine log of about a
foot and a half in diameter into the clear water, where it lay rocking
back and forth, three or four feet from the boom piles. Suddenly a man
ran the length of the boom, leaped easily into the air, and landed with
both feet square on one end of the floating log. That end disappeared
in an ankle-deep swirl of white foam, the other rose suddenly, the
whole timber, projected forward by the shock, drove headlong to the
middle of the little pond. And the man, his arms folded, his knees just
bent in the graceful nervous attitude of the circus-rider, stood
upright like a statue of bronze.
A roar approved this feat.
That's Dickey Darrell, said my informant, Roaring Dick. He's hell
and repeat. Watch him.
The man on the log was small, with clean beautiful haunches and
shoulders, but with hanging baboon arms. Perhaps his most striking
feature was a mop of reddish-brown hair that overshadowed a little
triangular white face accented by two reddish-brown quadrilaterals that
served as eyebrows and a pair of inscrutable chipmunk eyes.
For a moment he poised erect in the great calm of the public
performer. Then slowly he began to revolve the log under his feet. The
lofty gaze, the folded arms, the straight supple waist budged not by a
hair's breadth; only the feet stepped forward, at first deliberately,
then faster and faster, until the rolling log threw a blue spray a foot
into the air. Then suddenly slap! slap! the heavy caulks stamped
a reversal. The log came instantaneously to rest, quivering exactly
like some animal that had been spurred through its paces.
Magnificent! I cried.
Hell, that's nothing! my companion repressed me, anybody can birl
a log. Watch this.
Roaring Dick for the first time unfolded his arms. With some
appearance of caution he balanced his unstable footing into absolute
immobility. Then he turned a somersault.
This was the real thing. My friend uttered a wild yell of applause
which was lost in a general roar.
A long pike-pole shot out, bit the end of the timber, and towed it
to the boom pile. Another man stepped on the log with Darrell. They
stood facing each other, bent-kneed, alert. Suddenly with one accord
they commenced to birl the log from left to right. The pace grew hot.
Like squirrels treading a cage their feet twinkled. Then it became
apparent that Darrell's opponent was gradually being forced from the
top of the log. He could not keep up. Little by little, still moving
desperately, he dropped back to the slant, then at last to the edge,
and so off into the river with a mighty splash.
Clean birled! commented my friend.
One after another a half-dozen rivermen tackled the imperturbable
Dick, but none of them possessed the agility to stay on top in the pace
he set them. One boy of eighteen seemed for a moment to hold his own,
and managed at least to keep out of the water even when Darrell had
apparently reached his maximum speed. But that expert merely threw his
entire weight into two reversing stamps of his feet, and the young
fellow dove forward as abruptly as though he had been shied over a
The crowd was by now getting uproarious and impatient of volunteer
effort to humble Darrell's challenge. It wanted the best, and at once.
It began, with increasing insistence, to shout a name.
Jimmy Powers! it vociferated, Jimmy Powers!
And then by shamefaced bashfulness, by profane protest, by muttered
and comprehensive curses I knew that my companion on the other pile was
A dozen men near at hand began to shout. Here he is! they cried.
Come on, Jimmy. Don't be a high banker. Hang his hide on the
Jimmy, still red and swearing, suffered himself to be pulled from
his elevation and disappeared in the throng. A moment later I caught
his head and shoulders pushing toward the boom piles, and so in a
moment he stepped warily aboard to face his antagonist.
This was evidently no question to be determined by the simplicity of
force or the simplicity of a child's trick. The two men stood
half-crouched, face to face, watching each other narrowly, but making
no move. To me they seemed like two wrestlers sparring for an opening.
Slowly the log revolved one way; then slowly the other. It was a mere
courtesy of salute. All at once Dick birled three rapid strokes from
left to right as though about to roll the log, leaped into the air and
landed square with both feet on the other slant of the timber. Jimmy
Powers felt the jar, and acknowledged it by a spasmodic jerk with which
he counterbalanced Darrell's weight. But he was not thrown.
As though this daring and hazardous manoeuvre had opened the combat,
both men sprang to life. Sometimes the log rolled one way, sometimes
the other, sometimes it jerked from side to side like a crazy thing,
but always with the rapidity of light, always in a smother of spray and
foam. The decided spat, spat, spat of the reversing blows from
the caulked boots sounded like picket firing. I could not make out the
different leads, feints, parries, and counters of this strange method
of boxing, nor could I distinguish to whose initiative the various
evolutions of that log could be ascribed. But I retain still a vivid
mental picture of two men nearly motionless above the waist, nearly
vibrant below it, dominating the insane gyrations of a stick of pine.
The crowd was appreciative and partisanfor Jimmy Powers. It howled
wildly, and rose thereby to even higher excitement. Then it forgot its
manners utterly and groaned when it made out that a sudden splash
represented its favorite, while the indomitable Darrell still trod the
quarter-deck as champion birler for the year.
I must confess I was as sorry as anybody. I climbed down from my
cormorant roost, and picked my way between the alleys of aromatic piled
lumber in order to avoid the press, and cursed the little gods heartily
for undue partiality in the wrong direction. In this manner I happened
on Jimmy Powers himself seated dripping on a board and examining his
I'm sorry, said I behind him. How did he do it?
He whirled, and I could see that his laughing boyish face had become
suddenly grim and stern, and that his eyes were shot with blood.
Oh, it's you, is it? he growled disparagingly. Well, that's how
he did it.
He held out his foot. Across the instep and at the base of the toes
ran two rows of tiny round punctures from which the blood was oozing. I
looked very inquiring.
He corked me! Jimmy Powers explained. Jammed his spikes into me!
Stepped on my foot and tripped me, the Jimmy Powers certainly
Why didn't you make a kick? I cried.
That ain't how I do it, he muttered, pulling on his heavy woollen
But no, I insisted, my indignation mounting. It's an outrage!
That crowd was with you. All you had to do was to say
He cut me short. And give myself away as a damn foolsure Mike. I
ought to know Dickey Darrell by this time, and I ought to be big enough
to take care of myself. He stamped his foot into his driver's shoe and
took me by the arm, his good humor apparently restored. No, don't lose
any hair, bub; I'll get even with Roaring Dick.
That night, having by the advice of the proprietor moved my bureau
and trunk against the bedroom door, I lay wide awake listening to the
taking of the town apart. At each especially vicious crash I wondered
if that might be Jimmy Powers getting even with Roaring Dick.
The following year, but earlier in the season, I again visited my
little lumber town. In striking contrast to the life of that other
midsummer day were the deserted streets. The landlord knew me, and
after I had washed and eaten approached me with a suggestion.
You got all day in front of you, said he; why don't you take a
horse and buggy and make a visit to the big jam? Everybody's up there
more or less.
In response to my inquiry, he replied:
They've jammed at the upper bend, jammed bad. The crew's been
picking at her for near a week now, and last night Darrell was down to
see about some more dynamite. It's worth seein'. The breast of her is
near thirty feet high, and lots of water in the river.
Darrell? said I, catching at the name.
Yes. He's rear boss this year. Do you think you'd like to take a
look at her?
I think I should, I assented.
The horse and I jogged slowly along a deep sand road, through wastes
of pine stumps and belts of hardwood beautiful with the early spring,
until finally we arrived at a clearing in which stood two huge tents, a
mammoth kettle slung over a fire of logs, and drying racks about the
timbers of another fire. A fat cook in the inevitable battered derby
hat, two bare-armed cookees, and a chore boy of seventy-odd summers
were the only human beings in sight. One of the cookees agreed to keep
an eye on my horse. I picked my way down a well-worn trail toward the
regular clank, clank, click of the peavies.
I emerged finally to a plateau elevated some fifty or sixty feet
above the river. A half-dozen spectators were already gathered. Among
them I could not but notice a tall, spare, broad-shouldered young
fellow dressed in a quiet business suit, somewhat wrinkled, whose
square, strong, clean-cut face and muscular hands were tanned by the
weather to a dark umber-brown. In another moment I looked down on the
The breast, as my landlord had told me, rose sheer from the water to
the height of at least twenty-five feet, bristling and formidable. Back
of it pressed the volume of logs packed closely in an apparently
inextricable tangle as far as the eye could reach. A man near informed
me that the tail was a good three miles up stream. From beneath this
wonderful chevaux de frise foamed the current of the river,
irresistible to any force less mighty than the statics of such a mass.
A crew of forty or fifty men were at work. They clamped their
peavies to the reluctant timbers, heaved, pushed, slid, and rolled them
one by one into the current, where they were caught and borne away.
They had been doing this for a week. As yet their efforts had made but
slight impression on the bulk of the jam, but some time, with patience,
they would reach the key-logs. Then the tangle would melt like sugar in
the freshet, and these imperturbable workers would have to escape
suddenly over the plunging logs to shore.
My eye ranged over the men, and finally rested on Dickey Darrell. He
was standing on the slanting end of an upheaved log dominating the
scene. His little triangular face with the accents of the quadrilateral
eyebrows was pale with the blaze of his energy, and his chipmunk eyes
seemed to flame with a dynamic vehemence that caused those on whom they
fell to jump as though they had been touched with a hot poker. I had
heard more of Dickey Darrell since my last visit, and was glad of the
chance to observe Morrison &Daly's best driver at work.
The jam seemed on the very edge of breaking. After half an hour's
strained expectation it seemed still on the very edge of breaking. So I
sat down on a stump. Then for the first time I noticed another
acquaintance, handling his peavie near the very person of the rear
Hullo, said I to myself, that's funny. I wonder if Jimmy Powers
got even; and if so, why he is working so amicably and so near Roaring
At noon the men came ashore for dinner. I paid a quarter into the
cook's private exchequer and so was fed. After the meal I approached my
acquaintance of the year before.
Hello, Powers, I greeted him, I suppose you don't remember me?
Sure, he responded heartily. Ain't you a little early this year?
No, I disclaimed, this is a better sight than a birling match.
I offered him a cigar, which he immediately substituted for his
corn-cob pipe. We sat at the root of a tree.
It'll be a great sight when that jam pulls, said I.
You bet, he replied, but she's a teaser. Even old Tim Shearer
would have a picnic to make out just where the key-logs are. We've
started her three times, but she's plugged tight every trip. Likely to
pull almost any time.
We discussed various topics. Finally I ventured:
I see your old friend Darrell is rear boss.
Yes, said Jimmy Powers, dryly.
By the way, did you fellows ever square up on that birling match?
No, said Jimmy Powers; then after an instant, Not yet.
I glanced at him to recognize the square set to the jaw that had
impressed me so formidably the year before. And again his face relaxed
almost quizzically as he caught sight of mine.
Bub, said he, getting to his feet, those little marks are on my
foot yet. And just you tie into one idea: Dickey Darrel's got it
coming. His face darkened with a swift anger. God damn his soul! he
said, deliberately. It was no mere profanity. It was an imprecation,
and in its very deliberation I glimpsed the flare of an undying hate.
About three o'clock that afternoon Jimmy's prediction was fulfilled.
Without the slightest warning the jam pulled. Usually certain
premonitory cracks, certain sinkings down, groanings forward,
grumblings, shruggings, and sullen, reluctant shiftings of the logs
give opportunity for the men to assure their safety. This jam, after
inexplicably hanging fire for a week, as inexplicably started like a
sprinter almost into its full gait. The first few tiers toppled smash
into the current, raising a waterspout like that made by a dynamite
explosion; the mass behind plunged forward blindly, rising and falling
as the integral logs were up-ended, turned over, thrust one side, or
forced bodily into the air by the mighty power playing jack-straws with
The rivermen, though caught unaware, reached either bank. They held
their peavies across their bodies as balancing-poles, and zig-zagged
ashore with a calmness and lack of haste that were in reality only an
indication of the keenness with which they fore-estimated each chance.
Long experience with the ways of saw-logs brought them out. They knew
the correlation of these many forces just as the expert billiard-player
knows instinctively the various angles of incident and reflection
between his cue-ball and its mark. Consequently they avoided the
centers of eruption, paused on the spots steadied for the moment,
dodged moving logs, trod those not yet under way, and so arrived on
solid ground. The jam itself started with every indication of meaning
business, gained momentum for a hundred feet, and then plugged to a
standstill. The break was abortive.
Now we all had leisure to notice two things. First, the movement had
not been of the whole jam, as we had at first supposed, but only of a
block or section of it twenty rods or so in extent. Thus between the
part that had moved and the greater bulk that had not stirred lay a
hundred feet of open water in which floated a number of loose logs. The
second fact was, that Dickey Darrell had fallen into that open stretch
of water and was in the act of swimming toward one of the floating
logs. That much we were given time to appreciate thoroughly. Then the
other section of the jam rumbled and began to break. Roaring Dick was
caught between two gigantic millstones moving to crush him out of
An active figure darted down the tail of the first section, out over
the floating logs, seized Darrell by the coat-collar, and so burdened
began desperately to scale the very face of the breaking jam.
Never was a more magnificent rescue. The logs were rolling, falling,
diving against the laden man. He climbed as over a treadmill, a
treadmill whose speed was constantly increasing. And when he finally
gained the top, it was as the gap closed splintering beneath him and
the man he had saved.
It is not in the woodsman to be demonstrative at any time, but here
was work demanding attention. Without a pause for breath or
congratulation they turned to the necessity of the moment. The jam, the
whole jam, was moving at last. Jimmy Powers ran ashore for his peavie.
Roaring Dick, like a demon incarnate, threw himself into the work.
Forty men attacked the jam in a dozen places, encouraging the movement,
twisting aside the timbers that threatened to lock anew, directing
pigmy-like the titanic forces into the channel of their efficiency.
Roaring like wild cattle the logs swept by, at first slowly, then with
the railroad rush of the curbed freshet. Men were everywhere, taking
chances, like cowboys before the stampeded herd. And so, out of sight
around the lower bend swept the front of the jam in a swirl of glory,
the rivermen riding the great boom back of the creature they subdued,
until at last, with the slackening current, the logs floated by free,
cannoning with hollow sound one against the other. A half-dozen
watchers, leaning statuesquely on the shafts of their peavies, watched
the ordered ranks pass by.
One by one the spectators departed. At last only myself and the
brown-faced young man remained. He sat on a stump, staring with
sightless eyes into vacancy. I did not disturb his thoughts.
The sun dipped. A cool breeze of evening sucked up the river. Over
near the cook-camp a big fire commenced to crackle by the drying
frames. At dusk the rivermen straggled in from the down-river trail.
The brown-faced young man arose and went to meet them. I saw him
return in close conversation with Jimmy Powers. Before they reached us
he had turned away with a gesture of farewell.
Jimmy Powers stood looking after him long after his form had
disappeared, and indeed even after the sound of his wheels had died
toward town. As I approached, the riverman turned to me a face from
which the reckless, contained self-reliance of the woods-worker had
faded. It was wide-eyed with an almost awe-stricken wonder and
Do you know who that is? he asked me in a hushed voice. That's
Thorpe, Harry Thorpe. And do you know what he said to me just now,
me? He told me he wanted me to work in Camp One next winter,
Thorpe's One. And he told me I was the first man he ever hired straight
His breath caught with something like a sob.
I had heard of the man and of his methods. I knew he had made it a
practice of recruiting for his prize camp only from the employees of
his other camps, that, as Jimmy said, he never hired straight into
One. I had heard, too, of his reputation among his own and other
woodsmen. But this was the first time I had ever come into personal
contact with his influence. It impressed me the more in that I had come
to know Jimmy Powers and his kind.
You deserve it, every bit, said I. I'm not going to call you a
hero, because that would make you tired. What you did this afternoon
showed nerve. It was a brave act. But it was a better act because your
rescued your enemy, because you forgot everything but your common
humanity when danger
I broke off. Jimmy was again looking at me with his ironically
Bub, said he, if you're going to hang any stars of Bethlehem on
my Christmas tree, just call a halt right here. I didn't rescue that
scalawag because I had any Christian sentiments, nary bit. I was just
naturally savin' him for the birling match next Fourther July.
STEWART EDWARD WHITE
There are some authors whom we think of as bookmen; there are others
whom we think of as men first, and as writers secondarily. Lowell, for
example was a bookman; Roosevelt was a man of action who wrote books.
Stewart Edward White, far more of a literary artist than Roosevelt,
gives like him the impression of a man who has done things, of one who
lives a full life, and produces books as a sort of by-product: very
valuable, but not the chief end of existence.
Mr. White was born in a small town near Grand Rapids, Michigan,
March 12, 1873. His parents had their own ideas about bringing up
children. Instead of sending him to school they sent for a teacher to
instruct him, they encouraged him to read, they took him traveling, not
only to cities but to the silent places, the great forests, and to the
lumber camps. He spent four years in California, and became a good
horseman, making many trips in the saddle to the picturesque old
ranches. When finally, he entered high school, at sixteen, he went in
with boys of his own age, and graduated at eighteen, president of his
class. And what he was most proud of was that he won and still holds,
the five-mile running record of his school. He was intensely interested
in birds at this time, and spent all his spare hours in the woods,
studying bird-life. The result was a series of articles on birds,
published in various scientific journals,papers whose columns are not
usually open to high school contributors.
Then came a college course at the University of Michigan, with
vacations spent in cruising about the Great Lakes in a
twenty-eight-foot cutter sloop. After graduation he worked for a time
in a packing house, then hearing of the discovery of gold in the Black
Hills, he set off with the other gold-diggers. He did not find a mine,
but the experience gave him a background for two later novels, The
Claim Jumpers, and The Westerners.
He went east for a year of graduate study at Columbia University.
Like many other students, he found a friend in Professor Brander
Matthews, who encouraged him to write of some of his western
experiences. He sold a few short stories to magazines, and his first
novel, The Claim Jumpers was accepted by Appleton's. The
Westerners, his next book, brought him $500 for the serial rights,
and with its publication he definitely determined upon making
authorship his calling. But it was not authorship in a study. The
Blazed Trail was written in a lumber camp in midwinter. He got up
at four o'clock, wrote until eight, then put on his snowshoes and went
out for a day's work. When the story was finished he gave it to the
foreman of the camp to read. The man began it after supper, and when
White got up next morning at four, he found him still reading, so he
felt that the book would succeed.
Another year he made a trip to the Hudson Bay country, and on his
return wrote Conjurer's House. This was dramatized by George
Broadhurst, and was very successful on the stage. With Thomas Fogarty,
the artist, he made a long canoe trip, and the resulting book, The
Forest, was illustrated by Mr. Fogarty. A camping trip in the
Sierra Mountains of California was followed by the writing of The
Mountains. His next book, The Mystery, was written jointly
by Mr. White and Samuel Hopkins Adams. When it was finished they not
only divided the proceeds but divided the characters for future
stories, White taking Handy Solomon, whom he used again in Arizona
Nights, and Darrow, who appeared in The Sign at Six.
Then without warning, Mr. White went to Africa. His explanation was
I went because I wanted to. About once in so often the wheels
rusty and I have to get up and do something real or else blow
Africa seemed to me a pretty real thing. Let me add that I did
go for material. I never go anywhere for material; if I did I
should not get it. That attitude of mine would give me merely
externals, which are not worth writing about. I go places
because for one reason or another they attract me. Then if it
happens that I get close enough to the life, I may later find
I have something to write about. A man rarely writes anything
convincing unless he has lived the life; not with his critical
faculty alert, but whole-heartedly and because, for the time
it is his life.
Naturally he found that he had something to write about on his
return. The Land of Footprints, African Camp Fires,
Simba, and The Leopard Woman were books that grew out of his
African trip. Mr. White next planned to write a series of three novels
dealing with the romantic history of the state of California. The first
of these books, Gold, describes the mad rush of the Forty-Niners
on the first discovery of gold in California. The Gray Dawn, the
second of the series, tells of the days of the Vigilantes, when the
wild life of the mining camps slowly settled down to law and order. The
coming of the World War was a fresh challenge to his adventurous
spirit, and he saw service in France as a major in the U. S. Field
From this sketch it is apparent that Mr. White's books have all
grown out of his experience, in the sense that the background is one
that he has known. This explains the strong feeling of reality that we
experience as we read his stories.
NEW ENGLAND GRANITE
From the day the Pilgrims landed on a rockbound coast, the name
New Englander has suggested certain traits of character. It connotes a
restraint of feeling which more impulsive persons may mistake for
absence of feeling; a reserve carried almost to the point of coldness;
a quiet dignity which to a breezy Westerner seems like
stand-offishness. But those who come to know New England people well,
find that beneath the flint is fire. Dorothy Canfield suggests the
theme of her story in the titleFlint and Fire.
FLINT AND FIRE
My husband's cousin had come up from the city, slightly more fagged
and sardonic than usual, and as he stretched himself out in the big
porch-chair he was even more caustic than was his wont about the
bareness and emotional sterility of the lives of our country people.
Perhaps they had, a couple of centuries ago, when the Puritan
hallucination was still strong, a certain fierce savor of religious
intolerance; but now that that has died out, and no material prosperity
has come to let them share in the larger life of their century, there
is a flatness, a mean absence of warmth or color, a deadness to all
emotions but the pettiest sorts
I pushed the pitcher nearer him, clinking the ice invitingly, and
directed his attention to our iris-bed as a more cheerful object of
contemplation than the degeneracy of the inhabitants of Vermont. The
flowers burned on their tall stalks like yellow tongues of flame. The
strong, sword-like green leaves thrust themselves boldly up into the
spring air like a challenge. The plants vibrated with vigorous life.
In the field beyond them, as vigorous as they, strode Adoniram
Purdon behind his team, the reins tied together behind his muscular
neck, his hands grasping the plow with the masterful sureness of the
successful practitioner of an art. The hot, sweet spring sunshine shone
down on 'Niram's head with its thick crest of brown hair, the ineffable
odor of newly turned earth steamed up about him like incense, the
mountain stream beyond him leaped and shouted. His powerful body
answered every call made on it with the precision of a splendid
machine. But there was no elation in the grimly set face as 'Niram
wrenched the plow around a big stone, or as, in a more favorable
furrow, the gleaming share sped steadily along before the plowman,
turning over a long, unbroken brown ribbon of earth.
My cousin-in-law waved a nervous hand toward the sternly silent
figure as it stepped doggedly behind the straining team, the head bent
forward, the eyes fixed on the horses' heels.
There! he said. There is an example of what I mean. Is there
another race on earth which could produce a man in such a situation who
would not on such a day sing, or whistle, or at least hold up his head
and look at all the earthly glories about him?
I was silent, but not for lack of material for speech. 'Niram's
reasons for austere self-control were not such as I cared to discuss
with a man of my cousin's mental attitude. As we sat looking at him the
noon whistle from the village blew and the wise old horses stopped in
the middle of a furrow. 'Niram unharnessed them, led them to the shade
of a tree, and put on their nose-bags. Then he turned and came toward
Don't I seem to remember, murmured my cousin under his breath,
that, even though he is a New-Englander, he has been known to make up
errands to your kitchen to see your pretty Ev'leen Ann?
I looked at him hard; but he was only gazing down, rather
cross-eyed, on his grizzled mustache, with an obvious petulant interest
in the increase of white hairs in it. Evidently his had been but a
chance shot. 'Niram stepped up on the grass at the edge of the porch.
He was so tall that he overtopped the railing easily, and, reaching a
long arm over to where I sat, he handed me a small package done up in
yellowish tissue-paper. Without hat-raisings, or good-mornings or any
other of the greetings usual in a more effusive civilization, he
My stepmother wanted I should give you this. She said to thank you
for the grape-juice. As he spoke he looked at me gravely out of
deep-set blue eyes, and when he had delivered his message he held his
I expressed myself with the babbling volubility of one whose manners
have been corrupted by occasional sojourns in the city. Oh, 'Niram! I
cried protestingly, as I opened the package and took out an exquisitely
wrought old-fashioned collar. Oh, 'Niram! How could your
stepmother give such a thing away? Why, it must be one of her precious
old relics. I don't want her to give me something every time I
do some little thing for her. Can't a neighbor send her in a few
bottles of grape-juice without her thinking she must pay it back
somehow? It's not kind of her. She has never yet let me do the least
thing for her without repaying me with something that is worth ever so
much more than my trifling services.
When I had finished my prattling, 'Niram repeated, with an accent of
finality, She wanted I should give it to you.
The older man stirred in his chair. Without looking at him I knew
that his gaze on the young rustic was quizzical and that he was
recording on the tablets of his merciless memory the ungraceful
abruptness of the other's action and manner.
How is your stepmother feeling to-day, 'Niram? I asked.
'Niram came to a full stop with the word. My cousin covered his
satirical mouth with his hand.
Can't the doctor do anything to relieve her? I asked.
'Niram moved at last from his Indian-like immobility. He looked up
under the brim of his felt hat at the sky-line of the mountain,
shimmering iridescent above us. He says maybe 'lectricity would help
her some. I'm goin' to git her the batteries and things soon's I git
the rubber bandages paid for.
There was a long silence. My cousin stood up, yawning, and sauntered
away toward the door. Shall I send Ev'leen Ann out to get the pitcher
and glasses? he asked in an accent which he evidently thought very
The strong face under the felt hat turned white, the jaw muscles set
hard, but for all this show of strength there was an instant when the
man's eyes looked out with the sick, helpless revelation of pain they
might have had when 'Niram was a little boy of ten, a third of his
present age, and less than half his present stature. Occasionally it is
horrifying to see how a chance shot rings the bell.
No, no! Never mind! I said hastily. I'll take the tray in when I
Without salutation or farewell 'Niram Purdon turned and went back to
The porch was an enchanted place, walled around with starlit
darkness, visited by wisps of breezes shaking down from their wings the
breath of lilac and syringa, flowering wild grapes, and plowed fields.
Down at the foot of our sloping lawn the little river, still swollen by
the melted snow from the mountains, plunged between its stony banks and
shouted its brave song to the stars.
We three middle-aged peoplePaul, his cousin, and Ihad disposed
our uncomely, useful, middle-aged bodies in the big wicker chairs and
left them there while our young souls wandered abroad in the sweet,
dark glory of the night. At least Paul and I were doing this, as we
sat, hand in hand, thinking of a May night twenty years before. One
never knows what Horace is thinking of, but apparently he was not in
his usual captious vein, for after a long pause he remarked, It is a
night almost indecorously inviting to the making of love.
My answer seemed grotesquely out of key with this, but its sequence
was clear in my mind. I got up, saying: Oh, that reminds meI must go
and see Ev'leen Ann. I'd forgotten to plan to-morrow's dinner.
Oh, everlastingly Ev'leen Ann! mocked Horace from his corner.
Can't you think of anything but Ev'leen Ann and her affairs?
I felt my way through the darkness of the house, toward the kitchen,
both doors of which were tightly closed. When I stepped into the hot,
close room, smelling of food and fire, I saw Ev'leen Ann sitting on the
straight kitchen chair, the yellow light of the bracket-lamp bearing
down on her heavy braids and bringing out the exquisitely subtle
modeling of her smooth young face. Her hands were folded in her lap.
She was staring at the blank wall, and the expression of her eyes so
startled and shocked me that I stopped short and would have retreated
if it had not been too late. She had seen me, roused herself, and said
quietly, as though continuing a conversation interrupted the moment
I had been thinking that there was enough left of the roast to make
hash-balls for dinnerhash-balls is Ev'leen Ann's decent
Anglo-Saxon name for croquettesand maybe you'd like a rhubarb pie.
I knew well enough she had been thinking of no such thing, but I
could as easily have slapped a reigning sovereign on the back as broken
in on the regal reserve of Ev'leen Ann in her clean gingham.
Well, yes, Ev'leen Ann, I answered in her own tone of reasonable
consideration of the matter; that would be nice, and your pie-crust is
so flaky that even Mr. Horace will have to be pleased.
Mr. Horace is our title for the sardonic cousin whose carping ways
are half a joke, and half a menace in our family.
Ev'leen Ann could not manage the smile which should have greeted
this sally. She looked down soberly at the white-pine top of the
kitchen table and said, I guess there is enough sparrow-grass up in
the garden for a mess, too, if you'd like that.
That would taste very good, I agreed, my heart aching for her.
And creamed potatoes, she finished bravely, thrusting my unspoken
pity from her.
You know I like creamed potatoes better than any other kind, I
There was a silence. It seemed inhuman to go and leave the stricken
young thing to fight her trouble alone in the ugly prison, her
work-place, though I thought I could guess why Ev'leen Ann had shut the
doors so tightly. I hung near her, searching my head for something to
say, but she helped me by no casual remark. 'Niram is not the only one
of our people who possesses to the full the supreme gift of silence.
Finally I mentioned the report of a case of measles in the village, and
Ev'leen Ann responded in kind with the news that her Aunt Emma had
bought a potato-planter. Ev'leen Ann is an orphan, brought up by a
well-to-do spinster aunt, who is strong-minded and runs her own farm.
After a time we glided by way of similar transitions to the mention of
'Niram Purdon tells me his stepmother is no better, I said. Isn't
it too bad? I thought it well for Ev'leen Ann to be dragged out of her
black cave of silence once in a while, even if it could be done only by
force. As she made no answer, I went on. Everybody who knows 'Niram
thinks it splendid of him to do so much for his stepmother.
Ev'leen Ann responded with a detached air, as though speaking of a
matter in China: Well, it ain't any more than what he should. She was
awful good to him when he was little and his father got so sick. I
guess 'Niram wouldn't ha' had much to eat if she hadn't ha' gone out
sewing to earn it for him and Mr. Purdon. She added firmly, after a
moment's pause, No, ma'am, I don't guess it's any more than what
'Niram had ought to do.
But it's very hard on a young man to feel that he's not able to
marry, I continued. Once in a great while we came so near the matter
as this. Ev'leen Ann made no answer. Her face took on a pinched look of
sickness. She set her lips as though she would never speak again. But I
knew that a criticism of 'Niram would always rouse her, and said: And
really, I think 'Niram makes a great mistake to act as he does. A wife
would be a help to him. She could take care of Mrs. Purdon and keep the
Ev'leen Ann rose to the bait, speaking quickly with some heat: I
guess 'Niram knows what's right for him to do! He can't afford to marry
when he can't even keep up with the doctor's bills and all. He keeps
the house himself, nights and mornings, and Mrs. Purdon is awful handy
about taking care of herself, for all she's bedridden. That's her way,
you know. She can't bear to have folks do for her. She'd die before
she'd let anybody do anything for her that she could anyways do for
I sighed acquiescingly. Mrs. Purdon's fierce independence was a rock
on which every attempt at sympathy or help shattered itself to atoms.
There seemed to be no other emotion left in her poor old work-worn
shell of a body. As I looked at Ev'leen Ann it seemed rather a hateful
characteristic, and I remarked, It seems to me it's asking a good deal
of 'Niram to spoil his life in order that his stepmother can go on
pretending she's independent.
Ev'leen Ann explained hastily: Oh, 'Niram doesn't tell her anything
aboutShe doesn't know he would like tohe don't want she should be
worriedand, anyhow, as 'tis, he can't earn enough to keep ahead of
all the doctors cost.
But the right kind of a wifea good, competent girlcould help
out by earning something, too.
Ev'leen Ann looked at me forlornly, with no surprise. The idea was
evidently not new to her. Yes, ma'am, she could. But 'Niram says he
ain't the kind of man to let his wife go out working. Even while she
dropped under the killing verdict of his pride she was loyal to his
standards and uttered no complaint. She went on, 'Niram wants Aunt
Em'line to have things the way she wants 'em, as near as he can give
'em to herand it's right she should.
Aunt Emeline? I repeated, surprised at her absence of mind. You
mean Mrs. Purdon, don't you?
Ev'leen Ann looked vexed at her slip, but she scorned to attempt any
concealment. She explained dryly, with the shy, stiff embarrassment our
country people have in speaking of private affairs: Well, she is
my Aunt Em'line, Mrs. Purdon is, though I don't hardly ever call her
that. You see, Aunt Emma brought me up, and she and Aunt Em'line don't
have anything to do with each other. They were twins, and when they
were girls they got edgeways over 'Niram's father, when 'Niram was a
baby and his father was a young widower and come courting. Then Aunt
Em'line married him, and Aunt Emma never spoke to her afterward.
Occasionally, in walking unsuspectingly along one of our leafy
lanes, some such fiery geyser of ancient heat uprears itself in a
boiling column. I never get used to it, and started back now.
Why, I never heard of that before, and I've known your Aunt Emma
and Mrs. Purdon for years!
Well, they're pretty old now, said Ev'leen Ann listlessly, with
the natural indifference of self-centered youth to the bygone tragedies
of the preceding generation. It happened quite some time ago. And both
of them were so touchy, if anybody seemed to speak about it, that folks
got in the way of letting it alone. First Aunt Emma wouldn't speak to
her sister because she'd married the man she'd wanted, and then when
Aunt Emma made out so well farmin' and got so well off, why, then Mrs.
Purdon wouldn't try to make up because she was so poor. That was after
Mr. Purdon had had his stroke of paralysis and they'd lost their farm
and she'd taken to goin' out sewin'not but what she was always
perfectly satisfied with her bargain. She always acted as though she'd
rather have her husband's old shirt stuffed with straw than any other
man's whole body. He was a real nice man, I guess, Mr. Purdon was.
There I had itthe curt, unexpanded chronicle of two passionate
lives. And there I had also the key to Mrs. Purdon's fury of
independence. It was the only way in which she could defend her husband
against the charge, so damning to her world, of not having provided for
his wife. It was the only monument she could rear to her husband's
memory. And her husband had been all there was in life for her!
I stood looking at her young kinswoman's face, noting the granite
under the velvet softness of its youth, and divining the flame
underlying the granite. I longed to break through her wall and to put
my arms about her, and on the impulse of the moment I cast aside the
pretense of casualness in our talk.
Oh, my dear! I said. Are you and 'Niram always to go on like
this? Can't anybody help you?
Ev'leen Ann looked at me, her face suddenly old and gray. No,
ma'am; we ain't going to go on this way. We've decided, 'Niram and I
have, that it ain't no use. We've decided that we'd better not go
places together any more or see each other. It's tooIf 'Niram thinks
we can'tshe flamed so that I knew she was burning from head to
footit's better for us not She ended in a muffled voice, hiding
her face in the crook of her arm.
Ah, yes; now I knew why Ev'leen Ann had shut out the passionate
breath of the spring night!
I stood near her, a lump in my throat, but I divined the anguish of
her shame at her involuntary self-revelation, and respected it. I dared
do no more than to touch her shoulder gently.
The door behind us rattled. Ev'leen Ann sprang up and turned her
face toward the wall. Paul's cousin came in, shuffling a little,
blinking his eyes in the light of the unshaded lamp, and looking very
cross and tired. He glanced at us without comment as he went over to
the sink. Nobody offered me anything good to drink, he complained,
so I came in to get some water from the faucet for my nightcap.
When he had drunk with ostentation from the tin dipper he went to
the outside door and flung it open. Don't you people know how hot and
smelly it is in here? he said, with his usual unceremonious
The night wind burst in, eddying, and puffed out the lamp with a
breath. In an instant the room was filled with coolness and perfumes
and the rushing sound of the river. Out of the darkness came Ev'leen
Ann's young voice. It seems to me, she said, as though speaking to
herself, that I never heard the Mill Brook sound so loud as it has
I woke up that night with the start one has at a sudden call. But
there had been no call. A profound silence spread itself through the
sleeping house. Outdoors the wind had died down. Only the loud brawl of
the river broke the stillness under the stars. But all through this
silence and this vibrant song there rang a soundless menace which
brought me out of bed and to my feet before I was awake. I heard Paul
say, What's the matter? in a sleepy voice, and Nothing, I answered,
reaching for my dressing gown and slippers. I listened for a moment, my
head ringing with all the frightened tales of the morbid vein of
violence which runs through the character of our reticent people. There
was still no sound. I went along the hall and up the stairs to Ev'leen
Ann's room, and I opened the door without knocking. The room was empty.
Then how I ran! Calling loudly for Paul to join me, I ran down the
two flights of stairs, out of the open door, and along the hedged path
which leads down to the little river. The starlight was clear. I could
see everything as plainly as though in early dawn. I saw the river, and
I sawEv'leen Ann.
There was a dreadful moment of horror, which I shall never remember
very clearly, and then Ev'leen Ann and Iboth very wetstood on the
bank, shuddering in each other's arms.
Into our hysteria there dropped, like a pungent caustic, the arid
voice of Horace, remarking, Well, are you two people crazy, or are you
walking in your sleep?
I could feel Ev'leen Ann stiffen in my arms, and I fairly stepped
back from her in astonished admiration as I heard her snatch at the
straw thus offered, and still shuddering horribly from head to foot,
force herself to say quite connectedly: Whyyesof courseI've
always heard about my grandfather Parkman's walking in his sleep. Folks
said 'twould come out in the family some time.
Paul was close behind HoraceI wondered a little at his not being
firstand with many astonished and inane ejaculations, such as people
always make on startling occasions, we made our way back into the house
to hot blankets and toddies. But I slept no more that night.
Some time after dawn, however, I did fall into a troubled
unconsciousness full of bad dreams, and only woke when the sun was
quite high. I opened my eyes to see Ev'leen Ann about to close the
Oh, did I wake you up? she said. I didn't mean to. That little
Harris boy is here with a letter for you.
She spoke with a slightly defiant tone of self-possession. I tried
to play up to her interpretation of her rôle.
The little Harris boy? I said, sitting up in bed. What in the
world is he bringing me a letter for?
Ev'leen Ann, with her usual clear perception of the superfluous in
conversation, vouchsafed no opinion on a matter where she had no
information, but went downstairs and brought back the note. It was of
four lines, andsurprisingly enoughfrom old Mrs. Purdon, who asked
me abruptly if I would have my husband take me to see her. She
specified, and underlined the specification, that I was to come right
off, and in the automobile. Wondering extremely at this mysterious
bidding, I sought out Paul, who obediently cranked up our small car and
carried me off. There was no sign of Horace about the house, but some
distance on the other side of the village we saw his tall, stooping
figure swinging along the road. He carried a cane and was
characteristically occupied in violently switching off the heads from
the wayside weeds as he walked. He refused our offer to take him in,
alleging that he was out for exercise and to reduce his fleshan
ancient jibe at his bony frame which made him for an instant show a
There was, of course, no one at Mrs. Purdon's to let us into the
tiny, three-roomed house, since the bedridden invalid spent her days
there alone while 'Niram worked his team on other people's fields. Not
knowing what we might find, Paul stayed outside in the car, while I
stepped inside in answer to Mrs. Purdon's Come in, why don't
you! which sounded quite as dry as usual. But when I saw her I knew
that things were not as usual.
She lay flat on her back, the little emaciated wisp of humanity,
hardly raising the piecework quilt enough to make the bed seem
occupied, and to account for the thin, worn old face on the pillow. But
as I entered the room her eyes seized on mine, and I was aware of
nothing but them and some fury of determination behind them. With a
fierce heat of impatience at my first natural but quickly repressed
exclamation of surprise she explained briefly that she wanted Paul to
lift her into the automobile and take her into the next township to the
Hulett farm. I'm so shrunk away to nuthin', I know I can lay on the
back seat if I crook myself up, she said, with a cool accent but a
rather shaky voice. Seeming to realize that even her intense desire to
strike the matter-of-fact note could not take the place of any and all
explanation of her extraordinary request, she added, holding my eyes
steady with her own: Emma Hulett's my twin sister. I guess it ain't so
queer, my wanting to see her.
I thought, of course, we were to be used as the medium for some
strange, sudden family reconciliation, and went out to ask Paul if he
thought he could carry the old invalid to the car. He replied that, so
far as that went, he could carry so thin an old body ten times around
the town, but that he refused absolutely to take such a risk without
authorization from her doctor. I remembered the burning eyes of
resolution I had left inside, and sent him to present his objections to
Mrs. Purdon herself.
In a few moments I saw him emerge from the house with the old woman
in his arms. He had evidently taken her up just as she lay. The
piecework quilt hung down in long folds, flashing its brilliant reds
and greens in the sunshine, which shone so strangely upon the pallid
old countenance, facing the open sky for the first time in years.
We drove in silence through the green and gold lyric of the spring
day, an elderly company sadly out of key with the triumphant note of
eternal youth which rang through all the visible world. Mrs. Purdon
looked at nothing, said nothing, seemed to be aware of nothing but the
purpose in her heart, whatever that might be. Paul and I, taking a leaf
from our neighbors' book, held, with a courage like theirs, to their
excellent habit of saying nothing when there is nothing to say. We
arrived at the fine old Hulett place without the exchange of a single
Now carry me in, said Mrs. Purdon briefly, evidently hoarding her
Wouldn't I better go and see if Miss Hulett is at home? I asked.
Mrs. Purdon shook her head impatiently and turned her compelling
eyes on my husband. I went up the path before them to knock at the
door, wondering what the people in the house would possibly be thinking
of us. There was no answer to my knock. Open the door and go in,
commanded Mrs. Purdon from out her quilt.
There was no one in the spacious, white-paneled hall, and no sound
in all the big, many-roomed house.
Emma's out feeding the hens, conjectured Mrs. Purdon, not, I
fancied, without a faint hint of relief in her voice. Now carry me
up-stairs to the first room on the right.
Half hidden by his burden, Paul rolled wildly inquiring eyes at me;
but he obediently staggered up the broad old staircase, and waiting
till I had opened the first door to the right, stepped into the big
Put me down on the bed, and open them shutters, Mrs. Purdon
She still marshaled her forces with no lack of decision, but with a
fainting voice which made me run over to her quickly as Paul laid her
down on the four-poster. Her eyes were still indomitable, but her mouth
hung open slackly and her color was startling. Oh, Paul, quick! quick!
Haven't you your flask with you?
Mrs. Purdon informed me in a barely audible whisper, In the corner
cupboard at the head of the stairs, and I flew down the hallway. I
returned with a bottle, evidently of great age. There was only a little
brandy in the bottom, but it whipped up a faint color into the sick
As I was bending over her and Paul was thrusting open the shutters,
letting in a flood of sunshine and flecky leaf-shadows, a firm, rapid
step came down the hall, and a vigorous woman, with a tanned face and a
clean, faded gingham dress, stopped short in the doorway with an
expression of stupefaction.
Mrs. Purdon put me on one side, and although she was physically
incapable of moving her body by a hair's breadth, she gave the effect
of having risen to meet the newcomer. Well, Emma, here I am, she said
in a queer voice, with involuntary quavers in it. As she went on she
had it more under control, although in the course of her
extraordinarily succinct speech it broke and failed her occasionally.
When it did, she drew in her breath with an audible, painful effort,
struggling forward steadily in what she had to say. You see, Emma,
it's this way: My 'Niram and your Ev'leen Ann have been keeping
companyever since they went to school togetheryou know that 's well
as I do, for all we let on we didn't, only I didn't know till just now
how hard they took it. They can't get married because 'Niram can't keep
even, let alone get ahead any, because I cost so much bein' sick, and
the doctor says I may live for years this way, same's Aunt Hettie did.
An' 'Niram is thirty-one, an' Ev'leen Ann is twenty-eight, an' they've
had 'bout's much waitin' as is good for folks that set such store by
each other. I've thought of every way out of itand there ain't any.
The Lord knows I don't enjoy livin' any, not so's to notice the
enjoyment, and I'd thought of cutting my throat like Uncle Lish, but
that'd make 'Niram and Ev'leen Ann feel soto think why I'd done it;
they'd never take the comfort they'd ought in bein' married; so that
won't do. There's only one thing to do. I guess you'll have to take
care of me till the Lord calls me. Maybe I won't last so long as the
When she finished, I felt my ears ringing in the silence. She had
walked to the sacrificial altar with so steady a step, and laid upon it
her precious all with so gallant a front of quiet resolution, that for
an instant I failed to take in the sublimity of her self-immolation.
Mrs. Purdon asking for charity! And asking the one woman who had most
reason to refuse it to her.
Paul looked at me miserably, the craven desire to escape a scene
written all over him. Wouldn't we better be going, Mrs. Purdon? I
said uneasily. I had not ventured to look at the woman in the doorway.
Mrs. Purdon motioned me to remain, with an imperious gesture whose
fierceness showed the tumult underlying her brave front. No; I want
you should stay. I want you should hear what I say, so's you can tell
folks, if you have to. Now, look here, Emma, she went on to the other,
still obstinately silent; you must look at it the way 'tis. We're
neither of us any good to anybody, the way we areand I'm dreadfully
in the way of the only two folks we care a pin abouteither of us.
You've got plenty to do with, and nothing to spend it on. I can't get
myself out of their way by dying without going against what's Scripture
and proper, but Her steely calm broke. She burst out in a
screaming, hysterical voice: You've just got to, Emma Hulett!
You've just got to! If you don't I won't never go back to
'Niram's house! I'll lie in the ditch by the roadside till the
poor-master comes to get meand I'll tell everybody that it's because
my own twin sister, with a house and a farm and money in the bank,
turned me out to starve A fearful spasm cut her short. She lay
twisted and limp, the whites of her eyes showing between the lids.
Good God, she's gone! cried Paul, running to the bed.
I was aware that the woman in the doorway had relaxed her frozen
immobility and was between Paul and me as we rubbed the thin, icy hands
and forced brandy between the placid lips. We all three thought her
dead or dying, and labored over her with the frightened thankfulness
for one another's living presence which always marks that dreadful
moment. But even as we fanned and rubbed, and cried out to one another
to open the windows and to bring water, the blue lips moved to a
ghostly whisper: Em, listen The old woman went back to the
nickname of their common youth. Emyour Ev'leen Anntried to drown
herselfin the Mill Brook last night.... That's what decided
meto And then we were plunged into another desperate struggle
with Death for the possession of the battered old habitation of the
dauntless soul before us.
Isn't there any hot water in the house? cried Paul, and Yes, yes;
a tea-kettle on the stove! answered the woman who labored with us.
Paul, divining that she meant the kitchen, fled down-stairs. I stole a
look at Emma Hulett's face as she bent over the sister she had not seen
in thirty years, and I knew that Mrs. Purdon's battle was won. It even
seemed that she had won another skirmish in her never-ending war with
death, for a little warmth began to come back into her hands.
When Paul returned with the tea-kettle, and a hot-water bottle had
been filled, the owner of the house straightened herself, assumed her
rightful position as mistress of the situation, and began to issue
commands. You git right in the automobile, and go git the doctor, she
told Paul. That'll be the quickest. She's better now, and your wife
and I can keep her goin' till the doctor gits here.
As Paul left the room she snatched something white from a
bureau-drawer, stripped the worn, patched old cotton nightgown from the
skeleton-like body, and, handling the invalid with a strong, sure
touch, slipped on a soft, woolly outing-flannel wrapper with a curious
trimming of zigzag braid down the front. Mrs. Purdon opened her eyes
very slightly, but shut them again at her sister's quick command, You
lay still, Em'line, and drink some of this brandy. She obeyed without
comment, but after a pause she opened her eyes again and looked down at
the new garment which clad her. She had that moment turned back from
the door of death, but her first breath was used to set the scene for a
return to a decent decorum.
You're still a great hand for rick-rack work, Em, I see, she
murmured in a faint whisper. Do you remember how surprised Aunt Su was
when you made up a pattern?
Well, I hadn't thought of it for quite some time, returned Miss
Hulett, in exactly the same tone of everyday remark. As she spoke she
slipped her arm under the other's head and poked the pillow to a more
comfortable shape. Now you lay perfectly still, she commanded in the
hectoring tone of the born nurse; I'm goin' to run down and make you
up a good hot cup of sassafras tea.
I followed her down into the kitchen and was met by the same refusal
to be melodramatic which I had encountered in Ev'leen Ann. I was most
anxious to know what version of my extraordinary morning I was to give
out to the world, but hung silent, positively abashed by the cool
casualness of the other woman as she mixed her brew. Finally, Shall I
tell 'NiramWhat shall I say to Ev'leen Ann? If anybody asks me I
brought out with clumsy hesitation.
At the realization that her reserve and family pride were wholly at
the mercy of any report I might choose to give, even my iron hostess
faltered. She stopped short in the middle of the floor, looked at me
silently, piteously, and found no word.
I hastened to assure her that I would attempt no hateful
picturesqueness of narration. Suppose I just say that you were rather
lonely here, now that Ev'leen Ann has left you, and that you thought it
would be nice to have your sister come to stay with you, so that 'Niram
and Ev'leen Ann can be married?
Emma Hulett breathed again. She walked toward the stairs with the
steaming cup in her hand. Over her shoulder she remarked, Well, yes,
ma'am; that would be as good a way to put it as any, I guess.
'Niram and Ev'leen Ann were standing up to be married. They looked
very stiff and self-conscious, and Ev'leen Ann was very pale. 'Niram's
big hands, bent in the crook of a man who handles tools, hung down by
his new black trousers. Ev'leen Ann's strong fingers stood out stiffly
from one another. They looked hard at the minister and repeated after
him in low and meaningless tones the solemn and touching words of the
marriage service. Back of them stood the wedding company, in freshly
washed and ironed white dresses, new straw hats, and black suits
smelling of camphor. In the background among the other elders, stood
Paul and Horace and Imy husband and I hand in hand; Horace twiddling
the black ribbon which holds his watch, and looking bored. Through the
open windows into the stuffiness of the best room came an echo of the
deep organ note of midsummer.
Whom God hath joined together said the minister, and the
epitome of humanity which filled the room held its breaththe old with
a wonder upon their life-scarred faces, the young half frightened to
feel the stir of the great wings soaring so near them.
Then it was all over. 'Niram and Ev'leen Ann were married, and the
rest of us were bustling about to serve the hot biscuit and coffee and
chicken salad, and to dish up the ice-cream. Afterward there were no
citified refinements of cramming rice down the necks of the departing
pair or tying placards to the carriage in which they went away. Some of
the men went out to the barn and hitched up for 'Niram, and we all went
down to the gate to see them drive off. They might have been going for
one of their Sunday afternoon buggy-rides except for the wet eyes of
the foolish women and girls who stood waving their hands in answer to
the flutter of Ev'leen Ann's handkerchief as the carriage went down the
We had nothing to say to one another after they left, and began
soberly to disperse to our respective vehicles. But as I was getting
into our car a new thought suddenly struck me.
Why, I cried, I never thought of it before! However in the world
did old Mrs. Purdon know about Ev'leen Annthat night?
Horace was pulling at the door, which was badly adjusted and shut
hard. He closed it with a vicious slam I told her, he said
HOW FLINT AND FIRE STARTED AND
I feel very dubious about the wisdom or usefulness of publishing the
following statement of how one of my stories came into existence. This
is not on account of the obvious danger of seeming to have illusions
about the value of my work, as though I imagined one of my stories was
inherently worth in itself a careful public analysis of its growth; the
chance, remote as it might be, of usefulness to students, would
outweigh this personal consideration. What is more important is the
danger that some student may take the explanation as a recipe or rule
for the construction of other stories, and I totally disbelieve in such
rules or recipes.
As a rule, when a story is finished, and certainly always by the
time it is published, I have no recollection of the various phases of
its development. In the case of Flint and Fire", an old friend chanced
to ask me, shortly after the tale was completed, to write out for his
English classes, the stages of the construction of a short story. I set
them down, hastily, formlessly, but just as they happened, and this
gives me a record which I could not reproduce for any other story I
ever wrote. These notes are here published on the chance that such a
truthful record of the growth of one short story, may have some general
suggestiveness for students.
No two of my stories are ever constructed in the same way, but
broadly viewed they all have exactly the same genesis, and I confess I
cannot conceive of any creative fiction written from any other
beginning ... that of a generally intensified emotional sensibility,
such as every human being experiences with more or less frequency.
Everybody knows such occasional hours or days of freshened emotional
responses when events that usually pass almost unnoticed, suddenly move
you deeply, when a sunset lifts you to exaltation, when a squeaking
door throws you into a fit of exasperation, when a clear look of trust
in a child's eyes moves you to tears, or an injustice reported in the
newspapers to flaming indignation, a good action to a sunny warm love
of human nature, a discovered meanness in yourself or another, to
I have no idea whence this tide comes, or where it goes, but when it
begins to rise in my heart, I know that a story is hovering in the
offing. It does not always come safely to port. The daily routine of
ordinary life kills off many a vagrant emotion. Or if daily humdrum
occupation does not stifle it, perhaps this saturated solution of
feeling does not happen to crystallize about any concrete fact,
episode, word or phrase. In my own case, it is far more likely to seize
on some slight trifle, the shade of expression on somebody's face, or
the tone of somebody's voice, than to accept a more complete,
ready-made episode. Especially this emotion refuses to crystallize
about, or to have anything to do with those narrations of our actual
life, offered by friends who are sure that such-and-such a happening is
so strange or interesting that it ought to go in a story.
The beginning of a story is then for me in more than usual
sensitiveness to emotion. If this encounters the right focus (and
heaven only knows why it is the right one) I get simultaneously a
strong thrill of intense feeling, and an intense desire to pass it on
to other people. This emotion may be any one of the infinitely varied
ones which life affords, laughter, sorrow, indignation, gayety,
admiration, scorn, pleasure. I recognize it for the right one when it
brings with it an irresistible impulse to try to make other people feel
it. And I know that when it comes, the story is begun. At this point,
the story begins to be more or less under my conscious control, and it
is here that the work of construction begins.
Flint and Fire thus hovered vaguely in a shimmer of general
emotional tensity, and thus abruptly crystallized itself about a chance
phrase and the cadence of the voice which pronounced it. For several
days I had been almost painfully alive to the beauty of an especially
lovely spring, always so lovely after the long winter in the mountains.
One evening, going on a very prosaic errand to a farm-house of our
region, I walked along a narrow path through dark pines, beside a brook
swollen with melting snow, and found the old man I came to see, sitting
silent and alone before his blackened small old house. I did my errand,
and then not to offend against our country standards of sociability,
sat for half an hour beside him.
The old man had been for some years desperately unhappy about a
tragic and permanent element in his life. I had known this, every one
knew it. But that evening, played upon as I had been by the stars, the
darkness of the pines and the shouting voice of the brook, I suddenly
stopped merely knowing it, and felt it. It seemed to me that his misery
emanated from him like a soundless wail of anguish. We talked very
little, odds and ends of neighborhood gossip, until the old man,
shifting his position, drew a long breath and said, Seems to me I
never heard the brook sound so loud as it has this spring. There came
instantly to my mind the recollection that his grandfather had drowned
himself in that brook, and I sat silent, shaken by that thought and by
the sound of his voice. I have no words to attempt to reproduce his
voice, or to try to make you feel as I did, hot and cold with the awe
of that glimpse into a naked human heart. I felt my own heart contract
dreadfully with helpless sympathy ... and, I hope this is not as ugly
as it sounds, I knew at the same instant that I would try to get that
pang of emotion into a story and make other people feel it.
That is all. That particular phase of the construction of the story
came and went between two heart-beats.
I came home by the same path through the same pines along the same
brook, sinfully blind and deaf to the beauty that had so moved me an
hour ago. I was too busy now to notice anything outside the rapid
activity going on inside my head. My mind was working with a swiftness
and a coolness which I am somewhat ashamed to mention, and my emotions
were calmed, relaxed, let down from the tension of the last few days
and the last few moments. They had found their way out to an attempt at
self-expression and were at rest. I realize that this is not at all
estimable. The old man was just as unhappy as he had been when I had
felt my heart breaking with sympathy for him, but now he seemed very
I was snatching up one possibility after another, considering it for
a moment, casting it away and pouncing on another. First of all, the
story must be made as remote as possible from resembling the old man or
his trouble, lest he or any one in the world might think he was
intended, and be wounded.
What is the opposite pole from an old man's tragedy? A lover's
tragedy, of course. Yes, it must be separated lovers, young and
passionate and beautiful, because they would fit in with the
back-ground of spring, and swollen shouting starlit brooks, and the
yearly resurrection which was so closely connected with that ache of
emotion that they were a part of it.
Should the separation come from the weakness or faithlessness of one
of the lovers? No, ah no, I wanted it without ugliness, pure beautiful
sorrow, to fit that dark shadow of the pines ... the lovers must be
separated by outside forces.
What outside forces? Lack of money? Family opposition? Both,
perhaps. I knew plenty of cases of both in the life of our valley.
By this time I had come again to our own house and was swallowed in
the usual thousand home-activities. But underneath all that, quite
steadily my mind continued to work on the story as a wasp in a barn
keeps on silently plastering up the cells of his nest in the midst of
the noisy activities of farm-life. I said to one of the children, Yes,
dear, wasn't it fun! and to myself, To be typical of our
tradition-ridden valley-people, the opposition ought to come from the
dead hand of the past. I asked a caller, One lump or two? and
thought as I poured the tea, And if the character of that opposition
could be made to indicate a fierce capacity for passionate feeling in
the older generation, that would make it doubly useful in the story,
not only as part of the machinery of the plot, but as indicating an
inheritance of passionate feeling in the younger generation, with whom
the story is concerned. I dozed off at night, and woke to find myself
saying, It could come from the jealousy of two sisters, now old
But that meant that under ordinary circumstances the lovers would
have been first cousins, and this might cause a subconscious wavering
of attention on the part of some readers ... just as well to get that
stone out of the path! I darned a sock and thought out the relationship
in the story, and was rewarded with a revelation of the character of
the sick old woman, 'Niram's step-mother.
Upon this, came one of those veering lists of the ballast aboard
which are so disconcerting to the author. The story got out of hand.
The old woman silent, indomitable, fed and deeply satisfied for all of
her hard and grinding life by her love for the husband whom she had
taken from her sister, she stepped to the front of my stage, and from
that moment on, dominated the action. I did not expect this, nor desire
it, and I was very much afraid that the result would be a perilously
divided interest which would spoil the unity of impression of the
story. It now occurs to me that this unexpected shifting of values may
have been the emergence of the element of tragic old age which had been
the start of the story and which I had conscientiously tried to smother
out of sight. At any rate, there she was, more touching, pathetic,
striking, to my eyes with her life-time proof of the reality of her
passion, than my untried young lovers who up to that time had seemed to
me, in the full fatuous flush of invention as I was, as ill-starred,
innocent and touching lovers as anybody had ever seen.
Alarmed about this double interest I went on with the weaving back
and forth of the elements of the plot which now involved the attempt to
arouse in the reader's heart as in mine a sympathy for the bed-ridden
old Mrs. Purdon and a comprehension of her sacrifice.
My daily routine continued as usual, gardening, telling stories,
music, sewing, dusting, motoring, callers ... one of them, a
self-consciously sophisticated Europeanized American, not having of
course any idea of what was filling my inner life, rubbed me
frightfully the wrong way by making a slighting condescending allusion
to what he called the mean, emotional poverty of our inarticulate
mountain people. I flew into a silent rage at him, though scorning to
discuss with him a matter I felt him incapable of understanding, and
the character of Cousin Horace went into the story. He was for the
first day or two, a very poor cheap element, quite unreal, unrealized,
a mere man of straw to be knocked over by the personages of the tale.
Then I took myself to task, told myself that I was spoiling a story
merely to revenge myself on a man I cared nothing about, and that I
must either take Cousin Horace out or make him human. One day, working
in the garden, I laughed out suddenly, delighted with the whimsical
idea of making him, almost in spite of himself, the deus ex machina
of my little drama, quite soft and sympathetic under his shell of
would-be worldly disillusion, as occasionally happens to elderly
At this point the character of 'Niram's long-dead father came to
life and tried to push his way into the story, a delightful, gentle,
upright man, with charm and a sense of humor, such as none of the rest
of my stark characters possessed. I felt that he was necessary to
explain the fierceness of the sisters' rivalry for him. I planned one
or two ways to get him in, in retrospectand liked one of the scenes
better than anything that finally was left in the story. Finally, very
heavy-hearted, I put him out of the story, for the merely material
reason that there was no room for him. As usual with my story-making,
this plot was sprouting out in a dozen places, expanding, opening up,
till I perceived that I had enough material for a novel. For a day or
so I hung undecided. Would it perhaps be better to make it a novel and
really tell about those characters all I knew and guessed? But again a
consideration that has nothing to do with artistic form, settled the
matter. I saw no earthly possibility of getting time enough to write a
novel. So I left Mr. Purdon out, and began to think of ways to compress
my material, to make one detail do double work so that space might be
One detail of the mechanism remained to be arranged, and this ended
by deciding the whole form of the story, and the first-person character
of the recital. This was the question of just how it would have been
materially possible for the bed-ridden old woman to break down the
life-long barrier between her and her sister, and how she could have
reached her effectively and forced her hand. I could see no way to
manage this except by somehow transporting her bodily to the sister's
house, so that she could not be put out on the road without public
scandal. This transportation must be managed by some character not in
the main action, as none of the persons involved would have been
willing to help her to this. It looked like putting in another
character, just for that purpose, and of course he could not be put in
without taking the time to make him plausible, human, understandable
... and I had just left out that charming widower for sheer lack of
space. Well, why not make it a first person story, and have the
narrator be the one who takes Mrs. Purdon to her sister's? The narrator
of the story never needs to be explained, always seems sufficiently
living and real by virtue of the supremely human act of so often saying
Now the materials were ready, the characters fully alive in my mind
and entirely visualized, even to the smoothly braided hair of Ev'leen
Ann, the patch-work quilt of the old woman out-of-doors, and the rustic
wedding at the end, all details which had recently chanced to draw my
attention; I heard everything through the song of the swollen brook,
one of the main characters in the story, (although by this time in
actual fact, June and lower water had come and the brook slid quiet and
gleaming, between placid green banks) and I often found myself smiling
foolishly in pleasure over the buggy going down the hill, freighted so
richly with hearty human joy.
The story was now ready to write.
I drew a long breath of mingled anticipation and apprehension,
somewhat as you do when you stand, breathing quickly, balanced on your
skis, at the top of a long white slope you are not sure you are clever
enough to manage. Sitting down at my desk one morning, I pushed off
and with a tingle of not altogether pleasurable excitement and alarm,
felt myself going. I went almost as precipitately as skis go down a
long white slope, scribbling as rapidly as my pencil could go,
indicating whole words with a dash and a jiggle, filling page after
page with scrawls ... it seemed to me that I had been at work perhaps
half an hour, when someone was calling me impatiently to lunch. I had
been writing four hours without stopping. My cheeks were flaming, my
feet were cold, my lips parched. It was high time someone called me to
The next morning, back at the desk, I looked over what I had
written, conquered the usual sick qualms of discouragement at finding
it so infinitely flat and insipid compared to what I had wished to make
it, and with a very clear idea of what remained to be done, plodded
ahead doggedly, and finished the first draught before noon. It was
almost twice too long.
After this came a period of steady desk work, every morning, of
re-writing, compression, more compression, and the more or less
mechanical work of technical revision, what a member of my family calls
cutting out the 'whiches'. The first thing to do each morning was to
read a part of it over aloud, sentence by sentence, to try to catch
clumsy, ungraceful phrases, overweights at one end or the other,
ringing them as you ring a dubious coin, clipping off too-trailing
relative clauses, listening hard. This work depends on what is known
in music as ear", and in my case it cannot be kept up long at a time,
because I find my attention flagging. When I begin to suspect that my
ear is dulling, I turn to other varieties of revision, of which there
are plenty to keep anybody busy; for instance revision to explain
facts; in this category is the sentence just after the narrator
suspects Ev'leen Ann has gone down to the brook, my ears ringing with
all the frightening tales of the morbid vein of violence which runs
through the characters of our reticent people. It seemed too on
re-reading the story for the tenth or eleventh time, that for readers
who do not know our valley people, the girl's attempt at suicide might
seem improbable. Some reference ought to be brought in, giving the
facts that their sorrow and despair is terrible in proportion to the
nervous strain of their tradition of repression, and that suicide is by
no means unknown. I tried bringing that fact in, as part of the
conversation with Cousin Horace, but it never fused with the rest
there, stayed on top of the page as bad sentences will do, never sank
in, and always made the disagreeable impression on me that a false
intonation in an actor's voice does. So it came out from there. I tried
putting it in Ev'leen Ann's mouth, in a carefully arranged form, but it
was so shockingly out of character there, that it was snatched out at
once. There I hung over the manuscript with that necessary fact in my
hand and no place to lay it down. Finally I perceived a possible
opening for it, where it now is in the story, and squeezing it in there
discontentedly left it, for I still think it only inoffensively and not
Then there is the traditional, obvious revision for suggestiveness,
such as the recurrent mention of the mountain brook at the beginning of
each of the first scenes; revision for ordinary sense, in the first
draught I had honeysuckle among the scents on the darkened porch,
whereas honeysuckle does not bloom in Vermont till late June; revision
for movement to get the narrator rapidly from her bed to the brook; for
sound, sense proportion, even grammar ... and always interwoven with
these mechanical revisions recurrent intense visualizations of the
scenes. This is the mental trick which can be learned, I think, by
practice and effort. Personally, although I never used as material any
events in my own intimate life, I can write nothing if I cannot achieve
these very definite, very complete visualizations of the scenes; which
means that I can write nothing at all about places, people or phases of
life which I do not intimately know, down to the last detail. If my
life depended on it, it does not seem to me I could possibly write a
story about Siberian hunters or East-side factory hands without having
lived long among them. Now the story was what one calls finished, and
I made a clear copy, picking my way with difficulty among the
alterations, the scratched-out passages, and the cued-in paragraphs,
the inserted pages, the re-arranged phrases. As I typed, the interest
and pleasure in the story lasted just through that process. It still
seemed pretty good to me, the wedding still touched me, the whimsical
ending still amused me.
But on taking up the legible typed copy and beginning to glance
rapidly over it, I felt fall over me the black shadow of that
intolerable reaction which is enough to make any author abjure his
calling for ever. By the time I had reached the end, the full misery
was there, the heart-sick, helpless consciousness of failure. What! I
had had the presumption to try to translate into words, and make others
feel a thrill of sacred living human feeling, that should not be
touched save by worthy hands. And what had I produced? A trivial,
paltry, complicated tale, with certain cheaply ingenious devices in it.
I heard again the incommunicable note of profound emotion in the old
man's voice, suffered again with his sufferings; and those little black
marks on white paper lay dead, dead in my hands. What horrible people
second-rate authors were! They ought to be prohibited by law from
sending out their caricatures of life. I would never write again. All
that effort, enough to have achieved a master-piece it seemed at the
time ... and this, this, for result!
From the subconscious depths of long experience came up the cynical,
slightly contemptuous consolation, You know this never lasts. You
always throw this same fit, and get over it.
So, suffering from really acute humiliation and unhappiness, I went
out hastily to weed a flower-bed.
And sure enough, the next morning, after a long night's sleep, I
felt quite rested, calm, and blessedly matter-of-fact. Flint and Fire
seemed already very far away and vague, and the question of whether it
was good or bad, not very important or interesting, like the chart of
your temperature in a fever now gone by.
Dorothy Canfield grew up in an atmosphere of books and learning. Her
father, James H. Canfield, was president of Kansas University, at
Lawrence, and there Dorothy was born, Feb. 17, 1879. She attended the
high school at Lawrence, and became friends with a young army officer
who was teaching at the near-by Army post, and who taught her to ride
horseback. In 1917 when the first American troops entered Paris,
Dorothy Canfield, who had gone to Paris to help in war work, again met
this army officer, General John J. Pershing.
But this is getting ahead of the story. Dr. Canfield was called from
Kansas to become president of Ohio State University, and later to be
librarian at Columbia University, and so it happened that Dorothy took
her college course at Ohio State and her graduate work at Columbia. She
specialized in Romance languages, and took her degree as Doctor of
Philosophy in 1904. In connection with Professor Carpenter of Columbia
she wrote a text book on rhetoric. But books did not absorb quite all
of her time, for the next item in her biography is her marriage to John
R. Fisher, who had been the captain of the Columbia football team. They
made their home at Arlington, Vermont, with frequent visits to Europe.
In 1911-1912 they spent the winter in Rome. Here they came to know
Madame Montessori, famous for developing a new system of training
children. Dorothy Canfield spent many days at the House of Childhood,
studying the methods of this gifted teacher. The result of this was a
book, A Montessori Mother, in which the system was adapted to
the needs of American children.
The Squirrel Cage, published in 1912, was a study of an
unhappy marriage. The book was favorably received by the critics, but
found only a moderately wide public. A second novel, The Bent Twig, had college life as its setting; the chief character was the daughter
of a professor in a Middle Western university. Meantime she had been
publishing in magazines a number of short stories dealing with various
types of New England country people, and in 1916 these were gathered
into a volume with the title Hillsboro People. This book met
with a wide acceptance, not only in this country but in France, where,
like her other books, it was quickly translated and published. Flint
and Fire is taken from this book. The Real Motive, another book
of short stories, and Understood Betsy, a book for younger
readers, were her next publications.
Meantime the Great War had come, and its summons was heard in their
quiet mountain home. Mr. Fisher went to France with the Ambulance
Corps; his wife as a war-relief worker. A letter from a friend thus
described her work:
She has gone on doing a prodigious amount of work. First
almost entirely alone, the work for soldiers blinded in
editing a magazine for them, running the presses, often with
own hands, getting books written for them; all the time
for refugees and personal cases that came under her attention:
caring for children from the evacuated portions of France,
organizing work for them, and establishing a Red Cross
Out of the fullness of these experiences she wrote her next book,
Home Fires in France, which at once took rank as one of the most
notable pieces of literature inspired by the war. It is in the form of
short stories, but only the form is fiction: it is a perfectly truthful
portrayal of the French women and of some Americans who, far back of
the trenches, kept up the life of a nation when all its people were
gone. It reveals the soul of the French people. The Day of Glory, her latest book, is a series of further impressions of the war in
It is not often that an author takes us into his workshop and lets
us see just how his stories are written. The preceding account of
Dorothy Canfield's literary methods was written especially for this
Most stories of Negro life fall into one of two groups. There is
the story of the Civil War period, which pictures the darky on the
old plantation, devoted to young Massa or old Miss,the Negro of
slavery. Then there are stories of recent times in which the Negro is
used purely for comic effect, a sort of minstrel-show character.
Neither of these is the Negro of to-day. A truer picture is found in
the stories of Paul Laurence Dunbar. The following story is from his
FOLKS FROM DIXIE.
THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
And this is Mt. Hope, said the Rev. Howard Dokesbury to himself as
he descended, bag in hand, from the smoky, dingy coach, or part of a
coach, which was assigned to his people, and stepped upon the rotten
planks of the station platform. The car he had just left was not a
palace, nor had his reception by his fellow-passengers or his
intercourse with them been of such cordial nature as to endear them to
him. But he watched the choky little engine with its three black cars
wind out of sight with a look as regretful as if he were witnessing the
departure of his dearest friend. Then he turned his attention again to
his surroundings, and a sigh welled up from his heart. And this is Mt.
Hope, he repeated. A note in his voice indicated that he fully
appreciated the spirit of keen irony in which the place had been named.
The color scheme of the picture that met his eyes was in dingy
blacks and grays. The building that held the ticket, telegraph, and
train despatchers' offices was a miserably old ramshackle affair,
standing well in the foreground of this scene of gloom and desolation.
Its windows were so coated with smoke and grime that they seemed to
have been painted over in order to secure secrecy within. Here and
there a lazy cur lay drowsily snapping at the flies, and at the end of
the station, perched on boxes or leaning against the wall, making a
living picture of equal laziness, stood a group of idle Negroes
exchanging rude badinage with their white counterparts across the
After a while this bantering interchange would grow more keen and
personal, a free-for-all friendly fight would follow, and the newspaper
correspondent in that section would write it up as a race war. But
this had not happened yet that day.
This is Mt. Hope, repeated the new-comer; this is the field of my
Rev. Howard Dokesbury, as may already have been inferred, was a
Negro,there could be no mistake about that. The deep dark brown of
his skin, the rich over-fullness of his lips, and the close curl of his
short black hair were evidences that admitted of no argument. He was a
finely proportioned, stalwart-looking man, with a general air of
self-possession and self-sufficiency in his manner. There was firmness
in the set of his lips. A reader of character would have said of him,
Here is a man of solid judgement, careful in deliberation, prompt in
execution, and decisive.
It was the perception in him of these very qualities which had
prompted the authorities of the little college where he had taken his
degree and received his theological training, to urge him to go among
his people at the South, and there to exert his powers for good where
the field was broad and the laborers few.
Born of Southern parents from whom he had learned many of the
superstitions and traditions of the South, Howard Dokesbury himself had
never before been below Mason and Dixon's line. But with a confidence
born of youth and a consciousness of personal power, he had started
South with the idea that he knew the people with whom he had to deal,
and was equipped with the proper weapons to cope with their
But as he looked around upon the scene which now met his eye, a
doubt arose in his mind. He picked up his bag with a sigh, and
approached a man who had been standing apart from the rest of the
loungers and regarding him with indolent intentness.
Could you direct me to the house of Stephen Gray? asked the
The interrogated took time to change his position from left foot to
right and shift his quid, before he drawled forth, I reckon you's de
new Mefdis preachah, huh?
Yes, replied Howard, in the most conciliatory tone he could
command, and I hope I find in you one of my flock.
No, suh, I's a Babtist myse'f. I wa'n't raised up no place erroun'
Mt. Hope; I'm nachelly f'om way up in Adams County. Dey jes' sont me
down hyeah to fin' you an' tek you up to Steve's. Steve, he's workin'
to-day an' couldn't come down.
He laid particular stress upon the to-day, as if Steve's spell of
activity were not an every-day occurrence.
Is it far from here? asked Dokesbury.
'T ain't mo' 'n a mile an' a ha'f by de shawt cut.
Well, then, let's take the short cut, by all means, said the
They trudged along for a while in silence, and then the young man
asked, What do you men about here do mostly for a living?
Oh, well, we does odd jobs, we saws an' splits wood an' totes
bundles, an' some of 'em raises gyahden, but mos' of us, we fishes. De
fish bites an' we ketches 'em. Sometimes we eats 'em an' sometimes we
sells 'em; a string o' fish'll bring a peck o' co'n any time.
And is that all you do?
Why, I don't see how you live that way.
Oh, we lives all right, answered the man; we has plenty to eat
an' drink, an' clothes to wear, an' some place to stay. I reckon folks
ain't got much use fu' nuffin' mo'.
Dokesbury sighed. Here indeed was virgin soil for his ministerial
labors. His spirits were not materially raised when, some time later,
he came in sight of the house which was to be his abode. To be sure, it
was better than most of the houses which he had seen in the Negro part
of Mt. Hope; but even at that it was far from being good or
comfortable-looking. It was small and mean in appearance. The weather
boarding was broken, and in some places entirely fallen away, showing
the great unhewn logs beneath; while off the boards that remained the
whitewash had peeled in scrofulous spots.
The minister's guide went up to the closed door, and rapped loudly
with a heavy stick.
G' 'way f'om dah, an' quit you' foolin', came in a large voice
The guide grinned, and rapped again. There was a sound of shuffling
feet and the pushing back of a chair, and then the same voice asking:
I bet I'll mek you git away f'om dat do'.
Dat's A'nt Ca'line, the guide said, and laughed.
The door was flung back as quickly as its worn hinges and sagging
bottom would allow, and a large body surmounted by a face like a big
round full moon presented itself in the opening. A broomstick showed
itself aggressively in one fat shiny hand.
It's you, Tom Scott, is ityou trif'nin' and then, catching
sight of the stranger, her whole manner changed, and she dropped the
broomstick with an embarrassed 'Scuse me, suh.
Tom chuckled all over as he said, A'nt Ca'line, dis is yo' new
The big black face lighted up with a broad smile as the old woman
extended her hand and enveloped that of the young minister's.
Come in, she said. I's mighty glad to see youthat no-'count Tom
come put' nigh mekin' me 'spose myse'f. Then turning to Tom, she
exclaimed with good-natured severity, An' you go 'long, you scoun'll
The preacher entered the cabinit was hardly moreand seated
himself in the rush-bottomed chair which A'nt Ca'line had been
industriously polishing with her apron.
An' now, Brothah
Dokesbury, supplemented the young man.
Brothah Dokesbury, I jes' want you to mek yo'se'f at home right
erway. I know you ain't use to ouah ways down hyeah; but you jes' got
to set in an' git ust to 'em. You mus'n' feel bad ef things don't go
yo' way f'om de ve'y fust. Have you got a mammy?
The question was very abrupt, and a lump suddenly jumped up in
Dokesbury's throat and pushed the water into his eyes. He did have a
mother away back there at home. She was all alone, and he was her heart
and the hope of her life.
Yes, he said, I've got a little mother up there in Ohio.
Well, I's gwine to be yo' mothah down hyeah; dat is, ef I ain't too
rough an' common fu' you.
Hush! exclaimed the preacher, and he got up and took the old
lady's hand in both of his own. You shall be my mother down here; you
shall help me, as you have done to-day. I feel better already.
I knowed you would, and the old face beamed on the young one. An'
now jes' go out de do' dah an' wash yo' face. Dey's a pan an' soap an'
watah right dah, an' hyeah's a towel; den you kin go right into yo'
room, fu' I knows you want to be erlone fu' a while. I'll fix yo'
suppah while you rests.
He did as he was bidden. On a rough bench outside the door, he found
a basin and a bucket of water with a tin dipper in it. To one side, in
a broken saucer, lay a piece of coarse soap. The facilities for copious
ablutions were not abundant, but one thing the minister noted with
pleasure: the towel, which was rough and hurt his skin, was,
nevertheless, scrupulously clean. He went to his room feeling fresher
and better, and although he found the place little and dark and warm,
it too was clean, and a sense of its homeness began to take possession
The room was off the main living-room into which he had been first
ushered. It had one small window that opened out on a fairly neat yard.
A table with a chair before it stood beside the window, and across the
roomif the three feet of space which intervened could be called
acrossstood the little bed with its dark calico quilt and white
pillows. There was no carpet on the floor, and the absence of a
washstand indicated very plainly that the occupant was expected to wash
outside. The young minister knelt for a few minutes beside the bed, and
then rising cast himself into the chair to rest.
It was possibly half an hour later when his partial nap was broken
in upon by the sound of a gruff voice from without saying, He's hyeah,
is heoomph! Well, what's he ac' lak? Want us to git down on ouah
knees an' crawl to him? If he do, I reckon he'll fin' dat Mt. Hope
ain't de place fo' him.
The minister did not hear the answer, which was in a low voice and
came, he conjectured, from Aunt Ca'line; but the gruff voice
subsided, and there was the sound of footsteps going out of the room. A
tap came on the preacher's door, and he opened it to the old woman. She
Dat' uz my ol' man, she said. I sont him out to git some wood,
so's I'd have time to post you. Don't you mind him; he's lots mo' ba'k
dan bite. He's one o' dese little yaller men, an' you know dey kin be
powahful contra'y when dey sets dey hai'd to it. But jes' you treat him
nice an' don't let on, an' I'll be boun' you'll bring him erroun' in
little er no time.
The Rev. Mr. Dokesbury received this advice with some misgiving.
Albeit he had assumed his pleasantest manner when, after his return to
the living-room, the little yaller man came through the door with his
bundle of wood.
He responded cordially to Aunt Caroline's, Dis is my husband,
Brothah Dokesbury, and heartily shook his host's reluctant hand.
I hope I find you well, Brother Gray, he said.
Moder't, jes' moder't, was the answer.
Come to suppah now, bofe o' you, said the old lady, and they all
sat down to the evening meal of crisp bacon, well-fried potatoes,
egg-pone, and coffee.
The young man did his best to be agreeable, but it was rather
discouraging to receive only gruff monosyllabic rejoinders to his most
interesting observations. But the cheery old wife came bravely to the
rescue, and the minister was continually floated into safety on the
flow of her conversation. Now and then, as he talked, he could catch a
stealthy upflashing of Stephen Gray's eye, as suddenly lowered again,
that told him that the old man was listening. But as an indication that
they would get on together, the supper, taken as a whole, was not a
success. The evening that followed proved hardly more fortunate. About
the only remarks that could be elicited from the little yaller man
were a reluctant oomph or oomph-uh.
It was just before going to bed that, after a period of reflection,
Aunt Caroline began slowly: We got a sonher husband immediately
bristled up and his eyes flashed, but the old woman went on; he named
'Lias, an' we thinks a heap o' 'Lias, we does; but the old man had
subsided, but he bristled up again at the wordhe ain't jes' whut we
want him to be. Her husband opened his mouth as if to speak in defense
of his son, but was silent in satisfaction at his wife's explanation:
'Lias ain't bad; he jes' ca'less. Sometimes he stays at home, but
right sma't o' de time he stays down atshe looked at her husband and
hesitatedat de colo'ed s'loon. We don't lak dat. It ain't no fitten
place fu' him. But 'Lias ain't bad, he jes' ca'less, an' me an' de ol'
man we 'membahs him in ouah pra'ahs, an' I jes' t'ought I'd ax you to
'membah him too, Brothah Dokesbury.
The minister felt the old woman's pleading look and the husband's
intense gaze upon his face, and suddenly there came to him an intimate
sympathy in their trouble and with it an unexpected strength.
There is no better time than now, he said, to take his case to
the Almighty Power; let us pray.
Perhaps it was the same prayer he had prayed many times before;
perhaps the words of supplication and the plea for light and guidance
were the same; but somehow to the young man kneeling there amid those
humble surroundings, with the sorrow of these poor ignorant people
weighing upon his heart, it seemed very different. It came more
fervently from his lips, and the words had a deeper meaning. When he
arose, there was a warmth at his heart just the like of which he had
never before experienced.
Aunt Caroline blundered up from her knees, saying, as she wiped her
eyes, Blessed is dey dat mou'n, fu' dey shall be comfo'ted. The old
man, as he turned to go to bed, shook the young man's hand warmly and
in silence; but there was a moisture in the old eyes that told the
minister that his plummet of prayer had sounded the depths.
Alone in his own room Howard Dokesbury sat down to study the
situation in which he had been placed. Had his thorough college
training anticipated specifically any such circumstance as this? After
all, did he know his own people? Was it possible that they could be so
different from what he had seen and known? He had always been such a
loyal Negro, so proud of his honest brown; but had he been mistaken?
Was he, after all, different from the majority of the people with whom
he was supposed to have all thoughts, feelings, and emotions in common?
These and other questions he asked himself without being able to
arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. He did not go to sleep soon
after retiring, and the night brought many thoughts. The next day would
be Saturday. The ordeal had already begun,now there were twenty-four
hours between him and the supreme trial. What would be its outcome?
There were moments when he felt, as every man, howsoever brave, must
feel at times, that he would like to shift all his responsibilities and
go away from the place that seemed destined to tax his powers beyond
their capability of endurance. What could he do for the inhabitants of
Mt. Hope? What was required of him to do? Ever through his mind ran
that world-old question: Am I my brother's keeper? He had never
asked, Are these people my brothers?
He was up early the next morning, and as soon as breakfast was done,
he sat down to add a few touches to the sermon he had prepared as his
introduction. It was not the first time that he had retouched it and
polished it up here and there. Indeed, he had taken some pride in it.
But as he read it over that day, it did not sound to him as it had
sounded before. It appeared flat and without substance. After a while
he laid it aside, telling himself that he was nervous and it was on
this account that he could not see matters as he did in his calmer
moments. He told himself, too, that he must not again take up the
offending discourse until time to use it, lest the discovery of more
imaginary flaws should so weaken his confidence that he would not be
able to deliver it with effect.
In order better to keep his resolve, he put on his hat and went out
for a walk through the streets of Mt. Hope. He did not find an
encouraging prospect as he went along. The Negroes whom he met viewed
him with ill-favor, and the whites who passed looked on him with
unconcealed distrust and contempt. He began to feel lost, alone, and
helpless. The squalor and shiftlessness which were plainly in evidence
about the houses which he saw filled him with disgust and a dreary
He passed vacant lots which lay open and inviting children to
healthful play; but instead of marbles or leap-frog or ball, he found
little boys in ragged knickerbockers huddled together on the ground,
shooting craps with precocious avidity and quarreling over the
pennies that made the pitiful wagers. He heard glib profanity rolling
from the lips of children who should have been stumbling through baby
catechisms; and his heart ached for them.
He would have turned and gone back to his room, but the sound of
shouts, laughter, and the tum-tum of a musical instrument drew him on
down the street. At the turn of a corner, the place from which the
noise emanated met his eyes. It was a rude frame building, low and
unpainted. The panes in its windows whose places had not been supplied
by sheets of tin were daubed a dingy red. Numerous kegs and bottles on
the outside attested the nature of the place. The front door was open,
but the interior was concealed by a gaudy curtain stretched across the
entrance within. Over the door was the inscription, in straggling
characters, Sander's Place; and when he saw half-a-dozen Negroes
enter, the minister knew instantly that he now beheld the colored
saloon which was the frequenting-place of his hostess's son 'Lias; and
he wondered, if, as the mother said, her boy was not bad, how anything
good could be preserved in such a place of evil.
The cries of boisterous laughter mingled with the strumming of the
banjo and the shuffling of feet told him that they were engaged in one
of their rude hoe-down dances. He had not passed a dozen paces beyond
the door when the music was suddenly stopped, the sound of a quick blow
followed, then ensued a scuffle, and a young fellow half ran, half fell
through the open door. He was closely followed by a heavily built
ruffian who was striking him as he ran. The young fellow was very much
the weaker and slighter of the two, and was suffering great punishment.
In an instant all the preacher's sense of justice was stung into sudden
life. Just as the brute was about to give his victim a blow that would
have sent him into the gutter, he felt his arm grasped in a detaining
hold and heard a commanding voice,Stop!
He turned with increased fury upon this meddler, but his other wrist
was caught and held in a vise-like grip. For a moment the two men
looked into each other's eyes. Hot words rose to the young man's lips,
but he choked them back. Until this moment he had deplored the
possession of a spirit so easily fired that it had been a test of his
manhood to keep from slugging on the football field; now he was glad
of it. He did not attempt to strike the man, but stood holding his arms
and meeting the brute glare with manly flashing eyes. Either the
natural cowardice of the bully or something in his new opponent's face
had quelled the big fellow's spirit, and he said doggedly, Lemme go. I
wasn't a-go'n to kill him no-how, but ef I ketch him dancin' with my
gal any mo', I He cast a glance full of malice at his victim, who
stood on the pavement a few feet away, as much amazed as the dumfounded
crowd which thronged the door of Sander's Place. Loosing his hold,
the preacher turned, and, putting his hand on the young fellow's
shoulder, led him away.
For a time they walked on in silence. Dokesbury had to calm the
tempest in his breast before he could trust his voice. After a while he
said: That fellow was making it pretty hot for you, my young friend.
What had you done to him?
Nothin', replied the other. I was jes' dancin' 'long an' not
thinkin' 'bout him, when all of a sudden he hollered dat I had his gal
an' commenced hittin' me.
He's a bully and a coward, or he would not have made use of his
superior strength in that way. What's your name, friend?
'Lias Gray, was the answer, which startled the minister into
What! are you Aunt Caroline's son?
Yes, suh, I sho is; does you know my mothah?
Why, I'm stopping with her, and we were talking about you last
night. My name is Dokesbury, and I am to take charge of the church
I thought mebbe you was a preachah, but I couldn't scarcely believe
it after I seen de way you held Sam an' looked at him.
Dokesbury laughed, and his merriment seemed to make his companion
feel better, for the sullen, abashed look left his face, and he laughed
a little himself as he said: I wasn't a-pesterin' Sam, but I tell you
he pestered me mighty.
Dokesbury looked into the boy's face,he was hardly more than a
boy,lit up as it was by a smile, and concluded that Aunt Caroline was
right. 'Lias might be ca'less, but he wasn't a bad boy. The face was
too open and the eyes too honest for that. 'Lias wasn't bad; but
environment does so much, and he would be if something were not done
for him. Here, then, was work for a pastor's hands.
You'll walk on home with me, 'Lias, won't you?
I reckon I mout ez well, replied the boy. I don't stay erroun'
home ez much ez I oughter.
You'll be around more, of course, now that I am there. It will be
so much less lonesome for two young people than for one. Then, you can
be a great help to me, too.
The preacher did not look down to see how wide his listener's eyes
grew as he answered: Oh, I ain't fittin' to be no he'p to you, suh.
Fust thing, I ain't nevah got religion, an' then I ain't well larned
Oh, there are a thousand other ways in which you can help, and I
feel sure that you will.
Of co'se, I'll do de ve'y bes' I kin.
There is one thing I want you to do soon, as a favor to me.
I can't go to de mou'nah's bench, cried the boy, in consternation.
And I don't want you to, was the calm reply.
Another look of wide-eyed astonishment took in the preacher's face.
These were strange words from one of his guild. But without noticing
the surprise he had created, Dokesbury went on: What I want is that
you will take me fishing as soon as you can. I never get tired of
fishing and I am anxious to go here. Tom Scott says you fish a great
deal about here.
Why, we kin go dis ve'y afternoon, exclaimed 'Lias, in relief and
delight; I's mighty fond o' fishin', myse'f.
All right; I'm in your hands from now on.
'Lias drew his shoulders up, with an unconscious motion. The
preacher saw it, and mentally rejoiced. He felt that the first thing
the boy beside him needed was a consciousness of responsibility, and
the lifted shoulders meant progress in that direction, a sort of
physical straightening up to correspond with the moral one.
On seeing her son walk in with the minister, Aunt Ca'line's
delight was boundless. La! Brothah Dokesbury, she exclaimed, wha'd
you fin' dat scamp?
Oh, down the street here, the young man replied lightly. I got
hold of his name and made myself acquainted, so he came home to go
fishing with me.
'Lias is pow'ful fon' o' fishin', hisse'f. I 'low he kin show you
some mighty good places. Cain't you, 'Lias?
'Lias was thinking. He was distinctly grateful that the
circumstances of his meeting with the minister had been so deftly
passed over. But with a half idea of the superior moral responsibility
under which a man in Dokesbury's position labored, he wondered
vaguelyto put it in his own thought-wordsef de preachah hadn't
put' nigh lied. However, he was willing to forgive this little lapse
of veracity, if such it was, out of consideration for the anxiety it
spared his mother.
When Stephen Gray came in to dinner, he was no less pleased than his
wife to note the terms of friendship on which the minister received his
son. On his face was the first smile that Dokesbury had seen there, and
he awakened from his taciturnity and proffered much information as to
the fishing-places thereabout. The young minister accounted this a
distinct gain. Anything more than a frowning silence from the little
yaller man was gain.
The fishing that afternoon was particularly good. Catfish, chubs,
and suckers were landed in numbers sufficient to please the heart of
any amateur angler.
'Lias was happy, and the minister was in the best of spirits, for
his charge seemed promising. He looked on at the boy's jovial face, and
laughed within himself; for, mused he, it is so much harder for the
devil to get into a cheerful heart than into a sullen, gloomy one. By
the time they were ready to go home Harold Dokesbury had received a
promise from 'Lias to attend service the next morning and hear the
There was a great jollification over the fish supper that night, and
'Lias and the minister were the heroes of the occasion. The old man
again broke his silence, and recounted, with infinite dryness, ancient
tales of his prowess with rod and line; while Aunt Ca'line told of
famous fish suppers that in the bygone days she had cooked for de
white folks. In the midst of it all, however, 'Lias disappeared. No
one had noticed when he slipped out, but all seemed to become conscious
of his absence about the same time. The talk shifted, and finally
simmered into silence.
When the Rev. Mr. Dokesbury went to bed that night, his charge had
not yet returned.
The young minister woke early on the Sabbath morning, and he may be
forgiven that the prospect of the ordeal through which he had to pass
drove his care for 'Lias out of mind for the first few hours. But as he
walked to church, flanked on one side by Aunt Caroline in the stiffest
of ginghams and on the other by her husband stately in the magnificence
of an antiquated Jim-swinger, his mind went back to the boy with
sorrow. Where was he? What was he doing? Had the fear of a dull church
service frightened him back to his old habits and haunts? There was a
new sadness at the preacher's heart as he threaded his way down the
crowded church and ascended the rude pulpit.
The church was stiflingly hot, and the morning sun still beat
relentlessly in through the plain windows. The seats were rude wooden
benches, in some instances without backs. To the right, filling the
inner corner, sat the pillars of the church, stern, grim, and critical.
Opposite them, and, like them, in seats at right angles to the main
body, sat the older sisters, some of them dressed with good
old-fashioned simplicity, while others yielding to newer tendencies
were gotten up in gaudy attempts at finery. In the rear seats a dozen
or so much beribboned mulatto girls tittered and giggled, and cast bold
glances at the minister.
The young man sighed as he placed the manuscript of his sermon
between the leaves of the tattered Bible. And this is Mt. Hope, he
was again saying to himself.
It was after the prayer and in the midst of the second hymn that a
more pronounced titter from the back seats drew his attention. He
raised his head to cast a reproving glance at the irreverent, but the
sight that met his eyes turned that look into one of horror. 'Lias had
just entered the church, and with every mark of beastly intoxication
was staggering up the aisle to a seat, into which he tumbled in a
drunken heap. The preacher's soul turned sick within him, and his eyes
sought the face of the mother and father. The old woman was wiping her
eyes, and the old man sat with his gaze bent upon the floor, lines of
sorrow drawn about his wrinkled mouth.
All of a sudden a great revulsion of feeling came over Dokesbury.
Trembling he rose and opened the Bible. There lay his sermon, polished
and perfected. The opening lines seemed to him like glints from a
bright cold crystal. What had he to say to these people, when the full
realization of human sorrow and care and of human degradation had just
come to him? What had they to do with firstlies and secondlies, with
premises and conclusions? What they wanted was a strong hand to help
them over the hard places of life and a loud voice to cheer them
through the dark. He closed the book again upon his precious sermon. A
something new had been born in his heart. He let his glance rest for
another instant on the mother's pained face and the father's bowed
form, and then turning to the congregation began, Come unto me, all ye
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke
upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye
shall find rest unto your souls. Out of the fullness of his heart he
spoke unto them. Their great need informed his utterance. He forgot his
carefully turned sentences and perfectly rounded periods. He forgot all
save that here was the well-being of a community put into his hands
whose real condition he had not even suspected until now. The situation
wrought him up. His words went forth like winged fire, and the
emotional people were moved beyond control. They shouted, and clapped
their hands, and praised the Lord loudly.
When the service was over, there was much gathering about the young
preacher, and handshaking. Through all 'Lias had slept. His mother
started toward him; but the minister managed to whisper to her, Leave
him to me. When the congregation had passed out, Dokesbury shook
'Lias. The boy woke, partially sobered, and his face fell before the
Come, my boy, let's go home. Arm in arm they went out into the
street, where a number of scoffers had gathered to have a laugh at the
abashed boy; but Harold Dokesbury's strong arm steadied his steps, and
something in his face checked the crowd's hilarity. Silently they
cleared the way, and the two passed among them and went home.
The minister saw clearly the things which he had to combat in his
community, and through this one victim he determined to fight the
general evil. The people with whom he had to deal were children who
must be led by the hand. The boy lying in drunken sleep upon his bed
was no worse than the rest of them. He was an epitome of the evil, as
his parents were of the sorrows, of the place.
He could not talk to Elias. He could not lecture him. He would only
be dashing his words against the accumulated evil of years of bondage
as the ripples of a summer sea beat against a stone wall. It was not
the wickedness of this boy he was fighting or even the wrong-doing of
Mt. Hope. It was the aggregation of the evils of the fathers, the
grandfathers, the masters and mistresses of these people. Against this
what could talk avail?
The boy slept on, and the afternoon passed heavily away. Aunt
Caroline was finding solace in her pipe, and Stephen Gray sulked in
moody silence beside the hearth. Neither of them joined their guest at
He went, however. It was hard to face those people again after the
events of the morning. He could feel them covertly nudging each other
and grinning as he went up to the pulpit. He chided himself for the
momentary annoyance it caused him. Were they not like so many naughty,
The service passed without unpleasantness, save that he went home
with an annoyingly vivid impression of a yellow girl with red ribbons
on her hat, who pretended to be impressed by his sermon and made eyes
at him from behind her handkerchief.
On the way to his room that night, as he passed Stephen Gray, the
old man whispered huskily, It's de fus' time 'Lias evah done dat.
It was the only word he had spoken since morning.
A sound sleep refreshed Dokesbury, and restored the tone to his
overtaxed nerves. When he came out in the morning, Elias was already in
the kitchen. He too had slept off his indisposition, but it had been
succeeded by a painful embarrassment that proved an effectual barrier
to all intercourse with him. The minister talked lightly and amusingly,
but the boy never raised his eyes from his plate, and only spoke when
he was compelled to answer some direct questions.
Harold Dokesbury knew that unless he could overcome this reserve,
his power over the youth was gone. He bent every effort to do it.
What do you say to a turn down the street with me? he asked as he
rose from breakfast.
'Lias shook his head.
What! You haven't deserted me already?
The older people had gone out, but young Gray looked furtively about
before he replied: You know I ain't fittin' to go out with
A dozen appropriate texts rose in the preacher's mind, but he knew
that it was not a preaching time, so he contented himself with
Oh, get out! Come along!
No, I cain't. I cain't. I wisht I could! You needn't think I's
ashamed, 'cause I ain't. Plenty of 'em git drunk, an' I don't keer
nothin' 'bout datthis in a defiant tone.
Well, why not come along then?
I tell you I cain't. Don't ax me no mo'. It ain't on my account I
won't go. It's you.
Me! Why, I want you to go.
I know you does, but I mustn't. Cain't you see that dey'd be glad
to say datdat you was in cahoots wif me an' you tuk yo' dram on de
I don't care what they say so long as it isn't true. Are you
No, I ain't.
He was perfectly determined, and Dokesbury saw that there was no use
arguing with him. So with a resigned All right! he strode out the
gate and up the street, thinking of the problem he had to solve.
There was good in Elias Gray, he knew. It was a shame that it should
be lost. It would be lost unless he were drawn strongly away from the
paths he was treading. But how could it be done? Was there no point in
his mind that could be reached by what was other than evil? That was
the thing to be found out. Then he paused to ask himself if, after all,
he were not trying to do too much,trying, in fact, to play Providence
to Elias. He found himself involuntarily wanting to shift the
responsibility of planning for the youth. He wished that something
entirely independent of his intentions would happen.
Just then something did happen. A piece of soft mud hurled from some
unknown source caught the minister square in the chest, and spattered
over his clothes. He raised his eyes and glanced about quickly, but no
one was in sight. Whoever the foe was, he was securely ambushed.
Thrown by the hand of a man, mused Dokesbury, prompted by the
malice of a child.
He went on his way, finished his business, and returned to the
La, Brothah Dokesbury! exclaimed Aunt Caroline, what's de mattah
'f you' shu't bosom?
Oh, that's where one of our good citizens left his card.
You don' mean to say none o' dem low-life scoun'els
I don't know who did it. He took particular pains to keep out of
'Lias! the old woman cried, turning on her son, wha' 'd you let
Brothah Dokesbury go off by hisse'f fu? Why n't you go 'long an' tek
keer o' him?
The old lady stopped even in the midst of her tirade, as her eyes
took in the expression on her son's face.
I'll kill some o' dem damn
'Scuse me, Mistah Dokesbury, but I feel lak I'll bus' ef I don't
'spress myse'f. It makes me so mad. Don't you go out o' hyeah no mo'
'dout me. I'll go 'long an' I'll brek somebody's haid wif a stone.
'Lias! how you talkin' fo' de ministah?
Well, dat's whut I'll do, 'cause I kin outth'ow any of 'em an' I
know dey hidin'-places.
I'll be glad to accept your protection, said Dokesbury.
He saw his advantage, and was thankful for the mud,the one thing
that without an effort restored the easy relations between himself and
Ostensibly these relations were reversed, and Elias went out with
the preacher as a guardian and protector. But the minister was laying
his nets. It was on one of these rambles that he broached to 'Lias a
subject which he had been considering for some time.
Look here, 'Lias, he said, what are you going to do with that big
back yard of yours?
Oh, nothin'. 'Tain't no 'count to raise nothin' in.
It may not be fit for vegetables, but it will raise something.
Chickens. That's what.
Elias laughed sympathetically.
I'd lak to eat de chickens I raise. I wouldn't want to be feedin'
Plenty of boards, slats, wire, and a good lock and key would fix
that all right.
Yes, but whah 'm I gwine to git all dem things?
Why, I'll go in with you and furnish the money, and help you build
the coops. Then you can sell chickens and eggs, and we'll go halves on
Hush man! cried 'Lias, in delight.
So the matter was settled, and, as Aunt Caroline expressed it, Fu'
a week er sich a mattah, you nevah did see sich ta'in' down an'
buildin' up in all yo' bo'n days.
'Lias went at the work with zest and Dokesbury noticed his skill
with tools. He let fall the remark: Say, 'Lias, there's a school near
here where they teach carpentry; why don't you go and learn?
What I gwine to do with bein' a cyahpenter?
Repair some of these houses around Mt. Hope, if nothing more,
Dokesbury responded, laughing; and there the matter rested.
The work prospered, and as the weeks went on, 'Lias's enterprise
became the town's talk. One of Aunt Caroline's patrons who had come
with some orders about work regarded the changed condition of affairs,
and said, Why, Aunt Caroline, this doesn't look like the same place.
I'll have to buy some eggs from you; you keep your yard and hen-house
so nice, it's an advertisement for the eggs.
Don't talk to me nothin' 'bout dat ya'd, Miss Lucy, Aunt Caroline
had retorted. Dat 'long to 'Lias an' de preachah. Hit dey doin's. Dey
done mos' nigh drove me out wif dey cleanness. I ain't nevah seed no
sich ca'in' on in my life befo'. Why, my 'Lias done got right brigity
an' talk about bein' somep'n.
Dokesbury had retired from his partnership with the boy save in so
far as he acted as a general supervisor. His share had been sold to a
friend of 'Lias, Jim Hughes. The two seemed to have no other thought
save of raising, tending, and selling chickens.
Mt. Hope looked on and ceased to scoff. Money is a great dignifier,
and Jim and 'Lias were making money. There had been some sniffs when
the latter had hinged the front gate and whitewashed his mother's
cabin, but even that had been accepted now as a matter of course.
Dokesbury had done his work. He, too, looked on, and in some
Let the leaven work, he said, and all Mt. Hope must rise.
It was one day, nearly a year later, that old lady Hughes dropped
in on Aunt Caroline for a chat.
Well, I do say, Sis' Ca'line, dem two boys o' ourn done sot dis
town on fiah.
What now, Sis' Lizy?
Why, evah sence 'Lias tuk it into his haid to be a cyahpenter an'
Jim 'cided to go 'long an' lu'n to be a blacksmiff, some o' dese hyeah
othah young people's been trying to do somep'n'.
All dey wanted was a staht.
Well, now will you b'lieve me, dat no-'count Tom Johnson done
opened a fish sto', an' he has de boys an' men bring him dey fish all
de time. He gives 'em a little somep'n fu' dey ketch, den he go sell
'em to de white folks.
Lawd, how long!
An' what you think he say?
I do' know, sis'.
He say ez soon 'z he git money enough, he gwine to dat school whah
'Lias and Jim gone an' lu'n to fahm scientific.
Bless de Lawd! Well, 'um, I don' put nothin' pas' de young folks
Mt. Hope had at last awakened. Something had come to her to which
she might aspire,something that she could understand and reach. She
was not soaring, but she was rising above the degradation in which
Harold Dokesbury had found her. And for her and him the ordeal had
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
The Negro race in America has produced musicians, composers and
painters, but it was left for Paul Laurence Dunbar to give it fame in
literature. He was of pure African stock; his father and mother were
born in slavery, and neither had any schooling, although the father had
taught himself to read. Paul was born in Dayton, Ohio, June 27, 1872.
He was christened Paul, because his father said that he was to be a
great man. He was a diligent pupil at school, and began to make verses
when he was still a child. His ability was recognized by his class
mates; he was made editor of the high school paper, and wrote the class
song for his commencement.
The death of his father made it necessary for him to support his
mother. He sought for some employment where his education might be put
to some use, but finding such places closed to him, he became an
elevator boy. He continued to write, however, and in 1892 his first
volume was published, a book of poems called Oak and Ivy. The
publishers were so doubtful of its success that they would not bring it
out until a friend advanced the cost of publication. Paul now sold
books to the passengers in his elevator, and realized enough to repay
his friend. He was occasionally asked to give readings from his poetry.
Gifted as he was with a deep, melodious voice, and a fine power of
mimicry, he was very successful. In 1893 he was sought out by a man who
was organizing a concert company and who engaged Paul to go along as
reader. Full of enthusiasm, he set to work committing his poems to
memory, and writing new ones. Ten days before the company was to start,
word came that it had been disbanded. Paul found himself at the
approach of winter without money and without work, and with his mother
in real need. In his discouragement he even thought of suicide, but by
the help of a friend he found work, and with it courage. In a letter
written about this time he tells of his ambitions: I did once want to
be a lawyer, but that ambition has long since died out before the
all-absorbing desire to be a worthy singer of the songs of God and
nature. To be able to interpret my own people through song and story,
and to prove to the many that we are more human than African.
A second volume of poems, Majors and Minors, appeared in
1895. Like his first book it was printed by a local publisher, and had
but a small sale. The actor James A. Herne happened to be playing
Shore Acres in Toledo; Paul saw him, admired his acting, and
timidly presented him with a copy of his book. Mr. Herne read it with
great pleasure, and sent it on to his friend William Dean Howells, who
was then editor of Harper's Weekly. In June, 1896, there
appeared in that journal a full-page review of the work of Paul
Laurence Dunbar, quoting freely from his poems, and praising them
highly. This recognition by America's greatest critic was the beginning
of Paul's national reputation. Orders came for his books from all over
the country; a manager engaged him for a series of readings from his
poems, and a New York firm, Dodd Mead &Co., arranged to bring out his
next book, Lyrics of Lowly Life.
In 1897 he went to England to give a series of readings. Here he was
a guest at the Savage Club, one of the best-known clubs of London. His
readings were very successful, but a dishonest manager cheated him out
of the proceeds, and he was obliged to cable to his friends for money
to come home.
Through the efforts of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, the young poet
obtained a position in the Congressional Library at Washington. It was
thought that this would give him just the opportunity he needed for
study, but the work proved too confining for his health. The year 1898
was marked by two events: the publication of his first book of short
stories, Folks From Dixie, and his marriage to Miss Alice R.
Moore. In 1899 at the request of Booker T. Washington he went to
Tuskeegee and gave several readings and lectures before the students,
also writing a school song for them. He made a tour through the South,
giving readings with much success, but the strain of public appearances
was beginning to tell upon his health. He continued to write, and in
1899 published Lyrics of the Hearthside, dedicated to his wife.
He was invited to go to Albany to read before a distinguished audience,
where Theodore Roosevelt, then governor, was to introduce him. He
started, but was unable to get farther than New York. Here he lay sick
for weeks, and when he grew stronger, the doctors said that his lungs
were affected and he must have a change of climate. He went to Colorado
in the fall of 1899, and wrote back to a friend: Well, it is something
to sit under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, even if one only goes
there to die. From this time on his life was one long fight for
health, and usually a losing battle, but he faced it as courageously as
Robert Louis Stevenson had done. In Colorado he wrote a novel, The
Love of Landry, whose scene was laid in his new surroundings. He
returned to Washington in 1900, and gave occasional readings, but it
was evident that his strength was failing. He published two more
volumes, The Strength of Gideon, a book of short stories, and
Poems of Cabin and Field, which showed that his genius had lost
none of its power. His last years were spent in Dayton, his old home,
with his mother. He died February 10, 1906.
One of the finest tributes to him was paid by his friend Brand
Whitlock, then Mayor of Toledo, who has since become famous as United
States Minister to Belgium during the Great War. This is from a letter
written when he heard that the young poet was dead:
Paul was a poet: and I find that when I have said that I have
the greatest and most splendid thing that can be said about a
man.... Nature, who knows so much better than man about
cares nothing at all for the little distinctions, and when she
elects one of her children for her most important work,
him the rich gift of poesy, and assigns him a post in the
of the arts, she invariably seizes the opportunity to show her
contempt of rank and title and race and land and creed. She
Burns from a plough and Paul from an elevator, and Paul has
for his own people what Burns did for the peasants of
has expressed them in their own way and in their own words.
WITH THE POLICE
Not all Americans are good Americans. For the lawbreakers,
American born or otherwise, we need men to enforce the law. Of these
guardians of public safety, one body, the Pennsylvania State Police,
has become famous for its achievements. Katherine Mayo studied their
work at first hand, met the men of the force, visited the scenes of
their activity, and in THE STANDARD BEARERS, tells of their
daring exploits. This story is taken from that book.
Israel Drake was a bandit for simple love of the thing. To hunt for
another reason would be a waste of time. The blood in his veins was
pure English, unmixed since long ago. His environment was that of his
neighbors. His habitat was the noble hills. But Israel Drake was a
bandit, just as his neighbors were farmersjust as a hawk is a hawk
while its neighbors are barnyard fowls.
Israel Drake was swarthy-visaged, high of cheek bone, with large,
dark, deep-set eyes, and a thin-lipped mouth covered by a long and
drooping black mustache. Barefooted, he stood six feet two inches tall.
Lean as a panther, and as supple, he could clear a five-foot rail fence
without the aid of his hand. He ran like a deer. As a woodsman the very
deer could have taught him little. With rifle and revolver he was an
expert shot, and the weapons he used were the truest and best.
All the hill-people of Cumberland County dreaded him. All the
scattered valley-folk spoke softly at his name. And the jest and joy of
Israel's care-free life was to make them skip and shiver and dance to
the tune of their trepidations.
As a matter of fact, he was leader of a gang, outlaws every one. But
his own strong aura eclipsed the rest, and he glared alone, in the
thought of his world, endued with terrors of diverse origin.
His genius kept him fully aware of the value of this preeminence,
and it lay in his wisdom and pleasure to fan the flame of his own
repute. In this it amused him to seek the picturesquethe unexpected.
With an imagination fed by primeval humor and checked by no outward
circumstances of law, he achieved a ready facility. Once, for example,
while trundling through his town of Shippensburg on the rear platform
of a freight train, he chanced to spy a Borough Constable crossing a
bridge near the track.
Happy thought! Let's touch the good soul up. He's getting stodgy.
Israel drew a revolver and fired, neatly nicking the Constable's
hat. Then with a mountaineer's hoot, he gayly proclaimed his identity.
Again, and many times, he would send into this or that town or
settlement a message addressed to the Constable or Chief of Police:
I am coming down this afternoon. Get away out of town. Don't let me
find you there.
Obediently they went away. And Israel, strolling the streets that
afternoon just as he had promised to do, would enter shop after shop,
look over the stock at his leisure, and, with perfect good-humor, pick
out whatever pleased him, regardless of cost.
I think I'll take this here article, he would say to the trembling
store-keeper, affably pocketing his choice.
Help yourself, Mr. Drake! Help yourself, sir! Glad we are able to
please you to-day.
Which was indeed the truth. And many of them there were who would
have hastened to curry favor with their persecutor by whispering in his
ear a word of warning had they known of any impending attempt against
him by the agents of peace.
Such was their estimate of the relative strength of Israel Drake and
of the law forces of the Sovereign State of Pennsylvania.
In the earlier times they had tried to arrest him. Once the attempt
succeeded and Israel went to the Penitentiary for a term. But he
emerged a better and wilier bandit than before, to embark upon a career
that made his former life seem tame. Sheriffs and constables now proved
powerless against him, whatever they essayed.
Then came a grand, determined effort when the Sheriff, supported by
fifteen deputies, all heavily armed, actually surrounded Drake's house.
But the master-outlaw, alone and at ease at an upper window, his
Winchester repeating-rifle in his hand and a smile of still content on
his face, coolly stood the whole army off until, weary of empty danger,
it gave up the siege and went home.
This disastrous expedition ended the attempts of the local
authorities to capture Israel Drake. Thenceforth he pursued his natural
course without pretense of let or hindrance. At the time when this
story begins, no fewer than fourteen warrants were out for his
apprehension, issued on charges ranging from burglary and highway
robbery through a long list of felonies. But the warrants, slowly
accumulating, lay in the bottom of official drawers, apprehending
nothing but dust. No one undertook to serve them. Life was too
Then came a turn of fate. Israel chanced to bethink himself of a
certain aged farmer living with his old wife near a spot called Lee's
Cross-Road. The two dwelt by themselves, without companions on their
farm, and without neighbors. And they were reputed to have money.
The money might not be muchmight be exceedingly little. But, even
so, Israel could use it, and in any event there would be the fun of the
trick. So Israel summoned one Carey Morrison, a gifted mate and
subordinate, with whom he proceeded to act.
At dead of night the two broke into the farmhousecrept into the
chamber of the old paircrept softly, softly, lest the farmer might
keep a shotgun by his side. Sneaking to the foot of the bed, Israel
suddenly flashed his lantern full upon the pillowsupon the two pale,
deep-seamed faces crowned with silver hair.
The woman sat up with a piercing scream. The farmer clutched at his
gun. But Israel, bringing the glinting barrel of his revolver into the
lantern's shaft of light, ordered both to lie down. Carey, slouching at
hand, awaited orders.
Where is your money? demanded Israel, indicating the farmer by the
point of his gun.
I have no money, you coward!
It's no use your lying to me. Where's the money?
I have no money, I tell you.
Carey, observed Israel, hunt a candle.
While Carey looked for the candle, Israel surveyed his victims with
a cheerful, anticipatory grin.
The candle came; was lighted.
Carey, Israel spoke again, you pin the old woman down. Pull the
quilt off. Clamp her feet together. So!
Then he thrust the candle-flame against the soles of those gnarled
old feetthrust it close, while the flame bent upward, and the melting
tallow poured upon the bed.
The woman screamed again, this time in pain. The farmer half rose,
with a quivering cry of rage, but Israel's gun stared him between the
eyes. The woman screamed without interval. There was a smell of burning
Now we'll change about, remarked Israel, beaming. I'll hold the
old feller. You take the candle, Carey. You don't reely need your
gunnow, do ye, boy?
And so they began afresh.
It was not a game to last long. Before dawn the two were back in
their own place, bearing the little all of value that the rifled house
When the news of the matter spread abroad, it seemed, somehow, just
a straw too much. The District Attorney of the County of Cumberland
blazed into white heat. But he was powerless, he found. Not an officer
within his entire jurisdiction expressed any willingness even to
attempt an arrest.
Then we shall see, said District Attorney Rhey, what the State
will do for us, since we cannot help ourselves! And he rushed off a
telegram, confirmed by post, to the Superintendent of the Department of
The Superintendent of the Department of State Police promptly
referred the matter to the Captain of C Troop, with orders to act.
For Cumberland County, being within the southeastern quarter of the
Commonwealth, lies under C Troop's special care.
It was Adams, in those days, who held that commandLynn G. Adams,
now Captain of A Troop, although for the duration of the war serving
in the regular army, even as his fathers before him have served in our
every war, including that which put the country on the map. Truer
soldier, finer officer, braver or straighter or surer dealer with men
and things need not be sought. His victories leave no needless scar
behind, and his command would die by inches rather than fail him
The Captain of C Troop, then, choosing with judgment, picked his
manpicked Trooper Edward Hallisey, a Boston Irishman, square of jaw,
shrewd of eye, quick of wit, strong of wind and limb. And he ordered
Private Hallisey to proceed at once to Carlisle, county seat of
Cumberland, and report to the District Attorney for service toward
effecting the apprehension of Israel Drake.
Three days laterit was the 28th of September, to be exactPrivate
Edward Hallisey sent in his report to his Troop Commander. He had made
all necessary observations, he said, and was ready to arrest the
criminal. In this he would like to have the assistance of two Troopers,
who should join him at Carlisle.
The report came in the morning mail. First Sergeant Price detailed
two men from the Barracks reserve. They were Privates H. K. Merryfield
and Harvey J. Smith. Their orders were simply to proceed at once, in
civilian clothes, to Carlisle, where they would meet Private Hallisey
and assist him in effecting the arrest of Israel Drake.
Privates Merryfield and Smith, carrying in addition to their service
revolvers the 44-caliber Springfield carbine which is the Force's heavy
weapon, left by the next train.
On the Carlisle station platform, as the two Troopers debarked, some
hundred persons were gathered in pursuance of various and centrifugal
designs. But one impulse they appeared unanimously to sharethe
impulse to give as wide a berth as possible to a peculiarly horrible
Why should a being like that intrude himself upon a passenger
platform in a respectable country town? Not to board a coach, surely,
for such as he pay no fares. To spy out the land? To steal luggage? Or
simply to make himself hateful to decent folk?
He carried his head with a hangdog lurchhis heavy jaw was rough
with stubble beard. His coat and trousers fluttered rags and his toes
stuck out of his boots. Women snatched back their skirts as he slouched
near, and men muttered and scowled at him for a contaminating beast.
Merryfield and Smith, drifting near this scum of the earth, caught
the words Four-thirty train and the name of a station.
Right, murmured Merryfield.
Then he went and bought tickets.
In the shelter of an ancient, grimy day-coach, the scum muttered
again, as Smith brushed past him in the aisle.
Charlie Stover's farm, said he.
M'm, said Smith.
At a scrap of a station, in the foothills of ascending heights the
tramp and the Troopers separately detrained. In the early evening all
three strayed together once more in the shadow of the lilacs by Charlie
Over the supper-table Hallisey gave the news. Drake is somewhere on
the mountain to-night, said he. His cabin is way up high, on a ridge
called Huckleberry Patch. He is practically sure to go home in the
course of the evening. Then is our chance. First, of course, you
fellows will change your clothes. I've got some old things ready for
Farmer Stover, like every other denizen of the rural county, had
lived for years in terror and hatred of Israel Drake. Willingly he had
aided Hallisey to the full extent of his power. He had told all that he
knew of the bandit's habits and mates. He had indicated the mountain
trails and he had given the Trooper such little shelter and food as the
latter had stopped to take during his rapid work of investigation. But
now he was asked to perform a service that he would gladly have
refused; he was asked to hitch up a horse and wagon and to drive the
three Troopers to the very vicinity of Israel Drake's house.
Oh, come on, Mr. Stover, they urged. You're a public-spirited
man, as you've shown. Do it for your neighbors' sake if not for your
own. You want the county rid of this pest.
Very reluctantly the farmer began the trip. With every turn of the
ever-mounting forest road his reluctance grew. Grisly memories, grisly
pictures, flooded his mind. It was night, and the trees in the darkness
whispered like evil men. The bushes huddled like crouching figures. And
what was it, moving stealthily over there, that crackled twigs? At last
he could bear it no more.
Here's where I turn 'round, he muttered hoarsely. If you
fellers are going farther you'll go alone. I got a use for my
All right, then, said Hallisey. You've done well by us already.
It was a fine moonlight night and Hallisey now knew those woods as
well as did his late host. He led his two comrades up another stiff
mile of steady climbing. Then he struck off, by an almost invisible
trail, into the dense timber. Silently the three men moved, threading
the fragrant, silver-flecked blackness with practised woodsmen's skill.
At last their file-leader stopped and beckoned his mates.
Over his shoulder the two studied the scene before them: A clearing
chopped out of the dense tall timber. In the midst of the clearing a
log cabin, a story and a half high. On two sides of the cabin a
straggling orchard of peach and apple trees. In the cabin window a dim
It was then about eleven o'clock. The three Troopers, effacing
themselves in the shadows, laid final plans.
The cabin had two rooms on the top floor and one below, said
Hallisey, beneath his breath. The first-floor room had a door and two
windows on the north, and the same on the south, just opposite. Under
the west end was a cellar, with an outside door. Before the main door
to the north was a little porch. This, by day, commanded the sweep of
the mountain-side; and here, when Drake was hiding out in some
neighboring eyrie, expecting pursuit, his wife was wont to signal him
concerning the movements of intruders.
Her code was written in dish-water. A panful thrown to the east
meant danger in the west, and vice versa; this Hallisey himself
had seen and now recalled in case of need.
Up to the present moment each officer had carried his carbine, taken
apart and wrapped in a bundle, to avoid the remark of chance observers
by the way. Now each put his weapon together, ready for use. They
compared their watches, setting them to the second. They discarded
their coats and hats.
The moon was flooding the clearing with high, pale light, adding
greatly to the difficulty of their task. Accordingly, they plotted
carefully. Each Trooper took a doorHallisey that to the north,
Merryfield that to the south, Smith that of the cellar. It was agreed
that each should creep to a point opposite the door on which he was to
advance, ten minutes being allowed for all to reach their initial
positions; that at exactly five minutes to midnight the advance should
be started, slowly, through the tall grass of the clearing toward the
cabin; that in case of any unusual noise or alarm, each man should lie
low exactly five minutes before resuming this advance; and that from a
point fifty yards from the cabin a rush should be made upon the doors.
According to the request of the District Attorney, Drake was to be
taken dead or alive, but according to an adamantine principle of the
Force, he must be taken not only alive, but unscathed if that were
humanly possible. This meant that he must not be given an opportunity
to run and so render shooting necessary. If, however, he should break
away, his chance of escape would be small, as each Trooper was a dead
shot with the weapons he was carrying.
The scheme concerted, the three officers separated, heading apart to
their several starting-points. At five minutes before midnight, to the
tick of their synchronized watches, each began to glide through the
tall grass. But it was late September. The grass was dry. Old
briar-veins dragged at brittle stalks. Shimmering whispers of withered
leaves echoed to the smallest touch; and when the men were still some
two hundred yards from the cabin the sharp ears of a dog caught the
rumor of all these tiny sounds,and the dog barked.
Every man stopped shortmoved not a finger again till five minutes
had passed. Then once more each began to creepreached the fifty-yard
pointstood up, with a long breath, and dashed for his door.
At one and the same moment, practically, the three stood in the
cabin, viewing a scene of domestic peace. A short, square, swarthy
woman, black of eye, high of cheek bone, stood by a stove calmly
stirring a pot. On the table besides her, on the floor around her,
clustered many jars of peachesjars freshly filled, steaming hot,
awaiting their tops. In a corner three little children, huddled
together on a low bench, stared at the strangers with sleepy eyes.
Three chairs; a cupboard with dishes; bunches of corn hanging from the
rafters by their husks; festoons of onions; tassels of dried herbsall
this made visible by the dull light of a small kerosene lamp whose
dirty chimney was streaked with smoke. All this and nothing more.
Two of the men, jumping for the stairs, searched the upper
half-story thoroughly, but without profit.
Mrs. Drake, said Hallisey, as they returned, we are officers of
the State Police, come to arrest your husband. Where is he?
In silence, in utter calm the woman still stirred her pot, not
missing the rhythm of a stroke.
The dog warned them. He's just got away, said each officer to
himself. She's too calm.
She scooped up a spoonful of the fruit, peered at it critically,
splashed it back into the bubbling pot. From her manner it appeared the
most natural thing in the world to be canning peaches at midnight on
the top of South Mountain in the presence of officers of the State
My husband's gone to Baltimore, she vouchsafed at her easy
Let's have a look in the cellar, said Merryfield, and dropped down
the cellar stairs with Hallisey at his heels. Together they ransacked
the little cave to a conclusion. During the process, Merryfield
conceived an idea.
Hallisey, he murmured, what would you think of my staying down
here, while you and Smith go off talking as though we were all
together? She might say something to the children, when she believes
we're gone, and I could hear every word through that thin floor.
We'll do it! Hallisey answered, beneath his voice. Then,
Come on, Smith! Let's get away from this; no use wasting time
And in another moment Smith and Hallisey were crashing up the
mountain-side, calling out: Hi, there! MerryfieldOh! Merryfield,
wait for us!as if their comrade had outstripped them on the trail.
Merryfield had made use of the noise of their departure to establish
himself in a tenable position under the widest crack in the floor. Now
he held himself motionless, subduing even his breath.
Onetwothree minutes of dead silence. Then came the timorous
half-whisper of a frightened child:
Will them men kill father if they find him?
Mother! faintly ventured another little voice, will them men kill
father if they find him?
S-sh! S-sh! I tell ye!
Ma-ma! Will they kill my father? This was the wail, insistent,
uncontrolled, of the smallest child of all.
The crackling tramp of the officers, mounting the trail, had wholly
died away. The woman evidently believed all immediate danger past.
No! she exclaimed vehemently, they ain't goin' to lay eyes on yo'
father, hair nor hide of him. Quit yer frettin'!
In a moment she spoke again: You keep still, now, like good
children, while I go out and empty these peach-stones. I'll be back in
a minute. See you keep still just where you are!
Stealing noiselessly to the cellar door as the woman left the house,
Merryfield saw her making for the woods, a basket on her arm. He
watched her till the shadows engulfed her. Then he drew back to his own
place and resumed his silent vigil.
Moments passed, without a sound from the room above. Then came soft
little thuds on the floor, a whimper or two, small sighs, and a slither
of bare legs on bare boards.
Poor little kiddies! thought Merryfield, they're coiling down to
Back in the days when the Force was started, the Major had said to
each recruit of them all:
I expect you to treat women and children at all times with every
From that hour forth the principle has been grafted into the lives
of the men. It is instinct nowself-acting, deep, and unconscious. No
tried Trooper deliberately remembers it. It is an integral part of him,
like the drawing of his breath.
I wish I could manage to spare those babies and their mother in
what's to come! Merryfield pondered as he lurked in the mould-scented
A quarter of an hour went by. Five minutes more. Footsteps nearing
the cabin from the direction of the woods. Low voicesvery low.
Indistinguishable words. Then the back door opened. Two persons
entered, and all that they now uttered was clear.
It was them that the dog heard, said a man's voice. Get me my
rifle and all my ammunition. I'll go to Maryland. I'll get a job on
that stone quarry near Westminster. I'll send some money as soon as I'm
But you won't start to-night! exclaimed the wife.
Yes, to-nightthis minute. Quick! I wouldn't budge an inch for the
County folks. But with the State Troopers after me, that's another
thing. If I stay around here now they'll get me dead sureand send me
up too. My gun, I say!
Oh, daddy, daddy, don't go away! Don't go away off and
leave me, daddy! Don't go, don't go! came the children's
plaintive wails, hoarse with fatigue and fright.
Merryfield stealthily crept from the cellar's outside door, hugging
the wall of the cabin, moving toward the rear. As he reached the
corner, and was about to make the turn toward the back, he drew his
six-shooter and laid his carbine down in the grass. For the next step,
he knew, would bring him into plain sight. If Drake offered any
resistance, the ensuing action would be at short range or hand to hand.
He rounded the corner. Drake was standing just outside the door, a
rifle in his left hand, his right hand hidden in the pocket of his
overcoat. In the doorway stood the wife, with the three little children
crowding before her. It was the last moment. They were saying good-bye.
Merryfield covered the bandit with his revolver.
Put up your hands! You are under arrest, he commanded.
Who the hell are you! Drake flung back. As he spoke he thrust his
rifle into the grasp of the woman and snatched his right hand from its
concealment. In its grip glistened the barrel of a nickel-plated
Merryfield could have easily shot him then and therewould have
been amply warranted in doing so. But he had heard the children's
voices. Now he saw their innocent, terrified eyes.
Poorlittlekiddies! he thought again.
Drake stood six feet two inches high, and weighed some two hundred
pounds, all brawn. Furthermore, he was desperate. Merryfield is merely
of medium build.
Nevertheless, I'll take a chance, he said to himself, returning
his six-shooter to its holster. And just as the outlaw threw up his own
weapon to fire, the Trooper, in a running jump, plunged into him with
all fours, exactly as, when a boy, he had plunged off a springboard
into the old mill-dam of a hot July afternoon.
Too amazed even to pull his trigger, Drake gave backward a step into
the doorway. Merryfield's clutch toward his right hand missed the gun,
fastening instead on the sleeve of his heavy coat. Swearing wildly
while the woman and children screamed behind him, the bandit struggled
to break the Trooper's holdtore and pulled until the sleeve, where
Merryfield held it, worked down over the gun in his own grip. So
Merryfield, twisting the sleeve, caught a lock-hold on hand and gun
Drake, standing on the doorsill, had now some eight inches advantage
of height. The door opened inward, from right to left. With a
tremendous effort Drake forced his assailant to his knees, stepped back
into the room, seized the door with his left hand and with the whole
weight on his shoulder slammed it to, on the Trooper's wrist.
The pain was excruciatingbut it did not break that lock-hold on
the outlaw's hand and gun. Shooting from his knees like a projectile,
Merryfield flung his whole weight at the door. Big as Drake was, he
could not hold it. It gave, and once more the two men hung at grips,
this time within the room.
Drake's one purpose was to turn the muzzle of his imprisoned
revolver upon Merryfield. Merryfield, with his left still clinching
that deadly hand caught in its sleeve, now grabbed the revolver in his
own right hand, with a twist dragged it free, and flung it out of the
But, as he dropped his right defense, taking both hands to the gun,
the outlaw's powerful left grip closed on Merryfield's throat with a
With that great thumb closing his windpipe, with the world turning
red and black, Guess I can't put it over, after all! the Trooper said
Reaching for his own revolver, he shoved the muzzle against the
Damn you, shoot! cried the other, believing his end was
But in that same instant Merryfield once more caught a glimpse of
the fear-stricken faces of the babies, huddled together beyond.
Hallisey and Smith must be here soon, he thought. I won't shoot
Again he dropped his revolver back into the holster, seizing the
wrist of the outlaw to release that terrible clamp on his throat. As he
did so, Drake with a lightning twist, reached around to the Trooper's
belt and possessed himself of the gun. As he fired Merryfield had
barely time and space to throw back his head. The flash blinded
himscorched his face hairless. The bullet grooved his body under the
upflung arm still wrenching at the clutch that was shutting off his
Perhaps, with the shot, the outlaw insensibly somewhat relaxed that
choking arm. Merryfield tore loose. Half-blinded and gasping though he
was, he flung himself again at his adversary and landed a blow in his
face. Drake, giving backward, kicked over a row of peach jars, slipped
on the slimy stream that poured over the bare floor, and dropped the
Pursuing his advantage, Merryfield delivered blow after blow on the
outlaw's face and body, backing him around the room, while both men
slipped and slid, fell and recovered, on the jam-coated floor. The
table crashed over, carrying with it the solitary lamp, whose flame
died harmlessly, smothered in tepid mush. Now only the moonlight
illuminated the scene.
Drake was manoeuvring always to recover the gun. His hand touched
the back of a chair. He picked the chair up, swung it high, and was
about to smash it down on his adversary's head when Merryfield seized
it in the air.
At this moment the woman, who had been crouching against the wall
nursing the rifle that her husband had put into her charge, rushed
forward clutching the barrel of the gun, swung it at full arm's length
as she would have swung an axe, and brought the stock down on the
Trooper's right hand.
That vital hand droppedfractured, done. But in the same second
Drake gave a shriek of pain as a shot rang out and his own right arm
In the door stood Hallisey, smoking revolver in hand, smiling grimly
in the moonlight at the neatness of his own aim. What is the use of
killing a man, when you can wing him as trigly as that?
Private Smith, who had entered by the other door, was taking the
rifle out of the woman's grasppartly because she had prodded him
viciously with the muzzle. He examined the chambers.
Do you know this thing is loaded? he asked her in a mild, detached
She returned his gaze with frank despair in her black eyes.
Drake, do you surrender? asked Hallisey.
Oh, I'll give up. You've got me! groaned the outlaw. Then he
turned on his wife with bitter anger. Didn't I tell ye? he snarled.
Didn't I tell ye they'd get me if you kept me hangin' around here?
These ain't no damn deputies. These is the State Police!
An' yet, if I'd known that gun was loaded, said she, there'd been
some less of 'em to-night!
They dressed Israel's arm in first-aid fashion. Then they started
with their prisoner down the mountain-trail, at last resuming
connection with their farmer friend. Not without misgivings, the latter
consented to hitch up his double team and hurry the party to the
nearest town where a doctor could be found.
As the doctor dressed the bandit's arm, Private Merryfield, whose
broken right hand yet awaited care, observed to the groaning patient:
Do you know, you can be thankful to your little children that you
have your life left.
To hell with you and the children and my life. I'd a hundred times
rather you'd killed me than take what's comin' now.
Then the three Troopers philosophically hunted up a night restaurant
and gave their captive a bite of lunch.
Now, said Hallisey, as he paid the score, where's the lock-up?
The three officers, with Drake in tow, proceeded silently through
the sleeping streets. Not a ripple did their passing occasion. Not even
a dog aroused to take note of them.
Duly they stood at the door of the custodian of the lock-up, ringing
the bellagain and again ringing it. Eventually some one upstairs
raised a window, looked out for an appreciable moment, quickly lowered
the window and locked it. Nothing further occurred. Waiting for a
reasonable interval the officers rang once more. No answer. Silence
Then they pounded on the door till the entire block heard.
Here, there, up street and down, bedroom windows gently opened, then
closed with finality more gentle yet. Silence. Not a voice. Not a foot
on a stair.
The officers looked at each other perplexed. Then, by chance, they
looked at Drake. Drake, so lately black with suicidal gloom, was
grinning! Grinning as a man does when the citadel of his heart is
You don't understand, do ye! chuckled he. Well, I'll tell ye:
What do them folks see when they open their windows and look down here
in the road? They see three hard-lookin' fellers with guns in their
hands, here in this bright moonlight. And they see somethin' scarier to
them than a hundred strangers with gunsthey see ME! There
ain't a mother's son of 'em that'll budge downstairs while I'm here,
not if you pound on their doors till the cows come home. And he
slapped his knee with his good hand and laughed in pure ecstasya
laugh that caught all the little group and rocked it as with one mind.
We don't begrudge you that, do we boys? Hallisey conceded. Smith,
you're as respectable-looking as any of us. Hunt around and see if you
can find a Constable that isn't onto this thing. We'll wait here for
Moving out of the zone of the late demonstration, Private Smith
learned the whereabouts of the home of a Constable.
What's wanted? asked the Constable, responding like a normal
burgher to Smith's knock at his door.
Officer of State Police, answered Smith. I have a man under
arrest and want to put him in the lock-up. Will you get me the keys?
Sure. I'll come right down and go along with you myself. Just give
me a jiffy to get on my trousers and boots, cried the Constable,
clearly glad of a share in the adventure.
In a moment the borough official was at the Trooper's side, talking
eagerly as they moved toward the place where the party waited.
So, he's a highwayman, is he? Good! and a burglar, too, and a
cattle-thief! Good work! And you've got him right up the street, ready
to jail! Well, I'll be switched. Now, what might his name be? Israel
Drake? Not Israel Drake! Oh, my God!
The Constable had stopped in his tracks like a man struck paralytic.
No, stranger, he quavered. I reckon III won't go no further
with you just now. Here, I'll give you the keys. You can use 'em
yourself: These here's for the doors. This bunch is for the cells.
Good-night to you. I'll be getting back home!
By the first train next morning the Troopers, conveying their
prisoner, left the village for the County Town. As they deposited Drake
in the safe-keeping of the County Jail and were about to depart, he
seemed burdened with an impulse to speak, yet said nothing. Then, as
the three officers were leaving the room, he leaned over and touched
Merryfield on the shoulder.
Shake! he growled, offering his unwounded hand.
Merryfield shook cheerfully, with his own remaining sound member.
I'm plumb sorry to see ye go, and that's a fact, growled the
outlaw. Becausewell, because you're the only man that ever
tried to arrest me.
Miss Katherine Mayo comes of Mayflower stock, but her birthplace was
Ridgway, Pennsylvania. She was educated in private schools at Boston
and Cambridge, Mass. Her earliest literary work to appear in print was
a series of articles describing travels in Norway, followed by another
series on Colonial American topics, written for the New York Evening
Post. Later, during a residence in Dutch Guiana, South America, she
wrote for the Atlantic Monthly some interesting sketches of the
natives of Surinam. After this came three years wholly devoted to
historic research. The work, however, that first attracted wide
attention was a history of the Pennsylvania State Police, published in
1917, under the title of Justice To All.
This history gives the complete story of the famous Mounted Police
of Pennsylvania, illustrated with a mass of accurate narrative and
re-enforced with statistics. The occasion of its writing was a personal
experiencethe cold-blooded murder of Sam Howell, a fine young
American workingman, a carpenter by trade, near Miss Mayo's country
home in New York. The circumstances of this murder could not have been
more skilfully arranged had they been specially designed to illustrate
the weakness and folly of the ancient, out-grown engine to which most
states in the Union, even yet, look for the enforcement of their laws
in rural parts. Sam Howell, carrying the pay roll on pay-day morning,
gave his life for his honor as gallantly as any soldier in any war. He
was shot down, at arm's length range, by four highway men, to whom,
though himself unarmed, he would not surrender his trust. Sheriff,
deputy sheriffs, constables, and some seventy-five fellow laborers
available as sheriff's posse spent hours within a few hundred feet of
the little wood in which the four murderers were known to be hiding,
but no arrest was made and the murderers are to-day still at large.
You will have forgotten all this in a month's time, said Howell's
fellow-workmen an hour after the tragedy, to Miss Mayo and her friend
Miss Newell, owner of the estate, on the scene. Sam was only a
laboring man, like ourselves. We, none of us, have any protection when
we work in country parts.
The remark sounded bitter indeed. But investigation proved it, in
principle, only too true. Sam Howell had not been the first, by many
hundreds, to give his life because the State had no real means to make
her law revered. And punishment for such crimes had been rare. Sam
Howell, however, was not to be forgotten, neither was his sacrifice to
be vain. From his blood, shed unseen, in the obscurity of a quiet
country lane, was to spring a great movement, taking effect first in
the state in which he died, and spreading through the Union.
At that time Pennsylvania was the only state of all the forty-seven
that had met its just obligations to protect all its people under its
laws. Pennsylvania's State Police had been for ten years a body of
defenders of justice, without fear and without reproach. The honest
people of the State had recorded its deeds in a long memory of noble
service. But, never stooping to advertise itself, never hesitating to
incur the enmity of evildoers, it had had many traducers and no
historian. There was nothing in print to which the people of other
states might turn for knowledge of the accomplishment of the sister
So, in order that the facts might be conveniently available for
every American citizen to study from A to Z and thus to decide
intelligently for himself where he wanted his own state to stand, in
the matter of fair and full protection to all people, Miss Mayo went to
Pennsylvania and embarked on an exhaustive analysis of the workings of
the Pennsylvania State Police Force, viewed from the standpoint of all
parts of the community. Ex-President Roosevelt wrote the preface for
Justice To All, the book in which the fruits of this study were
finally embodied, and, in the meantime, Miss Newell devoted all her
energies to the development of an active and aggressive state-wide
movement for a State Police. Justice To All, in this campaign
was widely used as a source of authority on which to base the arguments
for the case. And in 1917 came Sam Howell's triumph, the passage of the
Act creating the Department of New York State Police, now popularly
called the State Troopers.
In the course of collecting the material for this book, Miss Mayo
gathered a mass of facts much greater than one volume could properly
contain. From this she later took fifteen adventurous stories of actual
service in the Pennsylvania Force, of which some, including Israel
Drake appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, while others came
out simultaneously in the Atlantic Monthly and in the Outlook. All were later collected in a volume called The Standard Bearers, which met with a very cordial reception by readers and critics.
During the latter part of the World War, Miss Mayo was in France
investigating the war-work of the Y. M. C. A. Her experiences there
furnished material for a book from which advance pages appeared in the
Outlook in the form of separate stories, Billy's Hut, The
Colonel's Lady and others. The purpose of this book was to determine,
as closely as possible, the real values, whatever those might be, of
the work actually accomplished by the Overseas Y, and to lay the plain
truth without bias or color, before the American people.
IN THE PHILIPPINES
When the Philippine Islands passed from the possession of Spain
to that of the United States, there was a change in more than the flag.
Spain had sent soldiers and tax-gatherers to the islands; Uncle Sam
sent road-builders and school teachers. One of these school teachers
was also a newspaper man; and in a book called CAYBIGAN he gave
a series of vivid pictures of how the coming generation of Filipinos
are taking the first step towards Americanization.
THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO
DE LOS MAESTROS
IFace to Face with the Foe
Returning to his own town after a morning spent in working up the
attendance of one of his far and recalcitrant barrio-schools, the
Maestro of Balangilang was swaying with relaxed muscle and half-closed
eyes to the allegretto trot of his little native pony, when he pulled
up with a start, wide awake and all his senses on the alert. Through
his somnolence, at first in a low hum, but fast rising in a fiendish
crescendo, there had come a buzzing sound, much like that of one of the
saw-mills of his California forests, and now, as he sat in the saddle,
erect and tense, the thing ripped the air in ragged tear, shrieked
vibrating into his ear, and finished its course along his spine in
Oh, where am I? murmured the Maestro, blinking; but between blinks
he caught the flashing green of the palay fields and knew that he was
far from the saw-mills of the Golden State. So he raised his nose to
heaven and there, afloat above him in the serene blue, was the
explanation. It was a kite, a great locust-shaped kite, darting and
swooping in the hot monsoon, and from it, dropping plumb, came the
Aha! exclaimed the Maestro, pointing accusingly at the thin line
vaguely visible against the sky-line in a diagonal running from the
kite above him ahead to a point in the road. Aha! there's something at
the end of that; there's Attendance at the end of that!
With which significant remark he leaned forward in the saddle,
bringing his switch down with a whizz behind him. The pony gave three
rabbit leaps and then settled down to his drumming little trot. As they
advanced the line overhead dropped gradually. Finally the Maestro had
to swerve the horse aside to save his helmet. He pulled up to a walk,
and a few yards further came to the spot where string met earth in the
The Attendance was sitting on the ground, his legs spread before him
in an angle of forty-five degrees, each foot arched in a secure grip of
a bunch of cogon grass. These legs were bare as far up as they went,
and, in fact, no trace of clothing was reached until the eye met the
lower fringe of an indescribable undershirt modestly veiling the upper
half of a rotund little paunch; an indescribable undershirt, truly, for
observation could not reach the thing itself, but only the dirt
incrusting it so that it hung together, rigid as a knight's iron
corslet, in spite of monstrous tears and rents. Between the teeth of
the Attendance was a long, thick cheroot, wound about with hemp fiber,
at which he pulled with rounded mouth. Hitched around his right wrist
was the kite string, and between his legs a stick spindled with an
extra hundred yards. At intervals he hauled hand-over-hand upon the
taut line, and then the landscape vibrated to the buzz-saw song which
had so compellingly recalled the Maestro to his eternal pursuit.
As the shadow of the horse fell upon him, the Attendance brought his
eyes down from their heavenly contemplation, and fixed them upon the
rider. A tremor of dismay, mastered as soon as born, flitted over him;
then, silently, with careful suppression of all signs of haste, he
reached for a big stone with his little yellow paw, then for a stick
lying farther off. Using the stone as a hammer, he drove the stick into
the ground with deliberate stroke, wound the string around it with
tender solicitude, and then, everything being secure, just as the
Maestro was beginning his usual embarrassing question:
Why are you not at school, eh?
He drew up his feet beneath him, straightened up like a
jack-in-a-box, took a hop-skip-jump, and with a flourish of golden
heels, flopped head-first into the roadside ditch's rank luxuriance.
The little devil! exclaimed the disconcerted Maestro. He
dismounted and, leading his horse, walked up to the side of the ditch.
It was full of the water of the last baguio. From the edge of the
cane-field on the other side there cascaded down the bank a mad
vegetation; it carpeted the sides, arched itself above in a vault, and
inside this recess the water was rotting, green-scummed; and a powerful
fermentation filled the nostrils with hot fever-smells. In the center
of the ditch the broad, flat head of a caribao emerged slightly above
the water; the floating lilies made an incongruous wreath about the
great horns and the beatifically-shut eyes, and the thick, humid nose
exhaled ecstasy in shuddering ripplets over the calm surface.
Filled with a vague sense of the ridiculous, the Maestro peered into
the darkness. The little devil! he murmured. He's somewhere in here;
but how am I to get him, I'd like to know. Do you see him, eh,
Mathusalem? he asked of the stolid beast soaking there in bliss.
Whether in answer to this challenge or to some other irritant, the
animal slowly opened one eye and ponderously let it fall shut again in
what, to the heated imagination of the Maestro, seemed a patronizing
wink. Its head slid quietly along the water; puffs of ooze rose from
below and spread on the surface. Then, in the silence there rose a
significant sounda soft, repeated snapping of the tongue:
Aha! shouted the Maestro triumphantly to his invisible audience.
I know where you are, you scamp; right behind the caribao; come out of
there, pronto, dale-dale!
But his enthusiasm was of short duration. To the commanding
tongue-click the caribao had stopped dead-still, and a silence heavy
with defiance met the too-soon exultant cries. An insect in the foliage
began a creaking call, and then all the creatures of humidity hidden
there among this fermenting vegetation joined in mocking chorus.
The Maestro felt a vague blush welling up from the innermost
recesses of his being.
I'm going to get that kid, he muttered darkly, if I have to wait
tillthe coming of Common Sense to the Manila office! By gum, he's the
Struggle for Attendance personified!
He sat down on the bank and waited. This did not prove interesting.
The animals of the ditch creaked on; the caribao bubbled up the water
with his deep content; above, the abandoned kite went through strange
acrobatics and wailed as if in pain. The Maestro dipped his hand into
the water; it was lukewarm. No hope of a freeze-out, he murmured
Behind, the pony began to pull at the reins.
Yes, little horse, I'm tired, too. Well, he said apologetically,
I hate to get energetic, but there are circumstances which
The end of his sentence was lost, for he had whisked out the big
Colt's dissuader of ladrones, that hung on his belt, and was firing.
The six shots went off like a bunch of fire-crackers, but far from at
random, for a regular circle boiled up around the dozing caribao. The
disturbed animal snorted, and again a discreet cluck-cluck rose in
the sudden, astounded silence.
This, said the Maestro, as he calmly introduced fresh cartridges
into the chambers of his smoking weapon, is what might be called an
application of western solutions to eastern difficulties.
Again he brought his revolver down, but he raised it without
shooting and replaced it in its holster. From beneath the caribao's
rotund belly, below the surface, an indistinct form shot out; cleaving
the water like a polliwog it glided for the bank, and then a black,
round head emerged at the feet of the Maestro.
All right, bub; we'll go to school now, said the latter, nodding
to the dripping figure as it rose before him.
He lifted the sullen brownie and straddled him forward of the
saddle, then proceeded to mount himself, when the Capture began to
display marked agitation. He squirmed and twisted, turned his head back
and up, and finally a grunt escaped him.
The kite, to be sure; we mustn't forget the kite, acquiesced the
Maestro graciously. He pulled up the anchoring stick and laboriously,
beneath the hostilely critical eye of the Capture, he hauled in the
line till the screeching, resisting flying-machine was brought to
earth. Then he vaulted into the saddle.
The double weight was a little too much for the pony; so it was at a
dignified walk that the Maestro, his naked, dripping, muddy and still
defiant prisoner a-straddle in front of him, the captured kite passed
over his left arm like a knightly shield, made his triumphant entry
into the pueblo.
IIHeroism and Reverses
When Maestro Pablo rode down Rizal-y-Washington Street to the
schoolhouse with his oozing, dripping prize between his arms, the kite,
like a knightly escutcheon against his left side, he found that in
spite of his efforts at preserving a modest, self-deprecatory bearing,
his spine would stiffen and his nose point upward in the unconscious
manifestations of an internal feeling that there was in his attitude
something picturesquely heroic. Not since walking down the California
campus one morning after the big game won three minutes before blowing
of the final whistle, by his fifty-yard run-in of a punt, had he been
in that postureat once pleasant and difficultin which one's vital
concern is to wear an humility sufficiently convincing to obtain from
friends forgiveness for the crime of being great.
A series of incidents immediately following, however, made the thing
Upon bringing the new recruit into the schoolhouse, to the
perfidiously expressed delight of the already incorporated, the Maestro
called his native assistant to obtain the information necessary to a
full matriculation. At the first question the inquisition came to a
dead-lock. The boy did not know his name.
In Spanish times, the Assistant suggested modestly, we called
them de los Reyes when the father was of the army, and de la Cruz
when the father was of the church; but now, we can never know what
The Maestro dashed to a solution. All right, he said cheerily. I
caught him; guess I can give him a name. Call himIsidro de los
And thus it was that the urchin went down on the school records, and
on the records of life afterward.
Now, well pleased with himself, the Maestro, as is the wont of men
in such state, sought for further enjoyment.
Ask him, he said teasingly, pointing with his chin at the
newly-baptized but still unregenerate little savage, why he came out
of the ditch.
He says he was afraid that you would steal the kite, answered the
Assistant, after some linguistic sparring.
Eh? ejaculated the surprised Maestro.
And in his mind there framed a picture of himself riding along the
road with a string between his fingers; and, following in the upper
layers of air, a buzzing kite; and, down in the dust of the highway, an
urchin trudging wistfully after the kite, drawn on irresistibly, in
spite of his better judgment, on and on, horrified but fascinated, up
to the yawning school-door.
It would have been the better way. I ought to go and soak my head,
murmured the Maestro pensively.
This was check number one, but others came in quick succession.
For the morning after this incident the Maestro did not find Isidro
among the weird, wild crowd gathered into the annex (a transformed
sugar storehouse) by the last raid of the Municipal Police.
Neither was Isidro there the next day, nor the next. And it was not
till a week had passed that the Maestro discovered, with an inward
blush of shame, that his much-longed-for pupil was living in the little
hut behind his own house. There would have been nothing shameful in the
overlookingthere were seventeen other persons sharing the same
abodewere it not that the nipa front of this human hive had been
blown away by the last baguio, leaving an unobstructed view of the
interior, if it might be called such. As it was, the Municipal Police
was mobilized at the urgent behest of the Maestro. Its cabo, flanked
by two privates armed with old German needle-guns, besieged the home,
and after an interesting game of hide-and-go-seek, Isidro was finally
caught by one arm and one ear, and ceremoniously marched to school. And
there the Maestro asked him why he had not been attending.
No hay pantalonesthere are no pantsIsidro answered, dropping
his eyes modestly to the ground.
This was check number two, and unmistakably so, for was it not a
fact that a civil commission, overzealous in its civilizing ardor, had
passed a law commanding that every one should wear, when in public, at
least one garment, preferably trousers?
Following this, and an unsuccessful plea upon the town tailor who
was on a three weeks' vacation on account of the death of a fourth
cousin, the Maestro shut himself up a whole day with Isidro in his
little nipa house; and behind the closely-shut shutters engaged in some
mysterious toil. When they emerged again the next morning, Isidro
wended his way to the school at the end of the Maestro's arm,
The trousers, it must be said, had a certain cachet of distinction.
They were made of calico-print, with a design of little black skulls
sprinkled over a yellow background. Some parts hung flat and limp as if
upon a scarecrow; others pulsed, like a fire-hose in action, with the
pressure of flesh compressed beneath, while at other points they bulged
pneumatically in little foot-balls. The right leg dropped to the ankle;
the left stopped discouraged, a few inches below the knee. The seams
looked like the putty mountain chains of the geography class. As the
Maestro strode along he threw rapid glances at his handiwork, and it
was plain that the emotions that moved him were somewhat mixed in
character. His face showed traces of a puzzled diffidence, as that of a
man who has come in sack-coat to a full-dress function; but after all
it was satisfaction that predominated, for after this heroic effort he
had decided that Victory had at last perched upon his banners.
And it really looked so for a time. Isidro stayed at school at least
during that first day of his trousered life. For when the Maestro,
later in the forenoon paid a visit to the annex, he found the Assistant
in charge standing disconcerted before the urchin who, with eyes
indignant and hair perpendicular upon the top of his head, was
evidently holding to his side of the argument with his customary
Isidro was trouserless. Sitting rigid upon his bench, holding on
with both hands as if in fear of being removed, he dangled naked legs
to the sight of who might look.
Que barbaridad! murmured the Assistant in limp dejection.
But Isidro threw at him a look of black hatred. This became a tense,
silent plea for justice as it moved up for a moment to the Maestro's
face, and then it settled back upon its first object in frigid
Where are your trousers, Isidro? asked the Maestro.
Isidro relaxed his convulsive grasp of the bench with one hand,
canted himself slightly to one side just long enough to give an
instantaneous view of the trousers, neatly folded and spread between
what he was sitting with and what he was sitting on, then swung back
with the suddenness of a kodak-shutter, seized his seat with new
determination, and looked eloquent justification at the Maestro.
Why will you not wear them? asked the latter.
He says he will not get them dirty, said the Assistant,
interpreting the answer.
Tell him when they are dirty he can go down to the river and wash
them, said the Maestro.
Isidro pondered over the suggestion for two silent minutes. The
prospect of a day spent splashing in the lukewarm waters of the Ilog he
finally put down as not at all detestable, and getting up to his feet:
I will put them on, he said gravely.
Which he did on the moment, with an absence of hesitation as to
which was front and which was back, very flattering to the Maestro.
That Isidro persevered during the next week, the Maestro also came
to know. For now regularly every evening as he smoked and lounged upon
his long, cane chair, trying to persuade his tired body against all
laws of physics to give up a little of its heat to a circumambient
atmosphere of temperature equally enthusiastic; as he watched among the
rafters of the roof the snakes swallowing the rats, the rats devouring
the lizards, the lizards snapping up the spiders, the spiders snaring
the flies in eloquent representation of the life struggle, his studied
passiveness would be broken by strange sounds from the dilapidated hut
at the back of his house. A voice, imitative of that of the Third
Assistant who taught the annex, hurled forth questions, which were
immediately answered by another voice, curiously like that of Isidro.
Fiercely: Du yu ssee dde hhett?
Breathlessly: Yiss I ssee dde hhett.
Ferociously: Show me dde hhett.
Eagerly: Here are dde hhett.
Thunderously: Gif me dde hhett.
Exultantly: I gif yu dde hhett.
Then the Maestro would step to the window and look into the hut from
which came this Socratic dialogue. And on this wall-less platform which
looked much like a primitive stage, a singular action was unrolling
itself in the smoky glimmer of a two-cent lamp. The Third Assistant was
not there at all; but Isidro was the Third Assistant. And the pupil was
not Isidro, but the witless old man who was one of the many sharers of
the abode. In the voice of the Third Assistant, Isidro was hurling out
the tremendous questions; and, as the old gentleman, who represented
Isidro, opened his mouth only to drule betel-juice, it was Isidro who,
in Isidro's voice, answered the questions. In his rôle as Third
Assistant he stood with legs akimbo before the pupil, a bamboo twig in
his hand; as Isidro the pupil, he plumped down quickly upon the bench
before responding. The sole function of the senile old man seemed that
of representing the pupil while the question was being asked, and
receiving, in that capacity, a sharp cut across the nose from
Isidro-the-Third-Assistant's switch, at which he chuckled to himself in
silent glee and druled ad libitum.
For several nights this performance went on with gradual increase of
vocabulary in teacher and pupil. But when it had reached the Do you
see the apple-tree? stage, it ceased to advance, marked time for a
while, and then slowly but steadily began sliding back into primitive
beginnings. This engendered in the Maestro a suspicion which became
certainty when Isidro entered the schoolhouse one morning just before
recess, between two policemen at port arms. A rapid scrutiny of the
roll-book showed that he had been absent a whole week.
I was at the river cleaning my trousers, answered Isidro when put
face to face with this curious fact.
The Maestro suggested that the precious pantaloons which, by the
way, had been mysteriously embellished by a red stripe down the right
leg and a green stripe down the left leg, could be cleaned in less than
a week, and that Saturday and Sunday were days specially set aside in
the Catechismo of the Americanos for such little family duties.
Isidro understood, and the nightly rehearsals soon reached the stage
How menny hhetts hev yu?
I hev ten hhetts.
Then came another arrest of development and another decline, at the
end of which Isidro again making his appearance flanked by two German
needle-guns, caused a blush of remorse to suffuse the Maestro by
explaining with frigid gravity that his mother had given birth to a
little pickaninny-brother and that, of course, he had had to help.
But significant events in the family did not stop there. After
birth, death stepped in for its due. Isidro's relatives began to drop
off in rapid sequenceeach demise demanding three days of meditation
in retirementtill at last the Maestro, who had had the excellent idea
of keeping upon paper a record of these unfortunate occurrences, was
looking with stupor upon a list showing that Isidro had lost, within
three weeks, two aunts, three grandfathers, and five
grandmotherswhich, considering that an actual count proved the house
of bereavement still able to boast of seventeen occupants, was plainly
Following a long sermon from the Maestro in which he sought to
explain to Isidro that he must always tell the truth for sundry
philosophical reasonsa statement which the First Assistant tactfully
smoothed to something within range of credulity by translating it that
one must not lie to Americanos, because Americanos do not
like itthere came a period of serenity.
There came to the Maestro days of peace and joy. Isidro was coming
to school; Isidro was learning English. Isidro was steady, Isidro was
docile, Isidro was positively so angelic that there was something
uncanny about the situation. And with Isidro, other little savages were
being pruned into the school-going stage of civilization. Helped by the
police, they were pouring in from barrio and hacienda; the attendance
was going up by leaps and bounds, till at last a circulative report
showed that Balangilang had passed the odious Cabancalan with its less
strenuous school-man, and left it in the ruck by a full hundred. The
Maestro was triumphant; his chest had gained two inches in expansion.
When he met Isidro at recess, playing cibay, he murmured softly: You
little devil; you were Attendance personified, and I've got you now.
At which Isidro, pausing in the act of throwing a shell with the top of
his head at another shell on the ground, looked up beneath long lashes
in a smile absolutely seraphic.
In the evening, the Maestro, his heart sweet with content, stood at
the window. These were moonlight nights; in the grassy lanes the young
girls played graceful Spanish games, winding like garlands to a gentle
song; from the shadows of the huts came the tinkle-tinkle of serenading
guitars and yearning notes of violins wailing despairing love. And
Isidro, seated on the bamboo ladder of his house, went through an
independent performance. He sang Good-night, Ladies, the last song
given to the school, sang it in soft falsetto, with languorous drawls,
and never-ending organ points, over and over again, till it changed
character gradually, dropping into a wailing minor, an endless croon
full of obscure melancholy of a race that dies.
Goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies; goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh
loidies-ies-ies; goo-oo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies-ies, he
repeated and repeated, over and over again, till the Maestro's soul
tumbled down and down abysses of maudlin tenderness, and Isidro's chin
fell upon his chest in a last drawling, sleepy note. At which he shook
himself together and began the next exercise, a recitation, all of one
piece from first to last syllable, in one high, monotonous note, like a
mechanical doll saying papa-mama.
Then a big gulp of air and again:
An hour of this, and he skipped from the lyric to the patriotic, and
then it was:
By this time the Maestro was ready to go to bed, and long in the
torpor of the tropic night there came to him, above the hum of the
mosquitoes fighting at the net, the soft, wailing croon of Isidro, back
at his Goo-oo-oo nigh-igh-igh loidies-ies-ies.
These were days of ease and beauty to the Maestro, and he enjoyed
them the more when a new problem came to give action to his resourceful
The thing was this: For three days there had not been one funeral in
In other climes, in other towns, this might have been a source of
congratulation, perhaps, but not in Balangilang. There were rumors of
cholera in the towns to the north, and the Maestro, as president of the
Board of Health, was on the watch for it. Five deaths a day, experience
had taught him, was the healthy average for the town; and this sudden
cessation of public burialshe could not believe that dying had
stoppedwas something to make him suspicious.
It was over this puzzling situation that he was pondering at the
morning recess, when his attention was taken from it by a singular
The batas of the school were flocking and pushing and jolting at
the door of the basement which served as stable for the municipal
caribao. Elbowing his way to the spot, the Maestro found Isidro at the
entrance, gravely taking up an admission of five shells from those who
would enter. Business seemed to be brisk; Isidro had already a big
bandana handkerchief bulging with the receipts which were now
overflowing into a great tao hat, obligingly loaned him by one of his
admirers, as one by one, those lucky enough to have the price filed in,
feverish curiosity upon their faces.
The Maestro thought that it might be well to go in also, which he
did without paying admission. The disappointed gate-keeper followed
him. The Maestro found himself before a little pink-and-blue
tissue-paper box, frilled with paper rosettes.
What have you in there? asked the Maestro.
My brother, answered Isidro sweetly.
He cast his eyes to the ground and watched his big toe drawing vague
figures in the earth, then appealing to the First Assistant who was
present by this time, he added in the tone of virtue which will
Maestro Pablo does not like it when I do not come to school on
account of a funeral, so I brought him (pointing to the little box)
Well, I'll be was the only comment the Maestro found adequate
at the moment.
It is my little pickaninny-brother, went on Isidro, becoming alive
to the fact that he was a center of interest, and he died last night
of the great sickness.
The great what? ejaculated the Maestro who had caught a few words.
The great sickness, explained the Assistant. That is the name by
which these ignorant people call the cholera.
For the next two hours the Maestro was very busy.
Firstly he gathered the batas who had been rich enough to attend
Isidro's little show and locked them upwith the impresario
himselfin the little town-jail close by. Then, after a vivid
exhortation upon the beauties of boiling water and reporting disease,
he dismissed the school for an indefinite period. After which,
impressing the two town prisoners, now temporarily out of home, he
shouldered Isidro's pretty box, tramped to the cemetery and directed
the digging of a grave six feet deep. When the earth had been scraped
back upon the lonely little object, he returned to town and transferred
the awe-stricken playgoers to his own house, where a strenuous
performance took place.
Tolio, his boy, built a most tremendous fire outside and set upon it
all the pots and pans and caldrons and cans of his kitchen arsenal,
filled with water. When these began to gurgle and steam, the Maestro
set himself to stripping the horrified bunch in his room; one by one he
threw the garments out of the window to Tolio who, catching them,
stuffed them into the receptacles, poking down their bulging protest
with a big stick. Then the Maestro mixed an awful brew in an old
oil-can, and taking the brush which was commonly used to sleek up his
little pony, he dipped it generously into the pungent stuff and began
an energetic scrubbing of his now absolutely panic-stricken wards. When
he had done this to his satisfaction and thoroughly to their
discontent, he let them put on their still steaming garments and they
slid out of the house, aseptic as hospitals.
Isidro he kept longer. He lingered over him with loving and
strenuous care, and after he had him externally clean, proceeded to
dose him internally from a little red bottle. Isidro took
everythingthe terrific scrubbing, the exaggerated dosing, the ruinous
treatment of his pantaloonswith wonder-eyed serenity.
When all this was finished the Maestro took the urchin into the
dining-room and, seating him on his best bamboo chair, he courteously
offered him a fine, dark perfecto.
The next instant he was suffused with the light of a new revelation.
For, stretching out his hard little claw to receive the gift, the
little man had shot at him a glance so mild, so wistful, so brown-eyed,
filled with such mixed admiration, trust, and appeal, that a queer
softness had risen in the Maestro from somewhere down in the regions of
his heel, up and up, quietly, like the mercury in the thermometer, till
it had flowed through his whole body and stood still, its high-water
mark a little lump in his throat.
Why, Lord bless us-ones, Isidro, said the Maestro quietly. We're
only a child after all; mere baby, my man. And don't we like to go to
Señor Pablo, asked the boy, looking up softly into the Maestro's
still perspiring visage, Señor Pablo, is it true that there will be no
school because of the great sickness?
Yes, it is true, answered the Maestro. No school for a long, long
Then Isidro's mouth began to twitch queerly, and suddenly throwing
himself full-length upon the floor, he hurled out from somewhere within
him a long, tremulous wail.
JAMES MERLE HOPPER
James Merle Hopper was born in Paris, France. His father was
American, his mother French; their son James was born July 23, 1876. In
1887 his parents came to America, and settled in California. James
Hopper attended the University of California, graduating in 1898. He is
still remembered there as one of the grittiest football players who
ever played on the 'Varsity team. Then came a course in the law school
of that university, and admission to the California bar in 1900. All
this reads like the biography of a lawyer: so did the early life of
James Russell Lowell, and of Oliver Wendell Holmes: they were all
admitted to the bar, but they did not become lawyers. James Hopper had
done some newspaper work for San Francisco papers while he was in law
school, and the love of writing had taken hold of him. In the meantime
he had married Miss Mattie E. Leonard, and as literature did not yet
provide a means of support, he became an instructor in French at the
University of California.
With the close of the Spanish-American War came the call for
thousands of Americans to go to the Philippines as schoolmasters. This
appealed to him, and he spent the years 1902-03 in the work that
Kipling thus describes in The White Man's Burden:
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
His experiences here furnished the material for a group of short
stories dealing picturesquely with the Filipinos in their first contact
with American civilization. These were published in McClure's,
and afterwards collected in book form under the title Caybigan.
In 1903 James Hopper returned to the United States, and for a time
was on the editorial staff of McClure's. Later in collaboration
with Fred R. Bechdolt he wrote a remarkable book, entitled 9009
. This is the number of a convict in an American prison, and the book
exposes the system of spying, of treachery, of betrayal, that a convict
must identify himself with in order to become a trusty. His next book
was a college story, The Freshman. This was followed by a volume
of short stories, What Happened in the Night. These are stories
of child life, but intended for older readers; they are very successful
in reproducing the imaginative world in which children live. In 1915
and 1916 he acted as a war correspondent for Collier's, first
with the American troops in Mexico in pursuit of Villa, and later in
France. His home is at Carmel, California.
THEY WHO BRING DREAMS TO AMERICA
No wonder this America of ours is big. We draw the brave ones
from the old lands, the brave ones whose dreams are like the guiding
sign that was given to the Israelites of olda pillar of cloud by day,
a pillar of fire by night. The Citizen is a story of a brave man who
followed his dream over land and sea, until it brought him to America,
a fortunate event for him and for us.
JAMES FRANCIS DWYER
The President of the United States was speaking. His audience
comprised two thousand foreign-born men who had just been admitted to
citizenship. They listened intently, their faces, aglow with the light
of a new-born patriotism, upturned to the calm, intellectual face of
the first citizen of the country they now claimed as their own.
Here and there among the newly-made citizens were wives and
children. The women were proud of their men. They looked at them from
time to time, their faces showing pride and awe.
One little woman, sitting immediately in front of the President,
held the hand of a big, muscular man and stroked it softly. The big man
was looking at the speaker with great blue eyes that were the eyes of a
The President's words came clear and distinct:
You were drawn across the ocean by some beckoning finger of hope,
by some belief, by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some
expectation of a better kind of life. You dreamed dreams of this
country, and I hope you brought the dreams with you. A man enriches the
country to which he brings dreams, and you who have brought them have
The big man made a curious choking noise and his wife breathed a
soft Hush! The giant was strangely affected.
The President continued:
No doubt you have been disappointed in some of us, but remember
this, if we have grown at all poor in the ideal, you brought some of it
with you. A man does not go out to seek the thing that is not in him. A
man does not hope for the thing that he does not believe in, and if
some of us have forgotten what America believed in, you at any rate
imported in your own hearts a renewal of the belief. Each of you, I am
sure, brought a dream, a glorious, shining dream, a dream worth more
than gold or silver, and that is the reason that I, for one, make you
The big man's eyes were fixed. His wife shook him gently, but he did
not heed her. He was looking through the presidential rostrum, through
the big buildings behind it, looking out over leagues of space to a
snow-swept village that huddled on an island in the Beresina, the
swift-flowing tributary of the mighty Dnieper, an island that looked
like a black bone stuck tight in the maw of the stream.
It was in the little village on the Beresina that the Dream came to
Ivan Berloff, Big Ivan of the Bridge.
The Dream came in the spring. All great dreams come in the spring,
and the Spring Maiden who brought Big Ivan's Dream was more than
ordinarily beautiful. She swept up the Beresina, trailing wondrous
draperies of vivid green. Her feet touched the snow-hardened ground,
and armies of little white and blue flowers sprang up in her footsteps.
Soft breezes escorted her, velvety breezes that carried the aromas of
the far-off places from which they came, places far to the southward,
and more distant towns beyond the Black Sea whose people were not under
the sway of the Great Czar.
The father of Big Ivan, who had fought under Prince Menshikov at
Alma fifty-five years before, hobbled out to see the sunbeams eat up
the snow hummocks that hid in the shady places, and he told his son it
was the most wonderful spring he had ever seen.
The little breezes are hot and sweet, he said, sniffing hungrily
with his face turned toward the south. I know them, Ivan! I know them!
They have the spice odor that I sniffed on the winds that came to us
when we lay in the trenches at Balaklava. Praise God for the warmth!
And that day the Dream came to Big Ivan as he plowed. It was a
wonder dream. It sprang into his brain as he walked behind the plow,
and for a few minutes he quivered as the big bridge quivers when the
Beresina sends her ice squadrons to hammer the arches. It made his
heart pound mightily, and his lips and throat became very dry.
Big Ivan stopped at the end of the furrow and tried to discover what
had brought the Dream. Where had it come from? Why had it clutched him
so suddenly? Was he the only man in the village to whom it had come?
Like his father, he sniffed the sweet-smelling breezes. He thrust
his great hands into the sunbeams. He reached down and plucked one of a
bunch of white flowers that had sprung up overnight. The Dream was born
of the breezes and the sunshine and the spring flowers. It came from
them and it had sprung into his mind because he was young and strong.
He knew! It couldn't come to his father or Donkov, the tailor, or
Poborino, the smith. They were old and weak, and Ivan's dream was one
that called for youth and strength.
Ay, for youth and strength, he muttered as he gripped the plow.
And I have it!
That evening Big Ivan of the Bridge spoke to his wife, Anna, a
little woman, who had a sweet face and a wealth of fair hair.
Wife, we are going away from here, he said.
Where are we going, Ivan? she asked.
Where do you think, Anna? he said, looking down at her as she
stood by his side.
To Bobruisk, she murmured.
Ay, a long way farther.
Fear sprang into her soft eyes. Bobruisk was eighty-nine versts
away, yet Ivan said they were going farther.
Wewe are not going to Minsk? she cried.
Aye, and beyond Minsk!
Ivan, tell me! she gasped. Tell me where we are going!
We are going to America.
Yes, to America!
Big Ivan of the Bridge lifted up his voice when he cried out the
words To America, and then a sudden fear sprang upon him as those
words dashed through the little window out into the darkness of the
village street. Was he mad? America was 8,000 versts away! It was far
across the ocean, a place that was only a name to him, a place where he
knew no one. He wondered in the strange little silence that followed
his words if the crippled son of Poborino, the smith, had heard him.
The cripple would jeer at him if the night wind had carried the words
to his ear.
Anna remained staring at her big husband for a few minutes, then she
sat down quietly at his side. There was a strange look in his big blue
eyes, the look of a man to whom has come a vision, the look which came
into the eyes of those shepherds of Judea long, long ago.
What is it, Ivan? she murmured softly, patting his big hand. Tell
And Big Ivan of the Bridge, slow of tongue, told of the Dream. To no
one else would he have told it. Anna understood. She had a way of
patting his hands and saying soft things when his tongue could not find
words to express his thoughts.
Ivan told how the Dream had come to him as he plowed. He told her
how it had sprung upon him, a wonderful dream born of the soft breezes,
of the sunshine, of the sweet smell of the upturned sod and of his own
strength. It wouldn't come to weak men, he said, baring an arm that
showed great snaky muscles rippling beneath the clear skin. It is a
dream that comes only to those who are strong and those who wantwho
want something that they haven't got. Then in a lower voice he said:
What is it that we want, Anna?
The little wife looked out into the darkness with fear-filled eyes.
There were spies even there in that little village on the Beresina, and
it was dangerous to say words that might be construed into a reflection
on the Government. But she answered Ivan. She stooped and whispered one
word into his ear, and he slapped his thigh with his big hand.
Ay, he cried. That is what we want! You and I and millions like
us want it, and over there, Anna, over there we will get it. It is the
country where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the blood!
Anna stood up, took a small earthenware jar from a side shelf,
dusted it carefully and placed it upon the mantel. From a knotted cloth
about her neck she took a ruble and dropped the coin into the jar. Big
Ivan looked at her curiously.
It is to make legs for your Dream, she explained. It is many
versts to America, and one rides on rubles.
You are a good wife, he said. I was afraid that you might laugh
It is a great dream, she murmured. Come, we will go to sleep.
The Dream maddened Ivan during the days that followed. It pounded
within his brain as he followed the plow. It bred a discontent that
made him hate the little village, the swift-flowing Beresina and the
gray stretches that ran toward Mogilev. He wanted to be moving, but
Anna had said that one rode on rubles, and rubles were hard to find.
And in some mysterious way the village became aware of the secret.
Donkov, the tailor, discovered it. Donkov lived in one-half of the
cottage occupied by Ivan and Anna, and Donkov had long ears. The tailor
spread the news, and Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker, would
jeer at Ivan as he passed.
When are you going to America? they would ask.
Soon, Ivan would answer.
Take us with you! they would cry in chorus.
It is no place for cowards, Ivan would answer. It is a long way,
and only brave men can make the journey.
Are you brave? the baker screamed one day as he went by.
I am brave enough to want liberty! cried Ivan angrily. I am brave
enough to want
Be careful! Be careful! interrupted the smith. A long tongue has
given many a man a train journey that he never expected.
That night Ivan and Anna counted the rubles in the earthenware pot.
The giant looked down at his wife with a gloomy face, but she smiled
and patted his hand.
It is slow work, he said.
We must be patient, she answered. You have the Dream.
Ay, he said. I have the Dream.
Through the hot, languorous summertime the Dream grew within the
brain of Big Ivan. He saw visions in the smoky haze that hung above the
Beresina. At times he would stand, hoe in hand, and look toward the
west, the wonderful west into which the sun slipped down each evening
like a coin dropped from the fingers of the dying day.
Autumn came, and the fretful whining winds that came down from the
north chilled the Dream. The winds whispered of the coming of the Snow
King, and the river grumbled as it listened. Big Ivan kept out of the
way of Poborino, the smith, and Yanansk, the baker. The Dream was still
with him, but autumn is a bad time for dreams.
Winter came, and the Dream weakened. It was only the earthenware pot
that kept it alive, the pot into which the industrious Anna put every
coin that could be spared. Often Big Ivan would stare at the pot as he
sat beside the stove. The pot was the cord which kept the Dream alive.
You are a good woman, Anna, Ivan would say again and again. It
was you who thought of saving the rubles.
But it was you who dreamed, she would answer. Wait for the
spring, husband mine. Wait.
It was strange how the spring came to the Beresina that year. It
sprang upon the flanks of winter before the Ice King had given the
order to retreat into the fastnesses of the north. It swept up the
river escorted by a million little breezes, and housewives opened their
windows and peered out with surprise upon their faces. A wonderful
guest had come to them and found them unprepared.
Big Ivan of the Bridge was fixing a fence in the meadow on the
morning the Spring Maiden reached the village. For a little while he
was not aware of her arrival. His mind was upon his work, but suddenly
he discovered that he was hot, and he took off his overcoat. He turned
to hang the coat upon a bush, then he sniffed the air, and a puzzled
look came upon his face. He sniffed again, hurriedly, hungrily. He drew
in great breaths of it, and his eyes shone with a strange light. It was
wonderful air. It brought life to the Dream. It rose up within him, ten
times more lusty than on the day it was born, and his limbs trembled as
he drew in the hot, scented breezes that breed the Wanderlust
and shorten the long trails of the world.
Big Ivan clutched his coat and ran to the little cottage. He burst
through the door, startling Anna, who was busy with her housework.
The Spring! he cried. The Spring!
He took her arm and dragged her to the door. Standing together they
sniffed the sweet breezes. In silence they listened to the song of the
river. The Beresina had changed from a whining, fretful tune into a
lilting, sweet song that would set the legs of lovers dancing. Anna
pointed to a green bud on a bush beside the door.
It came this minute, she murmured.
Yes, said Ivan. The little fairies brought it there to show us
that spring has come to stay.
Together they turned and walked to the mantel. Big Ivan took up the
earthenware pot, carried it to the table, and spilled its contents upon
the well-scrubbed boards. He counted while Anna stood beside him, her
fingers clutching his coarse blouse. It was a slow business, because
Ivan's big blunt fingers were not used to such work, but it was over at
last. He stacked the coins into neat piles, then he straightened
himself and turned to the woman at his side.
It is enough, he said quietly. We will go at once. If it was not
enough, we would have to go because the Dream is upon me and I hate
As you say, murmured Anna. The wife of Littin, the butcher, will
buy our chairs and our bed. I spoke to her yesterday.
Poborino, the smith; his crippled son; Yanansk, the baker; Dankov,
the tailor, and a score of others were out upon the village street on
the morning that Big Ivan and Anna set out. They were inclined to jeer
at Ivan, but something upon the face of the giant made them afraid.
Hand in hand the big man and his wife walked down the street, their
faces turned toward Bobruisk, Ivan balancing upon his head a heavy
trunk that no other man in the village could have lifted.
At the end of the street a stripling with bright eyes and yellow
curls clutched the hand of Ivan and looked into his face.
I know what is sending you, he cried.
Ay, you know, said Ivan, looking into the eyes of the
It came to me yesterday, murmured the stripling. I got it from
the breezes. They are free, so are the birds and the little clouds and
the river. I wish I could go.
Keep your dream, said Ivan softly. Nurse it, for it is the dream
of a man.
Anna, who was crying softly, touched the blouse of the boy. At the
back of our cottage, near the bush that bears the red berries, a pot is
buried, she said. Dig it up and take it home with you and when you
have a kopeck drop it in. It is a good pot.
The stripling understood. He stooped and kissed the hand of Anna,
and Big Ivan patted him upon the back. They were brother dreamers and
they understood each other.
Boris Lugan has sung the song of the versts that eat up one's
courage as well as the leather of one's shoes.
Versts! Versts! Scores and scores of them!
Versts! Versts! A million or more of them!
Dust! Dust! And the devils who play in it,
Blinding us fools who forever must stay in it.
Big Ivan and Anna faced the long versts to Bobruisk, but they were
not afraid of the dust devils. They had the Dream. It made their hearts
light and took the weary feeling from their feet. They were on their
way. America was a long, long journey, but they had started, and every
verst they covered lessened the number that lay between them and the
I am glad the boy spoke to us, said Anna.
And I am glad, said Ivan. Some day he will come and eat with us
They came to Bobruisk. Holding hands, they walked into it late one
afternoon. They were eighty-nine versts from the little village on the
Beresina, but they were not afraid. The Dream spoke to Ivan, and his
big hand held the hand of Anna. The railway ran through Bobruisk, and
that evening they stood and looked at the shining rails that went out
in the moonlight like silver tongs reaching out for a low-hanging star.
And they came face to face with the Terror that evening, the Terror
that had helped the spring breezes and the sunshine to plant the Dream
in the brain of Big Ivan.
They were walking down a dark side street when they saw a score of
men and women creep from the door of a squat, unpainted building. The
little group remained on the sidewalk for a minute as if uncertain
about the way they should go, then from the corner of the street came a
cry of Police! and the twenty pedestrians ran in different
It was no false alarm. Mounted police charged down the dark
thoroughfare swinging their swords as they rode at the scurrying men
and women who raced for shelter. Big Ivan dragged Anna into a doorway,
and toward their hiding place ran a young boy who, like themselves, had
no connection with the group and who merely desired to get out of
harm's way till the storm was over.
The boy was not quick enough to escape the charge. A trooper pursued
him, overtook him before he reached the sidewalk, and knocked him down
with a quick stroke given with the flat of his blade. His horse struck
the boy with one of his hoofs as the lad stumbled on his face.
Big Ivan growled like an angry bear, and sprang from his hiding
place. The trooper's horse had carried him on to the sidewalk, and Ivan
seized the bridle and flung the animal on its haunches. The policeman
leaned forward to strike at the giant, but Ivan of the Bridge gripped
the left leg of the horseman and tore him from the saddle.
The horse galloped off, leaving its rider lying beside the moaning
boy who was unlucky enough to be in a street where a score of students
were holding a meeting.
Anna dragged Ivan back into the passageway. More police were
charging down the street, and their position was a dangerous one.
Ivan! she cried, Ivan! Remember the Dream! America, Ivan!
America! Come this way! Quick!
With strong hands she dragged him down the passage. It opened into a
narrow lane, and, holding each other's hands, they hurried toward the
place where they had taken lodgings. From far off came screams and
hoarse orders, curses and the sound of galloping hoofs. The Terror was
Big Ivan spoke softly as they entered the little room they had
taken. He had a face like the boy to whom you gave the lucky pot, he
said. Did you notice it in the moonlight when the trooper struck him
Yes, she answered. I saw.
They left Bobruisk next morning. They rode away on a great, puffing,
snorting train that terrified Anna. The engineer turned a stopcock as
they were passing the engine, and Anna screamed while Ivan nearly
dropped the big trunk. The engineer grinned, but the giant looked up at
him and the grin faded. Ivan of the Bridge was startled by the rush of
hot steam, but he was afraid of no man.
The train went roaring by little villages and great pasture
stretches. The real journey had begun. They began to love the powerful
engine. It was eating up the versts at a tremendous rate. They looked
at each other from time to time and smiled like two children.
They came to Minsk, the biggest town they had ever seen. They looked
out from the car windows at the miles of wooden buildings, at the big
church of St. Catharine, and the woolen mills. Minsk would have
frightened them if they hadn't had the Dream. The farther they went
from the little village on the Beresina the more courage the Dream gave
On and on went the train, the wheels singing the song of the road.
Fellow travelers asked them where they were going. To America, Ivan
To America? they would cry. May the little saints guide you. It
is a long way, and you will be lonely.
No, we shall not be lonely, Ivan would say.
Ha! you are going with friends?
No, we have no friends, but we have something that keeps us from
being lonely. And when Ivan would make that reply Anna would pat his
hand and the questioner would wonder if it was a charm or a holy relic
that the bright-eyed couple possessed.
They ran through Vilna, on through flat stretches of Courland to
Libau, where they saw the sea. They sat and stared at it for a whole
day, talking little but watching it with wide, wondering eyes. And they
stared at the great ships that came rocking in from distant ports,
their sides gray with the salt from the big combers which they had
No wonder this America of ours is big. We draw the brave ones from
the old lands, the brave ones whose dreams are like the guiding sign
that was given to the Israelites of olda pillar of cloud by day, a
pillar of fire by night.
The harbormaster spoke to Ivan and Anna as they watched the restless
Where are you going, children?
To America, answered Ivan.
A long way. Three ships bound for America went down last month.
Our ship will not sink, said Ivan.
Because I know it will not.
The harbor master looked at the strange blue eyes of the giant, and
spoke softly. You have the eyes of a man who sees things, he said.
There was a Norwegian sailor in the White Queen, who had eyes
like yours, and he could see death.
I see life! said Ivan boldly. A free life
Hush! said the harbor master. Do not speak so loud. He walked
swiftly away, but he dropped a ruble into Anna's hand as he passed her
by. For luck, he murmured. May the little saints look after you on
the big waters.
They boarded the ship, and the Dream gave them a courage that
surprised them. There were others going aboard, and Ivan and Anna felt
that those others were also persons who possessed dreams. She saw the
dreams in their eyes. There were Slavs, Poles, Letts, Jews, and
Livonians, all bound for the land where dreams come true. They were a
little afraidnot two per cent of them had ever seen a ship
beforeyet their dreams gave them courage.
The emigrant ship was dragged from her pier by a grunting tug and
went floundering down the Baltic Sea. Night came down, and the devils
who, according to the Esthonian fishermen, live in the bottom of the
Baltic, got their shoulders under the stern of the ship and tried to
stand her on her head. They whipped up white combers that sprang on her
flanks and tried to crush her, and the wind played a devil's lament in
her rigging. Anna lay sick in the stuffy women's quarters, and Ivan
could not get near her. But he sent her messages. He told her not to
mind the sea devils, to think of the Dream, the Great Dream that would
become real in the land to which they were bound. Ivan of the Bridge
grew to full stature on that first night out from Libau. The battered
old craft that carried him slouched before the waves that swept over
her decks, but he was not afraid. Down among the million and one smells
of the steerage he induced a thin-faced Livonian to play upon a mouth
organ, and Big Ivan sang Paleer's Song of Freedom in a voice that
drowned the creaking of the old vessel's timbers, and made the seasick
ones forget their sickness. They sat up in their berths and joined in
the chorus, their eyes shining brightly in the half gloom:
Freedom for serf and for slave,
Freedom for all men who crave
Their right to be free
And who hate to bend knee
But to Him who this right to them gave.
It was well that these emigrants had dreams. They wanted them. The
sea devils chased the lumbering steamer. They hung to her bows and
pulled her for'ard deck under emerald-green rollers. They clung to her
stern and hoisted her nose till Big Ivan thought that he could touch
the door of heaven by standing on her blunt snout. Miserable, cold,
ill, and sleepless, the emigrants crouched in their quarters, and to
them Ivan and the thin-faced Livonian sang the Song of Freedom.
The emigrant ship pounded through the Cattegat, swung southward
through the Skagerrack and the bleak North Sea. But the storm pursued
her. The big waves snarled and bit at her, and the captain and the
chief officer consulted with each other. They decided to run into the
Thames, and the harried steamer nosed her way in and anchored off
An examination was made, and the agents decided to transship the
emigrants. They were taken to London and thence by train to Liverpool,
and Ivan and Anna sat again side by side, holding hands and smiling at
each other as the third-class emigrant train from Euston raced down
through the green Midland counties to grimy Liverpool.
You are not afraid? Ivan would say to her each time she looked at
It is a long way, but the Dream has given me much courage, she
To-day I spoke to a Lett whose brother works in New York City,
said the giant. Do you know how much money he earns each day?
How much? she questioned.
Three rubles, and he calls the policemen by their first names.
You will earn five rubles, my Ivan, she murmured. There is no one
as strong as you.
Once again they were herded into the bowels of a big ship that
steamed away through the fog banks of the Mersey out into the Irish
Sea. There were more dreamers now, nine hundred of them, and Anna and
Ivan were more comfortable. And these new emigrants, English, Irish,
Scotch, French, and German, knew much concerning America. Ivan was
certain that he would earn at least three rubles a day. He was very
On the deck he defeated all comers in a tug of war, and the captain
of the ship came up to him and felt his muscles.
The country that lets men like you get away from it is run badly,
he said. Why did you leave it?
The interpreter translated what the captain said, and through the
interpreter Ivan answered.
I had a Dream, he said, a Dream of freedom.
Good, cried the captain. Why should a man with muscles like yours
have his face ground into the dust?
The soul of Big Ivan grew during those days. He felt himself a man,
a man who was born upright to speak his thoughts without fear.
The ship rolled into Queenstown one bright morning, and Ivan and his
nine hundred steerage companions crowded the for'ard deck. A boy in a
rowboat threw a line to the deck, and after it had been fastened to a
stanchion he came up hand over hand. The emigrants watched him
curiously. An old woman sitting in the boat pulled off her shoes, sat
in a loop of the rope, and lifted her hand as a signal to her son on
Hey, fellers, said the boy, help me pull me muvver up. She wants
to sell a few dozen apples, an' they won't let her up the gangway!
Big Ivan didn't understand the words, but he guessed what the boy
wanted. He made one of a half dozen who gripped the rope and started to
pull the ancient apple woman to the deck.
They had her halfway up the side when an undersized third officer
discovered what they were doing. He called to a steward, and the
steward sprang to obey.
Turn a hose on her! cried the officer. Turn a hose on the old
The steward rushed for the hose. He ran with it to the side of the
ship with the intention of squirting on the old woman, who was swinging
in midair and exhorting the six men who were dragging her to the deck.
Pull! she cried. Sure, I'll give every one of ye a rosy red apple
an' me blessing with it.
The steward aimed the muzzle of the hose, and Big Ivan of the Bridge
let go of the rope and sprang at him. The fist of the great Russian
went out like a battering ram; it struck the steward between the eyes,
and he dropped upon the deck. He lay like one dead, the muzzle of the
hose wriggling from his limp hands.
The third officer and the interpreter rushed at Big Ivan, who stood
erect, his hands clenched.
Ask the big swine why he did it, roared the officer.
Because he is a coward! cried Ivan. They wouldn't do that in
What does the big brute know about America? cried the officer.
Tell him I have dreamed of it, shouted Ivan. Tell him it is in my
Dream. Tell him I will kill him if he turns the water on this old
The apple seller was on deck then, and with the wisdom of the Celt
she understood. She put her lean hand upon the great head of the
Russian and blessed him in Gaelic. Ivan bowed before her, then as she
offered him a rosy apple he led her toward Anna, a great Viking leading
a withered old woman who walked with the grace of a duchess.
Please don't touch him, she cried, turning to the officer. We
have been waiting for your ship for six hours, and we have only five
dozen apples to sell. It's a great man he is. Sure he's as big as Finn
Some one pulled the steward behind a ventilator and revived him by
squirting him with water from the hose which he had tried to turn upon
the old woman. The third officer slipped quietly away.
The Atlantic was kind to the ship that carried Ivan and Anna.
Through sunny days they sat up on deck and watched the horizon. They
wanted to be among those who would get the first glimpse of the
They saw it on a morning with sunshine and soft wind. Standing
together in the bow, they looked at the smear upon the horizon, and
their eyes filled with tears. They forgot the long road to Bobruisk,
the rocking journey to Libau, the mad buckjumping boat in whose timbers
the sea devils of the Baltic had bored holes. Everything unpleasant was
forgotten, because the Dream filled them with a great happiness.
The inspectors at Ellis Island were interested in Ivan. They walked
around him and prodded his muscles, and he smiled down upon them
A fine animal, said one. Gee, he's a new white hope! Ask him can
An interpreter put the question, and Ivan nodded. I have fought,
Gee! cried the inspector. Ask him was it for purses or what?
For freedom, answered Ivan. For freedom to stretch my legs and
straighten my neck!
Ivan and Anna left the Government ferryboat at the Battery. They
started to walk uptown, making for the East Side, Ivan carrying the big
trunk that no other man could lift.
It was a wonderful morning. The city was bathed in warm sunshine,
and the well-dressed men and women who crowded the sidewalks made the
two immigrants think that it was a festival day. Ivan and Anna stared
at each other in amazement. They had never seen such dresses as those
worn by the smiling women who passed them by; they had never seen such
It is a feast day for certain, said Anna.
They are dressed like princes and princesses, murmured Ivan.
There are no poor here, Anna. None.
Like two simple children, they walked along the streets of the City
of Wonder. What a contrast it was to the gray, stupid towns where the
Terror waited to spring upon the cowed people. In Bobruisk, Minsk,
Vilna, and Libau the people were sullen and afraid. They walked in
dread, but in the City of Wonder beside the glorious Hudson every
person seemed happy and contented.
They lost their way, but they walked on, looking at the wonderful
shop windows, the roaring elevated trains, and the huge skyscrapers.
Hours afterward they found themselves in Fifth Avenue near Thirty-third
Street, and there the miracle happened to the two Russian immigrants.
It was a big miracle inasmuch as it proved the Dream a truth, a great
Ivan and Anna attempted to cross the avenue, but they became
confused in the snarl of traffic. They dodged backward and forward as
the stream of automobiles swept by them. Anna screamed, and, in
response to her scream, a traffic policeman, resplendent in a new
uniform, rushed to her side. He took the arm of Anna and flung up a
commanding hand. The charging autos halted. For five blocks north and
south they jammed on the brakes when the unexpected interruption
occurred, and Big Ivan gasped.
Don't be flurried, little woman, said the cop. Sure I can tame
'em by liftin' me hand.
Anna didn't understand what he said, but she knew it was something
nice by the manner in which his Irish eyes smiled down upon her. And in
front of the waiting automobiles he led her with the same care that he
would give to a duchess, while Ivan, carrying the big trunk, followed
them, wondering much. Ivan's mind went back to Bobruisk on the night
the Terror was abroad.
The policeman led Anna to the sidewalk, patted Ivan good-naturedly
upon the shoulder, and then with a sharp whistle unloosed the waiting
stream of cars that had been held up so that two Russian immigrants
could cross the avenue.
Big Ivan of the Bridge took the trunk from his head and put it on
the ground. He reached out his arms and folded Anna in a great embrace.
His eyes were wet.
The Dream is true! he cried. Did you see, Anna? We are as good as
they! This is the land where a muzhik is as good as a prince of the
The President was nearing the close of his address. Anna shook Ivan,
and Ivan came out of the trance which the President's words had brought
upon him. He sat up and listened intently:
We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see
things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long
winter's evening. Some of us let those great dreams die, but others
nourish and protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring
them to the sunshine and light which come always to those who sincerely
hope that their dreams will come true.
The President finished. For a moment he stood looking down at the
faces turned up to him, and Big Ivan of the Bridge thought that the
President smiled at him. Ivan seized Anna's hand and held it tight.
He knew of my Dream! he cried. He knew of it. Did you hear what
he said about the dreams of a spring day?
Of course he knew, said Anna. He is the wisest man in America,
where there are many wise men. Ivan, you are a citizen now.
And you are a citizen, Anna.
The band started to play My Country, 'tis of Thee, and Ivan and
Anna got to their feet. Standing side by side, holding hands, they
joined in with the others who had found after long days of journeying
the blessed land where dreams come true.
JAMES FRANCIS DWYER
Mr. Dwyer is an American by adoption, an Australian by birth. He was
born in Camden, New South Wales, April 22, 1874; and received his
education in the public schools there. He entered newspaper work, and
in the capacity of a correspondent for Australian papers traveled
extensively in Australia and in the South Seas, from 1898 to 1906. In
1906 he made a tour through South Africa, and at the conclusion of this
went to England. He came to America in 1907, and since that time has
made his home in New York City. He has been a frequent contributor to
Collier's, Harper's Weekly, The American Magazine,
The Ladies' Home Journal, and other periodicals. He has published
five books, nearly all dealing with the strange life of the far East.
His first book, The White Waterfall, published in 1912, has its
scene in the South Sea Islands. A California scientist, interested in
ancient Polynesian skulls, goes to the South Seas to investigate his
favorite subject, accompanied by his two daughters. The amazing
adventures they meet there make a very interesting story. The
Spotted Panther is a story of adventure in Borneo. Three white men
go there in search of a wonderful sword of great antiquity which is in
the possession of a tribe of Dyaks, the head-hunters of Borneo. There
are some vivid descriptions in the story and plenty of thrills. The
Breath of the Jungle is a collection of short stories, the scenes
laid in the Malay Peninsula and nearby islands. They describe the
strange life of these regions, and show how it reacts in various ways
upon white men who live there. The Green Half Moon is a story of
mystery and diplomatic intrigue, the scene partly in the Orient, partly
In his later work Mr. Dwyer has taken up American themes. The
Bust of Lincoln, really a short story, deals with a young man whose
proudest possession is a bust of Lincoln that had belonged to his
grandfather; the story shows how it influences his life. The story
The Citizen had an interesting origin. On May 10, 1915, just after
the sinking of the Lusitania, President Wilson went to
Philadelphia to address a meeting of an unusual kind. Four thousand
foreign-born men, who had just become naturalized citizens of our
country, were to be welcomed to citizenship by the Mayor of the city, a
member of the Cabinet, and the President of the United States. The
meeting was held in Convention Hall; more than fifteen thousand people
were present, and the event, occurring as it did at a time when every
one realized that the loyalty of our people was likely to be soon put
to the test, was one of historic importance. Moved by the significance
of this event, Mr. Dwyer translated it into literature. His story, The
Citizen, was published in Collier's in November, 1915.
LIST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES
CLASSIFIED BY LOCALITY
I. THE EAST
A New England Nun; A Humble Romance, Mary
Wilkins-Freeman. Meadow-Grass; The Country Road, Alice
Brown. A White Heron; The Queen's Twin, Sarah Orne
Jewett. Pratt Portraits; Later Pratt Portraits, Anna
Fuller. The Village Watch Tower, Kate Douglas Wiggin. The Old
Home House, Joseph C. Lincoln. Hillsboro People, Dorothy
Canfield. Out of Gloucester; The Crested Seas, James B.
Connolly. Under the Crust, Thomas Nelson Page. Dumb Foxglove, Annie T. Slosson. Huckleberries Gathered From New England Hills, Rose Terry Cooke.
NEW YORK CITY
The Four Million; The Voice of the City; The
O. Henry. Van Bibber and Others, Richard Harding Davis.
Doctor Rast, James Oppenheim. Toomey and Others, Robert
Shackleton. Vignettes of Manhattan, Brander Matthews. The
Imported Bridegroom, Abraham Cahan. Little Citizens;
Little Aliens, Myra Kelly. The Soul of the Street, Norman
Duncan. Wall Street Stories, Edwin Le Fevre. The Optimist, Susan Faber. Every Soul Hath Its Song, Fannie Hurst.
Hulgate of Mogador, Sewell Ford. Edgewater People,
Old Chester Tales; Doctor Lavender's People, Margaret
Deland. Betrothal of Elypholate, Helen R. Martin. The Passing
of Thomas, Thomas A. Janvier. The Standard Bearers,
Katherine Mayo. Six Stars, Nelson Lloyd.
II. THE SOUTH
Alabama Sketches, Samuel Minturn Peck. Polished Ebony,
Octavius R. Cohen.
Otto the Knight; Knitters in the Sun, Octave Thanet.
Rodman the Keeper, Constance F. Woolson.
Georgia Scenes, A. B. Longstreet. Free Joe; Tales
of the Home-Folks, Joel Chandler Harris. Stories of the Cherokee
Hills, Maurice Thompson. Northern Georgia Sketches, Will N.
Harben. His Defence, Harry Stilwell Edwards. Mr. Absalom
Billingslea; Mr. Billy Downes, Richard Malcolm Johnston.
Flute and Violin; A Kentucky Cardinal, James Lane
Allen. In Happy Valley, John Fox, Jr. Back Home; Judge
Priest and his People, Irvin S. Cobb. Land of Long Ago;
Aunt Jane of Kentucky, Eliza Calvert Hall.
Holly and Pizen; Aunt Amity's Silver Wedding, Ruth
McEnery Stuart. Balcony Stories; Tales of Time and Place,
Grace King. Old Creole Days; Strange True Stories of
Louisiana, George W. Cable. Bayou Folks, Kate Chopin.
In the Tennessee Mountains; Prophet of the Great Smoky
Charles Egbert Craddock. (Mary N. Murfree.)
In Ole Virginia, Thomas Nelson Page. Virginia of Virginia, Amelie Rives. Colonel Carter of Cartersville, F. Hopkinson
North Carolina Sketches, Mary N. Carter.
III. THE MIDDLE WEST
Dialect Sketches, James Whitcomb Riley.
The Home Builders, K. E. Harriman.
Stories of a Western Town; The Missionary Sheriff,
Octave Thanet. In a Little Town, Rupert Hughes.
In Our Town; Stratagems and Spoils, William Allen
The Man at the Wheel, John Hanton Carter. Stories of a
Country Doctor, Willis King.
Blazed Trail Stories, Stewart Edward White. Mackinac and
Lake Stories, Mary Hartwell Catherwood.
Folks Back Home, Eugene Wood.
Main-Travelled Roads, Hamlin Garland. Friendship Village
; Friendship Village Love Stories, Zona Gale.
IV. THE FAR WEST
Lost Borders, Mary Austin. Arizona Nights, Stewart
Love of Life; Son of the Wolf, Jack London.
The Cat and the Cherub, Chester B. Fernald. The Luck of
Roaring Camp; Tales of the Argonauts, Bret Harte. The
Splendid Idle Forties, Gertrude Atherton.
The King of the Broncos, Charles F. Lummis. Santa Fe's
Partner, Thomas A. Janvier.
Red Men and White; The Virginian; Members of the
Owen Wister. Teepee Tales, Grace Coolidge.
Caybigan, James N. Hopper.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR STUDY
THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE
In Greek mythology, the work of creating living things was entrusted
to two of the gods, Epimetheus and Prometheus. Epimetheus gave to the
different animals various powers, to the lion strength, to the bird
swiftness, to the fox sagacity, and so on until all the good gifts had
been bestowed, and there was nothing left for man. Then Prometheus
ascended to heaven and brought down fire, as his gift to man. With
this, man could protect himself, could forge iron to make weapons, and
so in time develop the arts of civilization. In this story the
Promethean Fire of love is the means of giving little Emmy Lou her
first lesson in reading.
1. A test that may be applied to any story is, Does it read as
it were true? Would the persons in the story do the things
represented as doing? Test the acts of Billy Traver in this
and see if they are probable.
2. In writing stories about children, a writer must have the
to present life as a child sees it. Point out places in this
where school life is described as it appears to a new pupil.
3. One thing we ought to gain from our reading is a larger
vocabulary. In this story there are a number of words worth
to our stock. Define these exactly: inquisitorial; lachrymose;
laconic; surreptitious; contumely.
Get the habit of looking up new words and writing down their
4. Can you write a story about a school experience?
5. Other books containing stories of school life are:
Little Aliens, Myra Kelly; May Iverson Tackles Life, Elizabeth
Jordan; Ten to Seventeen, Josephine Daskam Bacon;
Margaret P. Montague. Read a story from one of these books,
compare it with this story.
THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE
Central Park, New York, covers an era of more than eight hundred
acres, with a zoo and several small lakes. On one of the lakes there
are large boats with a huge wooden swan on each side. Richard Harding
Davis located one of his stories here: See Van Bibber and the Swan
Boats, in the volume called Van Bibber and Others.
1. How is this story like the preceding one? What difference in
characters? What difference in their homes?
2. How does Myra Kelly make you feel sympathy for the little
In what ways have their lives been less fortunate than the
children in your town?
3. What is peculiar about the talk of these children? Do they
speak the same dialect? Many of the children of the East Side
hear English spoken at home.
4. What touches of humor are there in this story?
5. What new words do you find? Define garrulous, pedagogically,
6. Where did Miss Kelly get her materials for this story? See
life on page 37.
7. What other stories by this author have you read? This is
Little Citizens; other books telling about the same
are Little Aliens, and Wards of Liberty.
8. Other books of short stories dealing with children are:
Whilomville Stories, by Stephen Crane; The Golden
Kenneth Grahame; The Madness of Philip, by Josephine
Bacon; The King of Boyville, by William Allen White;
Chronicles of Rebecca, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Read one of
and compare it with Myra Kelly's story.
1. Point out the humorous touches in this story.
2. Is the story probable? To answer this, consider two points:
would Louise have undertaken such a thing as answering the
advertisement? and would she have had the spirit to act as she
at the close? Note the touches of description and
of Louise, and show how they prepare for the events that
3. One of the most effective devices in art is the use of
that is, bringing together two things or persons or ideas that
very different, perhaps the exact opposite of each other. Show
the main effect of this story depends on the use of contrast.
4. Read the paragraph on page 43 beginning, It happened to be
French tenor. Give in your own words the thought of this
paragraph. Is it true? Can you give examples of it?
5. Compare the length of this story with that of others in the
book. Which authors get their effects in a small compass?
parts of this story be omitted?
6. Other stories by H. C. Bunner that you will enjoy are The
Letters of Smith and A Sisterly Scheme in Short Sixes.
THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP
1. Does the title fit the story well? Why?
2. Notice the familiar, almost conversational style. Is it
to the story? Why?
3. Show how the opening paragraph introduces the main idea of
4. To make a story there must be a conflict of some sort. What
the conflict here?
5. How does the account of Julia Neal's career as a teacher
64) prepare for the ending of the story?
6. Do you have a clear picture in your mind of Mrs. Winthrop?
Mrs. Worthington? Why did not the author tell about their
7. Point out humorous touches in the next to the last
8. Is this story true to life? Who is the Priscilla Winthrop of
9. What impression do you get of the man behind this story? Do
think he knew the people of his town well? Did he like them
while he laughed at them? What else can you say about him?
10. Other books of short stories dealing with life in a small
are: Pratt Portraits, by Anna Fuller; Old Chester
Margaret Deland; Stories of a Western Town, by Octave
a Little Town, by Rupert Hughes; Folks Back Home,
Wood; Friendship Village, by Zona Gale; Bodbank,
by Richard W.
Child. Read one of these books, or a story from one, and
with this story.
11. In what ways does life in a small town differ from life in
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
This story, taken from the volume called The Four Million, is
a good example of O. Henry's method as a short-story writer. It is
notable for its brevity. The average length of the modern short story
is about five thousand words; O. Henry uses a little over one thousand
words. This conciseness is gained in several ways. In his descriptions,
he has the art of selecting significant detail. When Della looks out of
the window, instead of describing fully the view that met her eyes, he
says: She looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a
grey backyard. A paragraph could do no more. Again, the beginning of
the story is quick, abrupt. There is no introduction. The style is
often elliptical; in the first paragraph half the sentences are not
sentences at all. But the main reason for the shortness of the story
lies in the fact that the author has included only such incidents and
details as are necessary to the unfolding of the plot. There is no
Another characteristic of O. Henry is found in the unexpected turns
of his plots. There is almost always a surprise in his stories, usually
at the end. And yet this has been so artfully prepared for that we
accept it as probable. Our pleasure in reading his stories is further
heightened by the constant flashes of humor that light up his pages.
And beyond this, he has the power to touch deeper emotions. When Della
heard Jim's step on the stairs, she turned white just for a moment.
She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest
things, and now she whispered, 'Please God, make him think I am still
pretty.' One reads that with a little catch in the throat.
In his plots, O. Henry is romantic; in his settings he is a realist.
Della and Jim are romantic lovers, they are not prudent nor
calculating, but act upon impulse. In his descriptions, however, he is
a realist. The eight-dollar-a-week flat, the frying pan on the back of
the stove, the description of Della flopping down on the couch for a
cry, and afterwards attending to her cheeks with the
powder-rag,all these are in the manner of realism.
And finally, the tone of his stories is brave and cheerful. He finds
the world a most interesting place, and its people, even its
commonplace people, its rogues, its adventurers, are drawn with a broad
sympathy that makes us more tolerant of the people we meet outside the
1. Compare the beginning of this story with the beginning of
Bitter-Sweet. What difference do you note?
2. Select a description of a person that shows the author's
of concise portraiture.
3. What is the turn of surprise in this story? What other
in this book have a similar twist at the end?
4. What is the central thought of this story?
5. Other stories of O. Henry's that ought not to be missed are
Unfinished Story and The Furnished Room in The Four
A Blackjack Bargainer in Whirligigs; Best Seller
Rose of Dixie in Options; A Municipal Report in
Business; A Retrieved Reformation in Roads of Destiny
Hearts and Crosses in Hearts of the West.
THE GOLD BRICK
This story, first published in the American Magazine, was
reprinted in a volume called The Gold Brick, published in 1910.
The quotation chip at crusts like Hindus is from Robert Browning's
poem Youth and Art. The reference to Old Walt at the end of the
story is to Walt Whitman, one of the great poets of democracy.
1. To make a story interesting, there must be a conflict. In
the conflict is double: the outer conflict, between the two
political factions, and the inner conflict, in the soul of the
artist. Note how skilfully this inner struggle is introduced:
the moment when Kittrell is first rejoicing over his new
he feels a pang at leaving the Post, and what it stood
feeling is deepened by his wife's tacit disapproval; it grows
stronger as the campaign progresses, until the climax is
the scene where he resigns his position.
2. If you knew nothing about the author, what could you infer
this story about his political ideals? Did he believe in
Did he have faith in the good sense of the common people? Did
think it was worth while to make sacrifices for them? What is
evidence for this?
3. How far is this story true to life, as you know it? Do any
newspapers in your city correspond to the Post? To the
Telegraph? Can you recall a campaign in which the
between two such groups as are described here?
4. Does Whitlock have the art of making his characters real? Is
this true of the minor characters? The girl in the flower
instance, who appears but for a moment,is she
5. Is there a lesson in this story? State it in your own words.
6. What experiences in Whitlock's life gave him the background
7. What new words did you gain from this? Define meritricious;
prognathic; banal; vulpine; camaraderie; vilification; ennui;
quixotic; naïve; pharisaism. What can you say of Whitlock's
8. Other good stories dealing with politics are found in
Stratagems and Spoils, by William Allen White.
HIS MOTHER'S SON
1. Note the quick beginning of the story; no introduction,
from the start. Why is this suitable to this story?
2. Why is slang used so frequently?
3. Point out examples of humor in the story.
4. In your writing, do you ever have trouble in finding just
right word? Note on page 123 how Edna Ferber tries one
after another, and how on page 122 she finally coins a
wordunadjectivable. What does the word mean?
5. Do you have a clear picture of Emma McChesney? Of Ed Meyers?
Note that the description of Meyers in the office is not given
at once, but a touch here and then. Point out all these bits
description of this person, and note how complete the portrait
6. What have you learned in this story about the life of a
7. What qualities must a good salesman possess?
8. Was Emma McChesney a lady? Was Ed Meyers a gentleman? Why do
9. This story is taken from the book called Roast Beef,
Other good books of short stories by this author are
Plus, and Cheerfulby Request.
1. Note the introduction, a characteristic of all of Fannie
stories. What purpose does it serve here? What trait of
brought out? Is this important to the story?
2. From the paragraph on page 139 beginning It was into the
trickle of the last select examples that show the
skill in the use of words. What other instances of this do you
in the story?
3. Read the sketch of the author. What episode in her life gave
material for parts of this story?
4. Notice how skillfully the conversation is handled. The
situation developes itself entirely through dialogue, yet in a
perfectly natural way. It is almost like a play rather than a
story. If it were dramatized, how many scenes would it make?
5. What does the title mean? Does the author give us the key to
6. What do you think of Gertie as you read the first part of
conversation in the restaurant? Does your opinion of her
the end of the story? Has her character changed?
7. Is the ending of the story artistic? Why mention the
What had Gertie said about it?
8. State in three or four words the central idea of the story.
it true to life?
9. What is the meaning of these words: atavism; penumbra;
semaphore; astigmatic; insouciance; mise-en-scene; kinetic?
10. Other books of stories dealing with life in New York City
The Four Million, and The Voice of the City, by
O. Henry; Van
Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis; Every Soul
Song, by Fannie Hurst; Doctor Rast, by James
1. In how many scenes is this story told? What is the
2. Is there anything in the first description of Dicky Darrell
gives you a slight prejudice against him?
3. Why was the sympathy of the crowd with Jimmy Powers in the
4. Comment on Jimmy's remark at the end of the story. Did he
it, or is he just trying to turn away the praise?
5. What are the characteristics of a lumberman, as seen in
6. Read the sketch of Stewart Edward White, and decide which
his books you would like to read.
FLINT AND FIRE
1. What does the title mean?
2. How does the author strike the keynote of the story in the
3. Where is the first hint of the real theme of the story?
4. Point out some of the dialect expressions. Why is dialect
5. What turn of surprise comes at the end of the story? Is it
6. What characteristics of New England country people are
out in this story? How does the author contrast them with
7. Does this story read as if the author knew the scenes she
describes? Read the description of Niram plowing (page 191),
point out touches in it that could not have been written by
had always lived in the city.
8. Read the account of how this story was written, (page 210).
first suggested the idea? What work remained after the story
first written? How did the author feel while writing it?
what William Allen White says about his work, (page 75).
9. Other stories of New England life that you will enjoy
are found in the following books: New England Nun, Mary
Wilkins; Cape Cod Folks, S. P. McLean Greene; Pratt
Anna Fuller; The Country Road, Alice Brown; Tales of
England, Sarah Orne Jewett.
THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE
1. This story contains three characters who are typical of many
colored people, and as such are worth study. Howard Dokesbury
the educated colored man of the North. What are the chief
2. Aunt Caroline is the old-fashioned darky who suggests
days. What are her chief characteristics?
3. 'Lias is the new generation of the Southern negro of the
What are his characteristics?
4. Is the colored American given the same rights as others?
carefully the opening paragraph of the story.
5. What were the weaknesses of the colored people of Mt. Hope?
far are they true of the race? How were they overcome in this
6. There are two theories about the proper solution of what is
called The Negro Problem. One is, that the hope of the race
in industrial training; the other theory, that they should
higher intellectual training, so as to develope great leaders.
Which theory do you think Dunbar held? Why do you think so?
7. Other stories dealing with the life of the colored people
Free Joe, and Tales of the Home Folks, by Joel
Polished Ebony, by Octavius R. Cohen; Aunt Amity's
Wedding, by Ruth McEnery Stuart; In Ole Virginia,
The Pennsylvania State Police have made a wonderful record for
maintaining law and order in the rural sections of the state. The
history of this organization was told by Katherine Mayo in a book
called Justice to All. In a later book, The Standard Bearers, she tells various incidents which show how these men do their work.
The book is not fictionthe story here told happened just as it is set
down, even the names of the troopers are their real names.
1. Do you get a clear picture of Drake from the description?
are several pages given to telling his past career?
2. Where does the real story begin?
3. Who was the tramp at the Carlisle Station? When did you
4. What are the principles of the State Police, as you see them
5. Why was such an organization necessary? Is there one in your
6. What new words did you find in this story? Define aura,
THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO
In this story the author introduces a number of unfamiliar words,
chiefly of Spanish origin, which are current in the Philippines. The
meanings are given below.
barrio, ward; district.
carabao, a kind of buffalo, used as a work animal.
cabo, head officer.
cibay, a boys' game.
daledale, hurry up!
de los Reyes, of the King.
de la Cruz, of the cross.
hacienda, a large plantation.
nipa, a palm tree or the thatch made from it.
que barbaridad!what an atrocious thing!
1. Why does the story end with Isidro's crying? What did this
signify? What is the relation of this to the beginning of the
2. Has this story a central idea? What is it?
3. This might be called a story of local color, in that it
some detail the atmosphere of an unfamiliar locality. What are
best descriptive passages in the story?
4. Judging from this story, what are some of the difficulties a
school teacher meets with in the Philippines? What must he be
besides a teacher?
5. What other school stories are there in this book? The pupils
Emmy Lou's school, (in Louisville, Ky.) are those with several
generations of American ancestry behind them; in Myra Kelly's
story, they are the children of foreign parents; in this story
are still in a foreign landthat is, a land where they are
surrounded by American influences. The public school is the
experience that is common to them all, and therefore the
single force in bringing them all to share in a common ideal,
reverence the great men of our country's history, and to
the meaning of democracy. How does it do these things?
1. During the war, President Wilson delivered an address at
Philadelphia to an audience of men who had just been made
The quoted passages in this story are taken from this speech.
these passages, and select the one which probably gave the
the idea for this story.
2. Starting with the idea, that he would write a story about
someone who followed a dream to America, why should the author
choose Russia as the country of departure?
3. Having chosen Russia, why does he make Ivan a resident of a
village far in the interior? Why not at Libau?
4. Two incidents are told as occurring on the journey: the
of the police at Bobrinsk, and the coming on board of the
woman at Queenstown. Why was each of these introduced? What is
purpose of telling the incident on Fifth Avenue?
5. What have you learned about the manner in which this story
written? Compare it with the account given by Dorothy Canfield
to how she wrote her story.
6. What is the main idea in this story? Why do you think it was
written? Edward Everett Hale wrote a story called A Man
Country. Suggest another title for The Citizen.
7. Has this story in any way changed your opinion of
Big Ivan likely to meet any treatment in America that will
his opinion of the country?
8. The part of this story that deals with Russia affords a good
example of the use of local color. This is given partly
descriptions, partly through the names of the
Yanansk, Dankov; partly through the Russian words, such as
(about three quarters of a mile), ruble (a coin worth fifty
kopeck (a half cent), muzhik (a peasant). How is local color
in the conversations?
9. For a treatment of the theme of this story in poetry, read
o' the Earth, by Robert Haven Schauffler, in Rittenhouse's
Book of Modern Verse. This is the closing stanza:
Newcomers all from the eastern seas,
Help us incarnate dreams like these.
Forget, and forgive, that we did you wrong.
Help us to father a nation, strong
In the comradeship of an equal birth,
In the wealth of the richest bloods of earth.