Chit-Chat, Nirvana, The Searchlight by Mathew Joseph Holt
DOCTOR BROWN OF
I thought to write a book entitled: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
How much is buried in the wreckage of yesterdayhow uninteresting
today is and how little is to be doneour burden we shift to the
strong, young shoulders of tomorrow; tomorrow of the big heart, who in
kindness hides our sorrows and whispers only of hope. I ended by
writing,thiswhich I have called Chit-Chat, thus classifying the
book, knowing that such a book if true to name will picture the age and
find a publisher.
I have read in the Arabian Book of Knowledge that thoughts are
Tartars, vagabonds; imprison all thou canst not slay, and have seen
fit to follow this suggestion and the advice given a Turkish author
That none may dub thee tactless dund'rhead,
Confine thy pen to light chit-chat,
And rattle on as might a letter!
For ninety-nine of every hundred
Hate learning and what's more than that,
The hundredth man likes berresh better.
So I present to you, gentle or gallant reader, as the case may be,
and quite informally, John Cornwall.
He was born at 702 West Chestnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky, on
the 12th day of May, 1872. His mother was a widow; and before the days
of H. C. L, the two lived comfortably on her income of $1,800.00 a
His boyhood was as that of other boys of the city; an era of
happiness and happiness has no history. He was considered a good boy as
boys go; and good boys have few adventures.
Although John never attended Sunday School except when his mother
made himas she was a Presbyterian, he wore the honor pin for an
unbroken three-year attendance.
School to him was such a delight, that in a spirit of emulative
self-denial, he never started from home, a block away, until a minute
before the tardy bell rang. He usually made it. If late, he slipped in,
usually walking backwards, hoping either to escape observation or, if
seen, to be told to retake his seat.
His vacations were spent on the river where he learned to handle a
canoe and skiff; and before he was fourteen could swim and dive like a
didapper. At that time his greatest ambition was to run the falls in a
canoe; his next to be a steamboat captain.
He and two other boys built a camp on Six-Mile Island. There they
usually spent the month of August; during the preceding vacation days
working as bank runners or messenger boys to raise the money to finance
the camping party.
He was entered in the graded school at seven, in high school at
fifteen, at which time he put on long trousers and changed from
stockings to socks. He insisted on discarding his stockings, as the
boys had a way of lifting the bottoms of trousers to see if the one
appearing for his first time in long trousers yet wore his stockings.
He graduated from the high school at nineteen; and after two years at
the local law school and in Judge Marshall's office, was given a
position with the Kentucky Title Company; and for a year had been
employed at abstracting in the Jefferson County Clerk's office.
One day a prosperous-looking stranger asked where certain records
might be found and he graciously showed their location. The next day
the stranger asked several questions as to local real estate laws,
particularly as to leases, transfers and the rights of married women.
He introduced himself as Mr. Rogers and asked John his name.
The following day about noon he came into the clerk's office and
said; Mr. Cornwall, I wish you would lunch with me today. Cornwall,
after telephoning his mother that he would not be home, went with him.
When they were nearly through eating Mr. Rogers said:
This morning I was at the office of Judge Barnett. He is attorney
for our company, The Pittsburgh Coal &Coke Company. I asked him the
same questions I did you and he gave similar answers. I have since made
inquiries and believe our company can use you to look after its local
law business in Bell, Harlan and Leslie counties. In these three
counties we own about fifty thousand acres of coal lands and mineral
leases on approximately two hundred thousand acres more. In addition we
own several old surveys which I do not include in this acreage.
We will pay you $1,800.00 a year, equip and furnish you with an
office in our new building in Harlan and will make no objection to you
attending to such local business as may come your way, provided it does
not take you away from Harlan. What we need is a man on the ground.
Think this over and let me know in the morning. I am at the Galt House,
room 247. You had better call instead of telephoning. I shall be
disappointed if you do not accept my offer.
I thank you and I will take it up with mother tonight, then call at
your room at 8:30 in the morning. Please excuse me now as I am due at
* * * * *
Mr. Rogers and John Cornwall, several days later, arrived at
Pineville on the early morning train and after lunch left on horseback,
taking the Straight Creek road to Harlan.
It was not their intention to ride through that afternoon, but stop
overnight at Simeon Saylor's and the following morning look over the
Helton, Saylor and Brock coal properties on the south or main fork of
The road follows the creek and is canopied by sycamore, elm and
birch trees or grape vines and other creepers. It is screened by
thickets of pawpaw, blackberry, sumac or elderberry bushes which grow
thick in the corners of the abutting worm fences.
It is not a lonely way. Every three or four hundred yards you pass a
small mountain farmhouse overflowing with children, calling to mind the
home of the old woman who lives in the shoe. Many squads of geese,
following their corporal, march across the road towards the creek or
back again to the barnyard. The thickets are alive with red birds and
ground robins and an occasional squirrel, who has come down the
mountain for a drink, rustles the leaves in his flight or at giddy
heighth barks defiance at passing strangers.
Pine Mountain, without a break or scarce a deep cove, walls in the
narrow valley on the south, while on the north smaller mountains stand
at attention. The stream, with little chance to wander, bisects the
valley in its unvarying course and perforce pursues its way, true to
They arrive at the foot of Salt Trace just as the lively tinkling of
cowbells, as well as their own appetites, and the setting sun, suggests
supper time; and their chafed buttocks, more used to a swivel chair
than a saddle, pleaded for the comfort of an altered position.
Simeon Saylor lives several hundred yards up the creek from where
the Salt Trace Trail, the bridle path to Harlan, leaves the main road.
His house is the usual stopping place for travelers. He has imposed the
labor of their entertainment upon his women folks, not so much for
profit as to hear the news and chit-chat of the outside world.
The house is a structure of three large pens of logs with a dog trot
(hallway) between. Two front the road, the third forms an ell at the
rear and is flanked by a long porch. The whole is covered by a rough
clapboard roof. Each pen has a sandstone chimney and each room a large,
open fireplace. The ell is used as a kitchen, dining-room and
storehouse combined. On the edge of the porch, almost within reach of
the well sweep, a bench holds two tin wash basins; a cake of laundry
soap reposes in the former coffin of a family of sardines and a roller
towel, sterilized and dried by air and sunlight, hangs pendant from the
The travelers as they rode up and stiffly dismounted noted the many
chickens going to roost and the three cows occupying the road in front
of the house. The barn was rather an imposing structure. These signs
assured eggs, milk and butter for themselves and feed and comfortable
quarters for their horses.
After supper they sat out in the moonlight on a crooked, half
uprooted elm overhanging the creek, until the world grew worshipfully
still as it does twenty miles from a railroad; their quiet, contented
thoughts undisturbed by the call of the whippoorwills in the near
thickets and the hooting of a great owl far down the valley.
Then they were joined by their host, a tall, rawboned, sallow,
sandy-haired man with a long, thin face on which grew a straggly beard,
which had never known shears or razor. He had come out to hear more
news than he had been able to learn at supper, where table manners
demanded that he should eat and get through with it. At the table the
men ate saying little, while the old woman and her daughters served
them, and in silence.
His youngest boy, Caleb, came with him, an immodest little fellow;
made so by his father, who it seemed spent most of his time boasting of
the boy's accomplishments.
Well, rested yet? Thar's a boy what's gwinter make a lawyer. He's
just turned nine and you can't believe nothin' he says. He can argy any
thing out'er his maw and the gals and the boys nigh bout hayr haint got
no show with him; somehow he gits every thing they gits hold on. And
you oughter see him shoot with a squirrel gun! Many a time he's knocked
the bark out from under a squirrel and killed him without raising a
hayr. Last Christmas eve I fotched a jug of moonshine from the Cliff
House Still and hid it in the loft. You know that boy found out whar I
hid her and when I went after hit, hit was nigh gone. He was snoozing
away on the hay. When he come to, his head didn't hurt narry bit. That
once I shore split his pants for him with a hame strop. He's got to
leave my licker alone; that's one thing he can't put over on his
paw,no not yit. Down the crick at the mines is a dago, a fur-reen-er
and his folks from Bolony. He's got a boy, Luigi Poggi, about fourteen
but not as big as Caleb. That boy spends all his time with Caleb. He
had jest gone home when you rid up. He talks dago to Caleb and Caleb
gives him back jest plain straight Crick talk. If he's larnin as much
United States as Caleb is dago, he'll make circit rider preacher in a
few years. Caleb talk dago to the men.
Whereupon the boy stepped directly in front of Mr. Rogers and said;
Buona sera, Rogers avete tabacco meliore di questo? (Good evening,
Rogers, have you any tobacco better than this?holding out a plug of
To which Mr. Rogers understanding him, replied:
Caro ragazzo, voi mi annoiati oltre mode, buono notte. (My dear
boy, you annoy me considerably, good night.)
Ma non debbo ancora. (But I am not going yet.)
Well you speak dago too, he's a great boy aint he, jest like his
What mought yer bissiness be, Mr. Rogers?
I am secretary of the Pittsburgh Coal &Coke Company.
Yaah, that's the new crowd what's come in hayr buying out the old
settlers. I hearn you bought that old Boyd Dickinson survey. Well you
didn't git much. They've been trying for nigh forty year to locate the
beginning corner. The first time Cal Hurst and them surveyor men came
prowlin' round hayr, we got two on them. How's that trial with the
Davis heirs comin' on? Old Milt Yungthank at Pineville has looked ater
their bissiniss fer nigh twenty year. He had Sim and some of the boys
up thayr with Winchesters about two year ago.
Young feller, what's yer name?
My name is Cornwall.
Ever been up heyr before? I was in yer town onct. I rid down to
Livingston on the old gray mare, then took the train thar, toting my
saddle bags on my arm. When I got off the train at the dee-pot, a
nigger steps up and says ter me: 'Boss, give me yer verlisse.' He
didn't get them saddle bags, you bet. I was too sharp for that. I went
to a hotel somewheres. They stuck a big book under my nose and says,
sign hayr. I done hearn tell of them confidence and lightnin' rod men
and I signed nothin'. They sent me to a room with red carpyt on the
floor and velvit cheers with flowers kinder scotched in them; and the
man behind the counter gave the nigger a lamp and told him to cut off
the gas. That nigger tried to take them saddle bags but I hung on, when
he says, all right boss and left go. That place had a box lifter to it.
After a while I got tired of settin' in that room and thought I would
go out and see the town; so I locked the door and come down erbout
forty steps to the front door. Then that first feller what wanted me
ter sign the book says; Leave the key and saddle bags with me. I says,
says I, You can have the key but no man gits holt of them saddle bags.
It's a good thing I brung them erlong, fer I never did find that place
ergin. I went erbout a quarter, when I met a smart feller and he says
ter me; Old man, where're you gwinter show! I says right here, by gad!
and I run my hand into them saddle bags and brung out my cap and ball.
That feller shore broke the wind, he showed some speed. What moight yer
This is the first time I was ever up here. I'm a lawyer.
Yaah, one of them city lawyers; they tell me they is cute. I have
had to do some lawing lately. Down the crick erbout a mile Elhannon
Howard lives. Last winter I sold Elhannon a hawg on credit fer ten
dollars like a dang fool and he wouldn't pay fer it, so I lawed him
before Squire Ingram and got jedgment. That and the costs come ter
fifteen dollars and a quarter. The Squire writ out an execution and I
got the constable to levy on three hives of bees; the constable says
that's all he's got what's exempt. We had a hell of a time moving them
bees, then we had to move them back.
How was that?
He got that lawyer from Pineville by the name of Marshall Bull-it
and the squire thinks the sun rises whar that feller stands. The squire
believed what that lawyer said and jedged that bees is poultry and the
statute says poultry am exempt. I made up my mind that old Elhannon had
to pay that jedgment so a couple of Sundays ago when they went to
meetin', I slipped down to his house and took a look around, counting
off what the statute said was exempt. He had jest what the law 'lowed
him. He had jest one hoss, one yoke of oxen, Tom and Jerry, two cows
and five sheep. One of them sheep was the finest Southdown ram you ever
laid yer eye on. Monday morning before day I went out where my sheep
was and there was a little crippled lamb about a day old. I picked it
up and fotched it down to Elhannon's and drapped it over the fence into
his little pasture, where his sheep were. Then I went down and got that
constable and he come and executed on that ram. Elhannon killed and et
one of his sheep, then he paid me up and took his ram back. If I had a
thousand boys I wouldn't name narry dang one of them Elhannon. I got
another little case what comes up next fall in the Bell Circit Court,
'taint much. I low ter pay a good young lawyer about twenty five bucks
to git me off. 'Bout a month ago I shot Caleb Spencer as dead as a kit
mackrel. I was going over Salt Trace to the mill on the river. When I
got on top of the divide he raised up from behind a log about a hundred
yards off and drew a bead on me. I saw him jest before he pulled and I
dodged. The ball cut out this hole in my hat. I rid right peart, till I
come to Gabe Perkins' then I hopped off my mule and, borrowing his
Winchester, I come back the cut-off footpath. There set that
cold-blooded bush-whacker on the same log, looking down the road the
way I had kited, with his gun kinder restin' on his knees. I rested on
a stump and took him square in the middle of the back. He gave a yell
and jumped erbout five feet, but it was too late to jump. 'Taint
nothing to it, a plain case of self-defense and 'parent necessity. But
if you stay up in this country, I like yer looks and will give yer
first chance on that easy money.
I thank you for the offer. It is worth at least five hundred
dollars to undertake your defense; as it is not a case of self-defense
and apparent necessity, as you seem to think. Much depends upon the
jury in such a case. You need a good lawyer who will be well acquainted
with the panel, else you may be sent to the penitentiary.
Son, you've got a lot to larn yit. Man alive! You folks have talked
so much it's nigh erbout bed-time. Why that boy is asleep. Would you
like to turn in?
CORNWALL MEETS A MOUNTAIN MAID.
After breakfast, at which the men were first served, Mr. Rogers,
Cornwall, Mr. Saylor and Caleb, mounting their horses rode over
Saylor's three hundred-acre survey and examined the two coal banks on
the property; which only a short distance from the house had been
opened and worked about twenty feet into the mountain, for home
consumption. One was thirty-eight and the other fifty-two inches; the
thick vein cropped out about twenty feet above the creek level, the
other was at a higher level.
After their examination they returned to the house and taking seats
on the wash bench near the well, talked about every thing but the land
of which Mr. Rogers and Saylor were thinking. Finally Mr. Rogers having
waited some time for Mr. Saylor to begin, said:
If our company can buy the Brock and Helton surveys, we will give
you thirty thousand dollars for your three hundred acres, or twenty
thousand dollars for the mineral rights with timber and right-of-way
privileges necessary to mine and remove the coal and such other
minerals, oils and gas as may be found on the property.
By heck! my survey is worth three times that. When your company
planks down fifty thousand in cold cash we will trade,not before.
Then I will buy one of them blue grass farms in sight of the distant
blue mountains and an automobile and a pianny and give Caleb and little
Susie a chance to go to the University at Lexington whar Tom Asher and
that Hall boy goes. O Mandy! Mr. Rogers, hayr, just offered to gin me
thirty thousand dollars for our old mountain home which we bought two
year ago from old man Roberts for five thousand. I told him we would
trade her off for fifty thousand; not such bad intrust for a mountain
yahoo and his old woman, He! Mandy! When that trade goes through; and
they are bound to take her, you can have one of them silk dresses what
shows black and blue and red and green; and Mary all the books and pot
flowers and pictures she wants. What do you say to that, Mary? just as
Mary stepped from the kitchen to fill the brass-hooped cedar bucket at
Caleb lolled on the steps in such a way as to make it impossible for
any one to descend.
Caleb, please let me pass!
Oh, go round Mary, or jump down. What do yer bother a feller for?
Miss Mary, let me fill your bucket?
Thanks, Mr. Cornwall. (Caleb laughs.)
Cornwall took the bucket and twice let it down and brought it up
without a quart in it, while Caleb looked on and laughed.
Finally Mary, smiling and blushing, took hold of the pole and helped
to dip and draw up the bucket full to the brim. Then they laugh too;
and the social ice is broken between Bear Grass and Straight Creek;
between the city-bred young lawyer and Mary, the mountain girl.
Cornwall carried the bucket into the kitchen; at which Caleb, in
surprise, called out: Dad, look! That city feller is helping Mary get
After dinner, which Cornwall did not help get, rushing out of the
kitchen as soon as he could let go of the bucket handle, having heard
Caleb's remark; they rode over the Brock and Helton two hundred-acre
surveys and called at their homes.
Mr. Rogers contracted to purchase their land at one hundred dollars
an acre, the vendors executing bonds to convey, each receiving one
thousand dollars on the purchase price; the balance to be paid after a
survey and examination of their titles.
As they were riding home, Saylor saw a drunken man staggering down
the mountain side. When he had gotten out of sight, he dismounted and
began trailing him back up the mountain. Mr. Rogers called out, The
man went the other way.
Oh, I know that! I want to find out where he came from.
Saylor returned in a few minutes, his face beaming with a ruddy,
Then, in his usually talkative mood, he expressed his opinion of his
neighbors and the transaction in reference to their land. There are
two more dang fools, who will move down in the blue grass and buy a
farm and be as much at home as a hoot owl on a dead snag in the noon
day sun with a flock of crows cawing at him. In about two years they
will sell out to some sharper and move back to some mountain cove or
crick bottom and start all over again; or when they gits their money
they will hop the train cars for Kansas and settle on a government
claim twenty miles from a drap of water; then mosey back here in about
five years with nothing but their kids, the old woman, two bony horses,
a prairie schooner and a yaller dog.
As they came in the door, Mary was just completing preparation for
supper. The table was made more attractive by a red figured table cloth
instead of the brown and white oil cloth one. In the center was a pot
of delicate ferns. The regular fare of corn bread, hog meat, corn field
beans, potatoes, sorghum and coffee, had been supplemented by some
nicely browned chicken, a roll of butter, biscuits and a dish of yellow
apples and red plums.
As they came to supper, a gentle rain began falling which continued
long into the night.
Cornwall, standing by his chair and noticing again that places were
prepared for the men only, said; Mrs. Saylor, the rain makes it so
cozy and home-like, you, Miss Mary and Susie fix places and eat with
us; I am sure we will all have a better time.
Saylor stopped eating long enough to add;Do, it will seem like a
Christmas dinner in the summertime.
While Caleb remarked;He's coming along right peart.
Mary, with a laugh and blush and an appreciative smile at Mr.
Cornwall, added a place for her mother and Susie, while she served the
Cornwall, who had paid little attention to the girl, furtively
watching her, was impressed by her competence and winsomeness. She was
a healthy sun-browned brunette of eighteen; had attended the Pineville
graded school for three years and the summer before passed the
examination and qualified as a teacher. She had been given the school
at the forks of the creek and was paid a salary of thirty-five dollars
a month, most of which went to pay her father's taxes and for books.
The children of her school were of divers ages and sizes. There were
lank boys taller than Mary and little girls that needed to be cuddled
and mothered. The native children, mostly a tow-headed lot, were easily
distinguished from the children of the families at the mines, whose
parents were from Naples or Palermo.
Not even the girls from Southern Italy had blacker hair or more
dreamy eyes than Mary's. Hers was a seeming nature and appearance made
of a composite of the girls of her school; natives of the hills and the
aliens of the blue Mediterranean.
Some of the foreign boys who knew little English were carefully
grounded in mathematics and certain physical sciences. Their
proficiency made it a difficult task for their immature teacher. She
was aware of her limitations and struggled faithfully to overcome them,
spending many hours to qualify herself in mathematics and as a
That night, as the others were grouped about the door, talking or
listening to the rain, she sat near a table on which burned a small
unshaded oil lamp, studying out some grievous problems to her, in the
Cornwall, noting her worried expression and how persistently she
applied a slate rag, asked Susie, who sat near the table, to change
places with him, and moving the chair near Mary's took the slate and by
a few suggestions gave just the needed assistance; and in such a
concise way that the quick though untrained mind of the girl found no
further difficulties in solving the other problems of the lesson.
Thanks, Mr. Cornwall, for helping me. At least tomorrow I will have
the best of those big boys. It is surprising how easy the seemingly
hard things are after you have learned to do them.
Shortly after sunrise the following morning, Mr. Rogers and Cornwall
said good-bye to their host and his family and rode off down the creek.
They had gone but a short distance when they overtook Mary and Susie
on their way to school. They rode slowly keeping pace with the walking
Mr. Cornwall and I feel we should make our excuses for the
additional labor our visit has caused you.
We are glad you stopped over at our home. The life is lonely at
times and the face and talk of a stranger break the monotony. Besides
Mr. Cornwall helped me with my studies. I hope when you pass this way
you will find time to stop again.
I doubt if I shall come, but Mr. Cornwall, who is to be our local
attorney at Harlan, must return in a week or so to supervise the Brock
and Helton surveys and will be making occasional trips to Pineville.
After he becomes a better horseman you may see him occasionally riding
on his own saddle horse, comfortably seated on a hard saddle and
carrying his clothing and papers in a pair of saddle bags. Now he finds
the trip tiresome, later he will find the ride exhilarating and your
house a convenient resting place; am I right Cornwall?
I desire to express my thanks and shall be glad of any opportunity
to stop and see you again.
Here we are at the Salt Trace road; you follow it over the mountain
to the river, then up the river valley to Poor Fork which you cross
almost within sight of the town. Goodbye to both and good luck to Judge
Cornwall; come again.
Their road after crossing the mountains was up the Cumberland
Valley, hemmed in on the north by the gracefully sloping spurs of Pine
Mountain and flanked on the south by the more rugged and closely
encroaching Cumberland mountains.
The river gurgles and murmurs and surges along over a bottom of
boulders or lies restfully placid over a bottom of sand. In these
pool-like reaches many large rocks, shaken from the mountain tops in
ages past, lift their gray heads high above the water and give to the
scene a touch of rugged grandeur.
The water is so clear that the natives climb into the overhanging
elms or sycamores, or lie peering down from a jutting rock and do their
fishing with a Winchester.
About ten o'clock the travelers crossed the Poor Fork and fifteen
minutes later rode into Harlan Town; and to the office of the company;
a three-story red brick building fronting the court house square.
CORNWALL LOCATES IN HARLAN.
With the exception of a few counties in western Kentucky, no
official survey was ever made of the state. In the unsurveyed portion
grants for land issued by the Commonwealth varied in size from a few
acres to as many as two hundred thousand; and called for natural
objects as beginning and boundary corners.
The result of such a lax system was that often the same boundary was
covered by several grants; and the senior grant held the land.
Many grants were so indefinite of description, the beginning corner
calling for certain timber or a large stone in a heavily timbered and,
in sections, rocky country, as to be impossible of identification or
location. Other grants were so poorly surveyed as to be void for
uncertainty and yet other boundaries were claimed by squatters who held
by adverse possession against any paper title.
A person owning the paper title to a thousand acre boundary
traceable to the Commonwealth without break or flaw, might not be the
owner in fact of a single acre of land; as the whole boundary might be
covered by senior grants or the natural objects called for, impossible
The only way to be assured of a good title was to make a careful
abstract, following that up by an actual survey and obtaining from any
person in possession a written declaration that their possession and
claim was not adverse to the title and claim of your vendor.
The public records were imperfectly kept and indexed; which made
Cornwall's work for the company a series of petty and tiresome
Two weeks after his arrival the Harlan Circuit Court convened. He
was immediately put into harness and called upon to assist in the trial
of several important ejectment suits.
The first week of the term was taken up with criminal business.
There were three murder cases, two of which were tried. The other cases
were petty in nature, the defendants being charged with carrying
concealed weapons, shooting on the highway and boot-legging.
During the second week he assisted in the trial of two ejectment
cases, one of which was lost. The third and most important case was set
for the fourteenth day of the term. It involved five hundred acres of
coal land worth more than twenty-five thousand dollars; and though
Judge Finch, local counsel for the company assured him it would go
over, he had the company's witnesses on hand and carried to the court
house the file, which included the title papers and an abstract; but he
had never examined them.
When the case was called the other side announced ready and they,
not being able to show cause for a continuance, were forced into trial.
While the jury was being empaneled Judge Finch leaned over and
whispered:Go ahead and help select the jury, the panel looks pretty
good. I have to leave. He picked up his hat and hastened from the
court room, giving Cornwall no time to object. In about twenty minutes
the jury was selected; Cornwall being assisted by one of the company's
Then the court called upon him to state his case to the jury.
Judge I know nothing of the case, Judge Finch was here a few
minutes ago and was to try it.
The case must go on; do the best you can. The court will take a
recess of fifteen minutes to give counsel an opportunity to examine the
papers and familiarize himself with the case. Mr. Sheriff, call Judge
The case proceeded in the absence of Judge Finch and the next day in
the mid-afternoon was completed; the jury returning a verdict in favor
of the company.
Cornwall ordered a horse and inquiring the road to Judge Finch's
house, who lived on Wallins Creek, rode out to see him. There he sat on
his porch, coatless, in carpet slippers, playing cinch with three farm
Hello John, have a cheer, do you play cinch?
(One of the hands) Jedge, your corn is mighty weedy, you better let
us go back to our hoeing.
By gosh! You are working for me aint you; and if I want you to play
cards instead of hoe, that's my business.
John, how did you come out with the Asher case?
The jury returned a verdict for the company. Judge you certainly
left me in a hole running off like you did.
By gosh! the family was out'er meal and I just had to go to mill
for a turn.
* * * * *
When one of the witnesses in the Asher case told Mr. Rogers of the
desertion of Cornwall and the case by Judge Finch he said; I suppose
we must depend upon Cornwall alone or get Mr. Low or Judge Hall to help
him. This company is through with Finch. I certainly would have
trembled in my shoes, had I known Cornwall was handling it alone. He's
a good boy. I hope the verdict won't make a fool of him. I think not,
since he never mentioned Finch's desertion.
Two days later court adjourned and the following Monday the Bell
Circuit Court convened. The first case of importance on the docket was
that of the Commonwealth against Saylor for the murder of Caleb
Saturday afternoon, before Mr. Rogers left for Hagan, Virginia on
his way to Pittsburgh, he said:
Mr. Cornwall, go to Pineville Monday and begin the abstracts of the
Brock and Helton titles to the land the company bought on Straight
Cornwall, a poor horseman, not yet hardened to such exercise, broke
the ride by traveling down the river, Sunday afternoon and over Salt
Trace to the Saylor home; not wholly unmindful that Mary was a good
looking girl and agreeable company.
When he rode up, the house had a deserted appearance. Mrs. Saylor
and Susie were in the barn milking. All the rest of the family had gone
to Pineville to be present at the trial, and Susie and her mother were
leaving the next day.
He lay awake half the night thinking of Mary and his mother and
listening to the penetrating tones of a hoot owl far up the mountain
side. The house did not seem the same as the one at which he had
stopped less than a month before. He was homesick and felt inclined to
return to Louisville.
When he rode into Pineville at noon the next day he found the hotel
crowded with visiting lawyers and litigants. The Commonwealth's
attorney told him that the Saylor case was set for hearing the
following morning and that the prosecution was ready for trial. He also
learned that Saylor was treating the case as a joke and had employed
Squire Putman to represent him for twenty-five dollars; which he said
was a big price for the services he would or could render. I can
always depend upon the Squire to help convict his client. It is a
mystery to the bar how he ever obtained license to practice law.
In the evening Cornwall visited the other hotel and a large boarding
house in search of the Saylors but was unable to find any of them.
When the court house bell rang in the morning he went over, and up
the stairway, into the court room, just as the judge called for
motions. Introduced by the commonwealth's attorney he was sworn in as a
practicing attorney of the Bell Circuit Court.
He expected to see some of the Saylor family seated beyond the
railing, but again was disappointed; nor did he find them after a
search through the corridors and public offices. He then went into the
county clerk's office and began making an abstract of the Brock title.
At noon when he returned to the court room they were in the trial of
the Saylor case. On the right sat Squire Putman and his client and
behind them, Mrs. Saylor, Mary and Susie.
Saylor and his counsel had an air of easy confidence; Mrs. Saylor
the set face and look of an unhappy fatalist; Mary's expression was one
of worried interest and sadness; Susie suppressed an occasional sob.
To Cornwall the jury seemed a rather unsatisfactory one, they looked
bored and unsympathetic. The panel was made up of business men of
Pineville and Middlesboro, who resented being kept from their
occupations at a busy season. They were new citizens who had moved into
the mountains since the development of the coal fields and had little
use or sympathy for pistol toters or feudists.
There was one exception, Elhannon Howard, Saylor's neighbor. He sat
in a listless and inattentive attitude, probably thinking of his patch
of hillside corn or the Southdown ram.
Summing up the situation, realizing how kindly and informally he had
been received into and entertained in the Saylor home, Cornwall
regretted that when refusing the fee of $25.00 he had not volunteered
his services in the defense. He would have done so at the time, but
supposed that Mr. Saylor would employ competent counsel to defend him.
The trial was a short one. The Commonwealth, in addition to making
out its technical case, proved threats on the part of Saylor and that
Saylor admitted the killing.
Saylor on the stand told the same story he had told Cornwall. The
defense then introduced two witnesses, who swore that the deceased had
threatened Saylor; Spencer sending word by them to Saylor that he
intended to kill him; the squire attempted to show by the doctor that
when Spencer was told by him that he could live but an hour or two, the
dying man had said: I am to blame for the trouble, but the court
excluded the declaration from the jury.
The squire in making his argument for the defense grew quite
stentorian of voice and excited in manner. He had a way of half
stooping until the long coat tails of his black frock coat touched the
floor, when he would suddenly spring upright and exclaim: Now,
gentlemen of the jury, wouldn't you be danged fools if putting
yourselves in Saylor's place you had not done as he did.
In one of these paroxysms his coat tail flapped to one side and hung
pendant on the handle of a six-shooter protruding from his hip pocket.
This explained to the jury why in midsummer he wore a frock coat. They
considered the pistol a silent witness and protest against Saylor's
acquittal and a clarion call to do their duty in upholding law and
Shortly before six the jury retired. They were out fifteen minutes
and brought in the following verdict: We, the jury, agree and find the
defendant guilty and fix his punishment at three years in the State
penitentiary. Elhannon Howard, Foreman.
When the verdict was read, the face of the squire turned red with
surprise. Saylor's face for the first time assumed a serious
expression; Mrs. Saylor burst into tears; Susie cried aloud and hung to
her father's arm; Mary grew as pale as death and her body shook as from
Cornwall, who had come into the court room during the squire's
argument and who, after bowing to Mary and Mrs. Saylor, had taken a
seat behind them, came forward.
Never mind, Mary, we shall find a way to get him off. Let me go
with you and your mother to where you are stopping. I tried to find you
The sheriff came forward and, taking Saylor by the arm, said: Come
on, Mr. Saylor.
The woman kissed the condemned man a hasty farewell. He and the
sheriff went out one door toward the jail; the Saylor family and
Cornwall another, walking up the street to old Pineville, to the home
of Mary's aunt.
In the morning Mary and her mother came by the court house and asked
Cornwall to go with them to the jail, as that afternoon they had to
It was a sad group that gathered in the little jail parlor, while
the jailer stood at the door.
Well, young man, I guess you know more law than me or old Putman. I
seem to be in bad because I did not take your view and advice, instead
of hiring that cheap lawyer. We had only Mary's money; I did not want
to sell or mortgage our home, and if I had not killed Simpson, he would
have got me shore.
You may have a chance, Mr. Saylor, with the Court of Appeals. I do
not think the court should have excluded Simpson's dying declaration;
it seemed relevant.
I shorely hope so on account of the old woman and the kids. Mary
will lose her school on my account; she can't keep those big boys quiet
now. You look after my case for me and write Mr. Rogers that I will
sell his company the home place.
Do not sell your place to pay a fee to me. You can pay that after
you are out. Mary and I will attend to the costs of the appeal, which
will not be much, as the record is small.
Saylor's wife and daughter bid him a rather stoical farewell, so far
as tears and talk were concerned, though their pallid faces indicated
the pain of separation was heartfelt. Mountain women have not a fluent
line of chit-chat, nor are they demonstrative in their griefs.
They walked with Cornwall back to the court house, where, after
thanking him for what he had done and expressing a wish to see him
soon, they left, returning home in the afternoon.
Cornwall sent Mr. Rogers the following telegram: Saylor convicted,
three years penitentiary. Offers Straight Creek land for thirty
thousand. Hope company can afford to pay thirty-five. John Cornwall.
He received this answer: Land worth thirty-five thousand, company
will pay that amount if title and survey hold three hundred acres. H.
For the next ten days Cornwall was very busy at Pineville. He found
the paper titles to the Brock and Saylor surveys perfect. The Helton
boundary necessitated a suit to clear the title to about one-half of
the survey. He filed a motion for a new trial in the Saylor case, which
the court promptly overruled; then asked and was granted an appeal to
the Court of Appeals. The court stenographer made a transcript of the
testimony; a bill of exceptions was filed and approved and within ten
days after Saylor's trial and conviction; his appeal was formally filed
A WEEK IN A MOUNTAIN HOME.
There are some free-thinking souls who love nature and the primitive
so well as to believe that Providence made a mistake in permitting men
to pass beyond the pastoral stage.
There are many who, though they love art, literature and the other
gifts and comforts of civilization, would trade all to live in a
primitive mountain home; to call their time, a house of logs and a few
barren fields, my own.
They care not for the smoke of many chimneys, or the surging crowd
or the ceaseless din of commercial centers. They love the view from
mountain tops, where hills peep over hills and pinnacles are clothed in
clouds. They love the peace and quiet of the sheltered coves; where the
timber grows verdant and strong, fern-bordered fountains burst forth to
life, and the squirrels and other free things dwell. They love a home
site in a secluded valley near the head of a gurgling, restless,
mountain river and think to live a life of peace, dividing the glories
of mountain and plain. But wherever man would rest and hide his head
and heart, giant care comes with a club and the huntress misfortune
finds her way with a full quiver.
Mary, who had done no wrong and expected no punishment, when she
returned home, found these two unbidden guests awaiting her. Her eyes
were opened to see sorrow; which all the world knows.
The following morning when she walked up to the school house door
the children stood in groups talking in subdued tones. The little girls
for the first time since the early days of the term failed to rush
forward and greet her. She rang the bell; they came in slowly and
rebelliously, the big boys last of all. Several of the children, among
them those of one of the trustees, were absent.
Tim Fields, a lanky, overgrown boy of sixteen, after having been
reproved, continued talking to his desk-mate. When Mary told him he
must behave or go home, he arose and, starting towards the door, said:
I guess I will go anyway; pap said, last night, he didn't think a
convict's daughter oughter handle this here school and he was going to
see the trustees and the county superintendent and git ma's sister in.
A few minutes later, Luigi Poggi, whose seat near the window
overlooked the creek, saw him on the bank throwing small boulders at a
flock of geese.
He raised his hand, and snapping his fingers to attract attention,
asked, and was given permission, to go to the spring for a bucket of
water. When out of sight of the teacher he whistled for Tim and walked
on slowly down towards the spring, until he came to a dusty, bare spot
in the path under a tree, where the boys played keeps.
Tim, what did you say that to teacher for; she's good to all of
What you got to do with it, you Dago?
This, and he struck Tim in the face with the empty water bucket.
They fought in the sand path for about five minutes; when Luigi,
throwing Tim face down, rubbed and bumped his head in the sand until
Tim could scarcely breathe through his bleeding nose and his mouth
choked with dust and sand.
When he said, 'nuff, Luigi let him up, and returned to the school
house with a dirty, scratched face, but a full bucket of spring water.
Luigi, what made you so long?
I fell down.
Are you hurt?
Go down to the creek and wash your face.
On Friday morning not more than half of the school were present.
Saturday afternoon the county superintendent called at the Saylor
home and, telling Mary that several of the trustees objected to her
keeping the school, asked for her resignation, which she wrote out and
* * * * *
The days were pleasant and busy ones for Cornwall. He looked forward
with pleasure, as to a vacation, when he should return to Straight
Creek and make the survey of the Brock, Helton and Saylor properties,
and for that purpose chose that delightful season in October; last
harvest time for man and beast, when the corn is ripe and the nuts
loosened by the early frost are showering upon the ground like manna
for all. It is the beginning of Indian summer, when nature, festive and
placid of mood, clothes the hills in shades of red and brown; and,
fearful that man, who is inclined to overlook nearby joys and pleasures
for more distant and less certain ones, might overlook the familiar
hills, even though freshly painted, hides her far-off attractions with
a hazy curtain.
As the party came down over Salt Trace into the Straight Creek
valley, in full accord with the perfect day and as gay of heart as the
trees were gayly colored, they met Caleb going down the creek road with
the old squirrel rifle, longer of barrel than the small boy.
Where now, hunter, just at sunset, when most hunters seek the
camp? was Cornwall's greeting.
I'm going down to Elhannon Howard's. Ma told me he sent pap to
jail. I shore will fix him if this gun don't bust.
Wait a minute. That's a fine gun; let me have a look at it. It's
mighty heavy. I'll ride down with you and carry it until we get within
sight of the house. Has Elhannon any boys?
How old are they?
John is eleven; Henry is nine.
John is a big, strong boy. I bet you are afraid of him. If you were
not, it would be great fun to beat him up with your fists or kick him
in the slats, or throw him in the creek and make him holler 'nuff.
Why not save Elhannon for your dad when he gets out? He might not want
you to do his fighting for him. Did he ask you to take a shot at old
No, I ha'int thought about that.
You didn't say you were not afraid of John Howard.
No, I'm not. Why?
If you were not afraid of him, you would leave your gun at home and
tomorrow beat him up at school.
I believe I will go back home and beat him up at school tomorrow;
but recess will be plenty long to wait.
Oh, we better go on; he's older and bigger than you; you are afraid
of him. You better tackle him with your gun.
Waste powder and ball on that chump? Not me; I'm not afraid of any
of them Howards. I'm hungry; supper's about ready; let's go home. I
shore hope he comes to school tomorrow.
Say, boy, are those your hogs? Why don't you feed them some corn?
They shore am poor. Them's old man Lewis'. He lives down the crick
below here. This time last year he turned them out to eat the mast.
After the mast was gone he still let them run and would go out with a
basket of corn and feed them. He's dumb, he can't holler. He called
them by pounding with a rock on a dead snag. Since the woodpecker's
came this spring them fool hawgs have nigh 'bout run themselves to
Here, boy, take your gun; there's a squirrel.
That's right; give her here.
He's a nice fat one.
Yes, there's plenty of nuts now.
I don't believe I would reload her now; there's the house.
Mr. Cornwall, I'll loan you my gun tomorrow and you can go
You better let me have her all the time we are surveying the land.
Cornwall was met at the gate by Mary and her mother; they both
seemed pleased to see him. Caleb took his horse to the barn and,
removing the saddle, turned him loose for a roll in the dusty lot. Then
he was put in a box stall and given three sheaves of oats.
Mrs. Saylor, you see I am back and have brought three others with
me. We will be here a week. I hope you will not find us too
troublesome. The two chainmen will sleep in the loft on the hay, so as
not to crowd you.
We are glad to have you; come right in.
Miss Mary, you must treat us like home folks; no extra work now or
we will move down to old man Howard's. Your school and those big boys
are enough of a worry.
I have more time. They have another teacher at the school, Mrs.
Field's sister. They removed me because of father's conviction.
The county superintendent and the trustees.
When we buy your father's land, why don't you go east to school?
I have been thinking of that. What school would you suggest?
Go to one of the bestWellesley.
The next morning at sun-up the party started surveying the Saylor
property. This they completed in two days; the boundary held three
hundred and five acres.
Cornwall insisted on carrying Caleb's rifle; but the only squirrels
they got were those killed by Henry Saylor. He was sixteen; a good
axeman, and employed to blaze the lines and locate the corners.
Saturday morning they started on the Brock boundary; but quit work
about four o'clock in the afternoon and had a most refreshing swim in a
deep pool of the creek before supper.
Sunday afternoon the family went down to the school house, to
meeting. It was the first time Mary had been in the building or seen
many of her acquaintances since the school had been taken from her.
When she walked in accompanied by Cornwall and Duffield, the
surveyor, her face shone with happiness. Cornwall had dispelled the
cloud of misfortune that had overshadowed it by the assurance that her
father would be given a new trial and acquitted. Since her active,
ambitious mind was building glorious castles of hope on the prospects
of refinement and education, she found much joy and comfort in the
company of the young lawyer; more than she admitted even to herself;
and the young surveyor and his assistants were a source of amusement
She was so occupied with and hedged about by the two furreeners
that young Doctor Foley, who had come to church with the hope of taking
her home in his new buggy, had but time to greet her and pass on.
Several of the girls, who had rejoiced at her humiliation were
disappointed when they saw how happy she seemed, saying: She's a cool
one; she don't care if her pap is in jail, now that she is bent on
catching that city lawyer.
The preacher, a circuit rider, who during each month tried to preach
not less than once at more than a dozen small log churches and school
houses, many miles apart, was a godly man who traveled over the hills
on an old gray mare, carrying most of his earthly possessions in his
saddle-bags. His hair was thin and his frame almost a shadow. His
deep-set eyes and strong face had an expression of righteousness and
peace. Years before he had loved a young woman, but knew that he could
not continue preaching in his district and support a wife. One day he
came to her home and in tears, holding her hands, made and told her his
Since then, with quivering voice but calm face, he had married her
to a friend, and baptized her two children and had buried her husband.
He loved her still, but his earthly treasurers were as meager as when
she had wedded another.
The crowd was too great for the little school house, so they came
out and sat upon the green under two great twin oaks, while God's
ambassador, standing upon a rude bench nailed between the trunks, gave
to them his message of simple words in the voice and tone of friend and
Since early morning he had preached two sermons, christened a half
dozen infants, baptized three confessors, visited a bed-ridden man and
a feeble, old, blind woman, and given burial service to one of his
congregation. Far in the night, when the day's work was done and he
slept, his were dreams of peace. Two angels with forward pendant wings
formed a mercy seat above his bed and on it sat One a thousand times
brighter than the sun, who in a voice that might be heard through
space, though softer than the music of riffled waters, spoke to him.
Well done, good and faithful servant, continue in the labor of the
But, Lord, I am lonely and weak and homeless and would rest.
Weary not in well-doing. My grace is sufficient for thee; My
strength is made perfect in weaknessyou have a home not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens.
* * * * *
On Tuesday the surveying party began work on the Helton property.
This was so distant from Saylor's that they thought of moving
headquarters to Asher Brock's at the head of the creek valley; but as a
couple of days would complete the work they concluded to remain where
they were, riding forth in the morning and back in the evening.
Mary fixed a lunch, which was placed in a grain sack and tied behind
Cornwall's saddle. Near noon they stopped to rest and eat under some
elms in the upper creek valley, when Cornwall discovered that the lunch
was gone, the sack having been pulled off while he was riding through
the dense underbrush.
Their appetites were whetted by the smell of frying ham, wind-wafted
down the creek from Asher Brock's. They rode to the house and asked to
share the meal. The maintainer is like the Arab; he never refuses to
entertain a guest.
The old man sat at the end of the table, with Duffield on his right
and his daughter, a girl about seventeen, and barefooted, next beyond.
The family circle was large and, with the four guests, the table was
In the midst of the meal they were startled by the girl who, crying
Ouch! jumped up from the table.
Her father, looking at Duffield with murder in his eye, said:
What's the matter, Cinthy?
The cat scratched my foot.
The old man looked under the table for confirmation; and there sat
the old, black cat, looking as innocent as a Madonna. And the family
resumed the meal.
That afternoon, as they were running one of the lines, Cornwall said
to Duffield: That cat saved your life.
Heck! That cat scared me to death.
Oh, I'm on to you; I have heard of your tricks when you were
surveying in Clay and Leslie.
You mean that time over on Red Bird; that is the greatest fishing
stream in Kentucky, and most appropriately named, as each papaw bush
and hazel and blackberry thicket is the home of a family of red birds.
From Big to Bear Creek it is a succession of riffles and smooth
pools. These pools are the favored haunts and playgrounds of bass,
perch and soft-shell turtles. A single drag with a minnow seine in one
of the feeding brooks will give you an ample supply of bait. When
carefully keeping behind the overhanging shore brush and exercising
caution not to knock brush or clod into the stream, an hour's mediocre
effort is rewarded by a dozen bass of uniform size, weighing about a
pound each. Should you make an unusual noise, break a twig or cause the
sandy bank to cave and ripple the water, you must pass on to the next
pool and use more caution.
We were stopping at old man White's. The house had three rooms in
the front. It was in the spring, and at night we sat in the big middle
room around the open fireplace and joined in the family conversation.
This was the bedroom of the old folks. Their grown daughter, who
attended school, sat by the table worrying over her lessons in compound
interest, the practical application of which in after years would be as
needful as a mariner's compass to steer her father's log canoe, tied to
the root of a sycamore. I went over and helped her a bit and she became
quite cordial in manner.
When I handed back her slate, I wrote upon it: 'By moonlight, when
all is still, I will play Romeo under your window.' I saw that she read
it when, with a half-blush, half-smile, she applied the rag with vigor
to her slate. I knew she understood. All the girls in this broad land,
though they may not know the sum of seven times eight, are familiar
with the story of Romeo and Juliet and the balcony scene in ancient
Coleman Reid was with me. You know he is always butting in when
there is a girl around. He came over and began drawing cartoons on the
slate and, satisfied with prospective arrangements, I gave him my seat,
taking his by the fire.
In a short while the girl and her sister went to their room on the
right end of the house and Reid and I to ours on the left.
Reid wore his hair long and roached back; mine I have always worn
short. We undressed and went to bed, both pretending to be sleepy.
After an hour I got up, dressed, and started out, when my friend,
who had been playing possum all the time, said: 'Where are you going?'
'I'm not sleepy; I think I will take a little walk.'
'Don't you want your hat?'
And so I walked around to the north end of the house, where our
host's daughter sat at the open window.
I said something about it being a pleasant night, to which she
'Ayr you the long-haired or the short-haired one?'
'The short-haired one.'
'Bend over so I can feel and see.'
So I bent over, happy to have my clipped locks caressed by her
capable hands, when she gave me a crack with a rolling pin or some
other delicate instrument. And, without a word, half staggering, I
walked out from the shadow of the house into the moonlight and sat down
on the stile blocks until I could distinguish the real from the
artificial stars. Then I went in and to bed.
Reid was half-dressed when I came in and, about the time I climbed
into bed, he went out the door for a walk, blaming me for waking him
In a little while he came back, looking the worse for wear. A few
drops of blood discolored his cheek near the ear. He never told me what
happened. I only know that after that night he was not so restless and
took no moonlight strolls.
The next night I helped the girl again with her compound interest,
but Reid talked to the old man about running logs down the river on the
Thursday morning, Cornwall and his party, having completed the
surveys, returned to Harlan.
A week later Mrs. Saylor met him by appointment in Pineville. They
went to the jail with a notary, when she and her husband executed a
deed to the Pittsburgh Coal &Coke Company for the Straight Creek place,
and were given a check for the purchase price, thirty-five thousand
THE SAYLORS MOVE TO THE BLUEGRASS.
In November the Court of Appeals reversed the case of Saylor against
the Commonwealth and remanded it for retrial. Saylor gave bail in the
sum of three thousand dollars and was discharged from custody.
He passed the first two or three days of his freedom at the old
place on Straight Creek; then he and his wife took the train at
Pineville for Richmond and spent more than a week driving through the
country examining farms on the market in Garrard, Madison and Clark
counties. They finally purchased one in Madison County, between Silver
Creek and Paint Lick.
Then they returned home and, after preparations were completed for
their departure, loaded their household goods into a two-horse wagon
and drove through, nearly a hundred miles, to the new home. The women
folks rode in the wagon. The old man and the boys preceded them on
horseback, driving their small bunch of cattle and sheep.
Before the move, Cornwall received a letter from Mary asking that he
write Wellesley, making inquiries as to the cost of the course and the
preparation necessary to matriculate. This he did and forwarded the
reply to her on Straight Creek. A few days later he received a short
note of thanks for that and the many other services he had rendered
them. She also asked that he come and see them before their removal and
gave the new home address.
He intended riding over to Straight Creek before they moved, but
court was in session and he was very busy. When he did make the trip,
he found the house deserted.
He saw no member of the family until the February term of the Bell
Circuit Court, which Saylor and his wife attended for his retrial.
He received a Christmas card from Mary, mailed at Wellesley, and
wrote her a note of thanks for the remembrance, of congratulation at
the realization of her desire, and a wish that the New Year might prove
one of happiness and further realization.
Old man Saylor, dispensing with the services of Squire Putman,
insisted that Cornwall try his case alone and fix his own fee; but not
being acquainted in the county, he asked Judge Hurst to help,
particularly in selecting the jury, and paid him $150.00 of the $500.00
fee charged Saylor for services in the Court of Appeals and the retrial
of his case.
All new residents of the county on the panel, if not excused for
cause, were peremptorily challenged. The case was tried by a native
jury that had respect for Saylor's plea of self-defense and apparent
necessity and who understood what Simpson's threat meant. They were out
about twenty minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty.
Cornwall, knowing with what anxiety Mary would await news of the
trial, telegraphed her: All court matters concluded and to your entire
satisfaction; so wording it that she might not be embarrassed.
Saylor and his wife after the trial exhibited no haste to return to
the Bluegrass or to re-establish social relations with their new
neighbors. They spent several days visiting up the creek and in old
One night they called at Cornwall's hotel. Little was said about the
trial, though Mrs. Saylor shed a few tears and called Cornwall a good
boy. As usual, the old man did most of the talking.
Well, young man, how are you coming on up to Harlan Town. I shore
do miss old Pine Mountain and the rocks and trees; the jingle of the
bells as the cows at evening hasten homeward from the timbered hills;
the big, open fireplace with its light and glow of burning oak and
chestnut where we huddled in happy talk and kinship; the darkness of
the night where even the moon came slowly over the mountain and peeped
timidly through the trees; the stillness of the night when all in the
house might hear Susie whispering her prayers and the whippoorwills
calling in the thickets.
The first thing in the morning I used ter go by the friendly, old
well and drink a gourdful of the soft, cool water, then feed Tom and
Jerry and bring in an armload of wood. As I came in the door the frosty
air was sweet with the smell of home-cured bacon which the old woman
was fixing fer breakfast and when I sat down there it was jest right, a
streak of lean and of fat showing in thin layers. And the big pones of
cornbread hot from the Dutch oven; of meal fresh from the old water
mill and sweet to the taste; a big dish of fried apples, a jug of
sorghum and a glass of milk. It was a nice place to live. I would not
care to pass the old house now. The door might be shut, the fireplace
cold; I would find no welcoming face.
Mr. Saylor, what about the new home?
Oh, it does pretty good; the cattle are picking up, but Tray sits
in the open o' nights and howls at the moon. We have three hundred
acres, mostly pasture, with a few oak, walnut and wild cherry trees and
a muddy pond or two and a thimble spring. There's one little thicket in
a draw big enough to hide a cotton tail. The world is too big down
there and I can see too far all ways at once; too many homes and men
and too few hills and trees. The house is of brick with a porch and big
pillars three feet through that reach to the roof. We sleep upstairs;
there are ten rooms; but there is no place to sit and toast your shins.
Can't see a fire in the house and it is as hot and stuffy as hell; got
one of them hot-air things down in the cellar; she shore eats up the
coal. There are no whippoorwills and no hoot owls, but lots of crows
and jay birds and meadow larks. I like to hear that little,
yaller-chested feller whistle from the pasture gatepost. Far off to the
south, when the air is keen and the sun shines bright, you can see the
blue mountains. The window of the barn loft looks that way. When I
ain't feeling right peart, I go out to the barn and climb up to the
loft. I used to keep a joint of stove pipe up there. When I held that
tight to my face I could look through and see nothing but them hills.
Last month down at Richmond town I bought me a spy glass. It's a good
one and she brings them close.
One day a young feller who lives on yan side of Silver Creek rid up
in a side bar buggy. I thought he was kinder expecting to git
acquainted with Mary. He tied at the gate and come in. I met him in the
front yard where we keep the calves and let the sheep run. He walked up
and shook hands and says: 'I'm Bradley Clay.' I says: 'Dang it, I can't
help it.' He kinder stiffened his back, then he laffed and says: 'Mr.
Saylor, there is a stock sale down at Paint Lick Saturday; come down;
you might get some good cattle and sheep cheap for your fine pasture
lands.' I says: 'All right, young feller, I'll be thar. Will you come
in the house and have a cheer?' He says, 'No,' and rides off. I went
over and bought some right good stock pretty cheap.
The men were right friendly, specially Jack Gallagher, the
auctioneer, and we passed a few jokes. There was a whole bunch of wimen
folks there, but I didn't meet none of them and they don't seem to
visit round much, at least they don't come much to our house. I
sometimes think the old woman is most as lonesome as I be.
Caleb went over to the Paint Lick school house after Christmas;
kept it up three days and had a fight every day, then he had the mumps.
That boy is young yet, jest ten, so we let him quit the school, 'cause
the teacher called him a mountain wildcat. He traded a feller out of a
fox hound; now he and his houn' dog hunt rabbits and 'possums nigh
'bout all day long.
Mary went east to school about Thanksgiving. It cost me nine
hundred dollars, but she's a good girl and helped you git me off. She
writes her mother nearly every day. I do hope you git down to see us
soon. They tell me there are some nice-looking gals 'round our
settlement. You can have the big boy's buggy which he bought ter take
Clay's terbaccy tenant's darter buggy riding. Do you dance? So do I,
but not their kind down there. They hug each other tight and slip
erlong, while we shuffle our feet and swing.
Before I go back I am going up to Berry Howard's and try to buy a
hundred-weight of home-cured bacon. Well, old woman, I think you and
this here young lawyer have talked erbout enough. Let's go on up to
Aunt Mandy's and go to bed. Come down soon; good luck and, as Caleb
learned from that Dago, 'boney sarah.'
CORNWALL BUYS A HOME.
About eight months after Cornwall settled in Harlan, an old brick
house fronting the principal residence street, with a large yard of
forest trees and behind it a garden extending back to the river, about
three acres, was offered for sale. Cornwall, who was present as a
spectator, became suddenly and irresistibly possessed with a desire to
purchase it, and did so for fifty-eight hundred dollars, paying
one-third of the purchase price down, which was all the money he had,
borrowing the remainder from the local bank.
After a careful examination of the house and grounds, which he had
not done in advance of the purchase, he became convinced he had made a
bargain and was confirmed in that idea when, two months later, Mr.
Neal, the owner of some coal properties on Clover Fork, who had brought
his family from Louisville to Harlan, offered seventy-five hundred
dollars for it.
This offer he declined, because he had already written his mother of
the purchase, telling her the place was to be their home, and how well
satisfied he was with his work, and of the prospect for better things
the little mountain city offered. She had answered that it was her
intention to visit him as soon as the railroad was completed, when, if
he was as well satisfied and she found the place one-half as nice as he
declared it to be, she would remain and they would try to make the old
place a comfortable home.
He answered at once that: Several Louisville and Lexington families
have recently moved here, quite nice people, and you will find
sufficient social entertainment for one of your quiet disposition. When
we can afford to repair and remodel the house and furnish it, using
your handsome, old furniture, we will be very comfortable. Personally,
I can conceive of no more satisfactory arrangement. The railroad from
Pineville will be completed in less than a month, which will give
connection by rail with Louisville. Then you can ship our household
effects through and find the trip a reasonably comfortable one.
Upon the completion of the railroad the little mountain city assumed
quite a metropolitan air. Many strangers came to town. This made
business; and Cornwall had as much to do as he could comfortably handle
and retain his position with the company.
While at breakfast on the 6th of July, he was handed a telegram
announcing his mother's arrival on the morning train. The hotel was
crowded, but he procured a comfortable room and made arrangements to
meet her with a carriage. Then he went to the office and worked until
it was time to drive to the station.
As he came out upon the platform the train pulled in; and his
mother, whom he had not seen for a year, waved to him from the rear
platform. He caught her in his arms and lifted her down, while she shed
a few happy tears and responded to his caresses. Then taking her hand
baggage in one hand and her arm with the other, he started towards the
One moment, John; I beg your pardon, Dorothy. This is my son, John
Cornwall; and John, this is Miss Dorothy Durrett, a niece of Mrs.
Neal's. She is making her a visit and expects to remain during the
summer. We came all the way together. I met her just after the train
left the Louisville station; we had opposite berths last night and
breakfast in Pineville at the same table, so we are fairly well
Miss Durrett I know your uncle very well and have met your aunt. I
do not see either of them here.
I should have telegraphed, but am careless about such matters.
I have a carriage at the door and lots of room; mother and I will
be glad to drive you to your uncle's.
I have found your mother such agreeable company, I would like to
continue the journey with her, even to uncle's door.
The three walked to the street together, entered the carriage and
drove first to the Neal residence, where they left Miss Durrett, then
to the hotel.
Mrs. Cornwall liked the town. Its location on the river bank and the
sloping foothills of Pine Mountain, the murmur of the river, and the
quiet, practical lives of her neighbors, all fit into her idea of a
place to live. The yard and garden of the place her son had purchased
she found charming and in sweet concord with the river and the hills.
She was not a critical woman, but all she could say in favor of the
house was; It is substantial and seemingly built to withstand the
incursions of time. Though it had been built before the Civil War, the
foundation of stone, the wails of red brick and the roof of steel gray
slate, were as sound as when first constructed. The arched front door,
bordered with a transom and small panes of glass, was the one artistic
thing; and she declared must not be altered. But the small iron porch,
little longer than the width of the doorway, must be supplanted by a
broad veranda, the roof of which should be supported by massive
colonial pillars, in keeping with the grounds, and curative of the
barrenness of the house.
The interior, she said, was a desecration of architecture as an
ornamental science, a waste of room and a destruction of grace and
beauty. Though John would not concede the waste of room, since every
thing was built on a right angle plan and nothing appropriated room but
the partition walls and a narrow stairway. The interior looked as
though it were fashioned by artisans who were zealous disciples of a
carpenter's square and who carried it about for insistent and perpetual
use. She pointed out where many new windows must be cut or old ones
enlarged and considerably modified in form.
John, you and I must save our money for the next year, then we will
have an architect give our modifications the sanction of his approval.
We must not be too precipitate with alterations; living in the old
house as it is a year, will settle just what we desire. In the meantime
we can find plenty to do in the yard and garden.
I have four thousand dollars in bank which I have been saving for
you. We will use it to pay off the balance of the purchase price and to
supplement my furniture, which is not more than half enough for the
How happy we shall be planning and changing the house and grounds
to suit our mutual fancy. It will be the second time for me. When your
father was thirty we had saved three thousand dollars, just enough to
buy a little home. Then we changed our plan and built one fresh and
new. He died before the newness wore away and the place really looked
like home. I believe your plan the better one; to buy an old home with
a large front yard of great forest trees and a garden back of the
kitchen, a house of substantial wall and foundation and living in it,
as fancy dictates or need requires or purse affords, make your
alterations; then the place grows from strangeness to sympathy and
takes on individuality.
These old cherry and pear trees we will make room for in our plans.
But you must cut out the dead tops and spray the trees. We want even
these old trees to look comfortable and happy. Oh, they are sickle
pears and nearly ripe. Just such ones as grew on father's place near
Middletown; and I, a girl in sun bonnet and gingham apron, climbed the
trees or picked them from a ladder. I must have a sun bonnet again and
some gingham aprons. When you come home in the evening I will stand
erect or walk with a sprightly step as a young girl and the sun bonnet
will hide my gray hair and pale face and you will say; 'I wonder who
that slender country girl is out under the trees? I suppose mother has
gone to the house for something.' When I turn round you will say; 'Why,
it is little mother; the mountain air and sunshine and the garden are
doing wonders for her.' John you are a good boy and you are helping
Look, John, there's a whole row of snowball and lilac bushes, and
here are some early yellow roses, and over there a border of golden
glow and a bed of lilies of the valley, and yet further on some hardy
lilies and peonies, and beyond the walk a strawberry bed and sage, and
gooseberries and red raspberries and an arbor of grape vines and a
We are at home, John. The garden makes me young again and I see
your father's face in your own. It is as though God had given me the
two in the one body. John, brush off the bench and let us sit here and
watch the shadows lengthen and fade and the coming darkness add zest
and brilliance to the full moon. Then we'll go to the house hand in
hand and you can help with the supper. You are not too hungry to wait a
They sat for some time in silence as the twilight deepened.
Mrs. Neal and her niece, Dorothy Durrett, called today. You must
take me over some evening to see them. I must not forget that you are a
man and that some time you will be looking for a wife. You must go out
occasionally, else you will appear awkward in the presence of young
ladies or be considered a crank.
I like to go, mother, but I have not much time since I've been up
here. Everything was new and I had to work hard and, even with that,
have got many a knock I might have dodged; and lost once or twice
because of inexperience. Experience in the practice is the best
professor in law, but rather hard on the client. * * * I met one nice
girl. Though her family were homely mountain people, she was making the
best of her opportunities. Last winter she took a preliminary course at
Wellesley and this fall enters the college as a freshman. I believe you
would like Mary; I did, anyway. This is Thursday; suppose we go over to
the Neals' Sunday afternoon or Monday evening.
I will go with you Sunday afternoon at four o'clock.
* * * * *
The Neal home was within easy walking distance of the Cornwall
place. John and his mother made their visit as planned. Their reception
was cordial; Dorothy showed that she was glad of the diversion.
She was quite popular with the boys of her set at home; and it was
an unusual experience when she was not called upon to entertain one or
more young men Sunday afternoon and evening.
She and Cornwall sat upon the porch, joining in the general
conversation. After a time Dorothy suggested that he carry the chairs
out in the side yard, where they sat under the shade of two wide
They talked of several recently published romances; of mutual
friends in Louisville; of their amusements, coming out parties;
engagements and of the marriage of two of their friends, which had
proven a disappointment to each party.
Well, Miss Durrett, what about the mountains; do you like them?
They are all right for the summer if you could have a big house
party, bringing your friends with you. I must confess that I have done
little but read the week I have been here.
Oh, make new friends; adapt yourself to your environment; I can do
so with the men. There are some fine young fellows here; though they
are usually at work, except when they are hunting, or swimming or
fishing. I believe girls are scarce; at least I know very few. I will
bring Duffield and Reid around from our office and ask young Cornett to
come with us. How will it do for Wednesday evening. If you feel unequal
to entertaining the four, your aunt might ask a couple of girls in.
We'll be very glad to go for them and take them home again. Give me
their names and I will arrange with the boys.
How very kind; you are just the sort of friend one needs. Let's go
at once and speak to Mrs Neal.
Aunt, Mr. Cornwall and I are planning a little party for Wednesday
evening. He is to be responsible for the young men and you are to ask
three of the girls who have called;and serve some light refreshments,
else Mr. Cornwall will have to take us to the drug store. Does
Wednesday evening suit you?
Yes, indeed; what girls would you suggest Mr. Cornwall?
They've hardly been in my line since I have been up here. I only
know one or two. It's nice to come not knowing who you will
meet;besides I am not as deeply interested as the other three men. I
shall speak for Miss Durrett in advance and have the pick of all
They returned to their seats under the elms and completed their
plans; Mrs. Neal having announced that she would ask Bessie Hall, Mary
Norwood and Helen Creech.
Dorothy said; The young men suggested shall go for them while you
come ahead and make yourself generally useful. This is the penalty for
being so presumptuous as to demand me as a partner before I have seen
the other gentlemen.
* * * * *
Mrs. Neal and Dorothy were both experienced entertainers and the
little party was a complete success.
From Wednesday evening the Neal home became the center of gaiety for
more than a dozen young persons. At night when Dorothy was at home each
window seat and rustic bench was the stage of a scene from the first
act of a seemingly serious love affair, had not the actors changed
partners and rehearsed the same scenes.
By day there were picnics to the mountain tops, fishing and bathing
parties, horseback rides up Clover Fork and down the river and at night
card parties, informal dances, hay rides and suppers.
Cornwall, who for more than a year had been very studious and unduly
sedate, went everywhere; making repeated apologies to his mother for
leaving her so much alone all the while declaring that he thought a
thousand times more of her than any girl in the world.
She and Mrs. Neal became great friends. Mr. Neal said, when his wife
was not at home he knew she was over at the Cornwalls', and John, who
heard the remark, replied; I am always coming over to your house
hunting mother, at which the young crowd on the porch roared with
Dorothy was the most popular of the girls and in her bird-like way a
beautiful little creature. A blonde of the purest type, of petite and
perfect form, weighing about a hundred pounds.
Every boy that came to the house, at one time or another, gave her a
great bouquet of roses or mountain laurel or a box of chocolates. Among
themselves, they called her Dolly Dimples Durrett. All the household
and the girls called her Dolly; even Cornwall unconsciously called her
Dolly several times; once in Mrs. Neal's presence. After he left the
house Mrs. Neal asked Dorothy when he began doing that. Oh! He did it
unconsciously; he is around and hears it so much; I am expecting every
day to call him John and probably have. It doesn't mean anything. I'm
almost sorry to say.
She seemed not to care in the least who of the boys was her
cavalier, making it a point rather to keep the whole company
entertained and in the best of spirits though Cornwall was most with
her and they were such good friends as to feel privileged not to weary
each other with forced conversation, taking time to think a little.
She was as vivacious and light of heart as a feathery summer cloud;
and, I was about to say, reminding one of a butterfly; but there was
nothing of the sedate, slow, hovery movement of that beautiful insect.
Her's was an extremely animated, aggressive daintiness. She always
seemed to be hovering near or peeping into a bunch of flowers or
carefully selecting a piece of candy for her dainty little mouth.
Her costumes were filmy creations of silk or other soft fluffy
stuffs that gave forth the iridescence and sheen of a perfect opal; a
coal of unquenchable, oscillating ruby fire in the heart of a milky
diamond. She was a gorgeous little humming bird. So John described her
to his mother and she knew he had not found the girl he wished for his
One Sunday Dorothy and Mr. and Mrs Neal came from church to dine
After dinner, while the others sat in the cool, darkened library,
Dorothy and John wandered about the yard and garden.
They passed a bed of flowers in full bloom, over which darted and
poised a pair of humming birds. The flowers were not attractive to the
eye or of pleasant odor; but the long corollas held a pungent, honeyed
sweetness that attracted the birds and many insects. Its technical name
was Agave Americana. The seed had been brought from Mexico by the
former owner of the place who, after making a great fortune in mining,
had first settled in Harlan, but moved away, as the place offered very
limited opportunities for spending his income.
When Dorothy passed the flower bed she gathered a handful and held
them to her face with evident relish as they walked through the garden
and found seats on the bench under the arbor.
They had been seated a few minutes when a messenger came from the
public telephone office calling for John to answer a call from
Pittsburgh. Knowing it was urgent, he excused himself, asking Dorothy
to wait in the arbor, expecting to be gone five minutes. He was delayed
at least twenty. When he returned she was peacefully sleeping on the
bench. To awaken her he held the bunch of flowers to her face.
She smiled, sat up and stretching out her arms moved them up and
down more rapidly than he thought humanly possible; the vibration or
arc described, being one eighth of a complete circle. She bent forward,
placing her lips above first one corolla then another. Her actions were
unmistakable imitations of a humming bird. During the whole time she
kept up an incessant humming or a chirpy little chatter, when John,
almost in tears, taking her by the arm, awoke her.
Oh! Oh! While you were away I slept and had the funniest dream.
Come with me to the hammock under the oaks in the yard and I will tell
it. Tell me the name of those strangely familiar flowers? Why they are
the very ones I saw in my dream!
I sat on a bare twig, far from the ground, feeling safer at that
giddy height than nearer earth, preening pinions, polishing beak and
uttering the while a plaintive little chatter.
There was a whirry buzz from above, a breeze of swift motion, a
tremor of my perch, and beside me sat a gorgeous little knight, dressed
even more brilliantly than I.
His general body armor was of shining golden green, duller and
giving gradual place to an opaque black underneath. He wore a crown of
metallic violet and gorget of emerald green; his tail feathers were a
brassy sheeny green and upon his breast and near his eyes were a few
feathers of snowy white, as though he had been caught for a second in a
As he moved in the sunlight those colors shifted and changed until,
if I had not been restrained by modesty, in ecstasy I must have
cried;'What a gorgeous being you are!' and he, doubtless reading my
thoughts and more than pleased that I liked his appearance, moved yet
closer and whispered words of love to me.
From our perch we looked out upon the land, the foothill country.
It was loved and kissed by the sun. The scent of fragrant blossoms
filled the air and the fields were dotted with vari-colored flowers.
Far above to the north was a mountain range, the highest peaks of which
were covered with snow, and far below to the south was a lazy tropic
river hemmed to the water's edge by forests of dense shade. There we
never ventured though sometimes when the sun was hottest we flew to the
very edge of the snow fields and sipped the most delicious nectar from
the white wax-like flowers that grew on their moist border.
It was a life of freedom and movement. Not a moment of inactive
discontent; to dart with the speed of an arrow but pursue as variant a
course as fancy dictated; from twig top to field, feeding upon honeyed
nectar and small insects which also loved the flowers and fed upon
their sweets. Not perching in sluggish dumbness at the place of feeding
but hovering in a fragrant flowery world over the red or white or blue
corolla cloth of an ever changing dinner service, leading all the while
a life of intense movement, to pass as a bar of light, to stop and rest
and as suddenly depart.
There is a flash of green, red and purplish light, as the
iridescence of the purest gem. Was it the airplane of a fairy passing
by that gave forth all those gorgeous hues, or had an angel in passing
from heaven to earth dropped a jewel from his crown? I saw no wings in
motion, but I have grown to know and love the sound I heard; 'tis Sir
Knight returning from one of his excursions.
He alights, and preening his feathers a second, the while humming a
little love ditty comes very close and whispers; 'Love, will you be
mine?' And the answer is so low that nothing but a humming bird may
So we leave the twig and skimming over field and rill come into a
land of flowers; and many of them are such flowers as I had just
No longer alone, we mingle with the bees and butterflies and many
insects and others of our kind, all intent upon a breakfast of honey
dew freshly garnered and served each morning; and such a service! The
very air is alive with the gathering; our ears are deafened by the
whistling sounds of flight, from a plaintiff treble to a resonant bass,
mingled with cries of joy and greeting and quarrelsome chatter. It is
the chit-chat of the insect world.
My mate on vibrant invisible wing is immovably suspended in a near
vertical position over a large bell white corolla, while I feast from a
platter with a scarlet border and a golden center.
Ye men who would learn to fly, take the humming bird for
instructor; and be taught that the most powerful flight is not given to
breadth of wing but to swiftness of motion or vibration; and in
watching Sir Knight poised above a flower you may solve the mystery of
a suspended flight.
Finally we fix upon the place to build the nest, on a limb
overhanging the eddying pool of a mountain torrent, just above the foam
and spray of a waterfall.
Equally careful search is made for material. The foundation is made
of moss plastered into a mass and saddled on a limb. Then it is lined
with white vegetable lint or down.
I now lead a more sedate life as becomes one assuming the
responsibilities of rearing a family; and, a believer in a small and
well-groomed family, lay but two snow-white eggs.
While I am busy on the nest, Sir Knight pugnaciously guards bride
and home and, having much leisure, becomes an exterior decorator of the
nest, dressing it in a becoming coat of gray lichens.
A small hawk lights in the treetop; he is scarcely settled before
our guard makes swift and vicious charge at his head and eyes with
needle-like beak. The hawk in trepidation soars away, pursued for many
a yard, too slow to strike back effectively.
When the little fellows are old enough to make trips alone to the
flowery feeding grounds I fly to the edge of the forest and there,
tempted to feed from the cone-shaped flowers of a pendant vine, become
enmeshed in the web of a great tropical spider.
The spider stealthily approaches, watching a chance to spring when
I have grown even more helpless from futile struggle. There is a whir
of wing, a dart of rainbow light, a hole torn in the net. The spider is
tossed from his footing and falls wounded to earth. There is another
welcome whir of wings and I, torn loose, half flutter, half fly to a
nearby limb. Sir Knight has rescued his lady love!
It was then I awoke and found you standing beside me with those
flowers in your hand.
* * * * *
John did not think it necessary to tell the girl what she had done
before he aroused her. This knowledge, with the dream, was to him an
uncanny thing. The girl's experience he felt was in some weird way a
call from a misty and long-forgotten past. The dream but emphasized
comparisons he himself had made. He had even told his mother the girl
reminded him of a humming bird. This conception, with the dream,
blotted out all thought of the consummation of a slowly growing love.
Though he tried to conceal this feeling, the girl in a subtle way
perceived it. They returned to the library, and the Neals shortly after
That night the girl was depressed and could not sleep. She found
herself repeating: Oh, why did I tell John that dream! He did not like
it; I wonder why.
The long-distance call was a request from Mr. Rogers to come to
Pittsburgh. He left the next morning on the early train, without seeing
Dorothy, and was detained ten days. When he returned she had gone home.
He wrote an almost formal letter explaining his sudden departure and
expressing regret that upon his return he had not found her in Harlan.
She answered, acknowledging the receipt of his letter and expressing
the hope that when he came to Louisville he would call upon her.
As a business proposition, the trip to Pittsburgh had been a
complete success. The company had contracted to purchase some valuable
mining property in West Virginia and had sent for John to make a
careful re-examination of the title and check up the abstract furnished
by the vendor. This work required more than a week and when completed
the company found it so satisfactory they paid him a bonus of $250.00
above his expenses and salary and informed him of a raise of his salary
on the first of the month, when his first year would be completed, to
two thousand dollars. This, with his practice, assured an income of
four thousand dollars a year.
MARY AND JOHN PROGRESS.
The experiences of Mary on her trip East to Wellesley and the first
few months of college life were such as to try her courage and
earnestness of purpose. Her traveling experience, until the family
moved to Madison County, had been limited to trips to Pineville,
Middlesboro and Harlan. Since moving, she had been to Richmond,
Winchester and Lexington.
A week or so before she went East, she and her mother had gone to
Lexington to purchase her clothing. Her father had given her one
hundred and fifty dollars for the purpose, to which she had added fifty
dollars of her own money.
Before she bought anything she insisted on sitting an hour in the
hotel parlor and then walking about the street for the purpose of
noting the costumes of girls her own age. She had gone to church at
Paint Lick and, sitting near the pew of the Clays, had seen Bradley
Clay and his sister, Rosamond, come in. Watching the girl, she had
thought what a becoming costume she wore. It was a dark blue dress,
very simply, though carefully, made. With this limited experience, when
she began purchasing, going to a neatly dressed clerk and asking that
she show her some costumes, and such as she herself fancied; her
purchases, when completed and fitted, were appropriate and becoming and
almost transformed the girl.
When the time came to leave home, her resolution was near the
breaking point. She feared her father might be convicted, though she
had faith in Mr. Cornwall, which had been strengthened by his predicted
reversal of her father's case. She had never been separated any length
of time from her mother, except when at school in Pineville. Then she
had lived with her mother's sister, her aunt Mandy, and went home every
Saturday. Now, for many months, she would be away from all kindred and
acquaintances, depending for sympathy and companionship on yet unmade
Her father said: Don't go, little girl, if you don't feel like it,
while she cried in his arms.
Father, I shall go; be good to mother, and when Mr. Cornwall gets
you off never touch a gun.
Her mother accompanied her to Winchester and there, with face
stained by tears and the coal dust of the local train, bade her
good-bye. Mary bought her ticket by way of New York, on the C. &O. At
the advice of the agent, who was a kindly man and had grown daughters
of his own, she purchased a Pullman ticket and was told when she
arrived in New York to go straight to the traveler's aid matron in the
When the train pulled up, her cheap, little trunk was put in the
baggage car and she, with a paper shoe box of lunch under her arm and a
cheap handbag in the other hand, boarded the train and took a seat in
the day coach, where she would have remained, except that the agent,
seeing her talking through the window with her mother, pointed her out
to the conductor as a Pullman passenger. After the train started, the
conductor piloted her to her section and, as he went out, whispered to
the car conductor to shoo off the drummers.
In New York the station matron put her aboard her train and sent a
telegram to the college, asking that some one meet her, which Mary
signed and paid for.
She was unable to qualify for the freshman course, but was permitted
to enter on probation. Her natural ability and application were such
that in a few months she had qualified herself to continue in the class
and at the end of the spring term was ranked among the most proficient
of the freshmen.
Upon her arrival she had been given a room with a little snob, the
only child of a newly rich couple who lived in a suburb of Boston. Her
roommate did everything she could to make Mary as miserable as
possible. She made fun of her clothes, ridiculed her local idioms and
expressions and laughed at her inexperience. She would not study and
tried to keep Mary from doing so. She rolled on Mary's bed, keeping her
own tidy; appropriated three-fourths of the closet and most of the
drawers of the dresser and washstand, leaving for Mary the bottom
drawer of each and closet hooks in the dark corner. She reported to the
matron that Mary was not neat and quarrelled all the time. But the
matron, wise to the girls of her day and generation, had her
suspicions, and by a careful and unsuspected surveillance soon became
cognizant of true conditions.
Mary was changed to share the room of a girl from Austin, Miss
Litton, whose disposition was more like her own. From then on
conditions became comfortable.
After Dorothy returned home, Cornwall's friends said he was hard
hit, because he turned his back on social diversions. He merely
reverted to his habits preceding her visit. For a while he was invited
everywhere, but declined; finally they discontinued sending invitations
and left him to his hermithood.
His sole recreation was the improvement of the old place, at which
he spent all the time not given up to his law business. That grew
steadily, so that in 1900, six years after he had established himself
in Harlan, he had an income in excess of $5,000.00. This, with his
mother's annuity of $1,800.00, gave them more than three thousand
dollars a year in excess of their actual needs.
The leisure of the fall and winter of 1895 was spent in cleaning up,
trimming the trees, transplanting shrubs and vines, including border
beds of hydrangeas which were planted around the walls of the house and
out-buildings. When spring came and the garden had been plowed, rolled
and planted, the grounds were in perfect condition.
The yard and garden, so artistically laid off and perfectly kept,
emphasized the unattractive appearance of the bare, red-brick house
until John and his mother felt forced to alter its rectangular
barrenness. Since paying for the house they had saved something over
$2,000.00 for that purpose and felt justified in commencing its
Duffield, the company engineer, was possessed of considerable
artistic taste and an amateur architect. It so happened a friend of his
from Pittsburgh, an architect, whose specialty was suburban homes, was
spending his summer vacation camping and fishing on the Poor Fork.
Duffield, who was with him, finally prevailed upon John to join the
party. He rode up to the camp on Friday afternoon and remained until
the following Monday.
The visiting architect, the afternoon of his arrival in Harlan,
passed the Cornwall home with Duffield. He commented upon the artistic
arrangement of the grounds; the contrast between them and the house;
and the opportunity the house offered for easy and artistic
John, not knowing the visitor was an architect, or that he had even
seen his home, but seeking Duffield's approval of the contemplated
modifications, disclosed his plans and asked for suggestions.
The architect, recalling the house, began making suggestions, in the
main approving John's plans. After they had discussed them for some
time, the visitor stated that when the fishing camp broke up he would
take a look and help out a bit. It was then John learned that Mr.
Bradford was an architect and regarded as an authority on suburban
Unless you stay up here and fish a few days with us, Bradford and I
will not help you change the sober face and severe interior of your
old, red-brick house. A home should suggest the character of its
occupant, and your character is growing more in concord with your house
each day; your affinitive expressions in a year or two will be
I must go to town Monday morning; it is county court day, but will
return Wednesday evening and remain until I have persuaded Mr. Bradford
to make his home with me while I pump him dry of plans for the
improvement of the old house.
And so Cornwall had the cheerful and gratuitous assistance of an
architect in remodeling his home, who otherwise would have charged more
than he contemplated spending for improvement. When they returned to
town the three, with Mrs. Cornwall, spent several pleasant evenings
discussing and drawing up plans for remodeling it, Mr. Bradford and
Duffield becoming almost as interested as John and his mother.
When the time came for Mr. Bradford to return home, John and his
mother exacted a promise from him to return the following summer and
pass his vacation as their guest.
By the first of November the improvements were completed at a cost
of $3,300.00, making the total cost of the place nearly $10,000.00. It
was conceded to be the most attractive and modern home in the county,
though not the most expensive. Mr. Neal liked it so well that he
offered John $15,000.00, which was declined.
The little mountain city in growth kept pace with John's improved
conditions. There were many new brick business buildings. The character
and appearance of the stores were modified from a general to a
specialized stock. When you bought a saw you might have to go round the
corner to buy a sack of flour or a pair of shoes. The names of the old
merchants, such as Nolen and Ward and Middleton, disappeared and the
new signs and advertisements read: Shoes greatly reduced because of
our fire last week; going at half price. Leo Cohen. We cut everything
half in two to make room for our new stock. Herman Mann. Linens at
less than cost. Jacob Straus.
A new bank and trust company were opened and the old bank, The
Harlan National, doubled its capital stock. The ice and lighting plants
were enlarged, and the city bought a site up the river, built a dam,
installed pumping engines and constructed water mains into the city. An
opera house was built, which, though its walls never re-echoed to the
high soprano notes of a prima donna; had trembled to their foundations
at the invectives of E. T. Franks; had shed sections of blistered
plaster at the sad wailings of Gus Wilson, and had been moved by the
matchless eloquence of A. O. Stanley when telling the tale of his
The company's demands upon Cornwall's time had grown so that he
asked for and received an increase of salary of $50.00 per month to be
used in the employment of a stenographer. The young woman in the main
office who had formerly done his work was now scarcely able to answer
the company mail.
It being impossible to procure a competent unemployed local
stenographer, he inserted an advertisement in a Louisville paper. The
answers he received were varied and in some instances amusing. One or
two sent their pictures. Several desired in advance to know the age of
their prospective employer and whether he was blonde or brunette. One
even asked that he send his picture, as she did not care to travel two
hundred miles from home to face a fright.
He finally employed a little Jewess, whose reply dwelt particularly
on the question of compensation; demanded Saturday afternoon off; and
if the place did not prove satisfactory, even after several months'
trial, that her return expenses to Louisville were to be paid. Her name
was Rachael Rothchilds. She stated she was a sister of Mrs. Mann, whose
husband had bought out the Middleton general store. She remained with
him seven years until she married, and he never once regretted the
When she came into the office the following Monday, Duffield was
present; they were going over a survey together. After taking a good
look at her he said: Well, she'll not waste much time in flirtations.
This office will give her the go-by. She weighed about ninety pounds,
was twenty years old and had a sallow, scabby complexion. She evidently
thought that her face called for an apology, and stated that she had
just recovered from a spell of sickness, and her father thought the
mountain air might do her good.
Her hair, however, was of remarkably fine texture and color, of a
light chestnut, giving forth flashes of gold. She was of slight though
good figure, was quick in catching a suggestion and endowed with
considerable business sagacity.
As her father had expected, the mountain air did her good. Within
three months her complexion cleared up and she took on several pounds
in weight; color came into her lips and a snappy expression into her
formerly dull eyes. Duffield, who had been so severe in his criticism
of her appearance, began to take notice and to extend invitations to go
driving, or to lunch, or for a walk, but she invariably answered that
she could only go out with Jewish boys.
She must have been with Cornwall a year before he realized how she
had improved in appearance. When sitting one day where the light and
angle brought out the perfect profile of her features and the golden
sheen of her hair, he first became aware that she was a beautiful
woman, with as clear-cut and classic a face as the best cameo might
She was so smilingly cheerful and sweet-tempered that the boys of
the office gave her the name of Cricket, and so competent that
suggestions and directions were superfluous in the performance of her
Slowly there crept into Cornwall's heart a tender feeling for the
girl and when, several months later, Leo Cohen, the shoe merchant,
began calling upon her and playing the devoted, and he saw how she
responded to his attentions, even when walking with him, taking side
steps to look up into his face with eyes of love and happiness,
Cornwall suffered many jealous pangs.
In a way that women have, not known to men, she found out that
Cornwall was a devoted and consistent admirer. While she was fond of
him in a companionable way, the shoe merchant was too strongly
entrenched in her heart to leave the least room for another.
The houses of Kentucky mountaineers are usually built upon a water
course. Every native family living on Cumberland River, or its forks or
tributaries, had a flock of geese which are kept to supply feathers for
their feather beds. The geese are rarely eaten. It is bad enough to be
plucked twice a year; the sensation is not pleasant and nights in the
mountains are cool.
Even sadder days were in store for the geese after the establishment
of the Jewish colony in Harlan; the average life of a goose is fifty
years and this for the Harlan County flock was considerably reduced.
The colony found no trouble in purchasing plucked geese at bargain
prices for food and grease.
Leo began his regular Sunday call on Rachael Rothchilds at 11 a. m.
and continued it without break or intermission until 11 o'clock every
Rachael, during each of three winters, expended a month's salary
buying geese to feed Leo and he grew fat and slick, the sly, old fox,
on hot-baked goose for dinner and cold roast goose for supper. Every
time he sneezed she pressed upon him the gift of a jar of goose grease
with which to anoint his chest, and he blackened and sold it to his
customers for shoe oil.
Leo was slow and careful in making proposals and suggesting a
wedding day. For three long, suspensive years he called from two to
three times weekly upon the girl and each Sunday feasted upon the fat
of Gooseland, which is at the headwaters of the Cumberland Riverall
the while making the girl believe that she was to be his wife, though
she was made to understand that the date was far ahead in the dim
vistal future when his financial position justified marrying one who
bore the name of that celebrated family of bankers. The day of the
girl's contemplated happiness might have been moved forward with
satisfactory celerity had not Leo inquired of his friend Simon, of
Louisville, as to old man Rothchild's bank account, and learned that he
had nothing that sounded like real money but his name, whereas to Leo a
rich Jewess by any other name would have seemed sweeter.
After the courtship had continued three years, the shoe merchant in
preparing for a fire sale left too many tracks in the snow. The fire
marshal reported that the fire was caused by an Israelite in the
basement and Leo, after many worries and the loss of his insurance,
sought other goose pastures.
In the early summer Cornwall wrote Howard Bradford, reminding him of
his promise to spend his summer vacation with them, and received an
answer saying he looked forward with pleasure to the time of keeping
it, which would be about the 20th of July.
The first week in July, John, passing the Neal home, was surprised
to see Dorothy Durrett standing on the porch. She had arrived the day
before. He was glad to learn that she expected to spend the summer with
her aunt. They had a pleasant chat, for the most part, about their
parties of the summer of two years before. Dorothy was now nearly
twenty-one and in appearance even more attractive than when he had
first known her. He told her of Howard Bradford's contemplated visit,
and they began formulating plans for the summer.
You have not seen our house since it was remodeled according to Mr.
Bradford's suggestion, nor have you seen my mother; come with me now. I
am thinking of giving a dance in honor of our guest. Three rooms of the
lower floor are so arranged that they can be made into one, giving us
plenty of room to dance. Will you please help me out?
Certainly I will, John. You used to say we were meant to help each
other. Let me get a hat and tell Aunt Anna where I am going.
How the place is improved! The grounds were always delightful; now
the whole is toned and in concord; a very delightful picture. There is
your mother at the door waiting for her John. The woman who takes you
off her hands gets an armload of responsibility. A man always compares
his wife with his mother and you, John, will expect your wife to love
and mother you as she has done.
Oh, Dorothy! I am glad to see you! I did not know you in the start,
or John, either. I do not see so well and I did not expect to see John
with a woman. When did you come? You are even more attractive than when
you were here two years ago. John has acted like an old man since then.
I wish some nice girl would marry him.
Oh, John and I understand each other; we could be the best of
friends, but never lovers. I will have to find him a good wife, else in
his inexperience, with his head buried in a book, he may make a
mistake. I know the very girlRosamond Clay, of Madison County; she
visited me last winter. I shall have my aunt ask her to visit us while
I am with her. Then I shall assign John to her and depend on Mr.
Bradford or Mr. Duffield to entertain me. Watch what a match-maker I
am, Mrs. Cornwall. Let us go through the house and then into the
garden. My aunt insisted that I hurry back. What a delightful place for
your dance! We can decorate with hydrangeas and golden glow. John, the
garden looks just the same as it did that Sunday afternoon two years
ago when we sat on this same bench under the arbor of ripening grapes
and I told you my dream of the humming birds. For a while I regretted
having done so, knowing that you saw too deeply into my heart and was
not wholly satisfied with the vision. What you saw was, in a way, the
soul of Dorothy. Now I am glad I told it. We would never have been real
happy, John, though we were beginning to think so. I hope before I
marry the one I love will tell me even his dreams; they sometimes lift
the curtain to the inner self. I must go now.
Mother, I am walking home with Dorothy and shall come right back.
Don't say that, John; no sentiment; that day is gone, perhaps for
our mutual happiness. You are my friend, John Cornwall, and always will
be. Come over tomorrow evening and tell me about yourself and your
friends. When Mr. Bradford comes I imagine I will like him. Good-night,
The following evening John called on Dorothy. He found Duffield and
Helen Creech there. Duffield, rising when he came in, resumed his seat
beside Dorothy, while he sat on the opposite side of the porch talking
with Miss Creech. He remained an hour, walking home with her. As they
were leaving, Dorothy said: Aunt Anna wrote to Miss Clay today.
Good-night, Mr. Cornwall. Come again whenever you can, Helen.
DOROTHY AND BRADFORDROSAMOND AND CORNWALL.
Howard Bradford arrived on the 21st of July. As he and Cornwall
drove through the gateway, he had an excellent view of the Cornwall
home. He declared the house charming as modified and complimented John
on his efforts as a landscape gardener.
They spent the afternoon loafing around home, except an hour when
John went to the office, while Bradford slept, fanned by a breeze that
blew down the river and sang in softest murmurs through the windows of
his corner room.
When Cornwall returned, Duffield came with him and remained for
dinner and until a late hour. Bradford, when he learned that they each
owned a saddle horse and that those for hire were saddle-galled and the
free-goers nearly ridden to death, handed $250.00 to Duffield, who had
said that he knew of a horse for sale at that price and worth the
money, saying: Though I shall be here but two weeks, the horse can be
sent to Pittsburgh, or sold again if I do not like him.
They had intended camping on Poor Fork at the camp site of the
preceding summer; but as each would have his own horse, and the fishing
was better just at that time five miles from town than near the head of
the river, they concluded to remain at home, spending the mornings
fishing and the afternoons boating, swimming or mountain-climbing. At
least this was the agreed programme until Duffield should complete
surveying the Lockard grant in Leslie County, when his vacation
The next morning Cornwall sent Dorothy a note, telling her of his
guest's arrival and asking permission to bring him around that evening.
She answered: You are to come at six and dine with us, remaining for
the evening. I have a surprise for you, John. It is unnecessary to
answer unless you find my invitation impossible. Dorothy.
At six o'clock the young men, looking fresh and comfortable in their
white flannels walked over to the Neal home. Mrs. Neal and Dorothy were
sitting on the porch and after greetings all found seats. Rosamond
Clay, Dorothy's guest, came out and joined them.
She was a tall, athletic, strikingly handsome brunette, just
eighteen and, as the boys subsequently found out, a better shot,
swimmer and mountain-climber than either of them. In disposition and
appearance she seemed the very antithesis of Dorothy, though Dorothy
enjoyed an open-air life, and her wiry, little body was capable of
withstanding great physical strain.
Mr. Bradford, this is Miss Clay, and, John, this is Rosamond. She
had just gotten in when I received your note and is the surprise I
mentioned. She is to remain a month and I am counting on you helping to
May my surprises always be as agreeable. With Miss Clay's
permission I shall do all in my power to make her visit a pleasant one.
If she is fond of out-door sports, riding, fishing, boating and
mountain-climbing, which we have a right to assume since she has come
to the mountains, we can promise her a good time.
That is just what I adore. I have brought my own saddle, fishing
tackle and swimming suit. I wanted to bring a canoe, but Bradford said
I could easily procure a dug out and refused to express anything but
the paddles. I even thought of sending my horse, but father said that
would scare Mrs. Neal to death, as she was expecting a visitor and had
not offered to adopt me. I understand you have a fine saddle mare; I
shall ride her and you can get a mule.
You have mentioned just the things she loves. She constantly wants
to be doing something or going somewhere. She rides, drives, swims,
shoots, climbs cliffs and trees and is a good, all-round sportsman. I'm
not sure, but I think she keeps several fox hounds. Her brother,
Bradley, says they belong to him to save her reputation. As soon as she
wrote she would visit me, I ordered some hob-nailed shoes and a
bathing-suit from Louisville and sent to the drug store for a bottle of
iodine, some surgeon's tape and several sheets of adhesive plaster. If
you gentlemen can work in a dance in the evening after each mountain
climb, her happiness is assured. Here comes father. Mr. Bradford, you
are to sit beside me at dinner and you, John, with Rosamond.
After dinner Duffield and Miss Creech and Mr. Cornett and Miss Hall
came in; and the time until eleven o'clock was spent in chit-chat on
the porch or, when Mrs. Neal could be prevailed upon to play the piano,
in dancing in the drawing-room.
Before the party broke up Bradford and Cornwall made an engagement
to take Dorothy and Rosamond up the river fishing at 6:30 the next
As the boys went home they stopped by the livery stable to hire
three saddle horses. Finding this impossible, they engaged a light
jersey wagon, which Cornwall and the girls were to use, while Bradford
was to ride Cornwall's horse.
They had an early breakfast and left on time. When near the ford of
Poor Fork, Bradley discovered that he had left his tackle at the
stable. He rode back for it while the others, crossing the river, drove
up the fork.
When they came to the creek, where it was planned they should seine
their minnows, they waited some time for Bradford; then Cornwall tried
to seine, but the stream was too deep and the seine too large for
This Rosamond, the young and enticing Diana of the party, noticed
and, gathering up the cotton lap-robe, a coffee sack and some twine,
which she found in the box under the wagon seat, retired to a clump of
elder bushes and in a few minutes came forth draped in the lap-robe and
moccasined with coffee sacking.
Cornwall was a slave to her most fantastic command from the moment
she stepped forth from her screen of elder bushes, topped with their
white, pancake flowers, and, taking hold of one end of the seine,
jerked and floundered him around while he attempted to retain
possession of the other, dragging him barefoot over sharp pebbles and,
when on a smooth ledge of rock, sat him down in water to his shoulders.
He rejoiced at Bradford's absence and that no other man had seen her
loveliness, half-hidden, half-revealed.
They soon had a bucket of minnows and as they drove up the river
were overtaken by Bradford, who, mistaking the road, had ridden quite a
distance down the main stream.
Miss Clay, Dorothy and Bradford had no trouble in landing a nice
catch, but Cornwall's eyes were never on his float, which the fish
converted into a submarine when baited and after the minnow had been
stolen reposedly floated upon the surface, the resting-place of a big,
lace-winged snake doctor.
Mr. Cornwall, why don't you rebait your hook and try to catch
something? What was the good of my going to all that trouble in helping
you seine if you will not use the minnows? You look everywhere, except
at your float; first at me, then over the treetops as though you wished
I were at home or in Heaven.
That's right, I look first at you. The minnows have helped you land
the fish. I feel like a crappie on a dusty turnpike. You have caught
more than one variety today! Let's go home. And I am not going to drive
those sleepy, old plow horses unless you sit on the front seat. And so
they rode home together.
The next afternoon they planned to climb the mountain, but when
Bradford and Cornwall came to the house, he said to Rosamond: Let us
drive up the river to Helen Creech's; Bradford and Dorothy can find
something else to do, to which she assented.
Driving slowly along the narrow, shaded road that bordered the river
bank, he held her hand and called her dear, and told her the love
story that Kentucky boys tell the girls with whom they go; and she
parried and checked him as she had several times before been called
upon to do with other boys.
Thus each day, either paddling on the river or riding horseback, or
fishing, or bathing, or mountain-climbing, the four were together or
paired off; he with Rosamond and Bradford with Dorothy; and each
repeatedly declared that they had never before had so glorious a
Cornwall, at the end of two weeks, made up his mind to propose; and
Rosamond, expecting it, had decided she would acceptif he would
consent to defer the marriage a couple of years.
Strange that Cornwall and Bradford should each have decided to
propose at the same time and place; that is, the night of his dance and
on the bench in the garden. Bradford, because he expected to leave the
following Monday, his stay already having consumed more than the
intended two weeks; Cornwall, thinking that he would first like to show
Rosamond through his home.
While they were decorating the house, in which Mrs. Neal, Dorothy
and Rosamond assisted Mrs. Cornwall, he showed her over the house and
grounds and, pointing out the bench in the arbor, said: Tonight,
Rosamond, at eleven I shall bring you out here and ask you something.
Watch the time and save that dance for me. If you do not, I may take it
for your answer.
When the hour came he claimed the dance. After dancing a minute or
two, they passed into the dining-room and out the side door into the
As they drew near the arbor they heard Bradley say: This was my
dream, Dorothy. Cornwall, thinking of Dorothy's dream of two years
before, and remembering what she had recently said to him about dreams,
was slightly startled. He let go Rosamond's arm and unconsciously
turned towards the house. Rosamond, surprised and conscious of some
subtle change in his mood, suggested that they return to the ballroom.
Bradford, without giving Dorothy time for thought, brought her into
the garden and told his dream of the night before.
Last night I came directly home after I left you and went to my
room. Feeling I could not sleep, I sat in the window, looking out upon
the moonlit mountain side and the silent river, the moon seeming to
make a path of silver on the water to the base of the little trail up
the mountain where yesterday I told you that our friendship, at least
to me, grew stronger with each succeeding day. Then I said the simple
prayer my mother had taught me when a little boy and went to bed and to
I dreamed that mother let go of my hand and I went forth alone, a
little boy in knee trousers, walking along a narrow path that followed
down the bank of a tiny rivulet. As I walked along I grew older, my
clothing changed to suit my age, the path began to broaden and the
stream to deepen, and I passed along through the school days and other
experiences of my boyhood, still following the broadening path and
deepening stream and passing one by one the experiences I have known.
The start was at sunrise and the day perhaps a third gone when, I, a
grown man, came out into a valley and to a river over which was a
fragile bridge. I saw that thousands of trails like my own converged at
its approach and spread out fan-like from the other end. As I stood and
looked, the trails around faded out, except the one down which I had
come and another. A short way above the bridge a stream like the one I
had followed flowed into the river and along its bank was a path much
like the one I had followed. As I looked a young woman came round the
turn and saw the river and the bridge and that I stood waiting at its
approach. She hesitated for a moment and then came slowly on. When she
drew near I saw it was you and, going up, took your hand and together,
hand in hand, we crossed the bridge. Looking ahead, I saw that the many
trails at the farther end had disappeared except the small one up the
mountainside; this we took.
The trail gradually broadened into a bright, smooth way and the
ascent, though unbroken, was not difficult. All the time I held you by
the hand. One day your step grew slower and, looking for the cause, I
noticed that, though I still held your left hand, a small boy walked on
the right and held the other. I felt some small, warm thing take hold
of my left hand with a tender, warm pressure and, looking down to see
the cause, saw it was another Dorothy, a miniature of your own sweet
self; and would have taken her up on my arm, but you, wiser than I in
such things, said: 'She must walk the trailall you can do is to go
more slowly and lead her by the hand.' After a time I noticed that
these two found no trouble in keeping up with us and, before we reached
the top, they occasionally restrained themselves to keep pace with us.
When at the top, the boy, unknowingly, let go your hand. He followed a
trail to the right along the comb of the ridge, which you and I could
not follow, though we tried. The girl with a cry of joy released my
hand and took that of a young man who seemed waiting for her, and they
journeyed on to the left. I, taking both your hands in mine because our
idle hands seemed lonely, looked into your face, as I had not done
since first we met by the river. Your face had grown more thoughtful
and more calm, more patient and more kind; the lovelight in your eyes
spoke of the soul. Your hair, though white, was more beautiful than
when pure gold. I knew your unspoken thoughts; and, with the lingering
kiss of yesterday and a smile for the morrow, we turned our faces and
journeyed downward into the vale of years. Dorothy, shall we make the
dream come true or must I go back to the bridge and hunt another
If you are quite sure you wish it above all else the world can
give, we will live the dream.
* * * * *
Cornwall spent the entire day after the dance at his office. He
found a note from Mary in his mail. She was at her home in Madison
County. He wondered how she might look after three years at Wellesley.
She mentioned that one of her neighbors was visiting in Harlan, Miss
Clay, whose brother, Bradley Clay, had called the evening before, and
stated his sister had written she was having a perfectly glorious time.
The thought occurred to him that if Mary were near enough, he would
go to her. Rosamond I love when near her; I think of Mary every
dayyet I have not seen her for three long years.
When Bradford, entering the room and all smiles, said: Come, let's
go to the Neals,' he answered: No, I think I shall rest tonight; I am
moody and prefer solitude.
Well, I'll go for Duffield. Pleasant dreams, John, as happy as mine
shall be; so long!
John went into the library and read the first few pages of
Machiavelli's History of Florence, about a king of the Zepidi and his
daughter, Rosamond, and he slept, and as he slept he dreamed.
It seemed to him that his Rosamond, perhaps ten year older, came
into the room. She was clothed in vivid draperies and wore a circlet of
old gold upon her brow, heavy bracelets upon her upper arm and a
chain-like girdle of gold around her waist, from which hung a jeweled
As he looked she spoke:
I rarely see father, except in armor. Day after day mother and her
maids work at bandages and wound dressings. The halls of the castle are
littered with arms and the courtyard and plain surrounding the walls is
the assembly ground of armed horsemen preparing to go and returning
from distant camps. It has been thus since Narses drove our kinsmen
home to Pannonia, after several years' quiet occupancy of northern
Now, Alboin, King of Lombardy, instigated by Narses and aided by
the Avars, following after our expelled kinsmen, has invaded our
country even to the plains of the Danube. We can see from the castle
walls not only our own, but his invading host as they make preparation
for final battle to determine the sovereignty of Pannonia.
With such a drama pending, I am not content to be a bandage and
salve-maker in the women's quarter. Who would, if brought up to ride
and fence and wrestle with brothers and cousins, when they had all gone
to war? I desired to go, but was not permitted. Now with Maria, my
maid, I have found a good observation point in the tower and watch the
opposing forces maneuvering for position in advance of hostilities.
Maria, I make out father's standard on the hillside near the grove;
and just across the small stream, not more than five hundred yards
away, that of Alboin, King of Lombardy. See! they charge each other;
you may hear the din and shouting even at this distance.
Maria asks: 'Mistress Rosamond, no matter what happens, will you
care for and keep me with you?'
Do not be afraid; father will win. Our men heretofore have fought
under other leaders not so brave, while he massed this force for the
supreme struggle. * * * They seem to have fought for hours, neither
side gives an inch. * * * See! the stream which runs through the field
of battle and flows by the castle is red with blood. * * * I fear 'tis
a sad day for Pannonia. Oh! our army gives on the north wing, * * * but
father holds firm in his position * * * Oh! the north wing has broken
and flees toward the castle! All seems lost! Father will be surrounded!
See how our men and the enemy are intermingled in their flight. They
will reach the castle gates together; it will be impossible to let them
in. Maria, run to the gatemen and tell them to close the gates and let
no one in till father comes. That cowardly mass if they entered, would
be no protection but surrender the castle. But wait; we will go
together to the gates.
Gatemen! Friend and foe come together. Raise the draw! Close the
gates! Let the first to flee be the first to die, and at the castle
gates! Let them make an unwilling stand in defense of their own lives
and so defend the gates! They tell me a coward fights hard when
cornered. Dare disobey at your peril! It is the command of your king.
The princess is right; to let this fleeing mob enter is but to
surrender the castle. Raise the draw! Drop the portcullis!
In a few minutes there was a struggling mass in front of the gates.
Our men, finding them closed and no way to escape their assailants,
fought with the desperation of cornered beasts.
The standard of Pannonia still floated where first the conflict
began, showing that my father, the king, made desperate resistance
against overwhelming odds. * * * But even as I looked I saw it swept
down under a driving charge and knew he was of the dead and the battle
In a short while the fighting ceased around the gates. Alboin, King
of Lombardy, riding up. I ordered the bridge lowered and the gates
raised, when he rode unopposed into the court yard.
Those were fierce, wild days. A feast in celebration of the victory
and of Alboin's coronation as King of Pannonia was held in the castle
and a week later I was forcibly made wife of the victorious king. I was
told my father's skull had been shaped into a drinking cup and used by
Alboin at the feast of victory.
He was comely and commanding; demanding and receiving homage and
instant obedience from all. In time I might have loved him, except for
the drinking cup.
So Alboin reigned King of Pannonia and I his queen for more than
Then Narses, who commanded the forces of Justinian in all Italy
until the Emperor's death, was deposed by his son and successor,
Justin, who, at the instance of his Queen, had Longinus appointed in
Narses' place. In revenge he invited my husband to invade Italy.
Alboin consented; and was so successful in the undertaking as to
gain possession of all Italy from the northern boundary to the Tiber.
He established his capital at Pavia and his household and court were
moved from Pannonia to that city.
A great feast was held at Verona to celebrate his victories and the
establishment of the new kingdom. I sat across the table from him. The
ferocious and heartless man ordered the drinking cup made from the
skull of my father and filling it with red wine to the brim, passed it
to me, saying: 'It is but fitting in celebration of our great victories
that you should drink with your father.' I tossed the contents into his
face, threw the cup from the window into the Adige and fled from the
From that night my sole purpose in life was to avenge the insult. I
determined that he should die by my procurement or at my hand.
The maid, Maria, who in devotion would have given her life for
mine, had a lover, Helmichis, shield-bearer of Alboin. I plotted with
her that he should become the instrument of my vengeance and so had her
bring him to my chamber. There I soon discovered he was not
sufficiently in love with the maid to assume any risk on her account or
at her solicitation.
Willing to take any risk or make any promise to accomplish the
assassination, I finally agreed to marry him, if he would kill my
husband. This he did.
The Lombards were so exasperated over their King's death we dared
not remain in Pavia or even in Lombardy; but, seizing the royal
treasure and leaving Maria behind, we fled to Ravenna, where Longinus,
Narses' successor, had his capitol. There we were royally entertained
and most kindly treated.
It was not long before Helmichis grew disgustingly wearisome to me.
He quarreled much about the possession and division of the royal
treasure, which was very great, but never once did he see within the
chests. He was anything but a model husband, delighting in low company,
flirting with every maid and peasant girl and by nature fiercer and
much less refined than Alboin, whom I had found endurable, except when
Longinus, on the other hand, was a refined and courtly man, having
been brought up in the palace of Justinian. I admired him much. He was
wise, brave, ambitious and most prepossessing in appearance. He had
told me several times that had I come to his court a widow, his
disappointment would have been great had I not remained as his Queen.
About this time the Emperor Justin died and was succeeded by
Tiberius. He was so occupied by his wars with the Parthians as to
neglect his Italian possessions, leaving them masterless or to be ruled
by Longinus as the real, though not the nominal, King.
I had become the confidential adviser of Longinus; and in
discussing matters of state and the condition of the empire, we
concluded it was a most opportune time to take possession of northern
Italy to the Tiber; and were convinced that by pooling our resources
this could be accomplished, were it not for Helmichis. The first step
in the consummation of our plan was to be rid of him.
Each day he took a hot bath. He always came forth thirsty and
demanded that I prepare a cool, acid drink and hand him. Longinus,
knowing this, gave me a strong poison to put in his drink, and when
next I mixed and served it I used the poison.
Helmichis drank more than half when, noticing the flavor, his
suspicion was aroused, and, knowing that he knew, I smiled. He snatched
up his short sword, caught me by the hair and, handing me the goblet,
shouted: 'Drink or lose your head.'
Preferring to die from the poison than be a disfigured, headless
corpse, I drank what remained, and died within five minutes of my
John awoke with a start, considerably disquieted by his dream.
The next evening, with Bradford, he called at the Neals'. Dorothy
met them at the door and they found seats. Rosamond, tall, graceful and
queenly, came into the room. To John it seemed a shadow followed after
her; the wraith of the widow of Alboin, co-conspirator with Helmichis
It was impossible to live down this unpleasant impression for a day
or two. While doing so, Rosamond took offense at his coolness and
announced her intention of returning home the following Monday. Dorothy
expressed disappointment at this and Saturday afternoon stated that
she, too, would leave on Monday. Bradford left on the same train. The
three traveled together as far as Stanford, where Rosamond left them;
then Bradford and Dorothy rode on to Louisville.
There Dorothy was met by her mother. Mr. Bradford was introduced and
drove with them to the Durrett home. He remained in Louisville several
days and called at the Durrett home every afternoon, remaining for
dinner and until a late hour.
The morning of his departure, glancing through the personalsa
suspicious act, as it was rather unusual for himhe read of his
departure after a brief visit, and at the head of the column that Mr.
and Mrs. Harrison Durrett announced the engagement of their daughter,
Dorothy, to Mr. Howard Bradford, of Pittsburgh.
THE SAYLOR FAMILY.
While Cornwall prospered financially and established an enviable
reputation as a lawyer, fortune did not overlook the Saylor family.
Old man Saylor and his wife were thrifty souls. Though their farm,
with its fine colonial dwelling, was one of the best in their end of
the county, they had never been given the opportunity to entertain
extensively or had occasion to maintain a stylish and expensive
Mary's four years at Wellesley had cost about four thousand five
hundred dollars. This outlay old man Saylor would never have consented
to, looking upon it as an absolute waste of good money, except that he
gave Mary as much credit for his acquittal of the Spencer killing as he
did John. He had the money to spare, having each year cleared more than
that sum on his tobacco and speculations in the mule market.
He was a great judge of mules. Bradley Clay said when a mule colt
was foaled Saylor could look at it and tell within five pounds of its
weight as a four-year-old.
Caleb had been sent to Lexington to school. He remained during the
fall term and until after the spring races. Then he returned home,
having been expelled because every day he had attended the races and
bet on the horses. It was even said that he had procured a jockey to
throw a stake race. He announced that he had finally quit school, which
he argued was a waste of time, as he intended to practice law and enter
He was the owner of a fine saddle mare and a gelding that could trot
a mile on the smooth turnpike to a light side-bar buggy in 2:45. Either
riding the one or driving the other he attended all the farm auctions;
nor did he ever miss a county court day or jury trial at either
Richmond or Lancaster. At these trials he first sat back of the
railing; then, making friends with the sheriff, the clerk and the
younger lawyers, he sat within the reservation for members of the bar.
The sheriff and clerk had each offered to appoint him a deputy, but
these honors he declined with thanks. When he was twenty-one he was
more than six feet tall, weighed a hundred and seventy and, as the
sheriff said, was the hustlingest politician in the county. He had been
voting for several years.
Though his folks were Republicans, and had been since the Civil War,
he deemed it a political mistake to vote that ticket in a Democratic
county. At an early age he began voting and working in the Democratic
primaries and soon acquired considerable influence with farm laborers
and tenant-farmers, the men who usually do the voting in country
One summer morning (he was not yet twenty-four) he told his father
he was going to put one over on old man Chenault and beat him for the
Legislature. Colonel Chenault was a native of the county; he had been a
lieutenant in the Confederate army, was a rich farmer and, it was
generally supposed, would have no opposition for re-election.
Caleb began riding over the county, telling the tenant-farmers and
laborers that they should send from a farming community a
representative who was a laboring man like themselves, instead of a
land-grabbing Colonel, a man who thought himself better than anybody
else. Has Colonel Chenault or his wife or his daughters ever been in
your house? You see them often at the house on the hill. Did he ever
speak to or shake hands with you? Yes, when he was a candidate for the
Legislature; then he wipes his hand on the seat of his pants.
That's right; I never thought about that; but who'll we run?
Oh, I ain't got no education much; I've got to harvest this crop.
Well, we'll find somebody, even if I have to run to beat the damn
aristocrat. You keep still about it, but be sure and come to the
convention at the court house next Saturday at two o'clock.
Oh, I'll do that; so long.
* * * * *
Colonel Chenault, with about twenty of his friends, all of whom were
good judges of horses, whiskey and tobacco, and who could tell a pair
of deuces from a full hand, came rather late to the convention, not
having the least intimation of opposition.
They were surprised to find the court room filled with farmers and
men of the hills, from the eastern side of the county. This gathering
the Colonel appropriated as evidence of his popularity and as a
spontaneous endorsement for his renomination. Obsessed with this
thought, he strutted up the aisle like a pouter pigeon.
The temporary chairman of the meeting, Chesley Chilton, who expected
to be nominated for sheriff the following year, and who saw that a
surprise was about to be sprung on the Colonel, called Caleb to one
side and asked the cause of the gathering.
Oh, you stand by us and we'll help you out next year. I know what
you want. Chenault is a dead one and don't know it. We are after his
scalp. Here he comes with his collection of fossils; time's up; call
the convention to order.
Caleb moved that the temporary be made the permanent chairman; this
was done without opposition. Then a secretary and three tellers were
chosenall friends of Caleb's. One of Colonel Chenault's friends
complained that all this was a waste of time, as the Colonel had no
Then the chairman called for nominations and Colonel Chenault was
pompously nominated by Colonel Shackelford, who closed his remarks by
moving that nominations close and the Colonel be unanimously declared
At this suggestion there was a stentorian clamour of noes. In the
midst of the uproar Webster James, a candidate for county attorney, who
had the promise of Caleb's support and an understanding with him, rose
and was recognized by the chairman.
Mr. Chairman: I have always felt that office should come unsought;
should seek the man. I know not how many appreciate the special fitness
of the young man whose name I am about to present to the democracy of
this county, suggesting his nomination from this the Seventy-second
Legislative District. I know he will be surprised when he hears his
name, but this great gathering is in his honor and he must regard the
call as one to duty and service, which, though it comes unsought, can
not be disregarded. The office seeks the man and it is tendered by his
fellow-citizens. I have the honor to nominate Hon. Caleb Saylor, of the
Paint Lick precinct.
At the mention of Saylor's name and the resounding cheers which
greeted it, Colonel Chenault nearly collapsed with surprise and
He turned to Colonel Shackelford, saying: I am beaten and by that
mountain upstart. I would not let him in my front door.
The chairman directed that those favoring Colonel Chenault should
gather on the right side of the center aisle, while those favoring Hon.
Caleb Saylor should gather on the left, so they might be counted
without confusion by the tellers.
This was quickly done. Though it was midsummer, the Chenault men
gathered about the court-house stove.
In ten minutes the vote was counted and reported by the tellers. The
secretary announced the vote:
Colonel Hamilton Chenault 23
Hon. Caleb Saylor 217
Whereupon the Colonel marched out, followed by a mere squad, and,
there being no other business, the convention adjourned.
At the following November election Caleb Saylor beat his Republican
opponent by more than three hundred majority.
On the first day of January, several days before the Legislature was
to convene, he came to Frankfort, desiring to be on hand for all party
caucuses. He soon became a familiar figure around the hotel lobby and
the corridors of the Capitol.
He made it a point to meet all State officials and every prominent
politician, Democrat or Republican, who visited the Capitol. When the
lower house was not in session and the Court of Appeals was, he
attended its sessions and sat within the space reserved for attorneys.
He and Judge Singer, whose judicial ear was attuned to the hum of the
gubernatorial bee, became great friends. As a member of the Judiciary
Committee he supported a pending bill allowing to each judge of the
court a stenographer, and helped through the committee other bills that
Judge Singer and the several members of the court favored.
Having procured the necessary certificate of good character, he made
application for admission to the bar and was given an examination by
Judges Grinder, Singer and Dobson.
Among certain questions propounded by the court and all of which he
answeredhe always had an answer readywere the following:
Mr. Saylor, define the difference between real and personal
If I had a hundred dollars in my pocket, that would be real
property; if I had your note for a hundred, that would be personal
When, in a criminal trial, is the defendant declared to have been
placed in jeopardy?
When he acts like a jeopard.
Do you deem yourself qualified to render valuable and efficient
assistance to a client or to appear as amicus curiae?
Yes, sir; especially in the trial of a jury case; but he's had more
experience that I have; he's now assistant city attorney of
Where do you get that idea?
Judge Dobson, that is what this court says in the case of Ewald
Iron Company against The Commonwealth, 140 Ky. 692: 'Clayton B. Blakey
and Amicus Curiae, attorneys for the City of Louisville.'
What law books have you read?
I have read Bryce's American Commonwealth, Cooley's Constitutional
Limitations and a work on Constables. I have been too busy getting
practical ideas about courts and juries to read much law; with me the
main thing is to know the judge and the jury.
His examiners issued a license. Judge Dobson at first demurred, but
finally consented when his colleagues explained what efficient service
Saylor had rendered as a member of the Judiciary Committee, saying: I
ought not to do it, but his neighbors will soon find out what he knows
and leave him alone; he will not have opportunity for much harm.
After the adjournment of the Legislature Caleb moved to Richmond and
formed a partnership with Webster Jones, who was a graduate of an
eastern law school. Jones prepared their pleadings and attended to all
equity practice, while Caleb solicited business and tried their jury
cases. The firm obtained its share of the business and Caleb met with
more than average success in the handling of his jury cases.
His vanity was tremendous. No one had ever succeeded in satisfying
its voracious appetite; it would swallow anything and hungrily plead
for more. His father, having started early and knowing what pleased his
boy, was his most satisfactory feeder. It was Caleb's practice to drive
out to the farm on Saturday afternoon and remain until Monday morning,
boasting of his successes in business and politics and listening with
satisfaction to his father's unstinted praise.
One Sunday afternoon, about a year after he began practicing law,
his father being ill and there being no one about the house who cared
to spend the afternoon talking with him about what he had done; he
decided to drive over to Colonel Hamilton Clay's and call upon his
He had tried it once or twice before. She had sent word she was not
at home, then made it a point as he drove away to show herself at a
door or window, so he might know that another call was not expected.
But this species of reception did not deter Caleb or penetrate the
armor of his conceit. It was impossible for him to believe that Miss
Clay, or any other woman, might not find his attentions desirable.
As he drove up before the old Clay homestead, which had been the
birthplace of a General, a Governor and an Ambassador, Rosamond,
reading near an upper window, saw Mose, the stable man, take his horse.
She thought: Here comes that conceited boor, Caleb Saylor, to see me
again; I shall send word I am not at home; * * * but it is dreadfully
dull this afternoon, no one else seems to be coming, this book is the
worst ever, he might prove entertaining; I'm twenty-nine and can't be
so particular; I'll go down and see how the clown talks.
Well, Mr. Saylor, it has been quite a time since you called. Take
this seat, and Rosamond sat down on the other end of a large
hair-cloth sofa, where her Aunt Margaret had sat and entertained her
Sunday afternoon visitors more than thirty years before.
She was the same queenly, thrilling Rosamond that John Cornwall, ten
years before, had loved for a few days. Her beauty was certainly none
the less; her maturer form, more charming, was becomingly exhibited in
a closely fitting dark blue gown.
After a few commonplace remarks, Caleb Saylor made himself the sole
topic of his own conversation. This was the subject nearest his heart
and one upon which he elaborated with minuteness and eloquence. As she
looked at and listened to him the thought at first unwelcome, entered
her mind that here was a man she might have, and without effort, for a
husband. And as she listened to his tale of I done this and I done
that and I will do this and that she thought how she, a woman of
tact and judgment and refinement, might take into her hands this thing
and, in a sense, make it plastic clay, and use its elements of life,
and power, and energy, and unscrupulousness, and nerve, and egotism,
and mountain courage, and almost make a man like her great grandfather.
The experiment was a fitting opportunity for an ambitious and
courageous woman who, though she might not find full measure of
happiness and love which only comes with respect, yet would meet with
adventure, would dare fate and hazard chance with fickle fortune. The
prospect to her mind was more pleasing than to be the wife of a
gentleman farmer and grow fat and matronlythe other chance just then
For the first time she appraised his virtues and was pleased with
his appearance. She wondered if he had sense enough to keep still when
silence was golden, and could be taught at opportune times to shift the
shower of his eloquent eulogy of himself to an ambitious friend.
Caleb and Rosamond passed two hours of the afternoon together in the
parlor of the old mansion undisturbed in their communion by the
portraits of her patrician ancestors; the living members of her family
walked softly, even when they passed the closed door. When she received
they dared not intrude, though they had never felt more curious or been
more surprised than at this protracted visit.
As Caleb rose to leave, he took her hand and said: I have shorely
enjoyed my call and am coming again next Sunday afternoon.
Do, Mr. Saylor! I shall keep the date for you. It is not becoming
in neighbors to be so unsociable or see so little of each other, and
slowly, after a lingering pressure, she withdrew her hand.
The next Sunday afternoon Caleb called again. He came at two and
when he left the spring sun had kissed the fields goodnight. To
Rosamond's great surprise, he proposed.
We are scarcely acquainted, Mr. Saylor. Though we have been
neighbors for years, you have denied me the pleasure of your visits.
You know a girl can not call upon a man. How do you know that you love
me as you should? I have never thought about you as a husband, though I
find your company most agreeable. You must give me another week before
you press for an answer.
I will press you now and let you say 'yes' again next week.
And they laughed and the bride-to-be blushed, and with downcast,
dreamy eyes, slowly yielding to the increasing pressure of his strong,
young arm, unexpectedly found her head nestling in contentment and
happiness upon his broad shoulder.
That night she disturbed the peace and quiet of the family circle by
announcing that she was to be a June bride and Mr. Saylor was to be the
Her mother rose and kissed her and in tears resumed her seat without
speaking. Her father grew red of face and swore that the upstart should
never again put foot upon the place, at which she informed him that his
remarks were uncalled for and his energy wasted. Her brother told her
she was lowering herself and disgracing the family name, but, he
supposed, taking advantage of what she must consider a last
opportunity. To which she replied: I did not expect such remarks from
you, Bradley, as three years ago you asked Mary Saylor to be Mrs.
Bradley Clay, an honor she declined with thanks. Nothing more was said
in opposition to the marriage.
During April and May, Rosamond and her mother were busy preparing
for the wedding, which occurred on the 5th of June and was attended by
the aristocracy of four counties. There were a few guests from even a
greater distance. Judge Singer and his wife were present, as was a
former Governor; Dorothy and her husband came on from Pittsburgh, Mrs.
Neal from Harlan, and Mary from Wellesley; but John Cornwall was not
Two years after his marriage Caleb was made a member of the
Democratic State Central Committee and a member of the Campaign
Committee from his district in a close race for Governor. Taking the
advice of his wife, which was becoming a habit, he made a liberal
contribution, sending it directly to the candidate, and rendered very
efficient and valuable service. He made two very good speeches, which
were written by his wife, who also drilled him in preparation for their
delivery. She long since had spread the information throughout the
State that his mountain idioms and ungrammatical lapses were
affectations to catch the uneducated voter.
The Governor, shortly after qualification, appointed Saylor as a
Colonel on his staff, and he and his wife were entertained at the
mansion. His wife was named as among those to receive at a reception
given by the Governor to the newly inducted State officials and the
About this time a very wealthy man who owned a farm near Lexington
died. The State became involved in litigation, seeking to recover
inheritance and ad valorem taxes from his estate, claiming he had died
a resident of Kentucky. Similar litigation was pending in the State of
Upon the recommendation of the Attorney General that special counsel
was needed, the Governor appointed Colonel Caleb Saylor and ex-Chief
Justice Dobson to represent the State. Without a great deal of trouble
they collected eight hundred thousand dollars and were paid a fee of
fifty thousand dollars for their services, thirty-five thousand of
which by contract went to Colonel Saylor as senior counsel.
He and his wife had spent a pleasant week in New York while he made
his investigation and compromised the State's claim. The day before
they returned home they visited Tiffany's. Mrs. Saylor's love and
respect for her husband were in no sense lessened when he invested
three thousand dollars in two rings, which, though they were flawless
gems, could scarcely be said to adorn his wife's tapering fingers and
His friends noticed that now, instead of singing his own praises, he
could never say too much in laudation of his wife; and she clung to his
arm and whispered sweet speeches into his ear as a bride of eighteen
It was noticeable that the Colonel had grown to be adept at
showering compliments upon his superiors and always had pretty speeches
for their wives. On county court day he went out to the cattle market
and shook hands all round with the farmers.
* * * * *
In the spring of 1899, about seven years before Colonel Saylor's
marriage, Cornwall received an invitation to the commencement exercises
of Wellesley and noticed that Mary was named as salutatorian of her
He sent her a set of The American Poets, gilt-edged in white
leather bindings, and received a note of thanks and an invitation to
visit the Saylor home any time he found it convenient during the
Mary came home the first of June and for a while enjoyed undisturbed
the quiet of the old farmhouse. The neighbors, including Bradley and
Rosamond Clay, were just beginning to call upon her and ask her to
their entertainments when she received and accepted an offer as
assistant teacher of mathematics at Wellesley. The first of September
she returned to the college, stopping for several days in Washington
and New York. The following summer she spent traveling with several
girl graduates and the teacher of French in England, France and Italy.
She sent Cornwall a remarkably fine photograph of herself taken at
This he framed and kept upon his dresser. His mother, seeing and
admiring the picture, asked;Who is the young lady, John?
I do not know, but as soon as I can discover her name and domicile,
I propose to propose.
It certainly is time; you are nearly thirty. I hope to see you
married before I go, John.
Mother, I know no argument against that ancient and hallowed
institution, and would not advise a friend against taking such a step,
even at the present and ever-increasing high cost of living. I do not
use such language. Since I first put on long trousers I have hunted
high and low for a wife, and with a persistence equalling that of a
young penniless widow, but without success. Just when it seems that
within a few days I shall be the happy recipient of the congratulations
of my friends who in their hearts feel certain I am about to fall
victim to the wiles of a designing female person, cruel fate steps in
and with peremptory halting gesture and commanding voice has always
said;thus far, but no father. You will doubtless live to see me at
fifty struggle through a dance with the daughter of my old sweetheart
while the son of another breaks us; and I, broken of wind and mopping
my bald head, shall retire to a corner and rest while conversing with
the hostess' grandmother. Seriously, mother, I intend to marry just as
soon as a girl as good and sweet as you are will have me. I am
beginning to think it will be Mary, or my stenographer. I have not seen
Mary for more than five years; it is nearly a year since I heard from
her. In some ways the photograph of that beautiful, fashionably-gowned
girl reminds me of her. Do you suppose that's Mary? But she surely is
not in Rome!How do you like this, mother? And John, whanging an
accompaniment on the piano, sang this Arabian song:
My daughter, 'tis time that thou wert wed;
Ten summers already are over thy head;
I must find you a husband, if under the sun,
The conscript catcher has left us one.
Dear mother, ONE husband will never do:
I have so much love that I must have two;
And I'll find for each, as you shall see,
More love than both can bring to me.
One husband shall carry a lance so bright;
He shall roam the desert for spoil at night;
And when morning shines on the tall palm tree,
He shall find sweet welcome home with me.
The other a sailor bold shall be:
He shall fish all day in the deep blue sea;
And when evening brings his hour of rest,
He shall find repose on this faithful breast.
There's no chance my child, of a double match,
For men are scarce and hard to catch;
So I fear you must make one husband do,
And try to love him as well as two.
Goodbye, I must go to the office; kiss me, mother!
* * * * *
Well, good morning, Miss Rachael, junior partner; how is the firm
business coming on? What must we take up first? You have been with me
more than five years and it's always a smile and a pleasant word. You
are twenty-five and not married. Some one of your race and faith is
very slow finding out what a fine wife you would make. My mother was
after me today, saying; 'John, you must get married; you are nearly
thirty;' and I said; 'mother, if I do, I guess it will be Mary, or
Rachael.' You don't know Mary, and I doubt if I would if I met her; I
have not seen her for five years.
Mr. Cornwall, there's lots of mail to answer and in an hour you are
to take depositions in the Asher case.
Rachael you are too practical. Why don't you let me love you. I am
convinced that with just a little encouragement I would propose. It's
time we both were married. We have never had a quarrel in all these
years. I am worth twenty-five thousand and have a good business. You
can have everything you want. Why not, Rachael?
That's just why I am practical; to keep my head and my place; I
like the work.Yes, you can hold my hand if you wish and kiss me just
once. But if you ever try it again, I must return to Louisville. Were
you of my race and faith, you would not have to ask me twice. I hope
when I do marry the man will be much like you; but he must be a Jew. We
are a scattered people, without flag or country; yet a proud nation,
seeking no alliances with other people. Your religion, founded on my
faith, holds mine in both reverence and abhorrence. We have different
sacred and fast days. I must eat other foods. We follow different
customs in rearing our children. If I should marry you I must become a
stranger to my own people and will be despised by yours. I will bring
neither riches nor position and, like Ruth of old, must turn my back
upon my own people. Thy people are not my people. For this time I will
call you John, and again say it cannot be. I am crying; Oh! please!
please let's work!
MARY AND JOHN ARE MARRIED.
About two weeks after Caleb Saylor and Rosamond were married, John
Cornwall left Harlan on a business trip for Boston and Pittsburgh. As
he had never gone east over the C. &O., he concluded to travel that
route, boarding the train at Winchester.
His intention was to travel direct to Boston, where he was to make
settlement with the executors of the estate of Giusto Poggi, who had
died some months before, a resident of that city. He had left
$20,000.00 to Cornwall's client, Luigi Poggi, a miner living on
Straight Creek near the old Saylor home.
After this settlement was made it was his intention to return home
by way of Pittsburgh, stopping there to attend a stockholders' meeting
of the Pittsburgh Coal &Coke Company, of which corporation he had been
a director for more than three years.
As he took his seat in number 9 he saw that quite an
attractive-looking young woman occupied the opposite section. Her face
seemed quite familiar, in that she might have sat for the photograph
which occupied so conspicuous a place on his bedroom dresser. He
watched her, hoping that she might glance up from the book which
claimed her whole attention.
On the front seat of her section, from beneath a summer wrap thrown
over the back, the end of a small leather handbag protruded and on it
he read; M. E. S. Wellesley, Mass.
He felt a thrill of surprise and pleasure. Taking a second and very
careful look at the lady, he was convinced that he had found the
original of the photograph and discovered the identity of the
attractive stranger, though it was more than twelve years since he had
last seen her.
How Mary had changed! Her beauty was none the less than when he had
first seen her, a rosy-cheeked mountain girl, who looked at every
strange thing in wide-eyed, timid wonder; who blushed when she was
spoken to; and finally, when her timidity wore away, talked with him in
her crude mountain idioms and localisms. He felt sure that when this
cultured creature, who radiated poise and refinement, should feel
inclined to speak after a most formal introduction, her voice would be
soft and low, her words precise and her accent give certain identity of
Bostonian culture and residence.
So the mountain lawyer, too snubbed by even this thought to rise and
speak, sat in confusion across the aisle and made timid inventory of
the charm and grace of his traveling companion.
She looked up from her book at a screw head in the panel about two
feet above John's head, with a fixed thoughtful glance that saw nothing
else; and John blushed. Her dreamy brown eyes spoke of a shackled or
slumbering soul, voluntarily enduring the isolation of cultured
spinsterhood, in search for the higher life. He felt the cold, bony
hand of death reach out and crush his dream of love. After another hour
of observation, the sun came through the window and shed its bright
warm rays upon her hair and he revived a bit when he discovered there
the warmth and color and glow of the southland. She put down her book
and walked down the aisle; then he saw that her figure, though tall and
slender, possessed a freedom of movement, healthy vigor and curves that
told of a clean and vigorous life from early girlhood. When she
returned to her seat he studied her face with care and knew it as the
one he had seen in his dreams for years and each time had yearned to
At one of the stops a knight of the road, whose business was selling
women's ready-to-wear garments, came into the car and walked down the
aisle past several vacant sections to number 10, where, pausing, he
Miss, may I occupy the forward seat of your compartment, until the
conductor assigns me one?
Certainly, the space is unoccupied.
You probably find it tiresome traveling alone?
I usually find it more comfortable without company.
Are you traveling far?
This question the lady seemed not to hear, but rang the bell for the
Porter, please tell the conductor I wish to speak to him.
Conductor, this gentleman has expressed a wish to be assigned a
seat; he probably desires one in another section.
There's plenty of room; I told him as he came in to occupy number
4. 'Porter, put this gentleman's baggage in number 4.' This is number
10; yours is the third section forward.
Another half hour passed. John opening his handbag, took out some
papers; then, reversing the end, moved it so the bag protruded slightly
from under the arm-rest into the aisle. He took the forward seat and
read a while; then, resting his head against the window frame,
pretended to sleep.
The young lady finished her book. She looked out her window until
the view was blotted out by the nearness of the hillside; then
indolently turned and glanced out the opposite window at the swiftly
running little river and a narrow valley hemmed about by timbered
hills. Then her glance rested for a moment on the protruding handbag,
and she read; John Cornwall, Harlan, Ky.
There was an exclamation of surprise; a slight blush of
anticipation; a look of joy; and she glanced up into the face of the
sleeper, whose dreams were evidently pleasant as he slightly smiled.
She saw a man past thirty, of strong and thoughtful face, whose hair
was slightly thinning over the temples. The dozen years since she last
had seen him added much to an expressive face; his shoulders had
broadened and he weighed perhaps a pound or more for each year;but it
was the same John, her John,and she sat and looked into his face and
two tears stole down her cheeks. He stirred, and she turned her face
towards her window.
The twilight shadows deepened into night. A waiter came through
calling; Last call for supper. She arose and walking down the aisle
towards the diner, heard her neighbor move and come following after.
When she reached the vestibule she dropped her handkerchief and as she
stooped, he picked it up. Then the little comedy of surprise and
recognition was acted;Oh, John! Oh, Mary!
As they passed into the diner a wise old waiter, who knew he made no
mistake when he spoke of a handsome woman to a man as his wife, though
she might not be, said; Will this table suit your wife, Sar? Then
John found that Mary could blush like the mountain girl of old.
They ate slowly, talking of the many things that had happened since
last they parted on Straight Creek at the foot of the Salt Trace trail,
and until the waiter told them; Boss, this car is drapped at the next
station and they's blowin' fer her now. Then John paid the check and
gave him a dollar. As the waiter closed the door after them he said to
another; There goes a sure nuff Southern gentleman.
They took seats in Mary's section and continued their talk several
hours; about the marriage of Caleb and Rosamond; Mary's school days;
her trip abroad and her experiences of five years as a teacher; and
John of his business, of his mother, of Bradford and Dorothy and
Rosamond; he even told how near he came to proposing to Rosamond.
That explains why you were not invited to the wedding. I quarreled
with Caleb and Rosamond when I learned you had not been. Caleb said he
supposed you were; while Rosamond made the excuse that she intended to
but overlooked you in the rush. She calls her husband John Calhoun and
Caleb has promised to change the sign on his office door and to order
new business stationery, which is to be embossed with the name, John
The conductor passing through the car glanced at them several times
as did the drummer who occupied the seat forward. They met in the
smoking compartment and the drummer handed the conductor a cigar.
Well, Mr. Drummer, she seems to like the other fellow; at least she
hasn't sent for me. He must have nerve to tackle her after he saw her
squelch you. But you can never tell what a woman is going to do.
If you had kept off a bit I would be sitting right there now
instead of that young fellow. They seem to chatter away like old
The next morning John and Mary ate breakfast together in Washington
and that afternoon journeyed on to New York. When they went into the
diner for supper and the waiter referred to Mary as John's wife, she
did not blush, but touched his arm and looked at him with a smile of
confidence and love. As he returned the glance a close observer would
have said; They are newly married.
* * * * *
The next morning Mrs. Cornwall received a telegram: Have followed
your advice. Married Mary last night. Her picture is on my dresser. You
can wire us at The McAlpin. John.
Mary and John also telegraphed her mother announcing the marriage
and stating that they would stop over ten days on their way home to
* * * * *
John accompanied Mary to Wellesley, where she finally succeeded in
explaining why it was necessary that she should be permitted to resign
as teacher of mathematics.
The girls at first sight of John were quite hysterical, exclaiming:
What a handsome man Miss Saylor's brother is! When they learned his
identity and that he came to take her away, he was condemned as a
horrid old baldheaded man. This opinion was mildly modified at the
farewell dinner the school gave to Miss Saylor, where John at his best
gave the young ladies an informal talk on,School Days, School
Teachers and Matrimony. More than half of the girls were so impressed
by the sense and sentiment of his talk that for a day or two they
thought seriously of becoming teachers and waiting until they were
thirty, when they would marry a nice-looking and prosperous young
lawyer like Miss Saylor's John.
John rushed through his business engagement in Boston; then they
went down to Atlantic City for several days.
He had written Bradford and Mr. Rogers telling of his marriage. They
had each telegraphed congratulations and insisted that John wire the
time of their arrival in Pittsburgh. This he did.
They were met at the station by Bradford and Dorothy and Mr. Rogers
and his wife. Both families insisted that they should be their guests
while in the city. A compromise was effected by going home with
Bradford and Dorothy and accepting an invitation to be the guests of
honor Thursday evening at the Rogers home, where they were to remain
for the night after a reception and dinner, leaving the next day for
Kentucky over the Pennsylvania.
Saturday noon they arrived at Paint Lick and were met at the station
by Mr. and Mrs. Saylor, Sr. in the family carriage drawn by two sleek
black mules; and Mr. and Mrs. Saylor, Jr. in their new Pierce Arrow.
Rosamond had consented to come over, having forgiven John, because
she thought he had in a spirit of disappointment at her marriage,
rushed to Wellesley and married Mary.
The more than a dozen years that had gone by since John had seen Mr.
and Mrs. Saylor had been kind to them. Mr. Saylor had the look and ways
of a prosperous farmer. He had grown stout and seemed to enjoy the good
things of life. His was a jovial, easy-going disposition. He considered
that fortune had been kind, now that Mary was married to Mr. Cornwall
and Caleb, his boy, was a big man and married to one of the Clays. He
owned a farm of more than four hundred acres and each year had saved
some money, so that now he was considered one of the rich farmers of
He stood in dread and fear of only one person in the world and that
was Caleb's wife. The lady, disputing the family record which he had
made when she was a little tot, rechristened his Caleb, John Calhoun
Saylor, and he dared not protest. It was several months before his hard
head adjusted itself to the new name. He reached perfection by
gradation; from Caleb to John Caleb and finally mastered John Calhoun.
Upon receipt of the telegram from New York, opening the big family
Bible to make an entry of Mary's marriage in the family record, he was
surprised to find that the entry of birth of Caleb Saylor made by him
in 1885 had been changed by Mrs. Saylor, Jr., to John Calhoun Saylor,
1883 which only left his son about two years his wife's junior.
Subsequently he discovered that his son and Rosamond were each born in
1883 when he examined a carefully mutilated record in the Clay Bible.
John liked Mrs. Saylor. She was a most unselfish soul, giving every
thought of mind and every movement of her body to service for her
husband and children.
She was a slender, large-framed woman, with snow-white hair and a
wrinkled, tired, though kindly face. The face was a happier one than
when he first knew her;then it seemed all joy had departed from it.
She never whimpered or found fault or raised her voice in anger. She
was a woman of few words and few tears. Her hands, while not those of a
lady, were those of a capable, hard-working mother and had a touch of
gentle softness for the cheek of those she loved. Only when Mary and
Susie were both home did she find time to rest.
Caleb was even more an egotist than when a boy. When he did not talk
about himself his other subject of discussion was the charms of his
wife, yet John, and others thrown with him, discovered he was not a
fool. Under the tutelage of his wife he was gradually acquiring another
faculty or subject of conversation, and that was the power unstintedly
to praise any vain person who might prove of service to him. He had
improved in speech and knowledge, but by contact. He scarcely ever
looked into a book, except to memorize a passage. He always carried a
pocket dictionary and when an unfamiliar word was used in his presence,
surreptitiously consulted it and, familiarizing himself with the
meaning of the word, used it the first time occasion offered. If he
once heard a thing he seemed never to forget it, nor a man's name or
face. If his wife wrote out a speech and read it to him a couple of
times it was his for delivery in practically her words. He struck John
as a man devoid of conscience, yet, at first blush, of pleasant manner
To John it seemed the years had made Rosamond nearer the Rosamond of
his dream than the youthful Rosamond who had wandered over the hills
with him and to whom he had made love. The thought occurred that Caleb
must prove a strong and zealous contender for this world's honors to
satisfy his wife's ambition, else he might lose his handsome wife to a
greater champion. He spoke of this impression to Mary and she shared
his view, though Rosamond was in no sense flirtatious.
Mary, I love all your family, except John Calhoun.
Well, John, you married me, not the family, though I would have
been unhappy had you not liked mother, father and Susie.
You must make your mother visit us as soon as we are settled. I
believe she really needs the rest. I know that she and mother will be
great friends and I know your father would like to put in a month
hunting up old friends and knocking about the hills; he must come,
They remained at the Saylor homestead for three days. The night
before they left for home, they were entertained by Mrs. John Calhoun
Saylor, who was really proud of these two members of her husband's
family and desired to exhibit them to the friends and relatives of the
* * * * *
As the train drew near Harlan, winding in and out along the river
and the foothills of Pine Mountain, Mary nestled close to John and,
dreamily watching the big mountain, whose shadow was reflected in the
deep pools of the river, said:
I no longer call to you through space, John, wondering if you hear.
Now we travel side by side our narrow, little way of life and read its
meaning in each other's eyes. We will soon be home, John; and I for one
am glad we are to live in the mountains. I love them more than plain,
or rolling pasture, or woodland, or the sea. One of my favorite poems
'Thou art a mountain stately and serene,
Rising majestic o'er each earthly thing,
And I a lake that 'round thy feet do cling,
Kissing thy garment's hem, unknown, unseen.
I tremble when the tempests darkly screen
Thy face from mine. I smile when sunbeams fling
Their bright arms 'round thee. When the blue heavens lean
Upon thy breast, I thrill with bliss, O king!
Thou canst not stoopwe are too far apart;
I may not climb to reach thy mighty heart;
Low at thy feet I am content to be.
But wouldst thou know how great thou art,
Bend thy proud head, my mountain love, and see
How all thy glories shine again in me.'
Will your mother be glad to see me, John? Will she fear I shall
steal too much of her boy's love?
Mary, mother is a little, old woman with a wonderfully big, young
heart and a grand soul filled with tenderness and grace and love.
There's not a joy in all the world she would not share with you. When
she shares your sorrows, night changes quickly to the dusk of morning
and as the day comes they flit away like shadows on the dewy grass.
When she sees you she will kiss you and cry a bit and call you 'John's
wife' for a day and then it will be 'Mary dear.' Were you a stranger,
whose name had never been mentioned, she would take you in, first for
my sake, then love you for your own. One day I said: 'Mother, your aim
in life seems to be to live for and wait on me.' 'No, John, my aim in
life is to live like Him!' She has kept some of earth's clay out of my
As the train pulled into the station, Mary surreptitiously powdered
her nose. Mrs. Cornwall, Mrs. Neal, Duffield and several other friends
were there to meet them.
Mrs. Cornwall seemed not to see John. As she took Mary in her arms
she called her John's wife; they cried a wee bit and as she let her
go, John heard her say Mary dear; and he knew his mother's heart
approved of his wife. Then he kissed his mother and they greeted his
Mrs. Neal was greatly surprised at Mary's appearance. Mrs.
Cornwall, you really mean to tell me that she was born on Straight
Mrs. Cornwall, upon the receipt of the telegram notifying her of
John's marriage, went to his room and taking Mary's photograph, carried
it to the window and in the strong light of the June day studied the
Even under her critical analysis, that of a mother-in-law whose love
was centered in her son and who believed that he was entitled to the
world's best, the picture met her approbation.
She held it in her arms, as one who loved might have held the
original; and after a few tears of mingled sadness and joysadness for
what had gone from her life and joy for what she thought had come into
her son'sand after a prayer that God would bless the union of her son
and this woman, making their life long and true and completing their
happiness by giving them sweet children to make the union one of body
and soul, she carried it down to her parlor and placed it on the center
table beside that of her son's, wreathing and clustering them round
with deep-red, velvety roses from the garden, and each day until they
came gathered fresh ones, replacing those that withered. She
telegraphed her blessing and love to them both and wrote Mary a long
letter, telling her how happy she should be to welcome her home as
John's wife and her daughter.
Though Mary several times had asked, John had told her very little
about their home. She knew from descriptions Rosamond and Dorothy had
given her that it was an attractive place. When they drove into the
yard and up to the porch with its colonial pillars and the
old-fashioned, arched doorway, he could see that she was artistically
Then as they passed through the portal into the hall and the double
parlors, she gave voice to her appreciation.
Mrs. Cornwall, you have made the house indeed a home. No wonder
John was so near remaining a bachelor. You made him entirely too
comfortable; he will expect too much. John, see how your mother has
bordered our photographs with roses.
I hope you and John will be pleased with your rooms. If they are
not just what you wish, satisfy yourselves; the house is large enough.
Mary, you know the house is yours. I have been after John for ten years
to marry and give me a chance to shift the responsibility of
housekeeper to younger shoulders.
You know they say comparisons are odious. I am sure if you were to
force me to assume instant charge, John would never believe I could
make a good housekeeper. Were the house inartistic or disordered, I
might be tempted to do so, but everything is so harmonious, so
comfortable, so home-like, that I must serve a long apprenticeship
before you should force the responsibility upon me. You know I have
been a teacher; I must be gradually taught housekeeping, and in the
meantime am to be your daughter as John is your boy.
Mother, when did you have all this done?
The day after I received your telegram I sent to Louisville and had
Mr. Strassel come up; he, Mrs. Neal and I redecorated and refurnished
these rooms for Mary.
You have been very thoughtful. John, your mother has not given up
her rooms for us, has she? If so, we must refuse to take them.
No, one of them was mine; the other was a spare bedroom.
Please come to this window. What a happy view, the garden, the
river, the valley, the fields of grain and the distant, blue mountains!
John, I love your mother and my home most as much as I do you!
The neighbors and friends of the Cornwalls were very kind to Mary.
She grew to be very fond of Mrs. Neal and Mrs. Duffield. Duffield,
several years before, had married Helen Creech.
Mary was just beginning to feel thoroughly at home, and under Mrs.
Cornwall's tutelage and diplomacy unconsciously assuming charge as
mistress of the house, which was not so hard, as she had an efficient
maid and had always helped her mother, when Dorothy and Bradford came
on from Pittsburgh. Ever since their marriage they had spent the month
of August with Mrs. Neal.
After their arrival they, with John and Mary, began wandering about
the hills and playing the part of lovers as they had done years before,
though the Bradfords were somewhat hampered in their rambles by a
little son whom they had christened John Durrett Bradford.
Rosamond, who knew that the Bradfords were visiting Mrs. Neal,
telegraphed Mary that she and her husband were coming to make her a
visit, leaving home on the 12th of August; they would remain ten days.
She answered, expressing her pleasure, and asked that they bring her
mother with them.
While it was a matter of no importance to John Calhoun and,
therefore, he made no objection, his wife refused to bring her, saying:
We will not mention that we intend going to her. She can go after we
return. I am going on a pleasure trip; not to look after an old woman.
When they arrived, Mary was greatly disappointed that her mother had
not come. When told by Rosamond that they had not asked her mother
because she did not look well and the trip might prove too trying, she
was worried about her mother's health and immediately wrote her sister.
In answer, her sister said: Mother was very much disappointed when
she learned John and Rosamond had gone to visit you, as had she known,
she would have come with them. She is perfectly well and it is quite
evident to me that they did not want her with them. You need not be
surprised at anything that pair do.
John Calhoun did not care to wander about the hills or picnic along
the river bank with his wife, saying: I had enough of climbing hills
and basket meetings when a boy. His wife accompanied Mary and John on
their rambles, while he loafed around the hotel and the court house,
making friends and acquaintances, or rode over to the mines,
cultivating the miners and discussing politics with them.
He had acquired the knack under his wife's tutelage of beginning an
argument with a man and gradually coming around to his antagonist's way
of thinking; complimenting his opponent upon his way of making a
difficult question clear. He would tell him: Now I understand it for
the first time. I was wrong, you are right. Thereupon he and his
opponent usually began a sort of Alphonse and Gaston species of
concessions which ended in Saylor convincing the man to his way of
thinking. His wife said it was the Clay way of persuasion.
Several days after Rosamond and her husband arrived, John's mother
had a slight illness which kept Mary at home. Rosamond insisted on
continuing the rambles which had been planned, and her husband refusing
to accompany her, John was forced to do so.
Thus, in a way, the relations of more than a half-dozen years before
were re-established. When they were with Dorothy and Bradford she
insisted on going where they with their little, two-year-old boy could
not go, and in this way managed that she and John were much together.
When they passed some place she remembered from her former rambles
of the years before, she had a way of recalling it and saying: It was
here, John, we sat on the rock and you brought me water from the spring
in a cup of leaves; let's do it again for old-time's sake. It was here,
John, we seined the minnows; it was here you taught me the jack-knife
dive; it was here you picked me up, oh, so tenderly! and with so much
anxious solicitude, I have half a mind to fall again until John grew
timid, and the next time begged Mary to come with them, and when she
said it was impossible, sought to keep with the other members of the
party, but Rosamond was the better manager and their solitary rambles
A day or two before she was to return home, as they sat resting on a
moss-grown rock in a secluded cove far up the mountainside, she placed
her hand over John's and said:
Tell me, John, what you were going to ask the night of the dance so
many years ago, when you brought me out to the arbor and we found
Dorothy and Howard Bradford there?
I thought I loved you and was going to ask you to be my wife.
Why didn't you, Johndo; didn't you love me?
I had a horrid dream about you and before I recovered from it you
became offended and returned home. I never saw you afterwards until
Mary and I were married.
So you let a dream shatter my dreams of love and happiness.
You should not say that, Rosamond. You are married and to a man of
your own choosing and I to the wife of my choice.
Mine was a marriage of convenience; I did it believing that I could
manage my husband and, with even the crude material at hand, make a
man. I am regretting it even now after less than four months. He either
has less sense than I thought or is harder to manage. I do not even
respect him and if you were still single and wished it, I could get a
divorce. Why did you not follow me home, John? That's what I expected
you to do.
Don't; such talk is not right and you must not say such things to
me. Even though I loved you once, I now love only one woman in the
world and that is Mary. Were we both single, I could not marry you
unless Mary was married to some other man. There is no use talking
about such things; they are a forgotten past. I shall not go out with
you again; I dare not; you are a fascinating woman and the old love
John rose from his seat and, deathly pale, walked ahead of Rosamond
down the mountainside and she, pale and trembling with anger, followed
after. Neither spoke until they joined Dorothy and Bradford under some
old elms near the river.
From that day until the Saylors left for home John was too busy at
the office for any more rambles. Rosamond was ill-tempered and spent
most of her time in her room. When her door was opened the quiet of the
house was occasionally disturbed by loud-voiced wrangling with her
husband; though in the presence of strangers she always greeted him in
a gently modulated voice and with a smile.
The following spring the Pittsburgh Coal &Coke Company sold out to a
Detroit manufacturer of automobiles and John was instrumental in
closing the deal. As fee and profit on the sale of his stock in the
company he realized a little more than twenty-three thousand dollars.
He was retained by the new company as their local counsel at a
salary of three thousand dollars and from his other business realized
an income of four thousand dollars more. This seemed to be about the
limit of earning capacity in the little, mountain city, though he and
his wife never thought of moving. They were both satisfied and loved
the mountains and their neighbors. Their mother was content where her
children, John and Mary, were.
In the fall of 1911 he was the Democratic elector from the Eleventh
Congressional District and made a few speeches which attracted some
little attention. The following summer he was offered and declined the
Assistant United States District Attorneyship for the Eastern Kentucky
On the 12th day of May, 1910, his thirty-eighth birthday, his wife
presented him with a son. After a discussion lasting several days, in
which he and Mary had less to say than his mother or Mrs. Neal or Mrs.
Simeon Saylor, who was visiting her daughter, the boy was christened
John Saylor Cornwall; and to avoid confusion in an otherwise quiet and
well-regulated household, was called Saylor.
His father called him Sailor Boy and wanted to take him down to
the river to sail toy boats before he cut his stomach teeth but the
boy's grandmothers would not permit it.
The two grandmothers were constantly quarrelling as to who should
hold John Saylor Cornwall, while the baby was either crying to go to
his father or squirming to get down and crawl on the floor.
His grandfather, who was now Colonel Simeon Saylor (i. e., by
courtesy, since he was quite an extensive land-owner), began to think
that John Saylor Cornwall in the years to come might grow to be almost
as great as his Uncle John Calhoun, who was now Congressman from the
He began telling the boy how great he was going to be until his
mother put a stop to it by threatening to send him home before the
boy's second birthday, the celebration of which event the grandfather
and two grandmothers looked forward to with excited expectancy, as he
was the only grandchild in either family.
On his second birthday he was showered with presents. Everybody
remembered him, except his Aunt Rosamond. She left the Cornwall family
alone after her visit in August, following the marriage of John and
She was now in Washington with her husband; or, as some of her
friends put it, she was in Washington, accompanied by her husband.
As a politician, he was not in her class. She some time since had
ceased in her attempts to gratify ambition by reflective honors from
her husband and had marched forth under the leadership of Mrs. Catt as
a most trusted lieutenant. She was head of the Woman's Suffrage
Organization of Kentucky; was in great demand as a public speaker and
heralded by an extensive following as the probable successor of Mrs.
Catt in the fight for the emancipation of women.
Her husband, in spite of his distinguished air and faculty as a
personal press agent, was slowly losing his identity. He was not
infrequently referred to, particularly in Washington, as the husband of
Mrs. Rosamond Clay Saylor.
* * * * *
On the way home from his visit. Grandpa Saylor stopped off at
Pineville and spent a day or two on the head of Straight Creek with his
The old home place was occupied by Jim Helton, who, when he sold his
land to the coal company, moved into the Saylor house. He spent a day
with the Heltons; he even visited the old cliff-house still and at
twilight started down the creek for Pineville. In the valley it was
very dark, as the moon had not yet risen above the mountain.
When opposite Elhannon Howard's, the horse he was riding stumbled
over something in the middle of the road and horse and rider were
hurled over the bank into the creek. Elhannon, hearing the noise made
by the horse floundering around in the water and old man Saylor
swearing, came out bearing a flaming pine knot, and the two old enemies
faced each other.
Saylor's horse had stumbled over one of Elhannon's cows asleep in
the road and the frightened cow, struggling to her feet, had thrown
horse and rider over the bank. The rider was unhurt, but the horse's
right foreleg was broken.
Damn you, Elhannon, why don't you and your wife sleep out in the
middle of the road, too. You will certainly pay for that horse and my
wetting. I am too old to fight you, but I will law you in Squire
All right, Sim Saylor; I'll be thar.
And if I lose thar, I'll take it to the Circuit Court.
All right, Sim Saylor, I'll be thar.
And if I lose in the Circuit Court, I'll take it to the Court of
All right, Sim Saylor; I'll be thar.
And if I lose in the Court of Appeals, I'll take it to hell, the
All right, Sim Saylor, I won't be thar, but my lawyer will. Keep on
your shirt, Sim, and come into the house. The old woman can make you
comfortable for the night.
They went to the house and Mr. Saylor took off his wet clothes and
went to bed. When he awoke the next morning they hung on a chair, dry
and nicely cleaned; there was even a fashionable crease down the
trouser legs. Elhannon's dude son had pressed them for him.
As he and Elhannon sat at breakfast they talked about the bees and
the old Southdown ram which several years before had been gathered to
his fathers, leaving several noble scions behind.
When breakfast was over Elhannon's boy, the dude, drove up in front
of the house in a buckboard, and Saylor climbed in beside him. As the
boy started off Elhannon called: Look here, dood, don't drive that
horse over any cows in the road.
Old man Saylor laughed and called back: You and I are too old to
law; you settle with old man Samuels for his horse and we'll call it
square. You and the old woman come down to the fair and stop with us.
All right, Sim Saylor; I'll be thar; so long and good luck.
Seeing Italy at Mrs. O'Flannagan's Expense.
Mrs. O'Flannagan lived in Limerick, the Irish colony of Louisville.
Her husband, a policeman under the Grainger administration, was doped
by a friend and, being found in a stupor, was fired by the Board of
Public Safety. His friend's brother inherited the beat and the
Tenth-street or side door of the saloon at West Green Street, swung
more loosely of hinge on Sunday than formerly.
Some days after his dismissal O'Flannagan, passing the cart of a
hot-tamale man at the entrance to the ball park, became involved in an
argument between the vendor, a Sicilian, and a boy and was knifed by
the vendor. He was buried three days later after a convivial wake, the
success of which was in some measure a consolation for his widow.
His estate, besides his widow, consisted of a four-room, shot-gun
cottage, meagerly furnished, and three boys, Tim, Pat and Jerry.
Tim was fourteen, and after school sold papers at Fourth and
Broadway. The other two boys were of sufficient years of discretion to
dodge a motorcycle if the rider gave stentorian warning.
Mrs. O'Flannagan, a husky, rawboned dame, adopted the profession of
a washlady, and found many ladies who were anxious to procure her
services since the colored ladies had deserted their washtubs to work
in the Axton tobacco factory.
Tim always brought home the worn outside paper of his bundle, or
else one that some customer had glanced through and thrown away, for
his mother to read. She was deeply interested in the progress of the
After ten hours over the washtub, she would change her sud-soaked
dress, get the boys their supper, clean and dry the dishes, scrub the
two little chaps and put them to bed; then, after eight o'clock, sit
down at the window where the street light shone in and read about those
devilish Huns, her moist, strong face, to which clung her brown hair,
stringy from sweat, working and changing expression with feelings of
sympathy and patriotism.
After she had read all about the war and the Red Cross, but nothing
else, she got out a ball of gray yarn and needles and knitted till
10:30. She had promised to knit two pairs of socks a week for the
Limerick Red Cross Unit. Then after her prayers, which were wholly
intercessory, for her boys and their daily bread and the motherless
boys in Flanders, her day's work was done. She went to the big bed by
the window and kissed her three boys, then to her cot in the corner and
slept the sound sleep of the faithful and the true.
She had not been to a picture show in three years; had never been in
an automobile, nor to the derby, nor the State Fair, but each Sunday
morning walked in to the Cathedral to early mass.
She was always at home, except when she made the trip to the
grocery, or to The Puritan to deliver the wash, or to the knitting unit
to exchange the pair of well-knitted socks (on the tops of which she
always made a narrow border of red, white and blue) for more yarn.
She gave the boys twenty cents each every Saturday night to go to
the picture show and for peanuts. They knew all the knot-holes in the
ball park fence and all the home players by name and sight. They argued
and sometimes fought over the umpire's decision.
The Government selected and named a training camp site, out the
Preston Street car line, Camp Taylor. It was soon rumored around
Limerick how they were burning down practically new buildings to make
immediate room for barracks and were paying unheard-of prices for
labor. Every one who owned a saw, hammer and square and who could hit
the hammer with the nail, called himself a carpenter and journeyed
thither. The paper boys became water boys at three dollars per day. So
Tim gave up his paper stand and became a water boy.
Mrs. O'Flannagan, going down to the store for a pair of shoes and
taking three dollars to pay for them, the price she had been paying for
the same shoe for ten years, was forced to return home for three
dollars more, as she was told: Last week the price was raised to
$5.98. Everywhere she went to buy some simple necessity she was told
of a sudden similar raise.
The husbands and sweethearts of the few remaining colored washladies
having procured jobs at the camp and the women themselves receiving
liberal offers at other occupations, deserted the washtub. The ladies
of The Puritan were forced to get Mrs. O'Flannagan or buy an electric
washer and iron or surreptitiously do the family wash in the bathtub
and dry it in the kitchenette.
Three or four times daily a limousine or sedan drove up in front of
Mrs. O'Flannagan's and a daintily bedecked creature in a fifty-dollar
hat and a two-hundred-dollar dress, wearing twenty-dollar shoes,
stepped out exhibiting a none too slender calf encased in a five-dollar
stocking, though her father might have gotten his start as a
section-hand at two dollars per day on the L. &N. or have driven a
huckster's wagon, or tended bar, or curried horses. She tripped into
the house and, after shaking hands with the washlady (she was hard
pushed), who was forced to quit work, wipe her hands on the roller
towel and entertain her visitor, said:
Oh, Mrs. O'Flannagan, Mrs. Rothchilds says you are a beautiful
laundress and that you always return all the things when you promise. I
had a nigger doing my work and she was an awful nuisance. I do believe
she wore my stockings and my teddy-bears. Mrs. Rothchilds is a friend
of mine; we live in adjoining apartments. There are four in her family
and only three in mine and her son Leo has so many shirts. She tells me
you have been her laundress for three years and that she pays you a
dollar and a half a week. Now that's too cheap. You give up her washing
and take mine. I will pay you three dollars a week and send it round in
the car by Charles.
I have been doing Mrs. Rothchilds' wash for more than three years.
When prices went up so much she offered to pay me more, saying high
prices had cut the heart out of the dollar. I said: 'No, you furnish
the soap and starch and what you pay is enough. I want to do what I can
to help these times, and the way to put the heart back in the dollar is
to put prices down; we can all help do that. All I want is to make an
honest living and bring up my three boys to be good men.' I sometimes
think happiness consists in having few wants. I am glad to see you are
doing so well. I believe I know you. You are Rachael Reubenstein, the
daughter of Herman Reubenstein, who used to have the old-clothes store
at Ninth and Market. You and I used to play dolls together. Father went
on your father's bond when he bought all those clothes and jewelry from
two coons for twenty dollars.
Charles, start the car; let us leave this low neighborhood, and
wash the car when you get back to the garage.
* * * * *
The National War Work Council of the Y. M. C. A. and kindred
organizations, having started their work and particularly that most
important portion of soliciting funds from the general public, Mrs.
Breckenridge Crittenden Clay, of 4897 Third Avenue, was elected as head
of the women's committee.
Fair, young girls in fluffy dresses and of just that age supposed to
be most appealing and irresistible to men, were placed in the office
and bank buildings and were directed to shower their smiles upon the
strangers in the hotel lobbies, while certain fat and willing dames
past forty were given the residence sections of the great common people
and told to make a house-to-house canvass. They were instructed,
however, to omit the factories and business houses intermittently
located in such sections, as they were to be looked after by a selected
coterie who called in state and were supposed to be specially fitted
for just such solicitations.
Mrs. Weissinger Robinson, who was not on the best of terms with Mrs.
Clay, but who always helped in such campaigns for contributions, was
assigned to the residence section of Limerick, while Mrs. Clay's most
intimate friend, Mrs. Castleman Smith, was assigned to Third and Fourth
avenues between Kentucky and Hill streets.
One hot afternoon, while Mrs. O'Flannagan was hanging out the wash,
the car of Mrs. Robinson drove up to her door.
Horace, climb out and tell whoever lives here to come to the car.
The chauffeur knocked on the door and when Mrs. O'Flannagan opened
it, delivered his message. She came out, wiping her wet, water-wrinkled
hands upon her flour-sack apron, supposing that here was another lady
looking for a laundress.
I am Mrs. Weissinger Robinson and this is Mrs. Decatur Jones. We
are asking subscriptions for the Y. M. C. A. and other kindred
institutions, the money to be used for the comfort and entertainment of
our soldier boys in Europe, to furnish them with shelter huts near the
front line where they may rest, have picture shows, theatricals,
innocent games, a library and be given hot coffee, chocolate and other
home-like things; they will also be given writing materials. We have
been asked to visit each house in this section and ask contributions.
How nice and home-like that will be for the boys! If every mother
gives, she can be sure her boy over there will share in the giving. I
have saved up forty dollars for winter clothes for my boys, but we will
give ten of it. I am sorry I can not do more.
At night when the canvass of that section was completed Mrs.
Robinson had collected $843.50, while Mrs. Castleman Smith, of the
Third Avenue section, had collected $327.00.
Mrs. Decatur Jones, talking about the contributions with Mrs.
Robinson, said: I am so glad we put it over that Mrs. Castleman Smith.
My husband gave me twenty-five dollars to contribute, but I thought
that was too much, so gave Mrs. Smith, who had our district, two
dollars. I knew there would be no trouble in collecting this city's
apportionment. We always 'go over the top.' Limerick certainly did
beautifully, and I might just as well have given all the twenty-five
dollars, as I lost it playing bridge.
* * * * *
The necessary fund having been raised by popular subscription, the
Y. M. C. A., K. of C. and Salvation Army began the process of
preparation to send over a corps of workers to look after the spiritual
and physical welfare of the American boys sent overseas and assigned
for training or fighting service to camp or trench in England, France,
Italy, Russia and Mesopotamia.
In the list of recruits for International Y service there were
barbers and lawyers, truck farmers and preachers, mechanics and
professors, dentists and veterinarians, meat-eaters and vegetariansan
average lot of Americans picked up in the hurley-burley and hasty
preparation for war.
All were recommended by men of standing in their respective
communities. If among them there were a few black sheep, the
responsibility rested with the local Y which made the investigation, or
on those respectable local citizens who indorsed them, and not on the
International Y. The Government, when applications for passports were
filed, made an investigation by special agent of the applicant's
loyalty and character.
Thus were gathered together several thousand men whose average of
age was probably forty, nearly all starting from home with a
conscientious desire to render real patriotic service in the great war.
There were a few young men who joined the Y to avoid more serious
military service. There were a few others who had no other object than
to see France and Italy at Mrs. O'Flannagan's expense. There were
perhaps a very few who sought sinful adventure and experience.
The majority left home upon the receipt of a telegram ordering them
to report in New York at once, prepared to sail for Europe. They were
fired with zeal and patriotism, expecting to sail at once and upon
arrival in Europe to serve in the front line under the very muzzle of
German big Berthas.
When they arrived in New York they reported at the Hotel St. Andrews
and were then assigned to that or some other hotel and directed to
report the following morning at 347 Madison Avenue, where the
International Y had its offices.
Then they stood in line a day or two, usually snubbed if they asked
some one of the smaller office men a question, and when they sought
information, or to comply with certain regulations at the desk
designated in their printed instructions as the proper one, they were
referred to some one else or told by a stenographer that the gentleman
was out just at present, or that the applicant must first go to some
other desk before he could attend to him. This was the ground-floor
experience, where the utmost inexperience was slowly ground down to
competency and the green Y men were gradually knocked and buffeted
through in accordance with the regulations. In this way their
patriotism and resolutions were given a dush and first shock, from
which they never wholly recovered because of many subsequent similar
The office building was arranged much on the order of a Chinese
restaurant; in that as you journeyed skyward conditions improved. The
ground floor was the worst, but as the elevator ascended you met with
more courtesy and consideration. By the time you passed the fourth
floor the man behind the desk had time to answer a relevant question,
as he was not riled by his own incompetency.
After they had been in New York a day or two they learned that their
passports had not been issued and therefore there was no immediate
prospect for sailing. They were then ordered to a training conference
for ten days, which many attended for months, retaining their rooms and
eating at an expensive hotel at the expense of Mrs. O'Flannagan.
At the conference, with the exception of lessons in the language of
the country where they were to be located and the physical training
given them, to many the time seemed wasted. They were subjected to
daily lectures on morals and patriotism by professors who talked to
them as to a group of fourth-grade boys, and sought to impress upon
them that it would be unbecoming in a Y secretary to flirt with the
girls of the street of Paris and London, or to lie around drunk in a
front-line trench. But the professors could not help it; they were
fifty and their habits were formed. They had been talking to boys from
eight to sixteen years old for thirty years. They could not understand
that a lawyer or dentist or preacher past forty might be a little set
in his ways and might know almost half as much about the girls of the
street and a plain drunk as a Boston college professor. The pupil might
even have had the experience.
Possibly some of the men before sailing during their hundred nights
on Broadway received a few instructions first-hand about the girls of
the street and the evils of intemperance, which in a small measure
prepared their innocent souls for the shock of a short sojourn in
Paris. Certainly that experience with what the professors had told them
was sufficient to keep them from unconsciously being led astray, though
I have been told that some of them offered the new and heretofore
unheard-of excuse: She did tempt me and I did eat.
Then they were further trained to march and to sing; since when they
landed upon foreign shores they undoubtedly would spend most of their
time marching in bands about the streets of London and Paris and Rome
and possibly in due course Berlin, singing: The Yanks are Coming and
America Done It, because the French, Italians and Germans know little
or nothing about music, and any American Y man, especially a blacksmith
from Shoulder Blade, Kentucky, could give them a few lessons. And the
Britishwhy, they could do nothing, or would do nothing, till they got
there. They were drilled for a month or more in squads right and squads
left and taught by music masters to sing: Here We Are, Hear the Eagle
The last time they marched was when they marched off the boat on the
other shore; after that when they walked they hoofed it. And the last
time they sang was just before they heard the Italians sing. The first
performance by comparison with the second sounded as a tom-tom concert
in competition with the celestial choir. Talk about carrying coals to
Newcastle; the most absurd performance of the Y was exporting American
singers to entertain the Italian army.
Have you thought about it? Since Woodrow Wilson has been President,
America has been afflicted with what might be called the Professors'
Age. The professors in the Y certainly had the pull. If a kitchen was
opened in Flanders, a professor of chemistry was the director in
charge; a chef was no better than a kitchen scullion. If a tooth was to
be pulled, a professor of anatomy performed the operation because he
knew the root from the crown, while a dentist handled freight in a
warehouse. A professor of mathematics was put in charge of motor
vehicles, while a machinist arranged the programme for a vocal concert.
A professor of languages would be made chief accountant, while an
expert accountant was put in charge of a moving-picture machine.
Professor Brown was given charge in France; Professor Greene in
England, and Professor Black in Italy; and their regional directors
were professor this and that; a professor of penmanship in Rome, a
professor of biology in Genoa, a professor of languages in Brescia, and
a professor of something else in Naples, Milan, Venice, Trieste and
Palermo. There was as much of school-teacher dictatorship in the
foreign Y as Secretary Lansing found at the head of the State
Department. When a doughboy referred to the Y as the damn Y, it is
possible he recognized the secretary in charge as his former professor
of mathematics or languages.
But slowly as these professors returned to America order came out of
chaos; the Y adjusted itself and became an efficient machine. We can
probably look upon it as a permanent organization in foreign lands by
the time these gifted and well-trained executives, these learned
expatriates, have all been called home.
Because of mismanagement and disorganization in the beginning, many
a Y man who had left home with the best intentions, became disappointed
and disgusted and so unfit for service.
He began by traveling from pillar to post and ended by seeing France
and Italy at Mrs. O'Flannagan's expense. He returned home saying unkind
things of the Y. Those who saw him traveling about, usually in an
expensive car, burning gasoline which cost more than a dollar a gallon
or traveling free on overcrowded trains, needed to transport troops or
civilians on imperative business, said unkind things of the Y.
The men in the service of the Y had no reason for complaint at the
reception or courtesy extended them by the foreign governments where
they were placed. In Italy they had free first-class transportations
and could frank their baggage. The organization was given free freight,
express, postal and telegraph service. Certain government monopolies
were waived and customs' charges revoked in its favor.
Nor could the men complain of the Y in the allowance for expenses
and salaries, as the organization in every instance more than lived up
to its agreement. No great criticism can be found with the
organization. A man who wanted to work and serve had the opportunity.
Just criticism for incompetence was local, and for discourtesy and
dishonesty was individual.
One evening in the spring of 1918 John Calhoun Saylor,
ex-Congressman, sat before the open fire in the old Clay residence,
reading the Courier-Journal.
Just as I expected, thirty-five, that gets me. I was born in 1885.
Then he read to his wife that the draft age would be raised to
But, John, you are married.
Yes, thoroughlybut that makes no difference in my case. We have
no children; you and I have some little property, enough of an income
to live on; there's no one dependent upon me; I'm as strong as a mule,
feet, eyes, ears and teeth all right; no chance for rejection; they'll
get me sure. I guess it would have been better if I had gone to an
officer's training camp. My friends know I am no coward; I have been
shot at before, but I do not want some spindley, little dry-goods clerk
of a lieutenant telling me where to get off at; and I don't fancy
living in Washington as a dollar-a-year man. I rebel against restraint
John, though I would miss you greatly, as you know a few months'
foreign service would help you politically. All the boys and younger
men in the eastern end of the State are in Europe, or preparing for
foreign service. It would be a mistake to wait and be drafted. When the
women begin voting, as they will in a year or two, they will vote for
Foreign service is all right, if the war don't last too long. It is
the training camp I want to dodge. Well, this might help out'The
International Y. M. C. A. desires several hundred men for immediate
service abroad. Kentucky is expected to furnish thirty of this number.
They must be over the present draft age and contract to serve one year
or for duration of the war. Applicants please write or call upon Mr.
Theobald Burton, Y. M. C. A. Building, Louisville, Ky.'
Suppose we go to Louisville tomorrow? Then I will call upon Mr.
Burton and learn what would be expected of me.
Mr. and Mrs. Saylor went to Louisville and to see Mr. Burton. John
Calhoun made out an application for service, which was held up until he
furnished a physician's health certificate and the declarations of
three reputable citizens, including the pastor of the church he
attended, as to his moral fitness for the work. Then his application
was forwarded for approval to the general offices.
Then he made application for a passport for service in Italy and
France, which was forwarded by the Clerk of the United States District
Court to Washington. He was then vaccinated and given the typhoid serum
treatmentprecautions required under army regulations.
Feeling assured that the Y. M. C. A. could not do without his
services, he returned home and made preparation for a year's absence.
He so managed that the local papers gave him quite a boost. They
told how he had gone to Louisville, where he had made repeated efforts
to enlist in both the army and the navy, but had been rejected. He then
made application to enter the International Y. M. C. A. for foreign
service and had been accepted. This Mr. Saylor had done at great
personal inconvenience and considerable business sacrifice, feeling
that it was his duty to serve his country. He expects to sail for
Europe before the end of the month.
On the morning of the 2d of June he received a telegram from the
International Y to report in New York, prepared to sail immediately
upon arrival. He left home that afternoon and on the night of the 3d
reported at the Hotel St. Andrews, where he was assigned quarters,
sharing his room with another Y man. There he remained, his expenses
paid by the Y, until he sailed three months later.
The morning after arrival, reporting at the main office, 347 Madison
Avenue, he was told that his passport had not been received and it was
impossible to tell when it might be.
Speaking a little Italian, which Luigi Poggi had taught him when a
boy, he was directed to prepare for Y service with the Italian army and
sent to take the training course at the university.
There he was taught to march and to sing The Yanks are Coming and
other choice vocal selections; was lectured on patriotism and cautioned
against intemperance, lewd and lascivious conduct and the great
temptations held out to innocent and inexperienced Y secretaries in the
great foreign cities. He was given lessons in Italian and at the end of
three months could speak that language more fluently than his
On the 26th of August his passport arrived and he was notified to be
prepared to sail on September 1st. From that time until he left New
York he stood in line before different clerks and officials, receiving
instructions, signing papers and procuring his outfit. He was furnished
everything except his underclothing, including a fund for incidental
expenses over actual transportation.
Standing in line with more than a hundred others, he was surprised
to see, only a short way behind him, his brother-in-law, John Cornwall.
* * * * *
Cornwall, in January, 1918, had made application to enter the
Officers Training Camp at Port Benjamin Harrison, but had been rejected
because he was past forty-five. He had then tried to enlist as a
private, but had been rejected for the same reason. He had tendered his
services to the Judge Advocate General's department, but had heard
nothing from his application. As a last opportunity he offered his
services to the International Y and had been accepted.
He arrived in New York on the night of August 27th and learned that
his passport had been received, and he and three hundred and sixteen
other Y men were to sail on September 1st.
In the early morning of that date they boarded a train for Montreal,
where they arrived past midnight and were marched aboard the Burmah, a
British transport of seven thousand tons burden. At two a. m. they were
given a meal of tea, bread, condensed milk, boiled potatoes and a most
horrible sausage and told to turn in. As their bunks were hold hamocks,
quite a few turned out.
About daylight the thousand-mile journey down the St. Lawrence
began. When they reached the ocean they joined a convoy of a dozen
ships, screened in a cold mist and rocked by a choppy sea. Then began
the ocean voyage of twelve days, through fog and rain and over a rough,
gray sea. At night it was early to bed, because lights were not
The fare shows the ship's registry, and for breakfast, dinner and
supper was the sametea, oatmeal, mutton, marmalade, condensed milk,
cheese, oleomargarin, bread and boiled potatoes. The ship was redolent
with mutton. Those whose stomachs were upset by a first voyage, more
than sixty per cent, declared they could never again look a sheep in
the face and live through it. Several gave their sheep skin coats away,
believing they added to the prevailing odor.
Every day of the voyage they marched in the morning and held a song
service in the afternoon, followed by an address by some diplomatic
preacher or professor, who, being on a British transport, considered it
an opportune time to tell the captain and crew what the Yanks intended
doing and why the soldiers of all the other allied nations had failed
in the war.
When they were off the Irish coast a half-dozen British destroyers
steamed out of the fog and met them and, like greyhounds at full speed,
chased one another in great circles around the more slowly moving
At Liverpool they marched ashore singing, The Yanks are Coming and
never marched again. Then they traveled by train to London and a day or
two later to Southampton, then by channel steamer to Havre, then by
train to Paris, where most of the men were assigned to service in
Those going to Italy, some thirty-five, including Saylor and
Cornwall, several days later traveled by train through Southwestern
France to Modane, then by way of Turin to Bologna.
There they made settlement of their incidental expense accounts,
which did not include transportation charges; and though they traveled
together and stopped at the same hotels, Saylor rendered an account for
two hundred and twenty-five dollars and Cornwall one for eighty-three
In Bologna they were lectured and cautioned, particularly against
having anything to say about the Protestant religion in a Catholic
country, or making themselves conspicuous by attending Protestant
churches and gatherings. Then they were indiscriminately scattered from
the Austrian boundary to Syracuse.
John Calhoun was given a high-powered car and stationed at Cento, a
place within convenient distance of Florence, Venice, Verona, Brescia
and Milan. He always left Cento on Saturday a. m. and returned Monday
p. m. He saw these and more distant cities. The cafes on the shores of
lakes Garda, Iseo, Como and Maggiore knew the resonant sound of his
But his weekly reports of work done, sent into Bologna, showed
magnificent accomplishments. There were but seven thousand soldiers in
his district, and only four huts or places of entertainment for the
soldiers. At night some thirty or forty soldiers gathered in each
place, their wants attended to by a sergeant of the Italian army, who
called at his rooms when supplies were needed; yet this report recited
that an average of three thousand visited the four places each night of
the week, making a weekly attendance of more than twenty thousand. He
made out his weekly report Friday night, with directions to his orderly
to mail it to Bologna on Monday morning. The report came in promptly,
though John Calhoun might be in Venice or Verona.
How he did enjoy these week-end outings. It was a break in the
monotony of sitting quietly at ease in quarters furnished by the
Italian Government, when the only recreation was lunch and dinner at
the officers' mess, where he drank his share of the red and white wines
and learned to eat macaroni seasoned with grated cheese and red tomato
sauce, wrapping it around his fork and picking it up in great
He was wonderfully kind to Colonel Rocca, the commanding officer,
keeping him supplied with cigarettes and tobacco from the supply
furnished for distribution among the privates. When the colonel
expressed a desire to accompany him on one of his week-end outings or
even to be carried to some neighboring city (the army only allowing a
horse and cart for his personal service), the Y Fiat was always at his
service. This courtesy resulted in John Calhoun being awarded the Croce
di Guerra, for distinguished service at the front, though Cento was
seventy-five miles from the front line and he never so much as heard
the roar of a distant gun. He did visit the battlefields, the whole
front line from the Adriatic Sea, along the Piave, Mt. Grappa and the
Trentino, westward to Tonale Pass and northward to Innsbruck, but it
was after the armistice. He made a choice collection of war relics and
photographs, which he subsequently used in his lecture: Personal
Experiences at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, or How I Won the War
He had spent his boyhood on the trails of Pine Mountain, often
riding to mill straddle of a mule. When the family moved to Madison
County he drove a speedy trotter to a side-bar buggy over the turnpike,
then in his own Pierce-Arrow over excellent roads, then in Italy a Y
Fiat. He was educated by gradation to speedy locomotion and was a most
competent judge of good roads.
He knew what he was talking about when he said that there were no
other roads in the world like the old Roman roads of the plain and no
other highways exhibited such engineering skill and perfection as those
of the mountains, north from Brescia along Lake Iseo to Tonale Pass,
with its tunnels, curves and gradual ascents.
How he did enjoy riding over the old Roman road from Bologna to
Milan with Colonel Rocca, telling him about what he had done and had
seen! One of his lectures, descriptive of this road, was reported, and
I quote a portion of it:
There is no place more attractive in the ripe days of spring than
the Lombardy plain. The old Roman road as direct as the truth and a
straight, though broad, way intersects it as though a great master road
builder with the power of a czar had laid down a hundred-mile rule and,
drawing a single line at an angle of twenty degrees north of west,
declared the survey complete and the route fixed.
The road is built above and overlooks the plain. No pains in the
original construction of twenty-odd centuries ago, nor since in its
remodification or repair, has been spared towards making it an eternal
highway down which as a vast speedway a half-dozen cars might race
The Po and its tributaries are spanned by great arched bridges of
stone, seemingly cut and placed by Titans of past ages who spent their
full days and plenteous strength and skill in placing stone on stone.
The whole plan seems laid off with a rule. The distant cloud-capped
Alps to the north, the Apennines of verdant foothills and snow-clad
peaks nearer to the south seem pressing down to meet and clash as two
vast armies contending for the plainas so many times have the men of
the north with the men of the south until the Master of All, drawing a
line with His sceptre, said: 'Thus far only.' Then He made the river
which surges forward in a straight flight from Valenza to the sea and
swarthy barefooted peasants of the plain flanked it with parallel
On either side of the whole way are long rows of mulberry trees for
silk culture, and vineyards for red wine, and between the grass grows
rank and green.
But three times yearly the geni of the garden comes forth, on
moist, moony nights, and changes the rugs of green in the aisles of the
vineyards and the groves and the carpets of the fields.
When the time of the singing of the birds is come and the locust
and the cherry bloom, then he spreads the rugs and carpets of promise
and of gold, embossed with yellow tulips and bordered with royal
purple, Parma violets.
When nature is voluptuously mature the geni spreads his rugs and
carpets of poppies. It is the season to wound and to garner; the red of
the fields is as the wounds of the slain.
The geni grows old, his beard and hair are white as lamb's wool.
White oxen drew great tanks on wheels into the vineyards. The grapes
are gathered and trampled into wine. The trees and vines look sad. The
rugs are faded and worn. It is the season of death; the sleep before
the resurrection. So for the last time the geni comes forth and spreads
his rugs and carpets of whitethe last flowers of the year.
You will pass several ancient churches along the way. When the
interior walls are scraped it is not uncommon to find frescoes by some
forgotten master, generally in the nude. The father of the church,
being something of an artist himself, mixes a pot of paint and dresses
the exhumed Saint Anthony in yellow pants, his conception of how that
saint should appear in public.
This reminds me of the stars painted on the dome of the 'Star
Chamber' of Westminster Abbey. The Jewish money lenders of ancient
London were permitted to deposit the bonds of their Christian debtors
in a chamber of the abbey. The Hebrew word for 'bond' being 'star,' the
chamber was so named. The reason for the name in time became obscure. A
subsequent custodian, having his own conception, had stars painted on
the dome and walls of the chamber.
On this trip I was told by an Italian antiquarian how the names
'White' (Bianca), 'Green' (Verdi) and 'Black' (Nero) first were given
In ancient Rome when a foundling was left upon a doorstep and
parentage could not be traced, he was given the name of some color.
Some of the most illustrious and ancient Italian families of today bear
* * * * *
The first of April, 1919, John Calhoun Saylor was transferred from
Cento to the general offices of the Y. M. C. A. in the Hotel Regina,
Bologna. This hotel had been requisitioned by the Italian government
from its owners and turned over to the Y at a nominal rental.
John Calhoun, by his flatteries, ingratiated himself into most
satisfactory relations with Professor Black, general secretary of the
Y. M. C. A. in Italy and, speaking Italian almost as fluently as the
professor, who spoke it like an educated native, was frequently called
upon to transact business with the Italians.
There was great excitement in Italy and many unfriendly
demonstrations against Americans when President Wilson's attitude on
the Fiume question became generally known.
Bologna, politically, has always been one of the most demonstrative
and volatile of Italian cities. On the 25th of April, 1919, a great
demonstration was made by the populace in favor of the annexation of
Fiume, and word was sent by the police authorities to Professor Black
that a great crowd was preparing for a demonstration in front of the
hotel, in protest against President Wilson's attitude. Professor Black,
having important business in a distant city, left about the time the
crowd began gathering in front of the Hotel Regina; and John Calhoun,
in his absence, spoke for him to the assembled multitude on behalf of
the Y, explaining its position on the Fiume question.
[Illustration: Demonstration against Y. M. C. A., Hotel Regina,
Bologna, April 25, 1919.]
As he stood facing the ten thousand excited Italians, there was no
tremor of voice or limb. It was just the chance he was looking for; he
was in his element; he was having the best time he had had since
leaving America. In the uniform of an officer of the American army he
spoke in criticism of the Commander in Chief of that army, the
President of the United States.
The Bologna paper, Il Resto del Carlino, reported the proceeding as
* * * E' un momento d'incertezza, Qualcuno impreca a Wilson e
fischia. Altri protestano giustamente affermandi che non se deve
confondere Wilson coi populo d'America.
E giustamente Ci resulta infatti che i rappresentanti a Bologna
della Y. M. C. A. hanno a pertamente disapprovato il contegno di
I benemeriti dirigenti la sede Centrale di Bologna hanno
publicamente cio dichiarato e itri, nei vestibolo dell' Hotel Regina il
ritratto del Presidente e stato sostituito della prima pagina del Resto
del Carlino nella qualle erano sottolineate le frasi salienti del
Messaggio di Orlando e cancellati i punti del Messaggio di Wilson nei
quali il Presidente si arroga di parlare in nome del populo degli Stati
Ma questo e ignorato dalla folla la quale continua a protestare.
Alle finestre si affacciano vari ufficiali e sventolano bandiere
italiane; poi il maggiore Saylor accenna a parlare.
Si fa un gran silenzio.
Il giovane ufficiale della Fratellanza americana grida:
Nessun Wilson potra togliere all'Italia il diritto al conseguimento
del sou diritto al diritto che i tricolore italiano sventoli per sempre
sulla Torre di Fiume. Io e i miei colleghi sentiama per Fiume lo stesso
sentimento che provate voi, o cittadini di Bologna e d'Italia.
Togliervi Fiume e una delle piu grandi barbarie del secolo. Non
disperate; lasciate che Wilson rinsavisca! Fiume sara italiana!
E' fra un delirio di acclamazioni conclude gridando.
Viva Italia! Viva Fiume! Viva Orlando! Viva Sonnino! Viva
Viva l'America risponde la folla in una esplosione di riconoscente
Intanto la prima parte del corteo ritorna da piazza VIII Agos to e
i dimostranti, aumentati ancora di numero ripetono le acclamazioni
dinanzi alla sede della Fratellanza Americana.
Piazza Garibaldi e gremita. Intorno al monumento dell'eroe si
dispongono le bandiere e le rappresentanze e vengone pronunciati altri
Parla per primo un vecchio garabaldino il quale afforma che se
continueranno le opposizione per Fiume andremo laggiu non col
grigioverde ma con la camicia rossa e conclude mandando un caldo saluto
al populo americano mentre impreca al tradimento di Wilson; poi segue
Pietro Nenni che invita i cittadini americani graditi e amati ospiti di
Bologna a far conoscere ei loro connazionali il vero sentimento del
populo d'Italia la sua fermezza nei pretendere cio che gli spetta di
diritto. In attesa che quella giustizia che ci nega
Wilsonconcludeci venga dal popolo della libera America, noi
gridiamo; Guai a chitocco i tre colori della bandiera italiana. * * *
Parla di nuovo, per ultimo, il maggiore Saylor, il quale ripete il
sentimento suo e dei suoi colleghi concorde con quello dei populo
italiano. Wilson-esclama-ha lasciato il cervello in America; se non
avvera in lui un rinsavimento dovra presto fare un triste ritorno
pensando agli effetti disastrosi della sua megalomania!
Nuivi applausi scroscianti poi il corteo si ricompont e si avviva
per via del Mille gli uffici del Giornale del Mattino.
Parla, applaudito, il college Lucchesi. Indi la folla si reca in
via Galliera soffermandosi dinanzi al palazzo ove e la sede del Corpo
The mob was appeased; peace was declared; the day was saved, and
several of the Y-men fell on John Calhoun's neck and wept tears of
gratitude because he had saved their lives.
There were quite a few Y secretaries scattered over Italy who
vehemently disclaimed that John Calhoun spoke for them or their
sentiments. Among this number was his brother-in-law, John Cornwall,
and two truculent and undiplomatic secretaries who had charge of the
work with the Twenty-seventh Army Corps at Carpi.
They sent a communication to General Antonio Di Giorgi in command of
that corps; mailed a copy of this letter and one written Professor
Black to the American Ambassador at Rome; and, so their position might
be understood, addressed a communication to the paper Il Resto Del
Carlino, published at Bologna, which was commented upon by that paper
Il signor John Smith direttore regionale della Y. M. C. A. ci
scrive da Carpi che, pur avendo le maggior simpatie per l'Italia e per
il suo glorioso esercito, non puo associarsi alle critiche fatte da
alcuni membri della Y. M. C. A. di Bologna contro l'opera di Wilson.
Come cittadino degli Stati Uniti indossante la divisa dell'esercito
di cui il presidente Wilson e il capo-scrive il Signor Smithnon
faccio in Italia o altrove la critica della sue espressioni; se egli
parla a nome della Nazione, io devo essere solidale con lui.
Alla protesta del signor Smith si assicia il senor E. R. Clarke,
insegnante di educazione fisica presso la missione americana Y. M. C.
Diamo atto volentiere ai due egregi gentiluomi delle loro
dichiarazioni, inspirate a uno scrupolo patriottico che altamente
Non vorremmo pero con questo togliere valore all'atteggiamento
generosi di quei membri della benemerita associazione che nei giorni
scorsi si associana spontaneamente alla protesta del popolo italiano
contro la politica di Wilson, stimando che ogni libero cittadino possa,
in ogni circostanza, apportamente esprimere un giudizio sullopera del
proprio Governo senza rendersi colpevole d'indisciplina ne dar luogo a
The letter written to General Di Giorgi was as follows:
Carpi, Italy, April 26, 1919.
General Antonio Di Giorgi:
I have been in the Y. M. C. A. service in Italy since September 28,
1918. I am fond of the people of Italy and at all times have been
justly and fairly treated by them; and the officers and soldiers
constituting her great army have been especially kind to me.
I have just had read to me from the journal Il Resto del Carlino La
Patria, addresses said to have been made by certain representatives of
the Y. M. C. A. at Bologna. If they are correctly quoted, they do not
express my views.
As a citizen of the United States, with President Wilson the head
of the nation, I do not in Italy or elsewhere criticize his
expressions. If he speaks for the nation, I am controlled by and concur
in those statements.
Most respectfully and with sincere regret, I am,
N. B.I concur in the sentiment expressed by Mr. Smith.
Edw. R. Clarke.
On April 26th in an interview, after the delivery of his letter, Mr.
Smith asked General Di Giorgi: What would be the punishment of a
soldier who criticized his king as John Calhoun had President Wilson.
Mr. Smith, you must excuse me from answering; I am not a
politician, but a soldier. (The general is considered one of the most
astute politicians in Italy.)
A major who was present said: We would turn his face to the wall
and shoot him in the back.
On April 28th Professor Black sailed for America on a three-months'
vacation, a very inopportune time, as the Y work was in a chaotic state
and his more than two hundred subalternate secretaries exposed to
General Treat, Commander of the American forces in Italy, after an
investigation, ordered Saylor stripped of his uniform, and he was sent
home. Before he left Italy he was made a Cavaliere. His friends among
the Italian officers, who had repeatedly enjoyed the hospitality of his
Fiat, dubbed him Sir Knight of the Highway.
He returned by way of France and attended the first convention of
the American Legion in Paris. He returned on an American transport with
several thousand soldiers. As he looked at these boys he thought of the
vast horde returning and how in less than ten years they would rule the
nation, and the idea of pushing prominently into the organization of
the Legion took deeper root in his brain.
Aboard the transport he did not recount his adventures on the
battlefields of Italy. He was fearful some officer having knowledge
that his uniform had been taken from him, or having private
instructions from General Treat, might question the value of his
services in the determination of the World War. But when he reached
Kentucky it would be a different proposition; he would be a rooster on
his own dunghill.
He remained a few days in New York and so managed as to make himself
conspicuous as one of the founders of the Legion.
When he reached home he was a zealous advocate against the League of
Nations, and declared himself a political maverick until that issue was
It seemed to have been settled when he arrived at the conclusion
that Morrow, the Republican candidate, would be elected Governor.
Then he found time to discontinue his series of lectures on Italy
in the War and stumped the Eighth District for Morrowall the while
having his eye on John Calhoun's tomorrow.
One of his most interesting lectures was Personal Experiences at
the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, an extract from which follows:
* * * I have heard and seen enough to know that it is to be the
final great effort and to commence on October 24th, commemorative of
the anniversary, and to wipe out the stain, of the Italian defeat at
For more than a month I have heard the monotonous, familiar, easily
distinguished, never-to-be-forgotten sound of preparationof the tramp
of the feet of thousands of men and mules; of the rumble of the wheels
of countless moving vans, guns and wagons going back and forth in
apparent utter confusion from Tonale and Aprica passes down the valley
from Edelo to new assignments, necessary in the organization of the
attacking army of nearly a million men.
The front line extends from Stelvio Pass in the Ortler Alps along
the then Italian-Austrian boundary to Tonale Pass to Lake Garda, thence
a little south of Altissimo, Asiago, to Mt. Grappa, Corduna and along
the Piave to the sea.
The initial plan of battle decided upon is to separate the Austrian
forces in the Trentino from those on the Piave by a breach at the
junction of the Fifth and Sixth Austrian armies.
In conformity with this plan the action was instituted as scheduled
by attacks by the Fourth army in the Grappa area, by the Tenth army on
the Piave south of Vittorio, supplemented by attacks instituted by the
Eighth and Twelfth armies and diversion raids by the Sixth army. The
primary offensive covered the whole front from Asiago on the west to a
point east on the Piave, a little east of south of Vittorio.
Opposite the Tenth Austrian army were the Seventh and First Italian
armies; opposite the Eleventh Austrian army was the Sixth and part of
the Fourth Italian army. The Fourth and Twelfth Italian armies faced
the Belluno Group, and the Eighth, Tenth and Third Italian armies were
confronted by the Sixth and Fifth Austrian armies.
The Austrian force consisted of sixty-three divisions; thirty-nine
on the front line, thirteen in the second and eleven in reserve. A
total of 1,070,000 men and 7,500 guns and mortars.
The Italians had opposing this force fifty-one Italian, three
British, two French, one Czecho-Slovak divisions and the 332d American
infantry regimenta total of 912,000 men and 8,900 guns and mortars.
The forty-eighth British and the forty-second French divisions were
with the Sixth army. General Earl of Cavan, commanding the British
forces in Italy, was given the command of the Tenth army, which
included the seventh and twenty-third British divisions, the
twenty-third, thirty-third, thirty-seventh and fifty-sixth Italian
divisions, the Como brigade and the 332d American regiment, all of whom
rendered very distinguished service.
By October 29th it was apparent, by reasons of breaches made in the
Austrian lines and advances effected, that a great victory by an
aggressive policy was assured.
Beginning the night of the 30th, the enemy commenced retiring under
the protection of rear guard actions. On the 31st the enemy's forces
had collapsed on the Grappa front. The Eighth army had driven the enemy
back into the Belluno valley and the way was open for advances to the
Cadore, the Agordino and the Val Cismon. Opportunity was presented for
a complete destruction of the Austrian forces in the Trentino.
Whereupon the whole Italian army by general orders issued on November
1st was directed to press down upon the Austrian army as a great, solid
wave of men from the Ortler Alps to the sea.
The order was followed by the recapture of the Asiago Plateau, the
occupation of Trent on November 2d, the advance of the Tenth army to
Livenza, of the Eighth army to Belluno and of the Seventh and First
armies to Riva.
Although the armistice between the Italians and the Austrians was
signed in Trieste on the evening of November 3d, the advance continued
into the afternoon of the 4th.
When the fighting ceased there had been an advance occupation of
territory by the Italians of approximately 3,500 square miles. More
than 450,000 prisoners and 5,000 guns and mortars had been taken.
On November 3d an Italian force landed in Trieste, which city was
occupied without opposition.
It was essentially an Italian victory won by Italian troops.
The result was the destruction of the great army of
Austria-Hungary, the armistice and surrender of Austria of November 3d
and the hastening by weeks of the armistice of November 11th.
I have always felt that the British and French appropriated for
themselves too much of this victory, won by the united efforts of a
million men, mostly Italians.
An army or division engaged in one sector of a great battle is
prone to take to itself more than its quota of the success from the
united efforts of many divisions. A division may be so placed as to
bear the brunt of an offensive and by a stubborn, bloody stand stop a
disastrous defeat; but it takes many combined divisions fighting with
equal valor and success under a great staff to put over a great
offensive, such as was the battle of Vittorio Veneto; in result, at
least, the greatest battle of the world.
After the battle the same noises and apparent confusion of the
advance was repeated; of soldiers moving north by way of Tonale Pass to
the front; now far in enemy country beyond the cities of Male, Cles and
Bolzano to Innsbruck; of prisoners, Austrian, Hungarian and German,
taken south to labor in the fields of the plain of Lombardy, or even to
the Riviera to work in the quarries and upon the roads on the foothills
of the Apennines, overlooking the blue Mediterranean.
Many feel that the final, fatal stroke to the Central Powers was
given by Italy when driving the Austrian army north and east, she took
more than 450,000 prisoners. More she might have had, but they were
permitted to move on, a disheveled, discouraged host, witnesses to the
Austrian and German people of a last, fatal defeat; they tramped
northward self-stripped of all equipment as a half-drowned man might
throw away his clothes, hoping to reach a distant shore.
After the battle, in which I took a prominent part, I followed
behind these half-starved, half-naked soldiers, first a fleeing army,
then a mighty horde of discouraged tramps, then corraled and organized
and under guard. The road was pock-marked with shell holes, which were
being filled by laboring soldiers, first with Austrian dead, then
stones, then earth. The way was strewn with weapons and clothing and
blankets and helmets and love tokens and overturned trucks and cannon
and dead horses and dead men.
The weak and famished died by the roadside or gorged themselves on
the dead artillery horses or those ridden to death by fleeing cavalry
and officers. Their hunger appeased, many sat in the sun, naked to the
waist ridding themselves of vermin or lay in exhausted stupor. The
stench was as revolting as the picture.
Such was the panorama all the way from Tonale Pass east, to Fucina,
Male, Cles, Bolzano and south to Trent and Rovereto and along the Piave
to the sea.
Now, if you will pardon personal allusions, I will tell you how I
was wounded and how I obtained the Croce di Guerra. I, etc. I,
etc, (We will omit the account.)
* * * * *
As John Calhoun now called himself a Republican, his residence at
Richmond in a congressional district normally Democratic, did not suit
his political ambitions; so in December, following Governor Morrow's
election, he removed to Pineville in the Eleventh Congressional
District, which was overwhelmingly Republican, and for a lawyer a
better business location than Richmond.
He built a very handsome, brick residence on one of the foothills of
Pine Mountain overlooking the little, mountain city and the broad
valley in the bend of the Cumberland.
He felt satisfied that after a couple of years' residence in
Pineville he could procure the nomination for Congress, which was
equivalent to an election.
The change of residence he found perfectly satisfactory from every
standpoint, but Mrs. Rosamond Clay Saylor was not satisfied. She closed
one of their very common wrangles, and she usually closed such bouts,
by saying: Well, John Calhoun, you have grown very arbitrary and
headstrong since your experiences in the World War. I shall acquiesce
since most of my time will be taken up on the lecture platform,
advocating woman suffrage. I suppose I can find the place bearable
during the heated term if you make yourself a little more agreeable. I
wish I had married your brother-in-law, John Cornwall, when he asked
me; he at least is a gentleman.
JOHN CORNWALL TRAVELS A BIT AND RETURNS HOME.
I believe it is Victor Hugo who declares sixty the age of adventure.
To the regret of many an adventurous soul past forty-five, this view
was not shared by those organizing Uncle Sam's oversea fighting force,
and these men, regardless of physical fitness, found their
opportunities limited to camp-follower service in the capacity of Red
Cross, K. C. or Y. M. C. A. worker.
So John Cornwall, Y. M. C. A. worker, in due course arrived at
Bologna and was assigned for service with the Seventh Italian army,
located in the head of the Val Camonica and holding the front line
around Tonale Pass and Mt. Adamello, a glacier 11,700 feet high.
This was hardly a satisfactory winter assignment, as fuel was scarce
and the icy winds and Austrian guns kept him burrowed in the chiseled
caverns of the dolomite peaks like a prairie dog in winter quarters
until the first of November, when Tonale Pass, which had been in
possession of the Austrians for several years, was crossed and the
advance made into the Trentino, followed by the surrender of the
Austrian armies and the Italian-Austrian armistice of November 3-4th.
Then, after following the advancing army several days towards
Innsbruck, he returned to Pontagna and a winter in the Alpine snow
fields, where, above nine thousand feet, you find the arctic ptarmigan
and perpetual snow, where the telephone lines occasionally fail to
function because under snows, and the magnificent mountain roads
approaching the passes are closed for several months by deep snows,
despite a struggle to keep open a narrow trail with snow plows on
which, if you meet another vehicle, all hands shovel snow for an hour,
making room to pass.
There nothing was to be seen except snow and scenery and soldiers
and guns and snow dogs.
The Mt. Adamello snow or sled dogs are a cross between the Canadian
and Russian husky, big, white, woolly, impressive war veterans,
snarling and snapping at one another and their keepers, barking little,
knowing that silence is salvation. White and hard to see, they are sent
between lines into territory where nothing living and seen can live.
These dogs are allowed half the rations of a soldier; are marked
with indelible ink on the pink skin inside the ear; and a pair, with
apparent ease, draw a sled load of three hundred pounds.
It would be hard to picture John's loneliness that winter. Though
the officers and soldiers were most kind, he did not speak Italian and
none of the officers in the mess to which he was assigned spoke
English. At first he could not ask for a piece of bread; but the
service was excellent and his wants were anticipated. Bearing in mind
their example and kindness, he made up his mind always to be kind to
any foreigner he might meet when he returned home.
He longed for someone to talk with; and when his work was done he
would walk out upon the mountain side in the bright winter sunlight of
those great heights and hold an imaginary conversation with his wife or
little son, and come home whistling and happy.
There were no books to read. He was left alone with his thoughts
which, though sometimes sad and lonely, were never unhappy ones. These
six months of silence and thought changed his disposition. He grew
older in spirit. He acquired a habit of silence he never outgrew; of
introspective reflection, such as the old have who sit silently in the
In early March, he received word of the death of his mother. He was
not surprised, and, though he loved her very much, was not overly
grieved by it. She had led a useful, unselfish, happy life; she was old
and for several years had been losing her vitality without apparent
pain. Her life had been a peaceful one; she expected the peace of the
righteous after death; she believed those of her family she left behind
would be happy. John looked upon her going as a vanishing from sight
merely. She seemed in an adjoining room or near place; a little too far
away to see or hear, but near enough to feel her presence and love.
Just when it seemed that winter was the perpetual season, when his
fingers were swollen and discolored by the cold and he had forgotten
how it felt to be warm unless in bed or shoveling snow, the valley
below took on emerald tints and the snow line crept up the mountain.
Then John thought, the hill country will be fine this summer; but
he was told to come out of his dolomite burrow and dwell in a tent with
the Arabs in Tripolitania for the summer. A place so near the equator
that his shadow at noon was hid by a none too prominent stomach; where
the thermometer feels comfortable and perfectly at home at 130 in the
shade and where the snow dogs of his winter home were replaced by the
camel, the only reliable conveyance in the summer.
The Bedouin, the Tuaregs and some of the blacks, ride the camel with
ease and dignity; but an Englishman, Italian or American on a camel
looks and feels wholly out of place, and at the end of a day's journey
is an object of pity and a subject for soothing lotions.
The impression that John Cornwall formed of Tripoli was that it was
a vastly overcrowded city, due to a host of visiting and trading
natives and the more than ten thousand soldiers, at that time,
quartered in the city.
The blue Mediterranean, the white beach, the brilliancy of the sun,
the palm trees and the crescent city, in the main of cement or plaster
buildings, with flat or beehive roofs, all white except an occasional
red or green tiled one, merely emphasizing by contrast the uniformity
of the building color; make an interesting picture.
The varieties of nationality, costume and color are striking in the
extreme. Here are seen men and women, white, brown, yellow, black and
shades and combinations of two or all. Here are youthful forms,
graceful and like living bits of ebony or bronze; antiques weatherworn
and wind-dried, who when asleep upon the sidewalk, which is quite the
custom, look like recently disentombed mummies; old and wrinkled women
with hair dyed a brilliant red; Italian soldiers in the national green
uniform; native or colonial troops in khaki; some native regiments and
police in vivid blue or brown with red fez topped with a huge yellow
tassel; beggars and children with little more than a breech cloth;
women with faces covered and breasts and limbs uncovered; women wrapped
as ghosts, with just the feet showing and one eye peeping and
twinkling, encircled about the middle with many folds of cloth; the
medicine or dance man in his costume of rags, crane heads and feathers,
with a girdle of jangling tin and bones, his little drum with curved
sticks, his dance and music the convulsions and noises of a stupid
beggar; and many, very many, blind;who seem to have no home but the
sidewalk, where you see them asleep at any time, day or night, waiting
in darkness for alms and the judgment day.
A certain sect shave the head and grow a crown lock, Chinaman style,
except it is unplatted. The blessed dead must not be denied by the
hands of the living, so the lock is left to handle the corpse.
The chief business is fighting. The chief export, a desert grass
used in the manufacture of a fine paper. Business is stagnant, as the
war between the Italians and the Arabs shifted barter by caravan with
the interior to the British colony on the east and the French on the
Each trade or business is segregated or localized. The jewelers, an
apparently thrifty lot and mostly Turkish Jews, are bunched on a street
near one of the hotels.
The meat market is quite interesting if you can stand the smell. The
natives eat the whole carcass.
The milkman, morning and evening, calls at the door of his customer
with his goods in the original package. The goats are more docile and
better behaved than the children. They stand and deliver the quantity
demanded. There is neither chance for nor great economy in
adulterationwater is too scarce. It is brought to the city mule-back
in porous jars. You can have your milk from the black, white or brown
nanny as desired. A goat is a respected member of the family and his
odor by comparison not offensive.
Never after four months in Tripolitania did John laugh at the
Englishman who carried his tub with him. He is an experienced traveler
and knows what he is about. A cold bath cost John $1.50. The Bedouins
and Tuaregs are proud, aristocratic, heroic-looking people; but they
bathe in the sand much as a mother hen dusts herself in a neighbor's
John Cornwall was forced to go fifty miles south of Tripoli to
Azizia in the desert, where he found the thermometer 130 in the shade.
At another time when he went to Zavia, he found six had recently died
of the bubonic plague.
In this land of heat, of blindness, of leprosy, of flies, of fleas
and sandstorms, where the sun goes down red as the wounds of the slain,
he was required as regional director of a district seven hundred by
sixty miles to visit some thirty case del soldato, (houses of the
soldier) in any manner the gods of opportunity presented.
It was necessary to get something that beat the coast line vessels,
which with oriental slowness and uncertainty of schedule visited the
coast hamlets. A mule would not answer; a truck was furnished by the
army but almost impossible; a camel was too hard on the backbone;
besides at certain seasons they are vicious as a Hun and unless muzzled
will snatch your arm in their strong jaws and snap it as a clap pipe
In this land of rugs, where is the magic carpet? Why an army
Caproniand the Italian army, until the Fiume question arose, refused
nothing to an American. So John went to the Governo della Tripolitania
Stato Maggiore and was given a general permit to make his trips from
Tripoli to Homs and Zuara in the Caproni mail plane.
The mail to Homs is carried on Wednesday and that to Zuara on
Saturday. The planes are more than twenty meters from tip to tip and
can ascend to six thousand meters; they are 18 cylinder, 450 horsepower
with three complete engines, either of which is sufficient to operate a
machine in case of accident. Then, the cost of building such a machine
was approximately $16,000.00. They carry two thousand pounds of mail
matter or explosives or ten men. The seat John occupied was in the very
bow. When occupying this seat the pressure of the wind from the speed
of flying is quite a strain on the neck, chest and back. Your head will
be twisted as though wrenched by strong invisible hands, your back
grows tender from pressure on the back rail and must be rested by
leaning forward with your head adjusted at a certain angle with the
The distance from the aviation field near Tripoli to Homs is 110
kilometers and is usually made in fifty minutes. It takes seven hours
by steamer. The steamer follows no schedule and may return in a few
days or sail on to Genoa or Syracuse or Bengasi.
The plane route in general follows the shore line. The blue
Mediterranean from two thousand meters above is not blue but black. You
can see to quite a depth and where the bottom is distinct the white
sand looks blue and not the water. The colors do not blendthe inky
black deep water, the blue shallows, the brown desert, with rare
patches of white rectangular houses and the green oases of corn,
alfalfa and palm trees. The palms, almost the only trees, look like
inverted green feather dusters.
And so, on to the aviation field near the magnificent ruins of
ancient Lebna. The extent of these ruins, great arches, portals and
columns of marble, porphyry and cut stone overlooking the sea, though
half buried by sand dunes, presents conclusive evidence of a former
populous and magnificent city.
In the morning, when they expected to return to Tripoli, a heavy fog
drifting from the southwest rested over the sea, and though conditions
were not ideal, they started home.
The fog, far below, covering the sea as far as vision reached,
looked like an immense broken billowy ice field, or millions of big
powder puffs jammed together in an immense plain. Following the
distinguishable shore line they came within fifteen miles of Tripoli
where the fog, with dangerous perverseness, extended far into the
desert. Earth passed out of sight and they were in a private world of
much space and no substance, as might have been before land and sea
were formed. Far below on the cloud-like surface of the fog a circular
rainbow preceded them and when the operators, thinking the camp near,
descending, drew near the fog, in the white center of the
rainbow-circle, ghost-like, appeared a perfect silhouette of their
Then through the fog, as cold as a winter mist, they came in sight
of earth; much too close for comfort, where a little dip or swerve
might land them in the palm tops, and the edge of the landing field a
quarter of a mile to the right, then up into the fog again and to a
On a day in July, they started for Zuara at six o'clock in the
morning; and the higher up they went the hotter it grew. The operators,
returning to camp, refused to make the trip as the thermometer
registered 60 centigrade at five hundred meters, stating a ghibli was
raging at a higher altitude. Five hours later Tripoli and the whole
desert country south, suddenly and without warning, became a blast
furnace of heat and a place of dust and torture.
Those familiar with the hot winds which at times devastate the crops
and make life miserable southwest of the one hundredth meridian in
Oklahoma and Texas would consider them the cool breeze of a summer
twilight in comparison with the ghibli or Sahara sandstorm.
Some writer tells that a geologist has estimated that a single
windstorm across the Sahara once carried nearly 2,000,000 tons of dust
from Africa and deposited it over Italy, Austria, France and Germany.
At the end of four months spent in Tripolitania, John Cornwall's
contract for a year's service with the Y expired and he asked for
transportation to America. He made the trip across the sea from Tripoli
to Syracuse, from Syracuse to Bologna by rail except across the strait
of Messina, and then in a day or so to Genoa, where he took passage on
the Giuseppe Verdi for America.
As he journeyed second-class, which was the way the Y men were sent
home, his fellow-passengers were in the main Italians on their way to
labor in the vineyards and orchards of California. While he spoke
Italian, it was too laborious and incomplete for general conversation.
He had much time to study the ways of the sea, and the infrequent ships
they passed were cause for reflection.
He thought how trite from use and yet how true, truer than any of us
even dream, is the comparison that life is a great sea and we who
journey through, as ships, that at distant intervals dot the surface.
A ship at sea, as life to many, appears a lonely and desolate thing.
How much room there is for ships, more ships, bigger ships, for great
convoys of ships, yet ships as a rule travel alone and not in convoys.
What of the ships?
Just now, there is passing a corporation-owned oil tanker, greasy
and uninteresting. Yesterday we passed several scheduled freighters,
carrying fixed cargoes to fixed ports; the day before a passenger
liner, sailing by the clock, in Naples or New York on Friday, pouring
out its never-ending tide of those going and returning.
But let us not waste time or thought on commercial or mercenary
craft. Here is not interest or adventure or much real return on the
investment, unless your aim in life is to die merely a sea captain or a
ship owner. Let us cruise where the currents are strong, where the
rocks are dangerous: in the frozen North or in sight of coral island or
low beach and palm trees, where there is an uncertainty of return in
gold, but a wealth of interest and adventure and experience.
The coral islands and the palm groves in this great sea are not in
the South Pacific; nor the ice floes north or south of a certain
degree; nor the swift currents and dangerous rocks near some
inhospitable shore, but at home; and the ships that pass are our
And the ships of interest are the barks that sail as fancy whispers
in the chart room or the tramp trader, at Sidney today, tomorrow at
Malta, or the derelict. And who would not rather hear and know the
story of such a vessel and voyage than smell the oil of the tanker or
hear from daybreak to midnight the victrola, the piano and the
chit-chat of the passenger liner.
And, strange to tell, most of us when on a most wonderful cruise
with everything within reach, though out of sight, because we jab our
eyes sightless wiping the tears away, bewail our luck, saying:
See I a dog? There's ne'er a stone to throw!
Or stone? Tere's ne'er a dog to hit I trow!
Or if at once both stone and dog I view,
It is the King's dog! Damn! What can I do?
Home again! John finds the boy two inches taller and Mary as fair to
look upon as when first he married her. The house is just the same,
except Mary has taken down the framed needle-work done by his mother
which hung over the living-room door. He asks that it be replaced.
When John and you were boys, back in the eighties, on the wall of
the living-room of many a Kentucky home, was found mother's handwriting
on the wall, done in colored worsted or silk: God Bless Our Home;
this her work went to the attic or the ash heap. These mothers are no
longer of this earth.
After many months in a far country, John understands as never
before, the sort of home that mother made and what that sentence meant
We have dug out the old brass candlesticks and the old tester bed;
would we might find the old, framed needle-work and see again mother's
handwriting on the wall.
At the close of the April term, 1923, Judge Finch, member of the
Court of Appeals from the Seventh District, resigned.
John Cornwall, though the district was overwhelmingly Republican,
was persuaded by the State organization to make the race as the
Democratic candidate. Not that he was expected to win, but, being a
strong man, it was thought his name on the ticket would cut down the
Republican majority of the district and thus help the Democratic
candidate for Governor and the rest of the State ticket.
Mrs. Rosamond Clay Saylor, at home for the summer, read his
announcement in the Pineville Messenger. When her husband came home she
met him on the porch.
I see John Cornwall is a candidate for Judge of the Court of
Yes, I knew that several days ago. He would make a good judge, but
has no chance in this district. I'll have to vote for him and speak and
work for the Republican ticket in some other section of the State.
You will do nothing of the sort. You will make the race against
him. Think what an opportunity you would have while on the bench at
Frankfort to electioneer as a candidate for Governor in 1927. That is
the way Judge Singer worked it when he was nominated and elected.
Besides, the woman's suffrage organization wants a judge they can
trust, and as long as you are married to me they can trust you.
But I want to run for Congress next year in this district.
Can't you see further than the end of your nose. You have been in
Congress; there's nothing in that for you. You better let that drop. If
you listen to me you will be elected Governor in 1927 if the
But John is my brother-in-law; he's a much better lawyer and would
make a good judge.
When did they begin electing good lawyers as Judges of the Court of
Appeals? You are standard judicial timber. And when did you develop
such a sentimental family streak? You have not been to see your mother
since you returned from Italy in 1919.
Well, I will go down to Louisville and see what Searcy Chilton has
to say about it. Let's have dinner.
Several days later he called on Searcy Chilton. After waiting a
short while he was admitted to his private office. Well! Hello Saylor!
When did you get in? What do you want? How are things going in the
Eleventh this fall? We must have thirty-five thousand in that
I want the nomination for Judge of the Court of Appeals in the
Against your brother-in-law?
Yes, he didn't consult me before he announced.
You are too late. We have promised that to Judge Kash; though from
the way he's shelling out, he had better change his name to Judge Tight
Wad. Your nomination would hold some votes which otherwise Cornwall
would swing for the State ticket. How do you stand with the miners? If
I give you the nomination what will you do for the State ticket?
I will give five thousand dollars and finance my own campaign. I'm
all right with the miners, if I do say so myself.
Well, I will think about it and if my answer is favorable your
announcement will be in the Sunday Post. If you see the announcement
bring me down that five thousand in cash next week. I want no checks.
No one need know what is spent this year. Goodbye. Call again when you
come to town.
In the Sunday Post Colonel Saylor read an excellent biography of
himself, coupled with a declaration that he was a candidate for Judge
of the Court of Appeals in the Seventh District, and was said to have
the backing of the Republican State organization. Though, when Mr.
Searcy Chilton was called up and asked, he stated; 'The organization
has adopted an unbreakable policy of hands off in the district, and
In due course, Colonel Saylor and John Cornwall were each nominated
and entered upon an active campaign of the twenty-seven counties of the
In the beginning of the campaign it looked as though Colonel Saylor
would be overwhelmingly elected. While nine-tenths of the lawyers
favored Cornwall's election, Mrs. Rosamond Clay Saylor was making an
active canvass and lining up the women in her husband's behalf; Luigi
Poggi and several other miners were organizing Saylor clubs among the
miners; and a majority of the American Legion, of course, favored the
election of one of their charter members.
Slowly sentiment began to shift in favor of Cornwall. Some of the
members of the Legion insisted that Colonel Saylor as a candidate was
using his connection with their organization too strongly. He made an
egregious blunder in an address to the Clear Creek miners and when his
speech was reported he lost many votes.
Some of the lawyers in the face of his almost certain election,
knowing that after his qualification, he would even scores with them,
charged that he was unfit for the place; and that the politicians of
the State would no longer permit a good lawyer to be elected Judge of
Colonel Craddock, a retired lawyer of the local bar at Pineville,
and eighty-three years old, published a statement in opposition to
Saylor's candidacy. He said in part;
Though an old man I am not a worshiper of ancientism. I think I can
give to present-day men credit where credit is due. But when you are
old and experience has taught you that no one is infallible and that
every one at times is weak and therefore you should judge your neighbor
compassionately, it has also given you the power to discriminate
between the false and the true and to see through the shams of life
with accurate insight.
Exercising this faculty which comes with the loss of others, as the
sense of touch is developed in the blind, and guided by it, though a
Republican, I am forced to oppose the candidacy of J. C. Saylor as
Judge of the Court of Appeals and advocate that of his opponent John
Cornwall, a Democrat.
In the election of a Judge, the standard of measurement of the
conscientious voter should be one of fitness only.
Shall not the Judge do right? And how can he do right if he is a
Shall not the Judge interpret the law with wisdom and
understanding? And how can he do that if he is a fool?
Shall not the Judge be free? And how can a coward or a tool, worn
blunt in crooked service, be free or cut straight and true?
What an execration when a Judge is a Jeffries and what a
benediction when he is a Marshall or a White.
A Judge's mind must be open to argument and he must have power to
discern between the false and the true.
The Lord, the First and Last Judge, alone will be able to set some
judgments straight and straighten some judges. He in majesty and power
upholds the law, which is never broken. It is man who is broken by the
The great curse of Kentucky is that many of her Judges belong to
that very common species of Judge. Judex apiarius. Their capacity for
hearing the facts and declaring the right is blurred by the buzz of the
bee of political aspiration and self-interest.
A Judge who belongs to this species can usually be classed as of
the family Judex timidus,those whose ears are so great that they can
never lift them from the ground, and when a mosquito hums in Covington
their dreams of peace are disturbed in Frankfort.
They are the secret enemies of the law's certainty and stability.
Their decisions shift with the tide of popular opinion. They wash their
hands like Pilate (not always to cleanliness) and permit the
A year or so ago, Chief Justice Grinder, in an address before a
men's Bible class, declared that the Court of Appeals upon an appeal to
it would have reversed the Sanhedrin. There are more than several
lawyers in this State, who, knowing the members of that court, have
grave doubts about it, had that court sat in Jerusalem and the appeal
been prosecuted A. D. 30.
Saylor is worse. He would make a judicial tool. Judicial tools have
generally been in politics for a number of years and, preceding their
judicial service, a member of the legislature for several terms, like
Saylor, where they are first tried out. This judge expects one day to
be Governor and is willing to do any thing to further his political
ambitions. By some hook or crook or pull he succeeded in obtaining his
license to practice law and since has appeared in court occasionally;
generally when a jury was to be influenced.
He is more or less a wanderer and, when he changes his residence,
changes his politics and votes with the majority. He is usually a
candidate for office and spends more time on the street than in his
He is a mere pawn on the political chess-board and his master
occasionally has him elected to office. Then the master tells him how
to decide, not all, but certain cases.
His opinions are generally misstatements of the facts presented by
the record and never mention an authority cited by counsel opposing his
master's decree. His references are not complimentary to such counsel,
his purpose being to make him appear ridiculous and to forestall all
hope for modification by a petition for rehearing, because it is barely
possible that another judge may then read the record, though it is not
considered judicial etiquette to do so.
He being the only judge who has read the record, is careful to so
state the facts in the consultation room as to meet with no dissent
from his colleagues or to make them curious about the record.
All of these demerits Saylor has in full measure. He is known to
all of you. He lives in this county and the county is none the better
for it. He defends every bootlegger and crook that is indicted and they
will vote for him as they respond to his demands when they are chosen
for jury service, which is entirely too frequent for the administration
Thirty years ago no man of his reputation and limited capacity
would have dared run for this high office. Now it is another thing. If
elected he will find some of his associates not much better qualified,
so far as knowledge of the law is concerned. Instead of being learned
in the law they are politicians, who know their district and how to
fool the people.
Conditions force comparisons. Until the Civil War, opinions
rendered by the Court of Appeals were quoted and cited with respect in
every State of the nation. The Court since in personnel has
deteriorated. Its opinions are captious, partisan, uninspired oracles,
which perforce decide the case in hand; but as an authority for future
reference, so far as the reasons given are concerned, are mere
When I was young, and began the practice of law, there were lawyers
at the bar in this State and real Judges occupied the bench. There was
Clay and Crittenden and Judge Robinson and Judge Underwood. Now who
have we? Such lawyers as John Calhoun Saylor and such judges as Saylor
will make when elected;The Lord save us!
* * * * *
At the November election Colonel Saylor was elected; but by a very
small majority. He ran more than five thousand votes behind the head of
the ticket, and in a district where little scratching is done. The
State ticket pulled him through.
When the returns came in Searcy Chilton, commenting on the race,
concluded his remarks by saying; Next time we must throw that Jonah
A day or two before he qualified, Judge Saylor came to Frankfort,
and visited the courtroom a few minutes after adjournment; he even went
up and tried the chair of the Chief Justice, and found the seat was
none too large. No one was present but Jake, the negro janitor.
Jake, what do the lawyers and judges have to say about my
They don't say nothin, Boss; they jest laff.
We are told that at one time the British Isles were connected with
the mainland of Europe; that Italy was at least within sight of the
African coast; and that westward from Gibraltar, there was a continent
which ultimately sank beneath the waves, leaving isolated mountain
peaks, now islands and shoals, to mark its submerged position.
The Egyptian priesthood told Solon of the greatness of the
civilization of this submerged land, Atlantis or Kami, even then, as of
an ancient past; and Homer, Horace and Plato have whispered of its
The soul of one of its ancient inhabitants, yet wandering upon this
earth, may through transmigration have become in part your own, and
you, in reverie at odd hours and in company with it, live again a few
scenes of those old days.
* * * * *
Near Winchester, Kentucky, driving out the Lexington turnpike you
pass an old brick farmhouse of ante-bellum days; flanked on the one
side by an old stone springhouse under two spreading elms and on the
other by a large tobacco barn that looks extremely modern and out of
place. Behind the house is an orchard of ancient apple and pear trees,
all dead at the top, a negro cabin beside which are two black heart
cherry trees, higher than the farmhouse and more than three feet
through; and yet farther back, hemp and tobacco fields and a woodland
pasture of oak and walnut trees. At least this was a description of my
home thirty years ago.
I had just graduated from Center College, and having in mind to
practice law in Lexington, had during the summer formed the habit of
going down to the springhouse and under the shade of its eaves and the
overhanging elms, sit and read Kent's Commentaries.
A negro family lived in the cabin, Mose Hunter, his wife and boy.
Mose was as black as they grow them in Kentucky; but his wife was the
color of my old volumes of Kent and had build and features which fixed
the country of her ancestry in northern Africa and seemed to identify
her as a desert Berber. Mose worked on the farm, his wife was cook at
the farmhouse, and the boy, who was said to be half imbecile, was as
harmless and shy as a ground robin. I do not know of his ever having
gone off the place. He was probably fourteen, had never been to school,
and wandered about like a lost turkey hen. We could depend upon him to
pick up the apples, feed the cider mill, water the stock, gather the
eggs and feed the pigs and chickens.
The boy had the habit of coming to the springhouse and taking a nap
each day on the milk crock bench, which had been discarded since we had
bought our new refrigerator. Every warm summer afternoon about three
o'clock, he would run down the path, dodge behind a tree out of sight,
if his mother happened to step out of the kitchen door, and slipping
into the springhouse, lie down and sleep quietly in its cool moist
shade for a quarter of an hour; then, still asleep, sit up and in a
startled way, talk earnestly for some time, his features transformed by
a look of tragic intelligence, which they did not possess at other
times. Then he would lie down again and after a few minutes quiet
sleep, awake and return to the cabin.
His speech did not disturb me; his voice was low, though tense, and
his words unintelligible. Gradually his murmurings became a familiar
sound, as the call of the lark from the pasture gatepost.
Finally I noticed that he spoke in an apparently strange tongue and
even mentioned time and again names given in my ancient atlas. Many
times he used the words, pehu, Kami, Theni, horshesu, hik, nut, tash,
hesoph, and un.
I wrote Professor Fales of Danville about this time, sending him a
small box of crinoids, and casually mentioned the boy and his strange
habit, writing out the above list of words, with others, that he
He wrote back that the words were Egyptian or a kindred Hamite
tongue. Consulting the college library, he had discovered that the
ancient Egyptian name for Atlantis was Kami. That Theni was the name of
a very ancient prehistoric city, its location unknown. That pehu meant
an overflowed land; un, uncultivated land; and the word tash, tribe;
the others he was unable to translate.
He suggested that I find out from the boy's mother where she or her
people were from; get a stenographer at Winchester to come out and make
careful notes of his murmurings; and when made send a copy to him and
one to, a lawyer at Covington, who was an antiquarian and an
The next day after the receipt of the letter I went to Winchester
and inquired at the court-house for the official stenographer. I
learned, as all courts in the district were adjourned for the summer,
he had gone to Atlantic City for the month. So I went to Judge
Buckner's office and borrowed his stenographer.
The Judge said the season was dull and except on county court day he
could spare the girl for an hour or two almost any afternoon. He also
asked if my father still had on hand that half barrel of Old Mock. The
next afternoon when I went for the girl I brought the Judge a gallon
jug of Dad's Old Mock, telling the folks I was taking him some cider.
When we returned, we found the boy asleep in the springhouse, but
within five minutes of our arrival he sat up and went through the
regular program. After he had talked for some time, he laid down and
resumed his quiet slumber.
This program was repeated the next day except the girl brought out a
slate and succeeded in making the boy write or draw upon it characters
which were strange to us, and which he wrote from right to left with
great ease, though he could not write his name.
The writings on the slate the stenographer carefully copied and
after transcribing her notes gave me the copies, one of which I sent to
Professor Fales, who forwarded it to his learned friend at Covington.
He not only wrote but telegraphed for more.
Twice again the boy's words were taken down and twice he wrote again
upon the slate. We might with patience and quiet have gotten a complete
history of a generation of prehistoric people, but my mother, who still
looked upon me as a young boy incapable of caring for himself in the
company of a designing female person, and having noted our regular
visits to the springhouse, rushed down unannounced with the boy's
The two made such a racket when they came in they awoke the boy, who
dropped the slate. He never again came to the springhouse to sleep; and
though afterwards I sat many hours by his bedside in the cabin, he
never again uttered a strange or unusual sound until just before his
death, which occurred in the fall.
In the early fall his father and mother visited a negro family who
had a child ill with scarlet fever. Within two weeks their own boy was
taken with the same illness and a few days thereafter died. Shortly
before his death I went into the cabin and found him raving in the
strange tongue. He had been born on the place. I felt too sad to be
curious or to go for the stenographer, but I remember very distinctly
the sounds of the last few words he uttered, which were twice repeated.
These I wrote down and sent away. I found the translation of the words
was; After a brief bird life I shall find Nirvana.
In a talk with his mother, which occurred some time before his
death, she stated that it was a rare thing he ever talked in his sleep
and then only used the most common expressions.
She told me her mother was born west of Timbuctu, belonged to a
Berber tribe, and had been taken prisoner and sold to slave dealers of
the west African coast.
Several weeks after the boy's death I received from Professor Fales
a liberal translation of the boy's talk and writings, which at the
suggestion of the professor and his friend I have kept a secret, as
neither of us believed in transmigration, or desired to figure as in
any sense encouraging such an outrageously absurd belief.
The translator and professor are both dead and I suppose their
copies have been destroyed. I give mine to the public as a spooky
flight of fancy unworthy of belief, aware that this declaration will
cause a few half-crazy people to believe the tale is true.
The city of Theni is the capital of Kami. The western and southern
coast of Kami and the interior country to the central range is a
pleasant land, where palm trees of many kinds grow and there is much
tropical verdure because on these coasts there is a constant current of
warm water, which comes through an untraveled sea lying west and south
of us, and in which float endless paths of sargassum.
To the north and east beyond the central range, as also the land
northeast of us across the sea, are barren wastes of ice and snow. It
has not always been so. Our records show that centuries ago the whole
land was as the south and west coast country, but each year the fields
of ice swallow more and more of our sweet and fertile land, until now
we have but little space for our teeming population and each year less
and less to eat.
On the top of a mountain south of our city dwell a few strange
people with a strange faith and who keep to themselves. For years they
have been building a great ship well up the mountain side. They are
directed and encouraged in this useless labor by a prophet who tells of
the early destruction of our land by ice and water.
I visited the place recently; the great ship is nearly completed and
they are beginning to sheet the hull with copper to protect it from ice
For three nights past my sleep has been disturbed by strange, wild
dreams. I see the warm ocean currents which wash our shores, shifted
westward by some strange freak of nature, and a land far north of us,
now ice and snow, turned into greenland; while our whole land is
enshrouded in death dealing cold and ice and snow and preceding this,
the waters creep up and engulf our city. The mountain on which the
great ship rests sinks down to meet the rising waters and the ship
sails off to the southeast, leaving us helpless victims to be engulfed
by the rising waters or frozen by the creeping, numbing cold, or
smothered under mountains of ice and snow. How long before this shall
be I do not know.
I have told my dream to Nefert, the best beloved of my wives, and we
have agreed to prepare against the portent of such catastrophes.
We have too many idle, too many to feed; it were better were our
population reduced one-half.
We will gather all the provisions of the land into great warehouses,
and only those shall eat who labor to build our great pyramid, within
which the chosen shall find refuge from the rising waters and the
When the pyramid is completed, we shall store it with great
quantities of grain and fuel and textiles to last for years; and as the
waters rise, if they shall cover the eminence on which we shall built
it, which seems impossible, we shall ascend from the lower to the upper
On the morrow we will begin our preparations, which will not be
wasted, though the flood and cold come not, as it will make for us a
most pretentious tomb.
I shall send a great force to gather grain and other foodstuffs,
another to collect fuel, others still shall be put to work to weave
heavy woolen textiles. Five thousand shall quarry stone for the pyramid
of Theni, which shall be built upon the highest mountain near our city.
Thirty thousand shall drag and carry great stones from the quarries to
the site and fifteen thousand more shall shape and place the stones.
Twelve thousand shall act as guards and task masters, to see that the
work is done and speedily.
I shall tell the pyramid is for my tomb and until my death to be
used as a great storage warehouse; else the people may grow frightened
and desperate. They have not yet learned to fear storage plants. Those
of the people who are too old or too young to labor shall die.
Dimly discernible from the city is the central high mountain range,
extending from the eastern coast far to the northwest and there ending
in a rugged promontory, jutting out into a frozen sea.
The country across these mountains, and even to their snow-capped,
fog-bannered peaks, is a land of ice and snow, destitute of all life,
except a few wild and hardy white-clothed birds and beasts. Even from
the mountain peaks you may see the spires and walls of an ice-encased,
long dead city.
Near the city is a lesser range, upon which to their very tops grow
dense groves of palm and other fern-like trees. In the shelter of these
groves are many villas of the rich.
Upon the highest of this range and near our granite quarries I have
decided to build the pyramid. The task of building, beginning today,
will be pushed with the utmost speed.
The road leading from the city to the top and from the quarries we
broadened and regraded. The site was cleared and leveled and the basal
walls, six hundred and eighty feet square, started. The height is to be
three hundred and fifty feet and the wall angle is approximately
During the building there was much sickness and many deaths from
starvation and hardship, for all of which I was held responsible, and
until the laboring-people swore at and called me Santa, The Terrible.
Each day the pyramid grew in size; and each night seemed slightly
colder than the one preceding it. It was reported that the snow on the
distant mountain peaks was deeper than ever before.
We now used the lower stories of the pyramid as a storeroom for fuel
and grain and were forced constantly to maintain a heavy guard to keep
the half-starved populace from stealing our supplies. I had executed
more than a dozen who were caught attempting to steal food stored for
The warm ocean current shifted to the west. The sun was overcast by
clouds. The earth trembled. The snow line crept down the mountain
range. The land seemed slowly sinking into the sea. The people shook
from fear and cold.
It was necessary to push the work, and, in their terror and to
satisfy their hunger, the whole population labored on the pyramid.
One night, when the pyramid was three hundred feet high, a light
snow, the first, covered pyramid mountain. A few weeks later there was
another and the next morning there was thin ice.
A swift-running mountain river separated pyramid mountain and the
city of Theni from the foothills of the distant range. Gradually the
current disappeared. The river became a salt lake, then a bay of the
great western sea.
One night there was an earthquake, in which we feared for the
destruction of the pyramid, and in which a number of the houses of the
city toppled over on their occupants.
In the morning it was observed that the mountain on which the
prophet's people lived had settled until the place where the ship
rested was but a few feet above the level of our new sea. The mountain
on which our pyramid had been constructed and the adjacent plain on
which the city was built had risen materially in altitude; at least
such seemed to be the case.
Within ten days the ship rode at anchor. Then I knew that my gods
had been good to me and had truly warned so I might make preparation. I
determined on the morrow to seize the ship and retain it for my own
use. All owners of boats had long since fled the land. The next morning
when I awoke the ship was a distant speck upon the growing ocean. It
seemed the gods of some few others were caring for them also.
The pyramid now was about completed and not having provisions for
all, though we of the palace stinted not ourselves, having plenty for
years, I directed the guards to issue only half rations to the people.
They died by hundreds and were cast from the cliffs into the cold
waters of the sea.
Noticing that great crowds gathered in the city and that they wept
and swore and encouraged one another to assault the palace and tear
their ruler to pieces, I thought it best to desert the palace and take
possession of the pyramid, which was full of provisions, and had a
guard of several thousand soldiers.
So we of the palace, some hundred persons, with a guard of more than
three hundred, moved into the pyramid; and, with the stones prepared
for that purpose, closed the entrance hall with fifty feet of solid
masonry, telling the soldiers outside that we would feed them from our
supplies, which we had no intention of doing, except as they might be
of use. How easy it is to fool the common people.
That night it stormed and sleet and snow made the outer pyramid a
thing of milky glass.
The half-naked, half-starved people came by thousands, and holding
out their hands in supplication, begged for bread. But we, sheltered
and fed and clothed and sitting by our fires, had no thought for and
took no risk for others.
The pyramid in the winter sunlight, with its coating of milk-white
ice, seemed an immense half-buried diamond; and we within its heart
were not more considerate of the starving, surging mass at its base.
Through the narrow slit-like ventilators, we heard in the afternoon
the sound of strife; and, climbing to the flat top, where there was a
walled-in area about twenty feet square, looked down upon the soldiers
struggling with and slaughtering the half-armed, starving, shivering
For sport, not caring whether they killed soldiers or subjects, I
had some of our guard bring a quantity of unused granite blocks about
two feet square and slide them down the ice-smooth surface into the
seething mass below.
After watching for some time, though clothed in a heavy woolen gown,
I grew cold and tired of the sport and went below to the feast, the
music and the dance. There I sat with Nefert and two other queens, not
One of the guards from the pinnacle came down and reported that the
soldiers had ceased fighting the populace and, joining cause with them,
were attempting to scale the pyramid by cutting steps in the icy
surface. So again I went above and Nefert went with me.
Our guards collected small stone blocks and with them bowled off our
desperate, slowly-climbing assailants. The boulders slid over the
glazed surface with the speed of a swift-winged water fowl and when
they found a victim precipitated him, a death-dealing catapultic charge
upon the heads of his comrades. The effort to reach us was utterly
For several days we found it great sport to shoot loaves of bread
and a few tempting morsels of food down to the starving mass and watch
them fight and struggle for possession.
At my suggestion, to make the game of greater interest, we took the
bread from the crusts and stuffed the loaves with stones. Occasionally,
one snatching for the bread lost his life from the stone loaf. So the
days passed, not wholly without amusement.
The whole land was now white with snow and ice. Great white bears
came out of the mountains of the north and feasted on the dead at the
base of the pyramid. Nowhere in the land could we see a living man.
In our company was a beautiful young maid; and, thinking she might
furnish amusement for a dull afternoon, I gave orders that she be
brought to my quarters.
She was carried thence, struggling and in tears. With her came one
of our captains, who said she was to be his wife, and asked me to spare
her discourtesy for his sake. He had many times been of service, but no
more so than a subject should be. I directed that he be thrown from the
top platform, and took the girl with me, so she might see the
The guards lifted him over the wall and gave a shove. He started
slowly, bracing and resisting with hands and feet, but was soon
speeding meteor-like down the icy incline. He disappeared, in the snow
and debris at the base, but in a few minutes reappeared, with right arm
swinging useless at his side.
The girl, giving a cry, leaped over the wall and skimming along the
incline as a swallow might the face of a white slanting cliff, sped
towards her lover. The man leaped to the edge to break her fall and she
struck him with destructive force. They were thrown some distance and
lay still in the snow, which was crimsoned by their bleeding wounds.
Two great white bears, smelling the blood, came forth from behind
the cliffs and feasted upon the pair.
In a few more days the icy waters of a polar sea covered the city of
Theni; and in tears we witnessed the great dome of the temple of our
gods sink beneath its surface. The next week great icebergs were
floating across the plain and above the site of Theni. It grew
intensely cold and the inner walls of our great upper hall were coated
with frost crystals.
The wind shrieked; great waves striking the mountain side shook our
pyramid. The sight was blotted out by a blizzard of snow and ice.
* * * * *
The guards are kept busy with spears and spades trying to keep the
ventilators and the pinnacle area free of snow and ice so we can have
air. Several have been blown from the top.
We made a mistake in the construction of our refuge. We should have
shielded our ventilators to keep off the snow. It is a hard struggle
for air. Tomorrow we must start work opening the passageway for light
and air. Nefert says I should have built a ship and sailed away, as did
the prophet and his people.
* * * * *
Nefert awake. It is dark and cold. The air is foul. I hear rushing
waters. It comes in the ventilators above our heads. It is salty. We
are being swallowed by the icy sea. I have found you! O! How cold! How
* * * * *
I know not how long it has been, nor how many different habitations
my soul has tenanted since our pyramid sank beneath the icy sea and,
holding Nefert in my arms, I lost consciousness.
I am now in India, near the city of Bombay. A city presenting a
magnificent front, but reeking with filth and disease, where, through
the year, cholera daily claims its victims. It is the year 1790.
On the top of a high hill in a beautiful garden are three Dakhmas or
Parsee towers of silence. These towers, built like a windowless
colosseum, are massive cylinders of hard black granite, open to the
The parapet supports a coping of motionless living vultures, waiting
in patience to be fed. Here the death rate is high and there are many
to die, so they do not suffer from hunger.
The vultures grow restless; they see a funeral cortege of black men
in spotless white robes; they bear a black corpse in a white shroud.
The body is hastily deposited within the area on its bed of stone and
mattress of charcoal. The vultures swoop down to the feast. In a short
while, satiated, they rise on heavy wing and lazily resettle upon the
* * * * *
All day long, my soul struggling for freedom or forgetfulness, is
caged within the body of one of these vultures. I do not see the sun
except through vulture eyes. I do not feed except upon the dead. My
companions are vultures. I am never beyond the smell of the dead. I
have no friendships, no hopes.
There are times at night when my vulture body sleeps. Then the soul
seems to break forth; but it does not go out in freedom as of old. I
may go into the hovels of Bombay in the form of an old black beggar.
Then it is my overwhelming desire to do some act of kindness, but my
clothes are in rags; my face is a horrid mask, and I smell of the dead
and am driven away.
I found a man dying by the wayside, too weak to move, too blind to
see. When he asked for water, I thought now is my chance. I shuffled to
the fountain and when I would dip up a cupful, it became as solid
At a time of famine I found a child crying for bread without the
city walls. At great strain upon my feeble limbs, I climbed a wall and
stole from the kitchen of the enclosed villa a roasted fowl and carried
it to the child. The child took it, but when he raised it to eat, it
was the hand of a putrid corpse.
When I lift the head of the sick, they shudder and gasp and grow
So I return to my vulture body, to my perch on the parapet, to
breakfast on the dead and to my vulture consort.
(End of translation.)
* * * * *
I spent the next winter at law school, returning to the old
farmhouse the middle of May.
The first time I went down to the springhouse, I saw a
vividly-colored golden robin or hangnest restlessly flitting about the
old elm trees and occasionally bursting into loud-noted song.
A few days later I heard and saw him again. He was not so restless,
and his song was low-toned and had a rich and more pleasant refrain.
His notes were of endless and individual variety.
When he ceased singing I heard an incessant warble of sweet, though
feeble, notes and, looking above my head, saw the composer, his bride,
dressed in olive and gold, weaving on the pendulous nest of moss and
horse hair, near the tips of the overhanging limb. I then knew why his
song had changed and understood the happy warble of the busy weaver.
They were so gaily colored, so happily situated, their home so far
from harm, they were so exclusive, that I called the pair the little
king and queen.
Bright pair of boundless wing and sweet song, did you first meet
here? You did not come together. How did the king mark the way for his
queen? Have you searched all the way from Panama, your winter home, for
this old elm, to celebrate your bird marriage, pass your honeymoon and
find much joy in nest-building and rearing a family? Do you know tears
and night and nothingness? Or have you found and eaten of the fruit of
the trees of life and eternal love?
In about three weeks all song ceased. They made incessant trips to
the old orchard and returned with caterpillars to feed five cavernous
One warm sultry afternoon in June I sat in my old place by the
springhouse, reading Story's Equity Jurisprudence and, closing the
book, enjoyed the ease and peace of the lazy, if not the righteous.
I slept; and my mind jumbling the springhouse, the orioles, the dead
boy and his strange tale, whispered that my little king and queen of
the hanging nest were Santa and Nefert. Thereafter I called them as the
dream had said.
The little nestlings grew apace and the nest made tight quarters.
One, seeking room and adventure, climbed out and perched upon a twig.
Growing careless or sleepy, or caught by a squall, he half flew, half
fell from his perch.
The big black cat, who every week ate his weight in young birds,
pounced upon the unfortunate one, who let out a squawk of terror.
Santa darted into the face of the cat with such fierce force as to
rescue the baby bird, but lost his own life by his brave rashness.
Before the plumage of white, black and old gold had been marred I
drove the cat away and picked up the little dead king.
In the corner of the old orchard, hedged about by a stone fence
overhung with myrtle and honeysuckle, under three ancient cedar trees,
were four graves; three of slaves long dead and the other of the
Under the fresh green sod of the newer grave I buried the dead bird,
and marked the spot with little cedar grave boards, on which I carved
the name, Santa. What a place to bury a king who had built a great
pyramid for his sepulchre!
A CONSCIOUS MUMMY.
I sat under the old elm trees reading a work on Early Egyptian
Civilization, which declared that the recorded history of that ancient
people began when Menes was king, about 4300 B. C.
Placing the book, back up on the ground, I thought of their strange
faith; the reverent care with which they embalmed the body to be again
occupied by the soul, when, after many transmigrations from one animal
to another, having expiated all sins done in the body, it should return
purified to the old body. Assuming their belief true, where now might
be those ancient believers in Osiris, Ra, Horus, Isis, Set and other
nature gods, having ages before bowed in submission to Bes, the god of
How limited is sense; how weak intellect; how short bodily life. Yet
the very frailty and uncertainty of life establishes the immortality of
the soul and the soul, in turn, gives spontaneous testimony to God and
of a life within which the body does not own.
Nature was enjoying her afternoon siesta. Over the hills so far away
as to make it a picture, a threshing machine was eating wheat shocks
and blowing forth a golden dust-like breath of straw. The incessant
sawing of harvest flies, a heavy country dinner and the afternoon glow
and heat conspired to drive me into the springhouse, where the coolness
and peace of the place brought a bodily laziness, and, lying down on
the old stone shelf, I slept.
Three walls of the springhouse grew as the palace walls of Aladdin;
the front rolled up as the curtain for a drama; and between great
columns of red granite and porphyry, chiseled with hieroglyphics and
decorated with the symbols of Amun and Osiris, I looked out upon a
grove of date palms, the pyramid of Sneferru, an island sea of yellow
flood water, and yet beyond, the low hills of Arabia. A view seemingly
as familiar as the one from my bedroom window.
It was the Nile valley at Meidoom; Aur-Aa was at flood stage, then
nearly fifty feet above the normal level, Now, after centuries, the
valley has been filled by river silt and the tide is much shallower.
The beauty and changefulness of that narrow valley by comparison
with the monotonous lands which flank it gave promise of a happy
people. Hemmed in on the west by the sand hills of Libya and on the
east by the equally bare, dry, never-changing hills of Arabia; teeming
with people as the channels of an ant hill with ants; intensively
cultivated, some of the crops like the dhourra or millet, the principal
food of the poor, returning to the sower two hundred and fifty times
its seed; shaded by date palms which yield abundant and delicious
fruit; a land with a delightful climate seasonably watered, fertilized
by yearly tides and protected from invasion by wide deserts of soft
sand; why should we not have been a happy people?
Because no one is free. We are enslaved by caste, a most merciless
master, by the priesthood, by our king. We work continually, but for
others. Happy he, who when life is done, after contributing to the
priesthood and the king, after sacrificing to a hundred gods, leaves
sufficient estate to pay for the embalming of and a safe resting place
for his body.
This is the best of a short life, with the sad hope that after you
have been many times a lower form of life, you may return to your old
body if, perchance, it may be found. Far better off the unclean fish,
which, when the flood recedes, gasp themselves to death in shallow
pools, choked by the sand.
I rose from my couch and walked out where a better view might be had
of the river and the valley.
Near a small eminence more than sixty feet above the flood tide was
a great fleet of barges and rafts of logs, which had borne heavy blocks
of cut stone from far to the southward down on the tide to construct
our tombs and temples.
Upon the rafts and barges low caste humanity, driven by the lash to
tortured effort, swarmed and sweated and groaned that some high priest
or royal personage might in mummied grandeur await his soul's return to
its foul, flinty, wrinkled and desolate home. Near, floating northward
with the tide, was a great obelisk of granite weighing more than forty
tons, held upon the surface by parallel rafts of buoyant logs and
I was head embalmer, one of the priesthood and, therefore,
considered one of the fortunate ones.
The city of Meidoom was called the City of the Dead, because at that
time, 3750 B. C., it was the place of burial of the royalty and
priesthood of Men-nefu, which name means secure and beautiful, and
which centuries later was changed to Memphis.
Meidoom's population, near forty thousand, consisted of more than
two thousand priests with their families and retainers and twenty
thousand laborers and overseers. The majority are engaged in the
construction of temples and sarcophagi.
The people are firm believers in a future state and therefore very
religious. The priests act as intercessors between the people and their
many gods, look after the sacred animals of the temples, are
professional embalmers, architects and custodians of the tombs.
The priesthood hold high social rank, are exempt from taxes, but do
not practice celibacy or asceticism. Their ranks are recruited by
heredity or from the nobility; and it is not uncommon for a prince to
surrender his claim of succession to assume the office of high priest.
Had there been occasion for a test of power between the government
and the priesthood, the priestly orders would have been found the real
Amun is the chief or spiritual god of the Egyptians. The name means
The Hidden One; and he controls the conscience and the soul.
Rahotep is chief priest of Amun and the keeper of the Book of Death.
He and all the priesthood of Amun wear a costume of white linen
decorated with the blue figure of a man having the head of a ram and
carrying in his hand a sharsh, the symbols of Amun. The chief priest in
addition wears the royal symbol with two long feathers as a head dress.
Osiris is the god of good, in contradistinction to Set, the god of
evil. He is the god of the Nile and the guardian and preserver of the
human body after death. His symbol is a mummy wearing a royal crown and
ostrich plumes. The god of the sun is the soul of Osiris. The white
linen gowns of the priests of Osiris have a figured border of mummies
in black, wearing crowns and ostrich plumes. Nefermat, chief priest, in
addition wears the royal insignia.
At this time, besides many shrines, there are three temples at
Meidoom, the temple of Amun, the temple of Osiris and the temple of The
Dead. The two orders of the priesthood are presided over by Rahotep and
Nefermat, the two sons of Sneferru, who, occupying their priestly
positions at his demise, the succession passed to Khufa, a brother, who
married Neferma, the widow of Sneferru.
As chief embalmer I had charge of the temple of the Dead, where both
orders of the priesthood officiated, since the one god, Amun, having
charge of the soul, and the other, Osiris, of the body, perforce met
officially, though usually holding little communication with each
As I stood at the portal two processions of priests drew near, the
one led by Rahotep, the other by Nefermat. These two, leaving their
attendants, entered the temple.
As they passed I bowed low to earth and followed into the corridor,
there they found seats, and I stood before them awaiting their
Rahotep said, Our mother, the queen, has just died; after her body
is partly embalmed they will bring it here from Men-nefer, when you,
because of your skill, are to prepare it to rest in the vault of the
great pyramid beside our father Sneferru, in care of Osiris, until Amun
shall see fit to surrender her soul again to her body.
(Nefermat) You mean, until Osiris shall deem her soul sufficiently
purified to re-enter her body.
No, as Amun is the superior of Osiris, so is the soul master of its
tenement, the body, though it is by the grace of Osiris that the body
is preserved until Amun has purified the soul for another human
You are wrong; in all sacred animals human souls dwell; it is only
when those souls are made pure that Osiris permits them to occupy a
human form. * * * Tepti, priest of Osiris, embalmer of and dweller with
the dead and custodian of the temple of the Dead, what say you as to
the body and the soul?
Pardon, Most Exalted of Osiris, am I to look upon your question as
My belief, of which I am not master, I have kept unto myself and if
put into words is but spoken ignorance. To become an expert embalmer I
experimented on the bodies of many animals not sacred to our gods and
discovered that they were as easily preserved as the bodies of men.
This forced the conclusion that if man was specially favored of the
gods, it was not in bodily composition; therefore, it would seem, the
body is not sacred and is unworthy of the great expenditure of time and
wealth which we give it as priests of Osiris. The body after death is
as the husk of a nut from which the kernel has been extracted and our
people would be better off were it burned as the refuse of earth. We of
Osiris, who say the body must not perish, know better than anyone else
that it does perish. If there is a difference between the body of a man
and an animal's, that distinction departs at death; therefore, the
distinction is life or a part of life and the questions presented are:
What is life? What is there in man besides matter? When an animate
being dies, the body, the mortal, is left; life departs. I do not see
it go; I know not where it goes. If it is a man who dies, we say the
soul has left the body, because we are men; if it is an animal, we say
life has left the body. What is the difference between life and the
soul? All I know is that I have a body which perishes and that,
distinct from the body, I have the power to think, which power troubles
me more than my body, and which power I may lose when life leaves the
body. My power to think is so limited that its indulgence is like
pulling one's self up to the stars by one's toes. I know I cannot
answer the following questions:
'What is truth?' Though I once heard a child of five answer that
truth is the right.
'What is life?' Though I am told it is the principle of animate
'What is death?' This I do not know, since I cannot define life, as
death is the cessation of life or the beginning of a higher life.
Since animals think, some more than some men (the feeble-minded),
do they have souls? If so, where do their souls go?
Is the source of new life in the soul?
It seems we believe souls have existed from the beginning, since
they never die but are transmigrated. Is immortality a divine gift or
an inherent property of the soul?
And of you, Chief Priest of Osiris, head of our order, I would
'Does the soul assume a body akin to its own nature?
'Should I live to be very old, dwarfed in limb and blind, when my
soul returns to its preserved mummy, which you maintain it does, will I
rise again, old and blind and weak? If not why preserve the body?
'Will I know the friends of my former life if they return to their
bodies in the same period?
'Your still-born brother, whose body I embalmed, had he yet a soul,
and when his soul returns to his body, will it have life?
'There is a mummy in one of the old tombs with two heads and on one
body; has that body one or two souls? And if two souls, will they be
purified and return together to the body, though one be good and the
I believe not in Osiris; nor that my soul after many
transmigrations shall find and reanimate its rejected tenement. Yet I
know no other god or even if I have a soul. Can I by searching find out
truth or the true God? Will there be a time when the truth shall be
made clear? I know that error is spread over all things; that the race
is not to the swift, neither the battle to the strong. That he who
disdains ease and comfort, though poverty is a disgrace and misfortune
a crime, recognizes that wealth consists not in great possessions but
in few wants; looking upon ownership as a trusteeship and therefore a
responsibility; content with what life gives; thinking himself and
conceding to others the right to think; living and letting others live;
believing there is nothing after death and death is nothing; is as well
off as he who struggles to be a blind leader of the blind. Would I
could believe that we shall live many lives and each a preparation for
a higher one. Our religion, like our government, as it grows old grows
complex and rotten. What we need is a simple government, a simple faith
and one God.
(Nefermat) What you say is the vilest sacrilege. Your belief, if
general, would lead to chaos; to the destruction of our holy order. You
shall find there is a hell for the unbeliever; your mortal life shall
end and your immortal begin as soon as our mother's body is prepared
for Osiris. You shall know the difference between soul and body and
have your doubts as to a future state tested and dissolved.
(Rahotep) I would not be too hasty with the death sentence. What
matters it what Tepti may think! He is a good embalmer, reticent of
speech and his belief in death and nothingness if expressed would
neither find believers nor corrupt our faith. The thought of
non-existence is not acceptable to the Egyptians; it lacks enthusiasm,
it lacks certainty, it lacks hope; there is no appeal to pride or
(Nefermat) I cannot overlook such utterances from a priest of
Osiris; he must die.
(Rahotep) He is one of your priesthood; you are sole arbiter of his
life or death, but were he one of Amun's and I demanding his opinion
had been so answered, and it was delivered as to stone ears, as his was
to us, I would pass it by. However, if you are bent on his death, which
I regret, I would ask his body, hoping by my intercession, Amun may
convince him he has a soul.
(Nefermat) As you like. I am through with the sacrilegious beast as
soon as he is dead. I would not give his body tomb room in the temple
of the dead.
Whereupon the two high priests departed, leaving me with very sober
Within an hour, three priests of our order, the death watch, took up
their abode in my chambers, which I was not permitted to leave, and
this watch was continued to the end.
On the next day the body of the queen arrived from Men-nefer and I
was directed to complete the embalming already begun. This occupied a
The day the embalming was completed Rahotep came to my chamber and,
sending the guards from the room, said:
On the morrow at sunrise you will be strangled to death, after
which your body will be delivered to me for disposition. When it is
carefully embalmed I shall place it in a new tomb in the temple of Amun
and it shall become sacred to him. The tomb is so constructed that
light and air penetrates through slits in the portal and it may be
entered from the temple by members of our order. Amun will permit your
soul to occupy and grow in your mummied body. You have said you are not
afraid of death. Neither you nor any other man knows what lies beyond.
It is not the end of things as you declare but the beginning of the
thought life. Living through the ages in your old shell you shall learn
that the infinite is the author of all things and from the order and
harmony of nature you shall deduce the existence of God and the
immortality of the soul. You shall learn that the soul is an immaterial
being which can go where the body can not and can live where the body
cannot live and is so sometimes punished. That its controlling force is
not the body nor even the mind but a power which pervades all space,
which has existed from the beginning, looking after the universe and
each creature therein. This is the infinite, the beginning, the end of
all things, which, lacking a better name and light to discern, I call
Amun, The Great, The Only One. The wind has not a body, yet you know
the wind blows; light has not substance, yet you feel and see it and
know it comes from the worlds in the skies. Your soul has existed from
the beginning as a part of the infinite. It came into existence as the
angels of light and darkness. It is of the size of the faith that is in
you and yours is quite small. Yours shall grow during the ages, as Amun
is about to begin its experience, which each soul is to have, though
the experience given each is different, being judged and punished or
rewarded according to the light given, which in every case is dim. You
are first to be turned over to Phtha, the great father of beginnings.
Your little seed of a soul, assuming the form of a beetle, shall remain
in your mummified body. Your embalming robes shall be decorated with
his sign, the scarabeus. Your body will be carefully watched by our
priesthood to observe the growth of your soul and know that you finally
believe in its existence and the infinite power of God. You shall pass
through the valley of humiliation, living as the Chelas live upon your
own soul. Your suffering shall bring improvement and growth until your
soul shall prove sufficient unto itself, since it shall know God and
itself. Finally it shall part company with your mummied body and become
a part of the light of the world.
I arose at daylight the next morning and, after carefully bathing,
rubbed my whole body with a preparation for closing the pores; then,
retiring to a couch, drank a vial of most precious and potent embalming
fluid, which, knowing death to be near, I had secreted when preparing
the mummy of the queen.
I felt a contraction of my stomach, an icy chill, a gradual though
rapid cessation of consciousness and being. For what period I know not
I slept the sleep of death.
Sluggishly in my dead frame fluttered a something. For days or
years, I know not, there was a mere sense of spiritual life or being
and a fluttering of body as of a small numbed insect; was it a
scarabeus? This was succeeded in time by an acuter consciousness, when
I saw my puny soul in its bare weakness.
Then began the journey through the valley of humiliation and
suffering, when soul lived upon and thought only of self and its
escape. Through ages of suffering and loneliness and blackness, my only
thought was a constant prayer for absolute non-existence. Within the
heart of my tiny soul there began to grow a germ-like conception and
reverence for God. With this thought the soul seemed to take unto
itself strength to make feeble efforts to tear a way through its coffin
of flinty skin and in feeble flight bounded and pounded incessantly on
its case of parchment, as a drummer on his drum, with a ceaseless,
monotonous, drum, drum, drum.
Finally, through the mummy eyes, there seemed to come dim rays of
light. Then the feeble soul stationed itself immediately behind them
and prayed only for light. And, after a thousand years, enough light
was given to see crevices in the tomb and shifting grains of sand drift
through. Life before had been so bare that the mere seeing of the
flight of a grain of sand into that place of utter calm and monotony
was as an angel visit to the disconsolate of earth.
Now the all-absorbing desire was for more light; for freedom to
break through the prison walls of flinty skin and have one peep at
earth and sun. Then, remembering how I had stolen our most potent
embalming fluid and used it on my own body, I attributed continued
imprisonment to its preservative properties and looked upon myself as
my own jailer.
As the soul grew, reason discarded this thought and fixed upon my
imprisonment as punishment for disbelief. Seemingly, ages went by; the
soul passed through a period of great remorse; remorse grew to
repentance, and repentance to hope and faith.
Then my soul seemed to fill the whole mummied frame and gained
strength until it acquired the power of motion. I could shift position
and look out upon the valley of Aur-Aa, now called Nilus, where, as
time passed, I saw the maturity and wane of Egyptian power and the iron
hand of Rome reach out in conquest.
The vandal hand of a conquering Roman tore loose the stone portal of
the tomb, and mummy and imprisoned soul were carried across the great
sea and with other husks of former life exhibited in the triumph of
Octavius; then placed in a museum to be gazed upon by the curious of
One night robbers broke into the room, thinking the dead carried
their treasures with them, and unwound our grave cloths. My soul
pounded and tore at its case, hoping pantingly that they might break
the parchment shell; but all they did was to remove a string of
turquoise and porphyry beetle-shaped beads. When morning came the
mummies were rewrapped and returned to the exhibit slab.
As the crowds passed by, if one, perchance, looked into my sunken
eyes, the soul, watching hungrily beneath, looked out with an intensity
and read his very inmost mind and most secret thought; and some there
were who seemed to know the meaning of my look.
When I read thoughts of doubt, such as I had known in life, I sought
with utmost soul strength to convey to them some warning and some hope;
and as I struggled thus, there came rifts of light into my prison as
from a higher life.
One day a noble Roman youth came strolling by with a companion and,
stooping, gazed upon my form.
See, Marcus! How much better preserved this man of ancient Egypt is
than the others. Look! In his sunken eyes you may discern a glimmer as
of intense life; of consciousness; I feel his look, as though he read
me through and through and would speak in advice or warning.
Oh! Come on! You have eaten too heavily or else departed from your
stoical way and conscience has made you uneasy; else you could not
attribute life to this foul shell, dead these three thousand years.
I shall return alone tomorrow when the light is better and have a
At noon the next day, when the sunlight rested on my slab, the youth
returned and, bending over my black parchment face, peered into the
hollow eye holes; and in some weird way I held communion with him. When
he left, my soul seemed to go along, a companion of his own.
Lost in thought, he walked a long way into the poorer quarter of the
city, where there was much squalor and suffering. He was aroused by the
cries of women and children driven from their squalid homes by a band
of Nero's condottieri, who then set fire to their deserted hovels.
He rushed to their rescue, remonstrating with the soldiers. They
refused to desist, telling him that the people were of the new sect,
the Christians; and their orders were to burn them out. He was
assaulted by them, resisted, killed two and was himself slain.
His soul as a great white bird, with a brilliancy as of the sun,
left his body and flew heavenward. My own returned to its mummied
chamber. But the chamber had been reformed; it was of many hued
crystal, of expansive wall and gave forth a light all its own. I
settled upon a couch and drifted into a restful peace.
My own soul became as the tabernacle of God. All tears were wiped
away by the conqueror of sorrow and pain and death. I had found the
Father; the Father a son; and I entered into the place where God is the
In the meantime Rome burned. The fire, started by Nero's soldiers
near the Palatine Hill, spread from house to house and quarter to
quarter until it reached my couch. The old shell parted and burned as
tinder. Then the mortal put on immortality and the shackled darkness of
the old soul gave place to light and liberty.
I awoke. It was near twilight; the world seemed new and fresh, but
it was the old home place.
I bent over and examined my couch; it was the old slab shelf of the
springhouse. Looking along its raised edge, which I had used as a
pillow, I noticed for the first time crude strange characters or
letters cut in the stone.
That night I asked my father the history of the slab. He said he had
brought it from the Stoner Creek farm near Wade's Mill, where it had
been plowed up in cultivating over a small Indian mound.
I came to the conclusion the slab possessed weird properties, making
it a restless and unsatisfactory couch, and thereafter I called it the
DOCTOR BROWN OF DANVILLE.
Incidentally I took up stenography, its usefulness having been
impressed upon me by my inability to transcribe the narrative of the
feeble-minded black boy.
The winter following his death, attending law school at the
University of Virginia, I continued its study and practice and found it
quite an aid in jotting down the lectures. By the following summer I
had grown to be quite an efficient stenographer.
That summer, shortly after I had my disturbing dream as a priest of
Osiris, the Kentucky synod of the Southern Presbyterian Church met at
Winchester. My mother, a member of the First Presbyterian Church,
entertained two of the visiting preachers, both of whom were personal
friends of Doctor Chisholm. One was from the western portion of the
State, I believe Owensboro, the other, Doctor Brown, of Danville.
Doctor Brown rarely smiled; his poise was indicative of the utmost
self-control, his form lank, his hair heavy and graying at the temples,
his general appearance giving evidence of a clean, active ascetic life
and a strong moral and physical make-up. He was inclined to keep the
light of his conversational powers under a bushel, and at times spoke
only when aroused from apparent self-centered thought. His voice was
deep and pleasant, his diction and expression perfect, his thoughts,
clothed in finished sentences, were entertainingly expressed and at
times exhibited a rich vein of the choicest humor. He was the leading
member of the conferencecertainly the brainiestand it fell to his
lot to deliver the most important address of the gathering.
He seemed to fancy the old springhouse, its quiet coolness and the
spreading elms. Except at mealtime he did all his drinking from its
cool fountain and out of the old gourd dipper, though mother insisted
on sending a glass down for his service.
Several times I found him sitting in the rustic chair by the door
jotting down notes for some address or sermon, but never seated on the
old stone bench.
On Monday at breakfast, following a busy Sunday, on which he had
preached two exceptionally good sermons, and, following the noonday
service, greeted lengthily and cordially seemingly every member of the
large congregation, I noticed his usually active manner had given place
to a languorous calm.
So I went down to the springhouse, carried the rustic chair into the
open beyond the shade and carefully loosened and removed one of the
legs, placing the chair in such a position as to show it was
unserviceable and undergoing repairs; then I returned to the house.
In about an hour Doctor Brown left the library for the springhouse,
carrying a couple of books and a scratch pad under his arm.
When he saw the condition of the chair he walked within and found a
seat on the old stone bench. After resting for some time he stretched
his form on the cool smooth slab and was soon fast asleep.
Then I slipped in and preparing for business, sat down upon the
floor with note book and pencils handy, heading the page with the name
of our distinguished guest.
He began in a conversational tone what was apparently an
introductory address to a gathering of primitive Christians. It was in
Greek, which I was able to transcribe.
The translation undoubtedly is faulty, robbed of the thought and
beauty of his smooth diction, and gives but imperfect meaning and
interpretation to many idiomatic expressions.
* * * * *
Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, servant of Jesus Christ, on the road
to Damascus ordained of God and called to the apostleship; having been
taken a prisoner at Jerusalem, charged with sedition; appealed to
Caesar and now traveling to Rome for trial, is in Syracuse and will
preach to us tonight.
He took ship at Adramyttium, touched at Sidon, Cyprus and Myra.
There a ship of Alexandria was found sailing into Italy. This he
boarded and, sailing many days, passed near Chidus, Crete, Salmone and
Fair Havens, near the city of Lascea. From whence he sailed, when the
south wind blew softly, close to Crete. There a tempest arose. The ship
was forced from her course and driven by wind until, days after, she
was wrecked on the island of Malta.
After an enforced stay of three months, he sailed away in the good
ship Castor and Pollux and arrived in Syracusa this morning. He will
remain with us for three days.
The church knows his service. He has faced every crisis and danger
with an iron will and with unfailing resolution has kept the faith. He
is a most faithful worker in the cause of Christ and his field of
service is, messenger unto the Gentiles.
In his present troubles he has our prayers. We will now hear him.
* * * * *
Brethren of the Church of Syracusa; grace be to you and peace from
God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank God that your faith is spoken of and an example to
all the Christian churches.
I came first after landing to Sergius Publius of your church, to
whom I bore a letter from his cousin Publius, the Roman ruler at Malta.
We were at Malta three months waiting for a ship. During that time
by prayer and the laying on of hands, the father of Publius was healed.
For this and other things, the people honored us with many honors and
when we departed they laded us with such things as were necessary, we
having lost all by shipwreck on our journey from Caesarea to Rome.
Not unwillingly am I sent to Rome for trial as fitting one born
free and a Roman citizen, since Rome is mistress of the world and to
Rome the Christian faith must be carried to be spread over the Gentile
Being ordained an apostle to the Gentiles, it is but meet that I
should assume the risks of the journey and take as personal the command
to preach the Gospel in Rome or elsewhere and to every Gentile nation.
A gospel of universal faith granting to Jew and Gentile alike
repentance unto life and grace through the redemption of the Lord Jesus
This work has been most successful and many strong Gentile churches
have been established; but God forbid that I should glory save in the
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
After the establishment of a number of these churches, when I
returned to Jerusalem I was falsely accused of teaching all the Jews
which are among the Gentiles to forsake the law of Moses; and of having
brought Greeks into the temple and polluted the holy place. And after
this charge I was cast from the temple and the doors closed; then set
upon and beaten with staves and stones until Roman soldiers came to
quiet the disturbance; and by them bound with chains was led towards
the castle. When asking and receiving permission to speak unto the
people, I did so in the Hebrew tongue saying:
'Men, brethren and fathers, hear ye my defense, now made unto you,
I am verily a man, a Jew born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, yet brought up in
this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the perfect
manner of the law of the fathers and was zealous towards God, as ye all
are this day.
'And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering
into prison both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me
witness, and all the estate of the elders; from whom also I received
letters unto the brethren and went to Damascus, to bring them which
were bound unto Jerusalem for to be punished.
'And it came to pass that as I made my journey and was come nigh
unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great
light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and hearing a voice
saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
'And I answered, Who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am
Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecuteth.
'And they that were with me saw indeed the light and were afraid,
but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
'And I said, What shall I do Lord? And the Lord said unto me,
Arise and go unto Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all
things which are appointed for thee to do.
'And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by
the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
'And one, Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good
report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me and stood and
said unto me, Brother Saul receive thy sight. And the same hour I
looked up upon him.
'And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou
shouldst know his will and see that Just One, and should hear the voice
of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou
hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized
and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
'And it came to pass that when I was come again to Jerusalem, even
while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; and saw him saying
unto me, Make haste and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; for they
will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
'And I said, Lord they know that I imprisoned and beat in every
synagogue them that believed in thee; and when the blood of thy martyr
Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consented unto his death
and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
'And he said unto me, Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto
When I had spoken thus far, the multitude would not hear me
At the castle, the chief captain ordered that I be scourged, when,
hearing the order, I said to the centurion standing by, 'Is it lawful
to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?' Thereafter no
further indignity was offered me.
Then the Lord appeared unto me saying. 'Be of good cheer, Paul, for
as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness
also in Rome.' Then I was sent to Caesarea, unto Felix.
Before Felix, I was accused by Tertullus, speaking for the
priesthood, as a pestilent fellow and a mover of sedition among all the
Jews and a leader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
To which I answered, 'They can charge me with nothing unlawful
though I confess that after the way which they call heresy so worship I
the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the
law and the prophets, and have hope towards God that there shall be a
resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust. And herein do
I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence towards
God and men.'
After a period of two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix and
willing to favor the Jews, asked, If I would go to Jerusalem to be
judged, to which I answered; 'I stand at Caesar's judgment seat where I
ought to be judged.'
Then Festus after conference said, 'Hast thou appealed unto Caesar?
Unto Caesar shalt thou go.'
Shortly thereafter I was delivered to Julius, a centurion of
Augustus' band, and we set sail at Adramyttium for Rome to be delivered
for trial as a Roman citizen.
What a privilege it is to be a Roman citizen; to have the
protection of a strong and capable government; whose laws are stable
and enforceable; a bulwark against petty strife and sect jealousies.
Christ our Master declares the divine origin of government and the
obligation of his followers to obey human law when not in conflict with
the commandments of God.
This, it seems, is the greatest obligation, next to our faith.
What is faith? What are the teachings of our faith?
Faith in God is more than the exercise of the understanding.
Faith changed me from a persecutor, until now, I preach the faith I
sought to destroy; hoping thereby you may rejoice the more in Christ
because of my coming; while I rejoice at your patience and faith under
all the tribulations which you now endure.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. And Christ our Lord, is its author and finisher.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and
ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath
shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen
vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.
We are troubled on every side yet not distressed; perplexed but not
in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed;
always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
So then death worketh in us but life in you.
We have the same spirit of faith according as it is written, I
believe and therefore have I spoken; we also believe and therefore
speak; knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up
also by Jesus and shall present us with you. For all things are for
your sakes that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of
many rebound to the glory of God.
For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish yet
the inward is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us
a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at
the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for
the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not
seen are eternal.
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved we have a building of God, an house not made with hands
eternal in the heavens.
I am told that some among you who live according to the law, say,
'There is no resurrection of the dead.'
First of allChrist died for our sins and was buried and rose
again the third day.
If the dead rise not then is Christ not raised; and if Christ be
not raised your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they
also which are fallen asleep in Christ and rest in these caverns are
But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits
of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made aliveBut some men will say, 'How are the dead
raised up? And with what body do they come?'
Fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die; and
that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall bebut
bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain. But God
giveth it a body and to every seed his own body.
The glory of the resurrection of man is, that his body sown in
corruption is raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor is raised in
glory; sown in weakness it is raised in strength; sown in the natural
it is raised the spiritual body.
So when this corruptible shall put on incorruption and this mortal
shall put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that
is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory! The sting of death is sin, the
strength of sin is the law. But thanks to God who giveth us the victory
through Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you seek strength in the Lord and the power of his might? Put on
the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles
of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able
to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand. Stand,
therefore, having your loin girt about with truth and having on the
breast plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith wherewith
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take
the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word
of God, praying always with all power and supplication in the spirit.
Let us not be dismayed or overwhelmed by persecution, nor weary in
well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Learning
wheresoever God places us therewith to be content; seeking by prayer
and supplication to know his will.
The Father hath said; 'My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength
is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore may we glory in our infirmities
that the power of Christ may rest upon us. Thanks be unto God for his
As we grow in strength, we may expect persecution to grow. Now Rome
looks upon our faith as a Jewish sect. When it is understood that it is
a religion distinct from Judaism, then persecution will begin in
earnest. Then you will be blamed for pestilence, famine and other
national calamities and be offered as martyrs for your faith. Then must
we glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience and
patience experience and experience hope and hope maketh not ashamed
because the love of God is shed about in your hearts.
I speak to you but as an ambassador in bonds.
Brethren, pray constantly for one another and for me, remembering
that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. And the peace of God
which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through
Jesus Christ, Amen.
* * * * *
Doctor Brown, growing restless, and I conscience-stricken, I thought
it best to make a hasty departure for the house.
That night at supper I managed to turn the conversation to dreams,
hoping to hear from him.
He finally said; It is remarkable the way we fit familiar scenes or
even places we have visited but once into our dream thoughts. Thus
dressed they become quite realistic until we almost persuade ourselves
that we have lived the experience.
Some years ago I visited the city of Syracuse and was deeply
interested by the catacombs on the island of Ortzgia, just a short way
from the modern city, particularly as they had been used as a place of
worship, of refuge from persecution and of burial by the early
Among other things of interest therein are the frescoes, in which
drawings of fish as religious symbols predominate, the Greek word for
which furnished the initial letters for the Saviour's name and office;
the tombs and an altar from which Paul is said to have preached, when
sent by Festus from Caesarea to Rome.
I rarely sleep in the daytime; but today the cool subdued light and
quiet of the springhouse was responsible for a lapse.
Having in mind to prepare a sermon on faith and the resurrection,
and thinking of certain of Paul's letters in connection therewith, my
dream thoughts were so assembled that while I slept I seemed to hear
Paul preaching from the altar in the catacombs on that identical
I am home from the University of Virginia, having completed the law
course. The restful peace of the old farmhouse is most enjoyable; but
there is another blemish upon the landscape; my father is building a
second tobacco barn, and the foreman in charge, a union carpenter, or
nine-hour man, as we then called him, is a disturbing element, spending
his time, when not at work, chewing tobacco and aggressively talking
about the rights of labor and the danger to the world of concentrated
When thus engaged he is a typical nail-keg philosopher; just
emerging from ignorance and materialism into the realm of reflective
He has at his tongue's end all the platitudes of the socialist and
possesses the knack of picking platitude and imperfect statistic to fit
his theories, whenever he finds a victim.
He does not look upon our government as a government of the people;
but a government of the few, who fool all the people all the time.
He is a firm believer in organized labor and the disorganization of
everything else, particularly capital. He believes in the equal
distribution of property every few years and that the masses should
throw off the yoke, but can neither identify nor define the yoke.
Until I heard him talk, in my inexperience, I thought that the world
was a reasonably comfortable place in which to live, in fact, I knew no
better. We were getting ten cents for tobacco, eighty cents for wheat,
fifty cents for corn, five cents for hogs and ten cents a pound for
turkeys. We heard no talk of hard times except just before a
We paid fifteen dollars per month for farm hands, three dollars a
week to the cook; we bought sugar for six cents and flour for five
fifty a barrel. We were paying the boss carpenter and chief
representative of organized labor three dollars a day, and fifteen
dollars per thousand for clear heart yellow pine lumber.
Hawkwood, the carpenter, spoke of the ideals of labor and how he
would fight for them through this and other lives until his words, to
my conservative and immature mind, seemed threats against organized
My views, in the main, he called old-fashioned. I believed a laborer
who was thrifty, efficient and industrious did not need a union to help
him, arguing the union only helped the inefficient, lazy and
I tried several times to get him to rest on the springhouse slab or
dream couch, but his mind and temperament were too nervously active.
On Sunday he expected to go to Lexington for the day, but at train
time a heavy shower caused him to abandon the trip. I asked him to go
to Pine Grove church, but he very emphatically declined.
At dinner, with malice aforethought, I kept his plate heaped up and
repeatedly filled his goblet with ice-cooled buttermilk. After dinner
as it was a very warm day, I suggested we go to the springhouse and
read, and from the library got for him Fox's Lives of The Martyrs.
I took the lead and appropriated the rustic chair under the elms,
forcing him to occupy the stone bench in the springhouse.
He made several efforts to start an argument on the labor question,
which I carefully avoided. After awhile a sonorous snore announced that
he had fallen victim to my plot.
His snoring was broken by a jumble of words in English and Italian,
though his English, being of a very old form, was harder than the
Italian to understand and transcribe. The first words I caught were;
Very well, Sir John, avanti!
I took down his statement and give to the reader a liberal
transcription of my notes.
* * * * *
I was born in Essex, near Hedingham, on October 20, 1332. My father
was a younger brother of Sir John Hawkwood, who was knighted for
bravery by the Black Prince two days after the battle of Poitiers,
where an English army of eight thousand men defeated a French army of
sixty thousand and took King John prisoner.
My uncle, commanding several companies and rendering most efficient
service, was rewarded by being knighted by the King. I was present at
the service and officiated as his squire.
When the successful army returned to England, several hundred of us
from Essex and Suffolk remained in France and organized 'The White
Company,' which, with Sir John as commander, became famous as
condottieri, or soldiers of fortune, and from 1360 to 1390 sold our
services to various Italian powers.
We served under the standard of Gregory XI, the Marquis of
Montferrat, certain legates, the republic of Pisa, and, finally, the
signory and council of Florence, from 1378 until the death of Sir John
on March 17, 1394. At his death he was entombed with great ceremony in
the Duomo. For years prior he had held the office of Captain General
with the Florentines.
From 1374 till 1378 I was captain of one of his companies. In 1378
I was made his aid, in which capacity I served until 1389, when, having
been seriously wounded and the possessor of considerable wealth, I
retired from service.
For more than a year Sir John had been in the service of the
Marquis of Montferrat at Casale, and as the season was dull and the pay
light for our business, it was with pleasure he received word from the
Pope to come to Avignon.
Gregory occupied the papal chair from 1370 to 1378 and, like his
immediate predecessors, resided at Avignon until 1376, when he
terminated the Babylonian captivity by returning to Rome.
During this period of exile the church government of Italy was
conducted by proud and avaricious legates, who lived as dukes or
provincial kings, and in the name of the church assumed to dictate the
policy of government to many small potentates, maintaining a standing
array of condottieri made up of English, Dutch and Breton recruits.
Sir John, reasonably satisfied that he would be employed in Italy
at some point east of Casale, left his soldiers behind, except thirty
troopers, and set out for Avignon. Ten days later he came down the
Rhone valley, into the 'City of Bells,' just as the sixth hour, or
vesper bells, were ringing.
We fed our horses, washed away the stains of travel, and, supper
ready, took our places at a long table, Sir John at the head, I at the
foot and fifteen troopers on either side. We refreshed ourselves, a
very hungry and thirsty company, with red Rhone wine, macaroni, cheese,
fish, mutton, brown bread and a salad.
Sir John and I were assigned quite sumptuous quarters in the
palace, while our soldiers remained at the inn.
That night Sir John saw the Pope and was recommissioned in his
service. His orders were that half of his company should report to the
legate at Pisa, while I in command of the other half, about three
hundred horsemen, should report to the legate at Bologna. An invasion
of Tuscany was contemplated under the direction of these two legates,
having in view the humiliation of the Florentines.
The reason assigned for the campaign was that the Ricci faction had
entered into a league with Barnabo of Milan against the church and the
The Pope thus expressed himself to Sir John; 'These plebeians are
too ambitious. Let the nobility, not the populace, form a federation,
living like brothers with the church at its head, an all-wise and
benign father. Thus, by a combination of miter and helmet the church,
first in Italy and then throughout the world, shall become not alone
the spiritual but the temporal head of government. Instituting this
plan, we intend to subdue the plebeian faction now in power at
Sir John, at the close of the audience, said to me; 'If it were not
for the interference of the church, the republic of Florence and
certain other Italian states might hope for the accomplishment of great
things. What the Pope wants is the peace of decay and temporal and
spiritual supremacy for the church throughout the land. Experience has
taught me that adversity is a great teacher. It tolerates no
compromises and rewards only patience and strength. Therefore a state
is most fortunate that occupies a position of bare supremacy in arms,
where it is punished for mistakes and grows strong from reverses.
'On the other hand, if a government is too strong, the peace of
strength brings repose, repose decay, and decay dishonor.
'Florence, more than any other Italian city, is embarrassed by the
natural enmities between the populace and the nobility. The nobility
wish to command. The populace, aware of their numerical supremacy, are
disinclined to obey, and insist upon ruling the city. Clashes between
the two keep the city in a constant uproar and will eventually
extinguish its greatness. The populace when in power drive the nobility
from the city. When they lose out the banished nobles return and the
populace are oppressed. Associated with the people, who are the usual
conquerors, are certain adaptable nobles, who, styling themselves
reformers, assume to live and think as the common people until they
have acquired a sufficient following to control the city, then they
assume the government and the nobles are recalled.'
* * * * *
A member of the Connechi family was legate at Bologna. In the fall
of 1374 I reported to him with my three hundred horsemen.
The preceding summer had been extremely dry, causing a failure of
crops through all of central Italy. The people suffered and many died
of privation. The legate, aware of this, looked upon the time as
auspicious for his invasion and instituted his campaign by seizing
provisions in transit, purchased by the Florentines from the northern
countries. The following spring he invaded Tuscany.
The hungry inhabitants, seeing no hope for even the future harvest,
offered but feeble opposition. Quite a few castles and small towns were
taken and pillaged.
Our army moved slowly, and despite the legate's commands, never
followed up a victory. It mattered little to us that his enemies lived
to fight another day; our business was to line our pockets with
plunder. It was no serious affair to defeat our opponents whenever we
met. They were untrained in war and were usually officered by
mercenaries, who cared little whether they won or lost.
One night a messenger from Sir John Hawkwood brought word that I
should confer with the captains of the Dutch and Breton troops, and if
they agreed, we were to mutiny and desert the legate's standard, when I
should proceed with my men to Florence, where he would await us.
At the conference I learned from the other captains that their
commanders had made peace with the Florentines, having been paid one
hundred and thirty thousand florins; and that Sir John, having
quarreled with the legate at Pisa about our pay had referred the matter
to the Pope, who responded; 'The affair is wholly within the discretion
of the legate.' Whereupon he sent back word; 'Henceforth I am an
opponent of temporal church rule in Italy and quit your service.' He
then made a contract with the Florentines to assist them in repelling
the legate's armies.
On the next day, when the condottieri were ordered to attack a
small town southwest of our camp, the inhabitants of which had treated
us decently, knowing that we bore them no ill-will, we disregarded the
order. By prearrangement, each captain at the head of his men assembled
in front of the legate's quarters, when as spokesman I asked an
In a short while he came forth in his regalia, surrounded by a
group of carpet knights and peremptorily demanded:
'What do you want and why have not you and your comrades begun the
assault as ordered?'
'As spokesman for the English, Dutch and Breton condottieri, I am
directed to inform you that we have concluded to sever our connection
with your army and seek more satisfactory employment. Our sympathies
are with the Florentines rather than the church.'
'Those of you who refuse to execute my commands shall be put to
'Who will execute your order? Surely not your three thousand carpet
knights, who can scarcely sit their horses and are coached by their
squires. They know nothing of warfare; they but wear their swords as
ornaments. Why, my three hundred horsemen alone are more than a match
for your knights. They and you do your fighting by proxy. It takes
something more than a jeweled sword, bright armor and a coat of arms to
make a soldier, and something more than a miter, a string of beads and
a colossal capacity for deception, torture and persecution, to make a
commander whom men trust and obey.'
'So it is your intention to quit my service?'
'Yes, and immediately, we shall leave your camp today.'
Whereupon I returned to my men. After a brief conference we raided
the general stores and appropriated a week's supplies; then, loading
our pack horses, mounted and by easy stages rode to Florence.
The legate, finding himself deserted by his mercenaries, his forces
reduced to less than three thousand undisciplined troops, with no one
competent to command, hastily retreated to Bologna and sought to make
peace with the Florentines.
But they, justly resentful of his avaricious and unprovoked
invasion, refused to make peace, and until his death, nearly three
years thereafter, having entered into a league with Barnabo of Milan
and certain cities hostile to the church, conducted a successful war
Three days thereafter we crossed through the pass and camped on the
south mountain slope within sight of Florence. The city from the
foothills as you look out upon it seems an island forest of tall
towers, surrounded by a verdant plain.
A wall 9350 meters in length, protected by a deep moat, surrounds
the city. Every one hundred and sixty meters there is a tower forty
meters high and fourteen meters broad. The twelve gates, six on the
left bank of the river and six on the right, are strengthened by
No other city presents such striking contrasts or combinations of
antitheses, adding much to its picturesque life and appearance. Within
arms length of each other you see the noble in his brilliant attire and
the laborer in rags; the prelate gorgeously arrayed and the monk in
sober gown; almost next door to a cathedral or monastery and which has
taken a century to build, and beneath its very shadow, is the hovel of
some poor beggar. It is a city of violence, where dominion is
maintained by force; yet the pilgrim, with thoughts on God and
atonement, may pass in peace. Some are given over to lives of the
vilest licentiousness, while their neighbors lead lives of frugality
We came in by the gate north of the church of San Lorenzo and I
found quarters at an inn on Via Por. S. Marcia, near the Ponte Vecchio.
I spent several months at this inn, reporting each day to Sir John for
Sir John was the guest of Silvestro de Medici, the head of one of
the noblest of the popular families. In this way I became acquainted
with Marcella, the sister of Silvestro, and after a courtship of
several months we were married.
My savings amounted to more than eight thousand florins. The florin
is a small gold coin with a lily on one side and the word 'Florentina'
on the other.
For sixty-five hundred florins I purchased a small but substantial
house on Via Calimara, near the Arte della Lana, the guildhouse of the
wool weavers. The armorial design of the art, embossed above the
portal, is a lamb bearing a cross.
Two of my friends, who lived on a side street in the neighborhood,
were Michael di Lando, a wool-comber who had considerable influence
with his guild, and Ser Nuto, a bailiff of the Signory.
I had been in Florence six months and married more than a month
when Sir John disposed of our services to the eight commissioners of
war; when, with great unwillingness, I was forced to leave wife and
home and resume command of my three hundred horsemen.
After having been thus engaged for more than four months, I
procured a furlough, expecting to have ten days of quiet at home. It
was the month of May and the city at its loveliest. On the third night
after my return, my wife and I were eating a late lunch, after a visit
to her brother's palace, when the servant announced that a man was at
the door with a message from Sir John, asking that I come at once to
the inn of the Golden Hat on the Via de Bardi.
Buckling on armor and sword, and telling the good wife not to wait
up for me, I accompanied the messenger.
When crossing the Ponte Vecchio in the darkness of its many butcher
stalls, the messenger, walking behind, leaped upon my back, seeking to
throw me to the floor. He was almost instantly aided by a half-dozen
men wearing black robes and cowls covering the head, having eyeholes
only; in other words, dressed as friars of the order of Misericordia.
One of these struck me on the head with a heavy short sword, and when I
regained consciousness I learned I was a prisoner in a dungeon under
the cloisters of the monastery of Agnoli. My friend, Ser Nuto, had
engineered the capture, which had been ordered by the Bologna legate
for my gross insults to him and consequently to the church. My captors,
who belonged to the Guelph faction, had cheerfully executed the
commission because of my relationship by marriage with the Medici
My dungeon was simply a cistern of huge stones beneath the floor of
the cell of a friar of the order and the same size as his cell. The
only aperture was in the floor of the cell above and closed by a heavy
grating, the key to which, kept by the head of the order, was never
entrusted to the friar, who was as powerless to open the grating as I.
The walls of immense stone were made the more impervious by iron
bars, which prevented contact with them, and made my prison an iron
cage encased in a stone dungeon. Food was let down by a cord through
the grating by a narrow copper bucket, and in the same manner each day
the refuse of the cell was removed. The friar who occupied the cell
above and who was my jailer was the only person I ever saw except when
At the end of a week Ser Nuto came into the cell and, calling down
through the grating, said; 'Climb up; you are to go before the holy
tribunal.' The grating was opened, a ladder let down and I climbed up
and was led across the open court through a long hall into a large
room, where twelve men, laymen and ecclesiastics, sat, the prelate
acting as presiding officer. It must have been near midnight. I
remember when I crossed the court how brilliantly the stars shone.
When I came into the room, the prelate said; 'You are charged with
the heinous sin of sacrilegious utterances against the holy church,
which you will confess and for which you will be tortured even after
confession. Your torturing, because of your insults to the church and
its high officials, will be a compound of duty and pleasure to us.
Until you confess your sins, express sorrow for same and consent to
serve the church with loyal and unselfish devotion in whatever tasks
shall be assigned you, one of which will be to assist Ser Nuto in
decoying Sir John Hawkwood to this monastery you will be tortured the
limit of your bodily endurance once a week.'
From the four corners of the room near the ceiling and extending to
the center, were suspended four ropes rigged with pulleys. My hands and
feet were tied to these, when they were drawn tight and I was suspended
in midair; then I was repeatedly hoisted back and forth from the floor
to near the lofty ceiling until my joints were dislocated from the
strain and I lost consciousness from pain, though I am glad to say, not
once did I utter a cry, give forth a groan or ask mercy of my
When consciousness returned I was on the pallet in my cell and lay
there for several days suffering as from severe sprains.
My jailer was not unkind. His life I felt was not a happy one. He
seemed to enjoy conversing with me, though he was forced to lie on the
floor and call through the grating.
This encouraged the hope that in sympathy or for reward I might
persuade him to carry word to my wife of my place of imprisonment, when
she, through the influence of Sir John or her brother, would be able to
procure my release.
I knew how she must suffer and search for traces of me, fearing I
had been murdered and my body thrown into the river or buried in some
That night the friar lay down upon the floor and called;
'Edward Hawkwood are you awake?'
'Has the swelling and soreness left your joints?'
'Yes, I feel about well.'
'In a day or two they will torture you again and continue doing so
each week until you confess, express repentance and do what they ask.
This I advise you to do, else in the end they will torture you to
death, or leave you forgotten to die in your dungeon.'
'I at least have this to be thankful for that you are not unkind.'
'If it were suspected that I treated you other than a caged beast
your jailer would be changed and severely punished.'
'Discovery is impossible, since you only talk with me at night.'
'I am not so sure; there are always spies in our brotherhood and
all, from the scullion to the prelate, are under surveillance.'
'I am sorry to learn that, as I hoped to prevail upon you to
deliver a message to my wife, telling her where I am confined.'
'Were I caught in the effort, I should be tortured to death, or
confined indefinitely in a dungeon. Should your friends attempt your
rescue or ask your release you would be murdered and dropped into come
deep secret pit to destroy all evidence, when all would deny that you
had been held a prisoner.'
'My wife will give you a hundred florins if you will but give her a
note telling my place of confinement. I have been but a few months
married; she loves me dearly and is no doubt crazed by my
'I wear this cowl and robe and beg as a mendicant on the street yet
have always wished to be a soldier fighting to free Tuscany from
tyranny; the tyranny not only of the oppressing noble families, chief
of whom at this time are the Albizzi, but of the church with whom they
are allied. I have suffered too much in mind from disappointment to
care for the physical discomforts of others; and had you not been a
soldier of renown, fighting against those influences which I condemn, I
would have looked upon your imprisonment as incidental and your
suffering without sympathy. I know how little I can do and that little
at great personal risk, which, if discovered, will be not only your
death warrant but my own. I will not carry a written message to your
wife, but will stand near your home, pretending to solicit alms, and if
she should pass, will tell her your message, but not disclose your
place of imprisonment. She will know you are alive and have a friend
who at rare intervals will give her news of you and bring back messages
from her which you must give me to destroy. That is all that can be
done. As my reward, you shall teach me to use the sword so when the
opportunity is presented I may do my part as a patriot to rid Tuscany
of her oppressors.'
'You will at least hand this ring to my wife when you deliver my
message and await her answer?'
'Yes, I will risk that much.'
That night I slept in peace and had rapturous dreams of freedom.
On the next day in the afternoon, when my wife left our home to go
to her brother's seeking news of me, she was addressed by a mendicant
friar, who had even to touch her arm before she took notice, as she
walked as a woman asleepmind lost in sorrow.
'Do not start; pretend to give me alms and take this ring which
your husband sends. He is alive and well but a prisoner. I am his
friend and will take a written message to him. Should his friends seek
to find his place of confinement he will be murdered. On each Tuesday
at this hour, if you pass, I will bring you news of him. I must not be
followed on his account.'
'Oh! Where is he.'
'I have told you all I dare. Return home and write him a brief
message for which I shall wait; fold it closely and hand me as though
it were a small coin.'
Turning away the friar solicited alms of a passing merchant.
In a few minutes my wife returned and when he again asked alms she
dropped in his hand two florins and between them a note for me.
That night at a late hour the friar called through the grating and
when I answered told me of the meeting and dropped the two florins into
my hand, stating he would read the note to me, which he did.
'You cannot know how much I have suffered believing you dead. I
hope and live again since you sent the message and the ring.
'What shall we do to find or rescue you? If you are not permitted
to write send me a piece of your clothing so I may know the messenger
comes from you.
'Use every effort to come home to me as life is worthless with you
away. I dare not write more. Can I send you anything?'
'Let me have the note so I may see my wife's handwriting.'
'I will if you return it so it may be destroyed; your cell may be
He dropped it down, then let down a cord to which I tied the note
after having read it many times and held it to my lips.
The succeeding night Ser Nuto came to the cell and I was again
brought before the holy tribunal, where an officer stood to take down
my confession and a surgeon to feel my pulse and estimate the amount of
torture I could bear.
As I came in a poor man was being tortured and I stood and looked
on, a horrified witness, until he died upon the rack.
Then I was called before the prelate and asked:
'Will you confess your many sins, declare your repentance and help
the Holy Church to secretly take and imprison Sir John Hawkwood?'
Remembering Sir John's many kindnesses to me, my duty as a soldier
to his commander, and thinking of my dear wife, I unhesitatingly
answered; 'I will not.'
'It is then my duty to subject you to torture. Reflect that what is
done to your body is for the good of your soul and in doing this we are
the servants of God. Have you anything to confess in mitigation of our
'I have not.'
I was seized and bound to the ropes and suspended in midair; eight
husky friars repeatedly pulled with all their might upon ropes; they
swung and jerked me back and forth from floor to ceiling until it
seemed arms and legs must be torn from my trunk. I would have lost
consciousness long before I did, except I thought of my poor wife
rather than myself. Finally the relief of unconsciousness came and hers
was the last face I saw.
It was hours before I regained consciousness and more than a week
before I was able to stand.
A week after the second torture Ser Nuto came for me to be again
tortured, but was forced to return and report that I was unable to
stand, much less respond to torture.
While I was on my pallet unable to move, the friar asked for my
message to my wife. I told him to cut off the corner of my coat and
give her, saying I was well and making every effort for release so I
might soon be with her.
He brought back a note full of hope and tender messages, some money
and underclothing. We hid the money under the floor bars of my cell.
About the time I was able to walk again the prelate of the order
died and on the night which had heretofore been selected for my weekly
torture the members of the holy tribunal were busy with the reception
and entertainment of his successor.
In some way Ser Nuto's message of my condition was misunderstood
and entry was made in the register opposite my name that I had died
from the torture, the friar having told Ser Nuto that I was near death.
Thus I became and remained a forgotten prisoner in a dungeon without
chance of escape, but for the time free from the dread of torture.
Until I had been registered as dead frugal meals had been furnished
from the kitchen. Now the supply from that source was cut off, except
that the friar, by giving the cook a florin each week and telling him
that he desired a lunch before retiring, had been able to procure
This was cold and rather a short ration for a man whose appetite
was always keen and who had boasted and demonstrated that he could eat
a quarter of lamb or a hen at a single meal.
The friar supplemented this by purchases of fruit and cakes, which
he brought to the cell in deep pockets stitched on the lining of his
robe, so while I was always hungry, I did not suffer or lose strength.
He explained the situation to my wife and she filled his pockets
with packages of bread, meat, cheese and sweets, so that on each
Tuesday night I counted on quite a feast. She also kept him supplied
with money to make such purchases as he could carry through the portal
without detection by the watchful gatemen.
We tried all sorts of keys in our effort to unlock the grating, but
were unsuccessful. We even had a locksmith make a key from a defective
wax impression, but this failed of purpose. The bars might have been
cut out with hammer and chisel except the noise would have brought the
The friar made a sword of heavy wood and at night when the others
slept I would climb up the ladder to the grating and instruct him in
Could one of the order have seen him, in the brass lamp's
flickering light, making passes and warding off imaginary thrusts with
his wooden sword, prancing and jumping back and forth in his narrow
cell, clothed only in his under garments, and heard a hollow voice as
from a tomb, calling out orders and directing his movements, he would
have been convinced that the ancient cloisters were tenanted by ghosts
or evil spirits.
I cannot understand how the swordsman, who for years had worn cowl
and habit, could have developed the muscular strength he possessed;
which, with his quickness of movement, eye and thought, at the very
start of his training made him a dangerous antagonist. He seemed to
have the combined strength of several men. It must have been the reward
of a clean and regular life, or else a legacy handed down with his
fiery spirit from some former churchman or crusader who had greater
regard for the helmet than the miter or from a gladiator or soldier
He was always absent during the day and I, having nothing to do to
occupy my time, and knowing the importance not only because of my
calling but for my health of retaining my muscular flexibility and
strength, spent several hours each day climbing around upon and
swinging from the bars of the iron cage until finally the rust was worn
away and they grew polished from contact with my hands and feet.
After several months of this I grew so expert and tireless that in
giving lessons to my soldier pupil I no longer found it necessary to
use the ladder, but swung from the grating, easing first one arm and
then the other through the long lesson. One night after he had gone
through his sword manual without hesitancy, much less mistake, I said:
'It is time to throw away that toy and practice with a real weapon,
to accustom your arm and hand to the weight and feel of a real sword.
When my wife passes you on Tuesday tell her to procure a heavy short
sword for you from her brother and to send mine with body armor and
helmets for both of us, piece by piece as you can bring it. After we
are armed, if I can only get through this grating, we need have no fear
of the gate guards.'
If I am taken or caught you will starve in your dungeon.
I have thought of that. We must procure the key from the prelate by
some subterfuge. Let us first possess our swords and armor, then we
will get the key and both escape.
Within the week the friar made two visits to my house and each time
when he left, beneath his outer robe, he wore a corselet and carried a
heavy short sword and helmet. We discovered my wife had converted each
helmet into a store room which I robbed for a substantial meal.
The fear that my kind jailer might be removed or not appear from
some casualty had caused me to store away a small supply of food and
water in a corner of my cell.
My sword and helmet the friar passed through the grating and when I
placed the one upon my head and grasped the familiar handle of the
other, new hope kindled in my heart. The corselets were concealed under
the couch of my jailer, as mine could not be passed through the
When he returned that night I called to my companion of the upper
story saying; 'Why not go to the custodian of the dungeon and ask for
the key to my cell, stating it smells badly and you desire to clean it?
He supposes it empty and will readily loan you the key.'
Your suggestion is a good one and the odor of your cell will
certainly confirm the declaration. I will do it; but will wear the
corselet and buckle on my sword. If he refuses he is liable to lose
both the key and his head.
A few minutes later I heard him go out and in less than half an
hour he returned with the key, which he had no trouble in procuring.
He fitted it into the lock, I heard the bolts turn and a minute
later I stood in the upper cell embracing this morbid, strong-armed
friar, who had proven himself my most loyal friend.
An hour later he returned the key the locksmith had made for us. I
had the key to the grating in my pocket and felt in the humor to say;
'Friend, come to my home and dine tomorrow night,' though no one knew
better than I that thick, high and well-guarded walls opposed our
freedom. I felt satisfied, however, if not discovered, that within a
few days opportunity would present itself for escape.
Each night the friar and I, closing fast the outer door, donned our
corselets and helmets, and descending into the noise-deadening dungeon,
practiced at cutting, thrusting and slashing at each other with our
heavy short swords.
I was surprised at the natural aptitude of the man and his
marvelous quickness and strength of wrist. He was a worthy opponent for
me though for more than fifteen years I had been ranked the best
swordsman of Sir John's army.
One night we lost ourselves in the interest of our close contest
and made such a noise that it reached the ear of a spy passing the
outer door. He tried to effect an entrance but could not; then
knocking, and so loudly that finally the sound reached us, and
doubtless our neighbors.
My friend, climbing out, closed the grating, put on his robe and
opening the door admitted the spy. Looking around he discovered the key
in the grating lock and stooping opened the door and peeped down. He
saw nothing in the darkness but the top of a ladder; this he started
down, calling for a light.
I caught him by the ankles, jerked him to the floor and called to
my friend to close and bolt the grating, which he did. Whereupon I
turned to the spying friar and said; 'Hand me your robe and cowl.' With
these and my sword and helmet I mounted the ladder to the upper cell.
My friend said, 'What shall we do now?'
'We will have to keep the spy a prisoner until we escape.'
'But they will search for him in the morning and in doing so will
visit this cell in my absence.'
'I will don his cowl and habit over my armor and we will escape
'That is impossible, all portals are closed and guarded by watchmen
stationed in the barbicans over each gateway. Nor can we scale the
walls because the watchmen do not sleep, being put to the torture if
found asleep. No one is permitted to leave after night.'
'Then in the morning as you leave I will go wearing the garment of
'It is not possible; each face is scrutinized and no one leaves
without a permit. I will leave at the regular time, procure from Sir
John Hawkwood two horses, which his servant will hold for us outside
the gate. When the horses are ready I will return; then we will leave
Our plans settled, I returned to my dungeon and, locked in with our
prisoner, in a few minutes was asleep. The prisoner sat in one corner
on the floor and, from his appearance the next morning, evidently
passed an uncomfortable night.
Before my friend left he passed down my sword, helmet, and the key
to the grating. He also cautioned the prisoner not to call out if any
one entered the upper cell.
I set out a supply of food on which the prisoner and I breakfasted.
Then, expecting that the upper cell would be visited by a searching
party, I made the prisoner lie face down on my pallet, placing the edge
of my sword across the back of his neck and telling him if he made the
slightest sound I would cut off his head, I stood quietly waiting.
These preparations were scarcely finished before two men entered
the upper cell and looking around a bit and trying the grating, which
of course was locked, they went on.
About an hour later the friar returned and I climbed up the ladder,
locking the door after me.
We put on our metal corselets and swords and over them slipping
cowl and habit, went out into the corridor and to the main portal. At
the gate were three guards wearing metal helmets, leather jackets and
each armed with sword and lance.
My friend told the guard I was a visiting friar of the order and
was to leave in his company. This statement satisfied two of the
guards, but the third, more careful,said; 'You must procure a permit
from the prelate before I will open the gate.'
While arguing with him we edged towards the gate and turning
quickly started to open it, whereupon he thrust at me with his lance,
but my corselet turned it aside.
Quickly drawing my sword and throwing off the cowl and robe, I made
a vicious thrust at him, piercing his leather jacket. He sank at my
feet helplessly wounded.
My companion and I then rushed the other two who turning fled,
uttering loud cries of alarm. We ran and opened the small gate, when
one of my men rode forward leading two horses, and mounting, the three
of us rode rapidly away through a near gate of the city into the open
country and by nightfall reached the camp of my horsemen.
I immediately dispatched a special messenger with a note to my wife
telling of my escape and promising within the week to come to her.
These men were anxious to hear an account of our adventures,
believing we had been to England or some distant country on important
service; but I had to remain silent to hide the identity of my faithful
friend. To their inquiries I answered; 'You must be satisfied with the
little we have told; I will say further my experiences have not
increased my love for the church, or the Pope.'
At the monastery they were unable to learn who had escaped with the
friar or what became of either of us. Their records showing me dead,
made their investigation the more difficult. Of course, in time they
learned that was a mistake and doubtless concluded that I accompanied
On the following morning I resumed formal command and in a day or
two things were moving along as though I had never been absent. The
only persons to whom I ever disclosed the place of my imprisonment,
were my wife, her brother and Sir John.
On the third day after I resumed command we were ordered to take an
old castle which the owner, though a Tuscan, more churchman than
patriot, had voluntarily turned over to the Bologna legate.
It was situated on the mountain side and made admirable
headquarters for several companies of soldiers who acted as a guard for
the mountain pass less than a mile distant, through which the legate's
army procured supplies and beyond which we had, as yet, been unable to
To our force of horsemen were added one hundred English bowmen and
more than that number of hardy native mountaineers, whom it was thought
might render valiant service in scaling or undermining the walls of the
castle if we were forced to take it by assault. These additional men
made our forces about equal numerically to those occupying the castle.
The ex-friar and several mountaineers were the only ones of our force
who had ever been within its walls or had knowledge of its interior
arrangements. These I sent for, seeking information which might he of
value in perfecting our plans for its assault.
Their description of the stronghold was such as to convince one
that its taking was no easy matter.
The structure was built on a spur which jutted out from the
mountain side and which on three sides was too precipitate to be
scaled. The overtopping main peaks were too distant to be used by our
bowmen. The only approach was across a narrow neck of land which was
intersected by a deep moat, crossed only by a narrow drawbridge and
against which abutted the perpendicular walls of great height and
The ex-friar said; 'A guard of six is always kept at the gate and
several watchmen are stationed on the walls. I know of no way by which
we can gain admission except, by deception or strategy, we first gain
possession of the drawbridge and the gate.'
'And how might that be done?'
'This evening three of us dressed in the habit of the monastery of
Agnoli, but wearing armor under our vesture, might approach the gate
and ask leave to spend the night, stating we are traveling as
messengers to Bologna and have gotten separated from two companions for
whom we must wait. During the night you will bring your men to the
chestnut wood that lies along the road as you approach the castle and
place a dozen of your best archers in the trees nearest the walls. On
the morrow just at six we will come to the gate as though leaving the
castle and stop there talking with the watchmen. When you are ready our
two companions will approach the drawbridge and join us. Then we will
assault the six guards and your archers at the same time must kill the
watchmen on the wall. While we hold the gate you with your men must
cross the drawbridge and get to us. You know we can hold out but a few
moments; there must be no delay.'
'If we adopt this plan I want you and your companions to understand
that the danger is great and you will probably be killed by the time we
cross. I will force no man to assume the risk. It will be impossible
for me to go as I must lead the assault. You will choose the two who go
with you and I from volunteers will select two of my best men to meet
you at the gate. You shall command the squad and, if successful, Sir
John and your companions shall know to whom the credit is due.'
That afternoon at four, three stalwart Italians left the camp,
walking up the mountain. They were equipped in full armor and each
carried a bundle under his arm.
They crossed a rapid mountain stream near the headwaters of the
Arno and were seen no more. Shortly thereafter three peaceful-looking
friars came forth and took the trail leading to the castle and the
pass, as they walked along chanting in a subdued tone the vesper
service of their monastery.
At twilight, dusty and sweat-stained from apparent long travel,
they crossed the drawbridge just before it was raised for the night and
the gates closed. When challenged by the guards they asked food and
shelter for the night. The corporal of the guard interrogated them as
to their business in the mountains.
'We are three of five messengers sent by our order to Bologna. One
of the other two was taken sick and forced to remain in the village
overnight and a companion stayed with him; they will meet us here or in
the pass on the morrow.'
Reporting to the officer of the day, he was directed to let them in
and to provide them with food and a bed of straw in the barracks.
In the morning, just before six, they came to the gate and stood
waiting. They were civilly greeted by the corporal who had let them in
the night before, but who was being relieved by another corporal and
The new squad let down the drawbridge and opened the gate as was
the custom when no danger threatened.
The corporal in charge, who had little love for monks and friars,
turning to them said: 'You are three big strapping fellows to be
supported by charity. You should be working in the fields or else
helping us fight for the church. Why they pay us to do their fighting
instead of training you for that purpose I will never understand.
Either one of you looks as strong as a bull and with that habit in the
ditch, a helmet on your head, wearing corselet and sword you might pass
as a soldier. Here come two more of your order; not only the cities but
the mountains are full of you. No wonder there is so much poverty in
Bologna and Florence.'
'I have always wished to be a soldier. I would like to try on your
helmet and sword and see how my companions and I look dressed as your
'Let's see how the three beggars look in helmets, and you might
just as well buckle on our swords. Let the other two across, they can
join in the comedy.'
So we found ourselves within the gates with the swords of the
guards in our hands.
'Remove your habits and stand forth as men.'
And so we did and, giving the defenseless, surprised and chagrined
corporal a shove, I threw him into the moat and my men forced the
others to follow him, where, standing in water and mud to their arm
pits and facing an unscalable wall, they yelled an alarm and hoarsely
bawled for help.
In the meantime, the castle and the neighboring wood were in
commotion. The watchmen on the walls had been shot down by the archers
as had also several soldiers who rushed to see what had caused the
uproar. I had a glimpse across the draw of Captain Hawkwood and his
soldiers within a hundred yards of the gate, when turning, I saw more
than a hundred of the castle guard running towards and within a few
feet of our archway.
They took us for the gate guards and yelled to draw the bridge and
close the gate, but instead, sword in hand, we stood at the entrance
waiting for them. Then, seeing they faced foes, they came on, but too
closely placed for free sword play.
So the five of us held the gate; then four, then three, then but
two, and then I stood alone and as I pitched forward wounded and
bleeding in many places, you stepped over me, followed by your men and
the battle raged in the court of the castle.
(The above account was given me by the friar when he recovered. I
have told it in his own words.)
In a few minutes we were masters of the wall and court and our foes
masters of the castle proper.
I had reason to be thankful for our bowmen, who, ranged around and
protected by the coping of the wall, made death certain for anyone
daring to approach a window or port hole of the castle, else our
quarters might have been most uncomfortable.
Of our five masqueraders three were dead and the other two were
sorely wounded in many places. I staunched and dressed the wounds of
the ex-friar. In about an hour he opened his eyes and looking at me
smiled then sank into semi-conciousness.
Placing the bowmen on the walls so as to command every aperture of
the castle I determined upon an assault of the main portal. The
corporal and gate guards having been lifted from the moat were placed
in the front line to shield us and we advanced against the great doors
of the castle, using a heavy bridge timber as a ram, and in a few
minutes effected an entrance, but found each foot of space which we
gained a bloody conquest.
Within an hour after effecting our entrance we were in possession
of the ground floor, but our enemy held the upper stories and were too
strong and well fortified to be ousted by assault.
We felt certain they were without food and water, since our assault
had been a surprise, and we had captured their storerooms, which were
on the ground floor.
That night we rested, having placed a heavy guard at the gate and
on the wall and barricaded ourselves against the upper story. The next
morning I sent off fifty men to guard the pass and a messenger to
report our progress to Sir John.
We saw nothing of our foes until afternoon, when we heard them
carefully removing their barricades of the door; then it was suddenly
thrown open and they stood ready for an assault, facing our barricade,
which they had not expected to find.
Our bowmen, brought in for the purpose, let fly a shower of arrows
into their faces at close range, which wounded many. They quickly
closed the door and replaced their barricades. More than a dozen of
them had been killed or severely wounded by the archers.
Shortly before sundown the barricade was again removed, the door
opened a few inches and a conference asked. I consented that their
commander with two aids might be admitted to our quarters.
To see if they were hungry, a table was prepared with food and
drink, at which I asked them to be seated, stating; 'I am about to
dine, and after the meal we will discuss any matter you see fit to call
While the commander ate and drank quite sparingly, I was convinced
by the way the two aids responded that they were without provisions.
We finally agreed upon the terms of their surrender. All were to be
liberated and their arms and horses returned, but not until they had
retired from the castle and crossed through the pass into the valley
Our work, in less than two days, thanks to the ex-friar and his
brave companions, was completed. We were the masters of the castle and
the pass, which for two years had been held against repeated assaults.
Shortly afterward we received word that the legate was dead and
that his entire force had retired from Tuscany.
The ex-friar, who now called himself Lorenzo di Puccio was not so
seriously wounded as at first appeared. His armor and remarkable
expertness as a swordsman had rendered such protection that of his more
than thirty wounds only two were rated as serious; and even these, with
a month's careful nursing, in my opinion, would be healed.
He was placed in the living quarters of the owner of the castle and
orders were issued that he should be cared for as a member of the
family. In fact, dire punishment was promised the thoroughly frightened
owner if he was not given the most careful treatment and nursing. He
was even told that the lives of the inmates and the release of the
castle depended upon the complete recovery of his patient.
The result was that Lorenzo received the most solicitous attention
from the wife and daughter of the owner. Throughout the day one sat
constantly by his bedside and in time both grew quite fond of their
patient, regarding him as a most important personage, since such
particular orders had been issued for his care. Lorenzo and his fair
nurse, the daughter, became lovers, and several months later were
Everything having turned out to the complete satisfaction of Sir
Johnthere being no longer an enemy to fight and the campaign
practically endedI made application for and was given leave to return
* * * * *
Upon arrival in Florence I found the city torn asunder by jealousy
and dissention. Such government as existed was one of gabble. All
recognized and appreciated that a fiercer contest than the one just
happily closed was impending.
Criticism of the conduct of the war and the nature of the peace to
be made appeared the principal issues but the real issue was factional
rule. Though the five war commissioners, with the assistance of Sir
John, had carried through the war without the loss of a single battle
and had driven the Pope's legate from Tuscan territory, the campaign
had not been conducted in accordance with the great courage and
generalship of the stay-at-homes of the other faction.
All this I perceived with great sadness, since I now claimed to be
a citizen of Florence, and upon the enforcement of law and order
depended the safety of my wife and property.
During my imprisonment and absence, I had, reflectively at least,
become a personage of importance; as my brother-in-law, Silvestro de
Medici, was the head of the Ricci, or anti-Guelph faction, now in
power. It was, therefore, incumbent upon me, when I moved about the
city, to be attended by a squire and even a small guard of troopers.
Next to Sir John, I was considered the most important military officer
in the city.
The Ricci faction was in control of the city. They had the support
of the populace and the Alberti and Medici families.
The faction opposing them was known as the Guelphs and, while not
directing the government, had the power to admonish. They controlled
the captains of the parts, and had the support of the church, the
nobility and the Albizzi family.
On St. John's day, when the gathering of their followers would go
unnoticed in the vast holiday crowd, they had determined upon seizing
In the meantime, the government, or Ricci faction, learned of their
purpose, and, over their opposition, elected my brother-in-law,
Silvestro, Gonfalonier, or chief magistrate of the city.
He was thoroughly familiar with their schemes for oppressing the
people and, as steps towards diminishing their influence, resolved that
laws should be enacted retrenching their powers.
To do this he had first to obtain the consent of the colleague and
the council and called together the two bodies the same morning for
When he presented his proposition to the colleagues he was
surprised at the opposition encountered and, concluding that his
purpose might be defeated upon a vote, excused himself from the
colleagues and went before the council, to which body he tendered his
resignation, declaring that since he could neither help the government
nor the people he felt in duty bound to resign as chief magistrate.
At this, his friends in the council gave voice to strenuous
protest. They raised such a commotion that the colleagues and council,
assembling together, demanded that he remain in office and the
colleagues, in the midst of the greatest confusion, passed his proposed
Lorenzo, the ex-friar, now married and living in Florence, was
present as a spectator. He became greatly incensed at the remarks of
Carlo Strozzi and, seizing him by the throat, would have strangled him
had not several of us torn his half-conscious victim away.
The excitement increased until the whole city was aroused and in
The plebs, led by Benedetto degli Alberti and Lorenzo, who some
time before had joined the wool-combers' union, and was an intimate
friend and trusted lieutenant of Michael di Lando, the head of the
strongest trade union or order in the city, were soon so wrought up as
to be past restraint and were ready for any acts of violence.
The merchants closed their doors, the nobles fortified themselves
in their homes and many hid their valuables in the churches, the
monastery of Agnoli, and the convent of S. Spirito.
The captains of the parts, and the other forces of the Guelph
faction, gathered to organize their deferred revolution and defend
themselves; but learning of the action of the colleagues and the
council and perceiving the opposition too great and dangerous,
separated, each hunting safety for himself.
A part of the trade unions, particularly the members of the
wool-combers, joined the mob to avenge themselves upon the Guelphs. Led
by Michael di Lando, Lorenzo and myself, they broke into, looted and
burned the house of Lapo, but he escaped, disguised as a monk, into the
Casentino. Piero and Carlo, two other of their leaders, hid themselves
and so well we could not find them.
Then we looted and burned the houses of other Guelphs and wound up
our orgy by sacking and thoroughly looting the monastery of Agnoli, at
which place we found great treasure in gold and jewels, knowing just
where to look for it.
Visiting my old cell in the cloisters we found in one corner of the
dungeon a humped up skeleton, which led us to believe that the prison
of the captive spy had never been discovered.
The next day the trade unions appointed each a syndic and these,
with the colleagues, sought to quiet the city, but without success.
On the following day the unions appeared in force bearing the
ensigns of their trades and, fully armed, took possession of the palace
of the signory.
Upon this the council in terror created a balia, giving general
power to the Signory, the colleagues, the eight commissioners of war,
the captains of the parts and the trade unions to reorganize the
government of the city.
The balia restored all privileges to the admonished, annulled all
unpopular laws passed by the Guelphs, declared Lopo, Carlo and Piero
traitors and outlaws, elected a new signory and appointed Luigi
Still the disorders continued unabated. No business was done, the
shops remained closed and the populace, no better satisfied, paraded
the streets in armed bands and in a dangerous humor.
The heads of the trade unions were called before the Signory, when
Luigi, the Gonfalonier, speaking for the signory, asked; 'What do you
yet want? At your request we have taken all power from the opposition;
we have restored to the admonished the power to hold office. You
demanded that those participating in the riots and guilty of robbery
and arson be pardoned; even this to our shame, we have granted. Yet
continuously you appear before us making new demands, continue rioting
and by numbers and threats seek to intimidate our body. You have so
terrorized the people that no business is transacted. Where will it all
end? What more do you want? How will business be restored and peace
brought about? What is to become of the city? Your vandalism destroys
the very property which furnishes your unions with employment; your
employers are powerless to continue in business or give the people
work. Why do you not disband and return to work? Your requests,
reasonable and unreasonable, have been granted. What better government
can you expect than the one you enjoy? It is of your own choosing and
based upon the fundamental principle that the supreme authority of the
state is in the majority of the people.'
His suggestions, which were fair and conciliatory, might have
prevailed, except that I wanted greater concessions for our particular
union; and for that purpose frightened the weakening and consenting
ones who had participated in the riots to further violence by telling
them that to save themselves they must burn and loot yet more; must
commit other and greater wrongs and incite others to join them, saying:
'If many commit wrongs few or none are punished; the petty criminal
is chastised, but the great one is rewarded. When the whole people
suffer, few seek vengeance. The government stands great and public
wrongs with more patience and resignation than private and little ones.
If we hesitate, or lose, or give ground, we will be punished; if we
carry our rebellion through to the extent of forcing a reorganization
of the government, we conquer and are glorious. Great power is acquired
by force and great wealth by fraud; the faithful in service remain in
service; and the reward of honesty is poverty; men, like fishes, feed
upon one another. To save yourselves you must continue to destroy and
excite the opposition to such fear for themselves and their property
that they will pardon your offences and look upon you as saviors when
you cease to oppress them. Shape your conduct by your desires; if you
wish to be masters, continue to oppress; if you wish to be banished and
punished as criminals, submit. What I suggest, though dangerous, is
under the circumstances not only expedient, but your only course, your
This reasoning, coupled with similar arguments from Lorenzo, seemed
so conclusive that our auditors agreed to our suggestions, and Michael
di Lando was chosen to command our organization. He was already head of
the wool-combers union, the largest and most powerful in the city,
supporting the plebs and the low class people.
The second night thereafter was fixed upon to put our plans into
execution. We bound ourselves in mutual defense and to undertake to
gain possession of the republic.
One of our men named, Simone, was arrested and, when put to the
torture, disclosed the plot. While he was being tortured, Nicolo
Friano, who was repairing the palace clock, saw it and heard a part of
his confession. He fled to our meeting place and reported what he had
seen and heard.
Immediately we armed ourselves and, more than a thousand strong,
gathered in the square of S. Spirito, and so the revolution began.
The signory issued orders that the gonfaloniers of the people and
their companies should assemble in the public square at daylight the
next morning, but less than a hundred men appeared under arms in
support of the government, while our forces had grown to more than
A body of the plebeians first assembled at San Pietro, but there
was no force to oppose them. Then other trade unions gathered in
various squares and market places, including the palace, or public
They demanded from the signory that all prisoners be released,
which was done, and these immediately joined our ranks.
We took the gonfalon of Justice from its bearer and under the
authority of that banner burned and looted many houses and killed many
of our enemies. Any member of our companies who desired to punish any
private enemy or satisfy his revenge had but to call out; 'Let us burn
the house of Luigi Poggi; he is an enemy of the people and unfriendly
to our order.' When leading the way he was followed by and had the
assistance of the whole assemblage.
Many a plebeian in rags was knighted during this period, and many a
patrician was satisfied to lose all if he and his family but escaped
with their lives.
By night of that first day our numbers had increased to more than
six thousand, and before the following morning we were in possession of
all the trade ensigns, were using their headquarters as barracks, and
practically controlled the city.
The signory, assembling, asked our wishes. We named a committee of
four to confer with them. They demanded new judges, and three new
companies of the arts who should have representation in the signory,
one for the wool combers and dyers; one for the barbers and tailors,
and a third for the lowest class of the people, that is, the unskilled
laborers. We demanded a cancellation of all debts and that our enemies
be banished or punished. These demands we forced the signory to grant,
and gave our promise that disorders should cease.
The next morning, while the council was still considering the
proposition, a tremendous mob of the trades entered the square carrying
their ensigns and so intimidated the council and signory that the
members fled with the exception of Alemanno and Niccolo. They were
finally driven away by threats that if they did not leave their houses
would be burned and their families murdered.
Then we entered the palace, led by Michael di Lando, who bore the
standard of the gonfalonier of justice. The most of our crowd were in
He took possession of the dias of the presiding officer of the
Signory and, turning to his followers, said; 'You are now in possession
of the palace and the council hall, in control of the city and in a
position to constitute yourselves the governing authority in place of
those who have deserted their posts; what is your pleasure?'
'We wish you for our gonfalonier and that you govern the city as
the representative of the trade unions and the people.'
'I accept your command and shall proceed to restore peace and order
in the city.'
Though meanly clad, he was possessed of much good sense and was not
without dignity and courage. With capacity and self-possession, he
proceeded at once to exercise the authority he had assumed.
Lorenzo and I, who all the time had acted as his lieutenants and
advisers, to hold the mob in check and at the same time settle an old
score dating back to my imprisonment in the monastery, suggested that
Ser Nuto, then sheriff, be arrested and delivered to the mob. He had
made himself very officious in oppressing the trades and the plebeians.
While those deputized to find him were searching the city, others
built a gallows in the palace square for his execution; we having
determined that his execution should be the first to strike terror into
those who had opposed our wishes.
He was soon found and hung by the mob from the gallows by one foot.
In less than five minutes he was torn to pieces, nothing remaining but
the foot by which he had been suspended.
The first order issued by Michael di Lando was that any one who
burned or looted a house should be punished as Ser Nuto had been.
He removed the members of the signory and the colleagues and
deposed the syndics of the trades. The eight war commissioners who had
assumed to set up a new signory were ordered to resign, which they did.
He then assembled the newly-elected syndics of the trades and in
conjunction with them created a new signory, composed of four members
from the plebeians, two from the major and two from the minor trades.
One of the four members of the plebeians was the ex-friar, appointed
under his assumed name of Lorenzo di Puccio. No one ever suspicioned
his former connection with the monastery of Agnoli.
My brother-in-law was awarded the rentals from the butcher stalls
of Ponte Vecchio; Michael di Lando retained for himself the provostry
of Empoli; Sir John Hawkwood was made Captain General, and I was made
his aid, knighted and placed in command of all mercenaries.
No sooner had order been restored than certain of the trade unions,
much incensed at the prospect of work, and a majority of the plebeians
who seemed better satisfied with disorder, sought to incite violence by
charging that Michael di Lando in reformation of the government had
favored the higher or richer class citizens and neglected his
associates, who had placed him in power; a charge which was not true.
Whereupon many of them took up arms and started fresh disorders.
They came before him a riotous multitude, demanding many changes.
He ordered them to lay down their arms, stating that no concessions
would be made to a show of intimidation.
His answer but enraged them the more. They withdrew and, assembling
at Santa Maria Novella, appointed eight leaders and prepared to storm
the palace and make good their demands. They then sent a delegation to
the signory, directing that they grant their demands.
This delegation was so arrogant and threatening that Michael di
Lando, losing his temper, drew his sword and, after wounding several,
had them cast into prison.
When this was reported, their organization marched towards the
palace. Michael, in the meantime gathering his forces, started for
their place of assemblage. The opposing forces, traveling different
streets, passed on the way; the mob arriving at the palace about the
time that his forces reached their place of assemblage.
With his force, in which was the remnant of The White Company, he
returned to the palace, where a fierce contest waged for its
possession. Our opponents were vanquished and driven beyond the city
walls or found safety by hiding within the city.
Order was restored and for the first time in many months the city
was quiet. Michael gave to the city a just and, for the time, a
peaceful administration of three years. While he rescued the city from
the lowest plebeians, his administration was artisan-controlled and
governed. The signory was made up of nine members, of which the
superior trades furnished four and the inferior trades five members.
Shortly after restoration of order and reorganization new factions
were organized between the artificers on the one side, called the
plebeians, and the nobles and church on the other, called the popular
It was discovered that certain members of the popular party were in
conspiracy with Gianozzo da Salerno of Bologna, who had been prevailed
upon to undertake the conquest of the city.
Piero and Carlo were accused of connection with this conspiracy and
Sir John Hawkwood, Tomasso Strozzi and Benedetto Alberti, with a strong
force, prepared to resist this invasion.
Piero was executed. Subsequently Giorgio Scali and Tomasso Strozzi
made themselves offensive to the government. Tomasso fled, but Giorgio
was made prisoner and beheaded.
Beginning with this, one disorder followed another in the political
struggles between the plebeians and the popular party and the major and
After many balias had been appointed for the reformation of the
government and there had been two general assemblies of the people, a
new government was formed, controlled by the opposition. They recalled
all people banished by Sylvestro. All who had acquired office by the
balia of 1378 were deposed. The Guelphs were restored to power and the
plebeians and trades deposed. Michael di Lando and Lorenzo di Puccio
were banished. The good they had done and the services they had
rendered were quickly forgotten.
* * * * *
The boss carpenter, after more than an hour's steady talking,
stirred and groaned; he opened his eyes and sat up saying;
I have been dreaming of labor unions and fighting. I believe I will
walk to Winchester, as I am expected to talk to some friends at a
[Illustration: A Chiseled Cavern and Italian Battery, Front Line 7th
Army; Dolomite Peaks, Italian Alps, Altitude 8,000 Feet.]
In the summer of 1918, I visited an Italian army hospital at Edelo.
On one of the small white beds was a young soldier, horribly mangled by
a bomb dropped from an Austrian airplane.
I learned that he had lived seven years in New York, having been
carried there by his father when a boy of fourteen. When Italy entered
the war, he returned to his native land and volunteered his services.
At the time he was wounded he was operating a portable searchlight.
He was near death and, in unconscious monotone, spoke in English:
A year ago it looked mighty blue; we were on the run at Caparetto.
Now it looks as though we might win the war within the year. Things are
mighty quiet with the enemy. I have not seen an Austrian plane for more
than a week.
I do love this old searchlight. How it makes the ice and snow of
the mountain tops shine out in the night. When things are quiet like
tonight I turn the light way down into the valley upon the house in the
olive grove where Marcella lives.
She has said her prayers and lies asleep; and I, ten kilometers
distant, flash the light upon her shutters. It seems I might walk upon
the beam as upon a bridge of silver to her very door.
My God! Is the war to last forever? Is she to live on macaroni and
chestnuts and break rock upon the road in sun and rain and snow, summer
and winter, until she dies? Am I to stay up here within sight of her
house but never within reach of her arms? When can we ever marry? On my
pay it would take a thousand years to save a decent fee for the priest.
Mother of God, be good to her!
Let's take a look at those poor devils up there in that hell of
ice. No wonder our great poet pictures a section of hell as such a
place. They can have no fire and must sleep with the dogs to keep warm.
It looks grand in the light; but it is the grandeur of eternal winter,
and eternal winter is death. It is a lonely beautiful region ten
thousand feet above the sea. God and those boys alone will ever know
the heart-bursting strain of placing their big guns, which were raised
a few feet, day by day. What a land to live and fight and die in. The
chasms, the sliding snow and the Austrians each demand and receive
toll. Are the dug-outs and trenches and tunnels, in solid ice and rock,
lonely places for those boys from Naples and Palermo? When they look at
the dolomite peaks which, too pointed to give the snow bedding, stick
out from under the white spread of the mountain tops like big black
horns, do they long for the azure sea and lemon groves? No wonder they
call the peaks the 'Horns of The Old One'; or that when my light falls
upon them I think of ebon fangs protruding from white guns, and call
the place 'The Mouth of Hell.' If those boys but show their heads above
the crest the awful silence is broken by the roar of guns. What a life!
Always under potential fire and for three years within range of the
deadly machine gun and hand-grenade.
There seems little use for this searchlight tonight. The Austrians,
if it be possible, are even more weary of the war, more discouraged and
worse off than we. There's nothing doing; no airplane hovers above like
a great hawk to be plucked out of the darkness and clothed in lucent
raiment for destruction by my arrows of light.
I will turn it down into the valley again. May it be a precursor of
where I shall soon go. There's the house and her shutters and to the
right on the spur of the Cima della Granite in the chestnut grove, the
old church. How the gold cross on the spire stands out!
Sometimes at night the light catches the spire so I see only the
cross of gold. Then the thought comes that all there is in life for the
poor, or me, or any one, is the cross; and that my lot may not be so
bad, even though I die here, the death of a man for men.
Since Christ had none to comfort him upon the cross, why should I
have so much comfort here? Is it not enough to have the bar of light
and the cross of gold! Can not I reach out along the bar towards the
cross and say; 'Into thy hands, Father, I commend my spirit?'
When the night is dark and still I flash the bar of light from this
high point down the valley and I say; 'It is the eye of God, the
shepherd, searching for a lost lamb.' And, in order that the sheep may
know the way into the fold, I flash the light upon the door of the
church and then slowly let it climb the spire until its rests upon the
Alone in the night, I have learned that the one great thing is
light. With the light you may find the way. I have learned that all
things bright and fair are from the Father; and understand why God
first said; 'Let there be light!' I can partly measure his infinite
love and compassion in offering to all, even those as poor as I, who
cannot buy a postage stamp, light and the cross and the resurrection.
In the light of this thought may I not in faith and peace, await the