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The Mermaid of Druid Lake and Other Stories

by Charles Weathers Bump

 

  The Mermaid of Druid Lake

  The Goddess of Truth

  A Daughter of Cuba Libre

  A Two-Party Line

  Timon Up to Date

  The Night that Patti Sang

  An Island on a Jamboree

  Alexander the Great

  Breaking Into Medicine

  The Pink Ghost of Franklin Square

  The Vanished Mummy

  "Mount Vernon 1-0-0-0"


The Mermaid of Druid Lake

If Edwin Horton had not had a sleepless time that hot June night it probably would never have happened. As it was, after tossing and pitching on an uncomfortably warm mattress for several hours, he had dressed himself and left his Bolton-avenue home for a stroll in Druid Hill Park just as the dawn made itself evident. That was the beginning of the adventure.

Not a soul was in sight when he reached the driveway around the big lake, and he let out to take a little vigorous exercise, breathing in the fresh air with more enjoyment than had been his for some hours.

About half way around he stopped suddenly and rubbed his eyes to make sure he was not dreaming. For a curve in the road had brought him the knowledge that he was not alone in his appreciation of the early morning hour. Seated beside the water, on the rocks that line the lake shore, was a damsel--a rather good-looking one, as well as he could judge at the distance of a hundred yards. She was leaning on her left elbow and looking out over the lake in rather a pensive, dreamy attitude. Of course, young ladies don't ordinarily get up before dawn to go out to Druid Hill Park for the purpose of sitting alone beside the broad sweep of city water, and Edwin naturally felt some surprise at the novelty of the sight. Besides, she was inside the high iron railing, and he wondered how she had got there.

In the intensity of his interest he slowed down his pace as he drew nearer along the roadway. Should he watch her unobserved for a while to ascertain her purpose? Should he frankly hail her and ask whether she objected to company? Should he--well, the damsel settled his doubts for him just then by discovering him. She appeared startled, and he fancied she half meant to plunge into the lake. Then she changed her mind, gave him a bewitching little smile and raised her free hand to beckon him. Edwin needed no second invitation. The novelty of the situation was too alluring to resist.

In another moment he had scaled the fence and was clambering awkwardly down the rocks. And as he came close he found her a very pretty damsel indeed, with youthful, rosy cheeks, fetching blue eyes and long, light tresses that hung unconfined from her head down upon the sloping rocks behind her. She was smiling, and yet he thought he detected a renewed disposition to slip away from him before he had drawn too close.

Then he had a shock.

She was only half a woman!

The other half of her was fish--scaly fish--partly submerged in the waters of the lake!

He paused irresolutely. It was all right, you know, to read about mermaids in old mythologies and fairy tales. But to encounter one in this year of Our Lord, so near home as Druid lake! Oh, fudge! the boys at the Ariel Club would never get through "joshing" him should he ever say he had seen such a thing. It could not be true; it was too amazing! He was a fool to let his nerves get the better of him. He had better cut out those visits to the river resorts, or next he would be seeing pink elephants climbing trees. First thing he knew he would wake up in that stuffy room at home. No, he couldn't be dreaming! There was the railing, and the lake, and the white tower, and General Booth's home, and the Madison-avenue entrance, and the Wallace statue and a dozen other familiar spots in a most familiar perspective.

And there, too, was the damsel in flesh and blood, or, rather, flesh and fish!

She was the first to speak.

"Good morning to you, stranger."

She spoke English--good, clear mother-tongue. Her lips were parted in that alluring smile, and her manner was as saucy as that of any fair flirt he had ever known of womankind.

"In the name of Heaven, who are you?" he stammered as he sat down, awkwardly, beside her.

She laughed outright--mischievously, mockingly.

"I? I am the nymph of the lake. Long years ago I was the naiad of the woodland spring that is now deep down yonder," indicating a spot out in the lake. "But they dammed me in and turned great floods of water in here, and mighty Jupiter gave me my new title."

"And are you really half fish?"

She laughed again.

"I am what you see."

As she spoke she gracefully swayed the lower half of her in the water. A million glistening scales prismatically reflected the increasing morning light. She was half fish, all right. There was no doubt about that.

"By gosh! here's a rum go!" muttered Edwin to himself.

"What did you say?" queried the mermaid.

"I said, if you must know, 'By Jove! you are a beauty,'" he replied, gallantly and impetuously.

The mermaid smiled again. The feminine half of her was pleased with the compliment to her good looks.

"I'm afraid you're a sad flatterer," she said, coquettishly. She lowered her blue eyes, then uplifted the lashes and looked full into his face in a manner that made his heart bound. One little finger was shaken playfully at him. Edwin seized the hand. It was warm; human blood pulsated through it! And as he held it his companion gave just a bit of a squeeze. A score of girls had done the same in bygone sentimental hours. But none so deftly.

"This is certainly an odd adventure," he remarked. "Tell me, lady of the lake, do you often sit here in this unconventional fashion with gentlemen callers?"

"What would you give to know?" she asked, teasingly.

"You are the first for a long, long time," she went on. "Last summer there was a man in a gray uniform who saw me, but he looked so uninteresting I swam away."

"When are you here?" he asked, earnestly.

"I love to sit on the bank when fair Aurora makes the dawning day grow rosy," she acknowledged, "but I have to flee to the depths when the full sun comes." She looked to the east. "It is growing late," she added, hurriedly; "I must be going."

"Not yet, not yet," he pleaded.

"Do not detain me," she cried; "I must go. It means life to me."

Gracefully she glided into the water at his feet.

"You will come tomorrow?" he asked.

The coquettish mood returned to her.

"Perhaps," she said, as with long strokes she headed for the centre of the lake. Edwin watched intently until she had gone a hundred yards and more. Then she ceased swimming, kissed her hand to him and dived under the surface as the single word "Farewell" floated over the water.

It seems superfluous to remark that he was in a trance that day. His father, at the breakfast table, jovially prodded him about being late, until he barely caught himself on the verge of telling his queer secret. And so absent-minded was he at the office that he found he had entered the account of a prosaic old firm as "Mermaid & Nymph."

Long before 4 A. M. the next day he was at the lake. The waning moon was still in the west and there were few signs of the coming day. For half an hour he kept his vigil alone, and had almost begun to think his piscatorial charmer was not coming. Then suddenly he espied her out in the lake, swimming toward him. When about 50 yards off shore she hailed him jovially and bade him go around to the white tower. As he moved along the driveway she kept him company, maintaining the pace with graceful, tireless strokes and occasionally coming nearer to exchange a remark.

"What made you change the trysting place?" he asked.

"Love of change, I suppose," she replied. "A water nymph does not get much chance at novelty."

The half hour they spent upon the water's edge was largely one of sentimental banter between merry maid and enamored man, in which Edwin reached the conclusion that his charmer could give cards to the jolliest little "jollier" in Baltimore. She asked him about his past and present girl friends, and pouted deliciously when he frankly acknowledged them. Finally they parted, she promising to appear the next morning.

The third meeting started a chain of events. They were comfortably chatting on the rocks when Edwin heard the chug-chug of an automobile. The mermaid clutched his arm in alarm. "What are those horrid things?" she naively remarked. "They often make such an awful fuss I can hear them down in my cozy corner."

Edwin's reply was suspended while the machine passed them. The two men who were in it craned their necks most industriously at the sight of a pair of lovers out so early and seated in such an unusual spot for sentimental couples.

When he turned to make the explanations she had asked, he found it a harder task than he had imagined. Her knowledge of human inventions, of worldly means of locomotion, was not extensive, and he had to begin with the A B C of it and go through a course in elementary mechanics. After the forty-second paragraph of instructions the damsel clapped her hands gleefully and cried:

"It would be great fun to take a trip in one!"

"It is great fun," declared Edwin, for a moment forgetting to whom he was talking.

"But then I couldn't do it!" she exclaimed in disappointment. "I couldn't leave the lake."

The unshed tears in her eyes made him ardent.

"You could do it if you are willing," he avowed, earnestly. "You can take the water with you." Visions of a tank lady in the "Greatest Circus on Earth" came to him.

"You are fooling me," murmured the mermaid. And she pouted.

Edwin rose to the occasion. "I am not fooling," he protested. "It would not be difficult to put a tank of water in the machine for you to put your"----He was going to say feet, but he ended his sentence, stumblingly, "your other half in."

In her joy the Lady of the Lake took his cheeks in her hands and gave him an impulsive kiss. "You are the loveliest being on earth," she said, enthusiastically.

That settled it. The rest of the conversation that morning was about automobiles, and when they parted it was with a definite assurance on his part that Edwin would be on hand the next morning with a motor car suitably equipped for her use. It was only when he had gotten away that he realized the ridiculous side of the job he had undertaken. He could get an automobile all right. Tom Reese was a good friend, and a willing one, and his car had a tonneau capacious enough to accommodate the ex-naiad and her movable pool. But he would have to tell Tom the whole peculiar adventure to get him to take his auto out at such an unearthly hour.

"He'll think me clean daft when I unfold it to him," said Edwin to himself.

And Tom did, too. He laughed loud and long when Edwin chose what he thought to be a propitious moment and began his confession. "What are you stuffing me with?" Tom demanded, with tears in his eyes. Edwin renewed his explanations, only to bring on another explosion. "You'll be the death of me yet, old fellow," asserted Tom. "You'd better cut out those absinthes." Edwin added details most earnestly. "You're crazy, boy," was the only reply he got. He grew angry and hurt. "Now, Tom Reese," he demanded, "have I ever failed you when you wanted my help?" Tom apologized and began to study Edwin with intentness. "Look here, Edwin Horton," he said, "if there is any such girl at Druid lake as you describe, she's a 'fake' and she's got you strung mightily." Edwin swallowed this dig at his intelligence peacefully. He saw he had won. "All I ask, Tom," he rejoined, "is that you will take me out in the car and see for yourself." Tom gave him his hand. "I'm from Missouri, and you'll have to show me," he chuckled.

A wash tub from Mrs. Reese's cellar was requisitioned at 3 A. M. for use as a tank. After it had been lifted into the tonneau a hose supplied the needed water. "Climb into the water wagon," ordered Tom, and he threw on the lever and spun out to Druid Hill Park.

The day was still in embryo when the lake tower was reached. But the nymph was there. Her trim blue blouse was still wet after her swim ashore. The morning was summery, but Edwin had appreciated that the ride might be cold for the water lady, and had thoughtfully brought his sister's raincoat.

Tom's astonishment at seeing a bona-fide mermaid was balm to Edwin. The lad stood open-mouthed after Edwin had introduced them. In fact, he was so dumfounded that he failed to notice the hand the damsel had extended to him.

"Come on, Tom," said Edwin; "there isn't much time."

One on each side, the two boys supported the nymph as she cavorted as gracefully as possible up the rocks. They hadn't thought of the iron railing. "Caesar's ghost!" muttered Tom in dismay. "How are we going to get her over that?" Edwin turned to the mermaid. "If you don't mind," said he, "we will have to lift you." "I don't mind," she said, simply, "if you don't drop me."

At Edwin's suggestion he clambered over first, and then Tom raised the young creature boldly until she was clear of the iron spikes. There Edwin took hold of her and carried her to the auto. She was not a heavy burden, but her wet condition and her combination shape increased the difficulties.

From the moment she was once in the auto her joy was a pleasure to observe. She began by expressing her delight at their thoughtfulness in supplying the wash tub. When the machine began to move she clapped her hands in childish glee. From glee to wonderment her mood changed as they spun along the park roads. A hundred naive questions were asked about the objects unfamiliar to a lady whose habitat was at the bottom of a big pond. Edwin answered faithfully, and had his reward in his enjoyment of her artlessness and winsomeness. Occasionally Tom looked round to share in it.

At a good clip the auto was run out Park Heights avenue and back. The dawn seemed most kindly disposed to the trio, for it was long in coming. And when they had reached Pimlico, Tom proposed a detour by way of Roland Park, to return to the lake across Cedar-avenue bridge. The damsel hailed it with glee, only stipulating that she must be back by "sun-up."

They showed her the turf tracks on either side as they bowled along Belvidere avenue eastward, and they were still engaged in explaining to her the methods of horse racing when Tom started down the long hill beside the Tyson place, Cylburn, leading down to the bridge across Jones' Falls. The girl was asking questions, with her bewitching face in close proximity to Edwin's, when there came a startling interruption to their fun. Tom, again greatly interested in the talk, failed to notice a large boulder in the road, and the auto shot over it with a jolt that caused him to lose control of the wheel. The big machine regained its balance, but not its course. Instead, it careened to the right and bumped into the ditch before the alarmed occupants had scarcely grasped their peril. Tom was tossed out on the roadway. Edwin was pitched into the front seat, the mermaid shot past him and fell on a clump of green turf and the tub of water upset, and, in seeking an outlet, poured over the car, drenching Edwin.

"Look out for a gasoline explosion!" shrieked Tom, raising himself from the road, apparently unhurt. Edwin knew he could do nothing to prevent such a catastrophe, so he followed the other two out of the auto as quickly as he could. For a moment he and Tom paid no attention to the mermaid, so absorbed were they in the possibility of a blow-up. But when this danger had apparently passed they discovered that she had lifted herself from the grassy sward and was flip-flopping awkwardly in the direction of the brook that runs through Cylburn near the road.

"Come back! Come back! There's no danger!" called Edwin, as he started after her.

The damsel paid no heed. She was intent on getting to that stream of running water.

Again Edwin called, this time more sharply. The mermaid stopped not, but turned a tearful and much convulsed face to him.

Edwin raced after her. So did Tom. But when they got to the edge of the brook the only sign of her was an increasing ripple on the surface of a little pool. The stream was not so deep but that the bottom could be studied. And yet they saw nothing of her. Evidently she had the enchanted gift of being invisible in water.

Tom looked at Edwin. Edwin looked at Tom.

"That beats the Dutch!" said Tom.

"It's worse than that," replied Edwin, an odd catch in his voice. "We certainly have queered her for good. We must find her and get her back to the Park somehow."

For hours they moved up and down alongside the stream, calling pleadingly, but without response, for their quondam friend. Edwin made a little oration to her in absentia, in which he humbly begged her pardon and swore by all the gods of Mount Olympus--by the great Jupiter, the chaste Diana and all the rest of them, as far as he could remember their names--that he would restore her safely to the lake. But she came not. Tom added his entreaties, but she heeded not. Then Tom suggested that perhaps she had worked her way down the brook and into Jones' Falls, whence she could, if she but knew the pipes, get into her beloved lake again. Edwin jumped at the idea, and, leaving Tom to look after the auto, hastened down the ravine to Jones' Falls, and moved up and down the Falls, calling for the vanished damsel with a fervor that might have caused doubts as to his sanity had anyone heard it.

When he returned, terribly downcast, Tom had gotten the car righted and had discovered that it was uninjured.

"No luck, I suppose?" said Tom.

"No," replied Edwin, moodily.

"Get in, then. We can't stay here all day."

Edwin required urging to leave the spot. Finally he consented to go. As he climbed in he saw the overturned wash tub, and his concentrated wrath and grief were heaped upon it. Picking it up, he hurled it savagely at a tree, and, when it fell to pieces with the concussion, he exclaimed, vehemently and inconsequentially:

"That's the blamed thing that got us into this muss!"

At Druid lake he insisted on another long search. Time and again the auto was stopped that he might call aloud for his charmer. But no answering sound came across the water.

"Curses!" said Edwin. "I'm afraid she's lost for good."

And that is probably the true explanation as to why there has been no mermaid in Druid lake since. She may be in Cylburn brook, she may be in Jones' Falls, she may have reached the Patapsco, but no one has ever seen a creature answering her description and aquatic habits since the damsel who once held the job got giddy and went motoring.

The Goddess of Truth

Not everybody was pleased among the many thousands who on September 12, 1906, saw the industrial parade with which Baltimore celebrated its wonderful recovery from the blow given by the great fire of 1904. Tobias Greenfield, head of a Lexington-street department store, was one who was not. He was angry, violently so. He had been in a chipper mood all morning and had enjoyed watching the long line from the windows of a bedecorated wholesale house on Baltimore street. But when his eyes alighted on the float of his own firm, the anger came. And the longer it stayed with him, the worse it grew, especially as he could not escape the prodding of the friends who had invited him to their warehouse.

When he could decently slip away from them he went to his office and peremptorily called for his advertising manager.

"What the devil do you mean, Melvale," he shouted, "by putting such a scrawny little girl on our float as the Goddess? She looked a fright in the clothes made for Miss Preston, and everyone is laughing at us. Why was not Miss Preston there? How came you to make such a mess?"

The advertising man was nervous under the volley of questions, but he explained at length. Boiled down, it was plain he could give only one reason why the float had been such a mess.

And that reason was William Henry Montgomery.

Miss Preston had been willing to be the Goddess, as planned, but William Henry Montgomery said no. And that settled it.

And who was William Henry Montgomery? Why, Miss Preston loved William Henry Montgomery.

You see, down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where Maude Preston and William Henry Montgomery were to the manor born, they had sought each other's company so assiduously and for so long that in the length and breadth of Accomac--from Chincoteague to Great Machipongo--every man and woman regarded it as a sure thing that Maude and William Henry would hit it off for a marriage. And they had talked, as people will, about their being an ideal couple, so well suited--William Henry broad-shouldered and solidly knit and Maude molded on classic Diana's lines, erect and queenly, but sweet to look upon. The women thought William Henry a fine-looking lad, while men and women alike regarded Maude as the handsomest creature on the Peninsula below the Maryland line.

And then one day there had been a quarrel. Maude thought a bit of William Henry's advice too assertive, too near to an injunction to obey, and had flared up. And William Henry had flared up likewise. And when the two came to count the cost, William Henry was moodily filling a job in a cousin's lumber-yard in Philadelphia, while Maude, unknown to William Henry, had come to Baltimore to remove herself and her heart-wound from the well-meant, but too gossipy, neighbors in Accomac.

It was a matter of only a few months before she was the best-liked saleswoman in Greenfield & Jacobs' big store. From Mr. Greenfield down to the rawest cash girl all were glad to exchange a word with her, because there was something delightful in Maude's way of expressing even trivialities, and an especial joy in hearing her talk about "you all" and call a car "kyar," a girl "giurl" and other idioms peculiar to Tidewater Virginians. Besides that, she was too good-looking altogether to be passed without notice. The elevator boys were both in love with her, and their seniors--whether clerks, floor-walkers, salesmen or owners--would walk two aisles out of the way any time to pass by Miss Preston at the counter where she disposed of bolts of ribbon. But best of all was the regard which her scores of girl associates had for her. They liked her because they saw she made no effort to seek or to foster the attentions which the masculines of the store thrust upon her. They liked her, too, for the individuality and perfect neatness she showed in her dress, from the bows of ribbon on her short sleeves to the set of her skirts or the way her waists were arranged at the belt. As for her hair, eight-ninths of the store, being the feminine portion, envied its beautiful wave, and two-ninths mustered up courage to ask Maude how she managed to keep it so splendidly. And the two-ninths, being told, let the other six-ninths into the secret. Thus it was, in Greenfield & Jacobs', that the Maude wave became more popular than the one named after Marcelle.

And all the while Maude quietly went on thinking of William Henry. She heard about him sometimes in letters from Accomac, and knew that he was still in Philadelphia. And there were hours when she fought the temptation to write to him there, and humbly tell him that she had been wrong to grow angry with him. Perhaps he had forgotten her and was having a good time--she recoiled from the thought, and yet it would come now and then. And when it came, Maude had spells of the "blues" that she found hard to conceal from her new-made friends at the department store and in her boarding-house on Arlington avenue.

Greenfield & Jacobs was one of the first retail firms to take up the notion of having a float in the Jubilee parade. And, having once decided to exhibit, they went at the preparations with characteristic thoroughness. "Let us do it right," said Jacobs to Greenfield. "Let us spare no expense to have a car so beautiful that all Baltimore will remember it as one of the hits of the parade. Let it be chaste and symbolic, and not overloaded with bunting and people."

The head of the firm had the same thought. "We have always tried to tell the truth to our customers," he rejoined. "Why not try to bring that fact home to thousands by a float on which a handsome Goddess of Truth will be giving a laurel crown to our firm?"

"Capital!" exclaimed Jacobs. "And Miss Preston can be the Goddess."

"I had her in mind when I proposed it," remarked Greenfield.

And both men laughed.

Neither partner was up on mythology, so they turned over to Melvale, the advertising man, the duty of working out the details of the float. Now, Melvale wasn't literary, either; but he knew an obliging young woman at the Pratt Library, and he hied himself to her to ask who under Heaven was the Goddess of Truth and how was she dressed. And the obliging young woman looked up encyclopedias and finally handed Melvale an illustrated copy of Spenser's "Faerie Queene." Melvale had never heard of Spenser, and he had an idea that Spenser spelled his title badly, not even according to the simplified method of Roosevelt and Carnegie. But he took the book and read of the beautiful, pure and trustful Una, the personification of Truth, the beloved of the Red Cross Knight. And when he looked at the pictures he began to grow enthusiastic over the float.

"By George!" he exclaimed. "Miss Preston will look great in that Greek gown."

And Melvale sketched the float as it afterward grew into being at the hands of carpenters, painters and decorators at the old car shed on Pennsylvania avenue. There was, first of all, a beautiful little model of Greenfield & Jacobs' new store, about three feet high, over the corner dome of which the charming Goddess, bending forward, was about to place the laurel crown suggested by Greenfield. Behind her were finely modeled figures of the lion and the lamb which are devoted followers of Una. It was artistic; it was symbolic; it was chaste. There was no word of advertising save the neatly lettered inscription:
   ______________________
  | |
  | The Truth stands by us. |
  | We stand by the Truth. |
  |_________________________|

It was a harder task than either partner imagined to win the consent of Miss Preston to be a goddess for a few brief hours. She was not the sort of girl to like conspicuousness or notoriety, and she flatly refused when the float was first brought to her attention. Then they pleaded with her. Jacobs told her how much she would be helping the firm if she would only agree to oblige them. Greenfield promised to have the finest of Greek gowns made in the store's dressmaking department. And Melvale, clever man, deftly told her how beautiful and good Una was supposed to be, and mildly intimated that there was no other young woman in Baltimore who could possibly fill the bill on that float. Ultimately Miss Preston's scruples were overcome.

And into the preparations she entered with pleasing enthusiasm. Melvale took her several times to the shed to see the float materialize, and stopped each morning at the ribbon counter to tell her about details. The whole store told her a thousand times how glad each was that she was to be the Goddess. Greenfield did as he promised about the costume--and never was Greek gown made of more beautiful white goods, or more exquisitely and perfectly fitted. Maude read Spenser's poem, more understandingly than had Melvale, and the Goddess of Truth so completely filled her mind during those summer weeks that William Henry Montgomery was almost obscured except when she dreamed how she would like him to see her triumph.

At last came the day of the parade. Melvale, always fertile with expedients, had arranged with Townsend, floor-walker on the fourth floor, who lived on Fulton avenue just where the big parade was to form, that the Goddess Maude might array herself in her finery at his home. Bright and early that morning he sent a carriage for Miss Preston, and ordered the float to be at Townsend's curb by 9 o'clock. The beautiful gown and its accessories, laid away in soft tissue paper, were brought from the Lexington-street store, and a couple of the girls from the dressmaking department were on hand to aid the final making of a goddess.

Maude would not have been a woman had she not taken her time to get into such finery, and Melvale began to grow nervous as the parade hour grew near. The street was in confusion with the gathering of floats and men and curious crowds of onlookers. The chief marshal of the procession, Col. William A. Boykin, had warned him that the line was to move on time, and already there were signs of a start. Five times he dived into the hallway of Townsend's home and called agonizingly upstairs to know if Miss Preston was ready.

Finally she came. And Melvale held his breath as the beauty of the girl burst upon him, even in the half-light of the hall. While it concealed some of the lines of her figure, the gown accentuated her erect, queenly carriage. Her exquisitely molded arms and her full, round throat had been powdered, a bit or two of rouge had heightened the charm of her face and a touch of black had increased the brilliancy of her eyes, already flashing with the excitement of the moment. There was a tremulous curve to her lips as she glanced at Melvale to note whether he was pleased with her appearance.

"The goddess of men, as well as of truth," he murmured as he bent over and gallantly kissed her hand. Una's flush heightened, but she was pleased with the compliment.

Melvale opened the door and the goddess in white passed out into the morning sunlight on Fulton avenue.

And as she did so she gave a faint scream of surprise.

For there, on the sidewalk, was William Henry Montgomery, her Red Cross Knight.

William Henry was as much surprised as the damsel Una. He had no idea that Maude was nearer to him than Accomac, and he was in Baltimore for the day merely to mingle with the holiday crowds and perhaps encounter some Eastern Shore friend from whom he might learn news of her. His presence on Fulton avenue was due to the identical reason as that which inspired thousands of others curious to see the start of a big parade.

When he saw Maude come out of the doorway, a vision in white, he thought for a moment he had gone insane and was having a hallucination. Then he reflected that it could not possibly be Maude Preston in Baltimore and wearing such theatrical clothes on the street in broad daylight. Then he looked again and was certain it was Maude. Besides, hadn't she recognized him and put out her arm to steady herself against the arch of the doorway?

"Maude!" he exclaimed, simply, as he hurried up the marble steps.

"Bill Henry!" she cried, faintly.

She held out her hands and he took them.

"I've been sorry a long time, Bill Henry," she said.

"And I, too, sweetheart."

He would have kissed her in complete reconciliation, but Maude was conscious of the crowd on the street. "Don't, Bill Henry," she whispered as she laughed, flushed and tenderly pushed him away. He held on to both her hands.

Melvale, in the vestibule behind, had stood petrified as the incident developed. He was wise enough to understand that a reconciliation of lovers was in progress. Their words, and, above all, the ardency of their glances betrayed that.

From down Fulton avenue came the sound of a great bell. The parade had started. "Hurry," said Melvale, "you must take your position, Miss Preston."

"Take your position, Maude?" asked William Henry calmly, ignoring Melvale.

"Yes, Bill Henry," said his sweetheart, hurriedly; "I'm to be the Goddess of Truth on that float there."

William Henry turned and looked at the float. Then he stood off a step or two and studied Maude's make up. "I've never seen you look handsomer," he said, slowly, "but somehow you don't seem natural. I'd rather have met you again when you were not so full of paint and powder. I loved you always just as you were, without fancy fixings."

The bell was getting farther away.

"Come, Miss Preston," urged Melvale. "We will have to hurry."

For the first time William Henry recognized the presence of Melvale.

"She ain't going, Mister," declared William Henry, ungrammatically, but firmly.

"Not going!" screamed Melvale.

"Oh! Bill," stammered Maude, "they've gone to such a lot of expense and trouble! And they've been so kind to me!"

"I don't care," returned William Henry. "Down in Accomac we don't like this theatre business for girls we love, and I tell you I am not going to see you in that parade, showing yourself off to all Baltimore and thousands more, too. Who knows how many people are here from down home? If you want this notoriety and fuss, Maude," he went on sternly, "I can leave again."

A tear made its way out of Maude's eyes and threatened the rouge on her cheek.

"Come, Miss Preston," said Melvale.

"No, no; I can't go against what Bill wants," she said, feebly; "not again."

Melvale saw that he faced a serious business dilemma. Cupid had butt in at the wrong moment. It was necessary for Greenfield & Jacobs to be in that parade, and he had about six minutes to get the float in line. As he put it in his report to Mr. Greenfield, "There wasn't any use wasting time trying to persuade Miss Preston with that hulking big Eastern Shoreman menacing me. I had to let her do as William Henry wanted, without bandying words. At the same time I had to find another Goddess in a hurry. That's how I came to make use of Townsend's daughter."

"Was that thin girl Townsend's daughter?" asked Greenfield.

"There isn't any cause to be hard on the girl, Mr. Greenfield. She's not so thin, and she is good looking and with a sweet expression. You put any girl in clothes not made for her--just jump her into 'em without any time for those little tricks that women know so well how to do--and she's sure to feel a guy. And if she feels a guy, she's going to look it. Why, it took those two girls just six minutes to transfer that goddess rig from Miss Preston to Miss Townsend. She didn't have time to powder, and she didn't have time to dab on paint, and, besides, she had had no rehearsals. That's why she was so pale."

"And where did you leave Miss Preston and her mentor?"

"Sitting on the sofa in Townsend's parlor, wondering if they could get a license to be married today, it being a holiday."

"Mr. Melvale," directed Mr. Greenfield, "I want you to find them again, just as quick as you can, and if they are not already tied up I want you to help them do it in the most handsome style possible in a hurry. Reward Miss Townsend nicely, but get that gown from her and make a present of it to the girl it was made for. She might like to have it for a wedding gown. And as you go out, tell Mr. Stricker to send the bride the handsomest thing he can find in the glass and china department."

"Miss Preston'll appreciate all that. I think she's sorry she couldn't help you out. She has certainly missed a fine chance of being a goddess."

"You're wrong, Melvale; you're wrong! That girl doesn't need a Greek gown and a float and a parade to make her a goddess."

"William Henry don't think so, sir."

A Daughter of Cuba Libre

When they had been at school together at Notre Dame, Catherine Franklin had been most fond of the company of Manuela Moreto, and had listened with wonder and admiration to the fluent stories of the dark-eyed, olive-skinned girl from Cuba, tales of her father's desperate adventures in the trocha in the years before American intervention had rid the "Pearl of the Antilles" of Spanish rule. Spanish-American pupils, daughters of wealthy tobacco, sugar or coffee planters, were not infrequent at this and other convent schools around Baltimore, and Catherine knew enough of them not to yield so precipitately as had many girls to the romantic glamour cast around them by their coming from a strange land. But Manuela Moreto was so winning, and her narratives of bold deeds so piquant, that Catherine had taken her to her heart in a school-girl friendship, had gloried in knowing the daughter of a Cuban patriot and had liberally bedewed her handkerchief and made vows of undying love when their June commencement brought the days of parting.

But that had been five years ago, and in five years, as everyone knows, havoc can be played with a friendship of this sort. There had been a correspondence, industrious at first, then flagging as each found new friends and new interests, and finally ceasing altogether. There was no hint of any misunderstanding, and Catherine felt that if anything serious were to happen in Manuela's life, if she were to marry, for instance, a letter would come from Cuba. Nothing came as the months added up, and she was satisfied that Manuela was living out her rather monotonous life on Senor Felipe Moreto's tobacco plantation in Pinar del Rio province.

Last August came the new revolution in Cuba, and Catherine found all her interest in Manuela reawakened as she read in daily dispatches of the uprising in Pinar del Rio, of the raids of Pino Guerra, of the feeble resistance of the Government forces, of the burning of plantations and the seizure of horses and cattle. She wondered if her one-time chum could be in any danger.

She had fully made up her mind to write to Manuela, when there came a letter from the latter. Her mother handed it to her as Catherine sat down to the supper table in her home on Caroline street, opposite St. Joseph's Hospital, her cheeks flushed from a vigorous afternoon at tennis in Clifton Park. "It's from Manuela Moreto!" she exclaimed in surprise as she saw the handwriting on the envelope. Then, with increased excitement, she added "She must be in Washington," for she had by this time noted the postmark, the home stamp and the crest of the Raleigh Hotel.

The letter said:

  Dearest Girlie--After all these months of silence, you will no
  doubt be surprised to hear from your Cuban friend, and from
  Washington, too. You have probably read of the new uprising
  against despotism in my oft-bled country. We have suffered much,
  but hope for the best. I cannot tell you now, but I want to come
  to Baltimore to see you and the dear old school, and then we can
  have one of those outpourings of confidence such as used to give
  us joy. Let me hear from you just as soon as you can.

  Yours as ever,
                MANUELA MORETO.

"Write tonight and tell her to come and visit us," said Mrs. Franklin, heartily.

"I will if dad will promise to like Manuela," answered Catherine, wistfully eying her father. The Captain was master and part owner of a steamer in the Central American banana trade, and the family knew from repeated outbursts that he had no very high opinion of the Spanish-American.

"I'm not stuck on those Dagos as a rule," said the Captain, doubtfully, "but if all you say is correct this s'norita must be a fine girl, and you know I cotton all right to fine girls."

"Is she pretty?" asked Will Franklin of his sister. Will was at the age when young men think a great deal of girls.

"She's dark," explained his mother, "and she was thin when I used to see her with Catherine at Notre Dame. But if she has filled out as she should have, she ought to be a handsome girl."

Two days later the whole family was at Camden Station to welcome their foreign visitor. Will Franklin whistled as he saw the splendid-looking young woman whom his sister rushed to kiss as she came through the gate. "Gee!" he exclaimed, "she's a stunner!" For Senorita Manuela Teresa Dolores Inez Moreto de la Rivera--to give her all of her names--had not only "filled out" until she had a fine, well-rounded figure and a handsome dark, oval face, but had also engaging animation and the gift of wearing her clothes well. She looked as trim as can be imagined in her cream-colored linen suit, with a couple of touches of light blue at the wrists and neck.

They sat up late that night in the library of the Franklin home. After supper they had begun to ask questions of Manuela, and she had in response given them her own personal account of the new revolution. It was a narrative that awakened their sympathies for her and her family and all others who had suffered by the internal strife, and it made them strong partisans of the rebels. "They call it Cuba libre, free Cuba!" she exclaimed, with flashing eyes, "and yet the days of Spanish tyranny were no worse than the oppression of Palma's crowd. They have held the offices since Roosevelt gave them the government, and they lined their pockets with what you Americans call 'graft.' That made them determined to hold on at all costs, and so my father's party--the Liberals--was not only over-taxed and annoyed by extortions on every hand, but was cheated and robbed at the polls when it tried to get control by an honest election."

And then she told of a night in July when a half-drunken crowd of Government rurales, sent to arrest her father, had set fire to his tobacco houses when they found he had been forewarned and escaped them.

"I cannot repeat to you all the vile abuses they heaped upon me," she added, quietly. "One of them, a mulatto who had been discharged by my father, tried to kiss me. He is dead now." She shuddered with the recollection. The Baltimore family shuddered at her matter-of-fact recital.

"You mean--that he"----stammered placid, domestic Mrs. Franklin.

"I mean that two of my father's men singled him out and macheted him the first time they met in a skirmish."

On only one point was she reticent. Her father, she said, had come to this country on an errand for the rebels, but what that errand was she did not explain. "He is General Moreto now," she remarked; "and if ever Senor Zayas becomes President and our party comes into control at Havana, they have promised my father greater honors."

For a week Senorita Moreto continued to add to the powerful interest she had aroused in her hosts. By day they tried to entertain her--an afternoon at Notre Dame with the school Sisters, a trip through the rebuilt fire district, a ride to Bay Shore Park, an excursion to Port Deposit by steamboat and other summer opportunities. But of an evening, when the family was all collected in the library or on the front stoop, the Cuban dispatches in that day's News were carefully gone over and afforded texts upon which Manuela vivaciously and eloquently inveighed against the despotism of the "ins" and predicted the triumph of the "outs."

"Upon my soul, Miss Moreto," said the usually level-headed Captain Franklin, "your zeal stirs me so that I find myself wishing every moment I was fighting on your side."

"I'd love to have you aid us," murmured the Cuban girl. And she lifted her black eyelashes and cast her brilliant eyes at Catherine's father with such intentness that he was confused and looked away without asking her, as he had intended, just how it was possible for him to help the cause.

The next morning Will, who had become the devoted admirer of the pretty Cuban, carried two telegrams for General Moreto when he left home to go to the Hopkins-place wholesale house where he was a clerk. One was addressed to the Raleigh in Washington, the other to the Cuban junta headquarters in New York. Each read:

"You must come at once. I want you."

A reply came that afternoon. It was from Wilmington, and it said:

  "Union Station, 7.33 P. M."

Manuela and Catherine met the General at the hour named. The man who alighted from the Congressional Limited and whom Manuela rushed to kiss was slender and undersized, with a swarthy, weather-beaten face, curly gray hair and a white moustache, twisted and re-twisted to the limit. He was in white flannels and was so altogether neat and immaculate that Catherine, perspiring under the sultriness of the August evening, thought him the coolest person she had ever seen. He greeted her with gallantry when introduced, and, though he spoke English with slowness, his pronunciation was good and his voice musical.

After he had made a similarly good impression at the Caroline-street dwelling it was Manuela who proposed that they should leave the two fathers "to smoke together and get acquainted."

As the girls went out of the library Moreto laid half a dozen cigars on the table. "From my own plantation," he said to Captain Franklin, with rather a pompous manner. "I hope you'll like them." The Captain found them the finest Havanas he had ever puffed.

"You go to Costa Rica for bananas, do you not?" the General asked in Spanish.

"Sometimes Port Limon; sometimes Bocas del Toro," answered Catherine's father, in the same tongue. "Bocas del Toro this trip."

"When do you sail?"

"Next Saturday."

There was another silence. Franklin studied his cigar. Moreto studied the fruit captain. Presently he leaned forward on the arm of his Morris chair, in which, truth to tell, he looked rather insignificant.

"My daughter," he said, this time in English, "tells me you are with us in our revolution."

The Captain turned his clear blue eyes on the Cuban.

"Your daughter, Senor," he replied, "is a fine girl." He saw the shadow of disappointment pass over Moreto's countenance. "I'm not much on revolutions. I've seen too many of the bloody things in the tropics, and it pays me to keep out of 'em. But your girl Manuela has a powerful strong way of putting things, and I'm bound to say, if all she tells is not beyond the mark, my sympathies are with you and your crowd."

"Beyond the mark! Why, Dios, Senor Capitan!" cried the General, his eyes gleaming with excitement. "Why, she could not tell you a tenth of the truth." And he launched into a long narrative of the oppressions in Cuba. The words came like a torrent, mostly Spanish, occasionally English; and Franklin, sitting there fascinated, his cigar forgotten, could think of nothing save that the daughter's fluency was a gift of heredity.

When Moreto had ended and had sunk back half exhausted on the cushions the Captain, usually calm and self-contained, betrayed unwonted enthusiasm.

"I'm with you through and through," he exclaimed as he rose from his chair and sought the Cuban's hand. "You haven't had a square deal, and I'd like to see you get it."

Moreto's black eyes seemed to pierce him.

"Would you help us?" he asked. His tone was so tense and low that Franklin barely caught the words.

"Help you! How can I?"

Moreto paused again. He was not quite sure of his man. Finally he uncovered his aim:

"Take rifles to Cuba."

Captain Franklin stepped back. He did not exactly like the proposal. He had always kept out of such musses, and he knew it was violating Federal law to be a filibuster.

"I'm only part owner of the Cristobal," he stammered. "I would not like to involve the others."

"They need never know. I have a perfectly safe plan."

The Captain wavered. He would like to help Moreto and his daughter if it were not for the risk.

"What is your plan?"

"If we had a thousand rifles to arm Pino Guerra," said Moreto, "we could take San Luis. If we took San Luis we could control Pinar del Rio province. My mission to your country is to get those rifles to a point in that province. I have them boxed, ready for shipment as new machinery for a sugar plantation. They are at Wilmington. I thought I had placed them on a steamer in the Delaware last week, but your confounded Secret Service agents are too vigilant, and they learned from members of the crew that something unusual was up. If you will take those boxes on the Cristobal I can get them here on Friday and will arrange for an insurgent schooner to meet you at any point you name. Will you do it?"

"It's risky business," slowly said the Captain, lighting a fresh Vuelta cigar.

"It means liberty to us. Dios, Senor Captain, where would your country be if the French had not helped Washington and his ragged rebels?"

Franklin puffed away slowly. The Cuban watched him. At last the Captain made a decision.

"You may send those rifles along," he said.

The two men grasped hands again. They were in that position when Catherine put her head in the library door. "You're as quiet as two conspirators," she laughingly said. "Perhaps we are conspiring, Senorita," called General Moreto as the girl shut herself from view again.

"That is a charming daughter of yours, Captain," said the Cuban, in his best English.

"Ah! but your girl has the head and the wit. You find her a great help, don't you?"

Moreto's smile was more frank than his reply. "Women take a bigger share in revolutions than is generally believed." he said.

In another half hour the details of their filibuster were arranged. A point in the Caribbean, near the Isle of Pines, was selected for a rendezvous. There the Cuban schooner would take aboard the contraband cargo and Franklin go on his way after bananas.

"Do you wish your family to know?" asked Moreto as they were about to leave the library. "My daughter knows all my business."

"Catherine is all right," replied Captain Franklin, "and so is Will, but his mother would worry too much."

And so for the next three days there was a great secret in the Franklin home, shared by the young people with the two gray-haired men. They made trips to the steamer, at the foot of Centre-Market space, a slender, white-painted craft, looking more like a private yacht or a revenue cutter than a tropical trader; they heard the arrangements made for prompt transfer of the boxes across the city; they stopped with General Moreto at the telegraph offices on Calvert street when he sent off cipher wires to the junta and its agents, and sometimes cabled to Cuba. And on the Friday when the boxes were due they pestered the clerks at Bolton freight yards with 'phone inquiries. "It's great fun," confided Catherine to Manuela. "I feel just like a heroine doing a great deed. And we have to be so mysterious, too." Manuela smiled indulgently. She had got past the stage of thinking conspiracies fun.

No untoward incident occurred while the boxes of rifles labeled "Sugar machinery" were being loaded into the Cristobal's hold. There was no one on the dock or steamer who could be suspected of being a Government agent. General Moreto kept away, and the presence of Miss Catherine with the Cuban girl could never have aroused the doubts of the crew. The boxes were taken on without accident, and by Friday dusk the Cristobal had a thousand weapons aboard for the rebels of Pinar del Rio.

There were tears in the eyes of both girls as Captain Franklin waved them goodbye from his bridge when he was being pulled out into the Patapsco the next morning. A shade of extra seriousness had tinged his parting from them as they went ashore from the steamer, and Catherine, no longer thinking conspiracies "great fun," began to have doubts whether she might not have her father landed in jail somewhere.

"I do hope no harm will come to dad," she said. "I never felt so queer when he went away before."

"Let us pray that all goes well," replied Manuela.

And so for eleven whole long days, in their petitions to God, in church and night and morning in their room, they invoked His blessing upon the Cristobal's filibustering mission. It was an anxious time. The period of excitement over, the interval of suspense made their spirits droop. None of the usual amusements diverted them. Even Will's now ardent attentions, which had provoked some teasing in the bosom of his family, were slighted in the strain of the long wait until, boylike, and chafing under the apparent neglect, he had impetuously sought explanations from Manuela. What she told him is not a part of the conspiracy, but from that hour there were two secrets kept in the Franklin dwelling. And when he hurried home each afternoon with The News, that they might carefully examine it for anything bearing on his father's expedition, there was a double motive in the eagerness with which Manuela met him at the door.

It was Wednesday week before the first news came. General Moreto, who had left them on the day after Captain Franklin had passed Cape Henry outward bound, telegraphed as follows:

Glorious news; San Luis taken. We must have done it.

The girls were excitedly reading the account in The News of the victory by Pino Guerra when this cable dispatch came to them from Catherine's father:

     Bocas del Toro.
  Costa Rica, Aug. 22.

  Machinery transferred; no trouble.

    FRANKLIN.

Both girls cried from happiness at the relief.

"Oh! Catherine," said Manuela as she sobbed on the latter's neck, "I'm so glad I knew you at Notre Dame!"

"And I'm glad we struck a blow for Cuba libre," rejoined Catherine.

"It may mean annexation," said Will, as he deftly slipped his arm around Manuela's waist.

The Cuban girl grew rosy red.

Catherine was quick to understand: Cuba might be freed, but one individual who had labored for it was going to be annexed.

"I'm so happy!" she cried. And she kissed both warmly and left them to tell her mother of the latest beneficent example of American assimilation.

A Two-Party Line

I.

(Tuesday, October 23, 1906.)

HE--Hello! Is this Central? Well, give----

SHE--No, it is not Central, and I wish you'd please get off the line.

HE--I beg your pardon, I thought you were the girl at Central.

SHE--No, I am not. I wish you wouldn't break in. The line's busy. You were saying, Evelyn----

HE--I'm sorry to bother you. I don't seem to be able to get Central.

SHE--I do wish you would leave us alone! You were describing that dress you wore at the Marlborough dance, Evelyn.

EVELYN--How is he on this wire?

SHE--I don't know. I suppose he has the other 'phone on this line.

HE--I beg your pardon again. Do I understand you to say this is a two-party line?

SHE--What number are you?

HE--Wait till I read it. Why this is Madison 7-9-3-1-y.

SHE--And I'm Madison 7-9-3-1-m. So you see, we're on the same wire. Please get off.

HE--I beg both of your pardons, ladies. But I'm trying to get a doctor for my mother.

EVELYN--I'll call you up later, Genevieve. I can tell you all about Atlantic City then.

SHE--He had no business coming in like that, Evelyn. But I suppose we'll have to let him have it. Goodbye.

HE--I'm very grateful to both of you, I'm sure.

SHE--Well, after all, we were only gossiping, and I'm sorry we did not understand sooner.

HE--Thank you again. (After a pause.) There goes a click. I guess I can call Central now. By Jove! that girl had spirit, and at the same time showed generosity in saying she was sorry. I wonder who she is. Genevieve the other one called her. Genevieve who?

II.

(Five Minutes Later.)

SHE--Hello, Central. Please give me "Information." Is that "Information"? I want to know who has 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-y. My number? I'm on the same line. No, no trouble. Just want to know. Who'd you say? Mrs. Mary Vincent, 286 West Lanvale street. Thank you so much.

III.

(Ten Minutes Later.)

HE--Hello, Central, I want to know who has 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-m. What's that? You'll give me "Information"? All right. Hello, "Information," I want to find out who leases 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-m. No, not "y." I said "m." Somebody else wanted "y"? Well, that's my number. I want "m." Mr. John D. Platt, 1346 Linden avenue? What's that? Oh, Pratt. Thank you.

IV.

(Wednesday, October 24.)

SHE--Oh! Evelyn, I've got something great to tell you. You remember that man who "butt in" last night on our chat? Well, I've found out all about him. His name is Carroll Vincent, and he's just out of Princeton and is going to study law at the University of Maryland. How did I find out? Oh! I can't tell you all that over the 'phone. I just used my wits. You know Genevieve isn't going to get left. I'd die if he----

HE--Is this Cent----

SHE--Goodness gracious! there he is on the line again!

HE--I beg your pardon. I'll retire gracefully.

SHE--Don't apologize. You could not help it.

HE--I don't like to be a "butter-in," don't you know?

SHE--I hope you got the doctor all right last night. I'd be so sorry if my foolish delay caused you any trouble.

HE--Thank you, I got him all right.

EVELYN (at the other end)--I'll call you some other time, Genevieve.

HE--No; let me get off this time.

SHE (after a pause)--I wonder if he has really gone.

EVELYN--How did you find out who he was? Go on, tell me.

SHE--I'm afraid he may be listening.

EVELYN--Do you think he'd do that deliberately?

SHE--Certainly, I don't. I think he must be just fine. Jack Smallwood says he's a stunning-looking fellow. I'm just crazy to see him.

EVELYN--Did you ask Jack Smallwood about him?

SHE--Why, of course, you goose! They live in the same block.

EVELYN--You're getting on famously, Genevieve.

SHE--That's another slam, Evelyn. You're just jealous, that's what the matter with you. Next time I call you up you'll know it.

EVELYN--I'm sorry, Genevieve. I was only teasing you.

SHE--Well, I can't stand for it. I'll forgive you, though. Say, are you going to see "Madam Butterfly"? You don't know? Well, I'm going tomorrow night with Jack. He asked me today when I called him up about the other. He has got seats in the second row. I'm going to put on all my best regalia. No, not the blue. A pink chiffon. You've never seen it. It's a beauty. Well, goodbye. See you Friday.

V.

(Ten Minutes Later.)

HE--Please give me Madison 6-4-8-6-y. Is this Mr. Smallwood's home? Is Mr. Jack Smallwood there? No? Well, when do you expect him? You don't know? Thank you. Curse the luck! Just when I thought it looked easy.

VI.

(9 A. M. Friday, October 26.)

HE--St. Paul 9-8-6-3. Hello! is Mr. Jack Smallwood in the office? Yes, if you please. Jack, this is Carroll Vincent--no, no, Vincent. Say, old man, saw you at Ford's last night. Fine-looking girl with you--stunningly dressed--beautiful features--who is she?

JACK--Say, Carroll, what the devil is all this between you two who have never met? I'm over seven, you know, and I've shed my sweet innocence.

HE--I don't know what you mean, old man.

JACK--Ah yes, you do! And if you don't come up to the Captain's office and settle I'll blast your reputation with her forever. There's some mystery in it all. First, Genevieve Pratt asks me about you. Then when I saw you last night she twisted her neck so, to look at you, that I thought I'd have to summon medical help. Now you call me up to talk about her. What's the game? Put me wise.

HE--Fact is, old man, Miss Pratt and I are on the same line.

JACK--Same line? What kind of line?

HE--Same 'phone. Two-party line. Butt in on her the other night. Butt out. Butt in again next night. Apologized eighteen times. Must meet her, especially since she's such a smasher.

JACK--All right, Carroll boy. I'll fix it for you, now I understand.

HE--Make it soon, for Heaven's sake.

VII.

(Friday, November 2.)

HE--Give me Madison 7-9-3-1-m, please. No, no; I want the other party on this line. Don't buzz that bell so loud in my ears. Hello! Is that Mr. Pratt's? Oh! is this you, Miss Pratt? You're looking well this evening. This is Carroll Vincent.

SHE--Feeling tiptop, thank you. Did you get wet in the rain last night?

HE--No; it stopped pouring almost as soon as we left your house.

SHE--I'm glad of that. I want to thank you for the chocolates you sent this evening. You said you were going to send a book.

HE--I know I did. I tramped the town over to get that novel, but every shop was out of it. Then I did not like you to think I had forgotten you so soon, and I sent the bonbons.

SHE--It certainly was sweet of you. They're nearly all gone already.

HE--Mercy, mercy--don't make yourself sick! I wouldn't have you that way.

SHE--You wouldn't have me any way, would you?

HE--Give me the chance. But I'm afraid you're a "jollier," Miss Pratt.

SHE--You're the first to tell me.

HE--Did you say "first" or "fiftieth"? There was a noise on the wire just then.

SHE--I know you're a flirt.

HE--Never! I've got my fingers crossed.

SHE--Those eyes of yours were not made for nothing.

HE--Neither were yours. Jack said so last night. By the by, he's a capital fellow. I'll never get over being grateful to him for bringing us together.

SHE--I think he's just fine.

HE--You're speaking very zealously. Do you know I'm almost jealous of him when I hear you talk like that.

SHE--I'm a loyal champion for my friends, you'll find. I have but few, and those I keep.

HE--Do you ever add to the list?

SHE--That's for you to discover.

HE--Count me in, please.

SHE--Well--I'm willing to try to do so.

HE--Thanks, awfully. By the way, they've pledged me their word that a copy of that novel will be here tomorrow. May I bring it around Sunday evening?

SHE--Why, I could be reading the book all day Sunday.

HE--Then I'll make it tomorrow night. Will that suit?

SHE--I have no engagement, and will be glad to have you.

HE--Good-bye until then.

VIII.

(Thursday, December 6.)

HE--Madison 7-9-3-1-m, please. Yes. Is that Mr. Pratt's? Is Miss Genevieve there?

SHE--No, she is not in. Who shall I tell her called?

HE--You didn't disguise your voice, Miss Genevieve? I knew you right away.

SHE--I thought I might learn something, Mr. Vincent.

HE--I might have told my real name.

SHE--That would have been disastrous.

HE--It would, if I had started confessing things.

SHE--What's the matter? Have you anything on your conscience?

HE--Not my conscience, but my heart.

SHE--There you go again. You promised me last night at the Academy you wouldn't jolly any more.

HE--I haven't. I'm desperately in earnest. I swear it.

SHE--I wish I could believe you.

HE--Why don't you?

SHE--It might disturb my peace of mind.

HE--Would that be so bad?

SHE--Um-m-m-m-m, maybe.

HE--I can see those mocking eyes of yours now.

SHE--I don't like that, Mr. Vincent. That's rude.

HE--I'll beg your pardon when next I can look at you. That reminds me. Have you anything on for tomorrow night?

SHE--Um-m-m, no.

HE--I'd like to take you to Albaugh's. You've seen a musical comedy at the Academy, and a serious drama at Ford's, and it might be well to take a dash into "vodevil" before the week is over.

SHE--Do you know you're too good to me. I can never repay you.

HE--Yes, you can. By agreeing to go every time I ask.

SHE--Haven't I done it?

HE--Yes, you've never failed me. It's settled, then, for "vodevil?"

SHE--Come early and avoid the rush.

HE--And can you stay late? Because--well, I thought you might like a bite to eat at the Stafford after the show.

SHE--Another of your surprises. Do you treat all of the girls so finely?

HE--No; only you.

SHE--Bluffer! Goodbye.

IX.

(Monday, January 21, 1907.)

SHE--Please ring the other party on this line. Is that Madison 7-9-3-1-y? Mrs. Vincent, isn't it? This is Genevieve Pratt, Mrs. Vincent. I hope you're feeling better than when I saw you? So glad to hear it. Isn't this fine, crisp weather? Do I want to speak to your son? If I may. Is that you, Carroll?

HE--Why, little girl!

SHE--Surprised to hear from me so soon? Well, after I came in the house I found an invitation to a private dance at the Belvedere two weeks from tonight. Lida and her husband are to give it. I've heard it's to be a swell affair--big ballroom decorated, orchestra and seated supper. I want you to go with me. Will you?

HE--Now, you know very well I will, little girl.

SHE--Oh, I'm so glad! I'll see everybody I know; I'll have you with me, and--you know how to dance so well.

HE--You mean we know how to dance together. Listen, Genevieve: If I go, are you going to give me every dance?

SHE--Certainly not. People would talk too much. If you're good, you may have every other one.

HE--And sit out the rest with you?

SHE--Perhaps. All right, mother.

HE--What did you say?

SHE--Did you hear? That was mother insisting that I come to dinner.

HE--I'll let you go, then. You promised me every one, don't forget.

SHE--No, I didn't.

HE--Do you remember what I told you coming uptown this afternoon?

SHE--You told me a lot of things.

HE--I told you you were the most tormenting little vixen on earth.

SHE--You didn't mean it, did you? All right, mother. Listen, Carroll, I really must go. Tell me you didn't mean it.

HE--I did mean it. You are the most tormenting, also the most lovable. I wouldn't have you otherwise.

SHE--Oh, Carroll!

HE--Goodbye.

X.

(Tuesday, February 5.)

SHE--Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is Mr. Carroll Vincent up? At breakfast? Please tell him Miss Pratt wishes to speak to him. Oh, Carroll, I haven't slept a wink since you left me at the door! I'm so happy! I just lay awake thinking of last night, and then I thought I'd get up and 'phone you before you went downtown. I'm so happy!

HE--I'm glad you are, sweetheart. I'll try all my life to keep you so. I wish I could get closer to you than over this 'phone.

SHE--What would you do?

HE--I'd kiss you and whisper how I love you.

SHE--Don't, Carroll, don't! The telephone girl will hear you.

HE--What do I care? I feel like going around and shouting to all the world, "She loves me, she loves me, she loves me!" just to tell them how happy I am.

SHE--Oh, Carroll, don't do that!

HE--You don't suppose I'd do it, little darling, do you? No, this is our precious little secret. Just we two.

SHE--I don't deserve all this joy, Carroll. I don't feel I'm good enough for you--indeed, I don't.

HE--I thought you promised me in the carriage that you would never talk like that again.

SHE--I can't help it, Carroll. I feel so unworthy of you. I never felt like that before in my life. But when--when you put your arm around me--I just thought--well, I just thought how grand and noble you are and how trifling and insignificant I am.

HE--Don't, don't say that, little sweetheart.

SHE--I just can't help it. I'm so happy I want to cry.

HE--I understand, dear girl.

SHE--And when you asked me in the alcove if I--whether I would give myself to you for keeps--and you spoke so beautifully, Carroll!--indeed, I had trouble to keep back the tears. Love is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

HE--It is, dearest.

SHE--You are coming early tonight, aren't you?

HE--I will fly to you as soon as I can. I tell you what, can't you meet me downtown and have lunch with me?

SHE--Oh! may I? You know I'd just love to!

HE--Well, meet me at half-past 12. Usual corner, you know--Fidelity Building. Goodbye until then.

XI.

(Wednesday, April 10.)

SHE--Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is that you, Carroll?

HE--Yes, it is I.

SHE--I think it perfectly hateful of you to send me that mean note, Carroll Vincent.

HE--Now, look here, girlie, don't you think you're to blame?

SHE--I? Why, the idea!

HE--Yes, you. I don't believe you care for me at all.

SHE--Why, Carroll Vincent, how can you say that?

HE--Now, say, Genevieve, don't take that tone with me. You know you had no business flirting with Jack Smallwood as you did last night at Lehmann's.

SHE--Flirting? Why, Mr. Vincent, how dare you?

HE--Yes, flirting. I said it. If you cared anything for me, you wouldn't treat me so contemptibly as you have been lately.

SHE--Contemptibly? What have I been doing, I'd like to know?

HE--I think the way you carried on with Jack was perfectly outrageous. As for him, when----

SHE--Carroll Vincent, you ought to be grateful to him, if you love me.

HE--If I love you?

SHE--Yes, if you love me. You know very well he introduced us. And Jack isn't anything to me.

HE--And you don't care for him?

SHE--Certainly I like him. He's one of my oldest friends.

HE--Oh, those friends!

SHE--You're letting your jealousy run away with you.

HE--Maybe I am, but I'm glad I found him out before it was too late.

SHE--Indeed! And do you think it is too late? (Pause) What did you say?

HE--I didn't say anything. I was thinking. Listen, Genevieve, what's the use of our going on like this? I see now I was pig-headed to send that note. It was cruel to you. I'll never forgive myself.

SHE--I'm glad you're coming to your senses.

HE--I don't blame you for being angry, Genevieve, dear.

SHE--Oh! Carroll, how could you be so unjust?

HE--I'm awfully remorseful. Can't I come tonight and tell you more?

SHE--Why, certainly, you old goose. I'll forgive you.

HE--I'm so glad, Genevieve. But, tell me, dearest girl, you don't care for Jack Smallwood.

SHE--No, you silly boy. He isn't worth your little finger.

HE--Thank you, sweetheart. Goodbye.

XII.

(Wednesday, June 4.)

SHE--Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is that you, dearest? Oh! Carroll, I'm all so topsy-turvy I don't know what I'm doing. But I just couldn't go to bed without talking to you again.

HE--You know I'm glad.

SHE--And I----Oh! I'm so full of joy I can't wait for tomorrow to come. Doesn't it seem like a dream to think of our being married? It's all so strange, and yet I'm so happy! You don't think me unwomanly for telling you so, do you, dearest? I'm so frightened, and yet my heart is beating--trip--trip--for you. Can't you hear it?

HE--Keep still a moment. Yes, I can. One, two, three----

SHE--Oh, you tease! Such nonsense!

HE--It must be my own then, beating for you.

SHE--You're not nervous, are you?

HE--Of course I am. Am I not going to get the best, sweetest, prettiest, dearest, most lovable girl in the world for a wife? Tomorrow at high noon seems a long way off, doesn't it?

SHE--Oh! Carroll, we won't need a 'phone then, will we?

HE--It has been a dear old two-party line, though, hasn't it?

SHE--It knows an awful lot of our secrets. I wonder how much the exchange girl has heard?

HE--Oh! I guess she got tired of us long ago.

SHE--Then she won't be listening if I send you a kiss over the wire. Um--m--m--m--did you get it?

HE--I'll give it back with interest tomorrow.

SHE--Everything's tomorrow, isn't it?

HE--There's the clock striking midnight. It's today now, and our wedding day.

SHE--Oh, Carroll!

HE--Don't come late, little bride. I'll be "waiting at the church."

Timon Up To Date

The Doctor and his wife waited until their half dozen guests had finished the tasty supper Mrs. Harford had provided before they sprung upon them the purpose which had moved them to invite them. The entire party was made up of West Arlingtonites, neighbors from across the way, from down the block and from up near Carter Station. They had chatted gaily over neighborhood gossip in the dining-room, intermingled with nonsense of the sort that passes between people who have been a great deal in the same set. And now that they were seated on the front porch, two in a hammock and the others in comfortable rockers, the badinage continued as Dr. Harford passed cigars to the men and pretended to give them to the ladies, too.

"They don't seem to have taken offense at our not asking them," whispered Mrs. Caswell to plump little Mrs. Fremont.

"No, not a bit," responded Mrs. Fremont, in the same low tone. "All the same, I feel like a hypocrite for coming."

"Nonsense," said Mrs. Caswell; "you're too soft."

She might have added more, but Dr. Harford, who had been lounging against a post since he had handed around the cigars, was evidently trying to attract the attention of the entire group.

"I am reminded tonight," he began, slowly, "by this little affair of a larger party here last summer, when we entertained the card club."

In the stillness that ensued the song of the crickets in the fields beyond the town sounded most strangely plain.

"Mrs. Harford and I," pursued the Doctor, his voice growing more incisive, his manner more stern, "both enjoyed ourselves in that club, and we are most curious to know why we were not included this year."

The pair in the hammock stopped swinging so suddenly that their feet scraped the floor vigorously. Mrs. Fremont cleared her throat with evident nervousness. The others were still dumb--that is, all except Mr. Caswell.

"Why, old man," he burst out, "I was told you did not want to"----

"Joseph!" interrupted Mrs. Caswell, turning herself so that her husband could see her more plainly in the white light from the arc lamp at the corner. There was the menace of a curtain lecture in her face.

"We did want to join, Caswell," exclaimed Dr. Harford, quickly. "The plain fact is that we were not asked."

"There must be some mistake," said Mr. Caswell. "I'm sure I, for one, have been sorry"----

"Joseph!" again exclaimed Mrs. Caswell. This time she was unmistakably severe. Caswell subsided.

Dr. Harford addressed himself directly to Mrs. Caswell. "I intend to get to the bottom of this affair tonight," he said. "I have asked questions of several of you, and so has Effie, and the excuses given have been so various that they would be funny if I did not feel they are doing injury to me professionally, as well as socially. My purpose in having you all together here"----

A Garrison-avenue car crowded with Electric Park visitors rumbled noisily by and drowned some of the words of his sentence.

"I want it sifted thoroughly now."

Little Mrs. Fremont half rose from her chair, as she said weakly to her husband: "I don't feel well. I think I'd better be going."

"Pardon me, Mrs. Fremont," said Dr. Harford, "I beg of you that you will remain."

"Stick it out, Emily," remarked Mr. Fremont. "Harford has got us here to learn the truth." Nothing ever seemed to worry Fremont.

"Now, Mrs. Caswell," continued Dr. Harford, still addressing that lady directly and drawing nearer to her by a foot or two, "I will begin with you. Last week when you were in my office I asked you to tell me just what stories were being circulated about me in West Arlington, and after some demur you told me. Do you mind repeating them?"

Mrs. Caswell was scornful. "I have nothing to say," she exclaimed. "I think it better to hush the whole affair."

"Then, my dear madam, I am forced to repeat to my guests what you told me. You said, you will recollect, that one resident had accused me of having cheated at cards, and that another party had called me a 'tooth butcher,' and had declared I could not fix the teeth of her little dog. Was not that it?"

It was Mrs. Caswell's turn to rise. "This is a contemptible outrage," she cried. "I demand that it stop."

"No more contemptible than the injury you have done us," spiritedly said Mrs. Harford, speaking for the first time.

"Have I not quoted you right?" asked Dr. Harford of Mrs. Caswell.

"I shall say nothing," returned she. "You have cooked up a vile plot to trap us here."

"Then, my dear Mrs. Caswell, if you will affirm nothing, I have a way to make you speak." He stepped inside his hallway for an instant, while the others, all except his wife, watched him with great curiosity and some alarm. When he reappeared he was carrying a table on which was some large, heavy article hidden under a tablecloth. "There's a little surprise coming to you and the rest," he resumed. "You did not know, madame, that when I was pressing you with questions as you sat in my dental chair a phonograph was making a record of your answers." He whipped off the cover of the talking machine and busied himself with preparing it for action.

Consternation was writ large upon the countenances of those who could be seen in the stray beams of light that countered through the porch. But Mrs. Caswell's was the only voice heard. Again she protested against having been trapped.

"Silence," said Dr. Harford, and he started the machine to whirring. Everybody bent forward so as to miss nothing. But there was no need, for the familiar tones of Mrs. Caswell had been well recorded by the Edison invention and floated out in full and plain confirmation of the charges Dr. Harford had so carefully repeated.

Fremont's "Thunderation!" was the only audible one of several exclamations that were murmured as the quoted phrases died away. Dr. Harford raised a warning finger.

"Wait," he said; "there's more."

And as the machine kept revolving they heard his own voice say:

"And who was it, Mrs. Caswell, who told you that I had cheated at cards?"

There came a sharp interruption.

"Stop!" cried Mrs. Caswell, as in sheer desperation she bounced from her chair and made a vicious dive toward the tell-tale recording angel, only to be blocked by the watchful Dr. Harford. "Let go of me," she cried, as she shook off his restraining hand in furious anger. "I insist that you stop this outrage. Joseph, how can you stand idly by and see me so grossly insulted?"

There was no answer to the summons from Caswell. His wife evidently expected none, for she continued right along in wrathful denunciations of Harford, threatening law suits and other means of dire vengeance. "I declare she frightens me," whispered timid Mrs. Fremont, as she drew her chair closer to that of her husband.

The phonograph was pursuing the even tenor of its paraffine way. Those who could hearken to it above the irate tones of Mrs. Caswell heard her refuse several times to name her informant; heard the Doctor's earnest pleading for no concealment, and finally heard her say:

"Well, if you really must know, Doctor, who it was who said you cheated at cards, it was Mrs. Fremont."

Dr. Harford quickly shut off the record and turned to face the others. Mrs. Fremont had risen from her chair and leveled her finger at Mrs. Caswell. She was timid no longer.

"How dared you tell such a lie about me, Irene Caswell?" she gasped.

"You know you said it, Mary Fremont."

"I did not. She is telling what is not true, Dr. Harford. She came to me when we were re-forming the club and said she would not join this year if you were to be a member. She uttered a lot of things against you, and finally she said she was sure you would not hesitate to cheat at cards, and she only wished she could catch you once. And then I reminded her--perhaps I was wrong to do it--of the time when I was your partner and you sprouted an extra point and presently we got into a dispute about the score."

"You mean the night at Mrs. Parkin's?"

"Yes; don't you remember you were the first one to call attention to it and wanted to take off the point, but after some time it was shown that we had the right number? That's honestly all I said to her about you and the cards."

"I believe you, Mrs. Fremont."

From the chair into which Mrs. Caswell had subsided there came a snort. "Go ahead," she sneered. "Play out your little comedy. You're all in it together. Nobody will believe me."

"We take you at your word, Mrs. Caswell," rejoined Dr. Harford. "There is more of the truth to be got at."

Again the phonograph was in motion, and the listeners heard these questions and answers:

"And who was it, Mrs. Caswell, who told you I was a 'tooth butcher' and could not fix the teeth of her little dog?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, Doctor, it was Mrs. Parkin who said her husband had called you a 'tooth butcher,' and it was Mrs. Somerset who said you could not fix the teeth of her little dog."

Both the Parkins rose from their place in the hammock. The husband was so angry that he moved toward Mrs. Caswell with upraised hand until he recollected himself and halted with a muttered exclamation. The wife, a tall, graceful blonde, who had made herself well liked since they had moved out to West Arlington, chose to ignore the woman who had involved her, and so addressed herself directly to the host.

"My husband and I," she began, coolly and cuttingly, "are very much indebted to you, Dr. Harford, for so cleverly unmasking the traitor in our midst. This woman has called it a miserable trap, and I want to say that I feel that only by such a contrived plot has it been possible to uncover the truth and lay the trouble at the door of the right scandal-monger.

"Of course, it is unnecessary to say to you," and she pulled herself up to her full queenly height and spoke with most dignified impressiveness, "that my husband did not call you a 'tooth butcher' and that I did not tell her he had said so. What he did say was merely to repeat jokingly that old jest about a dentist being a 'tooth carpenter.' I forget the way he put it, but it sounded funny to me at the time, and when I was out with Mrs. Caswell in her auto that very afternoon I told her. She laughed, but Mrs. Somerset, who was with us, thought the expression horrid, and said if she were to think of you as a 'tooth carpenter' and not as a good, careful dentist, she would not let you attend her dog. Thus, you see, Doctor, how two harmless little expressions have been perverted into nasty gossip against you.

"I cannot tell you of the things that she alleged against you that afternoon or at other times. I did not give heed to them, and I have too much respect for you to repeat them here just now. I am only sorry that we yielded to Mrs. Caswell's insistent urging that we exclude you from the card club this summer. I am sure it was only done because we felt there had been ill feeling between you and her and because she had been the one to start the club and lead it each year."

"And I want to add, Harford," said Parkin, heartily, "that you will either be in the club henceforth or there will be no club. Am I not right?" he queried, turning to the Fremonts.

The prompt assent from both must have settled Mrs. Caswell's last hope of appeal from a unanimous verdict. She rose and made a sign to her husband. Her blazing anger had given way to a chilly hauteur that showed that, although beaten, she had not hauled down the flag. "I hope your little farce has quite ended," she remarked to Dr. Harford, with exaggerated dignity.

"Quite," he replied, with sweet acquiescence.

"Then I suppose I will be allowed to go?"

"As soon as convenient."

"I leave you," she pursued, "in the hands of your friends. Oh! if you only knew the things they have said about you! And now they honey you!"

"I am willing to trust them," he said, equably.

For the life of her, Mrs. Caswell could think of no other biting thing to say, so she took her departure.

"Come, Joseph," she ordered, as she passed down the steps to the hedge-bordered walk.

Caswell stopped for an instant to hold out his hand to the dentist.

"Sorry, immensely sorry, old chap. Awful mess she's made. If there's any way I can"----

"Joseph!" reiterated Mrs. Caswell from the gateway.

And Joseph obeyed.

"Have a fresh cigar, Parkin. And you, Fremont," said Dr. Harford, as the six left behind settled back in their chairs and hammock for a good half-hour review of Mrs. Caswell and her mischief-making.

"By George! this was an original plan of yours, Harford," exclaimed Fremont.

"Indeed it was," murmured little Mrs. Fremont.

"It was not my idea at all. I got it from Shakespeare. Do you not recall a scene in 'Timon of Athens' where Timon invites his false friends to a banquet to show them up?"

"Well, you worked it neatly, anyhow," said Parkin, who had never read Shakespeare in his life.

"I had one great advantage over 'old Bill,'" continued Dr. Harford.

"In what way?" asked Mrs. Parkin, smiling at him.

"I had the phonograph."

The Night That Patti Sang

When I moved there 10 years ago that Franklin-street block just west of Charles was even then known as "Doctors' Row," though there was by no means the number of professional men the street now has. From Dr. Osler's at the Charles-street corner of the south side--in the old Colonial mansion where now the Rochambeau apartments stand--to Dr. Alan P. Smith's on the north side next to the old Maryland Club building at Cathedral street, there were in all five doctors. And my own shingle--newly painted in gilt letters as befitted a specialist freshly returned from the Vienna hospitals--made the sixth sign of the kind.

On the south side not far from Dr. Osler's, the front of one of those fine old houses erected in the thirties, and the homes of the elite of Baltimore for many years before Mount Vernon place was built up, bore the announcement of:
   __________________________
  | |
  | JAMES COURSEY DUNTON, M. D. |
  |_____________________________|

The sign was of a very old pattern, and was so rain-washed that the name could scarcely be deciphered. This, too, was the case with a frosted pane in the front window, on which--perhaps 40 years ago--Dr. Dunton had had his name painted in black letters. The house, too, showed the same lack of paint and care.

In my student days at the Johns Hopkins Medical School I had never heard the name of Dr. Dunton, and this led me to make inquiries of a professional neighbor. I learned that Dunton was in effect an elderly hermit, that for years he had abandoned his practice and had declined to respond to calls. His self-enforced isolation had grown to such a degree that he was rarely seen on the street and made all his household purchases through notes stuck in his vestibule door for "order boys". "I have seen Dunton only once in eight years," said my informant. "They say, too, he used to be an excellent practitioner, an Edinburgh graduate, with a patronage of the best classes--a courtly gentleman who was well liked by his patients."

"What was the cause for the change?" I asked.

"A love tragedy of some kind, they told me, though I never got the details."

I developed a lively curiosity in the elderly recluse, and nearly every time I moved in or out of my own residence, or passed my front windows, I glanced at Dr. Dunton's house in hopes of seeing him. My first glimpse was, perhaps, a month after I had been told about him. The sun had gone down, save where I could see the gilded tops of the Cathedral with a red glint upon them. In the half-light Dr. Dunton came to his second-story window--I knew it must be he--a tall, slender figure, somewhat bent, garbed in unrelieved black, save for the open white collar of ante-bellum style. Scant white hair extended from his temples back over his ears and framed a face that seemed, in the dusk, refined and kindly, though seared with many wrinkles. I watched the silent figure at the window unnoticed by him, for he gazed with intentness at the vine-adorned front of the old Unitarian Church at the corner, until the real darkness came upon us both.

It was, I think, about a week later when I again encountered Dr. Dunton. The Edmondson-avenue trolley line had just been completed up Charles street, and for the first time this old residential section resounded with the clangor that betokened rapid transit. About 9 one night I observed Dr. Dunton stepping down from the pavement of the Athenaeum Club to cross the street. A trolley car was coming rapidly, but the old gentleman, his head bent in thought and unused as he was to modern inventions and modern bursts of speed, paid no attention and moved in front of it. The motorman threw off his current, tried to reverse, and rang his gong furiously, but saw that he could not stop in time to avoid hitting the Doctor. I had bounded into the street, and when the car was only half a dozen feet off I was fortunately able to draw the old chap back and hold him clear of the Juggernaut that had so nearly wrought his destruction.

His first impulse, as he turned toward me, was one of anger that I had presumed to intrude so violently upon his thoughts. Then he saw what a narrow escape he had had, and anger gave place to a courtly smile and a slight twinkle in his sunken eyes.

"We young fellows are not so careful as we ought to be," he said. "I owe you my life."

I hastened to assure him that my act was one of simple kindness, but he renewed his expressions of thanks in even more polished phrases. The car had gone on and we had crossed to the church corner.

"I am Dr. Dunton," he said. "My house is yonder and, though I dwell alone, and with little ceremony, I will be pleased to have you partake of such hospitality as I can offer."

I accepted with alacrity. "I am Dr. Seaman," I responded. "I have just moved into the block." And I indicated my own home.

We crossed Franklin street to Dr. Dunton's house. He opened the heavy door with a latch-key, but before I could enter it was necessary for him to go ahead and light up. He was profuse in his apologies for the disorder of everything as he led me into the room behind the parlor, but beyond a thick coating of dust the dark mahogany furniture showed no signs of the absence of servants.

"I suppose you younger men might call this your 'den,'" he said as he applied a match to the centre chandelier, "but I prefer to name it my study." There were rows upon rows of medical works of a past generation on the shelves around the room, a familiar bust of Esculapius, a skull or two, some assorted bones and other signs of my host's former profession. A worn leather arm-chair sat behind the table under the chandelier, another arm-chair on the right. Dr. Dunton drew the latter forward for me and dropped into the other one. As the light fell full upon him I noted that he was not only thin, but gaunt, and that his face, which interested me strangely, was marked by hollow places that gave him an almost uncanny appearance, despite its refinement and intellectuality. His eyes had a haunting expression, as if at times he suffered much physical pain, and there was a sadness in them that quickened my sympathies.

For a minute or so there was silence. I felt that he was at a loss for topics upon which to converse on common ground. Finally he said:

"You are the first visitor I have had here since poor Wallis sat in that chair a dozen years ago."

"You mean Mr. Wallis the lawyer?" I asked.

"He was my good friend in many dark days," he answered gently. I felt that he was slipping away from me into the past.

"You must have it lonely here," I remarked.

"Not lonely," was the response. "I live with my memories."

The shadow on his face grew deeper.

"Why not practice your profession," I hazarded, "and forget some part of your past sorrows in a busy life?"

He leaned forward, looking intently at me and yet beyond. "Ah! lad," he said, as he laid a thin hand upon my wrist, "if you but knew, if you but knew! I tried hard, and then I found I couldn't, and then I gave up trying. There are griefs so great that one cannot lose them until the last sleep. I am not lonely, for I have Her always with me here."

It was best for me to remain silent. He was almost unaware of my presence. I felt he would go on if I did not divert his train of thought.

"Night after night She sits here with me," he pursued; "day after day She is by my side. In spirit the loving companionship I sought is ever mine, and yet, great God, how different!" His face he buried in his hands. In my eyes the tears could not be kept back.

Presently he rose from his seat and moved to the wall next to the parlor. To my surprise, the pressure of his finger against a spot in the wooden door pillar opened up a secret cupboard in the partition. The Doctor reached in and lifted out an arm chair of the same pattern as that upon which I was seated. It was heavy and I jumped to aid him, but he negatived me with a short, sharp twist of his head. As he came into the full light I saw that the chair contained a woman's cloak, one of shimmery gray satin, but now sadly faded and time-stained. Reverently he lifted the cloak and laid it across the back of the chair.

"That's as it was the night she sat there and passed away," said the Doctor.

For several minutes there was no word between us. The Doctor, his mouth twitching, his thoughts far from me, stared intently at the old cloak.

"How I loved her, how I loved her!" he finally murmured. Again he was becoming aware of my presence. "You can't understand, sir, the depth of my devotion. It stood the test of years--it stood even her marriage to another."

Another pause.

"She was the prettiest and merriest child you ever saw," he finally went on. "Had she been an Indian maid they would have called her 'Dancing Sunshine.' But being just a Baltimore girl, with her parents more fond of reading Scott than of any other literature save the Bible, she was named Geraldine. You remember that line in the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel':

  The fair and lovely form, the Lady Geraldine.

"That's where she got her romantic and historic name. To us boys--my brother Tom and myself--she was always Dina. She was our cousin. Her father had died when she was but a babe. So had my mother, and Aunt Patty thenceforth was the housewife with us. Father was one of those merchants and ship owners who have long passed away in Baltimore. No firm was better known around the Basin than that of Dunton & Jameson, and no clipper ships were faster than those with the Dunton signal.

"Dina was Tom's age, some years younger than I, but both of us made her our playmate. We didn't have the hundred and one diversions and sports that young people seem to have nowadays--no suburban clubs, no motoring, little driving. We roamed through Howard's woods around and beyond the Washington Monument, and we strolled the banks of the 'canal' that used to parallel Jones' Falls down there above Centre street. And in all our rambles and excursions Dina was our joyous, care-free companion. I can see her now, as she was at 14, a simply dressed school girl, with her olive complexion, her clear, trustful gray eyes, her trim, petite, lissom figure and her rosebud mouth, ready ever to kiss either of us in fond sisterly affection.

"She was 16 when I was sent to Edinburgh on one of father's ships, to become a doctor. For once her laughter deserted her, and the last picture I had of her as our boat headed down the Patapsco on a bright, blue morning was of a tearful miss on Bowly's wharf, waving a bedewed handkerchief and watching through misty eyes the going of Cousin Jim across the water. There had been a tender farewell between us, and though no word of love was spoken, I tell you, lad, I knew I was leaving my heart behind.

"My three years in Scotland were ones of hard work, and the chief joy I knew came with Dina's letters. The mails were slow in those days, and they came too uncertainly for me, you may be sure. But each brought me, in addition to a budget of news, just a bit of Dina's lovely personality. I saw her, in her letters, growing into sweet womanhood, and, as I sometimes stretched myself in meditation on Arthur's Seat, far above old Edinburgh, my thoughts were not of the city, nor of my own lifework, but of the little girl at home.

"I was just completing my course, when there came my first terrible blow. A letter came from Dina, the first in two months, and it brought me word, lad, that she was married! Married! Just think of it! And to Tom. He had been with Watson and Ringgold in the Mexican War, and clippings they sent me had recounted the bravery of young Captain Dunton. I confess to you, sir, that for days I had murder in my heart, and against my own brother. I went off on a walking trip in the Trossachs, and a savage time I had of it with myself; I had schemes of petty revenge; I abused Dina; I vowed she could not love Tom; that she must have been swept off her feet by the brass buttons and the war glamour about him.

"By the time I came back to Baltimore I had regained self-control, and when I met Tom and his wife it was with the determination to do everything for Dina's happiness, even though she were another's. I was not wrong in my prophecy that she would develop into sweet womanhood, only I underestimated it. In all our circle of acquaintances in Baltimore there was no more beautiful young matron than Mrs. Dunton; no more sprightly and piquant bride; no hostess more gracious, as she presided over the dinners and 'small and early' affairs that were given at our home here.

"But, alas! it was not long before sorrows came to her. Tom began to drink heavily. He got in with a gay set at Barnum's Hotel, his hours grew irregular, his absences from home more numerous and more prolonged. Father and I remonstrated ineffectually, at first pleadingly and then in anger. We did our best to keep Dina ignorant of some of the worst stories out concerning Tom's dissipation, but she knew. And though she loyally never criticised him in talking to us, we saw the joy fade out of her heart and lips, and the glint of ineffaceable sadness come into those pure gray eyes. God only knows what she suffered in the nine years before death, invited by alcohol, came and took Tom.

"It may sound brutal, but I was glad when besotted Tom was gone. It ended Dina's terrible worry, it relieved father and myself of unexplainable trouble, expense and annoyance, it laid to rest a family skeleton of whose existence all Baltimore seemed to know. And deep down in my heart, I confess it, there was a thrill that the woman I loved above all was free.

"Of course, being a true woman, and a tender-hearted one, Dina grieved long over Tom's death. She had loved him sincerely despite his grievous faults, and ours was a melancholy household for another year. In those days our women wore deep black mourning and veils, and sombre, indeed, was Dina as she went out to church, to Tom's grave, or to half a dozen poor households she had taken under her wing. But most of the time she was at home ministering to father, whose declining health was a cause of alarm to both of us.

"Presently I began to urge her to go about with me. At first she said no, then with her characteristic considerateness she seemed unwilling to hurt me by refusing further. I took her to the homes of our friends for an evening of music or whist, or to an occasional public concert. The color began to come back into the cheeks whence it had been so long absent, and that glint of grief in the gray eyes grew dimmer. I spoke no word of love, but unobtrusively carried on a campaign to let her see how badly I yearned for her. The new books, the best sweets, the prettiest flowers, such delicate compliments as sincerity could dictate--all these I gave her and watched patiently to see the dawning of love on her part. I had always had her fond affection, but I wanted more and strove in every way to gain it.

"Two years passed and there came a night memorable in Baltimore when 18-year-old Adelina Patti--a singer in the first flush of youth and beauty, fresh from triumphs in New York--was brought to Holliday-Street Theatre to sing 'La Somnambula.' Strakosch had stirred up a furore about Patti and Brignoli in Gotham, and Baltimore was curious to hear them. I took Dina, and proud was I of her beauty and her sweet garb as we sat in the midst of a hundred acquaintances in an audience the newspapers called 'brilliant'. She had abandoned black and wore a satin gown of a soft color, shimmery and splendidly adorned with lace. Her matured beauty seemed to me more glorious than the promise of childhood, which had first captured me. She was entranced with the music, but I had no ears for the diva, and was there only to enjoy the divinity by my side. I had a feeling that the end of my probation was near. I believed she would say 'yes' should I ask her, and I determined to do so that night.

"After we had gotten away from our friends she talked animatedly of the opera in the carriage, and I listened contentedly all the while I kept saying 'Tonight, Jim, tonight!' As we came into the house she led the way into this office, and with a smile dropped into that chair you see. She allowed me to unfasten her opera cloak and draw it across the back of the chair, but she playfully bade me sit down, when I let my arm steal caressingly about her neck. Ah! man, if you could but know how I loved her that minute!"----

The Doctor's voice broke. There were tears in his eyes. As for me, I was profoundly moved, and my own eyelashes were wet.

"I passed into the dining-room to get her some sherry and cake. I was gone but a moment, but in that instant she was lost to me forever."

The veins in the old man's forehead stood out like whipcords. He resumed fiercely after a pause:

"She was dead, sir. She was dead. She sat in the same position in that chair as when I had left her, but her hand clutched her side and the smile she had given me was replaced by a sharp contraction, as if from pain. Swiftly her heart action had been gripped by an unseen force and stopped forever. I grew frantic when I found I could not revive her; I shrieked aloud in the agony of my heart, and father and the servants rushed here in alarm. They tell me I was mad for days; that I raved and called incessantly. I do not remember. I knew nothing for a long time, and then I cursed myself for living on when memory returned. Twice I had lost her--once by marriage and once by death--and the joy of living was never to be mine again. I have survived, sir, these many years. I buried Father after Dina, and I am alone here. But, God, man! I died long ago. My soul is with her I adored."

He arose and I followed. I felt that he meant to end our talk. He wiped away the tears from his cheek with a silk handkerchief, and then, placing his gaunt hand on my right shoulder, he moved his face close to mine and spoke earnestly:

"I never dare visit her grave in Greenmount. I am afraid of myself. But if you can, to please an old man whose wretched life you have saved tonight, will you go there some time and see that her resting place has been tended reverently? I have paid them for it."

I promised him I would, and then I passed out into the starlit night with a thousand impressions of the terrible tragedy of this man's life crowding my excited brain. I could not sleep, and I lay in bed for hours reconstructing the tale and fancying many details he had not supplied. The next morning I went to the Dunton lot in Greenmount and found it well cared for. Over his loved Dina's grave was a handsome stone of Carrara marble, with this inscription:
   ___________________________
  | |
  | GERALDINE, |
  | Beloved wife of Thomas Bowly |
  | Dunton. |
  | Passed away suddenly, |
  | 1860. |
  | Aged 30 years. |
  | "God is love." |
  |______________________________|

On one side was the grave of the ill-fated Tom. On the other the green turf waited to be disturbed to make room for the last of the Duntons, and there, on a raw day in the following March, I saw the body of the old Doctor laid beside her whom he had loved so long and with such overwhelming sorrow.

An Island On A Jamboree

For three days the shipping of Baltimore, large and small, had been held in leash by a great storm upon the bay. One of those West India autumn hurricanes coming suddenly had whipped the Chesapeake into such a fury with its fierce southeast blow that steamboats and small sailing craft alike heeded the Weather Bureau warning and remained in Baltimore.

On the third night the gale had spent its fury, and, with a rising barometer and a favorable Government forecast, Captain Cromwell, eager to get home, ventured out with his bugeye as soon as the dawn came. The Patapsco was full of white caps, but the wind had softened and the skies were clear, and the Tuckahoe met with no misadventure as it passed down. A hundred other vessels were making ready to follow, but he had the start of them and the river to himself. In a few hours he would be with his family at Rock Hall.

But as he rounded Seven-Foot Knoll and headed across the bay he suddenly grew excited, and shouted the name of his favorite patron, the great Jehoshaphat.

Then he yelled to his crew:

"What in the devil is that ahead, you lazy loafer?"

The crew rose up en masse--being only one--from its lolling position beside the mainmast, and looked out over the disturbed waters. And then it was the crew's turn to become excited.

"Golly, Cap. Jim, I ain't never done seen nuthin' like that afore. What the debbil am it?"

The commander of the Tuckahoe responded:

"I'll be jiggered if I know."

The crew instinctively moved back to a position close to the master, and both, with mixed feelings of alarm and curiosity, concentrated their gaze upon the strange sight that had aroused them.

"I've been running to Baltimore these ten years, John Washington," said the Captain to the crew, "and I've seen queer things on the bay and the river. I'll never forget how them blamed naval fellers from Annapolis frightened me by coming up out of the water with one of them durned submarines. But I'll be blowed if ever I have seen anything to beat this. There warn't no island out there when we run past the Knoll going up."

"'Deed there warn't, Cap. Jim. Golly, I'se scared, I is. Ain't you 'fraid it's one of Satan's traps, Cap. Jim? The debbil am mighty cunnin', you knows dat."

"Devil or not, John, I'm going to see what it really is."

And the captain of the Tuckahoe gave the command "Hard lee!" so as to head the bay craft more directly toward the centre of the mysterious island that they had discovered. It was now about a half mile distant and, as seen in the morning light, low-lying and ten acres or so in extent. Its most peculiar feature to the pair on the bugeye was a grove of tall trees, naked to a height of 60 or 80 feet, and then crowned by enormous spreading leaves, or branches.

"Them's powerful funny trees, Cap. Jim," said the colored deckhand, doubtfully.

"Never seen anything like 'em in this bay before," replied Captain Cromwell. "I ain't never been in the tropics, John, but they look mighty like pictures of cocoanut palms."

"Tropics, Cap. Jim?"

"Yes; the West Indies."

"In de name of de Lawd, Cap. Jim, how dem trees done get here from de West Indies? Dat a long way off, ain't it?"

Captain Cromwell made no reply. He was too intently studying the island. All of a sudden he was startled by his crew sinking on its knees on the deck with an exclamation. He turned and saw the negro's skin blanched with terror.

"Fo' de Lawd Gawd, Cap. Jim, dat thing am movin'."

"Skidoo, John, skidoo," said the Captain, skeptically.

"'Deed an' double-deed, it is, Cap. Jim. You jes' look behind it ober dar at Kent Island."

The Captain peered as directed, while the negro eyed him doubtfully.

"Great Jehoshaphat!" the white man cried. "You're right, John, you're right. That there island is a-movin' up the bay."

"Ain't yer skeered, Cap. Jim?" asked the crew, with a shudder. "'Pears to me it's mighty like de debbil."

Captain Cromwell was doubtful himself. He laid his hand on the tiller and was about to change his course when he made a fresh discovery.

"There's a man on that island, as I'm a-livin'," he exclaimed.

"Whar is he, Cap. Jim?" cried the negro.

"Right by that grove of trees, John. He's waving his arms at us. He's standing by some kind of a hut and there's a tall pole with the stars and stripes turned upside down."

"Maybe dey's pirates, Cap. Jim." Visions of the dreaded skull and cross-bones and of a horrible death at the yardarm, whatever that was, made John Washington's teeth and knees knock together violently.

"Pirates, the deuce! They're Americans that want help."

"And is you gwine close, Cap. Jim? Lawdy."

The crew started forward and the Captain held the bugeye to its course to the strange island. The man by the grove of palms waved his arms and ran toward the shore nearest to them. He shouted several times, but Captain Cromwell could not hear him. Finally, the man picked up a huge leaf, and, twisting it into a cornucopia shape, made a megaphone of it. With this aid his voice came floating over the bay.

"Keep off!" he called. "There is a sunken reef on this side. Head for the cove." He pointed to the north end of the floating mass, and Captain Cromwell put about. The island, now that he was close, appeared to be making good headway--at least four or five miles an hour. There was a swish and a swirl of water on the sides that showed it would have been folly to have run in shore there. But after he had rounded a hummock of glistening sand he saw the cove, and in a few minutes more had entered it and discovered a roughly constructed wharf. John Washington reluctantly obeyed a sharp order to take in sail, and, with the aid of the stranger ashore, the Tuckahoe was presently moored.

Captain Cromwell's first impulse was to laugh at a near view of the man on the island. "Powerful funny lookin'," was John Washington's comment. His hair and whiskers were of the red hue that could never by courtesy be called auburn. Both whiskers and hair were long and ragged and would have provoked despair in any aseptic barber shop in Baltimore. For coat the islander had on a baggy affair, roughly fashioned out of jute, and his trousers were of sailcloth, cut in a style that would not have met the approval of a Maryland Club member. He was thick-set, with a slight stoop. His wrists were tattooed, his hands horny. His eyes were a placid blue pair. Above the left one was a scar.

"Where in blazes am I?" he yelled to Captain Cromwell as the Tuckahoe was nearing the wharf. "Blazes" is a mild translation of the expletive actually employed.

"Chesapeake bay, mate."

"Chesapeake bay! Jiminy crickets! Blown all the way from the Bahamas! Well, I'm danged!"

"How did it happen?" asked the master of the Tuckahoe. The newest Robinson Crusoe didn't hear him.

"How in blazes did I pass in the Capes and not know it?" Again "blazes" is putting it mildly. "Durned thick, nasty weather yesterday. Couldn't see a half mile. Must a passed in then. How far up am I?"

"Mouth of the Patapsco."

"By jinks, so it is. I might a knowed it. There's the Knoll. And there's North P'int. Many's the time I sighted them when I used to run here in a five-master from Bath."

"How did you come--this time?" again asked Captain Cromwell.

Again his curiosity had to wait. "Got a quid of 'baccy, mate?" asked the red-bearded man as he stood on the wharf beside the bugeye. "Ain't had a chaw in four years." He seized eagerly the plug that was handed to him, broke off a generous "chaw" and thrust it into his mouth. Then, and not until then, did he make reply.

"How did I come? Caught in a sou'easter, that's all. Nastiest storm you ever want to see. Hit us suddenly five nights ago. Them palms was bent double with the wind. Lord only knows why my mansion yonder didn't go. After while sort a felt we were driftin'. When mornin' broke there was my kingdom afloat in the ocean cut in two, me alone on this bit and the biggest half gone off with my subjects on it."

"Subjects?"

"Yes, my people."

The Captain looked at John and John edged off from the stranger and made a sign suggestive of deficient mentality.

"Your people?" asked Captain Cromwell.

"Yes, man. Why, I am the King of Tortilla Key."

John renewed the aforesaid sign and edged still farther away. Captain Cromwell laughed. The stranger chimed in.

"Does sound funny, don't it. Fact is I made myself King. I've got a crown up at the palace there. Rusty tin saucepan afore I knocked the bottom out."

The Captain laughed again.

"You're an odd fish," he remarked. "What was your name before you were King?"

"Me? Oh! I'm a 'down Easter.' Peleg Timrod of Squan, Mass., U. S. A. Of course, I knowed Peleg was no royal name, so I just dubbed myself Victor Fust when I annexed this here island."

"It ain't much of a kingdom."

"About four times as large as you see afore the rest broke away. Anyway, I thought it a mighty big place when I got tossed up here goin' on four year ago. I'd been afloat on the roof of a deckhouse for three days arter the fruiter Bainbridge were cast away, and I tell you, mate, I was powerful glad to hit any old kind of terra firma then. The bunch of natives who fed me and sheltered me was a kind lot. They didn't seem to belong to no country in partikler, and though I knowed Britain claimed the Bahamas, I jes' kind a thought Teddy might want the place for a coaling station some time. So I let 'em know I was their King, and I reckon I ain't had any more trouble with them than Peter Leary had in Guam. Of course, I couldn't make it plain to 'em how the Constitution follows the flag, 'cos I didn't know myself."

"Where did you get your American flag?"

"American flag, mate?" Victor I. was offended. "Why, bless you, that ain't no stars and stripes. That there's the flag of Tortilla. There's no stars there. The red's my old undershirt, the blue I found thrown up in the surf one day and the white is a bit of sail I had with me when I dropped in to take my throne. That flag means business. I"----

His Majesty was interrupted by a shout from John Washington:

"Golly, Cap. Jim, the island's stopped!"

"Stopped, you lunkhead?"

"Yes, Cap. Jim. It ain't movin' no more. I'se been watchin' Poole's Island yonder, and we done ceased."

"Maybe it's aground," suggested the King.

"Maybe it is," replied the Rock Hall captain, "but it's more likely to have run into a current down the bay from the Susquehanna. It's just as well for you, I guess, or you'd a bumped into Cecil county so hard you wouldn't a voted next 'lection."

For some minutes the trio studied the island and its surroundings with intentness. The King was the first to notice when his kingdom got to moving again.

"It's headin' down the bay this time," he cheerily declared. "Reckon you were right about getting into a current. S'pose I'm off on another cruise."

"Sail away with me, and let it go," urged Captain Cromwell.

"What! desert my kingdom in such a economic crisis! Not this King. No, siree. Victor I. stays right here as long as there's a Tortilla to king it over. There's no kin in Squan to lament the loss of Peleg Timrod, and I've had a bully time here. Plenty of bananas, pineapples and cocoanuts to live on, no work to do, and a couple of queens to boot."

"Queens?" cried Captain Cromwell.

"Golly!" exclaimed his crew.

"Yes; two as fine-looking girls as you'd want to see. I'm powerful sorry they ain't here now to give you a royal welcome. They're gone with the rest of the island and the rest of the subjects. I miss 'em."

Victor I. sighed. Then he resumed after a pause:

"Women certainly are the curiousest things. They're the same everywhere. Life's no good without 'em, and they plague you to death while you're trying to live with 'em. Now, there's those two queens. I loved both, and yet I had such trouble with 'em last week I made 'em go home to their father's hut. Ain't I sorry they wasn't at the palace when the sou'easter came!

"How did I get 'em? Oh, they were given to me when I first came to Tortilla. You see, when I got throwed up here there was a family of natives, eight in all--the old man, the old woman, three daughters, the husband of one of them and two young boys. The two girls who didn't have no husbands took a shine to me as soon as I came and dad just passed me along to both. That was before I declaimed myself King. I was brought up in Sunday-school all right and I knowed well only Turks and Mormons had two wives at a time. But, under the circumstances, I couldn't offend anybody, so I just took both. Eugenie--that's the name I give her--she could cook and keep house out of sight. The little one--Marie Antoinette--was the cutest and soon had the biggest corner of my heart. That's what got me into trouble. You see, new clothes was scarce on Tortilla, and when I gave a bit of my old sail to Marie Antoinette for a Sunday-go-to-meetin' dress and didn't give none to Eugenie their oldest sister put the devil into Eugenie's head. She"----

The further recital of the tale of a pair of queens was cut short by a terrible roaring. A piece of the island behind the wharf broke loose and sank into the bay with a suddenness that put the Tuckahoe in dire peril. The wave that followed the engulfing of an acre of land lifted the little bugeye and nearly capsized it, at the same time ripping the wharf to pieces and snapping the moorings. Captain Cromwell and his negro sprang to the tiller and succeeded in steadying her. When they had time to look about them they saw the red-headed King in the water a hundred feet away, swimming for what was left of his kingdom.

"Come nearer; I'll throw you a line," shouted Captain Cromwell.

"No; I'll stick to my kingdom," answered Victor I., alias Peleg Timrod. "You'd better sheer off; you'll hit a coral reef or get drawn under."

The Tuckahoe's master saw that it was good advice, and he ordered John Washington to hoist sail. By the time this was done they were a quarter of a mile out in the bay, and Victor I., wet and dripping, was again on his terra firma.

"Goodbye," yelled the bay captain.

"Bye-bye," returned the King, nonchalantly.

And soon he was but a speck on the strand of the floating island, which was making good progress southward.

For half an hour Tortilla Key was visible in the bay. Captain Cromwell and John watched it unceasingly, the latter growing more and more relieved as the bugeye scudded nearer home and farther from the moving marvel. Strange to relate, over the bay, usually dotted with small or large vessels, there was no steamer or sailing craft to be seen up to the time that the bunch of tall palms became a speck off Annapolis and was finally lost in the south horizon. This evidently suggested a line of action to the master of the Tuckahoe.

"John Washington," he said, as he mustered his crew aft and addressed it sternly, "don't you ever breathe a word about that floatin' island to a living soul, or I'll skin you alive."

"Golly, Cap. Jim, you knows I ain't."

"Well, you'd better not, because folks is liable to think we made a round of Pratt-street saloons afore we boarded the Tuckahoe."

"Dey sutt'nly 'll think we's liars, Cap. Jim."

"They certainly will, John."

For a week Captain Cromwell scanned the daily papers anxiously for news of the progress of the queer derelict. And each day, with equal curiosity, John Washington visited him to learn what he could.

"Thought as how it mout a bumped up down Norfolk way," said the crew.

"No, it hasn't," replied the Captain. "I guess it must be chasing up and down the ocean now."

"Golly, Cap. Jim, but dat dere was powerful queer."

"Are you sure, John, you've never told any one--not even Liza?"

"Go 'way, Cap'n, wha' for you s'pose I'se gwine tell de old woman?"

But he had. And her narrative, as circulated in Eastern-Shore cabins, was a vastly more moving tale than the simple unvarnished truth as you and I know it.

Alexander the Great

Alexander loved everything about Antoinette except her too pronounced fondness for the romantic. That perturbed him greatly. Nobody liked to be sentimental with a pretty girl more than did Alexander. If he could squeeze Antoinette's hand slyly at Ford's or the Academy when a "dark scene" was on, and get a sweet answering pressure; if he engineered his arm about her undisturbed when he took her driving on Druid Hill's unlighted roads of a summer night; if he hazarded an occasional kiss on her warm, cherry-red lips as they lingered in the parting on the front steps of her Harlem-avenue home--he was as pleased as any admiring lover could well be. And the next day in that dull, prosaic German-street office, pictures of Antoinette as she laughed, of Antoinette as she lowered her clear brown eyes after that kiss, would thrust themselves most impertinently into each page of the big ledger he had to post.

The trouble, however, with Antoinette from Alexander's viewpoint was that she was more romantic than that. It was all right for her to be a trusting little dear and allow him the occasional kiss or hug. But no adorer likes to be told that he doesn't come up to the lady's ideal, and that was what Antoinette had plainly given Alexander to understand in those moments when, spurred on by the kiss or the hug, he had sought to make her more truly his only and own. "The man I marry," vowed the darling Antoinette, "must be a hero. You're just an ordinary fellow. You're better than the rest I know, and I like you awfully much. But Alexander, dear," and she gave a little twist to the top button of his coat, "I don't love you, because you have never shown yourself capable of bold deeds or brave actions. I am woman enough to worship a man who can do things of that kind. The age of chivalry is not dead. There are heroes in this world, and though I'm awfully fond of you, Alexander, I'm going to wait until I meet my ideal." Then Alexander would hie himself to his Gilmor-street home and curse his luck. What could a plain, unassuming, workaday clerk do in the way of being a hero? Where did he have opportunities of meeting situations of peril in which he could prove his valor?

One of those evenings when Antoinette waxed confidential and revealed her true thoughts--evenings rare, because, as a rule, she was fencing coquettishy with tongue and eyes--she acknowledged that the nearest approach to her ideal that she had ever seen was a handsome, lithe young Atlantic City life guard. She put such a valuation upon the courage of this sun-bronzed, red-shirted Adonis that Alexander's jealousy rose to the fuming point. There pressed upon him the notion of going to the City-by-the-Sea, either to challenge this approximate ideal to mortal combat or of emulating his choice of occupation and working a lifeboat and a rescue-line himself. Then he reflected that, after all, he would rather be a live clerk in Baltimore than a dead hero in the restless ocean surf.

"It's all the fault of those blamed novels," muttered Alexander, in his wrath. "She has filled up her head with that silly trash until she has spoiled the finest girl on earth." He never met her on Lexington street that she was not on her way to or from the Enoch Pratt Library, or was carrying home the latest bit of fiction from the bookstores. The old and the new alike fed her imagination--Scott, the elder Dumas, the King Arthur romances, Stanley Weyman, Anthony Hope, Hallie Erminie Rives, Laura Jean Libbey, Bertha M. Clay, Mrs. Alexander--all were fish for her net, tabloids for her mental digestion. "If she had her way, she would make me a Rob Roy, a Romeo, a Prisoner of Zenda, a Sir Gal--or whatever the dickens that old fellow's name was," vowed Alexander, who, it must be confessed, was not strong on literature.

For three hours and more he lay awake on his bed that night. He knew the length of time, because the wind was from the east and brought the sound of the City Hall's strike to him. How to gain Antoinette in marriage, how to meet her fancy of what a man ought to be, how to be a hero without an untimely fate in the flower of his youth--was ever lover more perplexed, more worried!

The next morning brought his deliverance. It came to him as he held himself in place on two inches of the footboard of a crowded open car. A queer spot for salvation to be handed to a despairing lover! Yet salvation is accustomed to odd performances. In this instance it popped into Alexander's mind so unexpectedly that he chuckled and made a seated individual think Alexander was reading the jokes of his penny paper over his shoulder. As a matter of fact, Alexander was soaring into a new and unexplored world. A great white light was leading him far from the madding crowd.

For three days chuckling alternated with heavy thinking. His mind was so engrossed with the probability of his deliverance from the trials and anxieties of trying vainly to please Antoinette that when he went, by appointment, to take her to Electric Park to see the vaudeville show he came perilously near telling her all about it. And that to the swain who hopes to capture a hesitating maiden would, as every masculine knows, have been fatal. As it was, Alexander's countenance was so benign and cheerful that the little lady noticed it.

"You've got a surprise for me, I know," she declared as she eyed him, pouting most charmingly.

She had hit so near the truth that Alexander, helpless masculine, floundered. "N--n--no. I--I--I haven't," he vowed.

"Yes, you have, Alexander Brotherton," she replied, spiritedly; and at midnight as they were crossing Harlem square, homeward bound, she snuggled up to him confidingly and intimated that it was about time to tell her.

Alexander weakened. When a fellow is 24 and a girl is 22 and unusually pretty and winsome, his heart must be adamant to withstand that little trick of snuggling up. Alexander gasped, but with the gasp gained sense enough to see he couldn't tell her about the "great white light."

Antoinette, girl like, was miffed. It was the first time in her experience with Alexander, and in fact with several other adorers, that she had not been able to operate that little device successfully. As a result, she was rather cool when they parted.

The next evening Alexander went around to make it up. He had to "crawl," of course. They all do. The girls make them do it. And when he had apologized earnestly for the eleventh time and vowed with a double criss-cross that there really wasn't any secret, Antoinette was partially mollified and allowed Alexander to stay until past 11 o'clock without a recurrence of pouting on her part.

The next night she was in a lovely humor when Alexander came around. It was close and hot, and, after buying sondaes at the drug store on the corner below, Alexander suggested riding out and strolling along some of the paths of Druid Hill Park. He put it humbly, but he was most blithe and joyous when she consented.

They were walking up the Mall on their way to the boat lake half an hour later. It was dark just there, and, as no one seemed to be near, Alexander let his hand steal around Antoinette's little waist.

"You shouldn't do that," said Antoinette slipping away from him, but not angrily. "We're not engaged, you know."

"I'd like to be," asserted Alexander ardently.

What answer she would have made can only be guessed at, for just at this moment two muscular fellows sprang in front of them from behind a tree. In the few arc-light rays that penetrated the low-hanging limbs Antoinette could see that both were masked and that one held a pistol at her. Antoinette backed close to Alexander and screamed. It was a good, lusty scream, far stronger than Alexander had thought her capable of emitting.

"Hand over your money and valuables," gruffly said the companion of him who held the pistol.

Antoinette could feel Alexander double his fists and his muscles grow hard. He started toward the two highwaymen. "Don't! don't!" she cried, as she threw her arms around him. "They'll kill you!"

But Alexander heeded her not. Instead, he pushed her aside and sprang determinedly at the other pair. With his left hand he knocked up the pistol and caused it to fall to the ground. With his right he delivered a swinging blow on the shoulder that staggered the other fellow. Apparently the pair had not expected resistance, for they darted off in the shadows, with Alexander in stern pursuit.

"Don't leave me alone," called Antoinette agonizingly. Visions of dire peril to distressed womanhood leaped into her brain from a score of favorite novels. She might be kidnapped and confined in some dark tower--she might be shot down from ambush--she might--but, ah, now! her fears were dissipated, for the doughty Alexander was back. He was puffing most unromantically, but was overjoyed at the turn that enabled him to show himself so valiant.

Several strangers had been attracted by Antoinette's scream. Alexander satisfied their curiosity by a modest recital of the incident. And then with the adoring Antoinette holding close to him he turned away. One of the strangers stopped him.

"You've left the pistol," he said.

"By George! so I did," said Alexander.

"Don't take that awful thing," said Antoinette with a shudder.

"It will be a prize trophy," said Alexander, and Antoinette with this point of view was content. Under the first light he showed the weapon to her. She needed to be encouraged to handle the pistol, but finally she inspected it closely. "It has your initials--'A. B.'--on it," she suddenly declared.

"Why so it has," stammered Alexander. Without further ado he put the revolver in his pocket.

"Hadn't you better tell the park gateman about the outrage?" asked Antoinette presently.

"No; I think it wiser to keep it out of the papers," returned Alexander. "After all, it was only a little incident, with no serious consequences."

But Antoinette did not regard it in that light. To her it was a valorous deed, and she rehearsed her view of it all the way home.

"You are my hero, my first hero," she said to the proud Alexander on her stoop, and reaching up to his face she impulsively gave him the warmest kiss he had ever secured from her. The hero business wasn't so bad after all.

Some evenings later they were again strolling in the park. Alexander had received permission to smoke a cigarette as they walked, but could not light it in the breeze that was blowing. "Wait a moment, little girl," he finally said, and he stepped aside to the protection of a broad tree trunk, perhaps forty feet away, leaving Antoinette on the path. It was the main-traveled way from Madison-avenue gate to the Mansion House, but at the time no one was near. Suddenly, however, a tall man loomed up from behind Antoinette and seized her rudely in his arms.

"A kiss, my little beauty," he said as he put his face close to hers. Antoinette would have dropped with fright had not his firm grasp upheld her. She was too scared to scream, but she did have presence of mind enough to turn her face aside. What she saw when she did turn overjoyed her, for Alexander was coming agilely over the turf to her rescue.

"Here, let go of that lady, you dirty whelp!" cried Alexander, when yet some paces away. The man relaxed his hold on her, but, instead of running as her hold-up man had done, he turned to meet the oncoming champion. Alexander grappled with him and there was a stout tussle. It seemed ages to Antoinette, who was watching the struggle with tense, strained eyes, before Alexander proved his redoubtability by throwing her insulter over on the grass.

"Oh, Alexander!" she cried in exultation and relief. "You are so strong and brave!"

Alexander, panting, swelled his chest. Such praise from the girl he loved was like divine, enchanting wine. He took her to his bosom, as they say. But the fond embrace was cut short by a snicker from the onlooker. He had not risen from the recumbent position in which Alexander's prowess had placed him. Antoinette's beloved turned angrily on him, "Get you gone, you vile dog!" he exclaimed theatrically. And then he kicked him, not gently, but positively.

In a flash the other man was up and had grabbed the surprised Alexander. It was such a grab that Alexander murmured in pain. Antoinette thought she heard one of them say something about "Not in the bargain." She was not sure. But she was sure that Alexander was not doing so well in the second round of combat as in the first. Then he whispered to his opponent, and almost immediately the strength of the other diminished, even as did Samson's when shorn of his locks. Presently the other broke away and ran, and Alexander stood breathless, master of the field.

On the walk back to the Druid Hill-avenue entrance to take a car for home Antoinette again proposed that they tell the authorities of the two attacks. Alexander was against it. He said he dreaded the mire of publicity for the sweetest creature on earth. And he looked at her lovingly as he said it. Antoinette's purpose weakened, but she had enough strength of will left to declare she was almost sure she could identify her assailant. "He had an odd-shaped mole on his right cheek," she remarked. "And, do you know, it's curious that I think I am nearly certain that one of our highwaymen of last week had a similar mark. I got a glimpse of it once when a puff of air caught his mask." Alexander redoubled his urgings that they keep silent. He breathed easier when they were past the gateman and on the car.

For a week he basked in the glory of her adulation. Never was a hero so worshiped as this proven one. Never was a sweet girl so happy as Antoinette. She had met her ideal, and he was hers. Twenty hours of the twenty-four she dreamed of him; the other four she rejoiced at being with him.

The eighth night after the second encounter in Druid Hill he had taken her to Gwynn Oak Park to dance. Until the sixth number, the waltzes and two-steps were all his. Then Will Harrison, an old acquaintance, came up. "I hate to leave you," whispered Antoinette, as she gazed up into her hero's face, "but Will is a nice boy, and I don't like to refuse him one." Alexander smiled in return, and told her to enjoy herself. As she floated around on Will's arm she took advantage of every turn to watch the adored Alexander. She thought he looked lonely, and she wished she could decently end her waltz and get back to him. For a moment, in a reverse step, she lost sight of him, and when she saw him again a tall young fellow was talking to him. Alexander seemed ill at ease and perturbed. In fact, he quite failed to notice that she was nearing him again in the dance. "I want that extra five you whispered you'd give me," Antoinette heard the tall chap say. "That kick was worth it. If you don't cough up I'll tell the lady how much it cost you, you coward, to be a hero twice." Antoinette looked intently at the tall man. There was a mole on his right cheek. She was wise all of a sudden. Then she grew faint with the shock of the knowledge.

"Take me out of here," she muttered to her partner. He obeyed. A car was fast filling up to leave for Walbrook. Antoinette made a dash for it. "Come, take me home, Will!" she called. Again he obeyed, and bounced her into a seat.

"I'll never speak to that awful wretch again," said Antoinette to the curious Will. "I am ashamed of myself."

And thus was Alexander the Great dethroned.

Breaking Into Medicine

I.

  To MR. JOHN IREDELL,
    Summerfield,
      Guilford County,
        North Carolina.
          Baltimore, Oct. 1, 1906.

Dear Father:

I have been here nearly a week now, and have got pretty well fixed, so I thought I would report to you tonight. I find that there will be a lot of hard work with classes, laboratory hours and study, but, as I told you before I left, I intend to put my shoulder to the wheel and aim so high that you will have just cause to be proud of me when I become a Doctor of Medicine. I see that I shall have to cut out all idea of amusements and pleasure and put my nose to the grindstone.

My college--the P. & S.--opened last Thursday with an address by the Dean, a helpful speech that I should like you to have heard. For, although I chose medicine chiefly because Uncle Will made a success of it out in Texas, I was glad to hear the Dean tell what a noble profession it was to relieve suffering millions.

The college occupies a red brick building at Calvert and Saratoga streets, and is operated in connection with the City Hospital, which adjoins it and where there are hundreds of patients. I don't know whether you remember the locality, as it has been so many years since you were in Baltimore. It is close to the business centre, only a block north of the Courthouse and the Postoffice. There are about 300 students. They come from all parts of this country, and even from foreign lands. I will bear in mind what you said about not being too thick with any of them.

I have secured a boarding-house on North Calvert street--No. 641. It is kept by a widow lady from Mecklenburg county, and she calls it the Yadkin and makes a special effort to attract "Tarheels." Nearly all her boarders are from North Carolina, and we get the papers from Raleigh and other places, so that it is quite homelike for me.

I pay $5 a week board, and there ought not to be many extra expenses, except for books, so I can get along nicely on the $35 a month you said you would give me. But I told them at the College to send you the tuition bill. That was all right, wasn't it?

  Your devoted son,
                   HUGH.

II.

  To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
    Summerfield,
      North Carolina.
        Baltimore, Oct. 4, 1906.

Dear Little Sis:

I wrote Father the other day and told how I had got started at the College. I suppose you read the letter or heard all the news in it. I really haven't buckled down to hard work, because there has been such a lot of "hazing" that we "freshies" are being captured all the time. Last Friday the older fellows actually made a line of us walk up and down some of the principal streets with our trousers and coats turned inside out, our stockings down over our shoes, our bare legs tattooed and crazy signs on our backs. Just fancy what a guy your big brother looked on Lexington street, where all the ladies here go shopping! I should have died if I had seen anybody from home. There wasn't any breaking away, because they were too many for us. One "freshy" tried it, and he's going around with a bum eye and his hand in a sling.

After the parade they took us in a back yard and made us do "stunts." One prisoner had to deliver a solemn oration from a beer keg on "Whether Cuba ought to be annexed to the United States." When it came my turn I thought I'd get off easy by giving some of those imitations of dogs and cats and roosters that I used to get off with the crowd at home. But they made such a hit that now they have me doing them all the time. Every time I come out of class a gang of yelling Indians grab me and carry me off to do imitations. I'm tired of it, but I can't help it.

Two of the fellows at my boarding-house got me to go to a theatre on Baltimore street last night. It was a variety show, a mixed programme of acrobatic feats, singing and girls dancing. I thought it all fine, but the crowd didn't like every bit of it, for at places they began to yell "Get the hook!" whatever that means.

I intended to hunt up a Methodist church last Sunday, but one of the associate professors at the college was a classmate of Uncle Will's, and he invited me to evening service at a Congregational church, a beautiful edifice on Maryland avenue, looking more like a costly college building than a church. I enjoyed myself, for there was some fine singing, and we sat right behind one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen. At the end I was introduced to some of the people and they invited me to a social at the church one evening next week.

Maybe you had better not let Father read this. He might get the idea I wasn't taking my studies seriously enough.

  Yours,
        HUGH.

III.

  To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
    641 North Calvert Street,
      Baltimore, Maryland.
     Summerfield, N. C., Oct. 6, 1906.

Dear Son:

I am glad you are settled in Baltimore and so well satisfied with your choice of a dignified and honorable profession. I expect to see you buckle right down to hard work and study, for I will not support a grown son in idleness. I am not so well pleased at what your mother tells me you wrote Grace, that you went to a theatre and that you did not go to a Methodist church last Sunday, as you promised. You remember what Pastor told you about the danger to young men of drifting from church to church in a large city like Baltimore, and not sticking to any.

I got the bill for your college fees today. I was surprised that you did this, for you told me when I agreed to let you go that you would pay everything out of $35 a month. I will send a money order for it this time, but you must settle it yourself next term.

  Your father,
              JOHN IREDELL.

IV.

  To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
    Summerfield, N. C.
      Baltimore, Oct. 10, 1906.

Dear Little Sis:

What in the world made you blab about what I wrote you last week? Father sends me a roast about going to a theatre and not going to a Methodist church. You know a fellow should not be expected to work all the time, but Father's old-fashioned and can't see it that way. Don't tell him anything like that again.

I have been to theatres a couple more times. You know it doesn't cost much if you sit with the "gods" in the cheaper seats. All the fellows pay Dutch and we have a jolly time. One night we went into a lunchroom on Fayette street and enjoyed fried oysters. Another night we went to a German place downtown and had a bottle of beer and a cheese sandwich. It was lively there; such a nice lot of people.

I haven't been to a Methodist church yet. I intended to go Sunday morning, but I was out late Saturday night and I didn't get up in time. Sunday night I went to that Associate Church again. I saw my pretty girl--I tell you she's a beauty. She had a fellow with her. Wish I had been in his place. Going to a blow-out at the church tomorrow night. Maybe she'll be there. Hope so....

  Yours,
        HUGH.

V.

  To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
      Raleigh, N. C.
    Baltimore, Oct. 25, 1906.

Dear Old Chum:

Haven't heard a word since I wrote you from home to say I was coming to Baltimore to study medicine, but suppose you're too busy rushing the lady you're going to marry. Say, old man, I'm clean gone myself. Prettiest girl I ever looked at. Saw her two Sunday nights in church when I first came, and then was lucky enough to meet her at a church social. I wish you could have seen her. No, I don't, because if you had I should have had you for a rival. Anyway, she looked a vision. She's tall, with a stunning figure and a graceful way of holding herself. She's a blonde, her hair glinted with gold, her eyes as blue as--I was going to say indigo, but nothing about her is as blue as that. I never did take to blondes, you know, but this one has got me, because she has vivacity and unbends most delightfully. I talked to her half an hour the night I met her. Gee, but the fellow who brought her looked sour! I must have made some kind of an impression, for when she was bidding me good-night she asked me to call. She lives on a street called Guilford avenue, in North Baltimore. I was over there last Tuesday night. Asked her if I might come when I saw her at church Sunday. I tell you she was a dream in a pink gown, with her golden hair all done up on her head in some kind of a way I can't describe, but looking magnificent. She told me about a fellow who wanted to come see her that night, but she let him know she had another engagement, and the way she told me, looking at me with those splendid blue eyes, just made me feel I was cutting some ice there. She can tickle the ivories in great shape, and spent most of the evening at the piano. She goes to the theatre a lot, and she had all the latest comic opera songs, like those of Anna Held and Marie Cahill, and she can play ragtime out of sight. I tried to get her to play some sentimental things, but she said she wasn't in that mood. I'd like to catch her when she is.

Tomorrow afternoon I expect to be a great occasion. She studies painting at the Maryland Institute, an art school here, and she has asked me to go sketching with her out in the country. I'll have to cut some of my college work, but you can bet I'm going to do that all right.

  Yours,
        HUGH.

VI.

  To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
    Raleigh, N.C.
      Baltimore, Nov. 1, 1906.

Dear Old Chum:

Glad to hear from you so soon, and glad to hear you are interested in Miss Edith Wolfe. No, I don't think you'd better come to Baltimore. But, if you're good and stay away, I'll send you a photo of her she has promised to give me and let you see what she looks like. No picture of her can do her justice, however, for she's just the liveliest girl you ever knew, beside being so handsome.

I've been up to her home twice in a week, took her to the theatre last night and went to church with her Sunday. But the bulliest time of all was that sketching trip last Friday, of which I wrote you. It was a magnificent October afternoon, and the country was simply superb, with the trees all tinted to glorious hues by a frost two weeks ago. I carried her little easel and canvas stool, and we got in a car near her home and rode out to a suburb called Mount Holly. I had no idea there was such beautiful scenery near Baltimore, so bold and mountainous looking. We strolled first along a path beside a millrace, high up on a hillside, a path overhung by arching trees, with Gwynn's Falls tumbling over the rocks in cascades far beneath, and a beautiful outlook across the valley to some handsome wooded country estates. After that we went down beside the stream and sat under a great rock, while Miss Wolfe made a sketch of the Falls. It didn't take her long--just a rough painted outline, you know. She's going to fill it in at home, and she has promised me a copy for my room. She was in the jolliest mood imaginable, and we had a merry hour there "far from the madding crowd." I shall always call it a "red day," because then I got my first kiss from her. It came about in this way. She dropped her paint brush while we were sitting on a rock at the water's edge, and it floated down stream. She said she wouldn't lose it for worlds. "Will you reward me if I recover it?" I asked. She said she would. "A kiss?" I asked. "Oh! stop your nonsense, you foolish boy!" she said, with a laugh. I ran down the bank, clambered out on some rocks, steered the brush in with a stick and took it to her. Then we wrangled for ten minutes gaily about whether she had or had not promised me that kiss. Suddenly she leaned forward and met my lips with hers. "There, let that end it," she cried, as she blushed. It didn't end it, for it was so good I wanted more out of the same package. But she wouldn't let me have any more. Aren't girls mean? I suppose I'll have to make more bargains with her or I'll get no more kisses. She says she always sticks to a bargain.

You have no idea how clever she is in dodging if I try to steer the talk to sentimental ground. I have called her an arrant flirt a score of times, but she just laughs. And such a laugh!

The show last night hit me $3.20, counting car fares, and my allowance from the old man is running short. I'm glad she didn't accept my invitation to go to the Rennert to eat after "The Lion and the Mouse." She said she would like to, but we'd better go straight home from Ford's, as her mother would prefer it that way.

Wish me success, old fellow, with my love affair. I tell you, that girl has got me going so I can't get interested in dry old stuff about bones.

  Yours,
        HUGH.

VII.

  To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
    Summerfield, N. C.
    Baltimore, Nov. 21, 1906.

Dear Little Sis:

I wish you had been with me last night to see the largest dance you ever set your eyes on. It was a regimental hop at the Fifth Regiment Armory, an enormous big building that can accommodate, they say, about 15,000 people. They hold there all the biggest conventions that Baltimore has. It was a grand sight, with a crowd of girls in pretty clothes and fellows in uniform and dress suits, dancing to the music of the regiment band. Edith Wolfe's brother is a lieutenant in the regiment, and she invited me to be her escort. We had our own party--Lieutenant Wolfe, another soldier boy, a third chap not in uniform and a couple of girl friends of Edith, petite, pretty, sweet-natured sisters, whom I liked very much. I danced with all three girls, but especially with Edith, who looked radiant in a black sequin gown that was unusually well suited to her blonde type. One waltz to the dreamy music of "Mlle. Modiste" was Heaven itself.

The only drawback to me was the expense. I had to pay $4 for a carriage and $3 for roses. Besides, I had to hire a dress suit, as I could not have gone without one. Some of the students sent me to a place kept by twin brothers, identical in appearance, and it was a funny sight to see them making me into one of their swallow-tails, taking in here and letting out there. Anyhow, it took the last dollar I had, and I've got to borrow to get along for two weeks.

  Yours lovingly,
                 HUGH.

VIII.

  To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
    College of Physicians and Surgeons.
      Baltimore, Nov. 27, 1906.

Dear Sir:

The faculty desires to notify you that your record is unsatisfactory, both in regard to attendance and preparedness in class, and it expects you to show improvement therein or suffer the consequences.

  Respectfully yours,
    W. TALBERT,
      Secretary.

IX.

  To MRS. JOHN IREDELL,
    Summerfield, N. C.
      Baltimore, Dec. 2, 1906.

Dear Mother:

I want you to do me a great favor. I do not dare write Father about it, but I find I must have a black dress suit in order to look as well as the other fellows when I go around of an evening. It will cost $40, I learn, and, of course, I cannot pay for it out of the small monthly sum Father sends me for my board. Tell him it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and urge him please to let me have it. If he will not send the money, I shall have to borrow it or get the suit somewhere on the instalment plan.

  Your devoted son,
                   HUGH.

X.

  To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
    641 North Calvert street,
          Baltimore.
     Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 6, 1906.

My Son:

What is this nonsense about you must have a black swallow-tail? You had a black suit when you went away. It was good enough to go to parties here. Are your Baltimore friends so much more aristocratic? Besides, didn't you go there to study and not to play? You are writing home too much about girls and society and dances and theatres, and nothing about work. Remember, I am footing the bills. When I was your age I got up at 4 in the morning and toiled away in the fields till sundown, and then I was too tired to spruce up and play at being a gentleman. If you're going to be a doctor, you'd better take a different course.

  Yours,
        FATHER.

XI.

  To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
    Raleigh, N. C.
      Baltimore, Dec. 10, 1906.

Dear Old Chum:

You're right for complaining I have neglected you, but I have been having the time of my life. Edith and I have been going it heavy for nearly two months. I am hit harder than ever. She's a wonderful girl. I manage to see her every day--meet her down on Lexington street shopping, take long walks with her out Charles-Street extended, go to church with her, take her to the theatre and elsewhere at night. She has invited me into a euchre that meets every three weeks--fine crowd. You ought to see me in a swell dress suit. Went broke to get it, but it's worth it for style. You wouldn't know me for a country "Tarheel."

Edith's as cute as they make them. Last night, at the euchre, she found a double almond, and we ate filopena for a box of candy against a kiss. I got caught, of course, but she gave me the kiss on her doorstep as we parted. Then she dropped a hint that it was for a five-pound box. Just think of that! You remember that line out of "A Texas Steer," "I wonder if it cost Daniel Webster a hundred to kiss her mother."

Bye bye, old chap; got a date to bowl with Edith at the Garage tonight. Ought to be studying for "exams," but simply can't.

  Yours,
        HUGH.

XII.

  To MR. JOHN IREDELL,
    Summerfield, N. C.
      Baltimore, Dec. 20, 1906.

Dear Sir:

I am requested by the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons to say that the record of your son is so poor that he cannot be permitted to continue his studies here. He has more than 50 absences charged against him, continued unpreparedness in classes and a wretched showing in the recent examinations.

  Respectfully yours,
          C. F. B. EVAN,
                     Dean.

XIII.

(Telegram.)

  To HUGH IREDELL,
    641 N. Calvert St., Baltimore.
      Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 21, 1906.

Come home at once. Letter from faculty.

  FATHER.

XIV.

(Telegram.)

  To JOHN IREDELL,
    Summerfield, N. C.
      Baltimore, Dec. 21, 1906.

Wire me $75 first. Owe that much board, etc.

  HUGH.

XV.

(Telegram.)

  To HUGH IREDELL,
    641 N. Calvert Street. Baltimore.
      Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 21, 1906.

Sell dress suit and pawn watch. Wait till I see you.

  FATHER.

XVI.

(Special Delivery.)

  To MISS EDITH WOLFE,
    1746 Guilford Ave., Baltimore.
      Pennsy Depot,
        Washington, Dec. 22, 1906.

Dearest Girl:

Sorry I can't see you tonight. Called home suddenly by my father. Don't know why. Will write long letter when I get home. Hope to be back soon. Until then fond love and kisses, from

  Your Own,
          HUGH.

XVII.

(Special Delivery.)

  To MRS. CLARA YANCY,
    The Yadkin, Baltimore.
      Washington, Dec. 22, 1906.

Dear Madam:

I regret very much leaving you so abruptly today. I will send you money for the board owing as soon as I can. Until then will you please take good care of my trunk.

  Respectfully,
               HUGH IREDELL.

The Pink Ghost of Franklin Square

The Ghost appeared very modestly at first. Some children sitting on a bench just before dark saw it in the second-story window of one of those big old brownstone fronts on Fayette street, on the south side of Franklin Square. It seemed so uncanny and weird to them that they talked a lot about it when they went that evening to their homes on South Stricker street. The parents pooh-poohed it, of course, and told the children there was no cause for alarm. But when one of the little girls, after a restless, troubled effort to get to sleep, had had a strenuous nightmare, and had alarmed the household by shrieking that the woman in pink was beckoning, the older folk decided to investigate.

The next night there was no ghost. Two fathers sat with the children in the Square from supper time until after 9 o'clock, but nothing happened. Naturally, the fathers thought it a pure case of nerves. But the children were so insistent and so circumstantial in their story that the older heads wavered and returned on the following evening.

And then they saw the Ghost!

Just after the June sun had left the trees and a few dying gleams were coloring the tops of the tall houses on Carey street, on the east side of the Square, the Ghost showed itself at the window the children had pointed out. It was a figure nebulous and hazy, but undeniably pink. It appeared right at the window, and after standing still for a moment began to wave its long arms with fantastic gestures, and to make other movements which the children interpreted as beckoning to them. Then it evaporated, but in another moment reappeared and went through more gyrations.

The exclamations of the children attracted the attention of others in the Square, and soon a score of people stood fascinated and puzzled by the weird vision. It lasted perhaps five minutes more, quite up to when darkness settled down on the Square, and none was able to explain or give any reasonable solution of what all had undeniably seen. They continued to watch, and continued to discuss, but the vanished Ghost came no more that evening.

The next night, the news having spread, there were a hundred persons or more in the southeast part of the Square. The Ghost came on time and went through the same antics. The wonderment and the mystery grew. And still none could explain, though a resident of the block stated that the house under watch was temporarily without occupants, as the family who dwelt in it had been gone to Europe for some weeks.

It was four days after this before the police heard of it. By that time, with the exception of the "cops," it seemed as though everybody in Southwest Baltimore was discussing the Ghost. A reporter worked up a lively tale about it for an afternoon paper, and Round Sergeant Norman, as he left the station-house that evening, was instructed to "lay the Ghost." You know the police don't believe in the supernatural. Too often etherealized ghosts turn out to be most mundane burglars and housebreakers.

The Sergeant found a thousand eager watchers in the Square when he arrived. The afternoon paper had evidently been digested well. Each watcher was straining his eyes at the brownstone mansion on Fayette street. From the windows of several Carey-street houses curious persons leaned out, and even on the west, at the Franklin-Square Hospital, there were other interested observers.

"It's either a 'fake' or a burglar," declared the Sergeant positively, as he took the "cub" reporter to task for making such capital out of the Ghost. He was just about to narrate some of his own experiences with bogus spooks when the Pink Ghost became visible, and the Sergeant started and uttered a surprised exclamation. A thousand other pairs of eyes had seen it, and a thousand throats called out, in varied strength of sound:

"There it is! There it is!"

A hush fell over the crowd as they watched the figure in pink. The deepening shadows toned the dark-brown front of the mansion until it framed the outlines in the window with considerable positiveness. But the uncanny nature of the appearance was also in evidence, for one could see right through the figure in pink to the room behind it. Those near the Round Sergeant saw him remove his helmet and mop the increasing perspiration from his forehead.

"That beats the devil," he muttered.

The Ghost began to wave its arms, to bend over and then straighten up; to beckon and then to make gestures as if of denial. The Sergeant's awe was great, but no whit more intense than that of the crowd. They were face to face with a bit of the supernatural, puzzled, wondering, doubting, scoffing, fascinated, alarmed.

"By Jiminy!" exclaimed the Sergeant. "That's the strangest thing I've ever seen, Howard. We'll have to go into that house."

But their visit that night was destined to be futile. Some minutes were lost in gaining access to the rear roof through the house next on the west, and some minutes more in prying open a shutter and forcing a carefully locked sash. By this time the twilight had deepened into night, and the Sergeant lit a borrowed lantern to make the trip down the stairway to the second-story front. There was nothing strange or supernatural in the room; no sign of a pink ghost or any other being, human or spiritual. The furniture and other fittings seemed undisturbed and as regularly arranged as they had probably been when the owners went away. And when Howard, the reporter, raised a window, a hundred watchers in the street and Square were ready to vouchsafe the information that the Ghost had been gone quite ten minutes.

The Sergeant swore. Then he muttered: "It certainly is queer." Then he took Howard on a thorough inspection of the house, from cellar to roof. They poked into cupboards, turned over mattresses, peeped into bureau drawers and boxes and a score of other articles too small to have hidden anything human. But nary a sign was there of ghost, burglar or joker. "It beats the devil," again remarked the Sergeant as he and Howard, perspiringly hot, left the house about 9 o'clock.

The following morning the papers were full of it. Southwest Baltimore no longer mortgaged the new sensation. All Baltimore discussed it and speculated what it might be. And, as a result, the crowd of watchers as the June day drew to a close numbered not one, but many, thousands. Around at the Concord Club they said it beat any political mass-meeting ever seen. The Square was overrun, and everybody talked "Pink Ghost." Captain Delany ordered out the police reserves to keep the crowd in check and give the cars a chance to get by. With Round Sergeant Norman, the Captain personally superintended the preparations to lay the ghost.

The Pink Ghost did not disappoint them. It came to the window on scheduled time--just as the shadows deepened in Franklin Square--and it waved its arms from the window and beckoned to the awed and puzzled multitude. Captain Delany gave a signal, and from front and rear his picked men swarmed into the empty house and rushed up the stairway. The Round Sergeant was in the van. He had been berated and ridiculed for not solving the mystery the night before, and he determined to be in at the death now. But as he crossed the threshold of the front room he started back in amazement and fell against the bluecoat behind him. The Pink Ghost was not in the window, but swaying and frantically waving on the west wall of the room.

"My God! what is it?" cried the man behind.

Norman could only point to the wall. His own hair was, he felt, actually raising his helmet off his head, and there was a curious contraction in his throat. In an instant, however, this had passed, and, with club in hand, he charged bravely upon the Ghost. As he neared it, however, a surprise awaited him. Instead of waving arms, he saw his own burly form shadowed on the outer edge of the pink nebula. He turned upon his heel, quickly bent over, and then burst into loud laughter. For him the riddle of the Pink Ghost was solved.

"What is it, Norman? What is it, man? Is he crazy?"

The other policemen pushed into the room to be enlightened, but the Sergeant only laughed the more immoderately. Delany became angry and started to seize Norman by the shoulder. This brought the Captain into the pink nebula and he understood Norman's hilarity.

"By gad, that's funny," he cried, and he entered upon a joint spasm of mirth. The other bluecoats drew near, and as each came into the pink glow the chorus swelled. Such a lot of uproarious policemen had rarely been known in Baltimore.

       * * * * *

Five minutes later Captain Delany and Sergeant Norman, having at last controlled themselves, left the closing of the house to subordinates and crossed the square to a house on Carey street, where they asked to see a young lady abiding there. She was a very stately and fine-looking young woman, and when she tripped down into the parlor the attractiveness of her face was heightened by a slight flush, due most likely to her wonderment at a visit from two policemen. When they left her ten minutes later her face was rosy red and her stately carriage had given way to a combination of mirth and embarrassment. But Delany had her positive assurance that there would be no more Pink Ghost.

"For, you see, it was this way," he explained to the reporters who stopped him outside. "The young woman seems to have a steady beau every evening, for whom she likes to do a bit of fixin' up and primping. And after supper she makes her way to her room, which is in the front of the top floor, and there she combs and rearranges her hair and puts on gew-gaws and trimmings. And in these long summer days, when the sun has left the square, it is still comin' into those high windows."

"But what has she to do with the Ghost?" asked one irrepressible.

"I was a-comin' to that, youngster," retorted the man in blue; "but if ye're overanxious, it may satisfy yer to know she was the Pink Ghost. Leastwise, the sun's reflection was the ghost and she was the movin' figure that made the shadow do such queer antics. She had a bureau in the back of her room so fixed that when the rays of the dying sun come into the window on the north they are reflected in the bureau glass and pass out of the south window and across the square to that there brownstone front where you all saw the Ghost. Every time she raised her arms to her hair or made any other movement in dressing before the mirror she butt into the reflection and caused your Pink Ghost to do stunts."

"And you say there won't be any more Pink Ghost?"

"Not unless the young woman gets careless and leaves up that south blind. For she sort o' has an idea tonight that the whole of this end of town has been watching her get ready to meet her beau."

The Vanished Mummy

In the detective headquarters in the Courthouse they have mistakenly built up a very high notion of my sleuth qualities. Personally I have always felt that such help as I have been able to render them in two or three different cases was most largely due to luck, and only in a small degree to the exercise of logic and common sense in making deductions of subsequently proven importance from apparently trivial facts. Nevertheless, the good fortune that attended me in those cases fixed my reputation with them as the Sherlock Holmes of Baltimore, while the generosity with which I permitted them to take all the glory of solving the mysteries made me solid and caused them to consult me the more frequently in hours of perplexity. At the same time, I confess it, the love of the game made me eager to be in it and I not only installed a 'phone in my apartment in the Arundel, but I was always careful, in absenting myself from my office or my flat, to leave word where I would most likely be found during the next few hours. In this way the puzzled Vidocqs were usually able to reach me when my help was needed.

I was whiling away a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Maryland a few weeks ago when I saw Dorland making signs to me from the passageway behind the boxes on the right of the theatre. Lieutenant Amers' redcoated British band, of which I had grown very fond, was rendering the final crashing bars of the overture to "Wilhelm Tell," and, with my passionate love for music, I was loth to leave until the programme was completed. But Dorland was a detective who never came for me unless there was an interesting mystery to offer and I left my seat at once and joined him in the lobby.

"Which way, Dorland?" I asked.

"Woman's College, sir," he answered, just as briefly.

I gave an exclamation of surprise. An institution attended by hundreds of girls from the best families of America was not the place one would expect a mystery of crime.

"Very curious case, sir. Mummy of an Egyptian princess stolen."

"Odd affair," I remarked. "Gives promise of being most unusual. Any clue?"

"Not a shred, sir."

On our way out to the College on a Roland-Park car, Dorland gave me a recital of such facts as he had learned. The mummy had been secured in Egypt with much difficulty by President Goucher and was one of the prized possessions of the College museum. Partly divested of its wrappings of fine linen turned brown with the centuries, the body of this daughter of the Pharaohs had been exhibited in a glass case on the second floor of Goucher Hall, while nearby had been placed the case in which it had rested for ages, a case of wood painted with figures and hieroglyphics that told the rank and virtues of the little lady. The night before at 6 o'clock the mummy had been in its place. In the morning when the janitor's wife was sweeping she discovered the glass lid prized open and the mummy gone. The night watchman saw nothing, heard nothing.

"And what are your theories?" I asked Dorland, as we passed along Twenty-third street.

"That it was taken to be sold at a good figure to some other museum; that it was taken to be sold back to the College; that it was a students' prank; or that it was done by girls being initiated into one of the College secret societies."

When I had been introduced to and cordially welcomed by a trio of anxious College officials, the dean hastened to assure me of their desire to avoid publicity and notoriety.

"Have you questioned any of the girls today?" I asked.

"No," replied the dean; "it being Saturday, there have been few of them here, and we have sent for none, so that the loss might be kept secret until we determine on the motive."

A close examination of the empty glass case and its surroundings was fruitless. Nor did questioning of the janitor and his wife elicit anything new.

"You cleaned very thoroughly," I said to the woman. "What did you do with the sweepings?"

"They're in a box in the basement, sir."

At my request the box was brought up. It was a soap box almost full. "Are these only the sweepings of today?" I asked. The janitor spoke up. "I emptied all the others yesterday, sir," he declared. With this assurance, I plunged my hands into the pile and began a minute and careful search of it, dumping handful after handful on newspapers spread over a table in Dr. Goucher's office. Dorland kept the others in conversation, and this fortunately enabled me to make a couple of finds unnoticed by them.

At the end of 10 minutes I had reached the bottom of the box. Turning then to the dean, I said:

"How many Canadian students have you here?"

"Canadians? Oh, two--Miss Carothers and Miss Anstey."

"And may I see them?"

"I cannot see"----began the dean warmly.

I hastened to assure him I had no idea of suspecting them. "Nevertheless," I added, "I should like to question them. I have a theory that one or the other may help me."

The dean was mollified. "Miss Carothers has been absent sick for several days. Miss Anstey you can see. She is a charming girl. Her father is one of the leading Methodist divines of Canada, and an old friend of Dr. Goucher and myself. She does not live in the College homes, but with a lady around the corner on Charles street, who is also an old family friend. I will send you there. She may not be at home just now, but you can try."

The janitor's wife spoke up, "Miss Anstey was here an hour or so ago, sir. She was upstairs for a few minutes, and then went out and got in an auto with a young gentleman."

"I will go around to her home at any rate," I said.

"You have very little hope of finding the mummy, have you not, Mr. McIver?" asked the dean, anxiously.

"On the contrary," I replied confidently. "I expect to bring back the Egyptian princess in an hour or two."

He accepted my boast dubiously. "Whatever you do," he urged, "use no questionable methods, for the sake of the College. If you find the thief, let me decide whether to prosecute him. If you can get back the mummy without injury, I would prefer to hush up the affair."

I promised him I would. "I consider this a very unusual case," I said, "and I believe you will be satisfied with my disposition of it." With this I left him.

Dorland and the College professor who accompanied us were both eager to know what clue I had, but I stood them off as we walked round to the Charles-street dwelling.

Miss Anstey was out, as I had anticipated, but we were graciously received by Mrs. Eden, her hostess. It was a home of culture and refinement, and the large parlor abounded in paintings, art objects and other curios evidently picked up in foreign travel. "I expect Ethel home soon," said the sweet-faced and sweet-voiced old lady. "She went motoring this afternoon with a friend, and she said she would be home to supper."

"We called to ask," I remarked, "whether she had not lost this bit of jewelry." And to the surprise of Dorland and the professor I produced a pin I had found in the sweepings of Goucher Hall, a tiny enameled maple leaf, set around with pearls.

"Yes, that is Ethel's!" exclaimed Mrs. Eden. "I don't think she lost it, however, for she had recently loaned it to a friend." She smiled. "You know, young girls nowadays have a great habit of exchanging tokens like this with young men. It was not so in my day."

"And if I be not rude," I continued, "may I not know the name of this young man?"

"Why, certainly," replied the lady. "He is Mr. Raymond Harding."

"You mean," I inquired, "the son of Mr. Harding, the bank president?" The Hardings, as everybody knows, are among the best-known millionaire families in Baltimore society.

"The same," replied Mrs. Eden. "Miss Anstey and he have been friends for a couple of years. I am sure both will be grateful to you for finding this pin. Now that I recall it, it may be that they have already had words about it being lost. He was here last evening and they were both rather excited. At breakfast Ethel complained of having a headache and looked as though she had been crying. They called each other up several times by 'phone during the morning, but Ethel told me nothing, and I thought it tactful to say nothing to her. When he came this afternoon I told her she looked so pale she ought to rest, but she laughed me off."

"We will come again after they have returned," I said to Mrs. Eden as I rose to go. "Perhaps, as you say, I may be able to straighten out the little trouble. Meanwhile, I would suggest that you say nothing to them."

It had grown dark when we stepped outside. Dorland gripped my hand warmly. "McIver," he exclaimed, "you're a wonder! I see the whole case now. Gee, but its a rum affair!"

The professor was mystified. "I don't quite see, gentlemen, how the whole affair is settled. Where is the mummy? And who was the thief?"

"The mummy, professor," I remarked, oracularly, "is most probably in the automobile of Mr. Raymond Harding."

"You don't mean that he is the thief?"

"I believe he took the mummy. I believe he dropped the pin in doing it. This also fell out of his auto cap." I produced a gilt paper initial "H," such as hatters put in headwear for their customers. It was my second find in the sweepings.

"But the motive, man, the motive!" persisted the professor. "Why should a millionaire's son break into a Woman's College building to steal a mummy? It sounds ridiculous."

"That, sir, is the part I want Miss Anstey to explain. It is the only element of doubt in a perfectly plain chain of circumstances. Raymond Harding I know slightly, and he has a certain reputation for reckless pranks, although he's not a bad fellow."

"But surely you don't suspect Ethel Anstey. Why, man, she's a"----

The mournful notes of a Gabriel's horn down at Twenty-second street betokened the approach of an auto, and interrupted the professor's eulogium of one who was manifestly a favorite pupil. "Quick!" I exclaimed; "saunter to the corner." A big touring car came up Charles street and stopped in front of the Eden home. A slender young chap stepped out and aided a young lady to descend. They stood for a minute on the curb beside the machine--undecided, as I figured out, whether the mummy would be safe there if left alone--and then both passed into the house.

The three of us with one accord moved down the pavement. "Look on the rear seat, Dorland," I said, as the headquarters man ran to the auto. A great part of my confidence in my well-developed solution of the mystery would have gone to smash if the mummy had not been there. But Dorland gave a little cry of triumph. "It's here, all right," he called, "wrapped up in a rubber blanket." We tried to lift the bundle, but the petrified daughter of the Pharaohs was heavier than he had calculated. "Be careful, Mr. Dorland," the professor entreated; "don't smash her."

"Now for the young man," said Dorland, jumping down to the curb.

"No," said I. "I have a better plan. Can you run an auto?"

Dorland could.

"And have you a key to Goucher Hall?" I asked the professor.

The professor had.

"Then you two quietly take the mummy back to her box while I go in and question Miss Anstey."

They got off without fuss, and when I had seen them turn the corner I rang the bell and asked for Miss Anstey. In placing my hat on the hallrack I moved Harding's cap to another peg and observed, as I had thought, that the "H" had parted company with the other gilt initials.

I felt unfeignedly sorry for the girl when she came into the parlor a few minutes later. She had fine regular features, and with her limpid blue eyes was unquestionably pretty when the flush of youth and vivacity had full play. But that day there were dark circles under her eyes, her lids were suspiciously red and there was a pallid hue in her cheeks that was accentuated by the dark blue silk suit she wore. A novice at reading character could have told she had been spending hours in worry and tears.

"You wished to see me?" she said, inquiringly, as she slowly advanced to where I had risen to meet her.

"To return this," I answered. And I held out the maple leaf pin to her.

She grew, if possible, more white and sought the help of the piano to support herself.

"I--I--It is not----Where did you get it?" she said, with several gulps to keep down the sobs.

"It was found in Goucher Hall near the mummy case."

She stepped back uncertainly. Then she pulled herself together.

"You are a detective?"

I winced. "No," I said; "I am a friend of the College and of Mr. Harding's."

At the mention of his name she broke down completely and, sinking on the stool, leaned her head and began to cry. "Oh, Raymond!" I heard her say. "It means disgrace. It means the penitentiary." Her form shook violently with her emotion. It was more than I could stand.

"Listen, Miss Anstey," I said, and I laid my hand lightly on her shoulder. "It means nothing of the kind. You have my word as a gentleman that no one shall know the story save the two or three who already know it."

She lifted her tear-stained face and studied me earnestly. "It was a mad prank," she sobbed. "I am to blame. I ought to be punished. It started as a joke. I had no idea he'd do it."

"Call Raymond down."

She went out into the hallway and a whistled signal brought Harding to us. When he entered the parlor his surprise at seeing me was great.

"He knows about the mummy," said the girl faintly.

Harding stepped away from us both. "He knows?"

"Yes, he wants to help us."

"I want to get you out of a nasty scrape, Raymond," I remarked.

The boy eyed me intently. Then he put out his hand and gripped mine. "Thank you, McIver," he said, simply. And the three of us sitting down, the boy and the girl told me the whole truth about the kidnapping of the Egyptian princess. Each supplied parts of the narrative. Raymond, I learned, had prized open the case on a visit to the College museum on Friday afternoon and had then secreted himself in the building. When the watchman was in a remote corner, it had taken but a minute to lift the mummy, carry it downstairs, unlock the north door and slip out to where he had left his auto. "Then he came here to show it to me," said Miss Anstey. "And then I went to take it back," pursued the boy. "And, Lord, McIver, I found the watchman had locked the door. Ever since then we've been in an awful fright. I didn't know what to do with the bloody thing."

"What on earth made you take it?" I asked.

The boy turned a troubled eye on the girl. "I did it on a dare," he said after a pause.

A rosy flush had replaced her pallor. "That isn't the whole truth, Mr. McIver," she said. "There was a wager, and a lot of teasing, and talk about a kiss. It sounds so silly now, but it was all in fun. I didn't expect him to do it. And, oh! how sorry I am!"

"The question is, McIver," said the boy, "how on earth am I to get it back."

"That's the easiest part," I said. "In fact, it is already back." I paused to enjoy their pleased surprise. "And if I mistake not here are the two gentlemen that did it." The doorbell had rung and I stepped out to admit Dorland and the professor.

The next 15 minutes was a medley of questions, of explanations, of promises to keep mum and of expressions of heartfelt thanks from the young couple. The professor was the only one who thought it incumbent to scold them for a silly prank and to point out the serious danger in which they had been involved. It sobered them, and at the same time it made them realize what a tremendous service I had done them.

One point puzzled Dorland. When we had left the house and parted from the professor, he asked me:

"How on earth did you know that pin was Miss Anstey's?"

"Had it been a thistle design," I said, "I should have begun a search for that 'bonnie sweet lass, the Maid o' Dundee."

"I don't exactly see," he ejaculated.

"The maple leaf, my son, is the national emblem of Canada."

"Ah," said Dorland, "that's what you get by book-larnin'."

"Yes," I admitted; "it helps some."

"Mount Vernon 1-0-0-0"

They were getting to the sad point where each was growing tired of the other. The crescendo of love's young dream had passed. Each was sub-consciously realizing that while the springtime of their romance had been full of glorious days the summer was destined to be damp and showery. Daniel was beginning to find faults in Jennie that he had not believed could exist in her, and Jennie in turn was more and more provoked with Daniel, more and more exacting in what she required of him, and more and more disposed to accuse him of not keeping up with the devoted pace he had set when he first began to pay her definite attentions the winter before. Daniel sometimes would dance with other girls, a thing he had not dreamt of doing in the heyday of their affair, and Jennie did not hesitate to accept invitations from men who were as deferential and admiring as Daniel had been in the beginning. Their friends, those at least who were discerning, realized that the probability of a marriage between them was becoming more and more remote.

Jennie and her parents were spending the summer at Mount Holly Inn, and, among other instances of his growing restiveness, Daniel was inclined to grumble at having to bolt his dinner, dress hurriedly in his sun-baked room on Park avenue, and make the suburban car journey nightly in order to reach her side. Sometimes he balked and called her up by 'phone instead, and though she professed her disappointment and scolded him, he was almost sure to learn the next day she had enjoyed her evening at dancing or bowling. Then again there were occasions when he had made up his mind to be on hand, according to promise, and had started to get ready when called off by a message from Jennie, telling him that she had been invited to enjoy a moonlight auto spin with Mr. and Mrs. Chester, fellow-guests with whom she had grown most friendly.

And so it came to an evening in September when Daniel and Jennie had not seen each other for as many as three days, the longest period of absence in the history of their attachment. Work was slack with the trust company that day, and Daniel had seized the opportunity to leave the Equitable Building early and see the Baltimores inflict a defeat on the Buffalo nine at Union Park, in the homestretch of the pennant race. As he was cutting across lots after the game, hurrying to catch a St. Paul-street car ahead of the crowd, he ran into Tom Oliver, and from the moment of the encounter realized that it was all off for a visit to Mount Holly that night. For Tom was a jolly soul and a generous one, and they had been strong chums before Tom had struck out into the wilds of West Virginia for a lumber company. So that when Master Thomas, as expected, proposed that they make an evening of it, for old times' sake, with dinner at the Belvedere and a jaunt later to River View, Electric Park or the Suburban, Daniel's demur that he already had an engagement was a very weak one indeed. It was, in fact, such a wobbly little demur that one more word from Tom and he had promised to call up and break the date. He did not mention that it was with Jennie, for Jennie had come into Daniel's life after Tom had vanished into the timber forest.

Half an hour later found him in the telephone-room of the Belvedere. The trimly dressed young woman who took his money gave him no second glance as she automatically murmured "Walbrook 1-8-6, please," into the mouthpiece hanging before her, and an instant later, just as automatically, waved him into one of the booths against the wall.

He had not fully made up his mind what excuse he would give Jennie for staying away, and the wait after a bellboy at Mount Holly Inn had been sent to find Miss Jennie gave him time to think this over. Two nights before he had 'phoned her that he was working late at the office. That would not do again. Still, he felt that he could not well tell the truth and say an intimate friend from West Virginia had turned up. Ultimately, he reached the conclusion that it was best to say he was not feeling well, even though he ran the risk that some friend of hers, or some guest at Mount Holly who knew him, might have seen him at the ball game that afternoon and might mention it.

There came a feminine voice across the wire. Daniel perceived at once that it was not Jennie, but her mother.

"Is that you, Mr. Carey?" she inquired, rather coolly. Jennie's mother was one of those mothers who are jealous of every young man who pays their daughters attention, for fear that some day Mr. Wright will come along and take the daughter away.

"Yes, it is I, Mrs. Poppleton," he replied. "I asked for Miss Jennie."

"She has gone out, Mr. Carey. She telephoned this afternoon to your office and your home, but you were not at either place. She was invited out by Mr. and Mrs. Chester, and said she knew you would excuse her, but please to call up Mount Vernon one thousand and ask them to send for her."

"Thank you, Mrs. Poppleton. What number did you say it was?"

"Mount Vernon one thousand."

"Thank you. Goodby."

After he had hung up the receiver, Daniel sat for a moment in the booth, undecided whether to pursue Jennie further by wire. He was inclined to feel miffed that she was not demurely waiting for him. Then his sense of fair play got the better of his selfishness, and he reflected that after all she was doing only what he had called her up to say he was going to do. He lifted the receiver.

"Mount Vernon one thousand, please," he asked, when the operator outside had acknowledged his call.

"What number did you say?" she queried. Her tone was sharp, as though surprised or puzzled.

"Mount Vernon one thousand."

There was a pause, but Daniel could not hear any click or other sound to indicate that she was trying to give him the connection. Finally he heard her ask slowly:

"Whom do you wish to speak to?"

"To Miss Poppleton," he replied, "who is taking dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Chester."

"Just hold the line, please."

The second wait for Jennie seemed longer than the first, and Daniel not only grew restive in the booth, but began again to asseverate that Jennie had not behaved quite properly by him. If she was out with Mr. and Mrs. Chester for a good time, it was dollars to doughnuts that a fourth member of the party was that chap Pratt. Jennie was going altogether too much with the fellow anyhow, and though he was an ill-mannered cur (this was Daniel's opinion), he had money, and seemed to be pretty popular with other people. He certainly was blamed popular with Jennie and the Chesters. Confound it all, the Chesters were not so many! (this also was Daniel's opinion).

There is no telling to what lengths he might have gone had not the voice of Jennie sailed sweetly over the wire at this juncture. He knew it to be Jennie instantaneously; never had her tones sounded so clear and close. It was as if she were only a few feet away.

"Is that you, Dan?" he heard her say.

"Yes, Jennie," he replied; "your mother gave me your message to call you up."

After this came a pause, a bit of awkwardness, due to the fact that each was fencing for the best position to deliver his or her excuse for not coming up to the mark that evening. It was Jennie who spoke first.

"You did not intend to come out to the hotel tonight?"

Daniel had an inspiration.

"Yes, I had a little surprise for you. You remember hearing me talk of Tom Oliver, who used to be one of my closest friends. Well, he's in town today and I was going to ask you if I might not bring him out and present him."

"Oh! I'm so sorry." Then after a pause, as if an idea had occurred to her, she asked:

"Where are you now?"

It was on the tip of his tongue to say the Belvedere, but he reflected quickly that if he did Jennie's tone of sorrow was so apparently sincere that she might propose to hurry back to Mount Holly and be ready to receive them. And this, he knew, would not fall in with Tom Oliver's notion of a "fine, large evening." So he fibbed unreservedly.

"Oh! we're down to the Baltimore Yacht Club."

That was about as far as it was convenient to transport himself beyond the radius of accessibility to Mount Holly.

"My! your voice sounds distinct for that distance," remarked Jennie.

"Yes, doesn't it?" replied Daniel.

Then he took up her story.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Mr. and Mrs. Chester had an anniversary today, a wedding anniversary, and they invited us to celebrate it with them by a long motor trip and a little supper. I'm having a fine time."

"Who is us?"

The answer he got he expected.

"Why, those two, and myself and Mr. Pratt."

He gritted his teeth to keep his jealousy from vocal expression.

"What did you say?" queried Jennie sweetly from the other end.

"Nothing," responded Daniel, grimly.

"I'll have to be going. They're waiting supper for me."

"May I come out tomorrow night?"

"No, Mr. Pratt has invited us to a launch party."

Daniel burst out:

"Pratt! Pratt! It's always that blamed fool!"

"See here, Daniel Carey, you nor no other man can take that tone with me, I'll have you know. You can stay away now until you get over that silly jealousy."

"But, Jennie"----He heard a click, and knew for a certainty that she had hung up the receiver on him. Twice he hurriedly called her name, and, getting no reply, angrily jammed his own receiver on its hook and rose to leave the booth.

As he turned he got the biggest shock of his young life.

For, mind you, there was Jennie Poppleton coming out of another booth.

There was no mistaking her. She had on the well-remembered light-blue princess gown in which he had told her she looked so pretty, and the long white kid gloves he had bought her for a philopena debt. And as she walked quickly out of the telephone room and disappeared down the corridor without looking back, her carriage was that graceful one that had always pleased him.

Daniel fell back into the booth seat in sheer desperation. Great Caesar! what a close shave he had had! Suppose he had run into Jennie just then, after telling her he was down the river! Whew!

Presently it occurred to him that Jennie was practising as much deception as he. She had left word for him to call up "Mount Vernon one thousand." Where in the deuce was "Mount Vernon one thousand"? He looked at the number card in the booth and got another shock. It read as plain as day:

"Mount Vernon 1000."

"What a bally idiot I am!" he muttered. "Know the Belvedere number as well as my own home. Always called it 'Mount Vernon ten hundred' or 'Mount Vernon one-o-double o.' Dumb jackass! Gee! what a close shave! Wonder Jennie didn't see me when she went in that other booth."

Then the funny side of it struck him, and he laid his head on the desk and laughed unrestrainedly. Was ever a contretemps more ridiculous?

When he at last emerged from the booth the demure operator looked up at him without the trace of a smile.

"Twenty cents, please," she said.

"It's worth more than that," remarked Daniel cheerfully. "Gosh, but you're a wonder! I take off my hat to you." He made a low sweeping bow.

The girl smiled. "It was funny," she admitted.

"How on earth did you manage it?"

"You asked for somebody at 'Mount Vernon one-o-double-o', didn't you? You got them, didn't you?"

"All the same, you're a wonder!" he rejoined, with undisguised admiration.

An incoming call enabled her to turn aside the flush that rose to her cheeks. When she had attended to it she glanced up again at Carey with her prior calmness.

"Which do you prefer," he asked, "candy or a pair of those long gloves?"

"Candy isn't good for the complexion."

Daniel noted her fine color, then promised the gloves. He was about to say more when Tom Oliver bolted into the room.

"Say, old man," he cried, "when on earth will you be through here? There's the prettiest girl in the tearoom, and maybe you know her. I've ordered supper over there, so I can look at her."

"What is she wearing?" asked Daniel, with a note of alarm.

"She's a vision in light blue."

The hello girl looked quizzically at Daniel and it was Daniel's turn to flush.

"I can't eat supper there, Tom," he said, slowly. "Fact is, I'd rather be anywhere else than in that room."

"But why?" persisted Tom.

"You tell him," said Daniel to the telephone girl.

"He has an engagement at South six-eight-k."

The mystified Tom eyed first one, then the other.

"What on earth is that?" he asked.

"The Baltimore Yacht Club."

He was still unenlightened.

"But why"--he began.

"Come on, old hayseed," said Daniel, taking Tom's arm. "Let's go into the palmroom, and I'll tell you all about it."

"I'll call you up tomorrow to get your size for the gloves," he remarked to the telephone genius as he bade her good night.

"You know what number to call?"

"Am I likely to forget it?" he asked.

Transcriber's Note:

Spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained as they appear in the original publication.

 
 
 

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