The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Best Short Stories of 1920, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Best Short Stories of 1920
       and the Yearbook of the American Short Story

Author: Various

Editor: Edward J. O'Brien

Release Date: July 17, 2007 [EBook #22091]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Suzanne Lybarger, Jane Hyland and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at








Copyright 1919, by Charles Scribner's Sons, The Pictorial Review Company, The Curtis Publishing Company, and Harper & Brothers.

Copyright, 1920, by The Boston Transcript Company.

Copyright, 1920, by Margaret C, Anderson, Harper & Brothers, The Dial Publishing Company, Inc., The Metropolitan Magazine Company, John T. Frederick, P. F. Collier & Son, Inc., Charles Scribner's Sons, The International Magazine Company, and The Pictorial Review Company.

Copyright, 1921, by Sherwood Anderson, Edwina Stanton Babcock, Konrad Bercovici, Edna Clare Bryner, Charles Wadsworth Camp, Helen Coale Crew, Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Lee Foster Hartman, Rupert Hughes, Grace Sartwell Mason, James Oppenheim, Arthur Somers Roche, Rose Sidney, Fleta Campbell Springer, Wilbur Daniel Steele, Ethel Dodd Thomas, John T. Wheelwright, Stephen French Whitman, Ben Ames Williams, and Frances Gilchrist Wood.

Copyright, 1921, by Small, Maynard & Company, Inc.



Grateful acknowledgment for permission to include the stories and other material in this volume is made to the following authors, editors, and publishers:

To Miss Margaret C. Anderson, the Editor of Harper's Magazine, the Editor of The Dial, the Editor of The Metropolitan, Mr. John T. Frederick, the Editor of Scribner's Magazine, the Editor of Collier's Weekly, the Editor of The Cosmopolitan Magazine, the Editor of The Pictorial Review, the Curtis Publishing Company, Mr. Sherwood Anderson, Miss Edwina Stanton Babcock, Mr. Konrad Bercovici, Miss Edna Clare Bryner, Mr. Wadsworth Camp, Mrs. Helen Coale Crew, Mrs. Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Mr. Lee Foster Hartman, Major Rupert Hughes, Mrs. Grace Sartwell Mason, Mr. James Oppenheim, Mr. Arthur Somers Roche, Mrs. Rose Sidney, Mrs. Fleta Campbell Springer, Mr. Wilbur Daniel Steele, Mrs. A. E. Thomas, Mr. John T. Wheelwright, Mr. Stephen French Whitman, Mr. Ben Ames Williams, and Mrs. Frances Gilchrist Wood.

Acknowledgments are specially due to The Boston Evening Transcript for permission to reprint the large body of material previously published in its pages.

I shall be grateful to my readers for corrections, and particularly for suggestions leading to the wider usefulness of this annual volume. In particular, I shall welcome the receipt, from authors, editors, and publishers, of stories printed during the period between October, 1920 and September, 1921 inclusive, which have qualities of distinction, and yet are not printed in periodicals falling under my regular notice. Such communications may be addressed to me at Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, England.

E. J. O.


Introduction. By the Editor
The Other Woman. By Sherwood Anderson (From The Little Review)
Gargoyle. By Edwina Stanton Babcock (From Harper's Magazine)
Ghitza. By Konrad Bercovici (From The Dial)
The Life of Five Points. By Edna Clare Bryner (From The Dial)
The Signal Tower. By Wadsworth Camp (From The Metropolitan)
The Parting Genius. By Helen Coale Crew (From The Midland)
Habakkuk. By Katharine Fullerton Gerould (From Scribner's Magazine)
The Judgment of Vulcan. By Lee Foster Hartman (From Harper's Magazine)
The Stick-in-the-Muds. By Rupert Hughes (From Collier's Weekly)
His Job. By Grace Sartwell Mason (From Scribner's Magazine)
The Rending. By James Oppenheim (From The Dial)
The Dummy-Chucker. By Arthur Somers Roche (From The Cosmopolitan)
Butterflies. By Rose Sidney (From The Pictorial Review)
The Rotter. By Fleta Campbell Springer (From Harper's Magazine)
Out of Exile. By Wilbur Daniel Steele (From The Pictorial Review)
The Three Telegrams. By Ethel Storm (From The Ladies' Home Journal)
The Roman Bath. By John T. Wheelwright (From Scribner's Magazine)
Amazement. By Stephen French Whitman (From Harper's Magazine)
Sheener. By Ben Ames Williams (From Collier's Weekly)
Turkey Red. By Frances Gilchrist Wood (From The Pictorial Review)
The Yearbook of the American Short Story, October, 1919, to September, 1920
Addresses of American Magazines Publishing Short Stories
The Bibliographical Roll of Honor of American Short Stories
The Roll of Honor of Foreign Short Stories in American Magazines
The Best Books of Short Stories of 1920: A Critical Summary
Volumes of Short Stories Published, October, 1919, to September, 1920: A Index
Articles on the Short Stories: An Index
Index of Short Stories in Books, November, 1918, to September, 1920
Index of Short Stories Published in American Magazines, October, 1919, to September, 1920


[1] The order in which the stories in this volume are printed is not intended as an indication of their comparative excellence; the arrangement is alphabetical by authors.


I suppose there is no one of us who can honestly deny that he is interested in one way or another in the American short story. Indeed, it is hard to find a man anywhere who does not enjoy telling a good story. But there are some people born with the gift of telling a good story better than others, and of telling it in such a way that a great many people can enjoy its flavor. Most of you are acquainted with some one who is a gifted story-teller, provided that he has an audience of not more than one or two people. And if you chance to live in the same house with such a man, I think you will find that, no matter how good his story may have been when you first heard it, it tends to lose its savor after he has become thoroughly accustomed to telling it and has added it to his private repertory.

A writer of good stories is really a man who risks telling the same story to many thousand people. Did you ever take such a risk? Did you ever start to tell a story to a stranger, and try to make your point without knowing what sort of a man he was? If you did, what was your experience? You decided, didn't you, that story-telling was an art, and you wondered perhaps if you were ever going to learn it.

The American story-teller in the magazines is in very much the same position, except that we have much more patience with him. Usually he is a man who has told his story a good many times before. The first time he told it we clapped him on the back, as he deserved perhaps, and said that he was a good fellow. His publishers said so too. And it was a good story that he told. The trouble was that we wanted to hear it again, and we paid him too well to repeat it. But just as your story became rather less interesting the twenty-third time you told it, so the stories I have been reading more often than not have made a similar impression upon me. I find myself begging the author to think up another story.

Of course, you have not felt obliged to read so many stories, and I cannot advise you to do so. But it has made it possible for me to see in some sort of perspective, just where the American short story is going as well as what it has already achieved. It has made me see how American writers are weakening their substance by too frequent repetition, and it has helped me to fix the blame where it really lies.

Now this is a matter of considerable importance. One of the things we should be most anxious to learn is the psychology of the American reader. We want to know how he reacts to what he reads in the magazine, whether it is a short story, an article, or an advertisement. We want to know, for example, what holds the interest of a reader of the Atlantic Monthly, and what holds the interest of the reader of the Ladies' Home Journal.

It is my belief that the difference between these various types of readers is pretty largely an artificial difference, in so far as it affects the quality of entertainment and imaginative interest that the short story has to offer. Of course, there are exceptional cases, and I have some of these in mind, but for the most part I can perceive no essential difference between the best stories in the Saturday Evening Post and the best stories in Harper's Magazine for example. The difference that every one feels, and that exists, is one of emphasis rather than of type. It is a difference which is shown by averages rather than one which affects the best stories in either magazine. Human nature is the same everywhere, and when an artist interprets it sympathetically, the reader will respond to his feeling wherever he finds it.

It has been my experience that the reader is likely to find this warmly sympathetic interpretation of human nature, its pleasures and its sorrows, its humor and its tragedy, most often in the American magazines that talk least about their own merit. We are all familiar with the sort of magazine that contents itself with saying day in and day out ceaselessly and noisily: "The Planet Magazine is the greatest magazine in the universe. The greatest literary artists and the world's greatest illustrators contribute to our pages." And it stops there. It has repeated this claim so often that it has come to believe it. Such a magazine is the great literary ostrich. It hides by burying its eyes in the sand.

It is an axiom of human nature that the greatest men do not find it necessary or possible to talk about their own greatness. They are so busy that they have never had much time to think about it. And so it is with the best magazines, and with the best short stories. The man who wrote what I regard as the best short story published in 1915 was the most surprised man in Brooklyn when I told him so.

The truth of the matter is that we are changing very rapidly, and that a new national sense in literature is accompanying that change. There was a time, and in fact it is only now drawing to a close, when the short story was exploited by interested moneymakers who made such a loud noise that you could hear nothing else without great difficulty. The most successful of these noisemakers are still shouting, but their heart is in it no longer. The editor of one of the largest magazines in the country said to me not long ago that he found the greatest difficulty now in procuring short stories by writers for whom his magazine had trained the public to clamor. The immediate reason which he ascribed for this state of affairs was that the commercial rewards offered to these writers by the moving picture companies were so great, and the difference in time and labor between writing scenarios and developing finished stories was so marked, that authors were choosing the more attractive method of earning money. The excessive commercialisation of literature in the past decade is now turned against the very magazines which fostered it. The magazines which bought and sold fiction like soap are beginning to repent of it all. They have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.

This fight for sincerity in the short story is a fight that is worth making. It is at the heart of all that for which I am striving. The quiet sincere man who has something to tell you should not be talked down by the noisemakers. He should have his hearing. He is real. And we need him.

That is why I have set myself the annual task of reading so many short stories. I am looking for the man and woman with something to say,—who cares very much indeed about how he says it. I am looking for the man and woman with some sort of a dream, the man or woman who sees just a little bit more in the pedlar he passes on the street than you or I do, and who wishes to devote his life to telling us about it. I want to be told my own story too, so that I can see myself as other people see me. And I want to feel that the storyteller who talks to me about these things is as much in earnest as a sincere clergyman, an unselfish physician, or an idealistic lawyer. I want to feel that he belongs to a profession that is a sort of priesthood, and not that he is holding down a job or running a bucket shop.

I have found this writer with a message in almost every magazine I have studied during the year. He is just as much in earnest in Collier's Weekly as he is in Scribner's Magazine. I do not find him often, but he is there somewhere. And he is the only man for whom it is worth our while to watch. I feel that it is none of my business whether I like and agree with what he has to say or not. All that I am looking for is to see whether he means what he says and makes it as real as he can to me. I accept his substance at his own valuation, but I want to know what he makes of it.

Each race that forms part of the substance in our great melting pot is bringing the richest of its traditions to add to our children's heritage. That is a wonderful thing to think about. Here, for example, is a young Jewish writer, telling in obscurity the stories of his people with all the art of the great Russian masters. And Irishmen are bringing to us the best of their heritage, and men and women of many other races contribute to form the first national literature the world has ever seen which is not based on a single racial feeling. Why are we not more curious about the ragman's story and that of the bootblack and the man who keeps the fruit store? Don't you suppose life is doing things to the boy in the coat-room as interesting as anything in all the romances? Isn't life changing us in the most extraordinary ways, and do we not wish to know in what manner we are to meet and adapt ourselves to these changes? There is a humble writer in an attic up there who knows all about it, if you care to listen to him. The trouble is that he is so much interested in talking about life that he forgets to talk about himself, and we are too lazy to listen to any one who forgets to blow his own trumpet. But the magazines are beginning to look for him, and, wonderful to say, they are beginning to find him, and to discover that he is more interesting and humanly popular than the professional chef who may be always depended upon to cook his single dish in the same old way, but who has never had time to learn anything else.

Now what is the essential point of all that I have been trying to say? It is simply this. If we are going to do anything as a nation, we must be honest with ourselves and with everybody else. If we are story writers or story readers, and practically every one is either one or the other in these days, we must come to grips with life in the fiction we write or read. Sloppy sentimentality and slapstick farce ought to bore us frightfully, especially if we have any sense of humor. Life is too real to go to sleep over it.

To repeat what I have said in these pages in previous years, for the benefit of the reader as yet unacquainted with my standards and principles of selection, I shall point out that I have set myself the task of disengaging the essential human qualities in our contemporary fiction which, when chronicled conscientiously by our literary artists, may fairly be called a criticism of life. I am not at all interested in formulæ, and organised criticism at its best would be nothing more than dead criticism, as all dogmatic interpretation of life is always dead. What has interested me, to the exclusion of other things, is the fresh, living current which flows through the best of our work, and the psychological and imaginative reality which our writers have conferred upon it.

No substance is of importance in fiction, unless it is organic substance, that is to say, substance in which the pulse of life is beating. Inorganic fiction has been our curse in the past, and bids fair to remain so, unless we exercise much greater artistic discrimination than we display at present.

The present record covers the period from October, 1919, to September, 1920, inclusive. During this period, I have sought to select from the stories published in American magazines those which have rendered life imaginatively in organic substance and artistic form. Substance is something achieved by the artist in every act of creation, rather than something already present, and accordingly a fact or group of facts in a story only attain substantial embodiment when the artist's power of compelling imaginative persuasion transforms them into a living truth. The first test of a short story, therefore, in any qualitative analysis is to report upon how vitally compelling the writer makes his selected facts or incidents. This test may be conveniently called the test of substance.

But a second test is necessary if the story is to take rank above other stories. The true artist will seek to shape this living substance into the most beautiful and satisfying form, by skilful selection and arrangement of his materials, and by the most direct and appealing presentation of it in portrayal and characterization.

The short stories which I have examined in this study, as in previous years, have fallen naturally into four groups. The first group consists of those stories which fail, in my opinion, to survive either the test of substance or the test of form. These stories are listed in the yearbook without comment or a qualifying asterisk. The second group consists of those stories which may fairly claim that they survive either the test of substance or the test of form. Each of these stories may claim to possess either distinction of technique alone, or more frequently, I am glad to say, a persuasive sense of life in them to which a reader responds with some part of his own experience. Stories included in this group are indicated in the yearbook index by a single asterisk prefixed to the title.

The third group, which is composed of stories of still greater distinction, includes such narratives as may lay convincing claim to a second reading, because each of them has survived both tests, the test of substance and the test of form. Stories included in this group are indicated in the yearbook index by two asterisks prefixed to the title.

Finally, I have recorded the names of a small group of stories which possess, I believe, an even finer distinction—the distinction of uniting genuine substance and artistic form in a closely woven pattern with such sincerity that these stories may fairly claim a position in our literature. If all of these stories by American authors were republished, they would not occupy more space than five novels of average length. My selection of them does not imply the critical belief that they are great stories. A year which produced one great story would be an exceptional one. It is simply to be taken as meaning that I have found the equivalent of five volumes worthy of republication among all the stories published during the period under consideration. These stories are indicated in the yearbook index by three asterisks prefixed to the title, and are listed in the special "Roll of Honor." In compiling these lists, I have permitted no personal preference or prejudice to consciously influence my judgment. To the titles of certain stories, however, in the "Rolls of Honor," an asterisk is prefixed, and this asterisk, I must confess, reveals in some measure a personal preference, for which, perhaps, I may be indulged. It is from this final short list that the stories reprinted in this volume have been selected.

It has been a point of honor with me not to republish an English story, nor a translation from a foreign author. I have also made it a rule not to include more than one story by an individual author in the volume. The general and particular results of my study will be found explained and carefully detailed in the supplementary part of the volume.

As in past years it has been my pleasure and honor to associate this annual with the names of Benjamin Rosenblatt, Richard Matthews Hallet, Wilbur Daniel Steele, Arthur Johnson, and Anzia Yezierska, so it is my wish to dedicate this year the best that I have found in the American magazines as the fruit of my labors to Sherwood Anderson, whose stories, "The Door of the Trap," "I Want to Know Why," "The Other Woman," and "The Triumph of the Egg" seem to me to be among the finest imaginative contributions to the short story made by an American artist during the past year.

Edward J. O'Brien.

Forest Hill, Oxon, England,
November 8, 1920.


Note.—The order in which the stories in this volume are printed is not intended as an indication of their comparative excellence; the arrangement is alphabetical by authors.



From The Little Review

"I am in love with my wife," he said—a superfluous remark, as I had not questioned his attachment to the woman he had married. We walked for ten minutes and then he said it again. I turned to look at him. He began to talk and told me the tale I am now about to set down.

The thing he had on his mind happened during what must have been the most eventful week of his life. He was to be married on Friday afternoon. On Friday of the week before he got a telegram announcing his appointment to a government position. Something else happened that made him very proud and glad. In secret he was in the habit of writing verses and during the year before several of them had been printed in poetry magazines. One of the societies that give prizes for what they think the best poems published during the year put his name at the head of their list. The story of his triumph was printed in the newspapers of his home city, and one of them also printed his picture.

As might have been expected, he was excited and in a rather highly strung nervous state all during that week. Almost every evening he went to call on his fiancée, the daughter of a judge. When he got there the house was filled with people and many letters, telegrams and packages were being received. He stood a little to one side and men and women kept coming to speak with him. They congratulated him upon his success in getting the government position and on his achievement as a poet. Everyone seemed to be praising him, and when he went home to bed he could not sleep. On Wednesday evening he went to the theatre and it seemed to him that people all over the house recognized him. Everyone nodded and smiled. After the first act five or six men and two women left their seats to gather about him. A little group was formed. Strangers sitting along the same row of seats stretched their necks and looked. He had never received so much attention before, and now a fever of expectancy took possession of him.

As he explained when he told me of his experience, it was for him an altogether abnormal time. He felt like one floating in air. When he got into bed after seeing so many people and hearing so many words of praise his head whirled round and round. When he closed his eyes a crowd of people invaded his room. It seemed as though the minds of all the people of his city were centered on himself. The most absurd fancies took possession of him. He imagined himself riding in a carriage through the streets of a city. Windows were thrown open and people ran out at the doors of houses. "There he is. That's him," they shouted, and at the words a glad cry arose. The carriage drove into a street blocked with people. A hundred thousand pairs of eyes looked up at him. "There you are! What a fellow you have managed to make of yourself!" the eyes seemed to be saying.

My friend could not explain whether the excitement of the people was due to the fact that he had written a new poem or whether, in his new government position, he had performed some notable act. The apartment where he lived at that time was on a street perched along the top of a cliff far out at the edge of the city and from his bedroom window he could look down over trees and factory roofs to a river. As he could not sleep and as the fancies that kept crowding in upon him only made him more excited, he got out of bed and tried to think.

As would be natural under such circumstances, he tried to control his thoughts, but when he sat by the window and was wide awake a most unexpected and humiliating thing happened. The night was clear and fine. There was a moon. He wanted to dream of the woman who was to be his wife, think out lines for noble poems or make plans that would affect his career. Much to his surprise his mind refused to do anything of the sort.

At a corner of the street where he lived there was a small cigar store and newspaper stand run by a fat man of forty and his wife, a small active woman with bright grey eyes. In the morning he stopped there to buy a paper before going down to the city. Sometimes he saw only the fat man, but often the man had disappeared and the woman waited on him. She was, as he assured me at least twenty times in telling me his tale, a very ordinary person with nothing special or notable about her, but for some reason he could not explain being in her presence stirred him profoundly. During that week in the midst of his distraction she was the only person he knew who stood out clear and distinct in his mind. When he wanted so much to think noble thoughts, he could think only of her. Before he knew what was happening his imagination had taken hold of the notion of having a love affair with the woman.

"I could not understand myself," he declared, in telling me the story. "At night, when the city was quiet and when I should have been asleep, I thought about her all the time. After two or three days of that sort of thing the consciousness of her got into my daytime thoughts. I was terribly muddled. When I went to see the woman who is now my wife I found that my love for her was in no way affected by my vagrant thoughts. There was but one woman in the world I wanted to live with me and to be my comrade in undertaking to improve my own character and my position in the world, but for the moment, you see, I wanted this other woman to be in my arms. She had worked her way into my being. On all sides people were saying I was a big man who would do big things, and there I was. That evening when I went to the theatre I walked home because I knew I would be unable to sleep, and to satisfy the annoying impulse in myself I went and stood on the sidewalk before the tobacco shop. It was a two story building, and I knew the woman lived upstairs with her husband. For a long time I stood in the darkness with my body pressed against the wall of the building and then I thought of the two of them up there, no doubt in bed together. That made me furious.

"Then I grew more furious at myself. I went home and got into bed shaken with anger. There are certain books of verse and some prose writings that have always moved me deeply, and so I put several books on a table by my bed.

"The voices in the books were like the voices of the dead. I did not hear them. The words printed on the lines would not penetrate into my consciousness. I tried to think of the woman I loved, but her figure had also become something far away, something with which I for the moment seemed to have nothing to do. I rolled and tumbled about in the bed. It was a miserable experience.

"On Thursday morning I went into the store. There stood the woman alone. I think she knew how I felt. Perhaps she had been thinking of me as I had been thinking of her. A doubtful hesitating smile played about the corners of her mouth. She had on a dress made of cheap cloth, and there was a tear on the shoulder. She must have been ten years older than myself. When I tried to put my pennies on the glass counter behind which she stood my hand trembled so that the pennies made a sharp rattling noise. When I spoke the voice that came out of my throat did not sound like anything that had ever belonged to me. It barely arose above a thick whisper. 'I want you,' I said. 'I want you very much. Can't you run away from your husband? Come to me at my apartment at seven to-night.'

"The woman did come to my apartment at seven. That morning she did not say anything at all. For a minute perhaps we stood looking at each other. I had forgotten everything in the world but just her. Then she nodded her head and I went away. Now that I think of it I cannot remember a word I ever heard her say. She came to my apartment at seven and it was dark. You must understand this was in the month of October. I had not lighted a light and I had sent my servant away.

"During that day I was no good at all. Several men came to see me at my office, but I got all muddled up in trying to talk with them. They attributed my rattle-headedness to my approaching marriage and went away laughing.

"It was on that morning, just the day before my marriage, that I got a long and very beautiful letter from my fiancée. During the night before she also had been unable to sleep and had got out of bed to write the letter. Everything she said in it was very sharp and real, but she herself, as a living thing, seemed to have receded into the distance. It seemed to me that she was like a bird, flying far away in distant skies, and I was like a perplexed bare-footed boy standing in the dusty road before a farm house and looking at her receding figure. I wonder if you will understand what I mean?

"In regard to the letter. In it she, the awakening woman, poured out her heart. She of course knew nothing of life, but she was a woman. She lay, I suppose, in her bed feeling nervous and wrought up as I had been doing. She realized that a great change was about to take place in her life and was glad and afraid too. There she lay thinking of it all. Then she got out of bed and began talking to me on the bit of paper. She told me how afraid she was and how glad too. Like most young women she had heard things whispered. In the letter she was very sweet and fine. 'For a long time, after we are married, we will forget we are a man and woman,' she wrote. 'We will be human beings. You must remember that I am ignorant and often I will be very stupid. You must love me and be very patient and kind. When I know more, when after a long time you have taught me the way of life, I will try to repay you. I will love you tenderly and passionately. The possibility of that is in me, or I would not want to marry at all. I am afraid but I am also happy. O, I am so glad our marriage time is near at hand.'

"Now you see clearly enough into what a mess I had got. In my office, after I read my fiancée's letter, I became at once very resolute and strong. I remember that I got out of my chair and walked about, proud of the fact that I was to be the husband of so noble a woman. Right away I felt concerning her as I had been feeling, about myself before I found out what a weak thing I was. To be sure I took a strong resolution that I would not be weak. At nine that evening I had planned to run in to see my fiancée. 'I'm all right now,' I said to myself. 'The beauty of her character has saved me from myself. I will go home now and send the other woman away.' In the morning I had telephoned to my servant and told him that I did not want him to be at the apartment that evening and I now picked up the telephone to tell him to stay at home.

"Then a thought came to me. 'I will not want him there in any event,' I told myself. 'What will he think when he sees a woman coming to my place on the evening before the day I am to be married?' I put the telephone down and prepared to go home. 'If I want my servant out of the apartment it is because I do not want him to hear me talk with the woman. I cannot be rude to her. I will have to make some kind of an explanation,' I said to myself.

"The woman came at seven o'clock, and, as you may have guessed, I let her in and forgot the resolution I had made. It is likely I never had any intention of doing anything else. There was a bell on my door, but she did not ring, but knocked very softly. It seems to me that everything she did that evening was soft and quiet but very determined and quick. Do I make myself clear? When she came I was standing just within the door, where I had been standing and waiting for a half hour. My hands were trembling as they had trembled in the morning when her eyes looked at me and when I tried to put the pennies on the counter in the store. When I opened the door she stepped quickly in and I took her into my arms. We stood together in the darkness. My hands no longer trembled. I felt very happy and strong.

"Although I have tried to make everything clear I have not told you what the woman I married is like. I have emphasized, you see, the other woman. I make the blind statement that I love my wife, and to a man of your shrewdness that means nothing at all. To tell the truth, had I not started to speak of this matter I would feel more comfortable. It is inevitable that I give you the impression that I am in love with the tobacconist's wife. That's not true. To be sure I was very conscious of her all during the week before my marriage, but after she had come to me at my apartment she went entirely out of my mind.

"Am I telling the truth? I am trying very hard to tell what happened to me. I am saying that I have not since that evening thought of the woman who came to my apartment. Now, to tell the facts of the case, that is not true. On that evening I went to my fiancée at nine, as she had asked me to do in her letter. In a kind of way I cannot explain the other woman went with me. This is what I mean—you see I had been thinking that if anything happened between me and the tobacconist's wife I would not be able to go through with my marriage. 'It is one thing or the other with me,' I had said to myself.

"As a matter of fact I went to see my beloved on that evening filled with a new faith in the outcome of our life together. I am afraid I muddle this matter in trying to tell it. A moment ago I said the other woman, the tobacconist's wife, went with me. I do not mean she went in fact. What I am trying to say is that something of her faith in her own desires and her courage in seeing things through went with me. Is that clear to you? When I got to my fiancée's house there was a crowd of people standing about. Some were relatives from distant places I had not seen before. She looked up quickly when I came into the room. My face must have been radiant. I never saw her so moved. She thought her letter had affected me deeply, and of course it had. Up she jumped and ran to meet me. She was like a glad child. Right before the people who turned and looked inquiringly at us, she said the thing that was in her mind. 'O, I am so happy,' she cried. 'You have understood. We will be two human beings. We will not have to be husband and wife.'

"As you may suppose, everyone laughed, but I did not laugh. The tears came into my eyes. I was so happy I wanted to shout. Perhaps you understand what I mean. In the office that day when I read the letter my fiancée had written I had said to myself, 'I will take care of the dear little woman.' There was something smug, you see, about that. In her house when she cried out in that way, and when everyone laughed, what I said to myself was something like this: 'We will take care of ourselves.' I whispered something of the sort into her ears. To tell you the truth I had come down off my perch. The spirit of the other woman did that to me. Before all the people gathered about I held my fiancée close and we kissed. They thought it very sweet of us to be so affected at the sight of each other. What they would have thought had they known the truth about me God only knows!

"Twice now I have said that after that evening I never thought of the other woman at all. That is partially true but sometimes in the evening when I am walking alone in the street or in the park as we are walking now, and when evening comes softly and quickly as it has come to-night, the feeling of her comes sharply into my body and mind. After that one meeting I never saw her again. On the next day I was married and I have never gone back into her street. Often however as I am walking along as I am doing now, a quick sharp earthy feeling takes possession of me. It is as though I were a seed in the ground and the warm rains of the spring had come. It is as though I were not a man but a tree.

"And now you see I am married and everything is all right. My marriage is to me a very beautiful fact. If you were to say that my marriage is not a happy one I could call you a liar and be speaking the absolute truth. I have tried to tell you about this other woman. There is a kind of relief in speaking of her. I have never done it before. I wonder why I was so silly as to be afraid that I would give you the impression I am not in love with my wife. If I did not instinctively trust your understanding I would not have spoken. As the matter stands I have a little stirred myself up. To-night I shall think of the other woman. That sometimes occurs. It will happen after I have gone to bed. My wife sleeps in the next room to mine and the door is always left open. There will be a moon to-night, and when there is a moon long streaks of light fall on her bed. I shall awake at midnight to-night. She will be lying asleep with one arm thrown over her head.

"What is that I am talking about? A man does not speak of his wife lying in bed. What I am trying to say is that, because of this talk, I shall think of the other woman to-night. My thoughts will not take the form they did the week before I was married. I will wonder what has become of the woman. For a moment I will again feel myself holding her close. I will think that for an hour I was closer to her than I have ever been to anyone else. Then I will think of the time when I will be as close as that to my wife. She is still, you see, an awakening woman. For a moment I will close my eyes and the quick, shrewd, determined eyes of that other woman will look into mine. My head will swim and then I will quickly open my eyes and see again the dear woman with whom I have undertaken to live out my life. Then I will sleep and when I awake in the morning it will be as it was that evening when I walked out of my dark apartment after having had the most notable experience of my life. What I mean to say, you understand, is that, for me, when I awake, the other woman will be utterly gone."


[2]Copyright, 1920, by Margaret C. Anderson.
Copyright, 1921, by Sherwood Anderson.



From Harper's Magazine

Gargoyle stole up the piazza steps. His arms were full of field flowers. He stood there staring over his burden.

A hush fell upon tea- and card-tables. The younger women on the Strang veranda glanced at one another. The girl at the piano hesitated in her light stringing of musical sentences.

John Strang rose. "Not now, Gargoyle, old man." Taking the flowers from the thin hands, he laid them on the rug at his wife's feet, then gently motioned the intruder away. Gargoyle flitted contentedly down the broad steps to the smooth drive, and was soon hidden by masses of rhododendron on the quadrangle.

Only one guest raised questioning eyebrows as Strang resumed his seat. This girl glanced over his shoulder at the aimless child straying off into the trees.

"I should think an uncanny little person like that would get on Mrs. Strang's nerves; he gives me the creeps!"

"Yes? Mrs. Strang is hardly as sensitive as you might suppose. What do you say of a lady who enjoys putting the worms on her shrinking husband's hook? Not only that, but who banters the worms, telling them it's all for their own good?"

The mistress of Heartholm, looking over at the two, shook a deprecating head. But Strang seemed to derive amusement from the guest's disapproval.

Mockwood, where the Strangs lived, had its impressiveness partly accounted for by the practical American name of "residential park." This habitat, covering many thousands of acres, gave evidence of the usual New World compromise between fantastic wealth and over-reached restraint. Polished automobiles gliding noiselessly through massed purple and silver shrubberies, receded into bland glooms of well-thought-out boscage. The architecture, a judicious mixture of haughty roofs and opulent chimneys, preened itself behind exclusive screens of wall and vine, and the entire frontage of Mockwood presented a polished elegance which did not entirely conceal a silent plausibility of expense.

At Heartholm, the Strangs' place, alone, had the purely conventional been smitten in its smooth face. The banker's country home was built on the lines of his own physical height and mental breadth. Strang had flung open his living-rooms to vistas of tree branches splashing against the morning blue. His back stairs were as aspiring as the Apostles' Creed, and his front stairs as soaring as the Canticle to the Sun. As he had laid out his seven-mile drive on a deer track leading to a forest spring, so had he spoken for his flowers the word, which, though it freed them from the prunes and prisms of a landscape gardener, held them, glorified vassals, to their original masters, sun and rain.

Strang and his love for untrammeled nature were hard pills for Mockwooders to swallow. Here was a man who, while he kept one on the alert, was to be deplored; who homesteaded squirrels, gave rabbits their own licentious ways, was whimsically tolerant of lichens, mushrooms, and vagabond vines. This was also the man who, when his gardener's wife gave birth to a deaf and dumb baby, encouraged his own wife to make a pet of the unfortunate youngster, and when he could walk gave him his freedom of the Heartholm acres.

It was this sort of thing, Mockwooders agreed, that "explained" the Strangs. It was the desultory gossip of fashionable breakfast tables how Evelyn Strang was frequently seen at the gardener's cottage, talking to the poor mother about her youngest. The gardener's wife had other children, all strong and hearty. These went to school, survived the rigors of "regents" examinations, and were beginning to talk of "accepting" positions. There would never be any position for little Gargoyle, as John Strang called him, to "accept."

"Let the child run about," the village doctors had advised. "Let him run about in the sun and make himself useful."

But people who "run about in the sun" are seldom inclined to make themselves useful, and no one could make Gargoyle so. It would have been as well to try to train woodbine to draw water or to educate cattails to write Greek. The little boy spent all of the day idling; it was a curious, Oriental sort of idling. Callers at Heartholm grew disapprovingly accustomed to the sight of the grotesque face and figure peering through the shrubberies; they shrugged their shoulders impatiently, coming upon the recumbent child dreamily gazing at his own reflection in the lily-pond, looking necromantically out from the molten purple of a wind-blown beech, or standing at gaze in a clump of iris.

Strang with his amused laugh fended off all protest and neighborly advice.

"That's Gargoyle's special variety of hashish. He lives in a flower-harem—in a five-year-old Solomon's Song. I've often seen the irises kowtowing to him, and his attitude toward them is distinctly personal and lover-like. If that little chap could only talk there would be some fun, but what Gargoyle thinks would hardly fit itself to words—besides, then"—Strang twinkled at the idea—"none of us would fancy having him around with those natural eyes—that undressed little mind."

It was in good-humored explanations like this that the Strangs managed to conceal their real interest in Gargoyle. They did not remind people of their only child, the brave boy of seven, who died before they came to Mockwood. Under the common sense that set the two instantly to work building a new home, creating new associations, lay the everlasting pain of an old life, when, as parents of a son, they had seemed to tread springier soil, to breathe keener, more vital air. And, though the Strangs adhered patiently to the recognized technicalities of Mockwood existence, they never lost sight of a hope, of which, against the increasing evidence of worldly logic, their human hearts still made ceaseless frantic attestation.

Very slowly, but very constructively, it had become a fierce though governed passion with both—to learn something of the spiritual life coursing back of the material universe. Equally slowly and inevitably had the two come to believe that the little changeling at the lodge held some wordless clue, some unconscious knowledge as to that outer sphere, that surrounding, peopled ether, in which, under their apparent rationality, the two had come to believe. Yet the banker and his wife stood to Mockwooders for no special cult or fad; it was only between themselves that their quest had become a slowly developing motive.

"Gargoyle was under the rose-arbor this morning." It was according to custom that Evelyn Strang would relate the child's latest phase. "He sat there without stirring such a long time that I was fascinated. I noticed that he never picked a rose, never smelled one. The early sun fell slanting through their petals till they glowed like thin little wheels of fire. John dear, it was that scalloped fire which Gargoyle was staring at. The flowers seemed to lean toward him, vibrating color and perfumes too delicate for me to hear. I only saw and smelled the flowers; Gargoyle looked as if he felt them! Don't laugh; you know we look at flowers because when we were little, people always said, 'See the pretty flower, smell the pretty flower,' but no one said, 'Listen and see if you can hear the flower grow; be still and see if you can catch the flower speaking.'"

Strang never did laugh, never brushed away these fantastic ideas. Settling back in his piazza chair, his big hands locked together, he would listen, amusing himself with his pet theory of Gargoyle's "undressed mind."

"By the way," he said once, "that reminds me, have you ever seen our young Solomon of the flower-harem smile?"

"Of course I haven't; neither have you." Young Mrs. Strang averred it confidently. "He never has smiled, poor baby, nor cried—his mother told me that long ago."

The banker kept his eyes on the treetops; he had his finger-tips nicely balanced before he remarked, with seeming irrelevance:

"You know that nest in the tree we call the Siegfried tree?"

She nodded.

"The other day a bird fell out of it, one of the young ones, pushed out by a housecleaning mother, I suppose. It killed the poor little feathered gawk. I saw Gargoyle run, quick as a flash, and pick it up. He pushed open the closing eyes, tried to place the bird on a hollyhock stalk, to spread its wings, in every way to give it motion. When, after each attempt, he saw it fall to the ground, he stood still, looking at it very hard. Suddenly, to my surprise, he seemed to understand something, to comprehend it fully and delightedly. He laughed." Strang stopped, looking intently at his wife.

"I can imagine that laugh," she mused.

Strang shook his head. "I don't think you can. It—it wasn't pleasant. It was as uncanny as the rest of the little chap—a long, rattling, eerie sound, as if a tree should groan or a butterfly curse; but wait—there's more." In his earnestness Strang sat up, adding, "Then Gargoyle got up and stretched out his hands, not to the sky, but to the air all around him. It was as if—" Here Strang, the normal, healthy man of the world, hesitated; it was only the father of the little boy who had died who admitted in low tones: "You would have said—At least even I could imagine that Gargoyle—well—that he saw something like a released principle of life fly happily back to its main source—as if a little mote like a sunbeam should detach itself from a clod and, disembodied, dart back to its law of motion."

For a long time they were silent, listening to the call of an oven-bird far back in the spring trees. At last Strang got up, filled his pipe, and puffed at it savagely before he said, "Of course the whole thing's damned nonsense." He repeated that a little brutally to his wife's silence before in softened voice he added, "Only, perhaps you're right, Evelyn; perhaps we, too, should be seeing that kind of thing, understanding what, God knows, we long to understand, if we had 'undressed minds,' if we hadn't from earliest infancy been smeared all over with the plaster-of-Paris of 'normal thinking.'"

Time flew swiftly by. The years at Heartholm were tranquil and happy until Strang, taken by one of the swift maladies which often come to men of his type, was mortally stricken. His wife at first seemed to feel only the strange ecstasy that sometimes comes to those who have beheld death lay its hand on a beloved body. She went coldly, rigidly, through every detail of the final laying away of the man who had loved her to the utmost power of his man's heart. Friends waited helplessly, dreading the furious after-crash of this unnatural mental and bodily endurance. Doctor Milton, Strang's life-long friend, who had fought for the banker's life, watched her carefully, but there was no catalepsy, no tranced woman held in a vise of endurance. Nothing Evelyn Strang did was odd or unnatural, only she seemed, particularly before the burial, to be waiting intently for some revelation, toward which her desire burned consumingly, like a powerful flame.

Just before the funeral Strang's sister came to Doctor Milton.

"Evelyn!" in whispered response to his concerned look. "Oh, doctor, I cannot think that this calmness is right for her——" The poor, red-eyed woman, fighting hard for her own composure, motioned to the room where, with the cool lattices drawn, and a wave of flowers breaking on his everlasting sleep, the master of Heartholm lay. "She has gone in there with that little deaf-and-dumb child. I saw her standing with him, staring all about her. Somehow it seemed to me that Gargoyle was smiling—that he saw something——!"

For long weeks Doctor Milton stayed on at Heartholm, caring for Mrs. Strang. From time to time the physician also studied and questioned Gargoyle. Questioned in verity, for the practised hand could feel rigid muscles and undeveloped glands that answered more truthfully than words. Whatever conclusions Milton arrived at, he divulged to no one but Mrs. Strang. What he had to say roused the desolate woman as nothing else could have done. To the rest of the world little or nothing was explained. But, after the consent of the mother at the gardener's cottage had been gained, Doctor Milton left Heartholm, taking Gargoyle with him.

In the office of Dr. Pauli Mach, the professional tongue was freed. Milton, with the half-quizzical earnestness habitual to him, told his story, which was followed by the exchange of much interesting data.

The two fell back on the discussion of various schools where Gargoyle might be put under observation. At last, feeling in the gravely polite attention of the more eminent man a waning lack of interest, Milton reluctantly concluded the interview.

"I'll write to Mrs. Strang and tell her your conclusions; she won't accept them—her own husband humored her in the thing. What John Strang himself believed I never really knew, but I think he had wisdom in his generation."

Milton stood there, hesitating; he looked abstractedly at the apathetic little figure of Gargoyle sitting in the chair.

"We talk of inherent human nature," said the doctor, slowly, "as if we had all knowledge concerning the possibilities of that nature's best and worst. Yet I have sometimes wondered if what we call mentally askew people are not those that possess attributes which society is not wise enough to help them use wisely—mightn't such people be like fine-blooded animals who sniff land and water where no one else suspects any? Given a certain kink in a human brain, and there might result capacity we ought to consider, even if we can't, in our admittably systematized civilization, utilize it."

The Swiss doctor nodded, magnetic eyes and mouth smiling.

"Meanwhile"—in his slow, careful speech—"meanwhile we do what we can to preserve the type which from long experience we know wears best."

Milton nodded. He moved to go, one hand on Gargoyle's unresponsive shoulder, when the office door swung open.

"Now this is real trouble," laughed a woman's fresh, deep-chested voice. "Doctor Mach, it means using one of your tall measuring-glasses or permitting these lovely things to wilt; some one has inundated us with flowers. I've already filled one bath-tub; I've even used the buckets in the operating-room."

The head nurse stood there, white-frocked, smiling, her stout arms full of rosy gladioli and the lavender and white of Japanese iris. The two doctors started to help her with the fragrant burden, but not before Gargoyle sprang out of his chair. With a start, as if shocked into galvanic motion, the boy sat upright. With a throttled cry he leaped at the surprised woman. He bore down upon her flowers as if they had been a life-preserver, snatching at them as if to prevent himself from being sucked under by some strange mental undertow. The softly-colored bloom might have had some vital magnetizing force for the child's blood, to which his whole feeble nature responded. Tearing the colored mass from the surprised nurse's arms, Gargoyle sank to the floor. He sat there caressing the flowers, smiling, making uncouth efforts to speak. The arms that raised him were gentle enough. They made no attempt to take from him his treasures. They sat him on the table, watching the little thin hands move ardently, yet with a curious deftness and delicacy, amid the sheaf of color. As the visionary eyes peered first into one golden-hearted lily, then into another, Milton felt stir, in spite of himself, Strang's old conviction of the "undressed mind." He said nothing, but stole a glance at the face of his superior. Doctor Mach was absorbed. He stood the boy on the table before him. The nurse stripped Gargoyle, then swiftly authoritative fingers traveled up and down the small, thin frame.

Life at Heartholm went on very much the same. The tender-hearted observer might have noted that the gardens held the same flowers year after year, all the perennials and hardy blooms John Strang had loved. No matter what had been his widow's courageous acceptance of modern stoicism, the prevailing idea that incurable grief is merely "morbid," yet, in their own apartments where their own love had been lived, was every mute image and eloquent trifle belonging to its broken arc. Here, with Strang's books on occult science, with other books of her own choosing, the wife lived secretly, unknown of any other human being, the long vigil of waiting for some sign or word from the spirit of one who by every token of religion and faith she could not believe dead—only to her wistful earthly gaze, hidden. She also hid in her heart one strangely persistent hope—namely, Gargoyle! Letters from Doctor Milton had been full of significance. The last letter triumphantly concluded:

Your young John Strang Berber, alias Gargoyle, can talk now, with only one drawback: as yet he doesn't know any words!

The rapidly aging mother at the gardener's cottage took worldly pride in what was happening to her youngest.

"I allus knowed he was smart," the woman insisted. "My Johnny! To think of him speaking his mind out like any one else! I allus took his part—I could ha' told 'em he had his own notions!"

There was no doubt as to Gargoyle's having the "notions." As the slow process of speech was taught and the miracle of fitting words to things was given unto John Berber, alias Gargoyle, it was hard for those watching over him to keep the riotous perceptions from retarding the growing mechanistics. Close-mouthed the boy was, and, they said, always would be; but watchful eyes and keen intuitions penetrated to the silent orgies going on within him. So plainly did the fever of his education begin to wear on his physical frame that wary Doctor Mach shook his head. "Here I find too many streams of thought coursing through one field," said the careful Swiss. "The field thus grows stony and bears nothing. Give this field only one stream that shall be nourishing."

For other supernormal developments that "one stream" might have been music or sports. For Gargoyle it happened to be flowers. The botanist with whom he was sent afield not only knew his science, but guessed at more than his science. His were the beatitudes of the blue sky; water, rocks, and trees his only living testament. Under his tutelage, with the eyes of Doctor Mach ever on his growing body, and with his own special gifts of concentration and perception, at last came to Gargoyle the sudden whisper of academic sanction—namely, "genius."

He himself seemed never to hear this whisper. What things—superimposed on the new teeming world of material actualities—he did hear, he never told. Few could reach Berber; among fellow-students he was gay, amiable, up to a certain point even frivolous; then, as each companion in turn complained, a curtain seemed to drop, a colorless wrap of unintelligibility enveloped him like a chameleon's changing skin; the youth, as if he lived another life on another plane, walked apart.

Doctor Milton, dropping into the smoking-room of a popular confrère, got a whiff of the prevailing gossip about his protégé.

"I'll be hanged if I can associate psychics with a biceps like Berber's; somehow those things seem the special prerogative of anemic women in white cheese-cloth fooling with 'planchette' and 'currents.'"

"You've got another guess," a growling neurologist volunteered. "Why shouldn't psychic freaks have biceps? We keep forgetting that we've dragged our fifty-year-old carcasses into an entirely new age—a wireless, horseless, man-flying, star-chasing age. Why, after shock upon shock of scientific discovery, shouldn't the human brain, like a sensitive plate, be thinned down to keener, more sensitive, perceptions?"

Some one remarked that in the case of Berber, born of a simple country woman and her uneducated husband, this was impossible.

Another man laughed. "Berber may be a Martian, or perhaps he was originally destined to be the first man on Jupiter. He took the wrong car and landed on this globe. Why not? How do we know what agency carries pollen of human life from planet to planet?"

Milton, smiling at it all, withdrew. He sat down and wrote a long-deferred letter to Mrs. Strang.

I have asked John Berber if he would care to revisit his old home. It seemed never to have occurred to him that he had a home! When I suggested the thing he followed it up eagerly, as he does every new idea, asking me many keen questions as to his relatives, who had paid for his education, etc. Of the actual facts of his cure he knows little except that there was special functioning out of gear, and that now the wheels have been greased. Doctor Mach is desperately proud of him, especially of the way in which he responds to normal diversion-environments and friendships. You must instruct his mother very carefully as to references to his former condition. It is best that he should not dwell upon the former condition. Your young friend, Gargoyle, sees no more spooks. He is rapidly developing into a very remarkable and unconceited horticulturist!

The first few days at Mockwood were spent at the little gardener's cottage, from which the other youngsters had flown. Berber, quietly moving about the tiny rooms, sitting buried in a scientific book or taking long trips afield, was the recipient of much maternal flattery. He accepted it all very gently; the young culturist had an air of quiet consideration for every one and absolutely no consciousness of himself. He presumed upon no special prerogatives, but set immediately to work to make himself useful. It was while he was weeding the box borders leading to the herb-gardens of Heartholm that Mrs. Strang first came upon him. Her eyes, suddenly confronted with his as he got to his feet, dropped almost guiltily, but when they sought his face a second time, Evelyn Strang experienced a disappointment that was half relief. The sunburnt youth, in khaki trousers and brown-flannel shirt, who knelt by the border before her was John Strang Berber, Doctor Mach's human masterpiece; this was not "Gargoyle."

"That is hardly suitable work for a distinguished horticulturist," the mistress of Heartholm smiled at the wilting piles of pusley and sorrel.

White teeth flashed, deep eyes kindled. Berber rose and, going to a garden seat, took up some bits of glass and a folded paper. He showed her fragments of weed pressed upon glass plates, envelopes of seeds preserved for special analyzation. "There's still a great undiscovered country in weed chemistry," he eagerly explained, "perhaps an anodyne for every pain and disease."

"Yes, and deadly poisons, too, for every failure and grief." The mistress of Heartholm said it lightly as she took the garden seat, thinking how pleasant it was to watch the resolute movements and splendid physical development of the once weazened Gargoyle. She began sorting out her embroidery silks as Berber, the bits of glass still in his hand, stood before her. He was smiling.

"Yes, deadly poisons, too," agreeing with a sort of exultation, so blithely, indeed, that the calmly moving fingers of the mistress of Heartholm were suddenly arrested. A feeling as powerful and associative as the scent of a strong perfume stole over Evelyn Strang.

Before she could speak Berber had resumed his weeding. "It's good to get dictatorship over all this fight of growing," looking up for her sympathy with hesitance, which, seen in the light of his acknowledged genius, was the more significant. "You don't mind my taking Michael's place? He was very busy this morning. I have no credentials, but my mother seems to think I am a born gardener."

This lack of conceit, this unassuming practicality, the sort of thing with which Gargoyle's mind had been carefully inoculated for a long time, baffled, while it reassured Mrs. Strang. Also the sense of sacred trust placed in her hands made her refrain from any psychic probing.

For a long while she found it easy to exert this self-control. The lonely woman, impressed by the marvelous "cure" of John Berber, magnetized by his youth and sunny enthusiasms back to the old dreaming pleasure in the Heartholm gardens, might in the absorbed days to come have forgotten—only there was a man's photograph in her bedroom, placed where her eyes always rested on it, her hand could bring it to her lips; the face looking out at her seemed to say but one thing:

"You knew me—I knew you. What we knew and were to each other had not only to do with our bodies. Men call me 'dead' but you know that I am not. Why do you not study and work and pray to learn what I am become, that you may turn to me, that I may reach to you?"

Mockwooders, dropping in at Heartholm for afternoon tea, began to accustom themselves to finding Mrs. Strang sitting near some flower-bed where John Berber worked, or going with him over his great books of specimens. The smirk the fashionable world reserves for anything not usual in its experience was less marked in this case than it might have been in others. Even those who live in "residential parks" are sometimes forced (albeit with a curious sense of personal injury) to accept the idea that they who have greatly suffered find relief in "queer" ways. Mockwooders, assisting at the Heartholm tea-hour, and noting Berber among other casual guests, merely felt aggrieved and connoted "queerness."

For almost a year, with the talking over of plans for John Strang's long-cherished idea of a forest garden at Heartholm, there had been no allusion between mistress and gardener to that far-off fantasy, the life of little Gargoyle. During the autumn the two drew plans together for those spots which next spring were to blossom in the beech glade. They sent to far-off countries for bulbs, experimented in the Heartholm greenhouses with special soils and fertilizers, and differences of heat and light; they transplanted, grafted, and redeveloped this and that woodland native. Unconsciously all formal strangeness wore away, unconsciously the old bond between Gargoyle and his mistress was renewed.

Thus it was, without the slightest realization as to what it might lead, that Evelyn Strang one afternoon made some trifling allusion to Berber's association with the famous Doctor Mach. As soon as she had done so, fearing from habit for some possible disastrous result, she tried immediately to draw away from the subject. But the forbidden spring had been touched—a door that had long been closed between them swung open. Young Berber, sorting dahlia bulbs into numbered boxes, looked up; he met her eyes unsuspiciously.

"I suppose," thoughtfully, "that that is the man to whom I should feel more grateful than to any other human being."

The mistress of Heartholm did not reply. In spite of her tranquil air, Evelyn Strang was gripped with a sudden apprehension. How much, how little, did Berber know? She glanced swiftly at him, then bent her head over her embroidery. The colored stream of Indian summer flowed around them. A late bird poured out his little cup of song.

"My mother will not answer my questions." Young Berber, examining two curiously formed bulbs, shook the earth from them; he stuffed them into his trousers pocket. "But Michael got talking yesterday and told me—Did you know, Mrs. Strang? I was thought to be an idiot until I was twelve years old—born deaf and dumb?"

It was asked so naturally, with a scientific interest as impersonal as if he were speaking of one of the malformed bulbs in his pocket, that at first his mistress felt no confusion. Her eyes and hands busying themselves with the vivid silks, she answered.

"I remember you as a little pale boy who loved flowers and did such odd, interesting things with them. Mr. Strang and I were attracted to your mysterious plays.... No, you never spoke, but we were not sure you could not hear—and"—drawing a swift little breath—"we were always interested in what—in what—you seemed—to see!"

There was a pause. He knelt there, busily sorting the bulbs. Suddenly to the woman sitting on the garden bench the sun-bathed October gardens seemed alive with the myriad questioning faces of the fall flowers; wheels and disks like aureoled heads leaned toward her, mystical fire in their eyes, the colored flames of their being blown by passionate desire of revelation. "This is your moment," the flowers seemed to say to her. "Ask him now."

But that she might not yet speak out her heart to John Berber his mistress was sure. She was reminded of what Strang had so often said, referring to their lonely quest—that actual existence was like a forlorn shipwreck of some other life, a mere raft upon which, like grave buffoons, the ragged survivors went on handing one another watersoaked bread of faith, glassless binoculars of belief, oblivious of what radiant coasts or awful headlands might lie beyond the enveloping mists. Soon, the wistful woman knew, she would be making some casual observations about the garden, the condition of the soil. Yet, if ever the moment had come to question him who had once been "Gargoyle," that moment was come now!

Berber lifted on high a mass of thickly welded bulbs clinging to a single dahlia stalk. He met her gaze triumphantly.

"Michael says he planted only a few of this variety, the soft, gold-hearted lavender. See what increase." The youth plunged supple fingers into the balmy-scented loam, among the swelling tuber forms. "A beautiful kind of ugliness," he mused. "I remember I used to think——" The young gardener, as if he felt that the eyes fixed upon him were grown suddenly too eager, broke abruptly off.

"Go on, John Berber. What you have to say is always interesting."

It was said calmly, with almost maternal encouragement, but the fingers absorbed in the bright silks fumbled and erred. "Used to think"—words such as these filtered like sunlight to the hope lying deep in Evelyn Strang's heart.

But young Berber leaned upon his garden fork, looking past her. Over the youth's face crept a curious expression of wrapt contemplation, of super-occupation, whether induced by her words or not she could not tell. Furtively Mrs. Strang studied him.... How soon would he drop that mystical look and turn to her with the casual "educated" expression she had come to know so well?

Suddenly, nervousness impelling her, she broke in upon his revery:

"How wonderful, with such dreams as you must have had, to be educated! How very grateful you must be to Doctor Mach."

She heard her own words helplessly, as if in a dream, and, if the unwisdom of this kind of conversation had impressed the mistress of Heartholm before, now she could have bitten off her tongue with that needless speech on it. Young Berber, however, seemed hardly to have heard her; he stood there, the "Gargoyle" look still in his eyes, gazing past his mistress into some surrounding mystery of air element. It was to her, watching him, as if those brooding, dilated pupils might behold, besides infinitesimal mystery of chemical atoms, other mysteries—colorless pools of air where swam, like sea anemones, radiant forms of released spirit; invisible life-trees trembling with luminous fruit of occult being!

When Berber turned this look, naked as a sword, back to Evelyn Strang, she involuntarily shivered. But the boy's face was unconscious. His expression changed only to the old casual regard as he said, very simply:

"You see, I wish they had not educated me!"

The confession came with inevitable shock. If she received it with apparent lightness, it was that she might, with all the powers a woman understands, rise to meet what she felt was coming. The barrier down, it was comparatively easy to stand in the breach, making her soft note of deprecation, acknowledging playfully that the stress of so-called "normal" life must indeed seem a burden to one who had hitherto talked with flowers, played with shadows. Berber, however, seemed hardly to hear her; there was no tenseness in the youth's bearing; he merely gazed thoughtfully past her efforts, repeating:

"No—I wish they had not taught me. I have not really gained knowledge by being taught."

Mrs. Strang was genuinely puzzled. Yet she understood; it was merely theories about life that he had gained. Again she called to mind a sentence in Doctor Milton's letter: "I know that you have followed the case in such a way as to understand what would be your responsibility toward this newly made human soul." Was it right to question Berber? Could it be actually harmful to him to go on? And yet was it not her only chance, after years of faithful waiting?

Trying to keep her voice steady, she reproached him:

"No? With all that being educated means, all the gift for humanity?"

The young fellow seemed not to get her meaning. He picked up the garden fork. Thoughtfully scraping the damp earth from its prongs, he repeated, "All that it means for humanity?"

"Why not"—urging the thing a little glibly—"why not? You can do your part now; you will help toward the solving of age-long mysteries. You must be steward of—of"—Mrs. Strang hesitated, then continued, lamely—"of your special insight. Why—already you have begun—Think of the weed chemistry." Had he noticed it? There was in her voice a curious note, almost of pleading, though she tried to speak with authority.

John Berber, once called "Gargoyle," listened. The youth stood there, his foot resting upon the fork but not driving it into the ground. He caught her note of anxiety, laughing in light, spontaneous reassurance, taking her point with ease.

"Oh—I know," shrugging his shoulders in true collegian's style. "I understand my lesson." Berber met her look. "I had the gift of mental unrestraint, if you choose to call it that," he summed up, "and was of no use in the world. Now I have the curse of mental restraint and can participate with others in their curse." Suddenly aware of her helpless dismay and pain, the boy laughed again, but this time with a slight nervousness she had never before seen in him. "Why, we are not in earnest, dear Mrs. Strang." It was with coaxing, manly respect that he reminded her of that. "We are only joking, playing with an idea.... I think you can trust me," added John Berber, quietly.

The surprised woman felt that she could indeed "trust" him; that Berber was absolutely captain of the self which education had given him; but that from time to time he had been conscious of another self he had been unwise enough to let her see. She silently struggled with her own nature, knowing that were she judicious she would take that moment to rise and leave him. Such action, however, seemed impossible now. Here was, perhaps, revelation, discovery! All the convictions of her lonely, brooding life were on her. Temptation again seized her. With her longing to have some clue to that spirit world she and her husband had believed in, it seemed forewritten, imperative, inevitable, that she remain. Trying to control herself, she fumbled desperately on:

"When you were little, Mr. Strang and I used to notice—we grew to think—that because you had been shut away from contact with other minds, because you had never been told what to see, as children are told, 'Look at the fire,' 'See the water,' and so forever regard those things in just that way, not seeing—other things—Oh, we thought that perhaps—perhaps——"

It was futile, incoherent; her tongue seemed to dry in her mouth. Besides, the abashed woman needs must pause before a silence that to her strained sense seemed rebuking. She glanced furtively up at the youth standing there. It troubled the mistress of Heartholm to realize that her protégé was staring gravely at her, as if she had proposed some guilty and shameful thing.

At last Berber, with a boyish sigh, seemed to shake the whole matter off. He turned to his bulbs; half at random he caught up a pruning-knife, cutting vindictively into one of them. For the moment there was silence, then the young gardener called his mistress's attention to the severed root in his hand.

"A winy-looking thing, isn't it? See those red fibers? Why shouldn't such roots, and nuts like those great, burnished horse-chestnuts there—yes, and cattails, and poke-berries, and skunk cabbages, give forth an entirely new outfit of fruits and vegetables?" Berber smiled his young ruminating smile; then, with inevitable courtesy, he seemed to remember that he had not answered her question. "I am not surprised that you and Mr. Strang thought such things about me. I wonder that you have not questioned me before—only you see now—I can't answer!" The boy gave her his slow, serious smile, reminding her.

"You must remember that I am like a foreigner—only worse off, for foreigners pick up a few words for their most vital needs, and I have no words at all—for what—for what vital things I used to know—so that perhaps in time I shall come to forget that I ever knew anything different from—other persons' knowledge." Berber paused, regarding his mistress intently, as if wistfully trying to see what she made of all this. Then he continued:

"One of our professors at college died, and the men of his class were gloomy; some even cried, others could not trust themselves to speak of him.... I noticed that they all called him 'poor' Landworth.... I could see that they felt something the way I do when I miss out on a chemical experiment, or spoil a valuable specimen—only more so—a great deal more." The boy knit his brows, puzzling it all out. "Well, it's queer. I liked that professor, too; he was very kind to me—but when I saw him dead I felt glad—glad! Why"—Berber looked at her searchingly—"I grew to be afraid some one would find out how glad!"

The young fellow, still anxiously searching her face, dropped his voice. "You are the only person I dare tell this to—for I understand the world—" She noted that he spoke as if "the world" were a kind of plant whose needs he had fathomed. "But after that," concluded Berber, speaking as if quite to himself—"after that I somehow came to see that I had been—well, educated backward."

She moved impatiently; the youth, seeing the question in her face, answered the demand of its trembling eagerness, explaining:

"Do you not see—I have—sometimes known, not 'guessed' nor 'believed,' but known that death was a wonderful, happy thing—a fulfilment, a satisfaction to him who dies—but I have been educated backward into a life where people cannot seem to help regarding it as a sad thing. And——"

"Yes?—Yes?" breathed the eager woman. "Tell me—tell me——"

But he had come suddenly to a full stop. As if appalled to find only empty words, or no words at all, for some astounding knowledge he would communicate to her, he stammered painfully; then, as if he saw himself caught in guilt, colored furiously. Evelyn Strang could see the inevitable limitations of his world training creep slowly over him like cement hardening around the searching roots of his mind. She marveled. She remembered Strang's pet phrase, "the plaster of Paris of so-called 'normal thinking.'" Then the youth's helpless appeal came to her:

"Do you not think that I am doing wrong to speak of these things?" Berber asked, with dignity.

The mistress of Heartholm was silent. Recklessly she put by all Doctor Mach's prophecies. She could not stop here; her whole soul demanded that she go further. There were old intuitions—the belief that she and Strang had shared together, that, under rationalized schemes of thought, knowledge of inestimable hope was being hidden from the world. Here was this boy of the infinite vision, of the "backward educated" mind, ready to tell miraculous things of a hidden universe. Could she strike him dumb? It would be as if Lazarus had come forth from the open grave and men were to bandage again his ecstatic lips!

Suddenly, as if in answer to her struggle, Berber spoke. She was aware that he looked at her curiously with a sort of patient disdain.

"The world is so sure, so contented, isn't it?" the youth demanded of her, whether in innocence or irony she could not tell. "People are trained, or they train themselves, by the millions, to think of things in exactly one way." He who had once been "Gargoyle" looked piercingly into the eyes of this one being to whom at least he was not afraid to speak.

"Anything you or I might guess outside of what other people might accept," the boy reminded her, austerely, "could be called by just one unpleasant name." He regarded the face turned to his, recognizing the hunger in it, with a mature and pitying candor, concluding: "After to-day we must never speak of these things. I shall never dare, you must never dare—and so—" He who had once been "Gargoyle" suddenly dropped his head forward on his breast, muttering—"and so, that is all."

Evelyn Strang rose. She stood tall and imperious in the waning afternoon light. She was bereaved mother, anguished wife; she was a dreamer driven out of the temple of the dream, and what she had to do was desperate. Her voice came hard and resolute.

"It is not all," the woman doggedly insisted. The voiceless woe of one who had lost a comrade by death was on her. In her eyes was fever let loose, a sob, like one of a flock of imprisoned wild birds fluttered out from the cage of years. "Oh no—no!" the woman pleaded, more as if to some hidden power of negation than to the boy before her—"Oh no—no, this cannot be all, not for me! The world must never be told—it could not understand; but I must know, I must know." She took desperate steps back and forth.

"John Berber, if there is anything in your memory, your knowledge; even if it is only that you have imagined things—if they are so beautiful or so terrible that you can never speak of them—for fear—for fear no one would understand, you might, you might, even then, tell me—Do you not hear? You might tell me. I authorize it, I command it."

The woman standing in the autumn gardens clenched her hands. She looked round her into the clear air at the dense green and gold sunshine filtering through the colored trees, the softly spread patens of the cosmos, the vivid oriflammes of the chrysanthemums. Her voice was anguished, as if they two stood at a secret door of which Berber alone had the key, which for some reason he refused to use.

"I—of all the world," her whisper insisted. "If you might never speak again—I should understand."

Berber, his face grown now quite ashen, looked at her. Something in her expression seemed to transfix and bind him. Suddenly shutting his teeth together, he stood up, his arms folded on his broad chest. The afternoon shadows spread pools of darkness around their feet, the flowers seemed frozen in shapes of colored ice, as his dark, controlled eyes fixed hers.

"You—you dare?" the youth breathed, thickly.

She faced him in her silent daring. Then it seemed to her as if the sky must roll up like a scroll and the earth collapse into a handful of dust falling through space, for she knew that little Gargoyle of the "undressed mind"—little Gargoyle, looking out of John Berber's trained eyes as out of windows of ground glass, was flitting like a shadow across her own intelligence, trying to tell her what things he had always known about life and death, and the myriads of worlds spinning back in their great circles to the Power which had set them spinning.

Not until after the first halting, insufficient words, in which the boy sought to give his secret to the woman standing there, did she comprehend anything of the struggle that went on within him. But when suddenly Berber's arms dropped to his sides and she saw how he shivered, as if at some unearthly touch on his temples, she was alert. Color was surging into his face; his features, large, irregular, took on for the instant a look of speechless, almost demoniac power; he seemed to be swimming some mental tide before his foot touched the sands of language and he could helplessly stammer:

"I cannot—It—it will not come—It is as I told you—I have been taught no words—I cannot say what I know."

His powerful frame stood placed among the garden surroundings like that of a breathing statue, and his amazed companion witnessed this miracle of physical being chained by the limitations of one environment, while the soul of that being, clairaudient, clairvoyant, held correspondence with another environment. She saw Berber smile as if with some exquisite sense of beauty and rapture that he understood, but could not communicate, then helplessly motion with his hands. But even while she held her breath, gazing at him, a change came over the radiant features. He looked at her again, his face worked; at last John Berber with a muffled groan burst into terrible human tears.

She stood there helpless, dumfounded at his agony.

"You—you cannot speak?" she faltered.

For answer he dropped his face into his strong hands. He stood there, his tall body quivering. And she knew that her dream was over.

She was forced to understand. John Berber's long and perfect world training held him in a vise. His lips were closed upon his secret, and she knew that they would be closed for evermore.

They remained, silently questioning each other, reading at last in each other's speechlessness some comfort in this strange common knowledge, for which, indeed, there were no human words, which must be forever borne dumbly between them. Then slowly, with solemn tenderness, the obligation of that unspoken knowledge came into Evelyn Strang's face. She saw the youth standing there with grief older than the grief of the world stabbing his heart, drowning his eyes. She laid a quiet hand on his shoulder.

"I understand." With all the mother, all the woman in her, she tried to say it clearly and calmly. "I understand; you need never fear me—and we have the whole world of flowers to speak for us." She gazed pitifully into the dark, storming eyes where for that one fleeting instant the old look of "Gargoyle" had risen, regarding her, until forced back by the trained intelligence Of "John Berber," which had always dominated, and at last, she knew, had killed it. "We will make the flowers speak—for us." Again she tried to speak lightly, comfortingly, but something within the woman snapped shut like a door. Slowly she returned to the garden seat. For a moment she faltered, holding convulsively to it, then her eyes, blinded from within, closed.

Yet, later, when the mistress of Heartholm went back through the autumnal garden to the room where were the books and treasures of John Strang, she carried something in her hand. It was a lily bulb from which she and Berber hoped to bring into being a new and lovely flower. She took it into that room where for so many years the pictured eyes of her husband had met hers in mute questioning, and stood there for a moment, looking wistfully about her. Outside a light breeze sprang up, a single dried leaf rustled against the window-pane. Smiling wistfully upon the little flower-pot, Mrs. Strang set it carefully away in the dark.


[3] Copyright, 1920, by Harper & Brothers.
Copyright, 1921, by Edwina Stanton Babcock.



From The Dial

That winter had been a very severe one in Roumania. The Danube froze solid a week before Christmas and remained tight for five months. It was as if the blue waters were suddenly turned into steel. From across the river, from the Dobrudja, on sleds pulled by long-horned oxen, the Tartars brought barrels of frozen honey, quarters of killed lambs, poultry and game, and returned heavily laden with bags of flour and rolls of sole leather. The whole day long the crack of whips and the curses of the drivers rent the icy atmosphere. Whatever their destination, the carters were in a hurry to reach human habitation before nightfall—before the dreaded time when packs of wolves came out to prey for food.

In cold, clear nights, when even the wind was frozen still, the lugubrious howling of the wolf permitted no sleep. The indoor people spent the night praying for the lives and souls of the travellers.

All through the winter there was not one morning but some man or animal was found torn or eaten in our neighbourhood. The people of the village at first built fires on the shores to scare the beasts away, but they had to give it up because the thatched roofs of the huts in the village were set on fire in windy nights by flying sparks. The cold cowed the fiercest dogs. The wolves, crazed by hunger, grew more daring from day to day. They showed their heads even in daylight. When Baba Hana, the old gypsy fortune-teller, ran into the school-house one morning and cried, "Wolf, wolf in the yard," the teacher was inclined to attribute her scare to a long drink the night before. But that very night, Stan, the horseshoer, who had returned late from the inn and had evidently not closed the door as he entered the smithy, was eaten up by the beasts. And the smithy stood in the centre of the village! A stone's throw from the inn, and the thatch-roofed school, and the red painted church! He must have put up a hard fight, Stan. Three huge dark brown beasts, as big as cows' yearlings, were found brained. The body of big Stan had disappeared in the stomachs of the rest of the pack. The high leather boots and the hand that still gripped the handle of the sledgehammer were the only remains of the man. There was no blood, either. It had been lapped dry. That stirred the village. Not even enough to bury him—and he had been a good Christian! But the priest ordered that the slight remains of Stan be buried, Christian-like. The empty coffin was brought to the church and all the rites were carried out as if the body of Stan were there rather than in the stomachs of wild beasts.

But after Stan's death the weather began to clear as if it had been God's will that such a price be paid for His clemency. The cold diminished daily and in a few days reports were brought from everywhere on the shore that the bridge of ice was giving way. Two weeks before Easter Sunday it was warm enough to give the cows an airing. The air cleared and the rays of the sun warmed man and beast. Traffic on the frozen river had ceased. Suddenly one morning a whip cracked, and from the bushes on the opposite shore of the Danube there appeared following one another six tent wagons, such as used by travelling gypsies, each wagon drawn by four horses harnessed side by side.

The people on our side of the Danube called to warn the travellers that the ice was not thick enough to hold them. In a few minutes the whole village was near the river, yelling and cursing like mad. But after they realized that the intention was to cross the Danube at any cost, the people settled down to watch what was going to happen. In front of the first wagon walked a tall, grey-bearded man trying the solidity of the ice with a heavy stick. Flanking the last wagon, in open lines, walked the male population of the tribe. Behind them came the women and children. No one said a word. The eyes of the whole village were on the travellers, for every one felt that they were tempting Providence. Yet each one knew that Murdo, the chief of the tribe, who was well known to all, in fact to the whole Dobrudja, would not take such risks with his people without good reason.

They had crossed to the middle of the frozen river in steady fashion, when Murdo shouted one word and the feet of every man and beast stopped short. The crossing of the river had been planned to the slightest detail. The people on the shore were excited. The women began to cry and the children to yell. They were driven inland by the men, who remained to watch what was going on. No assistance was possible.

The tall chief of the gypsies walked to the left and chose another path on the ice. The movement continued. Slowly, slowly, in silence the gypsies approached the shore. Again they halted. Murdo was probing the ice with his stick. We could see that the feet of the horses were wrapped in bags, and instead of being shod each hoof was in a cushion made of straw. As Murdo felt his way, a noise at first as of the tearing of paper, but more distinct with every moment, came from somewhere in the distance.

"Whoa, whoa, Murdo, the ice is breaking!" every one began to shout excitedly. The noise grew louder and louder as it approached. One could hear it coming steadily and gauge how much nearer it was. The ice was splitting lengthwise in numberless sheets which broke up in smaller parts and submerged gaily in the water, rising afterwards and climbing one on top of the other, as in a merry embrace.

"Whoa, whoa, Murdo ... " but there was no time to give warning. With one gesture Murdo had given his orders. The wagons spread as for a frontal attack; the men seized the children and with the women at their heels they ran as fast as their legs could take them. On the shore every one fell to his knees in prayer. The strongest men closed their eyes, too horrified to watch the outcome. The noise of the cracking of the ice increased. A loud report, as of a dozen cannon, and the Danube was a river again—and all, all the gypsies had saved themselves.

It was a gay afternoon, that afternoon, and a gay night also for the whole village. It drank the inn out of everything. The gypsies had a royal welcome. To all questions of why he had dared Providence, Murdo answered, "There was no food for my people and horses. The Tartars have none to sell."

Murdo and his tribe became the guests of the village. His people were all lean. The men hardly carried themselves on their legs. Each one of them had something to nurse. The village doctor amputated toes and fingers; several women had to be treated for gangrene. The children of the tribe were the only ones that had not suffered much. It was Murdo's rule: "Children first, the horses next." The animals were stabled and taken charge of by the peasants. The gypsies went to live in the huts of the people in order to warm themselves back to life. Father liked Murdo, and so the old chief came to live with us. The nights were long. After supper we all sat in a semicircle around the large fireplace in which a big log of seasoned oak was always burning.

I had received some books from a friend of the family who lived in the capital of the country, Bucharest. Among them was Carlyle's Heroes and Hero-Worship, translated into French. I was reading it when Murdo approached the table and said, "What a small Bible my son is reading."

"It is not a Bible, it is a book of stories, Murdo."

"Stories! Well, that's another thing."

He looked over my shoulders into the book. As I turned the page he asked:

"Is everything written in a book? I mean, is it written what the hero said and what she answered and how they said it? Is it written all about him and the villain? I mean are there signs, letters for everything; for laughter, cries, love gestures? Tell me."

I explained as best I could and he marvelled. I had to give an example, so I read a full page from a storybook.

"And is all that written in the book, my son? It is better than I thought possible, but not so good as when one tells a story.... It is like cloth woven by a machine, nice and straight, but it is not like the kind our women weave on the loom—but it is good; it is better than I thought possible. What are the stories in the book you are reading? Of love or of sorrow?"

"Of neither, Murdo. Only about all the great heroes that have lived in this world of cowards."

"About every one of them?" he asked again. "That's good. It is good to tell the stories of the heroes."

He returned to the fireplace to light his pipe; then he came to me again.

"If it is written in this book about all the great heroes, then there must also be the record of Ghitza—the great Ghitza, our hero. The greatest that ever lived. See, son, what is there said about him?"

I turned the pages one by one to the end of the book and then reported, "Nothing, Murdo. Not even his name is mentioned."

"Then this book is not a good book. The man who wrote it did not know every hero ... because not Alexander of Macedon and not even Napoleon was greater than Ghitza...."

I sat near him at the fireplace and watched his wrinkled face while Murdo told me the story of Ghitza as it should be written in the book of heroes where the first place should be given to the greatest of them all....

About the birth of people, I, Murdo, the chief of the gypsy tribe which was ruled by the forefathers of my great-grandfather (who each ruled close to a hundred years)—about the birth of people, I, Murdo, can say this: That the seed of an oak gives birth to an oak, and that of a pine to a pine. No matter where the seed be carried by the winds, if it is the seed of an oak, an oak will grow; if it is the seed of a pine, a pine. So though it never was known who was the father of Ghitza, we knew him through his son. Ghitza's mother died because she bore him, the son of a white man—she, the daughter of the chief of our tribe. It was Lupu's rule to punish those who bore a child begotten from outside the tribe. But the child was so charming that he was brought up in the tent of one of our people. When Ghitza was ten years old, he worked alongside the men; and there was none better to try a horse before a customer than Ghitza. The oldest and slowest gathered all the strength it had and galloped and ran when it felt the bare boy on its back. Old mares frisked about like yearlings when he approached to mount them.

In his fifteenth summer he was a man, tall, broad, straight and lissom as a locust tree. His face was like rich milk and his eyes as black as the night. When he laughed or sang—and he laughed and sang all the time—his mouth was like a rose in the morning, when the dewdrops hang on its outer petals. And he was strong and good. If it happened that a heavy cart was stuck in the mud of the road and the oxen could not budge it, Ghitza would crawl under the cart, get on all fours, and lift the cart clear of the mud. Never giving time to the driver to thank him, his work done, he walked quickly away, whistling a song through a trembling leaf between his lips. And he was loved by everybody; and the women died just for the looks of him. The whole tribe became younger and happier because of Ghitza. We travelled very much those days. Dobrudja belonged yet to the Turks and was inhabited mostly by Tartars. The villages were far apart and very small, so we could not stay long in any place.

When Ghitza was twenty, our tribe, which was then ruled by my mighty grandfather, Lupu, happened to winter near Cerna Voda, a village on the other side of the Danube. We sold many horses to the peasants that winter. They had had a fine year. So our people had to be about the inn a good deal. Ghitza, who was one of the best traders, was in the inn the whole day. He knew every one. He knew the major and his wife and the two daughters and chummed with his son. And they all loved Ghitza, because he was so strong, so beautiful, and so wise. They never called him "tzigan" because he was fairer than they were. And there was quite a friendship between him and Maria, the smith's daughter. She was glad to talk to him and to listen to his stories when he came to the smithy. She helped her father in his work. She blew the bellows and prepared the shoes for the anvil. Her hair was as red as the fire and her arms round and strong. She was a sweet maid to speak to, and even the old priest liked to pinch her arms when she kissed his hand.

Then came spring and the first Sunday dance in front of the inn. The innkeeper had brought a special band of musicians. They were seated on a large table between two trees, and all around them the village maidens and the young men, locked arm in arm in one long chain of youth, danced the Hora, turning round and round.

Ghitza had been away to town, trading. When he came to the inn, the dance was already on. He was dressed in his best, wearing his new broad, red silken belt with his snow-white pantaloons and new footgear with silver bells on the ankles and tips. His shirt was as white and thin as air. On it the deftest fingers of our tribe had embroidered figures and flowers. On his head Ghitza wore a high black cap made of finest Astrakhan fur. And he had on his large ear-rings of white gold. Ghitza watched the dance for a while. Maria's right arm was locked with the arm of the smith's helper, and her left with the powerful arm of the mayor's son. Twice the long chain of dancing youths had gone around, and twice Ghitza had seen her neck and bare arms, and his blood boiled. When she passed him the third time, he jumped in, broke the hold between Maria and the smith's helper, and locked his arm in hers.

Death could not have stopped the dance more suddenly. The musicians stopped playing. The feet stopped dancing. The arms freed themselves and hung limply.

The smith's helper faced Ghitza with his arm uplifted.

"You cursed tzigan! You low-born gypsy! How dare you break into our dance? Our dance!" Other voices said the same.

Everybody expected blows, then knives and blood. But Ghitza just laughed aloud and they were all calmed. He pinned the smith's helper's arm and laughed. Then he spoke to the people as follows:

"You can see on my face that I am fairer than any of you. I love Maria, but I will not renounce the people I am with. I love them. The smith's helper knows that I could kill him with one blow. But I shall not do it. I could fight a dozen of you together. You know I can. But I shall not do it. Instead I shall outdance all of you. Dance each man and woman of the village until she or he falls tired on the ground. And if I do this I am as you are, and Maria marries me without word of shame from you."

And as he finished speaking he grasped the smith's helper around the waist and called to the musicians:

"Play, play."

For a full hour he danced around and around with the man while the village watched them and called to the white man to hold out. But the smith's helper was no match for Ghitza. He dragged his feet and fell. Ghitza, still fresh and vigorous, grasped another man and called to the musicians to play an even faster dance than before. When that one had fallen exhausted to the ground, Ghitza took on a third and a fourth. Then he began to dance with the maidens. The fiddler's string broke and the guitar player's fingers were numb. The sun went to rest behind the mountains and the moon rose in the sky to watch over her little children, the stars.

But Ghitza was still dancing. There was no trace of fatigue on his face and no signs of weariness in his steps. The more he danced, the fresher he became. When he had danced half of the village tired, and they were all lying on the ground, drinking wine from earthen urns to refresh themselves, the last string of the fiddle snapped and the musician reeled from his chair. Only the flute and the guitar kept on.

"Play on, play on, you children of sweet angels, and I shall give to each of you a young lamb in the morning," Ghitza urged them. But soon the breath of the flutist gave way. His lips swelled and blood spurted from his nose. The guitar player's fingers were so numb he could no longer move them. Then some of the people beat the rhythm of the dance with their open palms. Ghitza was still dancing on. They broke all the glasses of the inn and all the bottles beating time to his dance.

The night wore away. The cock crew. Early dogs arose and the sun woke and started to climb from behind the eastern range of mountains. Ghitza laughed aloud as he saw all the dancers lying on the ground. Even Maria was asleep near her mother. He entered the inn and woke the innkeeper, who had fallen asleep behind the counter.

"Whoa, whoa, you old swindler! Wake up! Day is come and I am thirsty."

After a long drink, he went to his tent to play with the dogs, as he did early every morning.

A little later, toward noon, he walked over to the smith's shop, shook hands with Maria's father and kissed the girl on the mouth even as the helper looked on.

"She shall be your wife, son," the smith said. "She will be waiting for you when your tribe comes to winter here. And no man shall ever say my daughter married an unworthy one."

The fame of our tribe spread rapidly. The tale of Ghitza's feat spread among all the villages and our tribe was respected everywhere. People no longer insulted us, and many another of our tribe now danced on Sundays at the inn—yea, our girls and our boys danced with the other people of the villages. Our trade doubled and tripled. We bartered more horses in a month than we had at other times in a year. Ghitza's word was law everywhere. He was so strong his honesty was not doubted. And he was honest. An honest horse-trader! He travelled far and wide. But if Cerna Voda was within a day's distance, Ghitza was sure to be there on Sunday to see Maria.

To brighten such days, wrestling matches were arranged and bets were made as to how long the strongest of them could stay with Ghitza. And every time Ghitza threw the other man. Once in the vise of his two arms, a man went down like a log.

And so it lasted the whole summer. But in whatever village our tribe happened to be, the women were running after the boy. Lupu, the chief of the tribe, warned him; told him that life is like a burning candle and that one must not burn it from both ends at the same time. But Ghitza only laughed and made merry.

"Lupu, old chief, didst thou not once say that I was an oak? Why dost thou speak of candles now?"

And he carried on as before. And ever so good, and ever so merry, and ever such a good trader.

Our tribe returned to Cerna Voda early that fall. We had many horses and we felt that Cerna was the best place for them. Most of them were of the little Tartar kind, so we thought it well for them to winter in the Danube's valley.

Every Sunday, at the inn, there were wrestling matches. Young men, the strongest, came from far-away villages. And they all, each one of them, hit the ground when Ghitza let go his vise.

One Sunday, when the leaves had fallen from the trees and the harvest was in, there came a Tartar horse-trading tribe to Cerna Voda.

And in their midst they had a big, strong man. Lupu, our chief, met their chief at the inn. They talked and drank and praised each their horses and men. Thus it happened that the Tartar chief spoke about his strong man. The peasants crowded nearer to hear the Tartar's story. Then they talked of Ghitza and his strength. The Tartar chief did not believe it.

"I bet three of my horses that my man can down him," the Tartar chief called.

"I take the bet against a hundred ducats in gold," the innkeeper answered.

"It's a bet," the Tartar said.

"Any more horses to bet?" others called out.

The Tartar paled but he was a proud chief and soon all his horses and all his ducats were pledged in bets to the peasants. That whole day and the rest of the week to Sunday, nothing else was spoken about. The people of our tribe pledged everything they possessed. The women gave even their ear-rings. The Tartars were rich and proud and took every bet that was offered. The match was to be on Sunday afternoon in front of the inn. Ghitza was not in the village at all the whole week. He was in Constantza, on the shores of the Black Sea, finishing some trade. When he arrived home on Sunday morning he found the people of the village, our people, the Tartars, and a hundred carriages that had brought people from the surrounding villages camped in front of the inn. He jumped down from his horse and looked about wondering from where and why so many people at once! The men and the women were in their best clothes and the horses all decorated as for a fair. The people gave him a rousing welcome. Lupu called Ghitza aside and told him why the people had gathered. Ghitza was taken aback but laughed instantly and slapped the chief on the shoulders.

"It will be as you know, and the Tartars shall depart poor and dishonoured, while we will remain the kings of the horse trade in the Dobrudja honoured and beloved by all."

Oak that he was! Thus he spoke, and he had not even seen the other man, the man he was to wrestle. He only knew he had to maintain the honour of his tribe. At the appointed hour he came to the inn. The whole tribe was about and around. He had stripped to the waist. He was good to look at. On the ground were bundles of rich skins near rolls of cloth that our men and women had bet against the Tartars. Heaps of gold, rings, watches, ear-rings, and ducats were spread on the tables. Tartar horses and oxen of our men and the people of the village were trooped together, the necks tied to one long rope held on one side by one of our men or a villager and at the other end by a Tartar boy. If Ghitza were thrown, one of ours had just to let his end of the rope go and all belonged to the other one. The smithy had pledged all he had, even his daughter, to the winner; and many another daughter, too, was pledged.

Ghitza looked about and saw what was at stake: the wealth and honour of his tribe and the wealth and honour of the village and the surrounding villages.

Then the Tartar came. He was tall and square. His trunk rested on short, stocky legs, and his face was black, ugly, and pock-marked. All shouting ceased. The men formed a wide ring around the two wrestlers. It was so quiet one could hear the slightest noise. Then the mayor spoke to the Tartars and pointed to the Danube; the inn was right on its shore.

"If your man is thrown, this very night you leave our shore, for the other side."

Ghitza kissed Maria and Lupu, the chief. Then the fight began.

A mighty man was Ghitza and powerful were his arms and legs. But it was seen from the very first grip that he had burned the candle at both ends at the same time. He had wasted himself in carouses. The two men closed one another in their vises and each tried to crush the other's ribs. Ghitza broke the Tartar's hold and got a grip on his head and twisted it with all his might. But the neck of the devil was of steel. It did not yield. Maria began to call to her lover:

"Twist his neck, Ghitza. My father has pledged me to him if he wins." And many another girl begged Ghitza to save her from marrying a black devil.

The Tartars, from another side, kept giving advice to their man. Everybody shrieked like mad, and even the dogs howled. From Ghitza's body the sweat flowed as freely as a river. But the Tartar's neck yielded not and his feet were like pillars of steel embedded in rocks.

"Don't let his head go, don't let him go," our people cried, when it was plain that all his strength had gone out of his arms. Achmed's pear-shaped head slipped from between his arms as the Tartar wound his legs about Ghitza's body and began to crush him. Ghitza held on with all his strength. His face was blue black. His nose bled, and from his mouth he spat blood. Our people cried and begged him to hold on. The eyes of the Tartars shot fire, their white teeth showed from under their thick lips and they called on Achmed to crush the Giaour. Oh! it seemed that all was lost. All our wealth, the honour and respect Ghitza had won for us; the village's wealth and all. And all the maidens were to be taken away as slaves to the Tartars. One man said aloud so that Ghitza should hear:

"There will not be a pair of oxen in the whole village to plough with; not a horse to harrow with, and our maidens are pledged to the black sons of the devil."

Ghitza was being downed. But, wait ... what happened! With the last of his strength he broke the hold. A shout rose to rend the skies. Bewildered Achmed lay stupefied and looked on. Tottering on his feet, in three jumps Ghitza was on the high point of the shore—a splash—and there was no more Ghitza. He was swallowed by the Danube. No Tartar had downed him!

And so our people had back their wealth, and the people of the village theirs. No honour was lost and the maidens remained in the village—only Maria did not. She followed her lover even as the people looked on. No one even attempted to stop her. It was her right. Where was she to find one such as he? She, too, was from the seed of an oak.

"And now, son, I ask thee—if the book before thee speaks of all the great heroes, why is it that Ghitza has not been given the place of honour?"

The log was burning in the fireplace, but I said good night to Murdo. I wanted to dream of the mighty Ghitza and his Maria. And ever since I have been dreaming of ... her.


[4] Copyright, 1920, by The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.
Copyright, 1921, by Konrad Bercovici.



From The Dial

A life went on in the town of Five Points. Five Points, the town was called, because it was laid out in the form of a star with five points and these points picked it out and circumscribed it. The Life that was lived there was in this wise. Over the centre of the town it hung thick and heavy, a great mass of tangled strands of all the colours that were ever seen, but stained and murky-looking from something that oozed out no one could tell from which of the entangling cords. In five directions heavy strands came in to the great knot in the centre and from it there floated out, now this way, now that, loose threads like tentacles, seeking to fasten themselves on whatever came within their grasp. All over the town thin threads criss-crossed back and forth in and out among the heavy strands making little snarls wherever several souls lived or were gathered together. One could see, by looking intently, that the tangling knotted strands and threads were woven into the rough pattern of a star.

Life, trembling through the mass in the centre, streamed back and forth over the incoming strands, irregularly and in ever-changing volume, pulling at the smaller knots here and there in constant disturbance. It swayed the loosely woven mass above the schoolhouse, shaking out glints of colour from the thin bright cords, golden yellows and deep blues, vivid reds and greens. It twisted and untwisted the small black knot above the town hotel. It arose in murky vapour from the large knots above each of the churches. All over the town it quivered through the fine entangling threads, making the pattern change in colour, loosening and tightening the weaving. In this fashion Life came forth from the body which it inhabited.

This is the way the town lay underneath it. From a large round of foot-tramped earth five wide streets radiated out in as many directions for a length of eight or ten houses and yards. Then the wide dirt street became a narrow road, the narrow board walks flanking it on either side stopped suddenly and faintly worn paths carried out their line for a space of three minutes' walk when all at once up rose the wall of the forest, the road plunged through and was immediately swallowed up. This is the way it was in all five directions from Five Points.

Round about the town forests lay thick and dark like the dark heavens around the cities of the sky, and held it off secure from every other life-containing place. The roads that pierced the wall of the forest led in deeper and deeper, cutting their way around shaggy foothills down to swift streams and on and up again to heights, in and out of obscure notches. They must finally have sprung out again through another wall of forest to other towns. But as far as Five Points was concerned, they led simply to lumber mills sitting like chained ravening creatures at safe distances from one another eating slowly away at the thick woods as if trying to remove the screen that held the town off to itself.

In the beginning there was no town at all, but miles and miles of virgin forest clothing the earth that humped itself into rough-bosomed hills and hummocks. Then the forest was its own. Birds nested in its dense leafage, fish multiplied in the clear running streams, wild creatures ranged its fastnesses in security. The trees, touched by no harsher hand than that which turns the rhythmically changing seasons, added year by year ring upon ring to their girths.

Suddenly human masters appeared. They looked at the girth of the trees, appraised the wealth that lay hidden there, marked the plan of its taking out. They brought in workers, cleared a space for head-quarters in the midst of their great tracts, cut roads out through the forest, and wherever swift streams crossed they set mills. The cleared space they laid out symmetrically in a tree-fringed centre of common ground encircled by a main street for stores and offices, with streets for houses leading out to the edge of the clearing. In the south-east corner of the town they set aside a large square of land against the forest for a school-house.

Thus Five Points was made as nearly in the centre of the great uncut region as it could well be and still be on the narrow-gauge railroad already passing through to make junction with larger roads. In short order there was a regular town with a station halfway down the street where the railroad cut through and near it a town hotel with a bar; a post office, several stores, a candy shop and a dentist's office fronting the round of earth in the centre; five churches set each on its own street and as far from the centre of the town as possible; and a six-room school-house with a flagpole. One mile, two miles, five and six miles distant in the forest, saw-mills buzzed away, strangely noisy amid their silent clumsy lumbermen and mill folk.

One after another, all those diverse persons necessary for carrying on the work of a small community drifted in. They cut themselves loose from other communities and hastened hither to help make this new one, each moved by his own particular reason, each bringing to the making of a Life the threads of his own deep desire. The threads interlaced with other threads, twisted into strands, knotted with other strands and the Life formed itself and hung trembling, thick and powerful, over the town.

The mill owners and managers came first, bringing strong warp threads for the Life. They had to have the town to take out their products and bring in supplies. They wanted to make money as fast as possible. "Let the town go to hell!" they said. They cared little how the Life went so that it did go. Most of them lived alternately as heads of families at home two hundred miles away and as bachelors at their mills and extract works.

Mr. Stillman, owner of hundreds of acres of forest, was different. He wanted to be near at hand to watch his timber being taken out slowly and carefully and meanwhile to bring up his two small sons, healthy and virtuous, far away from city influences. He made a small farm up in the high south-west segment of the town against the woods, with orchards and sheep pasture and beehives and a big white farm-house, solidly built. He became a deacon in the Presbyterian church and one of the corner-stones of the town.

Mr. Goff, owner of mills six miles out, kept up a comfortable place in town to serve as a half-way house between his mills and his home in a city a couple of hundred miles distant. He believed that his appearance as a regular townsman had a steadying influence on his workmen, that it gave them faith in him. His placid middle-aged wife accompanied him back and forth on his weekly visits to the mills and interested herself in those of his workers who had families.

Mill Manager Henderson snapped at the chance to run the Company store as well as to manage several mills. He saw in it something besides food and clothing for his large family of red-haired girls. Although he lived down at one of the mills he was counted as a townsman. He was a pillar in the Methodist church and his eldest daughter played the piano there.

George Brainerd, pudgy chief clerk of the Company store, was hand in glove with Henderson. He loved giving all his energies, undistracted by family or other ties, to the task of making the Company's workers come out at the end of the season in the Company's debt instead of having cleared a few hundred dollars as they were made to believe, on the day they were hired, would be the case. The percentage he received for his cleverness was nothing to him in comparison with the satisfaction he felt in his ability to manipulate.

Lanky Jim Dunn, the station agent, thirty-three and unmarried, satisfied his hunger for new places by coming to Five Points. He hated old settled lines of conduct. As station agent, he had a hand in everything and on every one that came in and went out of the town. He held a sort of gauge on the Life of the town. He chaffed all the girls who came down to see the evening train come in and tipped off the young men as to what was doing at the town hotel.

Dr. Smelter, thin-lipped and cold-eyed, elegant in manner and in dress, left his former practice without regret. He opened his office in Five Points hoping that in a new community obscure diseases did not flourish. He was certain that lack of skill would not be as apparent there as in a well-established village.

Rev. Trotman had been lured hither by the anticipation of a virgin field for saving souls; Rev. Little, because he dared not let any of his own fold be exposed to the pitfalls of an opposing creed.

Dave Fellows left off setting chain pumps in Gurnersville and renewed his teaching experience by coming to Five Points to be principal of the school. Dick Shelton's wife dragged her large brood of little girls and her drunken husband along after Fellows in order to be sure of some one to bring Dick home from the saloon before he drank up the last penny. It made little difference to her where she earned the family living by washing.

So they came, one after another, and filled up the town—Abe Cohen, the Jew clothing dealer, Barringer, the druggist, Dr. Barton, rival of Dr. Smelter and a far more highly skilled practitioner, Jake O'Flaherty, the saloon-keeper, Widow Stokes, rag carpet weaver and gossip, Jeremy Whitling, town carpenter, and his golden-blonde daughter Lucy, school-teacher, Dr. Sohmer, dentist. Every small community needs these various souls. No sooner is the earth scraped clean for a new village than they come, one by one, until the town is complete. So it happened in Five Points until there came to be somewhat fewer than a thousand souls. There the town stood.

Stores and offices completely took up the circle of Main Street and straggled a little down the residence streets. Under the fringe of trees business hummed where side by side flourished Grimes' meat shop, the drug store with the dentist's office above, Henderson's General Store, as the Company store was called, Brinker's grocery store, the Clothing Emporium, McGilroy's barber shop, Backus' hardware, and the post office. The Five Points Argus issued weekly its two pages from the dingy office behind the drug store. Graham's Livery did a big business down near the station.

Each church had gathered its own rightful members within its round of Sunday and mid-week services, its special observances on Christmas, and Easter, and Children's Day. In the spring of each year a one-ring circus encamped for a day on the common ground in the centre of the town and drew all the people in orderly array under its tent. On the Fourth of July the whole town again came together in the centre common, in fashion less orderly, irrespective of creed or money worth, celebrating the deeds of their ancestors by drinking lemonade and setting off firecrackers.

After a while no one could remember when it had been any different. Those who came to town as little children grew into gawky youths knowing no more about other parts of the world than their geography books told them. When any one died, a strand in the Life hanging above the town broke and flapped in the wind, growing more and more frayed with the passing of time, until after a year or so its tatters were noticeable only as a sort of roughness upon the pattern. When a child was born, a thin tentacle from the central mass of strands reached out and fastened itself upon him, dragging out his desire year by year until the strand was thick and strong and woven in securely among the old scaly ones.

The folk who lived at the mills had hardly anything to do with the Life of Five Points. They were merely the dynamo that kept the Life alive. They were busied down in the woods making the money for the men who made the town. They came to town only on Saturday nights. They bought a flannel shirt and provisions at the Company store, a bag of candy at Andy's for the hotel and then went back to have their weekly orgy in their own familiar surroundings. They had little effect on the Life of the town. That was contained almost entirely within the five points where the road met the forest.

The Life of Five Points had one fearful enemy. Its home was in the black forest. Without any warning it was likely to break out upon the town, its long red tongues leaping out, striving to lick everything into its red gullet. It was a thirsty animal. If one gave it enough water, it went back into its lair. Five Points had only drilled wells in back yards. The nearest big stream was a mile away.

Twice already during the existence of the Life the enemy had started forth from its lair. The first time was not long after the town had started and the pattern of Life was hardly more than indicated in the loosely woven threads.

Down in the forest the people saw a long red tongue leaping. With brooms and staves they ran to meet it far from their dwellings, beating it with fury. As they felt the heat of its breath in their faces, they thought of ministers' words in past sermons. Young desires and aspirations long dormant began to throb into being. They prayed for safety. They promised to give up their sins. They determined to be hard on themselves in the performance of daily duties. The Life suspended above them untwisted its loosely gathered in strands, the strands shone with a golden light and entwined again in soft forms.

With death-dealing blows they laid the enemy black and broken about Grant's Mills, a mile away, and then went back to their homes telling each other how brave they had been. Pride swelled up their hearts. They boasted that they could take care of themselves. Old habits slipped back upon their aspirations and crushed them again into hidden corners. Life gathered up its loose-woven pattern of dull threads and hung trembling over the town.

Worsting the enemy brought the people more closely together. Suddenly they seemed to know each other for the first time. They made changes, entered into bonds, drew lines, and settled into their ways. Life grew quickly with its strands woven tightly together into a weaving that would be hard to unloose.

The mill managers made money. They saw to it that their mills buzzed away continually. They visited their homes regularly. Mr. Stillman's farm flourished. His apple trees were bearing. The school children understood that they could always have apples for the asking. The Stillman boys did not go to school. They had a tutor. Their father whipped them soundly when they disobeyed him by going to play in the streets of the town with the other children.

Dave Fellows had finally persuaded Dick Shelton to take a Cure. Dick Shelton sober, it was discovered, was a man of culture and knew, into the bargain, all the points of the law. So he was made Justice of the Peace. His wife stopped taking in washing and spent her days trying to keep the children out of the front room where Dick tried his cases.

Dave Fellows himself gave up the principalship of the school, finding its meagre return insufficient to meet the needs of an increasing family. Yielding to the persuasion of Henderson, he became contractor for taking out timber at Trout Creek Mill. He counted on his two oldest sons to do men's work during the summer when school was not in session. Fellows moved his family into the very house in which Henderson had lived. Henderson explained that he had to live in town to be near a doctor for his ailing wife and sickly girls. The millmen told Dave Fellows that Henderson was afraid of them because they had threatened him if he kept on overcharging them at the Company store.

Abe Cohen did a thriving business in clothing. He had a long list of customers heavily in debt to him through the promise that they could pay whenever they got ready. He dunned them openly on the street so that they made a wide detour in order to avoid going past his store.

Dr. Barton had established a reputation for kindness of heart as well as skill in practice that threatened his rival's good will. Helen Barton, the doctor's young daughter, perversely kept company with her father's rival. Every one felt sorry for the father but secretly admired Dr. Smelter's diabolic tactics.

Long-forgotten was the enemy when it came the second time. On a dark night when Five Points lay heavy in its slumbers, it bore down upon the north side of the town. Some sensitive sleeper, troubled in his dreams, awoke to see the dreadful red tongues cutting across the darkness like crimson banners. His cries aroused the town. All the fathers rushed out against the enemy. The mothers dressed their children and packed best things in valises ready to flee when there was no longer any hope.

For three days and three nights the enemy raged, leaping in to eat up one house, two houses, beaten back and back, creeping up in another place, beaten back again. The school boys took beaters and screamed at the enemy as they beat.

The older ones remembered the first coming of the enemy. They said, "It was a warning!" They prayed while fear shook their aching arms. The Life of the town writhed and gleams of colour came out of its writhings and a whiteness as if the red tongues were cleansing away impurities.

The mill managers brought their men to fight the enemy. "We mustn't let it go," they said. Mr. Stillman had his two sons helping him. He talked to them while they fought the enemy together. He spoke of punishment for sin. His sons listened while the lust of fighting held their bodies.

Helen Barton knelt at her father's feet where he was fighting the enemy and swore she would never see Dr. Smelter again. She knew he was a bad man and could never bring her happiness.

Lyda, eldest daughter in the Shelton family, gathered her little sisters about her, quieting their clamours while her mother wrung her hands and said over and over again, "To happen when your papa was getting on so nicely!" Lyda resolved that she would put all thoughts of marrying out of her head. She would have to stop keepin company with Ned Backus, the hardware man's son. It was not fair to keep company with a man you did not intend to marry. She would stay for ever with her mother and help care for the children so that her father would have a peaceful home life and not be tempted.

All about, wherever they were, people prayed. They prayed until there was nothing left in their hearts but prayer as there was nothing left in their bodies but a great tiredness.

Then a heavy rain came and the red tongues drank greedily until they were slaked and became little short red flickers of light on a soaked black ground. The enemy was conquered. One street of the town was gone.

People ran to the church and held thanksgiving services. A stillness brooded over the town. Life hardly moved; the strands hung slack. Thanksgiving soon changed to revival. Services lasted a week. The ministers preached terrible sermons, burning with terrible words. "Repent before it is too late. Twice God has warned this town." People vowed vows and sang as they had never sung before the hymns in their church song-books. The strands of Life leapt and contorted themselves but they could not pull themselves apart.

The revival ended. Building began. In a few months a street of houses sprang up defiant in yellow newness. In and out of a pattern little changed from its old accustomed aspect Life pulsated in great waves over the heavy strands. In and out, up and down, it rushed, drawing threads tightly together, knotting them in fantastic knots that only the judgment day could undo.

Mr. Stillman's sons were now young men. The younger was dying of heart trouble in a hospital in the city. The father had locked the elder in his room for two weeks on bread and water until he found out exactly what had happened between his son and the Barringers' hired girl. Guy Stillman, full-blooded, dark, and handsome, with high cheek bones like an Indian, declared vehemently that he would never marry the girl.

Dave Fellows had taken his sons out of school to help him the year round in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Lawrence had left home and gone to work in the town barber shop late afternoons and evenings in order to keep on at his work in the high school grades just established. He vowed he would never return home to be made into a lumber-jack. Dave's wife was trying to persuade him to leave Five Points and go to the city where her family lived. There the children could continue their schooling and Dave could get work more suited to his ability than lumbering seemed to be. Dave, too proud to admit that he had not the capacity for carrying on this work successfully, refused to entertain any thought of leaving the place. "If my family would stick by me, everything would come out all right," he always said.

Lyda Shelton still kept company with Ned Backus. When he begged her to marry him, she put him off another year until the children were a little better able to care for themselves. Her next youngest sister had married a dentist from another town and had not asked her mother to the wedding. Lyda was trying to make it up to her mother in double devotion.

Helen Barton met Dr. Smelter once too often and her father made her marry him. She had a child born dead. Now she was holding clandestine meetings with Mr. Daly, a traveling salesman, home on one of his quarterly visits to his family. He had promised to take Helen away with him on his next trip and make a home for her in the city.

It was a sweltering hot Saturday in the first part of June. Every now and then the wind blew in from the east picking up the dust in eddies. Abe Cohen's store was closed. His children wandered up and down the street, celebrating their sabbath in best clothes and chastened behaviour. Jim Dunn was watching a large consignment of goods for the Company store being unloaded. He was telling Earl Henderson, the manager's nephew, how much it would cost him to get in with the poker crowd.

George Brainerd had finished fixing up the Company's accounts. He whistled as he worked. Dave Fellows was in debt three hundred dollars to the Company. That would keep him another year. He was a good workman but a poor manager. Sam Kent was in debt one hundred dollars. He would have to stay, too. John Simpson had come out even. He could go if he wanted to. He was a trouble-maker anyway....

Helen Barton sat talking with Daly in the thick woods up back of the Presbyterian church. They were planning how to get away undetected on the evening train.... "If she was good enough for you then, she's good enough now," Mr. Stillman was saying to his defiant son. "You're not fit for a better woman. You'll take care of her and that's the end of it...."

Widow Stokes' half-witted son rode up from the Extract Works on an old bony horse. He brought word that the enemy was at the Kibbard Mill, two miles beyond the Works. People were throwing their furniture into the mill pond, he said. Every one laughed. Mottie Stokes was always telling big stories. The boy, puzzled, went round and round the town, stopping every one he met, telling his tale. Sweat poured down his pale face.

At last he rode down to Trout Creek Mill and told Dave Fellows. Dave got on the old grey mule and came up to town to find out further news. The townsfolk, loafing under the trees around Main Street and going about on little errands, shouted when they saw Dave come in on his mule beside Mottie on the bony horse. "Two of a kind," was passed round the circle of business and gossip, and sniggering went with it. Dave suggested that some one go down to see just what had happened. Jeers answered him. "Believe a fool? Not quite that cracked yet!" Dave went about uneasily if he had business to attend to, but keeping an eye searching out in the direction of the Works.

In an hour or so another rider came panting into town. Back of him straggled families from the mills and works with whatever belongings they could bring on their backs. Fear came into the hearts of the citizens of Five Points. They shouted in anger to drive away their fear. "Why didn't you stay and fight it? What'd you come up here for?"

"Too big, too big," cried the lumber folk, gesturing back over their shoulders.

Far off a haze was gathering and in the haze a redness appeared, growing slowly more and more distinct. The townsfolk stared in the direction of the Works, unwilling to believe. Some one shouted, "Better be ready!" Shortly every pump in the town had its hand and everything that could hold water was being filled for the oncoming thirsty beast.

Dave Fellows galloped down the long hills, around curves, across the bridge at the mill and up again to his home, told his family of the approach of the enemy, directed them to pack up all the easily moved furniture, harness the two mules and be ready to flee out through the forest past Goff's Mills to the next station thirty miles further down the railroad. No one could tell where the enemy would spread. He would come back the minute that all hope was lost. The boys must stay at home and take care of the place. "Bring Lawrence back with you," his wife called after him, and he turned and waved his hand.

When he got back into town thousands of red tongues were bearing down upon the station street. The enemy belched forth great hot breaths that swept the sky ahead of it like giant firecrackers and falling upon the houses to the east of the town ran from one to another eating its way up the station street towards the centre of the town. Family after family left their homes, carrying valuables, dragging their small children, and scattered to the north and south of the advancing enemy. The town hotel emptied itself quickly of its temporary family. Jim Dunn left the station carrying the cash box and a bundle of papers.

From building to building the enemy leaped. Before it fled group after group of persons from stores and homes. Methodically it went round the circle of shops, the most rapacious customer the town had ever seen. Quarters of beeves in the meat shop, bottles of liquids and powders on the drug-store shelves, barrels and boxes of food in the grocery store, suits of clothing in Abe Cohen's, the leather whips and carriage robes in the hardware store, all went down its gullet with the most amazing ease.

Swelled with its indiscriminate meal, it started hesitantly on its way up the street that led to the Presbyterian Church. Now people lost their heads and ran hither and thither, screaming and praying incoherently, dragging their crying children about from one place to another, pumping water frantically to offer it, an impotent libation to an insatiable god. They knew that neither the beating of brooms nor the water from their wells could quench the enemy that was upon them. Red Judgment Day was at hand.

Meanwhile a peculiar thing happened. The Life that was hanging above the town lifted itself up, high up, entire in its pattern, beyond the reach of red tongues, of gusts from hot gullets—and there it stayed while the enemy raged below.

Dave Fellows harangued the men who were beating away vainly, pouring buckets of water on unquenchable tongues. He pointed to the forest up the street back of the Presbyterian Church. He was telling them that the only thing to do was to call forth another enemy to come down and do battle with this one before it reached the church. "Yes, yes," they chorused eagerly.

Craftily they edged around south of the enemy, scorching their faces against its streaming flank, and ran swiftly far up the line of forest past the church. There it was even at that moment that Helen Barton was begging Daly to remember his promise and take her with him on the evening train....

The men scooped up leaves and small twigs and bending over invoked their champion to come forth and do battle for them. Presently it came forth, shooting out little eager red tongues that danced and leaped, glad to be coming forth, growing larger in leaps and bounds. Dave Fellows watched anxiously the direction in which the hissing tongues sprang. "The wind will take it," he said at last. Fitfully the breeze pressed up against the back of the newly born, pushing more and more strongly as the tongues sprang higher and higher, until finally it swept the full-grown monster down the track towards where the other monster was gorging.

"For God's sake, Henry, take me with you, this evening, as you promised," Helen was imploring Daly. "I can't stay here any longer. My father—I wish now I had listened to him in the first place, long ago." Daly did not hear her. He had risen to his feet and holding his head back was drawing in great acrid breaths. His florid face went white. "What is that?" he said hoarsely. Through the thick forest red tongues broke out, sweeping towards them. Helen clutched Daly's arm, screaming. He shook her off and turned to flee out by the church. There, too, red tongues were leaping, curling back on themselves in long derisive snarls. Daly turned upon her. "You ..."

The two enemies met at the church, red tongue leaping against red tongue, crackling jaws breaking on crackling jaws, sizzling gullet straining against sizzling gullet. A great noise like the rending of a thousand fibres, a clap of red thunder, as the body of beast met the body of beast, and both lay crumpled upon the ground together, their long bodies writhing, bruised, red jaws snapping, red tongue eating red tongue.

Upon them leaped the band of men spreading out the whole length of the bodies and beat, beat, incessantly, desperately, tongue after tongue, hour after hour, beat, beat. Lingeringly the enemy died, a hard death. Three days it was dying and it had watchers in plenty. Whenever a red tongue leaped into life, some one was there to lay it low. In the night-time the men watched, and in the day the women and girls. The men talked. "We will build it up again in brick," they said. "That is safer and it looks better, too." The women talked, too. "I hope Abe will get in some of those new lace curtains," they said.

Meanwhile families gathered themselves together. Those whose homes were gone encamped picnic fashion in the schoolhouse or were taken in by those whose houses were still standing. Two persons were missing when the muster of the town was finally taken. They were Helen Barton and Mr. Daly. Jim Dunn said he wasn't sure but he thought Daly left on the morning train. Daly's wife said he told her he was not going until evening.

They searched for Helen far and wide. No trace of her was ever found. Her father stood in front of the Sunday School on the Sunday following the death of the enemy and made an eloquent appeal for better life in the town. "The wages of sin is death," he declared, "death of the soul always, death of the body sometimes." The people thought him inspired. Widow Stokes whispered to her neighbour, "It's his daughter he's thinking of."

Dave Fellows was the only person who left the town. He went back to his wife when he saw that the town was saved and said, "We might as well move now that we're packed up. The town is cursed." Two days later they took the train north from a pile of blackened timbers where the old station had stood. Lawrence went with them.

The enemy had eaten up all the records in the Company store, and had tried to eat up George Brainerd while he was attempting to save them. The Company had to accept the workers' own accounts. George was going about with his arm tied up, planning to keep a duplicate set of records in a place unassailable by the enemy.

Abe Cohen wailed so about his losses and his little children that Mr. Stillman set him up in a brand new stock of clothing. Abe was telling every one, "Buy now. Pay when you like." And customers came as of old.

Guy Stillman married the Barringers' hired girl. His father established them in a little home out at the edge of the town. The nearest neighbour reported that Guy beat his wife.

Lyda married Ned Backus. "Suppose you had died," she told Ned. "I would never have forgiven myself. You can work in papa's new grocery store. He's going to start one as soon as we can get the building done. Mama will have a son to help take care of her."

Life, its strands blackened by the strong breath of the enemy, settled down once more over the town and hung there, secure in its pattern, thick and powerful. Under it brick stores and buildings rose up and people stood about talking, complacently planning their days. "It won't come again for a long time," they said.


[5] Copyright, 1920, by The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.
Copyright, 1921, by Edna Clare Bryner.



From The Metropolitan

"I get afraid when you leave me alone this way at night."

The big man, Tolliver, patted his wife's head. His coarse laughter was meant to reassure, but, as he glanced about the living-room of his remote and cheerless house, his eyes were uneasy. The little boy, just six years old, crouched by the cook-stove, whimpering over the remains of his supper.

"What are you afraid of?" Tolliver scoffed.

The stagnant loneliness, the perpetual drudgery, had not yet conquered his wife's beauty, dark and desirable. She motioned towards the boy.

"He's afraid, too, when the sun goes down."

For a time Tolliver listened to the wind, which assaulted the frame house with the furious voices of witches demanding admittance.

"It's that——" he commenced.

She cut him short, almost angrily.

"It isn't that with me," she whispered.

He lifted the tin pail that contained a small bottle of coffee and some sandwiches. He started for the door, but she ran after him, dragging at his arm.

"Don't go! I'm afraid!"

The child was quiet now, staring at them with round, reflective eyes.

"Joe," Tolliver said gently, "will be sore if I don't relieve him on time."

She pressed her head against his coat and clung tighter. He closed his eyes.

"You're afraid of Joe," he said wearily.

Without looking up, she nodded. Her voice was muffled.

"He came last night after you relieved him at the tower. He knocked, and I wouldn't let him in. It made him mad. He swore. He threatened. He said he'd come back. He said he'd show us we couldn't kick him out of the house just because he couldn't help liking me. We never ought to have let him board here at all."

"Why didn't you tell me before?"

"I was afraid you'd be fighting each other in the tower; and it didn't seem so bad until dark came on. Why didn't you complain to the railroad when—when he tried to kiss me the other night?"

"I thought that was finished," Tolliver answered slowly, "when I kicked him out, when I told him I'd punish him if he bothered you again. And I—I was a little ashamed to complain to the superintendent about that. Don't you worry about Joe, Sally, I'll talk to him now, before I let him out of the tower. He's due to relieve me again at midnight, and I'll be home then."

He put on his great coat. He pulled his cap over his ears. The child spoke in a high, apprehensive voice.

"Don't go away, papa."

He stared at the child, considering.

"Put his things on, Sally," he directed at last.

"What for?"

"I'll send him back from the tower with something that will make you feel easier."

Her eyes brightened.

"Isn't that against the rules?"

"Guess I can afford to break one for a change," he said. "I'm not likely to need it myself to-night. Come, Sonny."

The child shrank in the corner, his pudgy hands raised defensively.

"It's only a little ways, and Sonny can run home fast," his mother coaxed.

Against his ineffective reluctance she put on his coat and hat. Tolliver took the child by the hand and led him, sobbing unevenly, into the wind-haunted darkness. The father chatted encouragingly, pointing to two or three lights, scattered, barely visible; beacons that marked unprofitable farms.

It was, in fact, only a short distance to the single track railroad and the signal tower, near one end of a long siding. In the heavy, boisterous night the yellow glow from the upper windows, and the red and green of the switch lamps, close to the ground, had a festive appearance. The child's sobs drifted away. His father swung him in his arms, entered the tower, and climbed the stairs. Above, feet stirred restlessly. A surly voice came down.

"Here at last, eh?"

When Tolliver's head was above the level of the flooring he could see the switch levers, and the table, gleaming with the telegraph instruments, and dull with untidy clips of yellow paper; but the detail that held him was the gross, expectant face of Joe.

Joe was as large as Tolliver, and younger. From that commanding position, he appeared gigantic.

"Cutting it pretty fine," he grumbled.

Tolliver came on up, set the child down, and took off his overcoat.

"Fact is," he drawled, "I got held back a minute—sort of unexpected."

His eyes fixed the impatient man.

"What you planning to do, Joe, between now and relieving me at midnight?"

Joe shifted his feet.

"Don't know," he said uncomfortably. "What you bring the kid for? Want me to drop him at the house?"

Tolliver shook his head. He placed his hands on his hips.

"That's one thing I want to say to you, Joe. Just you keep away from the house. Thought you understood that when you got fresh with Sally the other night."

Joe's face flushed angrily.

"Guess I was a fool to say I was sorry about that. Guess I got to teach you I got a right to go where I please."

Tolliver shook his head.

"Not to our house, if we don't want you."

The other leered.

"You so darned sure Sally don't want me?"

Impulsively Tolliver stepped forward, closing his fists.

"You drop that sort of talk, or——"

Joe interrupted, laughing.

"One thing's sure, Tolliver. If it came to a fight between me and you I'd be almost ashamed to hit you."

Through his passion Tolliver recognized the justice of that appraisal. Physically he was no match for the younger man.

"Things," he said softly, "are getting so we can't work here together."

"Then," Joe flung back, as he went down the stairs, "you'd better be looking for another job."

Tolliver sighed, turning to the table. The boy played there, fumbling with the yellow forms. Tolliver glanced at the top one. He called out quickly to the departing man.

"What's this special, Joe?"

The other's feet stumped on the stairs again.

"Forgot," he said as his head came through the trap. "Some big-wigs coming through on a special train along about midnight. Division headquarters got nothing definite yet, but figure we'll have to get her past thirty-three somewheres on this stretch. So keep awake."

Tolliver with an increasing anxiety continued to examine the yellow slips.

"And thirty-three's late, and still losing."

Joe nodded.

"Makes it sort of uncertain."

"Seems to me," Tolliver said, "you might have mentioned it."

"Maybe," Joe sneered, "you'd like me to stay and do your job."

He went down the stairs and slammed the lower door.

Tolliver studied the slips, his ears alert for the rattling of the telegraph sounder. After a time he replaced the file on the table and looked up. The boy, quite contented now in the warm, interesting room, stretched his fingers towards the sending key, with the air of a culprit dazzled into attempting an incredible crime.

"Hands off, Sonny!" Tolliver said kindly. "You must run back to mother now."

He opened a drawer beneath the table and drew out a polished six-shooter—railroad property, designed for the defense of the tower against tramps or bandits. The boy reached his hand eagerly for it. His father shook his head.

"Not to play with, Sonny. That's for business. If you promise not to touch it 'till you get home and hand it to mama, to-morrow I'll give you a nickel."

The child nodded. Tolliver placed the revolver in the side pocket of the little overcoat, and, the boy following him, went down stairs.

"You run home fast as you can," Tolliver directed. "Don't you be afraid. I'll stand right here in the door 'till you get there. Nothing shall hurt you."

The child glanced back at the festive lights with an anguished hesitation. Tolliver had to thrust him away from the tower.

"A nickel in the morning——" he bribed.

The child commenced to run. Long after he had disappeared the troubled man heard the sound of tiny feet scuffling with panic along the road to home.

When the sound had died away Tolliver slammed the door and climbed the stairs. He studied the yellow slips again, striving to fix in his mind this problem, involving the safety of numerous human beings, that would probably become his. He had a fear of abnormal changes in the schedule. It had been impressed upon every signalman that thirty-three was the road's most precious responsibility. It was the only solid Pullman train that passed over the division. This time of year it ran crowded and was erratic; more often than not, late. That fact created few difficulties on an ordinary night; but, combined with such uncertainty of schedule, it worried the entire division, undoubtedly, to have running, also on an uncertain schedule, and in the opposite direction on that single track, an eager special carrying important men. The superintendent, of course, would want to get those flashy trains past each other without delay to either. That was why these lonely towers, without receiving definite instructions yet, had been warned to increase watchfulness.

Tolliver's restlessness grew. He hoped the meeting would take place after Joe had relieved him, or else to the north or south.

It was difficult, moreover, for him to fix his mind to-night on his professional responsibility. His duty towards his family was so much more compelling. While he sat here, listening to every word beaten out by the sounder, he pictured his wife and son, alone in the little house nearly a half a mile away. And he wondered, while he, their only protector, was imprisoned, what Joe was up to.

Joe must have been drunk when he tried to get in the house last night. Had he been drinking to-night?

The sounder jarred rapidly.

"LR. LR. LR."

That was for the tower to the north. It was hard to tell from Joe's manner. Perhaps that would account for his not having called attention to the approaching presence of the special on the division.

Pound. Pound. Pound. The hard striking of the metal had the effect of a trip-hammer on his brain.

"Allen reports special left Oldtown at 9.45."

Joe had certainly been drinking that night last week when he had got fresh with Sally.

"Thirty-three still losing south of Anderson."

He jotted the words down and sent his O.K.'s while his head, it seemed to him, recoiled physically from each rapid stroke of the little brass bar.

Sonny, sent by his mother, had come to tell him that night, panting up the stairs, his eyes wide and excited. Tolliver had looked from the window towards his home, his face flushed, his fists clenched, his heart almost choking him. Then he had seen Joe, loafing along the road in the moonlight, and he had relaxed, scarcely aware of the abominable choice he had faced.

"NT. NT. NT."

His own call. Tolliver shrank from the sharp blows. He forced himself to a minute attention. It was division headquarters.

"Holding twenty-one here until thirty-three and the special have cleared."

Twenty-one was a freight. It was a relief to have that off the road for the emergency. He lay back when the striking at his head had ceased.

It was unfortunate that Joe and he alone should be employed at the tower. Relieving each other at regular intervals, they had never been at the house together. Either Tolliver had been there alone with his wife and his son—or Joe had been. The two men had seen each other too little, only momentarily in this busy room. They didn't really know each other.

"LR. LR. LR."

Tolliver shook his head savagely. It had been a mistake letting Joe board with them at all. Any man would fall in love with Sally. Yet Tolliver had thought after that definite quarrel Joe would have known his place; the danger would have ended.

It was probably this drinking at the country inn where Joe lived now that had made the man brood. The inn was too small and removed to attract the revenue officers, and the liquid manufactured and sold there was designed to make a man daring, irrational, deadly.

Tolliver shrank from the assaults of the sounder.

Where was Joe now? At the inn, drinking; or——

He jotted down the outpourings of the voluble key. More and more it became clear that the special and thirty-three would meet near his tower, but it would almost certainly be after midnight when Joe would have relieved him. He watched the clock, often pressing his fingers against his temples in an attempt to make bearable the hammering at his brain, unequal and persistent.

While the hands crawled towards midnight the wind increased, shrieking around the tower as if the pounding angered it.

Above the shaking of the windows Tolliver caught another sound, gentle and disturbing, as if countless fingers tapped softly, simultaneously against the panes.

He arose and raised one of the sashes. The wind tore triumphantly in, bearing a quantity of snowflakes that fluttered to the floor, expiring. Under his breath Tolliver swore. He leaned out, peering through the storm. The red and green signal lamps were blurred. He shrugged his shoulders. Anyway, Joe would relieve him before the final orders came, before either train was in the section.

Tolliver clenched his hands. If Joe didn't come!

He shrank from the force of his imagination.

He was glad Sally had the revolver.

He glanced at his watch, half believing that the clock had stopped.

There at last it was, both hands pointing straight up—midnight! And Tolliver heard only the storm and the unbearable strokes of the telegraph sounder. It was fairly definite now. Both trains were roaring through the storm, destined almost certainly to slip by each other at this siding within the next hour.

Where was Joe? And Sally and the boy alone at the house!

Quarter past twelve.

What vast interest could have made Joe forget his relief at the probable loss of his job?

Tolliver glanced from the rear window towards his home, smothered in the night and the storm. If he might only run there quickly to make sure that Sally was all right!

The sounder jarred furiously. Tolliver half raised his hand, as if to destroy it.

It was the division superintendent himself at the key.

"NT. NT. NT. Is it storming bad with you?"

"Pretty thick."

"Then keep the fuses burning. For God's sake, don't let the first in over-run his switch. And clear the line like lightning. Those fellows are driving faster than hell."

Tolliver's mouth opened, but no sound came. His face assumed the expression of one who undergoes the application of some destructive barbarity.

"I get afraid when you leave me alone this way at night."

He visualized his wife, beautiful, dark, and desirable, urging him not to go to the tower.

A gust of wind sprang through the trap door. The yellow slips fluttered. He ran to the trap. He heard the lower door bang shut. Someone was on the stairs, climbing with difficulty, breathing hard. A hat, crusted with snow, appeared. There came slowly into the light Joe's face, ugly and inflamed; the eyes restless with a grave indecision.

Tolliver's first elation died in new uncertainty.

"Where you been?" he demanded fiercely.

Joe struggled higher until he sat on the flooring, his legs dangling through the trap. He laughed in an ugly and unnatural note; and Tolliver saw that there was more than drink, more than sleeplessness, recorded in his scarlet face. Hatred was there. It escaped, too, from the streaked eyes that looked at Tolliver as if through a veil. He spoke thickly.

"Don't you wish you knew?"

Tolliver stooped, grasping the man's shoulders. In each fist he clenched bunches of wet cloth. In a sort of desperation he commenced to shake the bundled figure.

"You tell me where you been——"

"NT. NT. NT."

Joe leered.

"Joe! You got to tell me where you been."

The pounding took Tolliver's strength. He crouched lower in an effort to avoid it, but each blow struck as hard as before, forcing into his brain word after word that he passionately resented. Places, hours, minutes—the details of this vital passage of two trains in the unfriendly night.

"Switch whichever arrives first, and hold until the other is through."

It was difficult to understand clearly, because Joe's laughter persisted, crashing against Tolliver's brain as brutally as the sounder.

"You got to tell me if you been bothering Sally."

The hatred and the cunning of the mottled face grew.

"Why don't you ask Sally?"

Slowly Tolliver let the damp cloth slip from his fingers. He straightened, facing more definitely that abominable choice. He glanced at his cap and overcoat. The lazy clock hands reminded him that he had remained in the tower nearly half an hour beyond his time. Joe was right. It was clear he could satisfy himself only by going home and asking Sally.

"Get up," he directed. "I guess you got sense enough to know you're on duty."

Joe struggled to his feet and lurched to the table. Tolliver wondered at the indecision in the other's eyes, which was more apparent. Joe fumbled aimlessly with the yellow slips. Tolliver's fingers, outstretched toward his coat, hesitated, as if groping for an object that must necessarily elude them.

"Special!" Joe mumbled. "And—Hell! Ain't thirty-three through yet?"

He swayed, snatching at the edge of the table.

Tolliver lowered his hands. The division superintendent had pounded out something about fuses. What had it been exactly? "Keep fuses burning."

With angry gestures he took his coat and cap down, and put them on while he repeated all the instructions that had been forced into his brain with the effect of a physical violence. At the table Joe continued to fumble aimlessly.

"Ain't you listening?" Tolliver blurted out.


"Why don't you light a fuse?"

It was quite obvious that Joe had heard nothing.

"Fuse!" Joe repeated.

He stooped to a box beneath the table. He appeared to lose his balance. He sat on the floor with his back against the wall, his head drooping.

"What about fuse?" he murmured.

His eyes closed.

Tolliver pressed the backs of his hands against his face. If only his suspense might force refreshing tears as Sonny cried away his infant agonies!

Numerous people asleep in that long Pullman train, and the special thundering down! Sally and Sonny a half mile away in the lonely house! And that drink-inspired creature on the floor—what was he capable of in relation to those unknown, helpless travelers? But what was he capable of; what had he, perhaps, been capable of towards those two known ones that Tolliver loved better than all the world?

Tolliver shuddered. As long as Joe was here Sally and Sonny would not be troubled. But where had Joe been just now? How had Sally and Sonny fared while Tolliver had waited for that stumbling step on the stairs? He had to know that, yet how could he? For he couldn't leave Joe to care for all those lives on the special and thirty-three.

He removed his coat and cap, and replaced them on the hook. He took a fuse from the box and lighted it. He raised the window and threw the fuse to the track beneath. It sputtered and burst into a flame, ruddy, gorgeous, immense. It etched from the night distant fences and trees. It bent the sparkling rails until they seemed to touch at the terminals of crimson vistas. If in the storm the locomotive drivers should miss the switch lamps, set against them, they couldn't neglect this bland banner of danger, flung across the night.

When Tolliver closed the window he noticed that the ruddy glow filled the room, rendering sickly and powerless the yellow lamp wicks. And Tolliver clutched the table edge, for in this singular and penetrating illumination he saw that Joe imitated the details of sleep; that beneath half-closed lids, lurked a fanatical wakefulness, and final resolution where, on entering the tower, he had exposed only indecision.

While Tolliver stared Joe abandoned his masquerade. Wide-eyed, he got lightly to his feet and started for the trap.

Instinctively, Tolliver's hand started for the drawer where customarily the revolver was kept. Then he remembered, and was sorry he had sent the revolver to Sally. For it was clear that the poison in Joe's brain was sending him to the house while Tolliver was chained to the tower. He would have shot, he would have killed, to have kept the man here. He would do what he could with his hands.

"Where you going?" he asked hoarsely.

Joe laughed happily.

"To keep Sally company while you look after the special and thirty-three."

Tolliver advanced cautiously, watching for a chance. When he spoke his voice had the appealing quality of a child's.

"It's my time off. If I do your work you got to stay at least."

Joe laughed again.

"No. It only needs you to keep all those people from getting killed."

Tolliver sprang then, but Joe avoided the heavier, clumsier man. He grasped a chair, swinging it over his head.

"I'll teach you," he grunted, "to kick me out like dirt. I'll teach you and Sally."

With violent strength he brought the chair down. Tolliver got his hands up, but the light chair crashed them aside and splintered on his head. He fell to his knees, reaching out blindly. He swayed lower until he lay stretched on the floor, dimly aware of Joe's descending steps, of the slamming of the lower door, at last of a vicious pounding at his bruised brain.

"NT. NT. NT."

He struggled to his knees, his hands at his head.

"No, by God! I won't listen to you."

"Thirty-three cleared LR at 12:47."

One tower north! Thirty-three was coming down on him, but he was only glad that the pounding had ceased. It commenced again.

"NT. NT. NT. Special cleared JV at 12:48."

Each rushing towards each other with only a minute's difference in schedule! That was close—too close. But what was it he had in his mind?

Suddenly he screamed. He lurched to his feet and leant against the wall. He knew now. Joe, with those infused and criminal eyes, had gone to Sally and Sonny—to get even. There could be nothing in the world as important as that. He must get after Joe. He must stop him in time.

"NT. NT. NT."

There was something in his brain about stopping a train in time.

"It only needs you to keep all those people from getting killed."

Somebody had told him that. What did it mean? What had altered here in the tower all at once?

There was no longer any red.

"NT. NT. NT."

"I won't answer."

Where had he put his cap and coat. He needed them. He could go without. He could kill a beast without. His foot trembled on the first step.

"NT. NT. NT. Why don't you answer? What's wrong. No O. K. Are you burning fuses? Wake up. Send an O. K."

The sounder crashed frantically. It conquered him.

He lurched to the table, touched the key, and stuttered out:

"O. K. NT."

He laughed a little. They were in his block, rushing at each other, and Joe was alone at the house with Sally and the child. O. K.!

He lighted another fuse, flung it from the window, and started with automatic movements for the trap.

Let them crash. Let them splinter, and burn, and die. What was the lot of them compared with Sally and Sonny?

The red glare from the fuse sprang into the room. Tolliver paused, bathed in blood.

He closed his eyes to shut out the heavy waves of it. He saw women like Sally and children like Sonny asleep in a train. It gave him an impression that Sally and Sonny were, indeed, on the train. To keep them safe it would be necessary to retard the special until thirty-three should be on the siding and he could throw that lever that would close the switch and make the line safe. He wavered, taking short steps between the table and the trap. Where were Sally and Sonny? He had to get that clear in his mind.

A bitter cold sprang up the trap. He heard the sobbing of a child.


It was becoming clear enough now.

The child crawled up the steps on his hands and knees. Tolliver took him in his arms, straining at him passionately.

"What is it, Sonny? Where's mama?"

"Papa, come quick. Come quick."

He kept gasping it out until Tolliver stopped him.

"Joe! Did Joe come?"

The child nodded. He caught his breath.

"Joe broke down the door," he said.

"But mama had the gun," Tolliver said hoarsely.

The boy shook his head.

"Mama wouldn't let Sonny play with it. She locked it up in the cupboard. Joe grabbed mama, and she screamed, and said to run and make you come."

In the tower, partially smothered by the storm, vibrated a shrill cry. For a moment Tolliver thought his wife's martyrdom had been projected to him by some subtle means. Then he knew it was the anxious voice of thirty-three—the pleading of all those unconscious men and women and little ones. He flung up his arms, releasing the child, and ran to the table where he lighted another fuse, and threw it to the track. He peered from the window, aware of the sobbing refrain of his son.

"Come quick! Come quick! Come quick!"

From far to the south drifted a fainter sibilation, like an echo of thirty-three's whistle. To the north a glow increased. The snowflakes there glistened like descending jewels. It was cutting it too close. It was vicious to crush all that responsibility on the shoulders of one ignorant man, such a man as himself, or Joe. What good would it do him to kill Joe now? What was there left for him to do?

He jotted down thirty-three's orders.

The glow to the north intensified, swung slightly to the left as thirty-three took the siding. But she had to hurry. The special was whistling closer—too close. Thirty-three's locomotive grumbled abreast of him. Something tugged at his coat.

"Papa! Won't you come quick to mama?"

The dark, heavy cars slipped by. The red glow of the fuse was overcome by the white light from the south. The last black Pullman of thirty-three cleared the points. With a gasping breath Tolliver threw the switch lever.

"It's too late now, Sonny," he said to the importunate child.

The tower shook. A hot, white eye flashed by, and a blurred streak of cars. Snow pelted in the window, stinging Tolliver's face. Tolliver closed the window and picked up thirty-three's orders. If he had kept the revolver here he could have prevented Joe's leaving the tower. Why had Sally locked it in the cupboard? At least it was there now. Tolliver found himself thinking of the revolver as an exhausted man forecasts sleep.

Someone ran swiftly up the stairs. It was the engineer of thirty-three, surprised and impatient.

"Where are my orders, Tolliver? I don't want to lie over here all night."

He paused. His tone became curious.

"What ails you, Tolliver?"

Tolliver handed him the orders, trembling.

"I guess maybe my wife at the house is dead, or—You'll go see."

The engineer shook his head.

"You brace up, Tolliver. I'm sorry if anything's happened to your wife, but we couldn't hold thirty-three, even for a murder."

Tolliver's trembling grew. He mumbled incoherently:

"But I didn't murder all those people——"

"Report to division headquarters," the engineer advised. "They'll send you help to-morrow."

He hurried down the stairs. After a moment the long train pulled out, filled with warm, comfortable people. The child, his sobbing at an end, watched it curiously. Tolliver tried to stop his shaking.

There was someone else on the stairs now, climbing with an extreme slowness. A bare arm reached through the trap, wavering for a moment uncertainly. Ugly bruises showed on the white flesh. Tolliver managed to reach the trap. He grasped the arm and drew into the light the dark hair and the chalky face of his wife. Her wide eyes stared at him strangely.

"Don't touch me," she whispered. "What am I going to do?"


"Why do you tremble so?" she asked in her colorless voice, without resonance. "Why didn't you come?"

"Joe?" he repeated hysterically.

She drew away from him.

"You won't want to touch me again."

He pointed to the repellant bruises. She shook her head.

"He didn't hurt me much," she whispered, "because I—I killed him."

She drew her other hand from the folds of her wrapper. The revolver dangled from her fingers. It slipped and fell to the floor. The child stared at it with round eyes, as if he longed to pick it up.

She covered her face and shrank against the wall.

"I've killed a man——"

Through her fingers she looked at her husband fearfully. After a time she whispered:

"Why don't you say something?"

His trembling had ceased. His lips were twisted in a grin. He, too, wondered why he didn't say something. Because there were no words for what was in his heart.

In a corner he arranged his overcoat as a sort of a bed for the boy.

"Won't you speak to me?" she sobbed. "I didn't mean to, but I had to. You got to understand. I had to."

He went to the table and commenced to tap vigorously on the key. She ran across and grasped at his arm.

"What you telling them?" she demanded wildly.

"Why, Sally!" he said. "What's the matter with you?—To send another man now Joe is gone."

Truths emerged from his measureless relief, lending themselves to words. He trembled again for a moment.

"If I hadn't stayed! If I'd let them smash! When all along it only needed Joe to keep all those people from getting killed."

He sat down, caught her in his arms, drew her to his knee, and held her close.

"You ain't going to scold?" she asked wonderingly.

He shook his head. He couldn't say any more just then; but when his tears touched her face she seemed to understand and to be content.

So, while the boy slept, they waited together for someone to take Joe's place.


[6] Copyright, 1920, by The Metropolitan Magazine Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Charles Wadsworth Camp.



From The Midland

"The parting genius is with sighing sent."
Milton's Hymn on the Nativity.

It was high noon, blue and hot. The little town upon the southern slope of the hills that shut in the great plain glared white in the intense sunlight. The beds of the brooks in the valleys that cut their way through the hill-clefts were dry and dusty; and the sole shade visible lay upon the orchard floors, where the thick branches above cast blue-black shadows upon the golden tangle of grasses at their feet. A soft murmur of hidden creature-things rose like an invisible haze from earth, and nothing moved in all the horizon save the black kites high in the blue air and the white butterflies over the drowsy meadows. The poppies that flecked the yellow wheat fields drooped heavily, spilling the wine of summer from their cups. Nature stood at drowsy-footed pause, reluctant to take up again the vital whirr of living.

At the edge of the orchard, near the dusty highway, under a huge misshapen olive tree sat a boy, still as a carven Buddha save that his eyes stood wide, full of dreams. His was a sensitive face, thoughtful beyond his childish years, full of weariness when from time to time he closed his eyes, full of dark brooding when the lids lifted again. Presently he rose to his feet, and his two hands clenched tightly into fists.

"I hate it!" he muttered vehemently.

At his side the grasses stirred and a portion of the blue shadow of the tree detached itself and became the shadow of a man.

"Hate?" questioned a golden, care-free voice at his side. "Thou'rt overyoung to hate. What is it thou dost hate?"

A young man had thrown himself down in the grass at the boy's side. Shaggy locks hung about his brown cheeks; his broad, supple chest and shoulders were bare; his eyes were full of sleepy laughter; and his indolent face was now beautiful, now grotesque, at the color of his thoughts. From a leathern thong about his neck hung a reed pipe, deftly fashioned, and a bowl of wood carved about with grape-bunches dangled from the twisted vine which girdled his waist. In one hand he held a honey-comb, into which he bit with sharp white teeth, and on one arm he carried branches torn from fig and almond trees, clustered with green figs and with nuts. The two looked long at each other, the boy gravely, the man smiling.

"Thou wilt know me another time," said the man with a throaty laugh. "And I shall know thee. I have been watching thee a long time—I know not why. But what is it thou dost hate? For me, I hate nothing. Hate is wearisome."

The boy's gaze fixed itself upon the bright, insouciant face of the man with a fascination he endeavored to throw off but could not. Presently he spoke, and his voice was low and clear and deliberate.

"Hate is evil," he said.

"I know not what evil may be," said the man, a puzzled frown furrowing the smooth brow for a swift moment. "Hunger, now, or lust, or sleep—"

"Hate is the thing that comes up in my throat and chokes me when I think of tyranny," interrupted the boy, his eyes darkening.

"Why trouble to hate?" asked the man. He lifted his pipe to his lips and blew a joyous succession of swift, unhesitant notes, as throbbing as the heat, as vivid as the sunshine. His lithe throat bubbled and strained with his effort, and his warm vitality poured through the mouthpiece of the pipe and issued melodiously at the farther end. Noon deepened through many shades of hot and slumberous splendor, the very silence intensified by the brilliant pageant of sound. A great hawk at sail overhead hung suddenly motionless upon unquivering wings. Every sheep in the pasture across the road lifted a questioning nose, and the entire flock moved swiftly nearer on a sudden impulse. And then the man threw down his pipe, and the silence closed in softly upon the ebbing waves of sound.

"Why trouble to hate?" he asked again, and sank his shoulder deeper into the warm grass. His voice was as sleepy as the drone of distant bees, and his dream-filmed eyes looked out through drooping lids. "I hate nothing. It takes effort. It is easier to feel friendly with all things—creatures, and men, and gods."

"I hate with a purpose," said the child, his eyes fixed, and brooding upon an inward vision. The man rose upon his elbow and gazed curiously at the boy, but the latter, unheeding, went on with his thoughts. "Some day I shall be a man, and then I shall kill tyranny. Aye, kill! It is tyranny that I hate. And hatred I hate; and oppression. But how I shall go about to kill them, that I do not yet know. I think and think, but I have not yet thought of a way."

"If," said the man, "thou could'st love as royally as thou could'st hate, what a lover thou would'st become! For me, I love but lightly, and hate not at all, yet have I been a man for aeons. How near art thou to manhood?"

"I have lived nearly twelve years."

Like a flash the man leaped to his feet and turned his face westward towards the sea with outstretched arms, and a look and gesture of utter yearning gave poignancy and spirit to the careless, sleepy grace of his face and figure. He seized the boy's arm. "See now," he cried, his voice trembling upon the verge of music, "it is nearly twelve years that I have been a wanderer, shorn of my strength and my glory! Look you, boy, at the line of hills yonder. Behind those hills lie the blue sea-ridges, and still beyond, lies the land where I dwelt. Ye gods, the happy country!" Like a great child he stood, and his breast broke into sobs, but his eyes glowed with splendid visions. "Apollo's golden shafts could scarce penetrate the shadowy groves, and Diana's silver arrows pierced only the tossing treetops. And underfoot the crocus flamed, and the hyacinth. Flocks and herds fed in pastures rosy with blossoms, and there were white altars warm with flame in every thicket. There were dances, and mad revels, and love and laughter"—he paused, and the splendor died from his face. "And then one starry night—still and clear it was, and white with frost—fear stalked into the happy haunts, and an ontreading mystery, benign yet dreadful. And something, I know not what, drove me forth. Aie! Aie! There is but the moaning of doves when the glad hymns sounded, and cold ashes and dead drifted leaves on the once warm altars!"

A sharp pull at his tunic brought his thoughts back to the present. The child drew him urgently down into the long grass, and laid a finger upon his lip; and at the touch of the small finger the man trembled through all his length of limbs, and lay still. Up the road rose a cloud of dust and the sound of determined feet, and presently a martial figure came in sight, clad in bronze and leather helmet and cuirass, and carrying an oblong shield and a short, broad-bladed sword of double edge. Short yet agile, a soldier every inch, he looked neither to the right nor to the left, but marched steadily and purposefully upon his business. His splendid muscles, shining with sweat, gleamed satinwise in the hot sun. A single unit, he was yet a worthy symbol of a world-wide efficiency.

The man and boy beneath the tree crouched low. "Art afraid?" whispered the man. And the boy whispered back, "It is he that I hate, and all his kind." His child-heart beat violently against his side, great beads stood out upon his forehead, and his hands trembled. "If you but knew the sorrow in the villages! Aye, in the whole country—because of him! He takes the bread from the mouths of the pitiful poor—and we are all so poor! The women and babes starve, but the taxes must be paid. Upon the aged and the crippled, even, fall heavy burdens. And all because of him and his kind!"

The man looked at the flushed face and trembling limbs of the boy, and his own face glowed in a golden smile that was full of a sudden and unaccustomed tenderness. "Why, see now," he whispered, "that is easily overcome. Look! I will show thee the way." Lifting himself cautiously, he crouched on all fours in the grass, slipping and sliding forward so hiddenly that the keen ear and eagle eye of the approaching soldier took note of no least ripple in the quiet grass by the roadside. It was the sinuous, silent motion of a snake; and suddenly his eyes narrowed, his lips drew back from his teeth, his ears pricked forward, along the ridge of his bare back the hair bristled, and the locks about his face waved and writhed as though they were the locks of Medusa herself. Ah, and were those the flanks and feet of a man, or of a beast, that bore him along so stealthily? The child watched him in a horror of fascination, rooted to the spot in terror.

With the quickness of a flash it all happened—the martial traveller taken unaware, the broad-bladed sword wrenched from his hand by seemingly superhuman strength, a sudden hideous grip at his throat, blows rained upon his head, sharp sobbing breaths torn from his panting breast ... a red stain upon the dusty road ... a huddled figure ... silence. And he who had been a man indeed a few brief, bright years, was no more now than carrion; and he who through all his boasted aeons had not yet reached the stature of a man stood above the dead body, his face no longer menacing, but beautiful with a smiling delight in his deed. And then suddenly the spell that held the child was broken, and he leaped out upon the murderer and beat and beat and beat upon him with helpless, puny child-fists, and all a child's splendid and ineffectual rage. And at that the man turned and thrust the child from him in utter astonishment, and the boy fell heavily back upon the road, the second quiet figure lying there. And again the man's face changed, became vacant, bewildered, troubled; and stooping, he lifted the boy in his arms, and ran with him westward along the road, through the fields of dead-ripe wheat, across the stubble of the garnered barley, fleet-footed as a deer, till he could run no more.

In a little glen of hickory and oak, through whose misty-mellow depths a small stream trickled, he paused at last and laid the boy upon a soft and matted bed of thick green myrtle, and brought water in his two hands to bathe the bruised head, whimpering the while. Then he chafed the small bare feet and warmed them in his own warm breast; and gathering handfuls of pungent mint and the sweet-scented henna, he crushed them and held them to the boy's nostrils. And these devices failing, he sat disconsolate, the curves of his mobile face falling into unwonted lines of half-weary, half-sorrowful dejection. "I know not how it may be," he said to himself, smiling whimsically, "but I seem to have caught upon my lips the bitter human savor of repentance."

Utter silence held the little glen. The child lay unconscious, and the man sat with his head in his hands, as one brooding. When the sun at last neared the place of his setting, the boy's eyes opened. His gaze fell upon his companion, and crowded and confused thoughts surged through him. For some time he lay still, finding his bearings. And at length the hatred that had all day, and for many days, filled his young breast, melted away in a divine pity and tenderness, and the tears of that warm melting rolled down his cheeks. The man near him, who had watched in silence, gently put a questioning finger upon the wet cheeks.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Repentance," said the boy.

"I pity thee. Repentance is bitter of taste."

"No," said the boy. "It is warm and sweet. It moves my heart and my understanding."

"What has become of thy hatred?"

"I shall never hate again."

"What wilt thou do, then?"

"I shall love," said the boy. "Love," he repeated softly. "How came I never to think of that before?"

"Wilt thou love tyranny and forbear to kill the tyrant?"

The boy rose to his feet, and his young slenderness was full of strength and dignity, and his face, cleared of its sombre brooding, was full of a bright, untroubled decision. The cypresses upon the hilltops stood no more resolutely erect, the hills themselves were no more steadfast. "Nay," he said, laughing a little, boyishly, in pure pleasure at the crystal fixity of his purpose. "Rather will I love the tyrant, and the tyranny will die of itself. Oh, it is the way! It is the way! And I could not think of it till now! Not till I saw thee killing and him bleeding. Then I knew." Then, more gravely, he added, "I will begin by loving thee."

"Thou hast the appearance of a young god," said the man slowly, "but if thou wert a god, thou would'st crush thine enemies, not love them." He sighed, and his face strengthened into a semblance of power. "I was a god once myself," he added after some hesitation.

"What is thy name?" asked the boy.

"They called me once the Great God Pan. And thou?"

"My father is Joseph the carpenter. My mother calls me Jesus."

"Ah ..." said Pan, " ... is it Thou?"

Quietly they looked into each other's eyes; quietly clasped hands. And with no more words the man turned westward into the depths of the glen, drawing the sun's rays with him as he moved, so that the world seemed the darker for his going. And as he went he blew upon his pipe a tremulous and hesitating melody, piercing sweet and piercing sorrowful, so that whosoever should hear it should clutch his throat with tears at the wild pity of it, and the strange and haunting beauty. And the boy stood still, watching, until the man was lost upon the edge of night. Then he turned his face eastward, whence the new day comes, carrying forever in his heart the echoes of a dying song.


[7] Copyright, 1920, by John T. Frederick.
Copyright, 1921, by Helen Coale Crew.



From Scribner's Magazine

When they carried Kathleen Somers up into the hills to die where her ancestors had had the habit of dying—they didn't gad about, those early Somerses; they dropped in their tracks, and the long grass that they had mowed and stacked and trodden under their living feet flourished mightily over their graves—it was held to be only a question of time. I say "to die," not because her case was absolutely hopeless, but because no one saw how, with her spent vitality, she could survive her exile. Everything had come at once, and she had gone under. She had lost her kin, she had lost her money, she had lost her health. Even the people who make their meat of tragedy—and there are a great many of them in all enlightened centres of thought—shook their heads and were sorry. They thought she couldn't live; and they also thought it much, much better that she shouldn't. For there was nothing left in life for that sophisticated creature but a narrow cottage in a stony field, with Nature to look at.

Does it sound neurotic and silly? It wasn't. Conceive her if you can—Kathleen Somers, whom probably you never knew. From childhood she had nourished short hopes and straightened thoughts. At least: hopes that depend on the æsthetic passion are short; and the long perspectives of civilized history are very narrow. Kathleen Somers had been fed with the Old World: that is to say, her adolescent feet had exercised themselves in picture-galleries and cathedrals and palaces; she had seen all the right views, all the right ceremonies, and all the censored picturesqueness. Don't get any Cook's tourist idea, please, about Miss Somers. Her mother had died young, and her gifted father had taken her to a hundred places that the school-teacher on a holiday never gets to and thinks of only in connection with geography lessons. She had followed the Great Wall of China, she had stood before the tomb of Tamburlaine, she had shaded her eyes from the glare of Kaïrouan the Holy, she had chaffered in Tiflis and in Trebizond. All this before she was twenty-five. At that time her father's health broke, and they proceeded to live permanently in New York. Her wandering life had steeped her in delights, but kept her innocent of love-affairs. When you have fed on historic beauty, on the great plots of the past, the best tenor voices in the world, it is pretty hard to find a man who doesn't in his own person, leave out something essential to romance. She had herself no particular beauty, and therefore the male sex could get on without her. A few fell in love with her, but she was too enchanted and amused with the world in general to set to work at the painful process of making a hero out of any one of them. She was a sweet-tempered creature; her mental snobbishness was not a pose, but perfectly inevitable; she had a great many friends. As she had a quick wit and the historic imagination, you can imagine—remembering her bringing up—that she was an entertaining person when she entered upon middle age: when, that is, she was proceeding from the earlier to the later thirties.

It was natural that Kathleen Somers and her father—who was a bit precious and pompous, in spite of his ironies—should gather about them a homogeneous group. The house was pleasant and comfortable—they were too sophisticated to be "periodic"—and there was always good talk going, if you happened to be the kind that could stand good talk. Of course you had to pass an examination first. You had at least to show that you "caught on." They were high-brow enough to permit themselves sudden enthusiasms that would have damned a low-brow. You mustn't like "Peter Pan," but you might go three nights running to see some really perfect clog-dancing at a vaudeville theatre. Do you see what I mean? They were eclectic with a vengeance. It wouldn't do for you to cultivate the clog-dancer and like "Peter Pan," because in that case you probably liked the clog-dancer for the wrong reason—for something other than that sublimated skill which is art. Of course this is only a wildly chosen example. I never heard either of them mention "Peter Pan." And the proper hatreds were ever more difficult than the proper devotions. You might let Shakespeare get on your nerves, provided you really enjoyed Milton. I wonder if you do see what I mean? It must be perfect of its kind, its kind being anything under heaven; and it must never, never, never be sentimental. It must have art, and parti pris, and point of view, and individuality stamped over it. No, I can't explain. If you have known people like that, you've known them. If you haven't, you can scarcely conceive them.

By this time you are probably hating the Somerses, father and daughter, and I can't help it—or rather, I've probably brought it about. But when I tell you that I'm not that sore myself, and that I loved them both dearly and liked immensely to be with them, you'll reconsider a little, I hope. They were sweet and straight and generous, both of them, and they knew all about the grand manner. The grand manner is the most comfortable thing to live with that I know. I used to go there a good deal, and Arnold Withrow went even more than I did, though he wasn't even hanging on to Art by the eyelids as I do. (I refer, of course, to my little habit of writing for the best magazines, whose public considers me intellectual. So I seem to myself, in the magazines ... "but out in pantry, good Lord!" Anyhow, I generally knew at least what the Somerses were talking about—the dears!) Withrow was a stock-broker, and always spent his vacations in the veritable wilds, camping in virgin forests, or on the edge of glaciers, or in the dust of American deserts. He had never been to Europe, but he had been to Buenos Aires. You can imagine what Kathleen Somers and her father felt about that: they thought him too quaint and barbaric for words; but still not barbaric enough to be really interesting.

I was just beginning to suspect that Withrow was in love with Kathleen Somers in the good old middle-class way, with no drama in it but no end of devotion, when the crash came. Mr. Somers died, and within a month of his death the railroad the bonds of which had constituted his long-since diminished fortune went into the hands of a receiver. There were a pitiful hundreds a year left, besides the ancestral cottage—which had never even been worth selling. His daughter had an operation, and the shock of that, plus the shock of his death, plus the shock of her impoverishment, brought the curtain down with a tremendous rush that terrified the house. It may make my metaphor clearer if I put it that it was the asbestos curtain which fell suddenly and violently; not the great crimson drop that swings gracefully down at the end of a play. It did not mark the end; it marked a catastrophe in the wings to which the plot must give place.

Then they carried Kathleen Somers to the hills.

It was Mildred Thurston who told me about it first. Withrow would have rushed to the hills, I think, but he was in British Columbia on an extended trip. He had fought for three months and got them, and he started just before Kathleen Somers had her sudden operation. Mildred Thurston (Withrow's cousin, by the way) threw herself nobly into the breach. I am not going into the question of Mildred Thurston here. Perhaps if Withrow had been at home, she wouldn't have gone. I don't know. Anyhow, when she rushed to Kathleen Somers's desolate retreat she did it, apparently, from pure kindness. She was sure, like every one else, that Kathleen would die; and that belief purged her, for the time being, of selfishness and commonness and cheap gayety. I wouldn't take Mildred Thurston's word about a state of soul; but she was a good dictograph. She came back filled with pity; filled, at least, with the means of inspiring pity for the exile in others.

After I had satisfied myself that Kathleen Somers was physically on the mend, eating and sleeping fairly, and sitting up a certain amount, I proceeded to more interesting questions.

"What is it like?"

"It's dreadful."

"How dreadful?"

Mildred's large blue eyes popped at me with sincere sorrow.

"Well, there's no plumbing, and no furnace."

"Is it in a village?"

"It isn't 'in' anything. It's a mile and a half from a station called Hebron. You have to change three times to get there. It's half-way up a hill—the house is—and there are mountains all about, and the barn is connected with the house by a series of rickety woodsheds, and there are places where the water comes through the roof. They put pails under to catch it. There are queer little contraptions they call Franklin stoves in most of the rooms and a brick oven in the kitchen. When they want anything from the village, Joel Blake gets it, if he doesn't forget. Ditto wood, ditto everything except meat. Some other hick brings that along when he has 'killed.' They can only see one house from the front yard, and that is precisely a mile away by the road. Joel Blake lives nearer, but you can't see his house. You can't see anything—except the woods and the 'crick' and the mountains. You can see the farmers when they are haying, but that doesn't last long."

"Is it a beautiful view?"

"My dear man, don't ask me what a beautiful view is. My education was neglected."

"Does Kathleen Somers think it beautiful?"

"She never looks at it, I believe. The place is all run down, and she sits and wonders when the wall-paper will drop off. At least, that is what she talks about, when she talks at all. That, and whether Joel Blake will remember to bring the groceries. The two women never speak to each other. Kathleen's awfully polite, but—well, you can't blame her. And I was there in the spring. What it will be in the winter!—But Kathleen can hardly last so long, I should think."

"Who is the other woman?"

"An heirloom. Melora Meigs. Miss Meigs, if you please. You know Mr. Somers's aunt lived to an extreme old age in the place. Miss Meigs 'did' for her. And since then she has been living on there. No one wanted the house—the poor Somerses!—and she was used to it. She's an old thing herself, and of course she hasn't the nerves of a sloth. Now she 'does' for Kathleen. Of course later there'll have to be a nurse again. Kathleen mustn't die with only Melora Meigs. I'm not sure, either, that Melora will last. She all crooked over with rheumatism."

That was the gist of what I got out of Mildred Thurston. Letters to Miss Somers elicited no real response—only a line to say that she wasn't strong enough to write. None of her other female friends could get any encouragement to visit her. It was perhaps due to Miss Thurston's mimicry of Melora Meigs—she made quite a "stunt" of it—that none of them pushed the matter beyond the first rebuff.

By summer-time I began to get worried myself. Perhaps I was a little worried, vicariously, for Withrow. Remember that I thought he cared for her. Miss Thurston's pity for Kathleen Somers was the kind that shuts the door on the pitied person. If she had thought Kathleen Somers had a future, she wouldn't have been so kind. I may give it to you as my private opinion that Mildred Thurston wanted Withrow herself. I can't swear to it, even now; but I suspected it sufficiently to feel that some one, for Withrow's sake had better see Kathleen besides his exuberant and slangy cousin. She danced a little too much on Kathleen Somers's grave. I determined to go myself, and not to take the trouble of asking vainly for an invitation. I left New York at the end of June.

With my perfectly ordinary notions of comfort in traveling, I found that it would take me two days to get to Hebron. It was beyond all the resorts that people flock to: beyond, and "cross country" at that. I must have journeyed on at least three small, one-track railroads after leaving the Pullman at some junction or other.

It was late afternoon when I reached Hebron; and nearly an hour later before I could get myself deposited at Kathleen Somers's door. There was no garden, no porch; only a long, weed-grown walk up to a stiff front door. An orchard of rheumatic apple-trees was cowering stiffly to the wind in a far corner of the roughly fenced-in lot; there was a windbreak of perishing pines.

In the living-room Kathleen Somers lay on a cheap wicker chaise-longue, staring at a Hindu idol that she held in her thin hands. She did not stir to greet me; only transferred her stare from the gilded idol to dusty and ungilded me. She spoke, of course; the first time in my life, too, that I had ever heard her speak ungently.

"My good man, you had better go away. I can't put you up."

That was her greeting. Melora Meigs was snuffling in the hallway outside—listening, I suppose.

"Oh, yes, you can. If you can't I'm sure Joel Blake will. I've come to stay a while, Miss Somers."

"Can you eat porridge and salt pork for supper?"

"I can eat tenpenny nails, if necessary. Also I can sleep in the barn."

"Melora!" The old woman entered, crooked and grudging of aspect. "This friend of my father's and mine has come to see me. Can he sleep in the barn?"

I cannot describe the hostility with which Melora Meigs regarded me. It was not a pointed and passionate hatred. That, one could have examined and dealt with. It was, rather, a vast disgust that happened to include me.

"There's nothing to sleep on. Barn's empty."

"He could move the nurse's cot out there, if he really wants to. And I think there's an extra washstand in the woodshed. You'll hardly need more than one chair, just for a night," she finished, turning to me.

"Not for any number of nights, of course," I agreed suavely. I was angry with Kathleen Somers, I didn't know quite why. I think it was the Hindu idol. Nor had she any right to address me with insolence, unless she were mad, and she was not that. Her eyes snapped very sanely. I don't think Kathleen Somers could have made her voice snap.

Melora Meigs grunted and left the room. The grunt was neither assent nor dissent; it was only the most inclusive disapproval: the snarl of an animal, proceeding from the topmost of many layers of dislike.

"I'll move the things before dark, I think." I was determined to be cheerful, even if I had to seem impertinent; though the notion of her sticking me out in the barn enraged me.

"You won't mind Melora's locking the door between, of course. We always do. I'm such a cockney, I'm timid; and Melora's very sweet about it."

It was almost too much, but I stuck it out. Presently, indeed, I got my way; and moved—yes, actually lugged and lifted and dragged—the cot, the chair, and the stand out through the dusty, half-rotted corridors and sheds to the barn. I drew water at the tap in the yard and washed my perspiring face and neck. Then I had supper with Miss Somers and Melora Meigs.

After supper my hostess lighted a candle. "We go to bed very early," she informed me. "I know you'll be willing to smoke out-of-doors, it's so warm. I doubt if Melora could bear tobacco in the house. And you won't mind her locking up early. You can get into the barn from the yard any time, of course. Men are never timid, I believe; but there's a horn somewhere, if you'd like it. We have breakfast at six-thirty. Good-night."

Yes, it was Kathleen Somers's own voice, saying these things to me. I was still enraged, but I must bide my time. I refused the horn, and went out into the rheumatic orchard to smoke in dappled moonlight. The pure air soothed me; the great silence restored my familiar scheme of things. Before I went to bed in the barn, I could see the humor of this sour adventure. Oh, I would be up at six-thirty!

Of course I wasn't. I overslept; and by the time I approached the house (the woodshed door was still locked) their breakfast was long over. I fully expected to fast until the midday meal, but Kathleen Somers relented. With her own hands she made me coffee over a little alcohol lamp. Bread and butter had been austerely left on the table. Miss Somers fetched me eggs, which I ate raw. Then I went out into the orchard to smoke.

When I came back, I found Miss Somers as she had been the day before, crouched listlessly in her long chair fondling her idol. I drew up a horsehair rocking-chair and plunged in.

"Why do you play with that silly thing?"

"This?" She stroked the idol. "It is rather lovely, Father got it in Benares. The carving is very cunningly done. Look at the nose and mouth. The rank Hinduism of the thing amuses me. Perhaps it was cruel to bring it up here where there are no other gods for it to play with. But it's all I've got. They had to sell everything, you know. When I get stronger, I'll send it back to New York and sell it too."

"Why did you keep it out of all the things you had?"

"I don't know. I think it was the first thing we ever bought in India. And I remember Benares with so much pleasure. Wasn't it a pity we couldn't have been there when everything happened?"

"Much better not, I should think. You needed surgeons."

"Just what I didn't need! I should have liked to die in a country that had something to say for itself. I don't feel as though this place had ever existed, except in some hideous dream."

"It's not hideous. It's even very beautiful—so wild and untouched; such lovely contours to the mountains."

"Yes, it's very untouched." She spoke of it with just the same scorn I had in old days heard her use for certain novelists. "Scarcely worth the trouble of touching I should think—shouldn't you?"

"The beauty of it last night and this morning has knocked me over," I replied hardily.

"Oh, really! How very interesting!" By which she meant that she was not interested at all.

"You mean that you would like it landscape-gardened?" Really, she was perverse. She had turned her back to the view—which was ripping, out of her northern window. I could tell that she habitually turned her back on it.

"Oh, landscape-gardened? Well, it would improve it, no doubt. But it would take generations to do it. The generations that have been here already don't seem to have accomplished much. Humanly speaking, they have hardly existed at all."

Kathleen Somers was no snob in the ordinary sense. She was an angel to peasants. I knew perfectly what she meant by "humanly." She meant there was no castle on the next hill.

"Are you incapable of caring for nature—just scenery?"

"Quite." She closed her eyes, and stopped her gentle, even stroking of the idol.

"Of course you never did see America first," I laughed.

Kathleen Somers opened her eyes and spoke vehemently. "I've seen all there is of it to see, in transit to better places. Seeing America first! That can be borne. It's seeing America last that kills me. Seeing nothing else forever, till I die."

"You don't care for just beauty, regardless," I mused.

"Not a bit. Not unless it has meant something to man. I'm a humanist, I'm afraid."

Whether she was gradually developing remorse for my night in the cobwebby barn, I do not know. But anyhow she grew more gentle, from this point on. She really condescended to expound.

"I've never loved nature—she's a brute, and crawly besides. It's what man has done with nature that counts; it's nature with a human past. Peaks that have been fought for, and fought on, crossed by the feet of men, stared at by poets and saints. Most of these peaks aren't even named. Did you know that? Nature! What is Nature good for, I should like to know, except to kill us all in the end? Don't Ruskinize to me, my dear man."

"I won't. I couldn't. But, all the same, beauty is beauty, wherever and whatever. And, look where you will here, your eyes can't go wrong."

"I never look. I looked when I first came, and the stupidity, the emptiness, the mere wood and dirt and rock of it seemed like a personal insult. I should prefer the worst huddle of a Chinese city, I verily believe."

"You've not precisely the spirit of the pioneer, I can see."

"I should hope not. 'But, God if a God there be, is the substance of men, which is man.' I have to stay in the man-made ruts. They're sacred to me. I'll look with pleasure at the Alps, if only for the sake of Hannibal and Goethe; but I never could look with pleasure at your untutored Rockies. They're so unintentional, you know. Nature is nothing until history has touched her. And as for this geological display outside my windows—you'll kindly permit me to turn my back on it. It's not peevishness." She lifted her hand protestingly. "Only, for weeks, I stared myself blind to see the beauty you talk of. I can't see it. That's honest. I've tried. But there is none that I can see. I am very conventional, you know, very self-distrustful. I have to wait for a Byron to show it to me. American mountains—poor hulking things—have never had a poet to look at them. At least, Poe never wasted his time that way. I don't imagine that Poe would have been much happier here than I am. I haven't even the thrill of the explorer, for I'm not the first one to see them. A few thin generations of people have stared at these hills—and much the hills have done for them! Melora Meigs is the child of these mountains; and Melora's sense of beauty is amply expressed in the Orthodox church in Hebron. This landscape, I assure you"—she smiled—"hasn't made good. So much for the view. It's no use to me, absolutely no use. I give you full and free leave to take it away with you if you want it. And I don't think the house is much better. But I'm afraid I shall have to keep that for Melora Meigs and me to live in." It was her old smile. The bitterness was all in the words. No, it was not bitterness, precisely, for it was fundamentally as impersonal as criticism can be. You would have thought that the mountains were low-brows. I forebore to mention her ancestors who had lived here: it would have seemed like quibbling. They had created the situation; but they had only in the most literal sense created her.

"Why don't you get out?"

"I simply haven't money enough to live anywhere else. Not money enough for a hall bedroom. This place belongs to me. The taxes are nothing. The good farming land that went with it was sold long since. And I'm afraid I haven't the strength to go out and work for a living. I'm very ineffectual, besides. What could I do even if health returned to me? I've decided it's more decent to stay here and die on three dollars a year than to sink my capital in learning stenography."

"You could, I suppose, be a companion." Of course I did not mean it, but she took it up very seriously.

"The people who want companions wouldn't want me. And the one thing this place gives me is freedom—freedom to hate it, to see it intelligently for what it is. I couldn't afford my blessed hatreds if I were a companion. And there's no money in it, so that I couldn't even plan for release. It simply wouldn't do."

Well, of course it wouldn't do. I had never thought it would. I tried another opening.

"When is Withrow coming back?"

"I don't know. I haven't heard from him." She might have been telling a squirrel that she didn't know where the other squirrel's nuts were.

"He has been far beyond civilization, I know. But I dare say he'll be back soon. I hope you won't put him in the barn. I don't mind, of course, but his feelings might be hurt."

"I shall certainly not let him come," she retorted. "He would have the grace to ask first, you know."

"I shall make a point of telling him you want him." But even that could strike no spark from her. She was too completely at odds with life to care. I realized, too, after an hour's talk with her, that I had better go—take back my fine proposition about making a long visit. She reacted to nothing I could offer. I talked of books and plays, visiting virtuosos and picture exhibitions. Her comments were what they would always have been, except that she was already groping for the cue. She had been out of it for months; she had given up the fight. The best things she said sounded a little stale and precious. Her wit perished in the face of Nature's stare. Nature was a lady she didn't recognize: a country cousin she'd never met. She couldn't even "sit and play with similes." If she lived, she would be an old lady with a clever past: an intolerable bore. But there was no need to look so far ahead. Kathleen Somers would die.

Before dinner I clambered up or down (I don't remember which) to a brook and gathered a bunch of wild iris for her. She had loved flowers of old; and how deftly she could place a spray among her treasures! She shuddered. "Take those things away! How dare you bring It inside the house?" By "It" I knew she meant the wild natural world. Obediently I took the flowers out and flung them over the fence. I knew that Kathleen Somers was capable of getting far more pleasure from their inimitable hue than I; but even that inimitable hue was poisoned for her because it came from the world that was torturing her—the world that beat upon her windows, so that she turned her back to the day; that stormed her ears, so that she closed them even to its silence; that surrounded her, so that she locked every gate of her mind.

I left, that afternoon, very desolate and sorry. Certainly I could do nothing for her. I had tried to shock her, stir her, into another attitude, but in vain. She had been transplanted to a soil her tender roots could not strike into. She would wither for a little under the sky, and then perish. "If she could only have fallen in love!" I thought, as I left her, huddled in her wicker chair. If I had been a woman, I would have fled from Melora Meigs even into the arms of a bearded farmer; I would have listened to the most nasal male the hills had bred. I would have milked cows, to get away from Melora. But I am a crass creature. Besides, what son of the soil would want her: unexuberant, delicate, pleasant in strange ways, and foreign to all familiar things? She wouldn't even fall in love with Arnold Withrow, who was her only chance. For I saw that Arnold, if he ever came, would, fatally, love the place. She might have put up with the stock-broking, but she never could have borne his liking the view. Yes, I was very unhappy as I drove into Hebron; and when I finally achieved the Pullman at the Junction, I was unhappier still. For I felt towards that Pullman as the lost child feels toward its nurse; and I knew that Kathleen Somers, ill, poor, middle-aged, and a woman, was a thousand times more the child of the Pullman than I.

I have told this in detail, because I hate giving things at second-hand. Yet there my connection with Kathleen Somers ceased, and her tragedy deepened before other witnesses. She stayed on in her hills; too proud to visit her friends, too sane to spend her money on a flying trip to town, too bruised and faint to fight her fate. The only thing she tried for was apathy. I think she hoped—when she hoped anything—that her mind would go, a little: not so much that she would have to be "put away"; but just enough so that she could see things in a mist—so that the hated hills might, for all she knew, be Alps, the rocks turn into castles, the stony fields into vineyards, and Joel Blake into a Tuscan. Just enough so that she could re-create her world from her blessed memories, without any sharp corrective senses to interfere. That, I am sure, was what she fixed her mind upon through the prolonged autumn; bending all her frail strength to turn her brain ever so little from its rigid attitude to fact. "Pretending" was no good: it maddened. If her mind would only pretend without her help! That would be heaven, until heaven really came.... You can't sympathize with her, probably, you people who have been bred up on every kind of Nature cult. I can hear you talking about the everlasting hills. Don't you see, that was the trouble? Her carefully trained imagination was her religion, and in her own way she was a ritualist. The mountains she faced were unbaptized: the Holy Ghost had never descended upon them. She was as narrow as a nun; but she could not help it. And remember, you practical people who love woodchucks, that she had nothing but the view to make life tolerable. The view was no mere accessory to a normal existence. She lived, half-ill, in an ugly, not too comfortable cottage, as far as the moon from any world she understood, in a solitude acidulated by Melora Meigs. No pictures, no music, no plays, no talk—and this, the whole year round. Would you like it yourselves, you would-be savages with Adirondack guides? Books? Well: that was one of life's little stupidities. She couldn't buy them, and no one knew what to send her. Besides, books deferred the day when her mind should, ever so little, go back on her. She didn't encourage gifts of literature. She was no philosopher; and an abstraction was of no use to her unless she could turn it to a larger concreteness, somehow enhancing, let us say, a sunset from the Acropolis. I never loved Kathleen Somers, as men love women, but many a time that year I would have taken her burden on myself, changed lives with her, if that had been possible. It never could have been so bad for any of us as for her. Mildred Thurston would have gone to the church sociables and flirted as grossly as Hebron conventions permitted; I, at least, could have chopped wood. But to what account could Kathleen Somers turn her martyrdom?

Withrow felt it, too—not as I could feel it, for, as I foretold, he thought the place glorious. He went up in the autumn when everything was crimson and purple and gold. Yet more, in a sense, than I could feel it, for he did love her as men love women. It shows you how far gone she was that she turned him down. Many women, in her case, would have jumped at Withrow for the sake of getting away. But she was so steeped in her type that she couldn't. She wouldn't have married him before; and she wasn't going to marry him for the sake of living in New York. She would have been ashamed to. A few of us who knew blamed her. I didn't, really, though I had always suspected that she cared for him personally. Kathleen Somers's love, when it came, would be a very complicated thing. She had seen sex in too many countries, watched its brazen play on too many stages, within theatres and without, to have any mawkish illusions. But passion would have to bring a large retinue to be accepted where she was sovereign. Little as I knew her, I knew that. Yet I always thought she might have taken him, in that flaming October, if he hadn't so flagrantly, tactlessly liked the place. He drank the autumn like wine; he was tipsy with it; and his loving her didn't tend to sober him. The consequence was that she drew away—as if he had been getting drunk on some foul African brew that was good only to befuddle woolly heads with; as if, in other words, he had not been getting drunk like a gentleman.... Anyhow, Arnold came back with a bad headache. She had found a gentle brutality to fit his case. He would have been wise, I believe, to bring her away, even if he had had to chloroform her to do it. But Withrow couldn't have been wise in that way. Except for his incurable weakness for Nature, he was the most delicate soul alive.

He didn't talk much to me about it, beyond telling me that she had refused him. I made out the rest from his incoherences. He had not slept in the barn, for they could hardly have let a cat sleep in the barn on such cold nights; but Melora Meigs had apparently treated him even worse than she had treated me. Kathleen Somers had named some of the unnamed mountains after the minor prophets; as grimly as if she had been one of the people they cursed. I thought that a good sign, but Withrow said he wished she hadn't: she ground the names out so between her teeth. Some of her state of mind came out through her talk—not much. It was from one or two casually seen letters that I became aware of her desire to go a little—just a little—mad.

In the spring Kathleen Somers had a relapse. It was no wonder. In spite of the Franklin stoves, her frail body must have been chilled to the bone for many months. Relief settled on several faces, when we heard—I am afraid it may have settled on mine. She had been more dead than alive, I judged, for a year; and yet she had not been able to cure her sanity. That was chronic. Death would have been the kindest friend that could arrive to her across those detested hills. We—the "we" is a little vague, but several of us scurried about—sent up a trained nurse, delaying somewhat for the sake of getting the woman who had been there before; for she had the advantage of having experienced Melora Meigs without resultant bloodshed. She was a nice woman, and sent faithful bulletins; but the bulletins were bad. Miss Somers seemed to have so little resistance: there was no interest there, she said, no willingness to fight. "The will was slack." Ah, she little knew Kathleen Somers's will! None of us knew, for that matter.

The spring came late that year, and in those northern hills there were weeks of melting snow and raw, deep slush—the ugliest season we have to face south of the Arctic circle. The nurse did not want any of her friends to come; she wrote privately, to those of us who champed at the bit, that Miss Somers was fading away, but not peacefully; she was better unvisited, unseen. Miss Somers did not wish any one to come, and the nurse thought it wiser not to force her. Several women were held back by that, and turned with relief to Lenten opera. The opera, however, said little to Withrow at the best of times, and he was crazed by the notion of not seeing her before she achieved extinction. I thought him unwise, for many reasons: for one, I did not think that Arnold Withrow would bring her peace. She usually knew what she wanted—wasn't that, indeed, the whole trouble with her?—and she had said explicitly to the nurse that she didn't want Arnold Withrow. But by the end of May Withrow was neither to hold nor to bind: he went. I contented myself with begging him at least not to poison her last hours by admiring the landscape. I had expected my earnest request to shock him; but, to my surprise, he nodded understandingly. "I shall curse the whole thing out like a trooper, if she gives me the chance." And he got into his daycoach—the Pullmans wouldn't go on until much later—a mistaken and passionate knight.

Withrow could not see her the first evening, and he talked long and deeply with the nurse. She had no hope to give him: she was mystified. It was her opinion that Kathleen Somers's lack of will was killing her, speedily and surely. "Is there anything for her to die of?" he asked. "There's nothing, you might say, for her to live of," was her reply. The nurse disapproved of his coming, but promised to break the news of his presence to her patient in the morning.

Spring had by this time touched the hills. It was that divine first moment when the whole of earth seems to take a leap in the night; when things are literally new every morning. Arnold walked abroad late, filling his lungs and nostrils and subduing his pulses. He was always faunishly wild in the spring; and for years he hadn't had a chance to seek the season in her haunts. But he turned in before midnight, because he dreaded the next day supremely. He didn't want to meet that face to face until he had to. Melora Meigs lowered like a thunderstorm, but she was held in check by the nurse. I suppose Melora couldn't give notice: there would be nothing but the poor-farm for her if she did. But she whined and grumbled and behaved in general like an electrical disturbance. Luckily, she couldn't curdle the milk.

Withrow waked into a world of beauty. He walked for an hour before breakfast, through woods all blurred with buds, down vistas brushed with faint color. But he would have given the spring and all springs to come for Kathleen Somers, and the bitter kernel of it was that he knew it. He was sharp-faced and sad (I know how he looked) when he came back, with a bunch of hepaticas, to breakfast.

The nurse was visibly trembling. You see, Kathleen Somers's heart had never been absolutely right. It was a terrible responsibility to let her patient face Withrow. Still, neither she nor any other woman could have held Withrow off. Besides, as she had truly said, there was nothing explicitly for Kathleen Somers to die of. It was that low vitality, that whispering pulse, that listlessness; then, a draught, a shock, a bit of over-exertion and something real and organic could speedily be upon her. No wonder the woman was troubled. In point of fact, though she had taken up Miss Somers's breakfast, she hadn't dared tell her the news. And finally, after breakfast, she broke down. "I can't do it, Mr. Withrow," she wailed. "Either you go away or I do."

Withrow knew at first only one thing: that he wouldn't be the one to go. Then he realized that the woman had been under a long strain, what with the spring thaws, and a delicate patient who wouldn't mend—and Melora to fight with, on behalf of all human decency, every day.

"You go, then," he said finally. "I'll take care of her."

The nurse stared at him. Then she thought, presumably, of Kathleen Somers's ineffable delicacy, and burst out laughing. Hysteria might, in all the circumstances, be forgiven her.

Then they came back to the imminent question.

"I'll tell her when I do up her room," she faltered.

"All right. I'll give you all the time in the world. But she must be told I'm here—unless you wish me to tell her myself." Withrow went out to smoke. But he did not wish to succumb again to the intoxication Kathleen Somers so disdained, and eventually he went into the barn, to shut himself away from temptation. It was easier to prepare his vilifying phrases there.

To his consternation, he heard through the gloom the sound of sobbing. The nurse, he saw, after much peering, sat on a dusty chopping-block, crying unhealthily. He went up to her and seized her arm. "Have you told her?"

"I can't."

"My good woman, you'd better leave this afternoon."

"Not"—the tone itself was firm, through the shaky sobs—"until there is some one to take my place."

"I'll telegraph for some one. You shan't see her again. But I will see her at once."

Then the woman's training asserted itself. She pulled herself together, with a little shake of self-disgust. "You'll do nothing of the sort. I'll attend to her until I go. It has been a long strain, and, contrary to custom, I've had no time off. I'll telegraph to the Registry myself. And if I can't manage until then, I'll resign my profession." She spoke with sturdy shame.

"That's better." Withrow approved her. "I'm awfully obliged. But honestly, she has got to know. I can't stand it, skulking round, much longer. And no matter what happens to the whole boiling, I'm not going to leave without seeing her."

"I'll tell her." The nurse rose and walked to the barn-door like a heroine. "But you must stay here until I come for you."

"I promise. Only you must come. I give you half an hour."

"I don't need half an hour, thank you." She had recovered her professional crispness. In the wide door she stopped. "It's a pity," she said irrelevantly, "that she can't see how lovely this is." Then she started for the house.

"I believe you," muttered Withrow under his breath.

In five minutes the nurse came back, breathless, half-running. Arnold got up from the chopping-block, startled. He believed for an instant (as he has since told me) that it was "all over." With her hand on her beating heart the woman panted out her words:

"She has come downstairs in a wrapper. She hasn't been down for weeks. And she has found your hepaticas."

"Oh, hell!" Withrow was honestly disgusted. He had never meant to insult Kathleen Somers with hepaticas. "Is it safe to leave her alone with them?" He hardly knew what he was saying. But it shows to what a pass Kathleen Somers had come that he could be frightened at the notion of her being left alone with a bunch of hepaticas.

"She's all right, I think. She seemed to like them."

"Oh, Lord!" Withrow's brain was spinning. "Here, I'll go. If she can stand those beastly flowers, she can stand me."

"No, she can't." The nurse had recovered her breath now. "I'll go back and tell her, very quietly. If she could get down-stairs, she can stand it, I think. But I'll be very careful. You come in ten minutes. If she isn't fit, I'll have got her back to bed by that time."

She disappeared, and Withrow, his back to the view, counted out the minutes. When the large hand of his watch had quite accomplished its journey, he turned and walked out through the yard to the side door of the house. Melora Meigs was clattering dish-pans somewhere beyond, and the noise she made covered his entrance to the living-room. He drew a deep breath: they were not there. He listened at the stairs: no sound up there—no sound, at least, to rise above Melora's dish-pans, now a little less audible. But this time he was not going to wait—for anything. He already had one foot on the stairs when he heard voices and stopped. For just one second he paused, then walked cat-like in the direction of the sounds. The front door was open. On the step stood Kathleen Somers, her back to him, facing the horizon. A light shawl hung on her shoulders, and the nurse's arm was very firmly round her waist. They did not hear him, breathing heavily there in the hall behind them.

He saw Kathleen Somers raise her arm slowly—with difficulty, it seemed. She pointed at the noble shoulder of a mountain.

"That is Habakkuk," said her sweet voice. "I named them all, you know. But I think Habakkuk is my favorite; though of course he's not so stunning as Isaiah. Then they run down to Obadiah and Malachi. Joel is just peeping over Habakkuk's left shoulder. That long bleak range is Jeremiah." She laughed, very faintly. "You know, Miss Willis, they are really very beautiful. Isn't it strange, I couldn't see it? For I honestly couldn't. I've been lying there, thinking. And I found I could remember all their outlines, under snow ... and this morning it seemed to me I must see how Habakkuk looked in the spring." She sat down suddenly on the top step; and Miss Willis sat down too, her arm still about her patient.

"It's very strange"—Withrow, strain though he did, could hardly make out the words, they fell so softly—"that I just couldn't see it before. It's only these last days.... And now I feel as if I wanted to see every leaf on every tree. It wasn't so last year. They say something to me now. I don't think I should want to talk with them forever, but you've no idea—you've no idea—how strange and welcome it is for my eyes to find them beautiful." She seemed almost to murmur to herself. Then she braced herself slightly against the nurse's shoulder, and went on, in her light, sweet, ironic voice. "They probably never told you—but I didn't care for Nature, exactly. I don't think I care for it now, as some people do, but I can see that this is beautiful. Of course you don't know what it means to me. It has simply changed the world." She waved her hand again. "They never got by, before. I always knew that line was line, and color was color, wherever or whoever. But my eyes went back on me. My father would have despised me. He wouldn't have preferred Habakkuk, but he would have done Habakkuk justice from the beginning. Yes, it makes a great deal of difference to me to see it once, fair and clear. Why"—she drew herself up as well as she could, so firmly held—"it is a very lovely place. I should tire of it some time, but I shall not tire of it soon. For a little while, I shall be up to it. And I know that no one thinks it will be long."

Just then, Withrow's absurd fate caught him. Breathless, more passionately interested than he had ever been in his life, he sneezed. He had just time, while the two women were turning, to wonder if he had ruined it all—if she would faint, or shriek, or relapse into apathy.

She did none of these things. She faced him and flushed, standing unsteadily. "How long have you been cheating me?" she asked coldly. But she held out her hand before she went upstairs with the nurse's arm still round her.

Later he caught at Miss Willis excitedly. "Is she better? Is she worse? Is she well? Or is she going to die?"

"She's shaken. She must rest. But she's got the hepaticas in water beside her bed. And she told me to pull the shade up so that she could look out. She has a touch of temperature—but she often has that. The exertion and the shock would be enough to give it to her. I found her leaning against the door-jamb. I hadn't a chance to tell her you were here. I can tell you later whether you'd better go or stay."

"I'm going to stay. It's you who are going."

"You needn't telegraph just yet," the nurse replied dryly. She looked another woman from the nervous, sobbing creature on the chopping-block.

The end was that Miss Willis stayed and Arnold Withrow went. Late that afternoon he left Kathleen Somers staring passionately at the sunset. It was not his moment, and he had the grace to know it. But he had not had to tell her that the view was beastly; and, much as he loved her, I think that was a relief to him.

None of us will ever know the whole of Kathleen Somers's miracle, of course. I believe she told as much of it as she could when she said that she had lain thinking of the outlines of the mountains until she felt that she must go out and face them: stand once more outside, free of walls, and stare about at the whole chain of the earth-lords. Perhaps the spring, which had broken up the ice-bound streams, had melted other things besides. Unwittingly—by unconscious cerebration—by the long inevitable storing of disdained impressions—she had arrived at vision. That which had been, for her, alternate gibberish and silence, had become an intelligible tongue. The blank features had stirred and shifted into a countenance; she saw a face, where she had seen only odds and ends of modelling grotesquely flung abroad. With no stupid pantheism to befuddle her, she yet felt the earth a living thing. Wood and stone, which had not even been an idol for her, now shaped themselves to hold a sacrament. Put it as you please; for I can find no way to express it to my satisfaction. Kathleen Somers had, for the first time, envisaged the cosmic, had seen something less passionate, but more vital, than history. Most of us are more fortunate than she: we take it for granted that no loom can rival the petal of a flower. But to some creatures the primitive is a cipher, hard to learn; and blood is spent in the struggle. You have perhaps seen (and not simply in the old legend) passion come to a statue. Rare, oh, rare is the necessity for such a miracle. But Kathleen Somers was in need of one; and I believe it came to her.

The will was slack, the nurse had said; yet it sufficed to take her from her bed, down the stairs, in pursuit of the voice—straight out into the newly articulate world. She moved, frail and undismayed, to the source of revelation. She did not cower back and demand that the oracle be served up to her by a messenger. A will like that is not slack.

Now I will shuffle back into my own skin and tell you the rest of it very briefly and from the rank outsider's point of view. Even had I possessed the whole of Arnold Withrow's confidence, I could not deal with the delicate gradations of a lover's mood. He passed the word about that Kathleen Somers was not going to die—though I believe he did it with his heart in his mouth, not really assured she wouldn't. It took some of us a long time to shift our ground and be thankful. Withrow, with a wisdom beyond his habit, did not go near her until autumn. Reports were that she was gaining all the time, and that she lived out-of-doors staring at Habakkuk and his brethren, gathering wild flowers and pressing them between her palms. She seemed determined to face another winter there alone with Melora, Miss Willis wrote. Withrow set his jaw when that news came. It was hard on him to stay away, but she had made it very clear that she wanted her convalescent summer to herself. When she had to let Miss Willis go—and Miss Willis had already taken a huge slice of Kathleen's capital—he might come and see her through the transition. So Withrow sweltered in New York all summer, and waited for permission.

Then Melora Meigs was gracious for once. With no preliminary illness, with just a little gasp as the sun rose over the long range of Jeremiah, she died. Withrow, hearing this, was off like a sprinter who hears the signal. He found laughter and wit abiding happily in Kathleen's recovered body. Together they watched the autumn deepen over the prophets. Habakkuk, all insults forgiven, was their familiar.

So they brought Kathleen Somers back from the hills to live. It was impossible for her to remain on her mountainside without a Melora Meigs; and Melora, unlike most tortures, was unreplaceable. Kathleen's world welcomed her as warmly as if her exile had been one long suspense: a gentle hyprocrisy we all forgave each other. Some one went abroad and left an apartment for her use. All sorts of delicate little events occurred, half accidentally, in her interest. Soon some of us began to gather, as of old. Marvel of marvels, Withrow had not spoken in that crimson week of autumn. Without jealousy he had apparently left her to Habakkuk. It was a brief winter—for Kathleen Somers's body, a kind of spring. You could see her grow, from week to week: plump out and bloom more vividly. Then, in April, without a word, she left us—disappeared one morning, with no explicit word to servants.

Withrow once more—poor Withrow—shot forth, not like a runner, but like a hound on a fresh scent. He needed no time-tables. He leaped from the telephone to the train.

He found her there, he told me afterward, sitting on the step, the door unlocked behind her but shut.

Indeed, she never entered the house again; for Withrow bore her away from the threshold. I do not think she minded, for she had made her point: she had seen Habakkuk once more, and Habakkuk had not gone back on her. That was all she needed to know. They meant to go up in the autumn after their marriage, but the cottage burned to the ground before they got back from Europe. I do not know that they have ever been, or whether they ever will go, now. There are still a few exotic places that Kathleen Withrow has not seen, and Habakkuk can wait. After all, the years are very brief in Habakkuk's sight. Even if she never needs him again, I do not think he will mind.


[8] Copyright, 1919, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
Copyright, 1921, by Katharine Fullerton Gerould.



From Harper's Magazine

To dine on the veranda of the Marine Hotel is the one delightful surprise which Port Charlotte affords the adventurer who has broken from the customary paths of travel in the South Seas. On an eminence above the town, solitary and aloof like a monastery, and nestling deep in its garden of lemon-trees, it commands a wide prospect of sea and sky. By day, the Pacific is a vast stretch of blue, flat like a floor, with a blur of distant islands on the horizon—chief among them Muloa, with its single volcanic cone tapering off into the sky. At night, this smithy of Vulcan becomes a glow of red, throbbing faintly against the darkness, a capricious and sullen beacon immeasurably removed from the path of men. Viewed from the veranda of the Marine Hotel, its vast flare on the horizon seems hardly more than an insignificant spark, like the glowing cigar-end of some guest strolling in the garden after dinner.

It may very likely have been my lighted cigar that guided Eleanor Stanleigh to where I was sitting in the shadows. Her uncle, Major Stanleigh, had left me a few minutes before, and I was glad of the respite from the queer business he had involved me in. The two of us had returned that afternoon from Muloa, where I had taken him in my schooner, the Sylph, to seek out Leavitt and make some inquiries—very important inquiries, it seemed, in Miss Stanleigh's behalf.

Three days in Muloa, under the shadow of the grim and flame-throated mountain, while I was forced to listen to Major Stanleigh's persistent questionnaire and Leavitt's erratic and garrulous responses—all this, as I was to discover later, at the instigation of the Major's niece—had made me frankly curious about the girl.

I had seen her only once, and then at a distance across the veranda, one night when I had been dining there with a friend; but that single vision of her remained vivid and unforgettable—a tall girl of a slender shapeliness, crowned by a mass of reddish-gold hair that smoldered above the clear olive pallor of her skin. With that flawless and brilliant coloring she was marked for observation—had doubtless been schooled to a perfect indifference to it, for the slow, almost indolent, grace of her movements was that of a woman coldly unmindful of the gazes lingering upon her. She could not have been more than twenty-six or -seven, but I got an unmistakable impression of weariness or balked purpose emanating from her in spite of her youth and glorious physique. I looked up to see her crossing the veranda to join her uncle and aunt—correct, well-to-do English people that one placed instantly—and my stare was only one of many that followed her as she took her seat and threw aside the light scarf that swathed her bare and gleaming shoulders.

My companion, who happened to be the editor of the local paper, promptly informed me regarding her name and previous residence—the gist of some "social item" which he had already put into print; but these meant nothing, and I could only wonder what had brought her to such an out-of-the-way part of the world as Port Charlotte. She did not seem like a girl who was traveling with her uncle and aunt; one got rather the impression that she was bent on a mission of her own and was dragging her relatives along because the conventions demanded it. I hazarded to my companion the notion that a woman like Miss Stanleigh could have but one of two purposes in this lonely part of the world—she was fleeing from a lover or seeking one.

"In that case," rejoined my friend, with the cynical shrug of the newspaper man, "she has very promptly succeeded. It's whispered that she is going to marry Joyce—of Malduna Island, you know. Only met him a fortnight ago. Quite a romance, I'm told."

I lifted my eyebrows at that, and looked again at Miss Stanleigh. Just at that instant she happened to look up. It was a wholly indifferent gaze; I am confident that she was no more aware of me than if I had been one of the veranda posts which her eyes had chanced to encounter. But in the indescribable sensation of that moment I felt that here was a woman who bore a secret burden, although, as my informing host put it, her heart had romantically found its haven only two weeks ago.

She was endeavoring to get trace of a man named Farquharson, as I was permitted to learn a few days later. Ostensibly, it was Major Stanleigh who was bent on locating this young Englishman—Miss Stanleigh's interest in the quest was guardedly withheld—and the trail had led him a pretty chase around the world until some clue, which I never clearly understood, brought them to Port Charlotte. The major's immediate objective was an eccentric chap named Leavitt who had marooned himself in Muloa. The island offered an ideal retreat for one bent on shunning his own kind, if he did not object to the close proximity of a restive volcano. Clearly, Leavitt did not. He had a scientific interest in the phenomena exhibited by volcanic regions and was versed in geological lore, but the rumors about Leavitt—practically no one ever visited Muloa—did not stop at that. And, as Major Stanleigh and I were to discover, the fellow seemed to have developed a genuine affection for Lakalatcha, as the smoking cone was called by the natives of the adjoining islands. From long association he had come to know its whims and moods as one comes to know those of a petulant woman one lives with. It was a bizarre and preposterous intimacy, in which Leavitt seemed to find a wholly acceptable substitute for human society, and there was something repellant about the man's eccentricity. He had various names for the smoking cone that towered a mile or more above his head: "Old Flame-eater," or "Lava-spitter," he would at times familiarly and irreverently call it; or, again, "The Maiden Who Never Sleeps," or "The Single-breasted Virgin"—these last, however, always in the musical Malay equivalent. He had no end of names—romantic, splenetic, of opprobrium, or outright endearment—to suit, I imagine, Lakalatcha's varying moods. In one respect they puzzled me—they were of conflicting genders, some feminine and some masculine, as if in Leavitt's loose-frayed imagination the mountain that beguiled his days and disturbed his nights were hermaphroditic.

Leavitt as a source of information regarding the missing Farquharson seemed preposterous when one reflected how out of touch with the world he had been, but, to my astonishment, Major Stanleigh's clue was right, for he had at last stumbled upon a man who had known Farquharson well and who was voluminous about him—quite willingly so. With the Sylph at anchor, we lay off Muloa for three nights, and Leavitt gave us our fill of Farquharson, along with innumerable digressions about volcanoes, neoplatonism, the Single Tax, and what not. There was no keeping Leavitt to a coherent narrative about the missing Farquharson. He was incapable of it, and Major Stanleigh and myself had simply to wait in patience while Leavitt, delighted to have an audience, dumped out for us the fantastic contents of his mind, odd vagaries, recondite trash, and all. He was always getting away from Farquharson, but, then, he was unfailingly bound to come back to him. We had only to wait and catch the solid grains that now and then fell in the winnowing of that unending stream of chaff. It was a tedious and exasperating process, but it had its compensations. At times Leavitt could be as uncannily brilliant as he was dull and boresome. The conviction grew upon me that he had become a little demented, as if his brain had been tainted by the sulphurous fumes exhaled by the smoking crater above his head. His mind smoked, flickered, and flared like an unsteady lamp, blown upon by choking gases, in which the oil had run low.

But of the wanderer Farquharson he spoke with precision and authority, for he had shared with Farquharson his bungalow there in Muloa—a period of about six months, it seemed—and there Farquharson had contracted a tropic fever and died.

"Well, at last we have got all the facts," Major Stanleigh sighed with satisfaction when the Sylph was heading back to Port Charlotte. Muloa, lying astern, we were no longer watching. Leavitt, at the water's edge, had waved us a last good-by and had then abruptly turned back into the forest, very likely to go clambering like a demented goat up the flanks of his beloved volcano and to resume poking about in its steaming fissures—an occupation of which he never tired.

"The evidence is conclusive, don't you think?—the grave, Farquharson's personal effects, those pages of the poor devil's diary."

I nodded assent. In my capacity as owner of the Sylph I had merely undertaken to furnish Major Stanleigh with passage to Muloa and back, but the events of the last three days had made me a party to the many conferences, and I was now on terms of something like intimacy with the rather stiff and pompous English gentleman. How far I was from sharing his real confidence I was to discover later when Eleanor Stanleigh gave me hers.

"My wife and niece will be much relieved to hear all this—a family matter, you understand, Mr. Barnaby," he had said to me when we landed. "I should like to present you to them before we leave Port Charlotte for home."

But, as it turned out, it was Eleanor Stanleigh who presented herself, coming upon me quite unexpectedly that night after our return while I sat smoking in the shadowy garden of the Marine Hotel. I had dined with the major, after he had explained that the ladies were worn out by the heat and general developments of the day and had begged to be excused. And I was frankly glad not to have to endure another discussion of the deceased Farquharson, of which I was heartily tired after hearing little else for the last three days. I could not help wondering how the verbose and pompous major had paraphrased and condensed that inchoate mass of bioraphy and reminiscence into an orderly account for his wife and niece. He had doubtless devoted the whole afternoon to it. Sitting under the cool green of the lemon-trees, beneath a sky powdered with stars, I reflected that I, at least, was done with Farquharson forever. But I was not, for just then Eleanor Stanleigh appeared before me.

I was startled to hear her addressing me by name, and then calmly begging me to resume my seat on the bench under the arbor. She sat down also, her flame-colored hair and bare shoulders gleaming in the darkness. She was the soul of directness and candor, and after a thoughtful, searching look into my face she came to the point at once. She wanted to hear about Farquharson—from me.

"Of course, my uncle has given me a very full account of what he learned from Mr. Leavitt, and yet many things puzzle me—this Mr. Leavitt most of all."

"A queer chap," I epitomized him. "Frankly, I don't quite make him out, Miss Stanleigh—marooning himself on that infernal island and seemingly content to spend his days there."

"Is he so old?" she caught me up quickly.

"No, he isn't," I reflected. "Of course, it's difficult to judge ages out here. The climate, you know. Leavitt's well under forty, I should say. But that's a most unhealthy spot he has chosen to live in."

"Why does he stay there?"

I explained about the volcano. "You can have no idea what an obsession it is with him. There isn't a square foot of its steaming, treacherous surface that he hasn't been over, mapping new fissures, poking into old lava-beds, delving into the crater itself on favorable days——"

"Isn't it dangerous?"

"In a way, yes. The volcano itself is harmless enough. It smokes unpleasantly now and then, splutters and rumbles as if about to obliterate all creation, but for all its bluster it only manages to spill a trickle or two of fresh lava down its sides—just tamely subsides after deluging Leavitt with a shower of cinders and ashes. But Leavitt won't leave it alone. He goes poking into the very crater, half strangling himself in its poisonous fumes, scorching the shoes off his feet, and once, I believe, he lost most of his hair and eyebrows—a narrow squeak. He throws his head back and laughs at any word of caution. To my notion, it's foolhardy to push a scientific curiosity to that extreme."

"Is it, then, just scientific curiosity?" mused Miss Stanleigh.

Something in her tone made me stop short. Her eyes had lifted to mine—almost appealingly, I fancied. Her innocence, her candor, her warm beauty, which was like a pale phosphorescence in the starlit darkness—all had their potent effect upon me in that moment. I felt impelled to a sudden burst of confidence.

"At times I wonder. I've caught a look in his eyes, when he's been down on his hands and knees, staring into some infernal vent-hole—a look that is—well, uncanny, as if he were peering into the bowels of the earth for something quite outside the conceptions of science. You might think that volcano had worked some spell over him, turned his mind. He prattles to it or storms at it as if it were a living creature. Queer, yes; and he's impressive, too, with a sort of magnetic personality that attracts and repels you violently at the same time. He's like a cake of ice dipped in alcohol and set aflame. I can't describe him. When he talks——"

"Does he talk about himself?"

I had to confess that he had told us practically not a word. He had discussed everything under heaven in his brilliant, erratic way, with a fleer of cynicism toward it all, but he had left himself out completely. He had given us Farquharson with relish, and in infinite detail, from the time the poor fellow first turned up in Muloa, put ashore by a native craft. Talking about Farquharson was second only to his delight in talking about volcanoes. And the result for me had been innumerable vivid but confused impressions of the young Englishman who had by chance invaded Leavitt's solitude and had lingered there, held by some attraction, until he sickened and died. It was like a jumbled mosaic put together again by inexpert hands.

"Did you get the impression that the two men had very much in common?"

"Quite the contrary," I answered. "But Major Stanleigh should know——"

"My uncle never met Mr. Farquharson."

I was fairly taken aback at that, and a silence fell between us. It was impossible to divine the drift of her questions. It was as if some profound mistrust weighed upon her and she was not so much seeking to interrogate me as she was groping blindly for some chance word of mine that might illuminate her doubts.

I looked at the girl in silent wonder, yes, and in admiration of her bronze and ivory beauty in the full flower of her glorious youth—and I thought of Joyce. I felt that it was like her to have fallen in love simply but passionately at the mere lifting of the finger of Fate. It was only another demonstration of the unfathomable mystery, or miracle, which love is. Joyce was lucky, indeed favored of the gods, to have touched the spring in this girl's heart which no other man could reach, and by the rarest of chances—her coming out to this remote corner of the world. Lucky Joyce! I knew him slightly—a straightforward young fellow, very simple and whole-souled, enthusiastically absorbed in developing his rubber lands in Malduna.

Miss Stanleigh remained lost in thought while her fingers toyed with the pendant of the chain that she wore. In the darkness I caught the glitter of a small gold cross.

"Mr. Barnaby," she finally broke the silence, and paused. "I have decided to tell you something. This Mr. Farquharson was my husband."

Again a silence fell, heavy and prolonged, in which I sat as if drugged by the night air that hung soft and perfumed about us. It seemed incredible that in that fleeting instant she had spoken at all.

"I was young—and very foolish, I suppose."

With that confession, spoken with simple dignity, she broke off again. Clearly, some knowledge of the past she deemed it necessary to impart to me. If she halted over her words, it was rather to dismiss what was irrelevant to the matter in hand, in which she sought my counsel.

"I did not see him for four years—did not wish to.... And he vanished completely.... Four years!—just a welcome blank!"

Her shoulders lifted and a little shiver went over her.

"But even a blank like that can become unendurable. To be always dragging at a chain, and not knowing where it leads to...." Her hand slipped from the gold cross on her breast and fell to the other in her lap, which it clutched tightly. "Four years.... I tried to make myself believe that he was gone forever—was dead. It was wicked of me."

My murmur of polite dissent led her to repeat her words.

"Yes, and even worse than that. During the past month I have actually prayed that he might be dead.... I shall be punished for it."

I ventured no rejoinder to these words of self-condemnation. Joyce, I reflected, mundanely, had clearly swept her off her feet in the ardor of their first meeting and instant love.

"It must be a great relief to you," I murmured at length, "to have it all definitely settled at last."

"If I could only feel that it was!"

I turned in amazement, to see her leaning a little forward, her hands still tightly clasped in her lap, and her eyes fixed upon the distant horizon where the red spark of Lakalatcha's stertorous breathing flamed and died away. Her breast rose and fell, as if timed to the throbbing of that distant flare.

"I want you to take me to that island—to-morrow."

"Why, surely, Miss Stanleigh," I burst forth, "there can't be any reasonable doubt. Leavitt's mind may be a little flighty—he may have embroidered his story with a few gratuitous details; but Farquharson's books and things—the material evidence of his having lived there——"

"And having died there?"

"Surely Leavitt wouldn't have fabricated that! If you had talked with him——"

"I should not care to talk with Mr. Leavitt," Miss Stanleigh cut me short. "I want only to go and see—if he is Mr. Leavitt."

"If he is Mr. Leavitt!" For a moment I was mystified, and then in a sudden flash I understood. "But that's preposterous—impossible!"

I tried to conceive of Leavitt in so monstrous a rôle, tried to imagine the missing Farquharson still in the flesh and beguiling Major Stanleigh and myself with so outlandish a story, devising all that ingenious detail to trick us into a belief in his own death. It would indeed have argued a warped mind, guided by some unfathomable purpose.

"I devoutly hope you are right," Miss Stanleigh was saying, with deliberation. "But it is not preposterous, and it is not impossible—if you had known Mr. Farquharson as I have."

It was a discreet confession. She wished me to understand—without the necessity of words. My surmise was that she had met and married Farquharson, whoever he was, under the spell of some momentary infatuation, and that he had proved himself to be an unspeakable brute whom she had speedily abandoned.

"I am determined to go to Muloa, Mr. Barnaby," she announced, with decision. "I want you to make the arrangements, and with as much secrecy as possible. I shall ask my aunt to go with me."

I assured Miss Stanleigh that the Sylph was at her service.

Mrs. Stanleigh was a large bland woman, inclined to stoutness and to making confidences, with an intense dislike of the tropics and physical discomforts of any sort. How her niece prevailed upon her to make that surreptitious trip to Muloa, which we set out upon two days later, I have never been able to imagine. The accommodations aboard the schooner were cramped, to say the least, and the good lady had a perfect horror of volcanoes. The fact that Lakalatcha had behind it a record of a century or more of good conduct did not weigh with her in the least. She was convinced that it would blow its head off the moment the Sylph got within range. She was fidgety, talkative, and continually concerned over the state of her complexion, inspecting it in the mirror of her bag at frequent intervals and using a powder-puff liberally to mitigate the pernicious effects of the tropic sun. But once having been induced to make the voyage, I must admit she stuck manfully by her decision, ensconcing herself on deck with books and cushions and numerous other necessities to her comfort, and making the best of the sleeping quarters below. As the captain of the Sylph, she wanted me to understand that she had intrusted her soul to my charge, declaring that she would not draw an easy breath until we were safe again in Port Charlotte.

"This dreadful business of Eleanor's," was the way she referred to our mission, and she got round quite naturally to telling me of Farquharson while acquainting me with her fears about volcanoes. Some years before, Pompeii and Herculaneum had had a most unsettling effect upon her nerves. Vesuvius was slightly in eruption at the time. She confessed to never having had an easy moment while in Naples. And it was in Naples that her niece and Farquharson had met. It had been, as I surmised, a swift, romantic courtship, in which Farquharson, quite irreproachable in antecedents and manners, had played the part of an impetuous lover. Italian skies had done the rest. There was an immediate marriage, in spite of Mrs. Stanleigh's protests, and the young couple were off on a honeymoon trip by themselves. But when Mrs. Stanleigh rejoined her husband at Nice, and together they returned to their home in Sussex, a surprise was in store for them. Eleanor was already there—alone, crushed, and with lips absolutely sealed. She had divested herself of everything that linked her to Farquharson; she refused to adopt her married name.

"I shall bless every saint in heaven when we have quite done with this dreadful business of Eleanor's," Mrs. Stanleigh confided to me from her deck-chair. "This trip that she insists on making herself seems quite uncalled for. But you needn't think, Captain Barnaby, that I'm going to set foot on that dreadful island—not even for the satisfaction of seeing Mr. Farquharson's grave—and I'm shameless enough to say that it would be a satisfaction. If you could imagine the tenth part of what I have had to put up with, all these months we've been traveling about trying to locate the wretch! No, indeed—I shall stay right here on this boat and intrust Eleanor to your care while ashore. And I should not think it ought to take long, now should it?"

I confessed aloud that I did not see how it could. If by any chance the girl's secret conjecture about Leavitt's identity was right, it would be verified in the mere act of coming face to face with him, and in that event it would be just as well to spare the unsuspecting aunt the shock of that discovery.

We reached Muloa just before nightfall, letting go the anchor in placid water under the lee of the shore while the Sylph swung to and the sails fluttered and fell. A vast hush lay over the world. From the shore the dark green of the forest confronted us with no sound or sign of life. Above, and at this close distance blotting out half the sky over our heads, towered the huge cone of Lakalatcha with scarred and blackened flanks. It was in one of its querulous moods. The feathery white plume of steam, woven by the wind into soft, fantastic shapes, no longer capped the crater; its place had been usurped by thick, dark fumes of smoke swirling sullenly about. In the fading light I marked the red, malignant glow of a fissure newly broken out in the side of the ragged cone, from which came a thin, white trickle of lava.

There was no sign of Leavitt, although the Sylph must have been visible to him for several hours, obviously making for the island. I fancied that he must have been unusually absorbed in the vagaries of his beloved volcano. Otherwise he would have wondered what was bringing us back again and his tall figure in shabby white drill would have greeted us from the shore. Instead, there confronted us only the belt of dark, matted green girdling the huge bulk of Lakalatcha which soared skyward, sinister, mysterious, eternal.

In the brief twilight the shore vanished into dim obscurity. Miss Stanleigh, who for the last hour had been standing by the rail, silently watching the island, at last spoke to me over her shoulder:

"Is it far inland—the place? Will it be difficult to find in the dark?"

Her question staggered me, for she was clearly bent on seeking out Leavitt at once. A strange calmness overlay her. She paid no heed to Lakalatcha's gigantic, smoke-belching cone, but, with fingers gripping the rail, scanned the forbidding and inscrutable forest, behind which lay the answer to her torturing doubt.

I acceded to her wish without protest. Leavitt's bungalow lay a quarter of a mile distant. There would be no difficulty in following the path. I would have a boat put over at once, I announced in a casual way which belied my real feelings, for I was beginning to share some of her secret tension at this night invasion of Leavitt's haunts.

This feeling deepened within me as we drew near the shore. Leavitt's failure to appear seemed sinister and enigmatic. I began to evolve a fantastic image of him as I recalled his queer ways and his uncanny tricks of speech. It was as if we were seeking out the presiding deity of the island, who had assumed the guise of a Caliban holding unearthly sway over its unnatural processes.

With Williams, the boatswain, carrying a lantern, we pushed into the brush, following the choked trail that led to Leavitt's abode. But the bungalow, when we had reached the clearing and could discern the outlines of the building against the masses of the forest, was dark and deserted. As we mounted the veranda, the loose boards creaked hollowly under our tread; the doorway, from which depended a tattered curtain of coarse burlap, gaped black and empty.

The lantern, lifted high in the boatswain's hand, cleft at a stroke the darkness within. On the writing-table, cluttered with papers and bits of volcanic rock, stood a bottle and half-empty glass. Things lay about in lugubrious disorder, as if the place had been hurriedly ransacked by a thief. Some of the geological specimens had tumbled from the table to the floor, and stray sheets of Leavitt's manuscripts lay under his chair. Leavitt's books, ranged on shelving against the wall, alone seemed undisturbed. Upon the top of the shelving stood two enormous stuffed birds, moldering and decrepit, regarding the sudden illumination with unblinking, bead-like eyes. Between them a small dancing faun in greenish bronze tripped a Bacchic measure with head thrown back in a transport of derisive laughter.

For a long moment the three of us faced the silent, disordered room, in which the little bronze faun alone seemed alive, convulsed with diabolical mirth at our entrance. Somehow it recalled to me Leavitt's own cynical laugh. Suddenly Miss Stanleigh made toward the photographs above the bookshelves.

"This is he," she said, taking up one of the faded prints.

"Yes—Leavitt," I answered.

"Leavitt?" Her fingers tightened upon the photograph. Then, abruptly, it fell to the floor. "Yes, yes—of course." Her eyes closed very slowly, as if an extreme weakness had seized her.

In the shock of that moment I reached out to support her, but she checked my hand. Her gray eyes opened again. A shudder visibly went over her, as if the night air had suddenly become chill. From the shelf the two stuffed birds regarded us dolefully, while the dancing faun, with head thrown back in an attitude of immortal art, laughed derisively.

"Where is he? I must speak to him," said Miss Stanleigh.

"One might think he were deliberately hiding," I muttered, for I was at a loss to account for Leavitt's absence.

"Then find him," the girl commanded.

I cut short my speculations to direct Williams to search the hut in the rear of the bungalow, where, behind bamboo palings, Leavitt's Malay servant maintained an aloof and mysterious existence. I sat down beside Miss Stanleigh on the veranda steps to find my hands sooty from the touch of the boards. A fine volcanic ash was evidently drifting in the air and now to my ear, attuned to the profound stillness, the wind bore a faint humming sound.

"Do you hear that?" I whispered. It was like the far-off murmur of a gigantic caldron, softly a-boil—a dull vibration that seemed to reach us through the ground as well as through the air.

The girl listened a moment, and then started up. "I hear voices—somewhere."

"Voices?" I strained my ears for sounds other than the insistent ferment of the great cone above our heads. "Perhaps Leavitt——"

"Why do you still call him Leavitt?"

"Then you're quite certain——" I began, but an involuntary exclamation from her cut me short.

The light of Williams's lantern, emerging from behind the bamboo palings, disclosed the burly form of the boatswain with a shrinking Malay in tow. He was jabbering in his native tongue, with much gesticulation of his thin arms, and going into contortions at every dozen paces in a sort of pantomime to emphasize his words. Williams urged him along unceremoniously to the steps of the veranda.

"Perhaps you can get the straight of this, Mr. Barnaby," said the boatswain. "He swears that the flame-devil in the volcano has swallowed his master alive."

The poor fellow seemed indeed in a state of complete funk. With his thin legs quaking under him, he poured forth in Malay a crazed, distorted tale. According to Wadakimba, Leavitt—or Farquharson, to give him his real name—had awakened the high displeasure of the flame-devil within the mountain. Had we not observed that the cone was smoking furiously? And the dust and heavy taint of sulphur in the air? Surely we could feel the very tremor of the ground under our feet. All that day the enraged monster had been spouting mud and lava down upon the white tuan, who had remained in the bungalow, drinking heavily and bawling out maledictions upon his enemy. At length, in spite of Wadakimba's efforts to dissuade him, he had set out to climb to the crater, vowing to show the flame-devil who was master. He had compelled the terrified Wadakimba to go with him a part of the way. The white tuan—was he really a god, as he declared himself to be?—had gone alone up the tortuous, fissured slopes, at times lost to sight in yellowish clouds of gas and steam, while his screams of vengeance came back to Wadakimba's ears. Overhead, Lakalatcha continued to rumble and quiver and clear his throat with great showers of mud and stones.

Farquharson must have indeed parted with his reason to have attempted that grotesque sally. Listening to Wadakimba's tale, I pictured the crazed man, scorched to tatters, heedless of bruises and burns, scrambling up that difficult and perilous ascent, and hurling his ridiculous blasphemy into the flares of smoke and steam that issued from that vast caldron lit by subterranean fires. At its simmering the whole island trembled. A mere whiff of the monster's breath and he would have been snuffed out, annihilated in an instant. According to Wadakimba, the end had indeed come in that fashion. It was as if the mountain had suddenly given a deep sigh. The blast had carried away solid rock. A sheet of flame had licked the spot where Farquharson had been hurled headlong, and he was not.

Wadakimba, viewing all this from afar, had scuttled off to his hut. Later he had ventured back to the scene of the tragedy. He had picked up Farquharson's scorched helmet, which had been blown off to some distance, and he also exhibited a pair of binoculars washed down by the tide of lava, scarred and twisted by the heat, from which the lenses had melted away.

I translated for Miss Stanleigh briefly, while she stood turning over in her hands the twisted and blackened binoculars, which were still warm. She heard me through without question or comment, and when I proposed that we get back to the Sylph at once, mindful of her aunt's distressed nerves, she assented with a nod. She seemed to have lost the power of speech. In a daze she followed as I led the way back through the forest.

Major Stanleigh and his wife deferred their departure for England until their niece should be properly married to Joyce. At Eleanor's wish, it was a very simple affair, and as Joyce's bride she was as eager to be off to his rubber-plantation in Malduna as he was to set her up there as mistress of his household. I had agreed to give them passage on the Sylph, since the next sailing of the mail-boat would have necessitated a further fortnight's delay.

Mrs. Stanleigh, with visions of seeing England again, and profoundly grateful to a benevolent Providence that had not only brought "this dreadful business of Eleanor's" to a happy termination, but had averted Lakalatcha's baptism of fire from descending upon her own head, thanked me profusely and a little tearfully. It was during the general chorus of farewells at the last moment before the Sylph cast off. Her last appeal, cried after us from the wharf where she stood frantically waving a wet handkerchief, was that I should give Muloa a wide berth.

It brought a laugh from Joyce. He had discovered the good lady's extreme perturbation in regard to Lakalatcha, and had promptly declared for spending a day there with his bride. It was an exceptional opportunity to witness the volcano in its active mood. Each time that Joyce had essayed this teasing pleasantry, which never failed to draw Mrs. Stanleigh's protests, I observed that his wife remained silent. I assumed that she had decided to keep her own counsel in regard to the trip she had made there.

"I'm trusting you not to take Eleanor near that dreadful island, Mr. Barnaby," was the admonition shouted across the widening gap of water.

It was a quite unnecessary appeal, for Joyce, who was presently sitting with his wife in a sheltered quarter of the deck, had not the slightest interest in the smoking cone which was as yet a mere smudge upon the horizon. Eleanor, with one hand in Joyce's possession, at times watched it with a seemingly vast apathy until some ardent word from Joyce would draw her eyes back to his and she would lift to him a smile that was like a caress. The look of weariness and balked purpose that had once marked her expression had vanished. In the week since she had married Joyce she seemed to have grown younger and to be again standing on the very threshold of life with girlish eagerness. She hung on Joyce's every word, communing with him hour after hour, utterly content, indifferent to all the world about her.

In the cabin that evening at dinner, when the two of them deigned to take polite cognizance of my existence, I announced to Joyce that I proposed to hug the island pretty close during the night. It would save considerable time.

"Just as you like, Captain," Joyce replied, indifferently.

"We may get a shower of ashes by doing so, if the wind should shift." I looked across the table at Mrs. Joyce.

"But we shall reach Malduna that much sooner?" she queried.

I nodded. "However, if you feel any uneasiness, I'll give the island a wide berth." I didn't like the idea of dragging her—the bride of a week—past that place with its unspeakable memories, if it should really distress her.

Her eyes thanked me silently across the table. "It's very kind of you, but"—she chose her words with significant deliberation—"I haven't a fear in the world, Mr. Barnaby."

Evening had fallen when we came up on deck. Joyce bethought himself of some cigars in his state-room and went back. For the moment I was alone with his wife by the rail, watching the stars beginning to prick through the darkening sky. The Sylph was running smoothly, with the wind almost aft; the scud of water past her bows and the occasional creak of a block aloft were the only sounds audible in the silence that lay like a benediction upon the sea.

"You may think it unfeeling of me," she began, quite abruptly, "but all this past trouble of mine, now that it is ended, I have completely dismissed. Already it begins to seem like a horrid dream. And as for that island"—her eyes looked off toward Muloa now impending upon us and lighting up the heavens with its sudden flare—"it seems incredible that I ever set foot upon it.

"Perhaps you understand," she went on, after a pause, "that I have not told my husband. But I have not deceived him. He knows that I was once married, and that the man is no longer living. He does not wish to know more. Of course he is aware that Uncle Geoffrey came out here to—to see a Mr. Leavitt, a matter which he has no idea concerned me. He thanks the stars for whatever it was that did bring us out here, for otherwise he would not have met me."

"It has turned out most happily," I murmured.

"It was almost disaster. After meeting Mr. Joyce—and I was weak enough to let myself become engaged—to have discovered that I was still chained to a living creature like that.... I should have killed myself."

"But surely the courts——"

She shook her head with decision. "My church does not recognize that sort of freedom."

We were drawing steadily nearer to Muloa. The mountain was breathing slowly and heavily—a vast flare that lifted fanlike in the skies and died away. Lightning played fitfully through the dense mass of smoke and choking gases that hung like a pall over the great cone. It was like the night sky that overhangs a city of gigantic blast-furnaces, only infinitely multiplied. The sails of the Sylph caught the ruddy tinge like a phantom craft gliding through the black night, its canvas still dyed with the sunset glow. The faces of the crew, turned to watch the spectacle, curiously fixed and inhuman, were picked out of the gloom by the same fantastic light. It was as if the schooner, with masts and riggings, etched black against the lurid sky, sailed on into the Day of Judgment.

It was after midnight. The Sylph came about, with sails trembling, and lost headway. Suddenly she vibrated from stem to stern, and with a soft grating sound that was unmistakable came to rest. We were aground in what should have been clear water, with the forest-clad shore of Muloa lying close off to port.

The helmsman turned to me with a look of silly fright on his face, as the wheel revolved useless in his hands. We had shelved with scarcely a jar sufficient to disturb those sleeping below, but in a twinkling Jackson, the mate, appeared on deck in his pajamas, and after a swift glance toward the familiar shore turned to me with the same dumfounded look that had frozen upon the face of the steersman.

"What do you make of this?" he exclaimed, as I called for the lead.

"Be quiet about it," I said to the hands that had started into movement. "Look sharp now, and make no noise." Then I turned to the mate, who was perplexedly rubbing one bare foot against the other and measuring with his eye our distance from the shore. The Sylph should have turned the point of the island without a mishap, as she had done scores of times.

"It's the volcano we have to thank for this," was my conjecture. "Its recent activity has caused some displacement of the sea bottom."

Jackson's head went back in sudden comprehension. "It's a miracle you didn't plow into it under full sail."

We had indeed come about in the very nick of time to avoid disaster. As matters stood I was hopeful. "With any sort of luck we ought to float clear with the tide."

The mate cocked a doubtful eye at Lakalatcha, uncomfortably close above our heads, flaming at intervals and bathing the deck with an angry glare of light. "If she should begin spitting up a little livelier ..." he speculated with a shrug, and presently took himself off to his bunk after an inspection below had shown that none of the schooner's seams had started. There was nothing to do but to wait for the tide to make and lift the vessel clear. It would be a matter of three or four hours. I dismissed the helmsman; and the watch forward, taking advantage of the respite from duty, were soon recumbent in attitudes of heavy sleep.

The wind had died out and a heavy torpor lay upon the water. It was as if the stars alone held to their slow courses above a world rigid and inanimate. The Sylph lay with a slight list, her spars looking inexpressibly helpless against the sky, and, as the minutes dragged, a fine volcanic ash, like some mortal pestilence exhaled by the monster cone, settled down upon the deck, where, forward in the shadow, the watch curled like dead men.

Alone, I paced back and forth—countless soft-footed miles, it seemed, through interminable hours, until at length some obscure impulse prompted me to pause before the open skylight over the cabin and thrust my head down. A lamp above the dining-table, left to burn through the night, feebly illuminated the room. A faint snore issued at regular intervals from the half-open door of the mate's state-room. The door of Joyce's state-room opposite was also upon the hook for the sake of air.

Suddenly a soft thump against the side of the schooner, followed by a scrambling noise, made me turn round. The dripping, bedraggled figure of a man in a sleeping-suit mounted the rope ladder that hung over the side, and paused, grasping the rail. I had withdrawn my gaze so suddenly from the glow of the light in the cabin that for several moments the intruder from out of the sea was only a blurred form with one leg swung over the rail, where he hung as if spent by his exertions.

Just then the sooty vapors above the ragged maw of the volcano were rent by a flare of crimson, and in the fleeting instant of unnatural daylight I beheld Farquharson barefooted, and dripping with sea-water, confronting me with a sardonic, triumphant smile. The light faded in a twinkling, but in the darkness he swung his other leg over the rail and sat perched there, as if challenging the testimony of my senses.

"Farquharson!" I breathed aloud, utterly dumfounded.

"Did you think I was a ghost?" I could hear him softly laughing to himself in the interval that followed. "You should have witnessed Wadakimba's fright at my coming back from the dead. Well, I'll admit I almost was done for."

Again the volcano breathed in torment. It was like the sudden opening of a gigantic blast-furnace, and in that instant I saw him vividly—his thin, saturnine face, his damp black hair pushed sleekly back, his lips twisted to a cruel smile, his eyes craftily alert, as if to some ambushed danger continually at hand. He was watching me with a sort of malicious relish in the shock he had given me.

"It was not your intention to stop at Muloa," he observed, dryly, for the plight of the schooner was obvious.

"We'll float clear with the tide," I muttered.

"But in the meantime"—there was something almost menacing in his deliberate pause—"I have the pleasure of this little call upon you."

A head lifted from among the inert figures and sleepily regarded us before it dropped back into the shadows. The stranded ship, the recumbent men, the mountain flaming overhead—it was like a phantom world into which had been suddenly thrust this ghastly and incredible reality.

"Whatever possessed you to swim out here in the middle of the night?" I demanded, in a harsh whisper.

He chose to ignore the question, while I waited in a chill of suspense. It was inconceivable that he could be aware of the truth of the situation and deliberately bent on forcing it to its unspeakable, tragic issue.

"Of late, Captain Barnaby, we seem to have taken to visiting each other rather frequently, don't you think?"

It was lightly tossed off, but not without its evil implication; and I felt his eyes intently fixed upon me as he sat hunched up on the rail in his sodden sleeping-suit, like some huge, ill-omened bird of prey.

To get rid of him, to obliterate the horrible fact that he still existed in the flesh, was the instinctive impulse of my staggered brain. But the peril of discovery, the chance that those sleeping below might awaken and hear us, held me in a vise of indecision.

"If I could bring myself to reproach you, Captain," he went on, ironically polite, "I might protest that your last visit to this island savored to a too-inquisitive intrusion. You'll pardon my frankness. I had convinced you and Major Stanleigh that Farquharson was dead. To the world at large that should have sufficed. That I choose to remain alive is my own affair. Your sudden return to Muloa—with a lady—would have upset everything, if Fate and that inspired fool of a Malay had not happily intervened. But now, surely, there can be no doubt that I am dead?"

I nodded assent in a dumb, helpless way.

"And I have a notion that even you, Captain Barnaby, will never dispute that fact."

He threw back his head suddenly—for all the world like the dancing faun—and laughed silently at the stars.

My tongue was dry in my mouth as I tried to make some rejoinder. He baffled me completely, and meanwhile I was in a tingle of fear lest the mate should come up on deck to see what progress the tide had made, or lest the sound of our voices might waken the girl in Joyce's state-room.

"I can promise you that," I attempted to assure him in weak, sepulchral tones. "And now, if you like, I'll put you ashore in the small boat. You must be getting chilly in that wet sleeping-suit."

"As a matter of fact I am, and I was wondering if you would not offer me something to drink."

"You shall have a bottle to take along," I promised, with alacrity, but he demurred.

"There is no sociability in that. And you seem very lonesome here—stuck for two more hours at least. Come, Captain, fetch your bottle and we will share it together."

He got down from the rail, stretched his arms lazily above his head, and dropped into one of the deck chairs that had been placed aft for the convenience of my two passengers.

"And cigars, too, Captain," he suggested, with a politeness that was almost impertinence. "We'll have a cozy hour or two out of this tedious wait for the tide to lift you off."

I contemplated him helplessly. There was no alternative but to fall in with whatever mad caprice might seize his brain. If I opposed him, it would lead to high and querulous words; and the hideous fact of his presence there—of his mere existence—I was bound to conceal at all hazards.

"I must ask you to keep quiet," I said, stiffly.

"As a tomb," he agreed, and his eyes twinkled disagreeably in the darkness. "You forget that I am supposed to be in one."

I went stealthily down into the cabin, where I secured a box of cigars and the first couple of bottles that my hands laid hold of in the locker. They proved to contain an old Tokay wine which I had treasured for several years to no particular purpose. The ancient bottles clinked heavily in my grasp as I mounted again to the deck.

"Now this is something like," he purred, watching like a cat my every motion as I set the glasses forth and guardedly drew the cork. He saluted me with a flourish and drank.

To an onlooker that pantomime in the darkness would have seemed utterly grotesque. I tasted the fragrant, heavy wine and waited—waited in an agony of suspense—my ears strained desperately to catch the least sound from below. But a profound silence enveloped the schooner, broken only by the occasional rhythmic snore of the mate.

"You seem rather ill at ease," Farquharson observed from the depths of the deck chair when he had his cigar comfortably aglow. "I trust it isn't this little impromptu call of mine that's disturbing you. After all, life has its unusual moments, and this, I think, is one of them." He sniffed the bouquet of his wine and drank. "It is rare moments like this—bizarre, incredible, what you like—that compensate for the tedium of years."

His disengaged hand had fallen to the side of the chair, and I now observed in dismay that a scarf belonging to Joyce's wife had been left lying in the chair, and that his fingers were absently twisting the silken fringe.

"I wonder that you stick it out, as you do, on this island," I forced myself to observe, seeking safety in the commonplace, while my eyes, as if fascinated, watched his fingers toying with the ends of the scarf. I was forced to accept the innuendo beneath his enigmatic utterances. His utter baseness and depravity, born perhaps of a diseased mind, I could understand. I had led him to bait a trap with the fiction of his own death, but he could not know that it had been already sprung upon his unsuspecting victims.

He seemed to regard me with contemptuous pity. "Naturally, you wonder. A mere skipper like yourself fails to understand—many things. What can you know of life cooped up in this schooner? You touch only the surface of things just as this confounded boat of yours skims only the top of the water. Once in a lifetime you may come to real grips with life—strike bottom, eh?—as your schooner has done now. Then you're aground and quite helpless. What a pity!"

He lifted his glass and drank it off, then thrust it out to be refilled. "Life as the world lives it—bah!" he dismissed it with the scorn of one who counts himself divested of all illusions. "Life would be an infernal bore if it were not for its paradoxes. Now you, Captain Barnaby, would never dream that in becoming dead to the world—in other people's belief—I have become intensely alive. There are opened up infinite possibilities——"

He drank again and eyed me darkly, and then went on in his crack-brained way, "What is life but a challenge to pretense, a constant exercise in duplicity, with so few that come to master it as an art? Every one goes about with something locked deep in his heart. Take yourself, Captain Barnaby. You have your secrets—hidden from me, from all the world—which, if they could be dragged out of you——"

His deep-set eyes bored through the darkness upon me. Hunched up in the deck chair, with his legs crossed under him, he was like an animated Buddha venting a dark philosophy and seeking to undermine my mental balance with his sophistry.

"I'm a plain man of the sea," I rejoined, bluntly. "I take life as it comes."

He smiled derisively, drained his glass, and held it out again. "But you have your secrets, rather clumsily guarded, to be sure——"

"What secrets?" I cried out, goaded almost beyond endurance.

He seemed to deprecate the vigor of my retort and lifted a cautioning hand. "Do you want every one on board to hear this conversation?"

At that moment the smoke-wrapped cone of Lakalatcha was cleft by a sheet of flame, and we confronted each other in a sort of blood-red dawn.

"There is no reason why we should quarrel," he went on, after darkness had enveloped us again. "But there are times which call for plain speaking. Major Stanleigh is probably hardly aware of just what he said to me under a little artful questioning. It seems that a lady who—shall we say, whom we both have the honor of knowing?—is in love. Love, mark you. It is always interesting to see that flower bud twice from the same stalk. However, one naturally defers to a lady, especially when one is very much in her way. Place aux dames, eh? Exit poor Farquharson! You must admit that his was an altruistic soul. Well, she has her freedom—if only to barter it for a new bondage. Shall we drink to the happy future of that romance?"

He lifted to me his glass with ironical invitation, while I sat aghast and speechless, my heart pounding against my ribs. This intolerable colloquy could not last forever. I deliberated what I should do if we were surprised. At the sound of a footfall or the soft creak of a plank I felt that I might lose all control and leap up and brain him with the heavy bottle in my grasp. I had an insane desire to spring at his throat and throttle his infamous bravado, tumble him overboard and annihilate the last vestige of his existence.

"Come, Captain," he urged, "you, too, have shared in smoothing the path for these lovers. Shall we not drink to their happy union?"

A feeling of utter loathing went over me. I set my glass down. "It would be a more serviceable compliment to the lady in question if I strangled you on the spot," I muttered, boldly.

"But you are forgetting that I am already dead." He threw his head back as if vastly amused, then lurched forward and held out his glass a little unsteadily to be refilled.

He gave me a quick, evil look. "Besides, the noise might disturb your passengers."

I could feel a cold perspiration suddenly breaking out upon my body. Either the fellow had obtained an inkling of the truth in some incredible way, or was blindly on the track of it, guided by some diabolical scent. Under the spell of his eyes I could not manage the outright lie which stuck in my throat.

"What makes you think I have passengers?" I parried, weakly.

With intent or not, he was again fingering the fringe of the scarf that hung over the arm of the chair.

"It is not your usual practice, but you have been carrying them lately."

He drained his glass and sat staring into it, his head drooping a little forward. The heavy wine was beginning to have its effect upon him, but whether it would provoke him to some outright violence or drag him down into a stupor, I could not predict. Suddenly the glass slipped from his fingers and shivered to pieces on the deck. I started violently at the sound, and in the silence that followed I thought I heard a footfall in the cabin below.

He looked up at length from his absorbed contemplation of the bits of broken glass. "We were talking about love, were we not?" he demanded, heavily.

I did not answer. I was straining to catch a repetition of the sound from below. Time was slipping rapidly away, and to sit on meant inevitable discovery. The watch might waken or the mate appear to surprise me in converse with my nocturnal visitor. It would be folly to attempt to conceal his presence and I despaired of getting him back to the shore while his present mood held, although I remembered that the small boat, which had been lowered after we went aground, was still moored to the rail amidships.

Refilling my own glass, I offered it to him. He lurched forward to take it, but the fumes of the wine suddenly drifted clear of his brain. "You seem very much distressed," he observed, with ironic concern. "One might think you were actually sheltering these precious love-birds."

Perspiration broke out anew upon my face and neck. "I don't know what you are talking about," I bluntly tried to fend off his implications. I felt as if I were helplessly strapped down and that he was about to probe me mercilessly with some sharp instrument. I strove to turn the direction of his thoughts by saying, "I understand that the Stanleighs are returning to England."

"The Stanleighs—quite so," he nodded agreement, and fixed me with a maudlin stare. Something prompted me to fill his glass again. He drank it off mechanically. Again I poured, and he obediently drank. With an effort he tried to pick up the thread of our conversation:

"What did you say? Oh, the Stanleighs ... yes, yes, of course." He slowly nodded his head and fell silent. "I was about to say ..." He broke off again and seemed to ruminate profoundly.... "Love-birds——" I caught the word feebly from his lips, spoken as if in a daze. The glass hung dripping in his relaxed grasp.

It was a crucial moment in which his purpose seemed to waver and die in his clouded brain. A great hope sprang up in my heart, which was hammering furiously. If I could divert his fuddled thoughts and get him back to shore while the wine lulled him to forgetfulness.

I leaned forward to take the glass which was all but slipping from his hand when Lakalatcha flamed with redoubled fury. It was as if the mountain had suddenly bared its fiery heart to the heavens, and a muffled detonation reached my ears.

Farquharson straightened up with a jerk and scanned the smoking peak, from which a new trickle of white-hot lava had broken forth in a threadlike waterfall. He watched its graceful play as if hypnotized, and began babbling to himself in an incoherent prattle. All his faculties seemed suddenly awake, but riveted solely upon the heavy laboring of the mountain. He was chiding it in Malay as if it were a fractious child. When I ventured to urge him back to shore he made no protest, but followed me into the boat. As I pushed off and took up the oars he had eyes for nothing but the flaming cone, as if its leaping fires held for him an Apocalyptic vision.

I strained at the oars as if in a race, with all eternity at stake, blindly urging the boat ahead through water that flashed crimson at every stroke. The mountain now flamed like a beacon, and I rowed for dear life over a sea of blood.

Farquharson sat entranced before the spectacle, chanting to himself a kind of insane ritual, like a Parsee fire-worshiper making obeisance before his god. He was rapt away to some plane of mystic exaltation, to some hinterland of the soul that merged upon madness. When at length the boat crunched upon the sandy shore he got up unsteadily from the stern and pointed to the pharos that flamed in the heavens.

"The fire upon the altar is lit," he addressed me, oracularly, while the fanatic light of a devotee burned in his eyes. "Shall we ascend and prepare the sacrifice?"

I leaned over the oars, panting from my exertions, indifferent to his rhapsody.

"If you'll take my advice, you'll get back at once to your bungalow and strip off that wet sleeping-suit," I bluntly counseled him, but I might as well have argued with a man in a trance.

He leaped over the gunwale and strode up the beach. Again he struck his priestlike attitude and invoked me to follow.

"The fire upon the altar waits," he repeated, solemnly. Suddenly he broke into a shrill laugh and ran like a deer in the direction of the forest that stretched up the slopes of the mountain.

The mate's face, thrust over the rail as I drew alongside the schooner, plainly bespoke his utter bewilderment. He must have though me bereft of my senses to be paddling about at that hour of the night. The tide had made, and the Sylph, righting her listed masts, was standing clear of the shoal. The deck was astir, and when the command was given to hoist the sails it was obeyed with an uneasy alacrity. The men worked frantically in a bright, unnatural day, for Lakalatcha was now continuously aflame and tossing up red-hot rocks to the accompaniment of dull sounds of explosion.

My first glance about the deck had been one of relief to note that Joyce and his wife were not there, although the commotion of getting under sail must have awakened them. A breeze had sprung up which would prove a fair wind as soon as the Sylph stood clear of the point. The mate gave a grunt of satisfaction when at length the schooner began to dip her bow and lay over to her task. Leaving him in charge, I started to go below, when suddenly Mrs. Joyce, fully dressed, confronted me. She seemed to have materialized out of the air like a ghost. Her hair glowed like burnished copper in the unnatural illumination which bathed the deck, but her face was ashen, and the challenge of her eyes made my heart stop short.

"You have been awake long?" I ventured to ask.

"Too long," she answered, significantly, with her face turned away, looking down into the water. She had taken my arm and drawn me toward the rail. Now I felt her fingers tighten convulsively. In the droop of her head and the tense curve of her neck I sensed her mad impulse which the dark water suggested.

"Mrs. Joyce!" I remonstrated, sharply.

She seemed to go limp all over at the words. I drew her along the deck for a faltering step or two, while her eyes continued to brood upon the water rushing past. Suddenly she spoke:

"What other way out is there?"

"Never that," I said, shortly. I urged her forward again. "Is your husband asleep?"

"Thank God, yes!"

"Then you have been awake——"

"For over an hour," she confessed, and I detected the shudder that went over her body.

"The man is mad——"

"But I am married to him." She stopped and caught at the rail like a prisoner gripping at the bars that confine him. "I cannot—cannot endure it! Where are you taking me? Where can you take me? Don't you see that there is no escape—from this?"

The Sylph rose and sank to the first long roll of the open sea.

"When we reach Malduna——" I began, but the words were only torture.

"I cannot—cannot go on. Take me back!—to that island. Let me live abandoned—or rather die——"

"Mrs. Joyce, I beg of you...."

The schooner rose and dipped again.

For what seemed an interminable time we paced the deck together while Lakalatcha flamed farther and farther astern. Her words came in fitful snatches as if spoken in a delirium, and at times she would pause and grip the rail to stare back, wild-eyed, at the receding island.

Suddenly she started, and in a sort of blinding, noonday blaze I saw her face blanch with horror. It was as if at that moment the heavens had cracked asunder and the night had fallen away in chaos. Turning, I saw the cone of the mountain lifting skyward in fragments—and saw no more, for the blinding vision remained seared upon the retina of my eyes. Across the water, slower paced, came the dread concussion of sound.

"Good God! It's carried away the whole island!" I heard the mate's voice bellowing above the cries of the men. The Sylph scudded before the approaching storm of fire redescending from the sky....

The first gray of the dawn disclosed Mrs. Joyce still standing by the rail, her hand nestling within the arm of her husband, indifferent to the heavy grayish dust that fell in benediction upon her like a silent shower of snow.

The island of Muloa remains to-day a charred cinder lapped about by the blue Pacific. At times gulls circle over its blackened and desolate surface devoid of every vestige of life. From the squat, truncated mass of Lakalatcha, shorn of half its lordly height, a feeble wisp of smoke still issues to the breeze, as if Vulcan, tired of his forge, had banked its fire before abandoning it.


[9] Copyright, 1920, by Harper & Brothers.
Copyright, 1921, by Lee Foster Hartman.



From Collier's Weekly

A skiff went prowling along the Avon River in the unhurried English twilight that releases the sunset with reluctance and defers luxuriously the roll call of the stars.

The skiff floated low, for the man alone in it was heavy and he was in no greater haste than the northern night. Which was against the traditions, for he was an American, an American business man.

He was making his way through the sky-hued water stealthily lest he disturb the leisure of the swans, drowsy above their own images; lest he discourage the nightingale trying a few low flute notes in the cathedral tower of shadow that was a tree above the tomb of Shakespeare.

The American had never heard a nightingale and it was his first pilgrimage to the shrine of the actor-manager whose productions Americans curiously couple with the Bible as sacred lore.

During the day Joel Wixon had seen the sights of Stratford with the others from his country and from England and the Continent. But now he wanted to get close to Shakespeare. So he hired the skiff and declined the services of the old boat lender.

And now he was stealing up into the rich gloom the church spread across the river. He was pushing the stern of the boat foremost so that he could feast his eyes. He was making so little speed that the only sounds were the choked sob of the water where the boat cleaved it gently and the tinkle of the drops that fell from the lazy oars with something of the delicate music of the uncertain nightingale.

Being a successful business man, Wixon was a suffocated poet. The imagination and the passion and the orderliness that brought him money were the same energies that would have made him a success in verse. But lines were not his line, and he was inarticulate and incoherent when beauty overwhelmed him, as it did in nearly every form.

He shivered now before the immediate majesty of the scene, and the historic meanings that enriched it as with an embroidered arras. Yet he gave out no more words than an Æolian harp shuddering with ecstasy in a wind too gentle to make it audible.

In such moods he hunted solitude, for he was ashamed to be seen, afraid to be observed in the raptures that did not belong in the vocabulary of a business man.

He had talked at noon about the fact that he and Shakespeare's father were in wool, and he had annoyed a few modest Americans by comparing the petty amount of the elder Shakespeare's trade with the vast total pouring from his own innumerable looms driven with the electricity that the Shakespeares had never dreamed of.

He had redeemed himself for his pretended brag by a meek admission:

"But I'm afraid my boy will never write another 'Hamlet.'"

Yet what could he know of his own son? How little Will Shakespeare's father or his scandalized neighbors could have fancied that the scapegrace good-for-naught who left the town for the town's good would make it immortal; and, coming back to die and lie down forever beside the Avon, would bring a world of pilgrims to a new Mecca, the shrine of the supreme unique poet of all human time?

A young boy even now was sauntering the path along the other shore, so lazily tossing pebbles into the stream that the swans hardly protested. It came upon Wixon with a kind of silent lightning that Shakespeare had once been such another boy skipping pebbles across the narrow river and peering up into the trees to find out where the nightingale lurked.

Perhaps three hundred years from now some other shrine would claim the pilgrims, the home perhaps of some American boy now groping through the amber mists of adolescence or some man as little revered by his own neighbors and rivals as the man Shakespeare was when he went back to Avon to send back to London his two plays a year to the theatres.

Being a practical man, which is a man who strives to make his visions palpable, Wixon thought of his own home town and the colony of boys that prospered there in the Middle West.

He knew that no one would seek the town because of his birth there, for he was but a buyer of fleeces, a carder of wools, a spinner of threads, and a weaver of fabrics to keep folks' bodies warm. His weaves wore well, but they wore out.

The weavers of words were the ones whose fabrics lasted beyond the power of time and mocked the moths. Was there any such spinner in Carthage to give the town eternal blazon to ears of flesh and blood? There was one who might have been the man if——

Suddenly he felt himself again in Carthage. There was a river there too; not a little bolt of chatoyant silk like the Avon, which they would have called a "crick" back there. Before Carthage ran the incomprehensible floods of old Mississippi himself, Father of Waters, deep and vast and swift. They had lately swung a weir across it to make it work—a concrete wall a mile wide and more, and its tumbling cascades spun no little mill wheels, but swirled thundering turbines that lighted cities and ran street cars a hundred miles away.

And yet it had no Shakespeare.

And yet again it might have had if——

The twilight was so deep now that he shipped his oars in the gloom and gave himself back to the past.

He was in another twilight, only it was the counter twilight between star quench and sun blaze.

Two small boys, himself one of them; his sworn chum, Luke Mellows, the other, meeting in the silent street just as the day tide seeped in from the east and submerged the stars.

Joel had tied a string to his big toe and hung it from his window. Luke had done the same. They were not permitted to explode alarm clocks and ruin the last sweets of sleep in either home. So they had agreed that the first to wake should rise and dress with stealth, slip down the dark stairs of his house, into the starlit street and over to the other's home and pull the toe cord.

On this morning Luke had been the earlier out, and his triumphant yanks had dragged Joel feet first from sleep, and from the bed and almost through the window. Joel had howled protests in shrill whispers down into the gloom, and then, untying his outraged toe, had limped into his clothes and so to the yard.

The two children, in the huge world disputed still by the night, had felt an awe of the sky and the mysteries going on there. The envied man who ran up the streets of evenings lighting the gas street lamps was abroad again already with his little ladder and his quick insect-like motions; only, now he was turning out the lights, just as a similar but invisible being was apparently running around heaven and putting out the stars.

Joel remembered saying: "I wonder if they're turnin' off the stars up there to save gas too."

Luke did not like the joke. He said, using the word "funny" solemnly: "It's funny to see light putting out light. The stars will be there all day, but we won't be able to see 'em for the sun."

(Wixon thought of this now, and of how Shakespeare's fame had drowned out so many stars. A man had told him that there were hundreds of great writers in Shakespeare's time that most people never heard of.)

As the boys paused, the air quivered with a hoarse moo! as of a gigantic cow bellowing for her lost calf. It was really a steamboat whistling for the bridge to open the draw and let her through to the south with her raft of logs.

Both of the boys called the boat by name, knowing her voice: "It's the Bessie May Brown!" They started on a run to the bluff overlooking the river, their short legs making a full mile of the scant furlong.

Often as Joel had come out upon the edge of that bluff on his innumerable journeys to the river for fishing, swimming, skating, or just staring, it always smote him with the thrill Balboa must have felt coming suddenly upon the Pacific.

On this morning there was an unwonted grandeur: the whole vault of the sky was curdled with the dawn, a reef of solid black in the west turning to purple and to amber and finally in the east to scarlet, with a few late planets caught in the meshes of the sunlight and trembling like dew on a spider's web.

And the battle in the sky was repeated in the sea-like river with all of the added magic of the current and the eddies and the wimpling rushes of the dawn winds.

On the great slopes were houses and farmsteads throwing off the night and in the river the Bessie May Brown, her red light and her green light trailing scarfs of color on the river, as she chuffed and clanged her bell, and smote the water with her stern wheel. In the little steeple of the pilot house a priest guided her and her unwieldy acre of logs between the piers of the bridge whose lanterns were still belatedly aglow on the girders and again in echo in the flood.

Joel filled his little chest with a gulp of morning air and found no better words for his rhapsody than: "Gee, but ain't it great?"

To his amazement, Luke, who had always been more sensitive than he, shook his head and turned away.

"Gosh, what do you want for ten cents?" Joel demanded, feeling called upon to defend the worthiness of the dawn.

Luke began to cry. He dropped down on his own bare legs in the weeds and twisted his face and his fists in a vain struggle to fight off unmanly grief.

Joel squatted at his side and insisted on sharing the secret; and finally Luke forgot the sense of family honor long enough to yield to the yearning for company in his misery.

"I was up here at midnight last night, and I don't like this place any more."

"You didn't come all by yourself? Gee!"

"No, Momma was here too."

"What she bring you out here at a time like that for?"

"She didn't know I was here."

"Didn't know—What she doin' out here, then?"

"She and Poppa had a turble quar'l. I couldn't hear what started it, but finely it woke me up and I listened, and Momma was cryin' and Poppa was swearin'. And at last Momma said: 'Oh, I might as well go and throw myself in the river,' and Poppa said: 'Good riddance of bad rubbish!' and Momma stopped cryin' and she says: 'All right!' in an awful kind of a voice, and I heard the front door open and shut."


"Well, I jumped into my shirt and pants and slid down the rain pipe and ran along the street, and there sure enough was Momma walkin' as fast as she could.

"I was afraid to go near her. I don't know why, but I was. So I just sneaked along after her. The street was black as pitch 'cep' for the street lamps, and as she passed ever' one I could see she was still cryin' and stumblin' along like she was blind.

"It was so late we didn't meet anybody at tall, and there wasn't a light in a single house except Joneses, where somebody was sick, I guess. But they didn't pay any attention, and at last she came to the bluff here. And I follered. When she got where she could see the river she stopped and stood there, and held her arms out like she was goin' to jump off or fly, or somethin'. The moon was up, and the river was so bright you could hardly look at it, and Momma stood there with her arms 'way out like she was on the Cross, or something.

"I was so scared and so cold I shook like I had a chill. I was afraid she could hear my teeth chatterin', so I dropped down in the weeds and thistles to keep her from seein' me. It was just along about here too.

"By and by Momma kind of broke like somebody had hit her, then she began to cry again and to walk up and down wringin' her hands. Once or twice she started to run down the bluff and I started to foller; but she stopped like somebody held her back, and I sunk down again.

"Then, after a long time, she shook her head like she couldn't, and turned back. She walked right by me and didn't see me. I heard her whisperin': 'I can't, I can't. My pore children!'

"Then she went back down the street and me after her wishin' I could go up and help her. But I was afraid she wouldn't want me to know, and I just couldn't go near her."

Luke wept helplessly at the memory of his poltroonery, and Joel tried roughly to comfort him with questions.

"Gee! I don't blame you. I don't guess I could have either. But what was it all about, d'you s'pose?"

"I don't know. Momma went to the front door, and it was locked, and she stood a long, long while before she could bring herself to knock. Then she tapped on it soft like. And by and by Poppa opened the door and said: 'Oh, you're back, are you?" Then he turned and walked away, and she went in.

"I could have killed him with a rock, if she hadn't shut the door. But all I could do was to climb back up the rain pipe. I was so tired and discouraged I nearly fell and broke my neck. And I wisht I had have. But there wasn't any more quar'l, only Momma kind of whimpered once or twice, and Poppa said: 'Oh, for God's sake, shut up and lea' me sleep. I got to open the store in the mornin', ain't I?' I didn't do much sleepin', and I guess that's why I woke up first."

That was all of the story that Joel could learn. The two boys were shut out by the wall of grown-up life. Luke crouched in bitter moodiness, throwing clods of dirt at early grasshoppers and reconquering his lost dignity. At last he said: "If you ever let on to anybody what I told you——"

"Aw, say!" was Joel's protest. His knighthood as a sworn chum was put in question and he was cruelly hurt.

Luke took assurance from his dismay and said in a burst of fury: "Aw, I just said that! I know you won't tell. But just you wait till I can earn a pile of money. I'll take Momma away from that old scoundrel so fast it'll make his head swim!" Then he slumped again. "But it takes so doggone long to grow up, and I don't know how to earn anything."

Then the morning of the world caught into its irresistible vivacity the two boys in the morning of their youth, and before long they had forgotten the irremediable woes of their elders, as their elders also forgot the problems of national woes and cosmic despair.

The boys descended the sidelong path at a jog, brushing the dew and grasshoppers and the birds from the hazel bushes and the papaw shrubs, and scaring many a dewy rabbit from cover.

At the bottom of the bluff the railroad track was the only road along the river, and they began the tormenting passage over the uneven ties with cinders everywhere for their bare feet. They postponed as long as they could the delight of breakfast, and then, sitting on a pile of ties, made a feast of such hard-boiled eggs, cookies, cheese, and crackers as they had been able to wheedle from their kitchens the night before.

Their talk that morning was earnest, as boys' talk is apt to be. They debated their futures as boys are apt to do. Being American boys, two things characterized their plans: one, that the sky itself was the only limit to their ambitions; the other, that they must not follow their fathers' businesses.

Joel's father was an editor; Luke's kept a hardware store.

So Joel wanted to go into trade and Luke wanted to be a writer.

The boys wrangled with the shrill intensity of youth. A stranger passing might have thought them about to come to blows. But they were simply noisy with earnestness. Their argument was as unlike one of the debates in Vergil's Eclogues as possible. It was an antistrophe of twang and drawl:

"Gee, you durned fool, watcha want gointa business for?"

"Durned fool your own self! Watcha wanta be a writer for?"

Then they laughed wildly, struck at each other in mock hostility, and went on with their all-day walk, returning at night too weary for books or even a game of authors or checkers.

Both liked to read, and they were just emerging from the stratum of Old Cap Collier, Nick Carter, the Kid-Glove Miner, and the Steam Man into "Ivanhoe," "Scottish Chiefs," and "Cudjo's Cave." They had passed out of the Oliver Optic, Harry Castlemon, James Otis era.

Joel Wixon read for excitement; Luke Mellows for information as to the machinery of authorship.

Young as they were, they went to the theatre—to the op'ra house, which never housed opera.

Joel went often and without price, since his father, being an editor, had the glorious prerogative of "comps." Perhaps that was why Luke wanted to be a writer.

Mr. Mellows, as hard as his own ware, did not believe in the theatre and could not be bullied or wept into paying for tickets. But Luke became a program boy and got in free, a precious privilege he kept secret as long as possible, and lost as soon as his father noticed his absences from home on play nights. Then he was whipped for wickedness and ordered to give up the theatre forever.

Perhaps Luke would never suffer again so fiercely as he suffered from that denial. It meant a free education and a free revel in the frequent performances of Shakespeare, and of repertory companies that gave such triumphs as "East Lynne" and "Camille," not to mention the road companies that played the uproarious "Peck's Bad Boy," "Over the Garden Wall," "Skipped by the Light of the Moon," and the Charles Hoyt screamers.

The theatre had been a cloud-veiled Olympus of mystic exultations, of divine terrors, and of ambrosial laughter. But it was a bad influence. Mr. Mellows's theories of right and wrong were as simple and sharp as his own knives: whatever was delightful and beautiful and laughterful was manifestly wicked, God having plainly devised the pretty things as baits for the devil's fishhooks.

Joel used to tell Luke about the plays he saw, and the exile's heart ached with envy. They took long walks up the river or across the bridge into the wonderlands that were overflowed in high-water times. And they talked always of their futures. Boyhood was a torment, a slavery. Heaven was just over the twenty-first birthday.

Joel got his future, all but the girl he planned to take with him up the grand stairway of the palace he foresaw. Luke missed his future, and his girl and all of his dreams.

Between the boys and their manhood stood, as usual, the fathers, strange monsters, ogres, who seemed to have forgotten, at the top of the beanstalk, that they had once been boys themselves down below.

After the early and unceasing misunderstandings as to motives and standards of honor and dignity came the civil war over education.

Wouldn't you just know that each boy would get the wrong dad? Joel's father was proud of Luke and not of Joel. He had printed some of Luke's poems in the paper and called him a "precocious" native genius. Joel's father wished that his boy could have had his neighbor's boy's gift. It was his sorrow that Joel had none of the artistic leanings that are called "gifts." He regretfully gave him up as one who would not carry on the torch his father had set out with. He could not force his child to be a genius, but he insisted that Joel should have an education. The editor had found himself handicapped by a lack of the mysterious enrichment that a tour through college gives the least absorbent mind. He was determined to provide it for his boy, though Joel felt that every moment's delay in leaping into the commercial arena was so much delay in arriving at gladiatorial eminence.

Luke's father had had even less education than Editor Wixon, but he was proud of it. He had never gone far in the world, but he was one of those men who are automatically proud of everything they do and derive even from failure or humiliation a savage conceit.

He made Luke work in his store or out of it as a delivery boy during vacations from such school terms as the law required. He saw the value of education enough to make out bills and write dunning letters. "Books" to him meant the doleful books that bookkeepers keep.

As for any further learning, he thought it a waste of time, a kind of wantonness.

He felt that Providence had intentionally selected a cross for him in the son who was wicked and foolish enough to want to read stories and see plays and go to school for years instead of going right into business.

The thought of sending his boy through a preparatory academy and college and wasting his youth on nonsense was outrageous. It maddened him to have the boy plead for such folly. He tried in vain to whip it out of him.

Joel's ideas of education were exactly those of Mr. Mellows, but he did not like Mr. Mellows because of the anguish inflicted on Luke. Joel used to beg Luke to run away from home. But that was impracticable for two reasons: Luke was not of the runaway sort, but meek, and shy, and obedient to a fault.

Besides, while a boy can run away from school, he cannot easily run away to school. If he did, he would be sent back, and if he were not sent back, how was he to pay for his "tooition" and his board and books and clo'es?

It was Luke's influence that sent Joel away to boardin' school. He so longed to go himself that Joel felt it foolish to deny himself the godlike opportunity. So Luke went to school vicariously in Joel, as he got his other experiences vicariously in books.

At school Joel found so much to do outside of his classes that he grew content to go all the way. There was a glee club to manage, also an athletic club; a paper to solicit ads and subscriptions for; class officers to be elected, with all the delights of political maneuvering—a world in little to run with all the solemnity and competition of the adult cosmos. So Joel was happy and lucky and successful in spite of himself.

The day after Joel took train up the river to his academy Luke took the position his father secured for him and entered the little back room where the Butterly Bottling Works kept its bookkeepers on high stools.

The Butterly soda pop, ginger ales, and other soft drinks were triumphs of insipidity, and their birch beer sickened the thirstiest child. But the making and the marketing and even the drinking of them were matters of high emprise compared to the keeping of the books.

One of the saddest, sweetest, greatest stories ever written is Ellis' Pigsispigs Butler's fable of the contented little donkey that went round and round in the mill and thought he was traveling far. But that donkey was blind and had no dreams denied.

Luke Mellows was a boy, a boy that still felt his life in every limb, a boy devoured with fantastic ambitions. He had a genius within that smothered and struggled till it all but perished unexpressed. It lived only enough to be an anguish. It hurt him like a hidden, unmentioned ingrowing toe nail that cuts and bleeds and excruciates the fleet member it is meant to protect.

When Joel came home for his first vacation, with the rush of a young colt that has had a good time in the corral but rejoices in the old pastures, his first cry was for Luke. When he learned where he was, he hurried to the Bottling Works. He was turned away with the curt remark that employees could not be seen in business hours. In those days there were no machines to simplify and verify the bookkeeper's treadmill task, and business hours were never over.

Joel left word at Luke's home for Luke to call for him the minute he was free. He did not come that evening, nor the next. Joel was hurt more than he dared admit.

It was Sunday afternoon before Luke came round, a different Luke, a lean, wan, worn-out shred of a youth. His welcome was sickly.

"Gee-min-ent-ly!" Joel roared. "I thought you was mad at me about something. You never came near."

"I wanted to come," Luke croaked, "but nights, I'm too tired to walk anywheres, and besides, I usually have to go back to the offus."

"Gee, that's damn tough," said Joel, who had grown from darn to damn.

Thinking to light Luke up with a congenial theme, Joel heroically forbore to describe the marvels of academy life, and asked: "What you been readin' lately? A little bit of everything, I guess, hey?"

"A whole lot of nothin'," Luke sighed. "I got no strength for readin' by the time I shut my ledgers. I got to save my eyes, you know. The light's bad in that back room."

"What you been writin', then?"

"Miles of figures and entries about one gross bottles lemon, two gross sassaprilla, one gross empties returned."

"No more poetry?"

"No more nothin'."

Joel was obstinately cheerful. "Well, you been makin' money, anyways; that's something."

"Yeh. I buy my own shoes and clo'es now and pay my board and lodgin' at home. And paw puts the two dollars that's left into the savings bank. I got nearly thirty dollars there now. I'll soon have enough for a winter soot and overcoat."

"Gee, can't you go buggy ridin' even with Kit?"

"I could if I had the time and the price, and if her maw wasn't so poorly that Kitty can't get away. I go over there Sunday afternoons sometimes, but her maw always hollers for her to come in. She's afraid to be alone. Kit's had to give up the high school account of her maw."

"How about her goin' away to be a great singer?"

Luke grinned at the insanity of such childish plans. "Oh, that's all off. Kit can't even practice any more. It makes her mother nervous. And Kit had to give up the church choir too. You'd hardly know her. She cries a lot about lookin' so scrawny. O' course I tell her she's pirtier than ever, but that only makes her mad. She can't go to sociables or dances or picnics, and if she could she's got no clo'es. We don't have much fun together; just sit and mope, and then I say: 'Well, guess I better mosey on home,' and she says: 'All right; see you again next Sunday, I s'pose. G'by.'"

The nightingale annoyed the owl and was hushed, and the poet rimed sums in a daybook.

The world waited for them and needed them without knowing it; it would have rewarded them with thrilled attention and wealth and fame. But silence was their portion, silence and the dark and an ache that had no voice.

Joel listened to Luke's elegy and groaned: "Gee!"

But he had an optimism like a powerful spring, and it struck back now with a whirr: "I'll tell you what, Luke. Just you wait till I'm rich, then I'll give you a job as vice president, and you can marry Kitty and live on Broadway, in Noo York."

"I've got over believin' in Sandy Claus," said Luke.

Joel saw little of him during this vacation and less during the next. Being by nature a hater of despair, he avoided Luke. He had fits of remorse for this, and once he dared to make a personal appeal to old Mr. Mellows to send Luke away to school. He was received with scant courtesy, and only tolerated because he gave the father a chance to void some of his bile at the worthlessness of Luke.

"He's no good; that's what's the matter of him. And willful too—he just mopes around because he wants to show me I'm wrong. But he's only cuttin' off his own nose to spite his face. I'll learn him who's got the most will power."

Joel was bold enough to suggest: "Maybe Luke would be differ'nt if you'd let him go to college. You know, Mr. Mellows, if you'll 'scuse my saying it, there's some natures that are differ'nt from others. You hitch a race horse up to a plow and you spoil a good horse and your field both. Seems to me as if, if Luke got a chance to be a writer or a professor or something, he might turn out to be a wonder. You can't teach a canary bird to be a hen, you know, and——"

Mr. Mellows locked himself in that ridiculous citadel of ancient folly. "When you're as old as I am, Joel, you'll know more. The first thing anybody's got to learn in this world is to respect their parents."

Joel wanted to say: "I should think that depended on the parents."

But, of course, he kept silent, as the young usually do when they hear the old maundering, and he gave up as he heard the stupid dolt returning to his old refrain: "I left school when I was twelve years old. Ain't had a day sence, and I can't say as I've been exactly a failure. Best hardware store in Carthage and holdin' my own in spite of bad business."

Joel slunk away, unconvinced but baffled. One summer he brought all his pressure to bear on Luke to persuade him to run away from his job and strike out for the big city where the big opportunities grew.

But Luke shook his head. He lacked initiative. Perhaps that was where his talent was not genius. It blistered him, but it made no steam.

Shakespeare had known enough to leave Stratford. He had had to hold horses outside the theatre, and even then he had organized a little business group of horse holders called "Shakespeare's boys." He had the business sense, and he forced his way into the theatre and became a stockholder. Shakespeare was always an adventurer. He had to work in a butcher's shop, but before he was nineteen he was already married to a woman of twenty-six, and none too soon for the first child's sake.

Luke Mellows had not the courage or the recklessness to marry Kitty, though he had as good a job as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare would not let a premature family keep him from his ambition.

He was twenty-one when he went to London, but he went.

London was a boom town then, about the size of Trenton, or Grand Rapids, or Spokane, and growing fast. Boys were running away from the farms and villages as they always have done. Other boys went to London from Stratford. John Sadler became a big wholesale grocer and Richard Field a publisher. They had as various reasons then as now.

But the main thing was that they left home. That might mean a noble or a selfish ambition, but it took action.

Luke Mellows would not go. He dreaded to abandon his mother to the father who bullied them both. He could not bear to leave Kitty alone with the wretched mother who ruled her with tears.

Other boys ran or walked away from Carthage, some of them to become failures, and some half successes, and some of them to acquire riches and power. And other boys stayed at home.

Girls, too, had won obscurity by inertia or had swung into fame. Some of the girls had stayed at home and gone wrong there. Some had gone away in disgrace, and redeemed or damned themselves in larger parishes. There were Aspasias and Joans of Arc in miniature, minor Florence Nightingales and Melbas and Rosa Bonheurs. But they had all had to leap from the nest and try their wings. Of those that did not take the plunge, none made the flight.

Cowardice held some back, but the purest self-sacrifice others. Joel felt that there ought to be a heaven for these latter, yet he hoped that there was no hell for the former. For who can save himself from his own timidity, and who can protect himself from his own courage?

Given that little spur of initiative, that little armor of selfish indifference to the clinging hands at home, and how many a soul might not have reached the stars? Look at the women who were crowding the rolls of fame of late just because all womankind had broken free of the apron strings of alleged respectability.

Joel had no proof that Luke Mellows would have amounted to much. Perhaps, if he had ventured over the nest's edge, he would have perished on the ground, trampled into dust by the fameward mob, or devoured by the critics that pounce upon every fledgling and suck the heart out of all that cannot fling them off.

But Joel could not surrender his childhood faith that Luke Mellows had been meant for another Shakespeare. Yet Mellows had never written a play or an act of a play. But, for that matter, neither had Shakespeare before he went to London. He was only a poet at first, and some of his poems were pretty poor stuff—if you took Shakespeare's name off it. And his first poems had to be published by his fellow townsman Field.

There were the childish poems by Luke Mellows that Joel's father had published in the Carthage "Clarion." Joel had forgotten them utterly, and they were probably meritorious of oblivion. But there was one poem Luke had written that Joel memorized.

It appeared in the "Clarion" years after Joel was a success in wool. His father still sent him the paper, and in one number Joel was rejoiced to read these lines:


By Luke Mellows

Sometimes at night within a wooded park
Like an ocean cavern, fathoms deep in bloom,
Sweet scents, like hymns, from hidden flowers fume,
And make the wanderer happy, though the dark
Obscures their tint, their name, their shapely bloom.

So, in the thick-set chronicles of fame,
There hover deathless feats of souls unknown.
They linger like the fragrant smoke wreaths blown
From liberal sacrifice. Gone face and name;
The deeds, like homeless ghosts, live on alone.

Wixon, seated in the boat on Avon and lost in such dusk that he could hardly see his hand upon the idle oar, recited the poem softly to himself, intoning it in the deep voice one saves for poetry. It sounded wonderful to him in the luxury of hearing his own voice upon the water and indulging his own memory. The somber mood was perfect, in accord with the realm of shadow and silence where everything beautiful and living was cloaked in the general blur.

After he had heard his voice chanting the last long oh's of the final verse, he was ashamed of his solemnity, and terrified lest some one might have heard him and accounted him insane. He laughed at himself for a sentimental fool.

He laughed too as he remembered what a letter of praise he had dictated to his astonished stenographer and fired off at Luke Mellows; and at the flippant letter he had in return.

Lay readers who send incandescent epistles to poets are apt to receive answers in sardonic prose. The poet lies a little, perhaps, in a very sane suspicion of his own transcendencies.

Luke Mellows had written:

"Dear Old Joel:

"I sure am much obliged for your mighty handsome letter. Coming to one of the least successful wool-gatherers in the world from one of the most successful wool distributors, it deserves to be highly prized. And is. I will have it framed and handed down to my heirs, of which there are more than there will ever be looms.

"You ask me to tell you all about myself. It won't take long. When the Butterly Bottlery went bust, I had no job at all for six months, so I got married to spite my father. And to please Kit, whose poor mother ceased to suffer about the same time.

"The poor girl was so used to taking care of a poor old woman who couldn't be left alone that I became her patient just to keep all her talents from going to waste.

"The steady flow of children seems to upset the law of supply and demand, for there is certainly no demand for more of my progeny and there is no supply for them. But somehow they thrive.

"I am now running my father's store, as the old gentleman had a stroke and then another. The business is going to pot as rapidly as you would expect, but I haven't been able to kill it off quite yet.

"Thanks for advising me to go on writing immortal poetry. If I were immortal, I might, but that fool thing was the result of about ten years' hard labor. I tried to make a sonnet of it, but I gave up at the end of the decade and called it whatever it is.

"Your father's paper published it free of charge, and so my income from my poetry has been one-tenth of nothing per annum. Please don't urge me to do any more. I really can't afford it.

"The poem was suggested to me by an ancient fit of blues over the fact that Kit's once-so-beautiful voice would never be heard in song, and by the fact that her infinite goodnesses will never meet any recompense or even acknowledgment.

"I was bitter the first five years, but the last five years I began to feel how rich this dark old world is in good, brave, sweet, lovable, heartbreakingly beautiful deeds that simply cast a little fragrance on the dark and are gone. They perfume the night and the busy daylight dispels them like the morning mists that we used to watch steaming and vanishing above the old river. The Mississippi is still here, still rolling along its eternal multitudes of snows and flowers and fruits and fish and snakes and dead men and boats and trees.

"They go where they came from, I guess—in and out of nothing and back again.

"It is a matter of glory to all of us that you are doing so nobly. Keep it up and give us something to brag about in our obscurity. Don't worry. We are happy enough in the dark. We have our batlike sports and our owllike prides, and the full sun would blind us and lose us our way.

"Kit sends you her love—and blushes as she says it. That is a very daring word for such shy moles as we are, but I will echo it.

"Yours for old sake's sake. Luke."

Vaguely remembering this letter now Joel inhaled a bit of the merciful chloroform that deadens the pain of thwarted ambition.

The world was full of men and women like Luke and Kit. Some had given up great hopes because they were too good to tread others down in their quest. Some had quenched great talents because they were too fearsome or too weak or too lazy to feed their lamps with oil and keep them trimmed and alight. Some had stumbled through life darkly with no gifts of talent, without even appreciation of the talents of others or of the flowerlike beauties that star the meadows.

Those were the people he had known. And then there were the people he had not known, the innumerable caravan that had passed across the earth while he lived, the inconceivable hosts that had gone before, tribe after tribe, generation upon generation, nation at the heels of nation, cycle on era on age, and the backward perpetuity from everlasting unto everlasting. People, people, peoples—poor souls, until the thronged stars that make a dust of the Milky Way were a lesser mob.

Here in this graveyard at Stratford lay men who might have overtopped Shakespeare's glory if they had but "had a mind to." Some of them had been held in higher esteem in their town. But they were forgotten, their names leveled with the surface of their fallen tombstones.

Had he not cried out in his own Hamlet: "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams—which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream—and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow."

After all, the greatest of men were granted but a lesser oblivion than the least. And in that overpowering thought there was a strange comfort, the comfort of misery finding itself in an infinite company.

The night was thick upon Avon. The swans had gone somewhere. The lights in the houses had a sleepy look. It was time to go to bed.

Joel yawned with the luxury of having wearied his heart with emotion. He had thought himself out for once. It was good to be tired. He put his oars into the stream and, dipping up reflected stars, sent them swirling in a doomsday chaos after him with the defiant revenge of a proud soul who scorns the universe that grinds him to dust.

The old boatman was surly with waiting. He did not thank the foreigner for his liberal largeness, and did not answer his good night.

As Wixon left the river and took the road for his hotel, the nightingale (that forever anonymous nightingale, only one among the millions of forgotten or throttled songsters) revolted for a moment or two against the stifling doom and shattered it with a wordless sonnet of fierce and beautiful protest—"The tawny-throated! What triumph! hark!—what pain!"

It was as if Luke Mellows had suddenly found expression in something better than words, something that any ear could understand, an ache that rang.

Wixon stopped, transfixed as by flaming arrows. He could not understand what the bird meant or what he meant, nor could the bird. But as there is no laughter that eases the heart like unpacking it of its woes in something beyond wording, so there is nothing that brightens the eyes like tears gushing without shame or restraint.

Joel Wixon felt that it was a good, sad, mad world, and that he had been very close to Shakespeare—so close that he heard things nobody had ever found the phrases for—things that cannot be said but only felt, and transmitted rather by experience than by expression from one proud worm in the mud to another.


[10] Copyright, 1920, by P. F. Collier & Son, Inc.
Copyright, 1921, by Rupert Hughes.



From Scribner's Magazine

Against an autumn sunset the steel skeleton of a twenty-story office building in process of construction stood out black and bizarre. It flung up its beams and girders like stern and yet airy music, orderly, miraculously strong, and delicately powerful. From the lower stories, where masons made their music of trowel and hammer, to the top, where steam-riveters rapped out their chorus like giant locusts in a summer field, the great building lived and breathed as if all those human energies that went to its making flowed warm through its steel veins.

In the west window of a womans' club next door one of the members stood looking out at this building. Behind her at a tea-table three other women sat talking. For some moments their conversation had had a plaintive if not an actually rebellious tone. They were discussing the relative advantages of a man's work and a woman's, and they had arrived at the conclusion that a man has much the best of it when it comes to a matter of the day's work.

"Take a man's work," said Mrs. Van Vechten, pouring herself a second cup of tea. "He chooses it; then he is allowed to go at it with absolute freedom. He isn't hampered by the dull, petty details of life that hamper us. He——"

"Details! My dear, there you are right," broke in Mrs. Bullen. Two men, first Mrs. Bullen's father and then her husband, had seen to it that neither the biting wind of adversity nor the bracing air of experience should ever touch her. "Details! Sometimes I feel as if I were smothered by them. Servants, and the house, and now these relief societies——"

She was in her turn interrupted by Cornelia Blair. Cornelia was a spinster with more freedom than most human beings ever attain, her father having worked himself to death to leave her well provided for. "The whole fault is the social system," she declared. "Because of it men have been able to take the really interesting work of the world for themselves. They've pushed the dull jobs off onto us."

"You're right, Cornelia," cried Mrs. Bullen. She really had nothing to say, but she hated not saying it. "I've always thought," she went on pensively, "that it would be so much easier just to go to an office in the morning and have nothing but business to think of. Don't you feel that way sometimes, Mrs. Trask?"

The woman in the west window turned. There was a quizzical gleam in her eyes as she looked at the other three. "The trouble with us women is we're blind and deaf," she said slowly. "We talk a lot about men's work and how they have the best of things in power and freedom, but does it occur to one of us that a man pays for power and freedom? Sometimes I think that not one of the women of our comfortable class would be willing to pay what our men pay for the power and freedom they get."

"What do they pay?" asked Mrs. Van Vechten, her lip curling.

Mrs. Trask turned back to the window. "There's something rather wonderful going on out here," she called. "I wish you'd all come and look."

Just outside the club window the steel-workers pursued their dangerous task with leisurely and indifferent competence, while over their head a great derrick served their needs with uncanny intelligence. It dropped its chain and picked a girder from the floor. As it rose into space two figures sprang astride either end of it. The long arm swung up and out; the two "bronco-busters of the sky" were black against the flame of the sunset. Some one shouted; the signalman pulled at his rope; the derrick-arm swung in a little with the girder teetering at the end of the chain. The most interesting moment of the steel-man's job had come, when a girder was to be jockeyed into place. The iron arm swung the girder above two upright columns, lowered it, and the girder began to groove into place. It wedged a little. One of the men inched along, leaned against space, and wielded his bar. The women stared, for the moment taken out of themselves. Then, as the girder settled into place and the two men slid down the column to the floor, the spectators turned back to their tea-table.

"Very interesting," murmured Mrs. Van Vechten; "but I hardly see how it concerns us."

A flame leaped in Mary Trask's face. "It's what we've just been talking about, one of men's jobs. I tell you, men are working miracles all the time that women never see. We envy them their power and freedom, but we seldom open our eyes to see what they pay for them. Look here, I'd like to tell you about an ordinary man and one of his jobs." She stopped and looked from Mrs. Bullen's perplexity to Cornelia Blair's superior smile, and her eyes came last to Sally Van Vechten's rebellious frown. "I'm going to bore you, maybe," she laughed grimly. "But it will do you good to listen once in a while to something real."

She sat down and leaned her elbows on the table. "I said that he is an ordinary man," she began; "what I meant is that he started in like the average, without any great amount of special training, without money, and without pull of any kind. He had good health, good stock back of him, an attractive personality, and two years at a technical school—those were his total assets. He was twenty when he came to New York to make a place for himself, and he had already got himself engaged to a girl back home. He had enough money to keep him for about three weeks, if he lived very economically. But that didn't prevent his feeling a heady exhilaration that day when he walked up Fifth Avenue for the first time and looked over his battle-field. He has told me often, with a chuckle at the audacity of it, how he picked out his employer. All day he walked about with his eyes open for contractors' signs. Whenever he came upon a building in the process of construction he looked it over critically, and if he liked the look of the job he made a note of the contractor's name and address in a little green book. For he was to be a builder—of big buildings, of course! And that night, when he turned out of the avenue to go to the cheap boarding-house where he had sent his trunk, he told himself that he'd give himself five years to set up an office of his own within a block of Fifth Avenue.

"Next day he walked into the offices of Weil & Street—the first that headed the list in the little green book—asked to see Mr. Weil, and, strangely enough, got him, too. Even in those raw days Robert had a cheerful assurance tempered with rather a nice deference that often got him what he wanted from older men. When he left the offices of Weil & Street he had been given a job in the estimating-room, at a salary that would just keep him from starving. He grew lean and lost his country color that winter, but he was learning, learning all the time, not only in the office of Weil & Street, but at night school, where he studied architecture. When he decided he had got all he could get out of the estimating and drawing rooms he asked to be transferred to one of the jobs. They gave him the position of timekeeper on one of the contracts, at a slight advance in salary.

"A man can get as much or as little out of being timekeeper as he chooses. Robert got a lot out of it. He formulated that summer a working theory of the length of time it should take to finish every detail of a building. He talked with bricklayers, he timed them and watched them, until he knew how many bricks could be laid in an hour; and it was the same way with carpenters, fireproofers, painters, plasterers. He soaked in a thousand practical details of building: he picked out the best workman in each gang, watched him, talked with him, learned all he could of that man's particular trick; and it all went down in the little green book. For at the back of his head was always the thought of the time when he should use all this knowledge in his own business. Then one day when he had learned all he could learn from being timekeeper, he walked into Weil's office again and proposed that they make him one of the firm's superintendents of construction.

"Old Weil fairly stuttered with the surprise of this audacious proposition. He demanded to know what qualifications the young man could show for so important a position, and Robert told him about the year he had had with the country builder and the three summer vacations with the country surveyor—which made no impression whatever on Mr. Weil until Robert produced the little green book. Mr. Weil glanced at some of the figures in the book, snorted, looked hard at his ambitious timekeeper, who looked back at him with his keen young eyes and waited. When he left the office he had been promised a tryout on a small job near the offices, where, as old Weil said, they could keep an eye on him. That night he wrote to the girl back home that she must get ready to marry him at a moment's notice."

Mrs. Trask leaned back in her chair and smiled with a touch of sadness. "The wonder of youth! I can see him writing that letter, exuberant, ambitious, his brain full of dreams and plans—and a very inadequate supper in his stomach. The place where he lived—he pointed it out to me once—was awful. No girl of Rob's class—back home his folks were 'nice'—would have stood that lodging-house for a night, would have eaten the food he did, or gone without the pleasures of life as he had gone without them for two years. But there, right at the beginning, is the difference between what a boy is willing to go through to get what he wants and what a girl would or could put up with. And along with a better position came a man's responsibility, which he shouldered alone.

"'I was horribly afraid I'd fall down on the job,' he told me long afterward. 'And there wasn't a living soul I could turn to for help. The thing was up to me alone!'"

Mrs. Trask looked from Mrs. Bullen to Mrs. Van Vechten. "Mostly they fight alone," she said, as if she thought aloud. "That's one thing about men we don't always grasp—the business of existence is up to the average man alone. If he fails or gets into a tight place he has no one to fall back on, as a woman almost always has. Our men have a prejudice against taking their business difficulties home with them. I've a suspicion it's because we're so ignorant they'd have to do too much explaining! So in most cases they haven't even a sympathetic understanding to help them over the bad places. It was so with Robert even after he had married the girl back home and brought her to the city. His idea was to keep her from all worry and anxiety, and so, when he came home at night and she asked him if he had had a good day, or if the work had gone well, he always replied cheerfully that things had gone about the same as usual, even though the day had been a particularly bad one. This was only at first, however. The girl happened to be the kind that likes to know things. One night, when she wakened to find him staring sleepless at the ceiling, the thought struck her that, after all, she knew nothing of his particular problems, and if they were partners in the business of living why shouldn't she be an intelligent member of the firm, even if only a silent one?

"So she began to read everything she could lay her hands on about the business of building construction, and very soon when she asked a question it was a fairly intelligent one, because it had some knowledge back of it. She didn't make the mistake of pestering him with questions before she had any groundwork of technical knowledge to build on, and I'm not sure that he ever guessed what she was up to, but I do know that gradually, as he found that he did not, for instance, have to draw a diagram and explain laboriously what a caisson was because she already knew a good deal about caissons, he fell into the habit of talking out to her a great many of the situations he would have to meet next day. Not that she offered her advice nor that he wanted it, but what helped was the fact of her sympathy—I should say her intelligent sympathy, for that is the only kind that can really help.

"So when his big chance came along she was ready to meet it with him. If he succeeded she would be all the better able to appreciate his success; and if he failed she would never blame him from ignorance. You must understand that his advance was no meteoric thing. He somehow, by dint of sitting up nights poring over blueprints and text-books and by day using his wits and his eyes and his native shrewdness, managed to pull off with fair success his first job as superintendent; was given other contracts to oversee; and gradually, through three years of hard work, learning, learning all the time, worked up to superintending some of the firm's important jobs. Then he struck out for himself."

Mrs. Trask turned to look out of the west window. "It sounds so easy," she mused. "'Struck out for himself.' But I think only a man can quite appreciate how much courage that takes. Probably, if the girl had not understood where he was trying to get to, he would have hesitated longer to give up his good, safe salary; but they talked it over, she understood the hazards of the game, and she was willing to take a chance. They had saved a tiny capital, and only a little over five years from the day he had come to New York he opened an office within a block of Fifth Avenue.

"I won't bore you with the details of the next two years, when he was getting together his organization, teaching himself the details of office work, stalking architects and owners for contracts. He acquired a slight stoop to his shoulders in those two years and there were days when there was nothing left of his boyishness but the inextinguishable twinkle in his hazel eyes. There were times when it seemed to him as if he had put to sea in a rowboat; as if he could never make port; but after a while small contracts began to come in, and then came along the big opportunity. Up in a New England city a large bank building was to be built; one of the directors was a friend of Rob's father, and Rob was given a chance to put in an estimate. It meant so much to him that he would not let himself count on getting the contract; he did not even tell the partner at home that he had been asked to put in an estimate until one day he came tearing in to tell her that he had been given the job. It seemed too wonderful to be true. The future looked so dazzling that they were almost afraid to contemplate it. Only something wildly extravagant would express their emotion, so they chartered a hansom cab and went gayly sailing up-town on the late afternoon tide of Fifth Avenue; and as they passed the building on which Robert had got his job as timekeeper he took off his hat to it, and she blew a kiss to it, and a dreary old clubman in a window next door brightened visibly!"

Mrs. Trask turned her face toward the steel skeleton springing up across the way like the magic beanstalk in the fairy-tale. "The things men have taught themselves to do!" she cried. "The endurance and skill, the inventiveness, the precision of science, the daring of human wits, the poetry and fire that go into the making of great buildings! We women walk in and out of them day after day, blindly—and this indifference is symbolical, I think, of the way we walk in and out of our men's lives.... I wish I could make you see that job of young Robert's so that you would feel in it what I do—the patience of men, the strain of the responsibility they carry night and day, the things life puts up to them, which they have to meet alone, the dogged endurance of them...."

Mrs. Trask leaned forward and traced a complicated diagram on the table-cloth with the point of a fork. "It was his first big job, you understand, and he had got it in competition with several older builders. From the first they were all watching him, and he knew it, which put a fine edge to his determination to put the job through with credit. To be sure, he was handicapped by lack of capital, but his past record had established his credit, and when the foundation work was begun it was a very hopeful young man that watched the first shovelful of earth taken out. But when they had gone down about twelve feet, with a trench for a retaining-wall, they discovered that the owners' boring plan was not a trustworthy representation of conditions; the job was going to be a soft-ground proposition. Where, according to the owners' preliminary borings, he should have found firm sand with a normal amount of moisture, Rob discovered sand that was like saturated oatmeal, and beyond that quicksand and water. Water! Why, it was like a subterranean lake fed by a young river! With the pulsometer pumps working night and day they couldn't keep the water out of the test pier he had sunk. It bubbled in as cheerfully as if it had eternal springs behind it, and drove the men out of the pier in spite of every effort. Rob knew then what he was up against. But he still hoped that he could sink the foundations without compressed air, which would be an immense expense he had not figured on in his estimate, of course. So he devised a certain kind of concrete crib, the first one was driven—and when they got it down beneath quicksand and water about twenty-five feet, it hung up on a boulder! You see, below the stratum of sand like saturated oatmeal, below the water and quicksand, they had come upon something like a New England pasture, as thick with big boulders as a bun with currants! If he had spent weeks hunting for trouble he couldn't have found more than was offered him right there. It was at this point that he went out and wired a big New York engineer, who happened to be a friend of his, to come up. In a day or two the engineer arrived, took a look at the job, and then advised Rob to quit.

"'It's a nasty job,' he told him. 'It will swallow every penny of your profits and probably set you back a few thousands. It's one of the worst soft-ground propositions I ever looked over.'

"Well that night young Robert went home with a sleep-walking expression in his eyes. He and the partner at home had moved up to Rockford to be near the job while the foundation work was going on, so the girl saw exactly what he was up against and what he had to decide between.

"'I could quit,' he said that night, after the engineer had taken his train back to New York, 'throw up the job, and the owners couldn't hold me because of their defective boring plans. But if I quit there'll be twenty competitors to say I've bit off more than I can chew. And if I go on I lose money; probably go into the hole so deep I'll be a long time getting out.'

"You see, where his estimates had covered only the expense of normal foundation work he now found himself up against the most difficult conditions a builder can face. When the girl asked him if the owners would not make up the additional cost he grinned ruefully. The owners were going to hold him to his original estimate; they knew that with his name to make he would hate to give up; and they were inclined to be almost as nasty as the job.

"'Then you'll have all this work and difficulty for nothing?' the girl asked. 'You may actually lose money on the job?'

"'Looks that way,' he admitted.

"'Then why do you go on?' she cried.

"His answer taught the girl a lot about the way a man looks at his job. 'If I take up the cards I can't be a quitter,' he said. 'It would hurt my record. And my record is the equivalent of credit and capital. I can't afford to have any weak spots in it. I'll take the gaff rather than have it said about me that I've lain down on a job. I'm going on with this thing to the end.'"

Little shrewd, reminiscent lines gathered about Mrs. Trask's eyes. "There's something exhilarating about a good fight. I've always thought that if I couldn't be a gunner I could get a lot of thrills out of just handing up the ammunition.... Well, Rob went on with the contract. With the first crib hung up on a boulder and the water coming in so fast they couldn't pump it out fast enough to dynamite, he was driven to use compressed air, and that meant the hiring of a compressor, locks, shafting—a terribly costly business—as well as bringing up to the job a gang of the high-priced labor that works under air. But this was done, and the first crib for the foundation piers went down slowly, with the sand-hogs—men that work in the caissons—drilling and blasting their way week after week through that underground New England pasture. Then, below this boulder-strewn stratum, instead of the ledge they expected they struck four feet of rotten rock, so porous that when air was put on it to force the water back great air bubbles blew up all through the lot, forcing the men out of the other caissons and trenches. But this was a mere dull detail, to be met by care and ingenuity like the others. And at last, forty feet below street level, they reached bed-rock. Forty-six piers had to be driven to this ledge.

"Rob knew now exactly what kind of a job was cut out for him. He knew he had not only the natural difficulties to overcome, but he was going to have to fight the owners for additional compensation. So one day he went into Boston and interviewed a famous old lawyer.

"'Would you object,' he asked the lawyer, 'to taking a case against personal friends of yours, the owners of the Rockford bank building?'

"'Not at all—and if you're right, I'll lick 'em! What's your case?'

"Rob told him the whole story. When he finished the famous man refused to commit himself one way or the other; but he said that he would be in Rockford in a few days, and perhaps he'd look at Robert's little job. So one day, unannounced, the lawyer appeared. The compressor plant was hard at work forcing the water back in the caissons, the pulsometer pumps were sucking up streams of water that flowed without ceasing into the settling tank and off into the city sewers, the men in the caissons were sending up buckets full of silt-like gruel. The lawyer watched operations for a few minutes, then he asked for the owners' boring plan. When he had examined this he grunted twice, twitched his lower lip humorously, and said: 'I'll put you out of this. If the owners wanted a deep-water lighthouse they should have specified one—not a bank building.'

"So the battle of legal wits began. Before the building was done Joshua Kent had succeeded in making the owners meet part of the additional cost of the foundation, and Robert had developed an acumen that stood by him the rest of his life. But there was something for him in this job bigger than financial gain or loss. Week after week, as he overcame one difficulty after another, he was learning, learning, just as he had done at Weil & Street's. His hazel eyes grew keener, his face thinner. For the job began to develop every freak and whimsy possible to a growing building. The owner of the department store next door refused to permit access through his basement, and that added many hundred dollars to the cost of building the party wall; the fire and telephone companies were continually fussing around and demanding indemnity because their poles and hydrants got knocked out of plumb; the thousands of gallons of dirty water pumped from the job into the city sewers clogged them up, and the city sued for several thousand dollars' damages; one day the car-tracks in front of the lot settled and valuable time was lost while the men shored them up; now and then the pulsometer engines broke down; the sand-hogs all got drunk and lost much time; an untimely frost spoiled a thousand dollars' worth of concrete one night. But the detail that required the most handling was the psychological effect on Rob's subcontractors. These men, observing the expensive preliminary operations, and knowing that Rob was losing money every day the foundation work lasted, began to ask one another if the young boss would be able to put the job through. If he failed, of course they who had signed up with him for various stages of the work would lose heavily. Panic began to spread among all the little army that goes to the making of a big building. The terra-cotta-floor men, the steel men, electricians and painters began to hang about the job with gloom in their eyes; they wore a path to the architect's door, and he, never having quite approved of so young a man being given the contract, did little to allay their apprehensions. Rob knew that if this kept up they'd hurt his credit, so he promptly served notice on the architect that if his credit was impaired by false rumors he'd hold him responsible; and he gave each subcontractor five minutes in which to make up his mind whether he wanted to quit or look cheerful. To a man they chose to stick by the job; so that detail was disposed of. In the meantime the sinking of piers for one of the retaining-walls was giving trouble. One morning at daylight Rob's superintendent telephoned him to announce that the street was caving in and the buildings across the way were cracking. When Rob got there he found the men standing about scared and helpless, while the plate-glass windows of the store opposite were cracking like pistols and the building settled. It appeared that when the trench for the south wall had gone down a certain distance water began to rush in under the sheeting as if from an underground river, and, of course, undermined the street and the store opposite. The pumps were started like mad, two gangs were put at work, with the superintendent swearing, threatening, and pleading to make them dig faster, and at last concrete was poured and the water stopped. That day Rob and his superintendent had neither breakfast nor lunch; but they had scarcely finished shoring up the threatened store when the owner of the store notified Rob that he would sue for damages, and the secretary of the Y. W. C. A. next door attempted to have the superintendent arrested for profanity. Rob said that when this happened he and his superintendent solemnly debated whether they should go and get drunk or start a fight with the sand-hogs; it did seem as if they were entitled to some emotional outlet, all the circumstances considered!

"So after months of difficulties the foundation work was at last finished. I've forgotten to mention that there was some little difficulty with the eccentricities of the sub-basement floor. The wet clay ruined the first concrete poured, and little springs had a way of gushing up in the boiler-room. Also, one night a concrete shell for the elevator pit completely disappeared—sank out of sight in the soft bottom. But by digging the trench again and jacking down the bottom and putting hay under the concrete, the floor was finished; and that detail was settled.

"The remainder of the job was by comparison uneventful. The things that happened were all more or less in the day's work, such as a carload of stone for the fourth story arriving when what the masons desperately needed was the carload for the second, and the carload for the third getting lost and being discovered after three days' search among the cripples in a Buffalo freight-yard. And there was a strike of structural-steel work workers which snarled up everything for a while; and always, of course, there were the small obstacles and differences owners and architects are in the habit of hatching up to keep a builder from getting indifferent. But these things were what every builder encounters and expects. What Rob's wife could not reconcile herself to was the fact that all those days of hard work, all those days and nights of strain and responsibility, were all for nothing. Profits had long since been drowned in the foundation work; Robert would actually have to pay several thousand dollars for the privilege of putting up that building! When the girl could not keep back one wail over this detail her husband looked at her in genuine surprise.

"'Why, it's been worth the money to me, what I've learned,' he said. 'I've got an education out of that old hoodoo that some men go through Tech and work twenty years without getting; I've learned a new wrinkle in every one of the building trades; I've learned men and I've learned law, and I've delivered the goods. It's been hell, but I wouldn't have missed it!'"

Mrs. Trask looked eagerly and a little wistfully at the three faces in front of her. Her own face was alight. "Don't you see—that's the way a real man looks at his work; but that man's wife would never have understood it if she hadn't been interested enough to watch his job. She saw him grow older and harder under that job; she saw him often haggard from the strain and sleepless because of a dozen intricate problems; but she never heard him complain and she never saw him any way but courageous and often boyishly gay when he'd got the best of some difficulty. And furthermore, she knew that if she had been the kind of a woman who is not interested in her husband's work he would have kept it to himself, as most American husbands do. If he had, she would have missed a chance to learn a lot of things that winter, and she probably wouldn't have known anything about the final chapter in the history of the job that the two of them had fallen into the habit of referring to as the White Elephant. They had moved back to New York then, and the Rockford bank building was within two weeks of its completion, when at seven o'clock one morning their telephone rang. Rob answered it and his wife heard him say sharply: 'Well, what are you doing about it?' And then: 'Keep it up. I'll catch the next train.'

"'What is it?' she asked, as he turned away from the telephone and she saw his face.

"'The department store next to the Elephant is burning,' he told her. 'Fireproof? Well, I'm supposed to have built a fireproof building—but you never can tell.'

"His wife's next thought was of insurance, for she knew that Robert had to insure the building himself up to the time he turned it over to the owners. 'The insurance is all right?' she asked him.

"But she knew by the way he turned away from her that the worst of all their bad luck with the Elephant had happened, and she made him tell her. The insurance had lapsed about a week before. Rob had not renewed the policy because its renewal would have meant adding several hundreds to his already serious deficit, and, as he put it, it seemed to him that everything that could happen to that job had already happened. But now the last stupendous, malicious catastrophe threatened him. Both of them knew when he said good-by that morning and hurried out to catch his train that he was facing ruin. His wife begged him to let her go with him; at least she would be some one to talk to on that interminable journey; but he said that was absurd; and, anyway, he had a lot of thinking to do. So he started off alone.

"At the station before he left he tried to get the Rockford bank building on the telephone. He got Rockford and tried for five minutes to make a connection with his superintendent's telephone in the bank building, until the operator's voice came to him over the wire: 'I tell you, you can't get that building, mister. It's burning down!'

"'How do you know?' he besought her.

"'I just went past there and I seen it,' her voice came back at him.

"He got on the train. At first he felt nothing but a queer dizzy vacuum where his brain should have been; the landscape outside the windows jumbled together like a nightmare landscape thrown up on a moving-picture screen. For fifty miles he merely sat rigidly still, but in reality he was plunging down like a drowning man to the very bottom of despair. And then, like the drowning man, he began to come up to the surface again. The instinct for self-preservation stirred in him and broke the grip of that hypnotizing despair. At first slowly and painfully, but at last with quickening facility, he began to think, to plan. Stations went past; a man he knew spoke to him and then walked on, staring; but he was deaf and blind. He was planning for the future. Already he had plumbed, measured, and put behind him the fact of the fire; what he occupied himself with now was what he could save from the ashes to make a new start with. And he told me afterwards that actually, at the end of two hours of the liveliest thinking he had ever done in his life, he began to enjoy himself! His fighting blood began to tingle; his head steadied and grew cool; his mind reached out and examined every aspect of his stupendous failure, not to indulge himself in the weakness of regret, but to find out the surest and quickest way to get on his feet again. Figuring on the margins of timetables, going over the contracts he had in hand, weighing every asset he possessed in the world, he worked out in minute detail a plan to save his credit and his future. When he got off the train at Boston he was a man that had already begun life over again; he was a general that was about to make the first move in a long campaign, every move and counter-move of which he carried in his brain. Even as he crossed the station he was rehearsing the speech he was going to make at the meeting of his creditors he intended to hold that afternoon. Then, as he hastened toward a telephone-booth, he ran into a newsboy. A headline caught his eye. He snatched at the paper, read the headlines, standing there in the middle of the room. And then he suddenly sat down on the nearest bench, weak and shaking.

"On the front page of the paper was a half-page picture of the Rockford bank building with the flames curling up against its west wall, and underneath it a caption that he read over and over before he could grasp what it meant to him. The White Elephant had not burned; in fact, at the last it had turned into a good elephant, for it had not only not burned but it had stopped the progress of what threatened to be a very disastrous conflagration, according to a jubilant despatch from Rockford. And Robert, reading these lines over and over, felt an amazing sort of indignant disappointment to think that now he would not have a chance to put to the test those plans he had so minutely worked out. He was in the position of a man that has gone through the painful process of readjusting his whole life; who has mentally met and conquered a catastrophe that fails to come off. He felt quite angry and cheated for a few minutes, until he regained his mental balance and saw how absurd he was, and then, feeling rather foolish and more than a little shaky, he caught a train and went up to Rockford.

"There he found out that the report had been right; beyond a few cracked wire-glass windows—for which, as one last painful detail, he had to pay—and a blackened side wall, the Elephant was unharmed. The men putting the finishing touches to the inside had not lost an hour's work. All that dreadful journey up from New York had been merely one last turn of the screw.

"Two weeks later he turned the Elephant over to the owners, finished, a good, workmanlike job from roof to foundation-piers. He had lost money on it; for months he had worked overtime his courage, his ingenuity, his nerve, and his strength. But that did not matter. He had delivered the goods. I believe he treated himself to an afternoon off and went to a ball-game; but that was all, for by this time other jobs were under way, a whole batch of new problems were waiting to be solved; in a week the Elephant was forgotten."

Mrs. Trask pushed back her chair and walked to the west window. A strange quiet had fallen upon the sky-scraper now; the workmen had gone down the ladders, the steam-riveters had ceased their tapping. Mrs. Trask opened the window and leaned out a little.

Behind her the three women at the tea-table gathered up their furs in silence. Cornelia Blair looked relieved and prepared to go on to dinner at another club, Mrs. Bullen avoided Mrs. Van Vechten's eye. In her rosy face faint lines had traced themselves, as if vaguely some new perceptiveness troubled her. She looked at her wristwatch and rose from the table hastily.

"I must run along," she said. "I like to get home before John does. You going my way, Sally?"

Mrs. Van Vechten shook her head absently. There was a frown between her dark brows; but as she stood fastening her furs her eyes went to the west window, with an expression in them that was almost wistful. For an instant she looked as if she were going over to the window beside Mary Trask; then she gathered up her gloves and muff and went out without a word.

Mary Trask was unaware of her going. She had forgotten the room behind her and her friends at the tea-table, as well as the other women drifting in from the adjoining room. She was contemplating, with her little, absent-minded smile, her husband's name on the builder's sign halfway up the unfinished sky-scraper opposite.

"Good work, old Rob," she murmured. Then her hand went up in a quaint gesture that was like a salute. "To all good jobs and the men behind them!" she added.


[11] Copyright, 1920, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
Copyright, 1921, by Grace Sartwell Mason.



From The Dial

There is a bitter moment in youth, and this moment had come to Paul. He had passed his mother's door without entering or even calling out to her, and had climbed on doggedly to the top floor. Now he was shut in his sanctuary, his room, sitting at his table. His head rested on a hand, his dark eyes had an expression of confused anguish, a look of guilt and sternness mingled.... He could no more have visited his mother, he told himself, than he could voluntarily have chopped off his hand. And yet he was amazed at the cruelty in himself, a hard cold cruelty which prompted the thought: "Even if this means her death or my death, I shall go through with this."

It was because of such a feeling that he couldn't talk to his mother. Paul was one of those sensitive youths who are delivered over to their emotions—swept now and then by exaltation, now by despair, now by anguish or rage, always excessive, never fully under control. He was moody, and always seemed unable to say the right thing or do the right thing. Suddenly the emotion used him as a mere instrument and came forth in a shameful nakedness. But the present situation was by all odds the most terrible he had faced: for against the cold cruelty, there throbbed, warm and unutterably sweet, like a bird in a nest of iron, an intense childish longing and love....

You see, Paul was nineteen, the eldest son in a family of four, and his mother was a widow. She was not poor; they lived in this large comfortable house on a side street east of Central Park. But neither was she well off, and Paul was very magnanimous; he had given up college and gone to work as a clerk. Perhaps it wasn't only magnanimity, but also pride. He was proud to be the oldest son, to play father, to advise with his mother about the children, to be the man of the house. Yet he was always a mere child, living, as his two sisters and his brother lived, in delicate response to his mother's feelings and wishes. And he wanted to be a good son: he thought nothing was more wonderful than a child who was good to his mother. She had given all for her children, they in return must give all to her. But against this spirit of sacrifice there arose a crude, ugly, healthy, monstrous force, a terrible thing that kept whispering to him: "You can't live your mother's life: you must live your own life."

Once, when he had said something conceited, his mother had flashed out at him: "You're utterly selfish." This stung and humiliated him. Yet this terrible monster in himself seemed concerned about nothing but self. It seemed a sort of devil always tempting him to eat of forbidden fruit. Lovely fruit, too. There was Agnes, for instance: Agnes, a mere girl, with a pigtail down her back, daughter of the fishman on Third Avenue.

His mother held Agnes in horror. That her son should be in love with a fishman's daughter! And all the child in Paul, responding so sensitively to his mother's feelings, agreed to this. He had contempt for himself, he struggled against the romantic Thousand and One Nights glamour, which turned Third Avenue into a Lovers' Lane of sparkling lights. He struggled, vainly. Poetry was his passion: and he steeped himself in Romeo and Juliet, and in Keats's St. Agnes' Eve and The Pot of Basil.... It was then the great struggle with his mother began, and the large house became a gloomy vault, something dank, damp, sombre, something out of Poe, where a secret duel to the death was being fought, mostly in undertones and sometimes with sharp cries and stabbing words.

Now, this evening, with his head in his hand, he knew that the end had already been reached. To pass his mother's door without a greeting, especially since he was well aware that she was ill, was so unprecedented, so violent an act, that it seemed to have the finality of something criminal. His mother had said two days ago: "This can't go on. It is killing me."

"All right," he flashed. "It sha'n't. I'll get out."

"I suppose you'll marry," she said, "on fifteen a week."

He spoke bitterly:

"I'll get out of New York altogether. I'll work my way through college...."

She almost sneered at the suggestion. And this sneer rankled. He telegraphed his friend, at a little freshwater college, and Samuel telegraphed back: "Come." That day he drew his money from the bank, and got his tickets for the midnight sleeper. And he did all this with perfect cruelty....

But now the time had come to go, and things were different. An autumn wind was blowing out of the park, doubtless carrying seeds and dead leaves, and gusting down the street, blowing about the sparkling lamps, eddying in the area-ways, rapping in passing on the loose windows.... The lights in the houses were all warm, because you saw only the glowing yellow shades: Third Avenue was lit up and down with shop-windows, and people were doing late marketing. It was a night when nothing seemed so sweet, or sane, or comfortable, as a soft-lighted room, and a family sitting together. Soft voices, familiarity, warm intimacy, the feeling of security and ease, the unspoken welling of love and understanding: these belonged to such a night, when the whole world seemed dying and there was only man to keep the fires burning against death.

And so, out of its tomb, the little child in Paul stepped out again, beautiful and sweet with love and longing. And this little child said to him: "Sacrifice—surrender—let the hard heart melt with pity.... There is no freedom except in love, which gives all." For a moment Paul's vivid imagination, which presented everything to him like works of dramatic art, pictured himself going down the steps, as once he had done, creeping to his mother's bed, flinging himself down, sobbing and moaning, "Forgive me. Forgive me."

But just then he heard the stairs creak and thought that his eldest sister was coming up to question him. His heart began a frightened throbbing: he shook with a guilty fear, and at once he saved himself with a bitter resurgence of cruel anger. He hated his sister, he told himself, with a livid hatred. She always sided with his mother. She was bossy and smart and high and mighty. He knew what he would do. He jumped up, went to the door, and locked it. So—she could beat her head on the door, for all he cared!

He packed. He got out his valise, and filled it with his necessaries. He would let the rest go: the books, the old clothes. He was going to start life all over again He was going to wipe out the past....

When he was finished, he anxiously opened his pocket-book to see if the tickets were safe. He looked at them. It was now ten o'clock. Two hours—and then the long train would pull out, and he would be gone.... To-morrow morning they'd come downstairs. His sister probably would sit at the foot of the table, instead of himself. The table would seem small with himself gone. Perhaps the house would seem a little empty. Automatically they would wait for the click of his key in the front door lock at seven in the evening. He would not come home at all....

His mother might die. She had told him this was killing her.... It was so easy for him to go, so hard for her to stay.... She had invested most of her capital of hopes and dreams and love in him: he was the son; he was the first man. And now he was shattering the very structure of her life....

Easy for him to go! He slumped into the chair again, at the table.... The wind blew strongly, and he knew just how the grey street looked with its spots of yellow sparkling lamplight; its shadows, its glowing windows.... He knew the smell of the fish-shop, the strange raw sea-smell, the sight of glittering iridescent scales, the beauty of lean curved fishes, the red of broiled lobsters, the pink-cheeked swarthy fishman, the dark loveliness of Agnes.... He had written to Agnes. His mother didn't know of it, but he was done with Agnes. Agnes meant nothing to him. She had only been a way out, something to cling to, something to fight for in this fight for his life....

Fight for his life! Had he not read of this in books, how the young must slay the old in order that life might go on, just as the earth must die in autumn so that the seeds of spring may be planted? Had he not read Ibsen's Master Builder, where the aging hero hears the dread doom which youth brings, "the younger generation knocking at the door"? He was the younger generation, he was the young hero. And now, at once, a vivid dramatization took place in his brain: it unwound clear as hallucination. He forgot everything else, he sat there as a writer sits, living his fiction, making strange gestures with face and hands, muttering words under his breath....

In this phantasy, he saw himself rising, appearing a little older, a little stronger, and on his face a look of divine compassion and understanding, yet a firmness inexorable as fate. He repeated Hamlet's words: "For I am cruel only to be kind." Blame life, fate, the gods who decree that a man must live his own life: don't blame me.

He unlocked the door, crossed the big hall, stepped down the stairs. His mother's door was shut. The younger generation must knock at it. He knocked. A low, sad voice said: "Come." He opened the door.

This was the way it always was: a pin-point of light by the western window, a newspaper pinned to the glass globe of the gas-jet to shield his mother's eyes, the wide range of warm shadow, and in the shadow the two beds. But his sister was not in one of them. His mother was alone....

He went to the bedside....



He took her hand.

"Are you feeling better?" he asked.

"A little more quiet, Paul...."

"I am very glad...."

Now there was silence.... Then he spoke quietly, honestly, candidly. It was the only way. Why can't human beings be simple with one another, be sweetly reasonable? Isn't a little understanding worth more than pride and anger? To understand is to forgive. Surely any one must know that.

Starting to speak, he sat down on the chair beside the bed, still holding her hand....

"Mother, come let's talk to one another. You think perhaps I have stopped loving you. It isn't true. I love you deeply. All this is breaking my heart. But how can I help it? Can't you see that I am young, and my life all before me? The best of your life is behind you. You have lived, I haven't. You have tasted the sweet mysteries of love, the agonies of death and birth, the terrors of lonely struggle. And I must have these, too. I am hungry for them. I can't help myself. I am like a leaf in the wind, like a rain-drop in the storm.... How can you keep me here? If you compel me, I'll become a shadow, all twisted and broken. I won't be a man, but a helpless child. Perhaps I shall go out of my mind. And what good will that do you? You will suffer more if I stay, than if I go. Oh, understand me, mother, understand me!"

His mother began to cry. She spoke at first as she always spoke, and then more like a mother in a poem.

"Understand? What do you understand? You know nothing about life. Oh, I only wish you had children and your children turned against you! That's the only way that you will ever learn.... I worked for you so hard. I gave up everything for my children. And your father died, and I went on alone, a woman with a great burden.... What sort of life have I had? Sacrifice, toil, tears.... I skimped along. I wore the same dress year after year, for five, six years.... I hung over your sickbeds, I taught you at my knees. I have known the bitterness of child-bearing, and the bitter cry of children.... I have fought alone for my little ones.... And you, Paul! You who were the darling of my heart, my little man, you who said you would take your father's place and take care of me and of your sisters and brother! You who were to repay me for everything; to give me a future, to comfort my old age, the staff I leaned on, my comfort, my son! I was proud of you as you grew up: so proud to see your pride, and your ambition. I knew you would succeed, that you would have fame and power and wealth, and I should be the proudest mother in the world! This was my dream.... Now I see you a failure, one who cares for nothing but self-indulgence and pleasure, a rolling stone, a flitter from place to place, and I—I am an old woman, deserted, left alone to wither in bitterness.... I gave everything to you—and you—you give back despair, loneliness, anguish. I gave you life: you turn on me and destroy me for the gift.... Oh, mother-love! What man will understand it—the piercing anguish, the roots that clutch the deep heart?... I feel the chill of death creeping over me...."

The tears rolled down Paul's cheeks. He pressed her hand now with both of his.

"Oh, mother, but I do understand! I have understood always, I have tried so hard to help you. I have tried so hard to be a good son. But this is something greater than I. We are in the hands of God, mother, and it is the law that the young must leave the old. Why do parents expect the impossible of their children? Does not the Bible say, 'You must leave father and mother, and cleave to me'? Didn't you leave grandmother and grandpa, to go to your husband? Can't you remember when you were young, and your whole soul carried you away to your own life and your own future? Mother, let us part with understanding, let us part with love."

"But when are you going, Paul?"


His mother flung her arms about him desperately and clung to him....

"I can't let you go, Paul," she moaned.

"Oh, mother," he sobbed. "This is breaking my heart...."

"It is Agnes you are going to," she whispered.

"No, mother," he cried. "It is not Agnes. I am going to college. I shall never marry. I shall still take care of you. Think—every vacation I will be back here...."

She relaxed, lay back, and his inventions failed. He had a confused sense of soothing her, of gentleness and reconciliation, of a last good-bye....

And now he sat, head on hand, slowly realizing again the little gas-lit room, the shaking window, the autumn wind. A throb of fear pulsed through his heart. He had passed his mother's door without greeting her. And there was his valise, and here his tickets. And the time? It was nearly eleven.... A great heaviness of futility and despair weighed him down. He felt incapable of action. He felt that he had done some terrible deed—like striking his mother in the face—something unforgivable, unreversible, struck through and through with finality.... He felt more and more cold and brutal, with the sullenness of the criminal who can't undo his crime and won't admit his guilt....

Was it all over, then? Was he really leaving? Fear, and a prophetic breath of the devastating loneliness he should yet know, came upon him, paralyzed his mind, made him weak and aghast. He was going out into the night of death, launching on his frail raft into the barren boundless ocean of darkness, leaving the last landmarks, drifting out in utter nakedness and loneliness.... All the future grew black and impenetrable; but he knew shapes of terror, demons of longing and grief and guilt loomed there, waiting for him. He knew that he was about to understand a little of life in a very ancient and commonplace way: the way of experience and of reality: that at first hand he was to have the taste against his palate of that bitterness and desolation, that terror and helplessness, which make the songs and fictions of man one endless tragedy.... Destiny was taking him, as the jailer who comes to the condemned man's cell on the morning of the execution. There was no escape. No end, but death....

He was leaving everything that was comfort in a bleak world, everything that was safe and tried and known in a world of unthinkable perils and mysteries. Only this he knew, still a child, still on the inside of his mother's house.... He knew now how terrible, how deep, how human were the cords that bound him to his mother, how fierce the love, by the fear and deadly helplessness he felt.... What could he have been about all these months of darkening the house, of paining his mother and the children, of bringing matters to such inexorable finalities? Was he sane? Was he now possessed of some demon, some beast of low desire? Freedom? What was freedom? Could there be freedom without love?

And now, as he sat there, there came slow deliberate footsteps on the stairs. There was no mistaking the sounds. It was Cora, his older sister.... His heart palpitated wildly, he shook with fear, the colour left his cheeks, and he tried to set his face and his throat like flint not to betray himself. She came straight on. She knocked.

"Paul," she said in a peremptory tone, clothed with all the authority of his mother....

He grew cold all over, his eyelids narrowed; he felt brutal....

"What is it?" he asked hard.

"Mother wants you to come right down."

"I will come," he said.

Her footsteps departed.... He rose slowly, heavily, like the man who must now face the executioner.... He stuck his pocketbook back in his coat and picked up his valise. Mechanically he looked about the room. Then he unlocked and opened the door, shut off the gas, and went into the lighted hall.

And as he descended the steps he felt ever smaller before the growing terror of the world. Never had he been more of a child than at this moment: never had he longed more fiercely to sob and cry out and give over everything.... How had this guilt descended upon him? What had he done? Why was all this necessary? Who was forcing him through this strange and frightful experience? He went on, lower and lower....

The door of his mother's room was a little open. It was all as it had always been—the pin-point of light, the shading newspaper, the sick-room silence, the warm shadow.... He paused a second to summon up strength, to combat the monster of fear and guilt in his heart. He tried with all his little boyish might to smooth out his face, to set it straight and firm. He pushed the door, set down the valise, entered: pale, large-eyed, looking hard and desperate.

He did not see his sister at all, though she sat under the light. His mother he hardly saw: had the sense of a towel binding her head, and the dim form under the bedclothes. He stepped clumsily—he was trembling so—to the foot of her bed, and grasped the brass rail for support....

His mother's voice was low and thick; a terrible voice. Her throat was swollen, and she could speak only with difficulty. The voice accused him. It said plainly: "It was you did this."

She said: "Paul, this has got to end."

His tongue seemed the fork of a snake, his words came with such deadly coldness....

"It will end to-night."

"How ... to-night?"

"I'm leaving.... I'm going west...."

"West.... Where?"

"To Sam's...."

"Oh," said his mother....

There was a long cruel silence. He shut his eyes, overcome with a sort of horror.... Then she turned her face a little away, and he heard the faintly breathed words....

"This is the end of me...."

Still he said nothing. She turned toward him, with a groan.

"Have you nothing to say?"

Again he spoke with deadly coldness....


She waited a moment: then she spoke....

"You have no feelings. When you set out to do a thing, you will trample over every one. I have never been able to do anything with you. You may become a great man, Paul: but I pity any one who loves you, any one who gets in your path. You will kill whatever holds you—always.... I was a fool to give birth to you: a great fool to count on you.... Well, it's over.... You have your way...."

He was amazed: he trembling there, guilty, afraid, horrified, his whole soul beseeching the comfort of her arms! He a cold trampler?

He stood, with all the feeling of one who is falsely condemned, and yet with all the guilt of one who has sinned....

And then, suddenly, a wild animal cry came from his mother's throat....

"Oh," she cried, "how terrible it is to have children!"

His heart echoed her cry.... The executioner's knife seemed to strike his throat....

He stood a long while in the silence.... Then his mother turned in the bed, sideways, and covered her face with the counterpane.... His sister rose up stiffly, whispering:

"She's going to sleep."

He stood, dead.... He turned like a wound-up mechanism, went to the door, picked up his valise, and fumbled his way through the house.... The outer door he shut very softly....

He must take the Lexington Avenue car. Yes; that was the quickest way. He faced west. The great wind of autumn came with a glorious gusto, doubtless with flying seeds and flying leaves, chanting the song of the generations, and of them that die and of them that are born.


[12] Copyright, 1920, by The Dial Publishing Company.
Copyright, 1921, by James Oppenheim.



From The Cosmopolitan

There were many women on East Fourteenth Street. With the seeing eye of the artist, the dummy-chucker looked them over and rejected them. Kindly-seeming, generously fat, the cheap movie houses disgorged them. A dozen alien tongues smote the air, and every one of them hinted of far lands of poverty, of journeys made and hardships undergone. No better field for beggary in all Manhattan's bounteous acreage.

But the dummy-chucker shook his head and shuffled ever westward. These were good souls, but—they thought in cents. Worse than that, they translated their financial thoughts into the pitiful coinage of their birthplaces. And in the pocket of the dummy-chucker rested a silver dollar.

A gaunt man, who towered high, and whose tongue held the cadences of the wide spaces, had slipped this dollar into the receptive hand of the dummy-chucker. True, it was almost a fortnight ago, and the man might have gone back to his Western home—but Broadway had yielded him up to the dummy-chucker. Broadway might yield up such another.

At Union Square, the dummy-chucker turned north. Past the Flatiron Building he shuffled, until, at length, the Tenderloin unfolded itself before him. These were the happy hunting-grounds!

Of course—and he glanced behind him quickly—there were more fly cops on Broadway than on the lower East Side. One of them had dug his bony fingers between the shabby collar of the dummy-chucker's coat and the lank hair that hung down his neck. He had yanked the dummy-chucker to his feet. He had dragged his victim to a patrol-box; he had taken him to a police station, whence he had been conveyed to Jefferson Market Court, where a judge had sentenced him to a sojourn on Blackwell's Island.

That had been ten days ago. This very day, the municipal ferry had landed the dummy-chucker, with others of his slinking kind, upon Manhattan's shores again. Not for a long time would the memory of the Island menu be effaced from the dummy-chucker's palate, the locked doors be banished from his mental vision.

A man might be arrested on Broadway, but he might also get the money. Timorously, the dummy-chucker weighed the two possibilities. He felt the dollar in his pocket. At a street in the Forties, he turned westward. Beyond Eighth Avenue there was a place where the shadow of prohibition was only a shadow.

Prices had gone up, but, as Finisterre Joe's bartender informed him, there was more kick in a glass of the stuff that cost sixty cents to-day than there had been in a barrel of the old juice. And, for a good customer, Finisterre Joe's bartender would shade the price a trifle. The dummy-chucker received two portions of the crudely blended poison that passed for whisky in exchange for his round silver dollar. It was with less of a shuffle and more of a stride that he retraced his steps toward Broadway.

Slightly north of Times Square, he surveyed his field of action. Across the street, a vaudeville house was discharging its mirth-surfeited audience. Half a block north, laughing groups testified that the comedy they had just left had been as funny as its press-agent claimed. The dummy-chucker shook his head. He moved south, his feet taking on that shuffle which they had lost temporarily.

"She Loved and Lost"—that was the name of the picture being run this week at the Concorde. Outside was billed a huge picture of the star, a lady who received more money for making people weep than most actors obtain for making them laugh. The dummy-chucker eyed the picture approvingly. He took his stand before the main entrance. This was the place! If he tried to do business with a flock of people that had just seen Charlie Chaplin, he'd fail. He knew! Fat women who'd left the twins at home with the neighbor's cook in order that they might have a good cry at the Concorde—these were his mutton-heads.

He reeled slightly as several flappers passed—just for practise. Ten days on Blackwell's hadn't spoiled his form. They drew away from him; yet, from their manners, he knew that they did not suspect him of being drunk. Well, hurrah for prohibition, after all! Drunkenness was the last thing people suspected of a hard-working man nowadays. He slipped his hand in his pocket. They were coming now—the fat women with the babies at home, their handkerchiefs still at their eyes. His hand slipped to his mouth. His jaws moved savagely. One thing was certain: out of to-day's stake he'd buy some decent-tasting soap. This awful stuff that he'd borrowed from the Island——

The stoutest woman paused; she screamed faintly as the dummy-chucker staggered, pitched forward, and fell at her short-vamped feet. Excitedly she grasped her neighbor's arm.

"He's gotta fit!"

The neighbor bent over the prostrate dummy-chucker.

"Ep'lepsy," she announced. "Look at the foam on his lips."

"Aw, the poor man!"

"Him so strong-looking, too!"

"Ain't it the truth? These husky-looking men sometimes are the sickliest."

The dummy-chucker stirred. He sat up feebly. With his sleeve, he wiped away the foam. Dazedly he spoke.

"If I had a bite to eat——"

He looked upward at the first stout woman. Well and wisely had he chosen his scene. Movie tickets cost fractions of a dollar. There is always some stray silver in the bead bag of a movie patron. Into the dummy-chucker's outstretched palm fell pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. There was present to-day no big-hearted Westerner with silver dollars, but here was comparative wealth. Already the dummy-chucker saw himself again at Finisterre Joe's, this time to purchase no bottled courage but to buy decantered ease.

"T'ank, ladies," he murmured. "If I can get a bite to eat and rest up——"

"'Rest up!'" The shrill jeer of a newsboy broke in upon his pathetic speech. "Rest up again on the Island! That's the kind of a rest up you'll get, y' big tramp."

"Can't you see the man's sick?" The stoutest one turned indignantly upon the newsboy. But the scoffer held his ground.

"'Sick?' Sure he's sick! Eatin' soap makes anyone sick. Youse dames is easy. He's chuckin' a dummy."

"'A dummy?'"

The dummy-chucker sat a bit straighter.

"Sure, ma'am. That's his game. He t'rows phony fits. He eats a bit of soap and makes his mouth foam. Last week, he got pinched right near here——"

But the dummy-chucker heard no more. He rolled sidewise just as the cry: "Police!" burst from the woman's lips. He reached the curb, rose, burst through the gathering crowd, and rounded a corner at full speed.

He was half-way to Eighth Avenue, and burning lungs had slowed him to a jog-trot, when a motor-car pulled up alongside the curb. It kept gentle pace with the fugitive. A shrewd-featured young man leaned from its fashionably sloped wheel.

"Better hop aboard," he suggested. "That policeman is fat, but he has speed."

The dummy-chucker glanced over his shoulder. Looming high as the Woolworth Building, fear overcoming the dwarfing tendency of distance, came a policeman. The dummy-chucker leaped to the motor's running-board. He climbed into the vacant front seat.

"Thanks, feller," he grunted. "A li'l speed, please."

The young man chuckled. He rounded the corner into Eighth Avenue and darted north among the trucks.

At Columbus Circle, the dummy-chucker spoke.

"Thanks again, friend," he said. "I'll be steppin' off here."

His rescuer glanced at him.

"Want to earn a hundred dollars?"

"Quitcher kiddin'," said the dummy-chucker.

"No, no; this is serious," said the young man.

The dummy-chucker leaned luxuriously back in his seat.

"Take me anywhere, friend," he said.

Half-way round the huge circle at Fifty-ninth Street, the young man guided the car. Then he shot into the park. They curved eastward. They came out on Fifth Avenue, somewhere in the Seventies. They shot eastward another half-block, and then the car stopped in front of an apartment-house. The young man pressed the button on the steering-wheel. In response to the short blast of the electric horn, a uniformed man appeared. The young man alighted. The dummy-chucker followed suit.

"Take the car around to the garage, Andrews," said the young man. He nodded to the dummy-chucker. In a daze, the mendicant followed his rescuer. He entered a gorgeously mirrored and gilded hall. He stepped into an elevator chauffeured by a West Indian of the haughtiest blood. The dummy-chucker was suddenly conscious of his tattered garb, his ill-fitting, run-down shoes. He stepped, when they alighted from the lift, as gingerly as though he trod on tacks.

A servant in livery, as had been the waiting chauffeur downstairs, opened a door. If he was surprised at his master's choice of guest, he was too well trained to show it. He did not rebel even when ordered to serve sandwiches and liquor to the dummy-chucker.

"You seem hungry," commented the young man.

The dummy-chucker reached for another sandwich with his left hand while he poured himself a drink of genuine Scotch with his right.

"And thirsty," he grunted.

"Go to it," observed his host genially.

The dummy-chucker went to it for a good ten minutes. Then he leaned back in the heavily upholstered chair which the man servant had drawn up for him. He stared round him.

"Smoke?" asked his host.

The dummy-chucker nodded. He selected a slim panetela and pinched it daintily between the nails of his thumb and forefinger. His host watched the operation with interest.

"Why?" he asked.

"Better than cuttin' the end off," explained the dummy-chucker. "It's a good smoke," he added, puffing.

"You know tobacco," said his host. "Where did you learn?"

"Oh, we all have our ups and downs," replied the dummy-chucker. "But don't get nervous. I ain't goin' to tell you that I was a millionaire's son, educated at Harvard. I'm a bum."

"Doesn't seem to bother you," said his host.

"It don't," asserted the dummy-chucker. "Except when the police butt into my game. I just got off Blackwell's Island this morning."

"And almost went back this afternoon."

The dummy-chucker nodded.

"Almost," he said. His eyes wandered around the room. "Some dump!" he stated. Then his manner became business-like. "You mentioned a hundred dollars—what for?"

The young man shrugged.

"Not hard work. You merely have to look like a gentleman, and act like——"

"Like a bum?" asked the dummy-chucker.

"Well, something like that."

The dummy-chucker passed his hand across his stubby chin.

"Shoot!" he said. "Anything short of murder—anything, friend."

His host leaned eagerly forward.

"There's a girl—" he began.

The dummy-chucker nodded.

"There always is," he interrupted. "I forgot to mention that I bar kidnaping, too."

"It's barred," said the young man. He hitched his chair a trifle nearer his guest. "She's beautiful. She's young."

"And the money? The coin? The good red gold?"

"I have enough for two. I don't care about her money."

"Neither do I," said the dummy-chucker; "so long as I get my hundred. Shoot!"

"About a year ago," resumed the host, "she accepted, after a long courtship, a young man by the name of—oh, let's call him Jones."

The dummy-chucker inhaled happily.

"Call him any darned thing you like," he said cheerily.

"Jones was a drunkard," said the host.

"And she married him?" The dummy-chucker's eyebrows lifted slightly.

"No. She told him that if he'd quit drinking she'd marry him. She stipulated that he go without drink for one year."

The dummy-chucker reached for a fresh cigar. He lighted it and leaned back farther in the comfortable chair.

"Jones," continued the young man, "had tried to quit before. He knew himself pretty well. He knew that, even with war-time prohibition just round the corner, he couldn't keep away from liquor. Not while he stayed in New York. But a classmate of his had been appointed head of an expedition that was to conduct exploration work in Brazil. He asked his classmate for a place in the party. You see, he figured that in the wilds of Brazil there wouldn't be any chance for drunkenness."

"A game guy," commented the dummy-chucker. "Well, what happened?"

"He died of jungle-fever two months ago," was the answer. "The news just reached Rio Janeiro yesterday."

The dummy-chucker lifted his glass of Scotch.

"To a regular feller," he said, and drank. He set his glass down gently. "And the girl? I suppose she's all shot to pieces?"

"She doesn't know," said the host quietly.

The dummy-chucker's eyebrows lifted again.

"I begin to get you," he said. "I'm the messenger from Brazil who breaks the sad news to her, eh?"

The young man shook his head.

"The news isn't to be broken to her—not yet. You see—well, I was Jones' closest friend. He left his will with me, his personal effects, and all that. So I'm the one that received the wire of his death. In a month or so, of course, it will be published in the newspapers—when letters have come from the explorers. But, just now, I'm the only one that knows it."

"Except me," said the dummy-chucker.

The young man smiled dryly.

"Except you. And you won't tell. Ever wear evening clothes?"

The dummy-chucker stiffened. Then he laughed sardonically.

"Oh, yes; when I was at Princeton. What's the idea?"

His host studied him carefully.

"Well, with a shave, and a hair-cut, and a manicure, and the proper clothing, and the right setting—well, if a person had only a quick glance—that person might think you were Jones."

The dummy-chucker carefully brushed the ashes from his cigar upon a tray.

"I guess I'm pretty stupid to-night. I still don't see it."

"You will," asserted his host. "You see, she's a girl who's seen a great deal of the evil of drink. She has a horror of it. If she thought that Jones had broken his pledge to her, she'd throw him over."

"'Throw him over?' But he's dead!" said the dummy-chucker.

"She doesn't know that," retorted his host.

"Why don't you tell her?"

"Because I want to marry her."

"Well, I should think the quickest way to get her would be to tell her about Jones——"

"You don't happen to know the girl," interrupted the other. "She's a girl of remarkable conscience. If I should tell her that Jones died in Brazil, she'd enshrine him in her memory. He'd be a hero who had died upon the battle-field. More than that—he'd be a hero who had died upon the battle-field in a war to which she had sent him. His death would be upon her soul. Her only expiation would be to be faithful to him forever."

"I won't argue about it," said the dummy-chucker. "I don't know her. Only—I guess your whisky has got me. I don't see it at all."

His host leaned eagerly forward now.

"She's going to the opera to-night with her parents. But, before she goes, she's going to dine with me at the Park Square. Suppose, while she's there, Jones should come in. Suppose that he should come in reeling, noisy, drunk! She'd marry me to-morrow."

"I'll take your word for it," said the dummy-chucker. "Only, when she's learned that Jones had died two months ago in Brazil——"

"She'll be married to me then," responded the other fiercely. "What I get, I can hold. If she were Jones' wife, I'd tell her of his death. I'd know that, sooner or later, I'd win her. But if she learns now that he died while struggling to make himself worthy of her, she'll never give to another man what she withheld from him."

"I see," said the dummy-chucker slowly. "And you want me to——"

"There'll be a table by the door in the main dining-room engaged in Jones' name. You'll walk in there at a quarter to eight. You'll wear Jones' dinner clothes. I have them here. You'll wear the studs that he wore, his cuff-links. More than that, you'll set down upon the table, with a flourish, his monogrammed flask. You'll be drunk, noisy, disgraceful——"

"How long will I be all that—in the hotel?" asked the dummy-chucker dryly.

"That's exactly the point," said the other. "You'll last about thirty seconds. The girl and I will be on the far side of the room. I'll take care that she sees you enter. Then, when you've been quietly ejected, I'll go over to the mâitre d'hôtel to make inquiries. I'll bring back to the girl the flask which you will have left upon the table. If she has any doubt that you are Jones, the flask will dispel it.

"And then?" asked the dummy-chucker.

"Why, then," responded his host, "I propose to her. You see, I think it was pity that made her accept Jones in the beginning. I think that she cares for me."

"And you really think that I look enough like Jones to put this over?"

"In the shaded light of the dining-room, in Jones' clothes—well, I'm risking a hundred dollars on it. Will you do it?"

The dummy-chucker grinned.

"Didn't I say I'd do anything, barring murder? Where are the clothes?"

One hour and a half later, the dummy-chucker stared at himself in the long mirror in his host's dressing-room. He had bathed, not as Blackwell's Island prisoners bathe, but in a luxurious tub that had a head-rest, in scented water, soft as the touch of a baby's fingers. Then his host's man servant had cut his hair, had shaved him, had massaged him until color crept into the pale cheeks. The sheerest of knee-length linen underwear touched a body that knew only rough cotton. Silk socks, heavy, gleaming, snugly encased his ankles. Upon his feet were correctly dull pumps. That the trousers were a wee bit short mattered little. In these dancing-days, trousers should not be too long. And the fit of the coat over his shoulders—he carried them in a fashion unwontedly straight as he gazed at his reflection—balanced the trousers' lack of length. The soft shirt-bosom gave freely, comfortably as he breathed. Its plaited whiteness enthralled him. He turned anxiously to his host.

"Will I do?" he asked.

"Better than I'd hoped," said the other. "You look like a gentleman."

The dummy-chucker laughed gaily.

"I feel like one," he declared.

"You understand what you are to do?" demanded the host.

"It ain't a hard part to act," replied the dummy-chucker.

"And you can act," said the other. "The way you fooled those women in front of the Concorde proved that you——"

"Sh-sh!" exclaimed the dummy-chucker reproachfully. "Please don't remind me of what I was before I became a gentleman."

His host laughed.

"You're all right." He looked at his watch. "I'll have to leave now. I'll send the car back after you. Don't be afraid of trouble with the hotel people. I'll explain that I know you, and fix matters up all right. Just take the table at the right hand side as you enter——"

"Oh, I've got it all right," said the dummy-chucker. "Better slip me something on account. I may have to pay something——"

"You get nothing now," was the stern answer. "One hundred dollars when I get back here. And," he added, "if it should occur to you at the hotel that you might pawn these studs, or the flask, or the clothing for more than a hundred, let me remind you that my chauffeur will be watching one entrance, my valet another, and my chef another."

The dummy-chucker returned his gaze scornfully.

"Do I look," he asked, "like the sort of man who'd steal?"

His host shook his head.

"You certainly don't," he admitted.

The dummy-chucker turned back to the mirror. He was still entranced with his own reflection, twenty minutes later, when the valet told him that the car was waiting. He looked like a millionaire. He stole another glance at himself after he had slipped easily into the fur-lined overcoat that the valet held for him, after he had set somewhat rakishly upon his head the soft black-felt hat that was the latest accompaniment to the dinner coat.

Down-stairs, he spoke to Andrews, the chauffeur.

"Drive across the Fifty-ninth Street bridge first."

The chauffeur stared at him.

"Who you given' orders to?" he demanded.

The dummy-chucker stepped closer to the man.

"You heard my order?"

His hands, busily engaged in buttoning his gloves, did not clench. His voice was not raised. And Andrews must have outweighed him by thirty pounds. Yet the chauffeur stepped back and touched his hat.

"Yes, sir," he muttered.

The dummy-chucker smiled.

"The lower classes," he said to himself, "know rank and position when they see it."

His smile became a grin as he sank back in the limousine that was his host's evening conveyance. It became almost complacent as the car slid down Park Avenue. And when, at length, it had reached the center of the great bridge that spans the East River, he knocked upon the glass. The chauffeur obediently stopped the car. The dummy-chucker's grin was absolutely complacent now.

Down below, there gleamed lights, the lights of ferries, of sound steamers, and—of Blackwell's Island. This morning, he had left there, a lying mendicant. To-night, he was a gentleman. He knocked again upon the glass. Then, observing the speaking-tube, he said through it languidly:

"The Park Square, Andrews."

An obsequious doorman threw open the limousine door as the car stopped before the great hotel. He handed the dummy-chucker a ticket.

"Number of your car, sir," he said obsequiously.

"Ah, yes, of course," said the dummy-chucker. He felt in his pocket. Part of the silver that the soft-hearted women of the movies had bestowed upon him this afternoon found repository in the doorman's hand.

A uniformed boy whirled the revolving door that the dummy-chucker might pass into the hotel.

"The coat-room? Dining here, sir? Past the news-stand, sir, to your left. Thank you, sir." The boy's bow was as profound as though the quarter in his palm had been placed there by a duke.

The girl who received his coat and hat smiled as pleasantly and impersonally upon the dummy-chucker as she did upon the whiskered, fine-looking old gentleman who handed her his coat at the same time. She called the dummy-chucker's attention to the fact that his tie was a trifle loose.

The dummy-chucker walked to the big mirror that stands in the corner made by the corridor that parallels Fifty-ninth Street and the corridor that separates the tea-room from the dining-room. His clumsy fingers found difficulty with the tie. The fine-looking old gentleman, adjusting his own tie, stepped closer.

"Beg pardon, sir. May I assist you?"

The dummy-chucker smiled a grateful assent. The old gentleman fumbled a moment with the tie.

"I think that's better," he said. He bowed as one man of the world might to another, and turned away.

Under his breath, the dummy-chucker swore gently.

"You'd think, the way he helped me, that I belonged to the Four Hundred."

He glanced down the corridor. In the tea-room were sitting groups who awaited late arrivals. Beautiful women, correctly garbed, distinguished-looking men. Their laughter sounded pleasantly above the subdued strains of the orchestra. Many of them looked at the dummy-chucker. Their eyes rested upon him for that well-bred moment that denotes acceptance.

"One of themselves," said the dummy-chucker to himself.

Well, why not? Once again he looked at himself in the mirror. There might be handsomer men present in this hotel, but—was there any one who wore his clothes better? He turned and walked down the corridor.

The mâitre d'hôtel stepped forward inquiringly as the dummy-chucker hesitated in the doorway.

"A table, sir?"

"You have one reserved for me. This right-hand one by the door."

"Ah, yes, of course, sir. This way, sir."

He turned toward the table. Over the heads of intervening diners, the dummy-chucker saw his host. The shaded lights upon the table at which the young man sat revealed, not too clearly yet well enough, the features of a girl.

"A lady!" said the dummy-chucker, under his breath. "The real thing!"

As he stood there, the girl raised her head. She did not look toward the dummy-chucker, could not see him. But he could see the proud line of her throat, the glory of her golden hair. And opposite her he could see the features of his host, could note how illy that shrewd nose and slit of a mouth consorted with the gentle face of the girl. And then, as the mâitre d'hôtel beckoned, he remembered that he had left the flask, the monogrammed flask, in his overcoat pocket.

"Just a moment," he said.

He turned and walked back toward the corner where was his coat. In the distance, he saw some one, approaching him, noted the free stride, the carriage of the head, the set of the shoulders. And then, suddenly, he saw that the "some one" was himself. The mirror was guilty of the illusion.

Once again he stood before it, admiring himself. He summoned the face of the girl who was sitting in the dining-room before his mental vision. And then he turned abruptly to the check-girl.

"I've changed my mind," he said. "My coat, please."

He was lounging before the open fire when three-quarters of an hour later his host was admitted to the luxurious apartment. Savagely the young man pulled off his coat and approached the dummy-chucker.

"I hardly expected to find you here," he said.

The dummy-chucker shrugged.

"You said the doors were watched. I couldn't make an easy getaway. So I rode back here in your car. And when I got here, your man made me wait, so—here we are," he finished easily.

"'Here we are!' Yes! But when you were there—I saw you at the entrance to the dining-room—for God's sake, why didn't you do what you'd agreed to do?"

The dummy-chucker turned languidly in his chair. He eyed his host curiously.

"Listen, feller," he said: "I told you that I drew the line at murder, didn't I?"

"'Murder?' What do you mean? What murder was involved?"

The dummy-chucker idly blew a smoke ring.

"Murder of faith in a woman's heart," he said slowly. "Look at me! Do I look the sort who'd play your dirty game?"

The young man stood over him.

"Bannon," he called. The valet entered the room. "Take the clothes off this—this bum!" snapped the host. "Give him his rags."

He clenched his fists, but the dummy-chucker merely shrugged. The young man drew back while his guest followed the valet into another room.

Ten minutes later, the host seized the dummy-chucker by the tattered sleeve of his grimy jacket. He drew him before the mirror.

"Take a look at yourself, you—bum!" he snapped. "Do you look, now, like the sort of man who'd refuse to earn an easy hundred?"

The dummy-chucker stared at himself. Gone was the debonair gentleman of a quarter of an hour ago. Instead, there leered back at him a pasty-faced, underfed vagrant, dressed in the tatters of unambitious, satisfied poverty.

"Bannon," called the host, "throw him out!"

For a moment, the dummy-chucker's shoulders squared, as they had been squared when the dinner jacket draped them. Then they sagged. He offered no resistance when Bannon seized his collar. And Bannon, the valet, was a smaller man than himself.

He cringed when the colored elevator-man sneered at him. He dodged when little Bannon, in the mirrored vestibule raised a threatening hand. And he shuffled as he turned toward Central Park.

But as he neared Columbus Circle, his gait quickened. At Finisterre Joe's he'd get a drink. He tumbled in his pockets. Curse the luck! He'd given every cent of his afternoon earnings to doormen and pages and coat-room girls!

His pace slackened again as he turned down Broadway. His feet were dragging as he reached the Concorde moving-picture theater. His hand, sunk deep in his torn pocket, touched something. It was a tiny piece of soap.

As the audience filed sadly out from the teary, gripping drama of "She Loved And Lost," the dummy-chucker's hand went from his pocket to his lips. He reeled, staggered, fell. His jaws moved savagely. Foam appeared upon his lips. A fat woman shrank away from him, then leaned forward in quick sympathy.

"He's gotta fit!" she cried.

"Ep'lepsy," said her companion pityingly.


[13] Copyright, 1920, by The International Magazine Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Arthur Somers Roche.



From The Pictorial Review

The wind rose in a sharp gust, rattling the insecure windows and sighing forlornly about the corners of the house. The door unlatched itself, swung inward hesitatingly, and hung wavering for a moment on its sagging hinges. A formless cloud of gray fog blew into the warm, steamy room. But whatever ghostly visitant had paused upon the threshold, he had evidently decided not to enter, for the catch snapped shut with a quick, passionate vigor. The echo of the slamming door rang eerily through the house.

Mart Brenner's wife laid down the ladle with which she had been stirring the contents of a pot that was simmering on the big, black stove, and dragging her crippled foot behind her, she hobbled heavily to the door.

As she opened it a new horde of fog-wraiths blew in. The world was a gray, wet blanket. Not a light from the village below pierced the mist, and the lonely army of tall cedars on the black hill back of the house was hidden completely.

"Who's there?" Mrs. Brenner hailed. But her voice fell flat and muffled. Far off on the beach she could dimly hear the long wail of a fog-horn.

The faint throb of hope stilled in her breast. She had not really expected to find any one at the door unless perhaps it should be a stranger who had missed his way at the cross-roads. There had been one earlier in the afternoon when the fog first came. But her husband had been at home then and his surly manner quickly cut short the stranger's attempts at friendliness. This ugly way of Mart's had isolated them from all village intercourse early in their life on Cedar Hill.

Like a buzzard's nest, their home hung over the village on the unfriendly sides of the bleak slope. Visitors were few and always reluctant, even strangers, for the village told weird tales of Mart Brenner and his kin. The village said that he—and all those who belonged to him as well—were marked for evil and disaster. Disaster had truly written itself throughout their history. His mother was mad, a tragic madness of bloody prophecies and dim fears; his only son a witless creature of eighteen, who for all his height and bulk, spent his days catching butterflies in the woods on the hill, and his nights in laboriously pinning them, wings outspread, upon the bare walls of the house.

The room where the Brenner family lived its queer, taciturn life was tapestried in gold, the glowing tapestry of swarms of outspread yellow butterflies sweeping in gilded tides from the rough floors to the black rafters overhead.

Olga Brenner herself was no less tragic than her family. On her face, written in the acid of pain, was the history of the blows and cruelty that had warped her active body. Owing to her crippled foot, her entire left side sagged hopelessly and her arm swung away, above it, like a branch from a decayed tree. But more saddening than her distorted body was the lonely soul that looked out of her tired faded eyes.

She was essentially a village woman with a profound love of its intimacies and gossip, its fence-corner neighborliness. The horror with which the village regarded her, as the wife of Mart Brenner, was an eating sore. It was greater than the tragedy of her poor, witless son, the hatred of old Mrs. Brenner, and her ever-present fear of Mart. She had never quite given up her unreasoning hope that some day some one might come to the house in one of Mart's long, unexplained absences and sit down and talk with her over a cup of tea. She put away the feeble hope again as she turned back into the dim room and closed the door behind her.

"Must have been that bit of wind," she meditated. "It plays queer tricks sometimes."

She went to the mantel and lighted the dull lamp. By the flicker she read the face of the clock.

"Tobey's late!" she exclaimed uneasily. Her mind never rested from its fear for Tobey. His childlike mentality made him always the same burden as when she had rocked him hour after hour, a scrawny mite of a baby on her breast.

"It's a fearful night for him to be out!" she muttered.

"Blood! Blood!" said a tragic voice from a dark corner by the stove. Barely visible in the ruddy half-dark of the room a pair of demoniac eyes met hers.

Mrs. Brenner threw her shriveled and wizened mother-in-law an angry and contemptuous glance.

"Be still!" she commanded. "'Pears to me that's all you ever say—blood!"

The glittering eyes fell away from hers in a sullen obedience. But the tragic voice went on intoning stubbornly, "Blood on his hands! Red! Dripping! I see blood!"

Mrs. Brenner shuddered. "Seems like you could shut up a spell!" she complained.

The old woman's voice trailed into a broken and fitful whispering. Olga's commands were the only laws she knew, and she obeyed them. Mrs. Brenner went back to the stove. But her eyes kept returning to the clock and thence to the darkening square of window where the fog pressed heavily into the very room.

Out of the gray silence came a shattering sound that sent the ladle crashing out of Mrs. Brenner's nerveless hand and brought a moan from the dozing old woman!

It was a scream, a long, piercing scream, so intense, so agonized that it went echoing about the room as tho a disembodied spirit were shrieking under the rafters! It was a scream of terror, an innocent, a heart-broken scream!

"Tobey!" cried Mrs. Brenner, her face rigid.

The old woman began to pick at her ragged skirt, mumbling "Blood! Blood on his hands! I see it!"

"That was on the hill," said Mrs. Brenner slowly, steadying her voice.

She put her calloused hand against her lips and stood listening with agonized intentness. But now the heavy, foggy silence had fallen again. At intervals came the long, faint wail of the fog-horn. There was no other sound. Even the old woman in the shadowy corner had ceased her mouthing.

Mrs. Brenner stood motionless, with her hand against her trembling lips, her head bent forward for four of the dull intervals between the siren-call.

Then there came the sound of steps stumbling around the house. Mrs. Brenner, with her painful hobble, reached the door before the steps paused there, and threw it open.

The feeble light fell on the round, vacant face of her son, his inevitable pasteboard box, grim with much handling, clutched close to his big breast, and in it the soft beating and thudding of imprisoned wings.

Mrs. Brenner's voice was scarcely more than a whisper, "Tobey!" but it rose shrilly as she cried, "Where you been? What was that scream?"

Tobey stumbled past her headlong into the house, muttering, "I'm cold!"

She shut the door and followed him to the stove, where he stood shaking himself and beating at his damp clothes with clumsy fingers.

"What was that scream?" she asked him tensely. She knotted her rough fingers as she waited for his answer.

"I dunno," he grunted sullenly. His thick lower lip shoved itself forward, baby-fashion.

"Where you been?" she persisted.

As he did not answer she coaxed him, "Aw, come on, Tobey. Tell ma. Where you been?"

"I been catching butterflies," he answered. "I got a big one this time," with an air of triumph.

"Where was you when you heard the scream?" she asked him cunningly.

He gave a slow shake of his head. "I dunno," he answered in his dull voice.

A big shiver shook him. His teeth chattered and he crouched down on his knees before the open oven-door.

"I'm cold," he complained. Mrs. Brenner came close to him and laid her hand on his wet, matted hair. "Tobey's a bad boy," she scolded. "You mustn't go out in the wet like this. Your hair's soaked."

She got down stiffly on her lame knees. "Sit down," she ordered, "and I'll take off your shoes. They're as wet as a dish-rag."

"They're full of water, too," Tobey grumbled as he sprawled on the floor, sticking one big, awkward foot into her lap. "The water in there makes me cold."

"You spoil all your pa's shoes that away," said Mrs. Brenner, her head bent over her task. "He told you not to go round in the wet with 'em any more. He'll give you a lashing if he comes in and sees your shoes. I'll have to try and get 'em dry before he comes home. Anyways," with a breath of deep relief, "I'm glad it ain't that red clay from the hill. That never comes off."

The boy paid no attention to her. He was investigating the contents of his box, poking a fat, dirty forefinger around among its fluttering contents. There was a flash of yellow wings, and with a crow of triumph the boy shut the lid.

"The big one's just more than flapping," he chuckled. "I had an awful hard time to catch him. I had to run and run. Look at him, Ma," the boy urged. She shook her head.

"I ain't got the time," she said, almost roughly. "I got to get these shoes off'n you afore your father gets home, Tobey, or you'll get a awful hiding. Like as not you'll get it anyways, if he's mad. Better get into bed."

"Naw!" Tobey protested. "I seen pa already. I want my supper out here! I don't want to go to bed!"

Mrs. Brenner paused. "Where was pa?" she asked.

But Tobey's stretch of coherent thinking was past. "I dunno!" he muttered.

Mrs. Brenner sighed. She pulled off the sticky shoes and rose stiffly.

"Go get in bed," she said.

"Aw, Ma, I want to stay up with my butterflies," the boy pleaded. Two big tears rolled down his fat cheeks. In his queer, clouded world he had learned one certain fact. He could almost always move his mother with tears.

But this time she was firm. "Do as I told you!" she ordered him. "Mebbe if you're in bed your father won't be thinking about you. And I'll try to dry these shoes afore he thinks about them." She took the grimy box from his resisting fingers, and, holding it in one hand, pulled him to his feet and pushed him off to his bedroom.

When she had closed the door on his wail she returned and laid the box on the shelf. Then she hurried to gather up the shoes. Something on her hand as she put it out for the sodden shoes caught her eye and she straightened, holding her hand up where the feeble light from the shelf caught it.

"I've cut myself," she said aloud. "There's blood on my hand. It must 'a' been on those lacings of Tobey's."

The old woman in the corner roused. "Blood!" she screeched. "Olga! Blood on his hands!"

Mrs. Brenner jumped. "You old screech-owl!" she cried. She wiped her hand quickly on her dirty apron, and held it up again to see the cut. But there was no cut on her hand! Where had that blood come from? From Tobey's shoes?

And who was it that had screamed on the hill? She felt herself enwrapped in a mist of puzzling doubts.

She snatched up the shoes, searching them with agonized eyes. But the wet and pulpy mass had no stain. Only the wet sands and the slimy water-weeds of the beach clung to them.

Then where had the blood come from? It was at this instant that she became conscious of shouts on the hillside. She limped to the door and held it open a crack. Very faintly she could see the bobbing lights of torches. A voice carried down to her.

"Here's where I found his hat. That's why I turned off back of these trees. And right there I found his body!"

"Are you sure he's dead?" quavered another voice.


Olga Brenner shut the door. But she did not leave it immediately. She stood leaning against it, clutching the wet shoes, her staring eyes glazing.

Tobey was strong. He had flown into childish rages sometimes and had hurt her with his undisciplined strength. Where was Mart? Tobey had seen him. Perhaps they had fought. Her mind refused to go further. But little subtle undercurrents pressed in on her. Tobey hated and feared his father. And Mart was always enraged at the sight of his half-witted son. What had happened? And yet no matter what had occurred, Tobey had not been on the hill. His shoes bore mute testimony to that. And the scream had been on the slope. She frowned.

Her body more bent than ever, she hobbled slowly over to the stove and laid the shoes on the big shelf above it, spreading them out to the rising heat. She had barely arranged them when there was again the sound of approaching footsteps. These feet, however, did not stumble. They were heavy and certain. Mrs. Brenner snatched at the shoes, gathered them up, and turned to run. But one of the lacings caught on a nail on the shelf. She jerked desperately at the nail, and the jerking loosened her hold of both the shoes. With a clatter they fell at her feet.

In that moment Mart Brenner stood in the doorway. Poverty, avarice, and evil passions had minted Mart Brenner like a devil's coin. His shaggy head lowered in his powerful shoulders. His long arms, apelike, hung almost to his knees. Behind him the fog pressed in, and his rough, bristly hair was beaded with diamonds of moisture.

"Well?" he snapped. A sardonic smile twisted his face. "Caught you, didn't I?"

He strode forward. His wife shrank back, but even in her shivering terror she noticed, as one notices small details in a time of peril, that his shoes were caked with red mud and that his every step left a wet track on the floor.

"He didn't do 'em no harm," she babbled. "They're just wet. Please, Mart, they ain't harmed a mite. Just wet. That's all. Tobey went on the beach with 'em. It won't take but a little spell to dry 'em."

Her husband stooped and snatched up the shoes. She shrank into herself, waiting the inevitable torrent of his passion and the probable blow. Instead, as he stood up he was smiling. Bewildered, she stared at him in a dull silence.

"No harm done," he said, almost amiably. Shaking with relief, she stretched out her hand.

"I'll dry 'em," she said. "Give me your shoes and I'll get the mud off."

Her husband shook his head. He was still smiling.

"Don't need to dry 'em. I'll put 'em away," he replied, and, still tracking his wet mud, he went into Tobey's room.

Her fear flowed into another channel. She dreaded her husband in his black rages, but she feared him more now in his unusual amiability. Perhaps he would strike Tobey when he saw him. She strained her ears to listen.

A long silence followed his exit. But there was no outcry from Tobey, no muttering nor blows. After a few moments, moving quickly, her husband came out. She raised her heavy eyes to stare at him. He stopped and looked intently at his own muddy tracks.

"I'll get a rag and wipe up the mud right off."

As she started toward the nail where the rag hung, her husband put out a long arm and detained her. "Leave it be," he said. He smiled again.

She noticed, then, that he had removed his muddy shoes and wore the wet ones. He had fully laced them, and she had almost a compassionate moment as she thought how wet and cold his feet must be.

"You can put your feet in the oven, Mart, to dry 'em."

Close on her words she heard the sound of footsteps and a sharp knock followed on the sagging door. Mart Brenner sat down on a chair close to the stove and lifted one foot into the oven. "See who's there!" he ordered.

She opened the door and peered out. A group of men stood on the step, the faint light of the room picking out face after face that she recognized—Sheriff Munn; Jim Barker, who kept the grocery in the village; Cottrell Hampstead, who lived in the next house below them; young Dick Roamer, Munn's deputy; and several strangers.

"Well?" she asked ungraciously.

"We want to see Brenner!" one of them said.

She stepped back. "Come in," she told them. They came in, pulling off their caps, and stood huddled in a group in the center of the room.

Her husband reluctantly stood up.

"Evening!" he said, with his unusual smile. "Bad out, ain't it?"

"Yep!" Munn replied. "Heavy fog. We're soaked."

Olga Brenner's pitiful instinct of hospitality rose in her breast.

"I got some hot soup on the stove. Set a spell and I'll dish you some," she urged.

The men looked at each other in some uncertainty. After a moment Munn said, "All right, if it ain't too much bother, Mrs. Brenner."

"Not a bit," she cried eagerly. She bustled about, searching her meager stock of chinaware for uncracked bowls.

"Set down?" suggested Mart.

Munn sat down with a sigh, and his companions followed his example. Mart resumed his position before the stove, lifting one foot into the capacious black maw of the oven.

"Must 'a' got your feet wet, Brenner?" the sheriff said with heavy jocularity.

Brenner nodded, "You bet I did," he replied. "Been down on the beach all afternoon."

"Didn't happen to hear any unusual noise down there, did you?" Munn spoke with his eyes on Mrs. Brenner, at her task of ladling out the thick soup. She paused as though transfixed, her ladle poised in the air.

Munn's eyes dropped from her face to the floor. There they became fixed on the tracks of red clay.

"No, nothin' but the sea. It must be rough outside to-night, for the bay was whinin' like a sick cat," said Mart calmly.

"Didn't hear a scream, or nothing like that, I suppose?" Munn persisted.

"Couldn't hear a thing but the water. Why?"

"Oh—nothing," said Munn.

Mrs. Brenner finished pouring out the soup and set the bowls on the table.

Chairs clattered, and soon the men were eating. Mart finished his soup before the others and sat back smacking his lips. As Munn finished the last spoonful in his bowl he pulled out a wicked-looking black pipe, crammed it full of tobacco and lighted it.

Blowing out a big blue breath of the pleasant smoke, he inquired, "Been any strangers around to-day?"

Mart scratched his head. "Yeah. A man come by early this afternoon. He was aiming to climb the hill. I told him he'd better wait till the sun come out. I don't know whether he did or not."

"See anybody later—say about half an hour ago?"

Mart shook his head. "No. I come up from the beach and I didn't pass nobody."

The sheriff pulled on his pipe for a moment. "That boy of yours still catching butterflies?" he asked presently.

Mart scowled. He swung out a long arm toward the walls with their floods of butterflies. But he did not answer.

"Uh-huh!" said Munn, following the gesture with his quiet eyes. He puffed several times before he spoke again.

"What time did you come in, Brenner, from the beach?"

Mrs. Brenner closed her hands tightly, the interlaced fingers locking themselves.

"Oh, about forty minutes ago, I guess it was. Wasn't it, Olga?" Mart said carelessly.

"Yes." Her voice was a breath.

"Was your boy out to-day?"

Mart looked at his wife. "I dunno."

Munn's glance came to the wife.


"How long ago did he come in?"

"About an hour ago." Her voice was flat and lifeless.

"And where had he been?" Munn's tone was gentle but insistent.

Her terrified glance sought Mart's face. "He'd been on the beach!" she said in a defiant tone.

Mart continued to look at her, but there was no expression in his face. He still wore his peculiar affable smile.

"Where did these tracks come from, on the floor?"

Swift horror fastened itself on Mrs. Brenner.

"What's that to you?" she flared.

She heard her husband's hypocritical and soothing tones, "Now, now, Olga! That ain't the way to talk to these gentlemen. Tell them who made these tracks."

"You did!" she cried. All about her she could feel the smoothness of a falling trap.

Mart smiled still more broadly.

"Look here, Olga, don't get so warm over it. You're nervous now. Tell the gentlemen who made those tracks."

She turned to Munn desperately. "What do you want to know for?" she asked him.

The sharpness of her voice roused old Mrs. Brenner, drowsing in her corner.

"Blood!" she cried suddenly. "Blood on his hands!"

In the silence that followed, the eyes of the men turned curiously toward the old woman and then sought each other with speculative stares. Mrs. Brenner, tortured by those long significant glances, said roughly, "That's Mart's mother. She ain't right! What are you bothering us for?"

Dick Roamer put out a hand to plead for her, and tapped Munn on the arm. There was something touching in her frightened old face.

"A man—a stranger was killed upon the hill," Munn told her.

"What's that got to do with us?" she countered.

"Not a thing, Mrs. Brenner, probably, but I've just to make sure where every man in the village was this afternoon."

Mrs. Brenner's lids flickered. She felt the questioning intentness of Sheriff Munn's eyes on her stolid face and she felt that he did not miss the tremor of her eyes.

"Where was your son this afternoon?"

She smiled defiance. "I told you, on the beach."

"Whose room is that?" Munn's forefinger pointed to Tobey's closed door.

"That's Tobey's room," said his mother.

"The mud tracks go into that room. Did he make those tracks, Mrs. Brenner?"

"No! Oh, no! No!" she cried desperately. "Mart made those when he came in. He went into Tobey's room!"

"How about it, Brenner?"

Mart smiled with an indulgent air. "Heard what she said, didn't you?"

"Is it true?"

Mart smiled more broadly. "Olga'll take my hair off if I don't agree with her," he said.

"Let's see your shoes, Brenner?"

Without hesitation Mart lifted one heavy boot and then the other for Munn's inspection. The other silent men leaned forward to examine them.

"Nothing but pieces of seaweed," said Cottrell Hampstead.

Munn eyed them. Then he turned to look at the floor.

"Those are about the size of your tracks, Brenner. But they were made in red clay. How do you account for that?"

"Tobey wears my shoes," said Brenner.

Mrs. Brenner gasped. She advanced to Munn.

"What you asking all these questions for?" she pleaded.

Munn did not answer her. After a moment he asked, "Did you hear a scream this afternoon?"

"Yes," she answered.

"How long after the screaming did your son come in?"

She hesitated. What was the best answer to make? Bewildered, she tried to decide. "Ten minutes or so," she said.

"Just so," agreed Munn. "Brenner, when did you come in?"

A trace of Mart's sullenness rose in his face. "I told you that once," he said.

"I mean how long after Tobey?"

"I dunno," said Mart.

"How long, Mrs. Brenner?"

She hesitated again. She scented a trap. "Oh, 'bout ten to fifteen minutes, I guess," she said.

Suddenly she burst out passionately, "What you hounding us for? We don't know nothing about the man on the hill. You ain't after the rest of the folks in the village like you are after us. Why you doing it? We ain't done nothing."

Munn made a slight gesture to Roamer, who rose and went to the door, and opened it. He reached out into the darkness. Then he turned. He was holding something in his hand, but Mrs. Brenner could not see what it was.

"You chop your wood with a short, heavy ax, don't you, Brenner?" said Munn.

Brenner nodded.

"It's marked with your name, isn't it?"

Brenner nodded again.

"Is this the ax?"

Mrs. Brenner gave a short, sharp scream. Red and clotted, ever the handle marked with bloody spots, the ax was theirs.

Brenner started to his feet. "God!" he yelped, "that's where that ax went! Tobey took it!" More calmly he proceeded. "This afternoon before I went down on the beach I thought I'd chop some wood on the hill. But the ax was gone. So after I'd looked sharp for it and couldn't find it, I gave it up."

"Tobey didn't do it!" Mrs. Brenner cried thinly. "He's as harmless as a baby! He didn't do it! He didn't do it!"

"How about those clay tracks, Mrs. Brenner? There is red clay on the hill where the man was killed. There is red clay on your floor." Munn spoke kindly.

"Mart tracked in that clay. He changed shoes with Tobey. I tell you that's the truth." She was past caring for any harm that might befall her.

Brenner smiled with a wide tolerance. "It's likely, ain't it, that I'd change into shoes as wet as these?"

"Those tracks are Mart's!" Olga reiterated hysterically.

"They lead into your son's room, Mrs. Brenner. And we find your ax not far from your door, just where the path starts for the hill." Munn's eyes were grave.

The old woman in the corner began to whimper, "Blood and trouble! Blood and trouble all my days! Red on his hands! Dripping! Olga! Blood!"

"But the road to the beach begins there too," Mrs. Brenner cried, above the cracked voice, "and Tobey saw his pa before he came home. He said he did. I tell you, Mart was on the hill. He put on Tobey's shoes. Before God I'm telling you the truth."

Dick Roamer spoke hesitatingly, "Mebbe the old woman's right, Munn. Mebbe those tracks are Brenner's."

Mrs. Brenner turned to him in wild gratitude.

"You believe me, don't you?" she cried. The tears dribbled down her face. She saw the balance turning on a hair. A moment more and it might swing back. She turned and hobbled swiftly to the shelf. Proof! More proof! She must bring more proof of Tobey's innocence!

She snatched up his box of butterflies and came back to Munn.

"This is what Tobey was doin' this afternoon!" she cried in triumph. "He was catchin' butterflies! That ain't murder, is it?"

"Nobody catches butterflies in a fog," said Munn.

"Well, Tobey did. Here they are." Mrs. Brenner held out the box. Munn took it from her shaking hand. He looked at it. After a moment he turned it over. His eyes narrowed. Mrs. Brenner turned sick. The room went swimming around before her in a bluish haze. She had forgotten the blood on her hand that she had wiped off before Mart came home. Suppose the blood had been on the box.

The sheriff opened the box. A bruised butterfly, big, golden, fluttered up out of it. Very quietly the sheriff closed the box, and turned to Mrs. Brenner.

"Call your son," he said.

"What do you want of him? Tobey ain't done nothing. What you tryin' to do to him?"

"There is blood on this box, Mrs. Brenner."

"Mebbe he cut himself." Mrs. Brenner was fighting. Her face was chalky white.

"In the box, Mrs. Brenner, is a gold watch and chain. The man who was killed, Mrs. Brenner, had a piece of gold chain to match this in his buttonhole. The rest of it had been torn off."

Olga made no sound. Her burning eyes turned toward Mart. In them was all of a heart's anguish and despair.

"Tell 'em, Mart! Tell 'em he didn't do it!" she finally pleaded.

Mart's face was inscrutable.

Munn rose. The other men got to their feet.

"Will you get the boy or shall I?" the sheriff said directly to Mrs. Brenner.

With a rush Mrs. Brenner was on her knees before Munn, clutching him about the legs with twining arms. Tears of agony dripped over her seamed face.

"He didn't do it! Don't take him! He's my baby! He never harmed anybody! He's my baby!" Then with a shriek, as Munn unclasped her arms, "Oh, my God! My God!"

Munn helped her to her feet. "Now, now, Mrs. Brenner, don't take on so," he said awkwardly. "There ain't going to be no harm come to your boy. It's to keep him from getting into harm that I'm taking him. The village is a mite worked up over this murder and they might get kind of upset if they thought Tobey was still loose. Better go and get him, Mrs. Brenner."

As she stood unheeding, he went on, "Now, don't be afraid. Nothing'll happen to him. No jedge would sentence him like a regular criminal. The most that'll happen will be to put him some safe place where he can't do himself nor no one else any more harm."

But still Mrs. Brenner's set expression did not change.

After a moment she shook off his aiding arm and moved slowly to Tobey's door. She paused there a moment, resting her hand on the latch, her eyes searching the faces of the men in the room. With a gesture of dreary resignation she opened the door and entered, closing it behind her.

Tobey lay in his bed asleep. His rumpled hair was still damp from the fog. His mother stroked it softly while her slow tears dropped down on his face with its expression of peaceful childhood.

"Tobey!" she called. Her voice broke in her throat. The tears fell faster.

"Huh?" He sat up, blinking at her.

"Get into your clothes, now! Right away!" she said.

He stared at her tears. A dismal sort of foreboding seemed to seize upon him. His face began to pucker. But he crawled out of his bed and began to dress himself in his awkward fashion, casting wistful and wondering glances in her direction.

She watched him, her heart growing heavier and heavier. There was no one to protect Tobey. She could not make those strangers believe that Mart had changed shoes with Tobey. Neither could she account for the blood-stained box and the watch with its length of broken chain. But if Tobey had been on the beach he had not been on the hill, and if he hadn't been on the hill he couldn't have killed the man they claimed he had killed. Mart had been on the hill. Her head whirled. Some place fate, destiny, something had blundered. She wrung her knotted hands together.

Presently Tobey was dressed. She took him by the hand. Her own hand was shaking, and very cold and clammy. Her knees were weak as she led him toward the door. She could feel them trembling so that every step was an effort. And her hand on the knob had barely strength to turn it. But turn it she did and opened the door.

"Here he is!" she cried chokingly. She freed her hand and laid it on his shoulder.

"Look at him," she moaned. "He couldn't 'a' done it. He's—he's just a boy!"

Sheriff Munn rose. His men rose with him.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Brenner," he said. "Terrible sorry. But you can see how it is. Things look pretty black for him."

He paused, looked around, hesitated for a moment. Finally he said, "Well, I guess we'd better be getting along."

Mrs. Brenner's hand closed with convulsive force on Tobey's shoulder.

"Tobey!" she screamed desperately, "where was you this afternoon? All afternoon?"

"On the beach," mumbled Tobey, shrinking into himself.

"Tobey! Tobey! Where'd you get blood on the box?"

He looked around. His cloudy eyes rested on her face helplessly.

"I dunno," he said.

Her teeth were chattering now; she laid her hand on his other shoulder.

"Try to remember, Tobey. Try to remember. Where'd you get the watch, the pretty watch that was in your box?"

He blinked at her.

"The pretty bright thing? Where did you get it?"

His eyes brightened. His lips trembled into a smile.

"I found it some place," he said. Eagerness to please her shone on his face.

"But where? What place?" The tears again made rivulets on her cheeks.

He shook his head. "I dunno."

Mrs. Brenner would not give up.

"You saw your pa this afternoon, Tobey?" she coached him softly.

He nodded.

"Where'd you see him?" she breathed.

He frowned. "I—I saw pa——" he began, straining to pierce the cloud that covered him.

"Blood! Blood!" shrieked old Mrs. Brenner. She half-rose, her head thrust forward on her shriveled neck.

Tobey paused, confused. "I dunno," he said.

"Did he give you the pretty bright thing? And did he give you the ax—" she paused and repeated the word loudly—"the ax to bring home?"

Tobey caught at the word. "The ax?" he cried. "The ax! Ugh! It was all sticky!" He shuddered.

"Did pa give you the ax?"

But the cloud had settled. Tobey shook his head. "I dunno," he repeated his feeble denial.

Munn advanced. "No use, Mrs. Brenner, you see. Tobey, you'll have to come along with us."

Even to Tobey's brain some of the strain in the atmosphere must have penetrated, for he drew back. "Naw," he protested sulkily, "I don't want to."

Dick Roamer stepped to his side. He laid his hand on Tobey's arm. "Come along," he urged.

Mrs. Brenner gave a smothered gasp. Tobey woke to terror. He turned to run. In an instant the men surrounded him. Trapped, he stood still, his head lowered in his shoulders.

"Ma!" he screamed suddenly. "Ma! I don't want to go! Ma!"

He fell on his knees. Heavy childish sobs racked him. Deserted, terrified, he called upon the only friend he knew.

"Ma! Please, Ma!"

Munn lifted him up. Dick Roamer helped him, and between them they drew him to the door, his heart-broken calls and cries piercing every corner of the room.

They whisked him out of Mrs. Brenner's sight as quickly as they could. The other men piled out of the door, blocking the last vision of her son, but his bleating cries came shrilling back on the foggy air.

Mart closed the door. Mrs. Brenner stood where she had been when Tobey had first felt the closing of the trap and had started to run. She looked as though she might have been carved there. Her light breath seemed to do little more than lift her flat chest.

Mart turned from the door. His eyes glittered. He advanced upon her hungrily like a huge cat upon an enchanted mouse.

"So you thought you'd yelp on me, did you?" he snarled, licking his lips. "Thought you'd put me away, didn't you? Get me behind the bars, eh?"

"Blood!" moaned the old woman in the corner. "Blood!"

Mart strode to the table, pulling out from the bosom of his shirt a lumpy package wrapped in his handkerchief. He threw it down on the table. It fell heavily with a sharp ringing of coins.

"But I fooled you this time! Mart wasn't so dull this time, eh?" He turned toward her again.

Between them, disturbed in his resting-place on the table, the big bruised yellow butterfly raised himself on his sweeping wings.

Mart drew back a little. The butterfly flew toward Olga and brushed her face with a velvety softness.

Then Brenner lurched toward her, his face black with fury, his arm upraised. She stood still, looking at him with wide eyes in which a gleam of light showed.

"You devil!" she said, in a little, whispering voice. "You killed that man! You gave Tobey the watch and the ax! You changed shoes with him! You devil! You devil!"

He drew back for a blow. She did not move. Instead she mocked him, trying to smile.

"You whelp!" she taunted him. "Go on and hit me! I ain't running! And if you don't break me to bits I'm going to the sheriff and I'll tell him what you said to me just now. And he'll wonder how you got all that money in your pockets. He knows we're as poor as church-mice. How you going to explain what you got?"

"I ain't going to be such a fool as to keep it on me!" Mart crowed with venomous mirth. "You nor the sheriff nor any one won't find it where I'm going to put it!"

The broken woman leaned forward, baiting him. The strange look of exaltation and sacrifice burned in her faded eyes. "I've got you, Mart!" she jeered. "You're going to swing yet! I'll even up with you for Tobey! You didn't think I could do it, did you? I'll show you! You're trapped, I tell you! And I done it!"

She watched Mart swing around to search the room and the blank window with apprehensive eyes. She sensed his eerie dread of the unseen. He couldn't see any one. He couldn't hear a sound. She saw that he was wet with the cold perspiration of fear. It would enrage him. She counted on that. He turned back to his wife in a white fury. She leaned toward him, inviting his blows as martyrs welcome the torch that will make their pile of fagots a blazing bier.

He struck her. Once. Twice. A rain of blows given in a blind passion that drove her to her knees, but she clung stubbornly, with rigid fingers to the table-edge. Although she was dazed she retained consciousness by a sharp effort of her failing will. She had not yet achieved that for which she was fighting.

The dull thud of the blows, the confusion, the sight of the blood drove the old woman in the corner suddenly upright on her tottering feet. Her rheumy eyes glared affrighted at the sight of the only friend she recognized in all her mad, black world lying there across the table. She stood swaying in a petrified terror for a moment. Then with a thin wail, "He's killing her!" she ran around them and gained the door.

With a mighty effort Olga Brenner lifted her head so that her face, swollen beyond recognition, was turned toward her mother-in-law. Her almost sightless eyes fastened themselves on the old woman.

"Run!" she cried. "Run to the village!"

The mad woman, obedient to that commanding voice, flung open the door and lurched over the threshold and disappeared in the fog. It came to Mart that the woman running through the night with her wail of terror was the greatest danger he would know. Olga Brenner saw his look of sick terror. He started to spring after the mad woman, forgetful of the half-conscious creature on her knees before him.

But as he turned, Olga, moved by the greatness of her passion, forced strength into her maimed body. With a straining leap she sprawled herself before him on the floor. He stumbled, caught for the table, and fell with a heavy crash, striking his head on a near-by chair. Olga raised herself on her shaking arms and looked at him. Minute after minute passed, and yet he lay still. A second long ten minutes ticked itself off on the clock, which Olga could barely see. Then Mart opened his eyes, sat up, and staggered to his feet.

Before full consciousness could come to him again, his wife crawled forward painfully and swiftly coiled herself about his legs. He struggled, still dizzy from his fall, bent over and tore at her twining arms, but the more he pulled the tighter she clung, fastening her misshapen fingers in the lacing of his shoes. He swore! And he became panic-stricken. He began to kick at her, to make lunges toward the distant door. Kicking and fighting, dragging her clinging body with him at every move, that body which drew him back one step for every two forward steps he took, at last he reached the wall. He clutched it, and as his hand slipped along trying to find a more secure hold he touched the cold iron of a long-handled pan hanging there.

With a snarl he snatched it down, raised it over his head, and brought it down upon his wife's back. Her hands opened spasmodically and fell flat at her sides. Her body rolled over, limp and broken. And a low whimper came from her bleeding lips.

Satisfied, Mart paused to regain his breath. He had no way of knowing how long this unequal fight had been going on. But he was free. The way of escape was open. He laid his hand on the door.

There were voices. He cowered, cast hunted glances at the bloody figure on the floor, bit his knuckles in a frenzy.

As he looked, the eyes opened in his wife's swollen face, eyes aglow with triumph. "You'll swing for it, Mart!" she whispered faintly. "And the money's on the table! Tobey's saved!"

Rough hands were on the door. A flutter of breath like a sigh of relief crossed her lips and her lids dropped as the door burst open to a tide of men.

The big yellow butterfly swung low on his golden wings and came to rest on her narrow, sunken breast.


[14] Copyright, 1920, by The Pictorial Review Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Rose Sidney.



From Harper's Magazine

In the taxi Ayling suddenly realized that there was no need for all this haste. After twenty-five years, and a loitering, circuitous journey home—six weeks to the day since he had said good-by to India—this last-minute rush was, to say the least, illogical, particularly as there was no one in London waiting for him; no one who was even aware of his arrival. Indeed, it was likely that there was no one in London who was aware of his existence, except, perhaps, the clerk of the club, to whom he had telegraphed ahead for accommodations.

The rigidity of his posture, straining forward there on his seat, became suddenly painful and absurd. He tried to relax, but the effort was more than it was worth, and he sat forward again, looking out.

Yes, things were familiar enough—but familiar like old photographs one has forgotten the significance of. The emotion had gone out of them. It was the new things, the unfamiliar contours, that were most apparent, that seemed to thrust upon his consciousness the city's gigantic, self-centered indifference. Yet it was just that quality that he had loved most in London. She had let him alone. She had been—he recalled the high-flown phrase of his youth—the supremely indifferent friend! Perhaps, he thought to himself, when one is fifty, one cares less to be "let alone"; less for indifference as the supreme attribute of a friend.

He felt a queer sweep of homesickness for India, whence he had come; but to feel homesick for India was ridiculous, since he had just come out of India because he was homesick for England. He had been homesick for England, he had been telling himself, for all those twenty-five years.

Well! here he was. Home!

Strange he hadn't thought of the automobiles and the electricity, and the difference they would make.

The taxi backed suddenly, gears shifted, and drew up alongside the curb. Looking out, Ayling recognized the high, familiar street door of the club. Something about it had been changed, or replaced, he couldn't quite make out what. The driver opened the door, lifted out Ayling's bag, and deposited it expertly with a swing on the step. Then he waited respectfully while Ayling fished in his pockets for change. Having received it, he leaped with great agility to the seat, shifted gears, chugged, backed and turned, and was abruptly round the corner and out of sight.

At the desk, Ayling experienced a momentary surprise to find himself actually expected.

"Mr. Ayling? Yes, sir. Your room is ready, I believe." The clerk rang a bell, and began to give instructions about Mr. Ayling's luggage.

Ayling felt that he ought to ask for some one, inquire if some of the old members were in; but, standing there, he could not think of a single name except names of a few non-resident members like himself, men who were at that moment in India.

"Will you go up, sir?"

"Later," said Ayling. "Just send up my things."

He crossed the foyer and entered the lounge. Here, as before in the streets, it was the changes of which he was most aware—figured hangings in place of the old red velours, the upholstery renewed on the old chairs and divans. Strangers sat here and there in the familiar nooks, strangers who looked up at him with a mild curiosity and returned to their papers or their cigars. He wandered on through the rooms, seeking—without quite saying so to himself—seeking a familiar face, and found none. Even the proportions of the rooms seemed changed; he could hardly have said just how; not much, but slightly, though, all in all, the club was the same. Names began to come back to him; memories resurrected themselves, rose out of corners to greet him as he passed. They began to give him a queer sense of his own unreality, as if he himself were only another memory.... Abruptly he turned, made his way back to the desk, and asked to be shown to his room. There he spent an hour puttering aimlessly, adjusting his things, putting in the time.

Then he dressed and went down to a solitary dinner. There was a great activity in the club at that hour, comings and goings, in parties of four and five. He found a kind of dolorous amusement in seeing now much more at home all the youngsters about him seemed than he. And he had been at home there when they were in the nursery doing sums.

Here and there at the tables were older men, men of his own age, and he reflected that among them might easily be some of his boyhood friends. He would never know them now. He searched their faces for a familiar feature, watched them for a gesture he might recognize. But in the end he gave it up. "Old town," he said to himself, "old town, by Jove! you've forgotten me!"

That night he went alone to a theater, walked back through the crowds to the club, and went immediately to bed. He was grateful to find himself suddenly very tired.

The next morning he rose late and did not leave his room until noon, when he went down to a solitary lunch. After lunch he stopped at the clerk's window and inquired about one or two old members. The clerk looked up the names. After a good deal of inquiry and fussing about, he ascertained that one of the gentlemen was in China, one was dead, and a third about whom Ayling also inquired could not be traced at all. Ayling went out and walked for a while through the streets, but was driven back to the club by the chill drizzle which suddenly began to descend.

He sat down in a chair near a window that had been his favorite. Settled there, he remembered the position of a near-by bell, just under the window-curtain.... Yes, there it was. He rang, and a waiter came—a rotund, pink-faced, John-Bullish waiter, with little white tufts on each cheek. Ayling ordered a whisky-and-soda, and when presently the waiter brought it Ayling asked how long he had been in the service of the club.

"Thirty-five years, sir."

Ayling looked at the old man in astonishment. "Do you remember me?" he asked.

The old waiter, schooled to remember at first glance if he remembered at all, looked afresh at Ayling. "I see so many faces, sir—I couldn't just at the moment say—"

"And I suppose," said Ayling, "you've brought me whisky-and-soda here, to this very chair, no end of times. What's your name?"

"Chedsey, sir."

"Seems familiar—" He shook his head. "You don't recall a Mr. Ayling—twenty-five or thirty years ago?"

"Ayling, sir? I recall there was a member of that name.... You're not Mr. Ayling, sir?"

"We're not very flattering, either of us, it seems. But then, privilege of the aged, I suppose."

"Beg pardon, sir. I'm sorry—I ought to remember you."

"We're wearing masks, Chedsey, you and I."

"You're right, sir, I'm afraid."

They regarded each other, those two, Chedsey, rotund and pink, looking down upon Ayling, long and lean, with fine wrinkles about his eyes, and hair considerably grayed, wondering, both of them, why names should be so much more enduring than they themselves had been.

It was not until Ayling had begun to ask Chedsey for news of old friends, and chanced almost at once to mention Lonsdale, that both he and the old waiter exclaimed in the same breath, "Major Lonsdale!" as if the Major's name had been a key to open the doors of both their memories.

"And you're young Mr. Dick Ayling! I remember you perfectly now!" Chedsey beamed. How could he have failed to remember any one of those gay young friends of the major's?

"And where," asked Ayling, "is the major now?"

"Major Lonsdale, sir—has been gone seven years. Hadn't you heard?"

Lonsdale gone! Lonsdale dead! Lonsdale had begun life so brilliantly. Ayling did feel left over and old.

"What happened?" he asked, and Chedsey, glad to talk of the major, told how he had left the club to be Major Lonsdale's man just after he came back from the Boer War. How things hadn't seemed to go well with the major after that; he lost money—just how, Chedsey didn't say, but gave one to understand that it was a misfortune beyond the major's control. In the end he was forced to give up his house, and Chedsey came back to the club. A few years later the major was taken with pneumonia, quite suddenly, and died. Did Mr. Ayling know Major Lonsdale's wife?

"Yes," said Ayling. "What became of Mrs. Lonsdale?"

"Here in London, sir."

"Wasn't there," asked Ayling, "a child, a little girl?"

"Ah, Miss Peggy, sir!" It was plain that "Miss Peggy" was one of Chedsey's enthusiasms. A young lady now ... and soon to be married to a fine young gentleman of one of the best Scotch families.... She'll have a title some day.... Picture in the Sketch recently—perhaps he could find it for Mr. Ayling.

"Never mind," said Ayling, who was not thinking of Miss Peggy at all, but of her parents, young Major Harry Lonsdale, and his pretty wife.—He remembered her as a bride—Bessie, the major had called her—a graceful young creature with brown hair and brown-flecked eyes, already at that age a charming hostess in the fine old house Harry Lonsdale had inherited from his father.

"They are living in Cambridge Terrace," Chedsey was saying. "Would Mr. Ayling like the address?"

Ayling wrote down the address Chedsey gave him, and put it away in his pocket, with no more definite idea than that some day, if opportunity offered, he might look her up, for his old friend's sake.

He began to inquire about other men—Carrington, Farnsby, Blake. Dead, all three of them—Farnsby only last spring. Was it some fate that pursued his particular friends? But those men had all, he reflected, been older than he. And yet, he recalled the words of his doctor:

"A man's as old as his arteries. You've been too long out here. Be sensible, Ayling.... Go home—take it easy—rest. You'll have a long time yet...."

Just a week later, to the day, Ayling stepped into a telephone-booth, looked up Mrs. Lonsdale's number, and telephoned. He had not counted upon loneliness.

At forty-five Bessie Lonsdale had encountered one of those universal experiences which invariably give us, as individuals, so strong a sense of surprise. She had discovered suddenly, upon completion of the task to which she had so long given her energies, that she had become the task; that she no longer had any identity apart from it. And her consciousness of having arrived at exactly the place where hundreds before her must have arrived had only added to the strangeness of her experience.

A week ago she had seen her twenty-year-old daughter off to the north of Scotland for a month's visit to the family which she was soon to enter as a bride. It seemed to her that Peggy had never been so lovely as when she said good-by to her at the station that day, slim, fragrant, shining-eyed, and looking very patrician indeed in her smart sable jacket (cut from the luxurious sable cape that had been part of her mother's trousseau), with the violets pinned into the buttonhole. And Bessie Lonsdale had seen with pride and no twinge of jealousy the admiration in the eyes of that aristocratic, if somewhat stern-faced, old lady who was to be Peggy's mother-in-law, and who, with true Scotch propriety, had come all the way down to London to take her home with her.

"I don't like leaving you alone," Peggy had said, as they kissed each other good-by. "You're going to let yourself be dull."

And her mother had patted the soft cheek, and replied: "I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. I mean to have a good rest and get acquainted with myself."

When, a few moments later, she waved them good-by as the train moved slowly out of the station, Bessie Lonsdale had turned away with a long-drawn and involuntary sigh—a sigh of thanksgiving and relief.

Peggy at last was safe! Her happiness and her future assured. All those years of hoping and holding steady had come now to this happy end. Ever since her husband's early death Bessie Lonsdale had centered herself upon the future of her child. She had had only her few hundred a year saved from the wreck of her husband's affairs, but she had set her course, and, with an air of sailing in circles for pleasure's sake, stood clear of the rocks and shoals. She had never borrowed; she had never apologized; had never been considered a poor relation, or spoken of as pathetic or "brave." Her little flat was an achievement. It was astonishing how she had managed at once so much simplicity, so much downright comfort, and so charming an atmosphere. She had done so much with so little, yet hers were not anxious rooms, like the rooms of so many women of small means. They had space, repose, good cheer, even an air of luxury. It was the home of a gentlewoman who could make a little better than "the best of things." She had even entertained a little, now and then—more of late, now that Peggy's education was complete—but this at the cost of many economies in the right quarter, and many extravagances also rightly placed.

Call this "climbing" if you will, and a stress upon false values. Bessie Lonsdale gave herself to no such futile speculations as that. She was too busy at her task. She was neither so young nor so hypocritical as to pretend that these things were to be despised. She had done only what every other mother in the world wishes to do—to guide and protect her child and see her future provided for; only she had done it more efficiently than most; had brought, perhaps, a greater fitness or a greater consecration to the task. And the success of her achievement lay in the art with which she had concealed all trace of effort and strain. Peggy herself would have been first to laugh at the notion that her mother had had anything whatever to do with her falling in love with Andrew McCrae. She believed that it was by the sheer prodigality of the Fates that, besides being in love with her, romantically, as only a Scotchman can be, young Andrew McCrae was heir to one of the most substantial fortunes in all the north, and would succeed to a title one day....

So Bessie Lonsdale had sighed her deep sigh of peace and gone back to her flat. And because she had really wanted to be alone she had sent her one faithful old servant away for a long-postponed visit to country relatives. Then she had sat down to rest, and to "get acquainted with herself." And in two days she had made her discovery. There was no "herself." She had been Peggy's mother so long that Bessie Lonsdale as a separate entity had entirely ceased to exist.

It was at the end of the week that Ayling telephoned. And, although she had been avoiding even chance meetings with acquaintances, she found herself asking Ayling, whom she had not seen for twenty-five years, and whom she had known but slightly then, to come that day at five to tea. She realized only after she had left the telephone that it was because his voice had come to her out of that far time before she had become the mother of Peggy, and because she had a vague sort of hope that he might help to bring back a bit of the old self she had lost.

She was, when she thought of it, a little puzzled by his looking her up. Had he and Harry been such friends?

Promptly at five he came. At the door they greeted each other with a sudden unexpected warmth. And while he was clasping her hand and saying how jolly it was, after all this time, to find her here, and she was saying how nice it was to see him, how nice of him to look her up, he was thinking to himself that he might have recognized her by the brown-flecked eyes, and she was thinking, "He's an old man, older than I—the age Harry would have been——"

"So you've come home," she said, "to stay?"

"Yes, we all do. It's what we look forward to out there."

"I know." With a little hospitable gesture and a step backward she brought him in.

They had not mentioned the major who was gone, nor had they mentioned the years that had passed since their last meeting, yet suddenly, without any premonition, those two turned their eyes away from each other, to avoid bursting senselessly into tears. An almost inconceivable disaster, yet one for the moment perilously imminent.

Yet neither of them was thinking of Major Lonsdale nor of anything so grievous as death; they were thinking of those terrifying little wrinkles round their eyes, and of the little up-and-down lines that would never disappear, and something inside them both gave suddenly away, melted, flooding them inside with tears that must not be shed.

She held out her hand for his hat and stick. For an instant they both felt a deep constraint, and as he was getting out of his coat each wondered if the other had noticed it.

Ayling turned about and stumbled awkwardly over a small hassock on the floor, and they both laughed, which helped them recover themselves.

"How long has it really been?" she asked, as she faced him beside the fire.

"Twenty-five years." He smiled at her, shaking his head. "Twenty-five years!"

"You must feel the prodigal son!"

"Not until I came in your door just now, I didn't at all." And then, without in the least intending to say it, he added, "You were the only person in London I knew."

It was the first of many things he had not intended to tell. As it was the first of many afternoons when they sat before the fire in her pretty drawing-room—that gallant little blaze that did its best to combat the gloom and chill of London's late winter rains—and drank their tea and talked, the comfortable, scattering talk of old friends; although it was not because of the past that they were friends, but because of the present and their mutual need. They did not speak of loneliness; it was a word, perhaps, of which they were both afraid.

When they talked of her husband, of the old house, the old days, she felt herself coming back, materializing gradually again, out of the past. Ayling said to himself that he could talk to Bessie Lonsdale of things he had never been able to speak of to any one else, because they had had so much common experience. For from the beginning Ayling had had the illusion that Bessie Lonsdale, as well as he, had been away all those years, and had just come back to London again. He had said this to her as he was leaving on that first afternoon, and she had smiled and said, "So I have, just that—I've been away and come back, and I hardly know where to begin." Later he understood. For once or twice he met there a few of her friends, people who dropped in to inquire what she had heard from Peggy; people who talked of how they were missing Peggy, of the time when she would be coming home, of her approaching wedding, and one and all they commented upon the emptiness of the flat without Peggy there, and how lonely it must be for dear Mrs. Lonsdale with Peggy away.

"I seem to be the only person in London not missing Peggy," he said to her one day. Her brown-flecked eyes looked at him straight for an instant, and then slowly they smiled, for she knew that he understood. She had not needed to tell him, for he had divined it for himself. Just as he had not needed to tell her how much her being in London had meant to him.

As it was, the incessant chill and dampness of the weather had done his health no good. His blood was thin from long years of Indian sun, and he found it a constant effort to resist. The gloom seemed even worse than the cold, and, although he had thought that he should never wish for sun again, after India, he did wish for it now, wished for it until it became a sheer physical need. For the first time in his life he began to feel that he was getting old. Or was it, he asked himself, only that he had time now to think of such things? Bessie Lonsdale saw it, for her eyes were quick and keen, and she had long been in the habit of mothering. "It's this beastly London," she said. "I know!" And it was she who made him promise to go away for a week in the country, where he might have a glimpse at least of the sun. He remembered an inn at Homebury St. Mary, where he had spent a summer as a child, and it was there, for no reason except the memory of so much sun, that he planned to go, "by the middle of next week," he said, "when Peggy will be coming home."

They had been talking of her return, and he had confessed to the notion that he would feel himself superfluous, out of place, somehow, when Peggy came home. His confession had pleased her, she hardly knew why. As for herself, she had had something of the same thought that when Peggy came there would be—well, a different atmosphere.

She was looking forward daily now to a letter saying by what train Peggy would return. On Thursday there arrived, instead, a letter from Lady McCrae, begging that they be allowed "to keep our dear Peggy for another ten days." The heavy weather had kept the young people indoors, and a great many excursions which they had planned had had to be put off on account of it. She said, in her dignified way, many things vastly pleasing to a mother's heart, and Mrs. Lonsdale could do nothing but write, giving her consent.

When she had written the letter and sent it off she began to be curiously depressed, and she wandered through the flat, conscious at last of just how much she had really missed Peggy's laughter, her gaiety, and her swift young step. The week before her loomed longer than all the time she had been away.

That afternoon she told Ayling her news, but it was not until she had finished telling him that she remembered that he, too, would be going away. She hadn't known until then how much his being there had meant.

"I don't know," she said, "how I shall put in the week! After all, I've been missing her more than I knew."

It occurred to Ayling that, standing there before him with Lady McCrae's letter, which she had been showing him, in her hand, she was exactly like a little girl who was going to be left all alone.

The idea came to him suddenly. "Look here, Bessie; come down to Homebury St. Mary with me! It would do you no end of good."

The quality of their friendship was clear in the simplicity with which he made the suggestion, and the absence of self-consciousness with which she heard it made.

"I should love it!" she said.

"Then come along. You've nothing to keep you here; the country's just what you need."

She did not answer at once, but stood looking away from him, a little frown between her eyes. She was thinking how absurd it would be to object, and how equally absurd it seemed to say yes. It was so nice to have some one think of her as he thought of himself, simply, normally, humanly, as Dick Ayling seemed to have thought of her from the first.

Then abruptly she accepted his simplification. "I'll go," she said.

"Good! I'll telephone through for a room for you.... When can you be ready?" he asked.

"To-day—this afternoon. Let's get away before I discover all the reasons to prevent! I won't bother about a lot of luggage—my big bag will do."

"Great! I'll ask about trains."

All at once, like two children, they became immensely exhilarated at the prospect before them—a week's holiday!

He went to the telephone and presently reported: "There's a train at two-forty. Can you make it by then?"

She looked at the clock on the mantel. "We'll make it," she said.

He was getting into his coat. "I'll go on to the club, get my things together, and come back for you at two-fifteen, then."

He rushed away, both of them almost forgetting to say good-by, and she went into her bedroom to pack.

When, promptly at two-fifteen, he rang her bell, she was waiting, hat and gloves on, and called out, "All ready!" as the taxi-driver followed Ayling up for her bag....

The spring had come up to meet them at Homebury St. Mary. So Bessie Lonsdale said to herself when she woke in her old-fashioned chintz-curtained room. The sun shone in at the windows, the air was balmy and sweet, and lifting herself on her elbow, she saw in a little round swale in the garden outside a faint showing of green nestled into the damp brown earth.

She got up, rang for a maid, who came, smiling, white-capped, rosy-cheeked. She had coffee and rolls with rich country cream while she dressed. Her room opened directly into the garden, and she put on stout boots and a walking-suit and a soft little hat of green felt, and went out. Ayling, who had evidently risen early, was coming toward her, swinging a great, freshly whittled staff cut from the woods beyond the inn. He called to her:

"You see! The sun does shine at Homebury St. Mary!" And then, as if in gratitude for so glorious a day, he wished to be fair to the rest of the world, he added, as he came up, "I wonder if it's shining in London, too."

"London?" she said. "London? There's no such place!"

"Glad you came?" he asked.

"Glad!" Her tone was enough.

"That's a jolly green hat," he said, and made her a little bow.

"Glad you like it," she laughed. "And that's a jolly staff."

He showed it off proudly. "Work of art," he said. "I made one just like it when I was here the summer I was twelve—I remembered it this morning when I woke up, and I came out to get this one."

She admired it critically, particularly the initials of the dark bark left on, but suggested an improvement about the knob.

"By Jove! you're right," he admitted, and set to work with his knife.

They were like two youngsters out of school. All morning they idled out-of-doors, exploring the little lanes that led off into the buff-colored hills, returning at noon, ravenous, to lunch in the dining-room of the inn, parting afterward in the corridor, and going to their own rooms to rest and read. At four Ayling tapped at her door to say that there was in the sitting-room "an absolutely enormous tea."

That night, before a beautiful fire in the sitting-room, they caught each other yawning at half past nine, and at ten they said good-night.

It had been so perfect that the next day found them following the same routine. And the next day, and the next. Bessie Lonsdale had not felt for years so much peace and so much strength. In their morning walks together her strength showed greater than his. The bracing air exhilarated her, and she felt she could have walked forever in the lovely rolling hills. Once she had walked on and on, faster and faster, not noticing how she had quickened her pace, her head up, facing the light wind blowing in from the sea. And, turning to ask a question of Ayling at her side, his white face stopped her instantly.

"Oh, I am sorry! Forgive me," she said.

He smiled, embarrassed, and waited a moment for breath before he said, "It's just the wind; it's pretty stiff."

And she had said no more, because it embarrassed him, but she suited her pace to his after that, never forgiving herself for her thoughtlessness. And she chose, instead of the hill roads, the level, winding lanes.

For five perfect spring days they spent their mornings out-of-doors in the sun, lunched, parted until tea, met at dinner again, and said good night at a preposterously early hour. And they could not have said whether they amused or interested or merely comforted each other. Perhaps they did all three. At any rate, it was an idyll of its kind, and of more genuine beauty than many less platonic idylls have been.

On the morning of the sixth day Bessie Lonsdale went out into the garden as usual, to find the sky overcast with light, fleecy clouds. But the air was soft, and she wandered about for half an hour before it occurred to her that perhaps Ayling was waiting for her inside. She went in to look, but saw him nowhere, and decided that he was sleeping late. She waited until eleven, and then went out to walk by herself. But she did not relish the walk because she was uneasy about Ayling. She was afraid he was ill. She forced herself to go on a little way, but when she came to the second turn in the road, she faced abruptly about and came back to the inn. Still Ayling was nowhere about. He was not in the garden; he was not in the coffee-room. She went to her own room and sat down with a book, but she could not read. So she went into the corridor, searching for some one of whom she might inquire. But no one was visible.

Ayling's room opened off of the little public sitting-room at the end of the corridor. She went on until she reached the sitting-room, which she entered, and then stood still, listening for some sound from beyond Ayling's door. The silence seemed to grow round her; it filled the room, it spread through the house. And then, propelled by that silence toward the door, she put out her hand and knocked softly. There was no response. She repeated the knock—twice—and only that pervading silence answered her. She took hold of the knob and turned it without a sound; the door gave inward and she stepped inside the room. The bed faced her, and Ayling was lying there, on his side. Even before she saw his face, her own heart told her that he was dead.... He lay there quite peacefully, as if he had died in his sleep.

For an instant Bessie Lonsdale thought she was going to faint. And then, moved by the force of an emotion which seemed to take possession of her from the outside, an emotion which she could not recognize, but which was irresistible and which, as the silence had propelled her a moment ago, took her backward now, step by step, noiselessly, out of that room; caused her to close the door after her, and, still moving backward without a sound, to come to a stop in the middle of the little sitting-room. For now that strange fear, premonition—she knew not what—which seemed to have been traveling toward her from a great distance, seemed suddenly to concentrate itself into a single name, "Peggy!" ... Confused, swirling, the connotations that accompanied the name took possession of her mind, of her body, her will. Peggy was threatened.... Through this thing that had happened Peggy's happiness might be destroyed! In a flash she saw the story—the cold facts printed in a newspaper—as they would undoubtedly be—or told by gossips, glad of a scandal to repeat: She, Peggy's mother—and Richard Ayling together at a country inn—the sudden and sensational discovery of Ayling's death.... She could see the stern face of Lady McCrae—the accusing blue eyes of Andrew McCrae ... and Peggy's stricken face.

She tried to pull herself together—to think; her thoughts were not reasoning thoughts, but unrelated, floating, detached....

Suddenly, by some strange alchemy of her mind, three things stood out clear. They stood out like the three facts of a simple syllogism.

There was nothing she could do for Richard Ayling now.... No one knew she was here.... A train for London passed Homebury St. Mary a little after noon.

All the years of Bessie Lonsdale's motherhood commanded her to act. Her muscles alone seemed to hear and obey. She was like a person hypnotized, who had been ordered with great detail and precision what to do.

Soundlessly, she went from the room and down the length of the corridor. In her own room she threw scattered garments into a bag, swept in the things from the dresser, glanced into the mirror, and was astonished to see that she had on her coat and hat. Then out through the door that led to the garden, a sharp turn to the right, and she was off, walking swiftly, with no sensation of touching the earth. A train whistled in the distance, came into sight. She raced with it, reached the station just as it drew alongside and came to a stop. The guard took her bag, and she swung onto the step. It did not seem strange to her that she had reached the station at precisely the same time as the train. It seemed only natural ... in accordance with the plan....

At seventeen minutes past three o'clock Bessie Lonsdale hurried into a telephone-booth in Victoria Station, called up a friend, and asked her to tea. Then she took a taxi to within a block of the flat, where she dismissed the taxi, went into a pastry-shop, bought some cakes, and five minutes later she was taking off her hat and coat in her own bedroom.

She worked quickly, automatically, without any sense of exertion, still as if she but obeyed a hypnotist's command. At four o'clock a leaping fire in the drawing-room grate flickered cheerily against silver tea-things, against the sheen of newly dusted mahogany; books lay here and there, carelessly, a late illustrated review open as if some one had just put it down, and dressed in a soft gown of blue crêpe, Bessie Lonsdale received her guest. She was not an intimate friend, but a casual one whom she did not often see. A Mrs. Downey, who loved to talk of herself and of her own affairs. Bessie Lonsdale did not know why she had chosen her. Her brain had seemed to work without direction, independent of her will. She could never have directed it so well.

Even now, as she brought her in and heard herself saying easy, friendly, commonplace things, she had no sense of willing herself to say them consciously. They said themselves. She heard nothing that Mrs. Downey said, yet she answered her. Later, while she was pouring Mrs. Downey's tea, she remembered a time, over a year ago, when she had heard Mrs. Downey say, "Two, and no cream." She put in the two lumps, and was startled to hear her guest exclaim, "My dear, what a memory!" ... She did not know whether Mrs. Downey told her one or many things that afternoon. Only certain words, parts of sentences, gestures, imprinted themselves upon her mind, never to be erased. She seemed divided into two separate selves, neither of them complete—one, the intenser of the two, was at Homebury St. Mary, looking down upon Ayling's still, dead face; and that self was filled with pity, with remorse, with a tenderness that hurt. The other self was here, in a gown of blue crêpe, drinking tea, and possessed of a voice which she could hear vaguely making the conversation one makes when nothing has happened, when one has been lonely and a little bored....

All at once something was going on in the room, a clangor that seemed to waken Bessie Lonsdale out of the unreality of a dream. It summoned her will to come back to its control.

Mrs. Downey was smiling and saying in an ordinary tone, "Your telephone."

Bessie Lonsdale rose and crossed the room, took the receiver from its stand, said, "Yes," and waited.

A man's voice came over the wire. "I wish to speak to Mrs. Lonsdale, please."

"I am Mrs. Lonsdale," she said in a smooth, low voice. Her voice was perfectly smooth because her will had deserted her again. Only her brain worked, clearly, independently.

"Ah, Mrs. Lonsdale; this is Mr. Burke speaking, Mr. Franklin Burke, of the Cosmos Club. I am making an effort to get into touch with friends of Mr. Richard Ayling, and I am told by a man named Chedsey, who I believe was at one time in your employ, that Mr. Ayling is an old friend of your family."

"Yes," she said, "we are old friends."

"You knew, then, I presume, that Mr. Ayling had gone away—to the country some days ago."

"Yes," she said, again, "I knew that he had not been well and that he had gone out of town for a week.... Is there—anything?" Her heart was beating very loudly in her ears.

"I dislike to be the bearer of bad news, Mrs. Lonsdale, but I must tell you that we have received a telephone message here at the club that—I hope it will not shock you too much—that Mr. Ayling died sometime to-day, at an inn where he was staying, at Homebury St. Mary, I believe."

His voice was very gentle and concerned. She hesitated perceptibly, and his voice came over the wire, "I'm sorry—very sorry, to tell you in this way—"

She heard herself speaking: "Naturally, I—it's something of a shock...."

"Indeed I understand."

Again she caught the sound of her own voice, as if it belonged to some one else, "I suppose it was his heart."

"He was known to have a bad heart?"

"Yes; it has been weak for years."

"I wonder, Mrs. Lonsdale, if I may ask a favor of you. You know, of course, that Mr. Ayling had very few close friends in London; you are, in fact, the only one we have been able, on this short notice, to find. For that reason I am going to ask that you let me come to see you this afternoon; you will understand that there are certain formalities, facts which it will be necessary for us to have, which only an old friend of Mr. Ayling could give—that we could get in no other way...."

"I understand, perfectly."

"Then I may come?"

"Certainly." ... There was nothing else she could say.

She did not know how she got rid of her guest, what explanation she made, nor how she happened to be saying good-by to her at the very moment when the dignified, elderly Mr. Burke arrived, so that they had to be introduced. Though she must have made some adequate explanation, since Mrs. Downey's last words were, in the presence of Mr. Burke, "It's always so hard, I think, to lose one's really old friends."

Mr. Burke came in. He was very correct, very kind. He begged Mrs. Lonsdale to believe that it was with the greatest regret that he called upon so sad an errand; that he came only because it was necessary and she was the only person to whom they could turn. He added that he had known her husband, Major Lonsdale, in his lifetime, and hoped that she would consider him, therefore, not so entirely a stranger to her.

She heard him as one hears music far away, only the accents and the climaxes coming clear. He asked her questions, and she was conscious of answering them: How long had she known Mr. Ayling?—He and her husband had been boyhood friends; she had met him first at the time of her marriage to Major Lonsdale. Had they kept up the friendship during all these years?—No, she had heard nothing of Mr. Ayling since her husband's death; she knew that he was in India; they had renewed the friendship when he returned to England a short time ago.—Ah, it was probable, then, that she knew very little about any attachments Mr. Ayling might have had?—Here Mr. Burke shifted his position, coughed slightly, and said:

"I ask you these questions, Mrs. Lonsdale, because of a very—may I say—a very unfortunate element in connection with the case. It appears that there was a woman with Mr. Ayling at the Homebury St. Mary inn."

Bessie Lonsdale waited, she did not know for what. Whole minutes seemed to go by with the elderly Mr. Burke sitting there in his attitude of formal sympathy before his voice began again.

"I have only been free to mention this to you, Mrs. Lonsdale, because of the fact that you will hear of it in any case, since it must come out in the formalities—"

"Formalities?" Her voice cut sharply into his.

"There will, of course, be an inquest—an investigation—the usual thing. I have been in communication with the coroner's office by telephone, and I have promised to drive down to Homebury St. Mary myself this afternoon. He was away on another case, and will not reach there himself until six. Meantime we must do what we can. They will necessarily make an effort to discover the woman."

Bessie Lonsdale must have given some sort of involuntary cry, the implication of which Mr. Burke interpreted in his own way, for he changed his tone to say:

"I'm afraid, my dear Mrs. Lonsdale, that she was a bit of a rotter, whoever she was, for she—ran."

"Ran?" She repeated the word.

He nodded. "Disappeared."

She did not know what expression it was of hers that caused him to say: "I don't wonder you look so shocked. I was shocked. Women don't often do that sort of thing...." She wanted to cry out that that sort of thing didn't often happen to women, but he was going on. He had risen and was walking slowly up and down before the smoldering fire, and in his incisive, deliberate, well-bred voice he was excoriating the woman who had been so cowardly as to desert a dying man. "Even if she hadn't seriously cared, or if, for that matter, she hadn't cared at all, it would seem that mere common decency.... It puts, frankly, a very unpleasant light on the whole affair.... Ayling was a gentleman, and—you will forgive me for saying so, I'm sure—just the decent sort to be imposed upon, to allow himself to be led into the most unfortunate affair."

She wanted to stop him, to cry out, to protest. But his words were like physical blows which stunned her and made her too weak to speak. She felt that if he went on much longer she would lose consciousness altogether. Even now she heard only fragments of words.

Suddenly she heard the word "publicity." He had stopped before her and was looking down at her.

"I think, Mrs. Lonsdale, that the thing we both wish—that is, we at the club, and you, as his friend—is to do what we can to save any unnecessary scandal in connection with poor Ayling's death. It is the least we can do for him."

"Yes!" She grasped frantically at the straw. "Yes, by all means that!"

"You would be willing to help?"

"Yes, anything! But what is there I can do?"

He was maddeningly deliberate. "You are the only person, it appears—at least the only person available—who has been aware of the condition of Mr. Ayling's heart. You can say, can you not, with certainty, that he did suffer from a serious affection of the heart?"

"He came home from India on account of it."

"Very well, then. It was also the verdict of the doctor who was called. I think together we may be able to obviate the necessity of a too public investigation—at any rate, we shall see. It must be done, of course, before the official investigation begins. Therefore, if you will come down with me this afternoon, in my car—"

"Come with you? Where?"

"To the inn, at Homebury," he said.

She was trapped ... trapped.... The realization of it sprang upon her, but too late, for already she cried out, "Oh, I couldn't—I couldn't do that!"

Mr. Burke was looking down at her. He loomed above her like the figure of fate.... She was trapped.... There was no way out, and suddenly she realized that she had risen and said: "Forgive me! To be sure I will go."

"I understand," said Mr. Burke, "how one shrinks from that sort of thing."

She did not know what she was going to do. She only knew that for this step, at least, she could no longer resist. Again she had the sensation of speaking and moving automatically, of decisions making themselves without the effort of her will.

She asked how soon he wished to go, and he said, consulting his watch, that they ought to start at once; his car was waiting in the street, since he had planned to go on directly from her house. She excused herself, and went to her room. She did not change her dress, but put on a long, warm coat, her hat, her veil, her gloves, and made sure of her key in her purse. Then she came out and said she was ready to go. He complimented her, with a smile, on the short time it had taken her, and she wondered if he had really seen her hesitation of a few moments before. They went down the stairs together. At the curb a chauffeur stood beside a motor, into which, with the utmost consideration for her comfort, Mr. Burke handed her. Then he gave his instructions to the chauffeur, and followed her in.

And there began for Bessie Lonsdale that fantastic ride in which she felt herself being carried forward, as if on the effortless wings of fate itself, to the very scene from which she had fled.

She had no idea, no dramatization in her mind, of what awaited her or of what she intended to do. Her imagination refused to focus upon it; and, strangely, she seemed almost to be resting, leaning back against the tufted cushions, resting against the time when she should be called upon for her strength. For she only knew that when the time came to act she would act.

It was curious how she did not think of Peggy. She was like a lover who has been set a herculean task to accomplish before he may even think of his beloved.

Beside her, Mr. Burke seemed to understand that she did not wish to talk. Perhaps he was thinking of other things; after all, he had not been Richard Ayling's friend; it was only a human duty he performed.

Long stretches went by in which she saw nothing on either side, and other stretches in which everything—houses, trees, objects of all kinds—were exceedingly clear cut and magnified....

"I'm afraid," said Mr. Burke's voice, "that we're running into a storm."

Bessie Lonsdale looked up, and saw that those fleecy, light-gray clouds which she had seen in the sky early that morning as she stood waiting for Ayling in the garden of the inn, and which had been gathering all day, hung now black and menacing just above her head.

It descended upon them suddenly; torrents ran in the road. The wind veered, and sent great gusts of rain into the car. The chauffeur turned and asked if he should stop and put the curtains up. Mr. Burke said no, to go on, they might run through it, and it was too violent to last. Meantime he worked with the curtains himself, and she helped. But it was no use; they were getting drenched, and the wind whipped the curtains out of their hands. Mr. Burke leaned forward and called to the chauffeur to ask if there was any place near where they might stop.

"There's an inn about half a mile farther on. Shall I make it?"

"By all means."

They ran presently into the strips of light that shed outward from the lighted windows of the inn. A half-dozen motors already were lined up outside. They got out and together ran for the door.

Inside, the small public room was almost filled. People sat at the tables, ordering things to eat and drink, and making the best of it. They chose a small corner table, a little apart from the rest. The landlord bustled up and took their coats to dry before the kitchen fire. A very gay, very dripping party of six came in, assembled with much laughter the last two tables remaining unoccupied, and settled next to them, so that they were no longer in a secluded spot.

In a few moments there came in, almost blown through the door by a violent gust of wind and rain, a short, stout, ruddy person, who, when the landlord had relieved him of his hat and coat, stood looking about for a vacant seat. The landlord came toward the table where sat Mrs. Lonsdale and Mr. Burke.

"Sorry, sir," he said; "it's the only place left."

"May I?" asked the stranger, and at Mrs. Lonsdale's nod and smile, and Mr. Burke's assent, he drew out the chair and sat down. The two men spoke naturally of the suddenness of the storm, of the good fortune of finding a refuge so near.

Bessie Lonsdale was glad of some one else, glad when she heard the stranger and Mr. Burke fall into the easy passing conversation of men. It would relieve her of the necessity to talk. It would give her time to think; for it seemed, dimly, that respite had been offered her. Into her thoughts broke the voice of Mr. Burke addressing her:

"How very singular, Mrs. Lonsdale! This gentleman is Mr Ford, the coroner, also on his way to Homebury!"

The stranger was on his feet, bowing and acknowledging the introduction of Mr. Burke. Bessie Lonsdale had the sensation of waters closing over her, yet she, too, was bowing and acknowledging the introduction of Mr. Burke. She had a vivid impression of light shining downward upon the red-gray hair of Mr. Ford, as he sat down again; and of Mr. Burke saying something about "the case," and about Mrs. Lonsdale being an old friend of the dead man; about her having been good enough to volunteer to shed whatever light she might have upon the case, and of their meeting being the "most fortunate coincidence."

Mr. Ford signified that he, too, looked upon it in that way. They would go on to Homebury together, he said, when the storm had cleared.

"I suppose," he asked, leaning forward a little, confidentially, "that Mrs. Lonsdale knows of the—peculiar element——"

"The woman—yes," said Mr. Burke. And Bessie Lonsdale inclined her head and said, "I know."

"And do you know who she was?"

She had only to make a negative sign, for Mr. Burke, with nice consideration, anticipated her reply:

"Unfortunately, Mr. Ford, no one appears to have the least idea who she might be. Mrs. Lonsdale, however, has been able to clear up a point which may, I fancy, make the identity of the woman less important than it might otherwise appear to be. Mrs. Lonsdale has known for some time of the serious condition of Mr. Ayling's heart. It was because of it, she tells me, that Mr. Ayling came home from India. Mrs. Lonsdale's testimony, together with the statement of the physician who was called, would seem to leave little doubt that it was merely a case of heart."

Mr. Ford was nodding his head. "So it would," he said. "Yes, so it would." He stopped nodding, and sat there an instant, as if he were thinking of something else. "If that's the case," he broke out, "what a rotter, by Jove! that woman was!"

"Rotter, I think," said Mr. Burke, "was precisely the word I used."

And Bessie Lonsdale listened for the second time that day while two voices, now, instead of one, were lifted in excoriation of some woman who seemed to grow, as they talked, only a shade less real than herself.

She had again the sensation of the words beating upon her like blows which she was powerless to resist. She lost, as one does in physical pain, all sense of time....

"However," Mr. Ford brought down his hand with a kind of judicial finality, "if Mrs. Lonsdale will come on down with us now—the storm seems to have slackened—we'll see what can be done." He turned in his chair as if he were preparing to rise.

At the movement Bessie Lonsdale seemed to grow rigid in her chair.


Mr. Burke and Mr. Ford turned, startled by the strangeness of her tone. They waited for her to speak.

"I can't go."

"Can't go?" They echoed it together. "Why not?"

"Because," said she, "I am the woman you have been talking about."

For an instant they sat perfectly motionless, the three of them. Then slowly Mr. Burke and Mr. Ford turned their heads and looked at each other, as if to verify what they had heard. Mr. Burke put out his hand toward Bessie Lonsdale's arm, resting on the table, and he spoke very gently indeed:

"My dear Mrs. Lonsdale, this is impossible."

"Impossible," she said, passing her hand across her eyes, "impossible?"

"Yes, Mrs. Lonsdale." He spoke reasonably, as if she were a child. "It couldn't be you." He turned now to include Mr. Ford, who sat staring at them both. "I myself gave Mrs. Lonsdale the news of Mr. Ayling's death, over the telephone. She was at her home, in Cambridge Terrace, quietly having tea with a friend; the friend was still there when I arrived. You have been at home, in London, all day."

"No," she said. "No, Mr. Burke."

"I think," said Mr. Ford, also very gently indeed, "that perhaps Mrs. Lonsdale is trying to shield some one."

Until that instant Bessie Lonsdale had no plan. She had only known that she could not go with them to Homebury St. Mary, there to be recognized. But something in the suggestion of Mr. Ford—in the tone, perhaps, more than the words—caused her to say, looking from one to the other of these two men so lately strangers to her:

"I wonder—I wonder if I could make you understand!"

They begged her to believe that that was the thing they wished most to do.

"I did it"—she paused, and forced herself to go on—"because of my daughter."

Intent upon her truth, she did not even see by the shocked expression of their faces the awfulness of the thing they thought she confessed, and the obviousness of the reason to which their minds had leaped.

Mr. Burke put out his hand again and laid it upon her arm, which trembled slightly at his touch. "Mrs. Lonsdale," he said, and this time he spoke even more gently, but more urgently, than before, "are you sure you wish to tell?"

"No," said Bessie Lonsdale, "but I've got to, don't you see?"

Mr. Ford moved in his chair, and spoke, guarding his voice, judicially. "Since we have gone so far, it will be even better, perhaps, for Mrs. Lonsdale to tell it to us here."

Mr. Burke nodded, and they looked toward her expectantly.

"Yes, Mrs. Lonsdale?" said Mr. Ford.

An instant the brown-flecked eyes appeared to be searching for some human contact which she seemed vaguely to have lost. And then she began at the beginning—with her daughter's engagement to young Andrew McCrae, her happiness, her security—and quietly, with only now and then a slight tension of her body and her voice, she told it all to them, exactly as it happened, without plea or embellishment. She had only one stress, and that she tried to make reasonable to them—her child's security.

And they waited, attentive and patient, for the motive to emerge, for the beginning of that complication between her daughter and Richard Ayling, which they believed was to be the crux of her narrative.

And as her story progressed their bewilderment increased, for never, it appeared, had Bessie Lonsdale's daughter so much as heard of the existence of the man who lay dead at Homebury inn. She seemed even to make a special point of that.

They thought she but put it off against the time when it should be forced from her lips; but her story did not halt; she was telling it step by step, accounting for every hour of the time.

They waited for her to offer proof of the condition of Ayling's heart. She did not mention it, except to say, when she came to relating the moment of her discovery, that she had not thought of it; that even when she opened the door of his room she did not think directly of his heart; and only when she saw him actually lying there so peacefully dead did she remember the danger in which he constantly lived. She seemed to offer it as proof of the suddenness and completeness of her shock, and in extenuation of the thing she afterward did.

Slowly, gradually, as they listened, and as the light of her omissions made it clear, it had begun to dawn upon them that Bessie Lonsdale was telling the whole of the truth. And by it she sought to disprove something, but not the thing they thought.

She had paused, at the point of her flight, to attempt, a little hopelessly, to make her impulse real to them. She spoke of the inflexible honor of the McCraes, of the great respect which had for generations attached to their name. Then suddenly, as if she saw the utter hopelessness of making them understand, she seemed with a gesture to give up abstractions and obscurities and to find in the depth of her mother's heart the final simple words:

"Don't you see?" she said. "I hadn't thought how my being there at the same inn with Mr. Ayling would look—and then, all at once, it came over me. The whole thing, how it would look to the world, how it would look to the family of my daughter's fiancé,—and that it might mean the breaking of the engagement,—the wreck of her future happiness—don't you see—I didn't think of 'being a rotter'—I only thought of her!"

They uttered, both of them, a sudden exclamation, as if they had been struck. By their expressions one might have thought the woman the accuser and the two men the accused.

"Oh, my dear Mrs. Lonsdale—!" they both began at once, but she stopped them with a gesture of her hand.

"I don't blame you," she said, "I don't blame you. I was a rotter, to run, but I simply didn't think of myself."

Her tone, her gentleness, were the final proof. Only the innocent so graciously forgive.

"And now," she was saying, a great weariness in her voice, "I've told you. Do you want me to go on? It isn't raining any more."

"Perhaps, Mr. Ford—" Mr. Burke began. A look passed between them, like a question and an assent.

"If you, Mr. Burke," said Mr. Ford, "will come on with me, I think we can let your man drive Mrs. Lonsdale home. It will not be necessary for her to appear."

Bessie Lonsdale's thankfulness could find itself no words; it was lost in that first moment in astonishment. She had not really expected them to believe. It had not even, as she told it, seemed to her own ears adequate.

"I think," said Mr. Burke, seeing her silent so long, "that Mrs. Lonsdale hasn't an idea of the seriousness of the charge she has escaped."

"Charge?" she repeated—"Charge?—" and without another word, Bessie Lonsdale fainted in her chair. And as she lost consciousness she heard, dim and far away, the voice of Mr. Ford reply: "That—the fact that she hadn't an idea of it—and that alone, is why she has escaped."

"I'm perfectly sure," said Peggy Lonsdale, on Saturday afternoon, "that you did let yourself have a dull time!" She was exploring the flat before she had taken off her things, and had stopped to sit for a moment on the arm of her mother's chair. "Anyway, mother dear, you didn't have to think of me! That must have been a relief!"

She put down her head and kissed her, and Bessie Lonsdale patted the fragrant young cheek.

"Oh, I thought of you occasionally," she said.


[15] Copyright, 1920, by Harper & Brothers.
Copyright, 1921, by Fleta Campbell Springer.



From The Pictorial Review

Among all the memories of my boyhood in Urkey Island the story of Mary Matheson and the Blake boys comes back to me now, more than any other, with the sense of a thing seen in a glass darkly. And the darkness of the glass was my own adolescence.

I know that now, and I'm sorry. I'm ashamed to find myself suspecting that half of Mary Matheson's mature beauty in my eyes may have been romance, and half the romance mystery, and half of that the unsettling discovery that the other sex does not fade at seventeen and wither quite away at twenty, as had been taken somehow for granted. I'm glad there is no possibility of meeting her again as she was at thirty, and so making sure: I shall wish to remember her as the boy of sixteen saw her that night waiting in the dunes above the wreck of the "India ship," with Rolldown Nickerson bleating as he fled from the small, queer casket of polished wood he had flung on the sand, and the bridegroom peering out of the church window, over the moors in Urkey Village.

The thing began when I was too young to make much of it yet, a wonder of less than seven days among all the other bright, fragmentary wonders of a boy's life at six. Mainly I remember that Mary Matheson was a fool; every one in Urkey Village was saying that.

I can't tell how long the Blake boys had been courting her. I came too late to see anything but the climax of that unbrotherly tournament, and only by grace of the hundredth chance of luck did I witness even one act of that.

I was coming home one autumn evening just at dusk, loitering up the cow street from the eastward where the big boys had been playing "Run, Sheep, Run," and I watching from the vantage of Aunt Dee Nickerson's hen-house and getting whacked when I told. And I had come almost to the turning into Drugstore Lane when the sound of a voice fetched me up, all eyes and ears, against the pickets of the Matheson place.

It was the voice of my cousin Duncan, the only father I ever knew. He was constable of Urkey Village, and there was something in the voice as I heard it in the yard that told you why.

"Drop it, Joshua! Drop it, or by heavens——!"

Of Duncan I could see only the back, large and near. But the faces of the others were plain to my peep-hole between the pickets, or as plain as might be in the falling dusk. The sky overhead was still bright, but the blue shadow of the bluff lay all across that part of the town, and it deepened to a still bluer and cooler mystery under the apple-tree canopy sheltering the dooryard. I never see that light to this day, a high gloaming sifted through leaves on turf, without the faintest memory of a shiver. For that was the first I had even known of anger, the still and deadly anger of grown men.

My cousin had spoken to Joshua Blake, and I saw that Joshua held a pistol in his hand, the old, single-ball dueling weapon that had belonged to his father. His face was white, and the pallor seemed to refine still further the blade-like features of the Blake, the aquiline nose, the sloping, patrician forehead, the narrow lip, blue to the pressure of the teeth.

That was Joshua. Andrew, his brother, stood facing him three or four paces away. He was the younger of the two, the less favored, the more sensitive.

He had what no other Blake had had, a suspicion of freckle on his high, flat cheek. And he had what no one else in Urkey had then, a brace of gold teeth, the second and third to the left in the upper jaw, where Lem White's boom had caught him, jibing off the Head. They showed now as the slowly working lip revealed them, glimmering with a moist, dull sheen. He, too, was white.

His hands were empty, hanging down palms forward. But in his eyes there was no look of the defenseless: only a light of passionate contempt.

And between the two, and beyond them, as I looked, stood Mary, framed by the white pillars of the doorway, her hands at her throat and her long eyes dilated with a girl's fright more precious than exultation. So the three remained in tableau while, as if on another planet, the dusk deepened from moment to moment: Gramma Pilot, two yards away, brought supper to her squealing sow; and further off, out on the waning mirror of the harbor, a conch lowed faintly for some schooner's bait.

"Drop it, Joshua!" Duncan's voice came loud and clear.

And this time, following the hush, it seemed to exercise the devil of quietude. I heard Mary's breath between her lips, and saw Andrew wheel sharply to pick a scale from the tree-trunk with a thumb-nail. Joshua's eyes went down to the preposterous metal in his hand; he shivered slightly like a dreamer awakening and thrust it in his pocket. And then, seeing Duncan turning toward the fence and me, I took the better part of valor and ran, and saw no more.

There were serious men in town that night when it was known what a pass the thing had come to; men that walked and women that talked. It was all Mary's fault. Long ago she ought to have taken one of them and "sent the other packing." That's what Miah White said, sitting behind the stove in our kitchen over the shop; that's what Duncan thought as he paced back and forth, shaking his head. That's what they were all saying or thinking as they sat or wandered about.

Such are the difficulties of serious men. And even while it all went on, Mary Matheson had gone about her choosing in the way that seemed fit to youth. In the warm-lit publicity of Miss Alma Beedie's birthday-party, shaking off so soon the memory of that brief glint of pistol-play under the apple-trees, she took a fantastic vow to marry the one that brought her the wedding-rin—promised with her left hand on Miss Beedie's album and her right lifted toward the allegorical print of the Good Shepherd that the one who, first across the Sound to the jeweler's at Gillyport and back again, fetched her the golden-ring—that he should be her husband "for better or for worse, till death us do part, and so forth and so on, Amen!"

And those who were there remembered afterwards that while Joshua stood his ground and laughed and clapped with the best of them, his brother Andrew left the house. They said his face was a sick white, and that he looked back at Mary for an instant from the doorway with a curious, hurt expression in his eyes, as if to say, "Is it only a game to you then? And if it's only a game, is it worth the candle?" They remembered it afterward, I say; long afterward.

They thought he had gone out for just a moment; that presently he would return to hold up his end of the gay challenge over the cakes and cordial. But to that party Andrew Blake never returned. Their first hint of what was afoot they had when Rolldown Nickerson, the beachcomber, came running in, shining with the wet of the autumn gale that began that night. He wanted Joshua to look out for his brother. Being innocent of what had happened at the party, he thought Andrew had gone out of his head.

"Here I come onto him in the lee of White's wharf putting a compass into the old man's sail-dory, and I says to him, 'What you up to, Andrew?' And he says with a kind of laugh, 'Oh, taking a little sail for other parts,' says he—like that. Now, just imagine, Josh, with this here weather coming on—all hell bu'sting loose to the north'rd!"

They say that there came a look into Joshua's eyes that none of them had ever seen before. He stood there for a moment, motionless and silent, and Rolldown, deceived by his attitude, was at him again.

"You don't realize, man, or else you'd stop him!"

"Oh, I'll stop him!" It was hardly above a breath.

"I'll stop him!" And throwing his greatcoat over his shoulders, Joshua went out.

You may believe that the house would not hold the party after that. Whispering, giggling, shivering, the young people trooped down Heman Street to the shore. And there, under the phantom light of a moon hidden by the drift of storm-clouds, they found Andrew gone and all they saw of Joshua was a shadow—a shadow in black frock-clothes—wading away from them over the half-covered flats, deeper and deeper, to where the Adams sloop rode at her moorings, a shade tailing in the wind. They called, but he did not answer, and before they could do anything he had the sail up, and he, too, was gone, into the black heart of the night.

It is lonesome in the dark for a boy of six when the floor heaves and the bed shivers and over his head the shingles make a sound in the wind like the souls of all the lost men in the world. The hours from two till dawn that night I spent under the table in the kitchen, where Miah White and his brother Lem had come to talk with Duncan. And among the three of them, all they could say was "My heavens! My heavens!" I say till dawn; but our kitchen might have given on a city air-shaft for all the dawn we got.

It is hard to give any one who has lived always in the shelter of the land an idea of the day that followed, hour by waiting hour—how folks walked the beaches and did not look at each other in passing, and how others, climbing the bluff to have a better sight of the waters beyond the Head, found themselves blinded by the smother at fifty yards and yet still continued to stare.

Of them all, that day, Mary Matheson was the only one who kept still. And she was as still as an image. Standing half-hidden in the untidy nook behind the grocery, she remained staring out through the harbor mists from dawn till another heavy night came down, and no one can say whether she would have gone home then had not the appalled widow, her mother, slipped down between the houses to take her.

She was at home, at any rate, when Joshua Blake came back.

After all that waiting and watching, no one saw him land on the battered, black beach, for it was in the dead hour of the morning; of the three persons who are said to have met him on his way to Mary's, two were so tardy with their claims that a doubt has been cast on them. I do believe, tho, that Mother Polly Freeman, the west-end midwife, saw him and spoke with him in the light thrown from the drug-store window (where, had I only known enough to be awake, I might have looked down on them from my bed-room and got some fame of my own).

She says she thought at first he was a ghost come up from the bottom of the sea, with his clothes plastered thin to his body, weed in his hair, and his face drawn and creased like fish-flesh taken too soon out of the pickle. Afterward, when he spoke, she thought he was crazy.

"I've got it!" he said, taking hold of her arm. Opening a blue hand he held it out in the light for her to see the ring that had bitten his palm with the grip. "See, I've got it, Mother Poll!" She says it was hardly more than a whisper, like a secret, and that there was a look in his eyes as if he had seen the Devil face to face.

She meant to run when he let her go, but when she saw him striding off toward Mary Matheson's her better wisdom prevailed; following along the lane and taking shelter behind Gramma Pilot's fence, she waited, watched, and listened, to the enduring gain of Urkey's sisterhood.

She used to tell it well, Mother Poll. Remembering her tale now, I think I can see the earth misting under the trees in the calm dawn, and hear Joshua's fist pounding, pounding, on the panels of the door.

It must have been queer for Mother Poll. For while she heard that hollow pounding under the portico, like the pounding of a heart in some deep bosom of horror—all the while she could see Mary herself in an upper window—just her face resting on one cold, still forearm on the sill. And her eyes, Mother Poll says, were enough to make one pity her.

It was strange that she was so lazy, not to move or to speak in answer while the summons of the triumphant lover went on booming through the lower house. He must have wondered. Perhaps it was then that the first shadow of the ghost of doubt crept over him, or perhaps it was when, stepping out on the turf, he raised his eyes and discovered Mary's face in the open window.

He said nothing. But with a wide, uncontrolled gesture he held up the ring for her to see. After a moment she opened her lips.

"Where's Andrew?"

That seemed to be the last straw: a feverish anger laid hold of him. "Here's the ring! You see it! Damnation, Mary! You gave your word and I took it, and God knows what I've been through. Now come! Get your things on and bring your mother if you like—but to Minister Malden's you go with me now! You hear Mary? I'll not wait!"

"Where's Andrew?"

"Andrew? Andrew? Why the devil do you keep on asking for Andrew? What's Andrew to you—now?"

"Where is he?"

"Mary, you're a fool!"

Her voice grew if anything more monotonous; his, higher and wilder.

"You're a fool," he cried again, "if you don't know where Andrew is."

"He's gone."

"Gone, yes! And how you can say it like that, so calm—God!"

"I knew he was going," she said. "He told Rolldown he was going to other parts. But I knew it before that—when he turned at the door and looked at me, Joshua. He said it as plain: 'If that's love,' he said, 'then I'm going off somewhere and forget it, and never come back to Urkey any more.'"

The deadness went out of her voice, and it lifted to another note. "Joshua, he's got to come back, for I can't bear it. I gave you my word, and I'll marry you—when Andrew comes back to stand at the wedding. He's got to—got to!"

Mother Poll said that Joshua stared at her—simply stood there and stared up at her in the queer, cold dawn, his mouth hanging open as if with a kind of horror. Sweat shone on his face. Turning away without a word by and by he laid an uncertain course for the gate, and leaving it open behind him went off through the vapors of the cow street to the east.

As they carried him along step by step, I think, the feet of the cheated gambler grew heavier and heavier, his shoulders collapsed, the head, with the memory in it he could never lose, hung down, and hell received his soul.

It is impossible in so short a space to tell what the next ten years did to those two. It would have been easier for Mary Matheson in a city, for in a city there is always the blankness of the crowd. In a village there is no such blessed thing as a stranger, the membership committee of the only club is the doctor and the midwife, and all the houses are made of glass.

In a city public opinion is mighty, but devious. In a village, especially in an island village, it is as direct and violent as any "act of God" written down in a ship's insurance papers. A word carries far over the fences, and where it drops, like a swelling seed, a dozen words spring up.

"It's a shame, Milly, a living shame, as sure's you're alive."

"You never said truer, Belle. As if 'twa'n't enough she should send Andy to his death o' drownding——"

"Well, I hope she's satisfied, what she's done for Joshua. I saw him to the post-office last evening, and the hang-dog look of him——"

"Yes, I saw him, too. A man can't stand being made a fool of...."

So, in the blue of a wash-day morning the words went winging back and forth between the blossoming lines. Or, in a Winter dusk up to the westward, where old Mrs. Paine scuttled about under the mackerel-twine of her chicken-pen:

"Land alive, it's all very well to talk Temp'rance, and I'm not denying it'd be a mercy for some folks—I ain't mentioning no names—not even Miah White's. But, land sakes how you going to talk Temp'rance to a man bereft and be-fooled like Joshua Blake? Where's your rime-nor-reason? Where's your argument?"

Or there came Miah White himself up our outside stair on the darkest evening of our Spring weather, and one glance at his crimson face was enough to tell what all the Temperance they had preached to him had come to. Miah turned to the bottle as another man might to prayer.

"By the Lord!" he protested thickly. "Something's got to be done!"

"Done? About what?" I remember my cousin peering curiously at him through the smoke and spatter of the sausage he was frying.

"About Josh, of course, and her. I tell you, Dunc, 'tain't right, and I'll not bear it. I'll not see Josh, same as I seen him this night, standing there in the dark of the outside beach and staring at the water like a sleep-walker, staring and staring as if he'd stare right through it and down to the bottom of the sea where his brother lay, and saying to himself, Who's to pay the bill? Who's to pay the bill? No, siree! You and I are young fellows, Dunc, but we ain't so young we can't remember them boys' father, and I guess he done a thing or two for us, eh?"

"Yes," Duncan agreed calmly. "But what's to be done?"

"God knows! But look here, Dunc, you're constable, ain't you?"

Duncan smiled pityingly, as if to say, "Don't be an idiot, Miah."

"And if you're constable, and a man owns a bill he won't pay, why then you've something to say in it, ain't I right? Well, here's a bill to pay, fair and square. All this wool she'd pull over our eyes about Andrew and the India ship—as if that made a mite of difference one way or the other! No, siree, Dunc, she give her word to take the man that fetched the ring—that man's Joshua—the bargain's filled on his side—and there you are. Now, you're constable. I take it right, Duncan, you should give that girl a piece of your mind; give her to understand that, India ship yes, India ship no, she's got a bill to pay and a man's soul to save from damnation everlasting."

All Duncan could do with him that night was to smile and shake his head, as much as to say, "You're a wild one, Miah, sure enough."

About Mary's sullen, stubborn belief in the "India ship," pretended or real as it may have been with her, but already growing legendary, I know only in the largest and mistiest way.

It is true there had been a ship that looked like an east-going clipper in our waters on that fateful night. Every one had seen it before dark came on, standing down from the north and laying a course to weather the Head if possible before the weather broke. It was Mary's claim that Andrew had pointed it out to her and spoken of it—in a strange way, a kind of a wistful way, she said. And later that night, what better for a man on the way to exile than a heaven-sent, outbound India ship, hove to under the lee of the Head.

Yes, yes, it was so—it must be so. And when they laughed at her in Urkey Village and winked sagely at her assumption of faith, then she asked them to tell her one thing: had any one's eyes seen Andrew's boat go down—actually.

"If Joshua will answer me, and say that he knows Andrew went down! Or if any of you will tell me that Andrew's body ever came ashore on any of the islands or the main!"

It was quite absurd, of course, but none of them could answer that, none but Miah White, and he only when he had had a drop out of the bottle and perceived that it weighed not an ounce in either scale.

Picked out so and written down, you would think this drama overshadowed all my little world. Naturally it didn't. You must remember I was a boy, with a thousand other things to do and a million other things to think of, meals to eat, lessons to hate, stones to throw, apples to steal, fights to fight. I take my word that by the time I was nine or ten the whole tragic episode had gone out of my head. Meeting Mary Matheson on the street, where she came but rarely, she was precisely as mysterious and precisely as uninteresting as any other grown-up. And if I saw Joshua Blake (who, pulling himself by the bootstraps out of drink and despair, had gone into Mr. Dow's law-office and grown as hard as nails)—if I saw him, I say, my only romantic thought of him was the fact that I had broken his wood-shed window, and that, with an air of sinister sagacity, he had told several boys he knew who the culprit was. (A statement, by the way, which I believed horribly for upward of eighteen months.)

I believe that we knew, in a dim sort of way, that the two were "engaged," just as we knew, vaguely, that they never got married. And that was the end of speculation. Having always been so, the phenomenon needed no more to be dwelt on than the fact that when the wind was in the east John Dyer thought he was Oliver Cromwell, or that Minister Malden did not live with his family.

John Dyer had been taken beyond the power of any planetary wind; Minister Malden (as I have told in another place) had gone back to live with his family: and I had been away to Highmarket Academy for two years, before I had sudden and moving reason to take stock of that long-buried drama.

It was three days after I had come home for the long vacation, and, being pretty well tired out with sniffing about the island like a cat returned to the old house, I sprawled at rest on the "Wreck of the Lillian" stone in the graveyard on Rigg's Dome.

It was then, as the dusk crept up from the shadow under the bluff, that I became aware of another presence among the gravestones and turned my head to peer through the barberries that hedged the stone, thinking it might be one of the girls. It was only Mary Matheson. Vaguely disappointed, I should have returned my gaze to the sea and forgotten her had it not been for two things.

One of them was her attitude. That made me keep on looking at her, and so looking at her, and having come unwittingly to a most obscurely unsettled age, I made a discovery. This was that Mary Matheson, at the remote age of thirty, had a deeper and fuller beauty than had any of the girls for whose glances I brushed my hair wet and went to midweek prayer-meeting.

I find it hard to convey the profound, revolutionary violence of this discovery. It is enough to say that, along with a sensation of pinkness, there came a feeling of obscure and unreasoning bitterness against the world.

My eyes had her there, a figure faintly rose-colored against the deepening background of the sea. She stood erect and curiously still beside a grave, her hands clenched, her eyes narrowed. In Urkey they always put up a stone for a man lost at sea; very often they went further for the comfort of their souls and mounded the outward likeness of an inward grave. Well, that was Andrew's stone and Andrew's grave. Some one in the Memorial Day procession last week had laid a wreath of lilacs under the stone. And now, wandering alone, Mary Matheson had come upon it.

I saw her bend and with a fierce gesture catch up the symbol of death and fling it behind her on the grass. Afterward, as she stood there with her breast heaving and her lips moving as if with pain, I knew I should not be where I was, watching; I knew that no casual ears of mine should hear the cry that came out of her heart:

"No, No, No! They're still trying to kill him—still trying to kill him—all of them! But they sha'n't! They sha'n't!"

I tell you it shook me and it shamed me. I thought I ought to cough or scuff my feet or something, but it seemed too late for that. Moreover the play had taken another turn that made me forget the moralities, quite, and another actor had come quietly upon the scene.

I can't say whether Joshua, seeing Mary on her way to the Dome, had followed her, or whether he had been strolling that way on his own account. He was there, at all events, watching her from beyond the grave, his head slightly inclined, his hands clasped behind him, and his feet apart on the turf. The color of dusk lent a greenish cast to his bloodless face, and the night wind, coming up free over the naked curve of the Dome and flappin the long black tails of his coat, seemed but to accentuate the dead weight of his attitude.

When a minute had gone by I heard his dry voice.

"So, Mary, you're at it again?"

"But they sha-n-t!" She seemed to take flame. "It's not right to Andrew nor me. They do it just to mock me, and I know it, and oh! I don't care, but they sha'n't, they sha'n't!"

"Mary," said Joshua, all the smoldering anger of the years coming in his voice, "Mary, I think it's time you stopped being a fool. We've all had enough of it, Mary. Andrew is dead."

She turned on him with a swift, ironical challenge.

"You say it now? You know now? Perhaps you've just made sure; perhaps you've seen his body washed up on one of the beaches—just to-day? Or then why so tardy, Joshua? If you knew, why couldn't you say it in so many words ten years ago—five years ago? Why?"


"Yes, because? Because?" There was something incredibly ruthless, tiger-like, about this shadow-dwelling woman. "Say it now, Joshua; that you know of a certainty Andrew went down. I dare you again!"

Joshua said it.

"I know of a certainty Andrew went down that night."

"How do you know? Did you see him go down? Tell me that!"

For a moment, for more than a long moment, her question hung unanswered in the air. And as, straining forward, poised, vibrant, she watched him, she saw the hard, dry mask he had made for himself through those years grow flabby and white as dough; she saw the eyes widening and the lips going loose with the memory he had never uttered.

"Yes," he cried in a loud voice. "You bring me to it, do you?" The man was actually shaking. "Yes, then, I saw Andrew go down that night. I heard him call in the dark. I saw his face on the water. I saw his hand reaching up as the wave brought him by—reaching up to me. I could almost touch it—but not quite. If you knew what the sea was that night, and the wind; how lonely, how dark! God! And here I stand and say it out loud! I couldn't reach his hand—not quite.... I've told you now, Mary, what I swore I'd never tell.... Damn you!"

With that curse he turned unsteadily on his heel and left her. The shadows among the gravestones down hill laid hands on his broken, shambling figure, and he became a shadow. Once the shadow stumbled. And as if that distant, awkward act had aroused Mary from a kind of lethargy, she broke forward a step, reaching out her arms.

"Joshua!" she called to him, "Joshua, Joshua, come back!"

In the last faint light from the sky where stars began to come, her face was wet with tears of pity and repentance; pity for the man who had walled himself in with that memory; repentance for the sin of her blindness.

"Joshua!" she called again, but he did not seem to hear.

It was too much for me. Feeling more shame than I can tell, and with it a new gnawing bitterness of jealousy, I sneaked out of hiding by the "Lillian" stone and down the Dome toward the moors.

"Good Grandmother!" I know I grew redder and redder as I walked. "I hope I don't have to see her again—the old thing!"

But I did, and that before many minutes had elapsed. For fetching back into the village by the ice-house and the back-side track, I was almost in collision with a hurrying shade in the dark under Dow's willows. It was Mary. I shall not forget the queer moment of suspense as she peered into my face, nor the touch of her fingers on my arm, nor the sigh.

"Oh—you're—you're the Means boy."

An embarrassment, pathetic only now in memory, came upon her.

"I—I wonder——" Her confusion grew more painful and her eyes went everywhere in the dark. "You don't happen to have seen any one—any—you haven't seen Mr. Blake, have you?"

"No!" I shook off the hand that still lay, as if forgotten, on my outraged arm. "What you want of him? He's no good!"

With that shot for parting I turned and stalked away. Behind me after a moment, I heard her cry of protest, dismal beyond words.

"Why do you say that, boy? What do you mean by that?"

Having meant nothing at all, except that I would have slain him gladly, I kept my bitter peace and held my way to the westward, leaving her to find her way and her soul in the blind, black shadows under the willow-trees.

No one who lived in Urkey Village then will forget the day it was known that Mary Matheson was going to marry Joshua Blake, at last. An isolated village is like an isolated person, placid-looking to dullness, but in reality almost idiotically emotional. More than anything else, when the news had run, it was like the camp-meeting conversion of a simple soul. First, for the "conviction of sin," there was the calling-up of all the dark, forgotten history, the whispered refurbishing of departed gossip, the ghosts of old angers. Then like the flood of Mercy, the assurance that all was well, having ended well. Everything was forgiven and forgotten, every one was to live happily ever after, and there must be a wedding.

Surely a wedding! The idea that Minister Malden should come quietly to the house and so have it done without pomp or pageantry—it is laughable to think how that notion fared at the hands of an aroused village. Flowers there were to be, processions, veils, cakes, rice, boots, all the properties dear to the heart of the Roman mob. In the meantime there was to be a vast business of runnings and stitchings, of old women beating eggs and sifting flour, of schoolgirls writing "MARY BLAKE" on forbidden walls with stolen chalk. Dear me!

You might think Mary and Joshua would have rebelled. Curiously, they seemed beyond rebelling. Joshua, especially, was a changed man. His old, hard mask was gone; the looseness of his lips had come to stay, and the wideness of his eyes. One could only think that happiness long-deferred had come under him like a tide of fate on which he could do no more than drift and smile. He smiled at every one, a nervous, deprecatory smile; to every proposal he agreed: "All right! Splendid! Let's have it done—" And one got the sense somehow of the thought running on: "—right away! Make haste, if you please. Haste! For God's sake, haste!"

If he were hailed on the street, especially from behind, his eyes came to the speaker with a jerk, and sometimes his hand went to his heart. Seeing him so one bright day, and hearing two old men talking behind me, I learned for the first time that the Blake boys' father had died of heart-disease. It is odd that it should have come on Joshua now, quite suddenly, along with his broken mask and his broken secret, his frightened smile, and his, "All right! Splendid!"—("Make haste!")

But so it was. And so we came to the day appointed. We had a dawn as red as blood that morning, and tho it was clear, there was a feeling of oppression in the air—and another oppression of people's spirits. For the bride's party had the "hack," and Mrs. Dow had spoken for the only other polite conveyance, the Galloway barge, and what was to come of all the fine, hasty gowns in case it came on for a gale or rain?

Is it curious that here and there in that hurrying, waiting afternoon a thought would turn back to another day when a storm was making and a tall ship standing down to weather the Head? For if there was a menace of weather to-day, so, too, was there a ship. We seemed to grow conscious of it by degrees, it drew on so slowly out of the broad, blue, windless south. For hours, in the early afternoon, it seemed scarcely to move on the mirroring surface of the sea. Yet it did move, growing nearer and larger, its huge spread of canvas hanging straight as cerecloth on the poles, and its wooden flanks, by and by, showing the scars and rime of a long voyage put behind it.

Yes, it seems to me it would have been odd, as our eyes went out in the rare leisure moments of that afternoon and fell upon that presence, worn and strange and solitary within the immense ring of the horizon, if there had not been somewhere among us some dim stirring of memory, and of wonder. Not too vivid, perhaps; not strong enough perhaps to outlast the ship's disappearance. For at about five o'clock the craft, which had been standing for the Head, wore slowly to port, and laying its course to fetch around the western side of the island, drifted out of our sight beyond the rampart of the bluffs.

Why it should have done that, no man can say. Why, in the face of coming weather, the ship should have abandoned the clear course around the Head and chosen instead to hazard the bars and rips that make a good three miles to sea from Pilot's Point in the west—why this hair-brained maneuver should have been attempted will always remain a mystery.

But at least that ship was gone from our sight, and by so much out of our minds. And this was just as well, perhaps, for our minds had enough to take them up just then with all the things overlooked, chairs to fetch, plants to borrow, girls' giggling errands—and in the very midst of this eleventh-hour hub-bub, the sudden advent of storm.

What a catastrophe that was! What a voiceless wail went up in that hour from all the bureaus and washstands in the length of Urkey Village! And how glad I was! With what a poisonous joy did I give thanks at the window for every wind-driven drop that spoiled by so much the wedding of a woman nearly twice my age!

The lamps on the street were yellow blurs, and the wind was full of little splashings and screechings and blowing of skirts and wraps when I set out alone for Center Church, wishing heartily I might never get there. That I didn't is the only reason this story was ever told. Not many got there that night (of the men, that is), or if they did they were not to stay long, for something bigger than a wedding was afoot.

The first wind I had of it crossed my path at Heman Street, a huge clattering shadow that turned out to be Si Pilot's team swinging at a watery gallop toward the back-side track, and the wagon-body full of men. I saw their faces as they passed under the Heman Street lamp, James Burke, Fred Burke, Sandy Snow, half a dozen other surfmen home for the Summer from the Point station, and Captain Cook himself hanging on to Sandy's shoulder as he struggled to get his Sunday blacks wriggled into his old, brown oil-cloths. In a wink they were gone, and I, forgetting the stained lights of Center Church, was gone after them. Nor was I alone. There were a dozen shades pounding with me; at the cow street we were a score. I heard the voices of men I couldn't see.

"Aground? Where to?"

"On the outer bar; south'rd end of the outer bar they tell me."

The voices came and went, whipped by the wind.

"What vessel'd you say? Town craft?"

"No—that ship."

"What? Not that—that—India ship!"

"Yep—that India ship."

"India ship"—"India ship!" I don't know how it seemed to them, but to me the sound of that legendary name, borne on the gale, seemed strangely like the shadow of some one coming cast across a stage.

I'll not use space to tell how I got across the island; it would be only the confused tale of an hour that seems but a minute now. I lost the track somewhere short of Si Pilot's place, and wading the sand to the west came out on the beach, without the slightest notion of where I was.

I only know it was a majestic and awful place to be alone; majestic with the weight of wind and the rolling thunder of water; the more awful because I could not see the water itself, save for the rare gray ghost of a tongue licking swiftly up the sand to catch at my feet if I did not spring away in time. Once a mother of waves struck at me with a huge, dim timber; I dodged it, I can't say how, and floundered on to the south, wondering as I peered over my shoulder at the dark if already the ship had broken, and if that thing behind me were one of the ribs come out of her.

That set me to thinking of all the doomed men near me clinging to slippery things they couldn't see, cursing perhaps, or praying their prayers, or perhaps already sliding away, down and down, into the cold, black caves of the sea. And then the shadows seemed to be full of shades, and the surf-tongues were near to catching my inattentive feet.

If the hour across the island seems a minute, the time I groped along the beach seems nights on end. And then one of the shades turned solid, and I was in such a case I had almost bolted before it spoke and I knew it for Rolldown Nickerson, the beachcomber.

He was a good man in ways. But you must remember his business was a vulture's business, and something of it was in his soul. It came out in good wrecking weather. On a night when the bar had caught a fine piece of profit, I give you my word you could almost see Rolldown's neck growing longer and nakeder with suspense. He would have made more of his salvaging had he carried a steadier head: in the rare, golden moments of windfall he sometimes failed to pick and choose. Even now he was loaded down with a dim collection of junk he had grabbed up in the dark, things he knew nothing of, empty bottles and seine-floats, rubbish he had probably passed by a hundred times in his daylight rounds. The saving circumstance was that he kept dropping them in his ardor for still other treasures his blind feet stumbled on. I followed in his wake and I know, for half a dozen times his discards got under my feet and sent me staggering. Once, moved by some bizarre, thousandth chance of curiosity, I bent and caught one up in passing.

Often and often since then I have wondered what would have happened to the history of the world of my youth if I had not been moved as I was, and bent quite carelessly in passing, and caught up what I did.

Still occupied with keeping my guide in eye, I took stock of the thing with idle fingers; in the blackness my finger-tips were all the eyes I had for so small a thing. It was about the size of a five-pound butter box, I should say; it seemed as it lay in my hand a sort of an old and polished casket, a thing done with an exotic artistry, broad, lacquered surfaces and curves and bits of intricate carving. And I thought it was empty till I shook it and felt the tiny impact of some chambered weight. Already the thing had taken my interest. Catching up I touched Rolldown's arm and shouted in his ear, over the roll of the wind and surf:

"What you make of this, Rolldown?"

He took it and felt it over, dropping half his rubbish in the act. He shook it. It seemed to me I could see his neck growing longer.

"Got somethin' into it," he rumbled.

"Yes, I know. Now let me have it back, Rolldown."

"Somethin' hefty," he continued, and I noticed he had dropped the rest of his treasures now and clung to that. "Somethin' hefty—and valu'ble!"

"But it's mine, I tell you!"

"'Tain't neither! 'Tain't neither!"

He was walking faster all the while to shake me off, and I to keep with him; our angry voices rose higher in the gale.

I can't help smiling now when I think of the innocent pair of us that night, puffing along the sand in the blind, wet wind, squabbling like two children over that priceless unseen casket, come up from the waters of the sea.

"It's mine!" I bawled, "and you give it to me!" And I grabbed at his arm again. But this time, letting out a squeal, he shook me off and fled inshore, up the face of the dune, and I not far behind him.

And so, pursued and pursuing, we came suddenly over a spur of the dunes and saw below us on the southward beach the drift-fire the life-savers had made. There were many small figures in the glow, a surf-boat hauled up, I think, and a pearly huddle of alien men.

But on none of this could I take my oath; my thoughts had been jerked back too abruptly to all the other, forgotten drama of that night, the music and the faces in Center Church, the flowers, the bridegroom, and the bride.

For there on the crest before me, given in silhouette against the fire-glow, stood the bride.

How she came there, by what violence or wild stratagem she had got away, what blind path had brought her, a fugitive, across the island—it was all beyond me. But no matter; there she stood before me on the dune at Pilot's Point, as still as a lost statue, tulle and satin, molded by the gale, sheathing her form in low relief like shining marble, her stone-quiet hands at rest on her unstirring bosom, her face set toward the invisible sea.... It was queer to see her like that: dim, you know; just shadowed out in mystery by the light that came a long way through the streaming darkness and died as it touched her.

Peering at her, the strangest thought came to me, and it seemed to me she must have been standing there just so, not for minutes, but for hours and days; yes, standing there all the length of those ten long years, erect on a seaward dune, unmoved by the wild, moving elements, broken water, wailing wind, needle-blown sand—as if her spirit had flown on other business, leaving the quiet clay to wait and watch there till the tides of fate, turning in their appointed progress, should bring back the fabled ship of India to find its grave on the bars at Pilot's Point.

She must have been all ready to go to the church; perhaps she was actually on her way, and it was on the wind of the cow street that the blown tidings of the "India ship" came to her ears. I can't tell you how I was moved by the sight of her in the wistful ruin of bride's-clothes. I can't say what huge, disordered purposes tumbled through my brain as I stood there trying to cough or stir or by some such infinitesimal violence let her know that I, Peter Means, was there—that I understood—that I was stronger than all the men in Urkey Island—that over my dead body alone should any evil come to her now, forever and ever and ever.

As I tell you, I don't know what would have happened then, with all my wild, dark projects of defense, had not the whole house of trance come tumbling about my ears to the tune of a terrified bleating close at hand. It was Rolldown Nickerson, I saw as I wheeled; my forgotten enemy, flinging down the precious old brown casket he had robbed me of, and, still giving vent to that thin, high note of horror, careening, sliding, and spattering off down the sandslope. And as he vanished and his wail grew fainter around a shoulder of the dune, another sound came also to my ears. It was plain that his blind gallop had brought him in collision with another denizen of the night; the protesting outburst came on the wind, and it was the voice of Miah White—Miah the prophet, the avenger, drunk as a lord and mad as one exalted.

There was no time for thought; I didn't need it to know what he was after. Mary had heard, too, and knew, too; it was as if she had been awakened from sleep, and her eyes were "enough to make one pity her," in the old words of Mother Poll. Seeing them on me, and without so much as a glance at the casket-thing which the roll of the sand had brought to rest near her feet, I turned and ran at the best of my legs, down the sand, around the dune's shoulder out of sight, and fairly into the arms of the angel of vengeance. I can still see the dim gray whites of his eyes as he glared at me, and smell the abomination of his curse. But I paid no heed; only made with a struggle to go on.

"This way!" I panted. "To the north'rd! She's heading to the north'rd. I saw her dress just there, just now——"

A little was enough to turn him. As I plunged on, making inland, I heard him trailing me with his ponderous, grunting flesh. His ardor was greater than mine; as we ran I heard his thick voice coming nearer and nearer to my ear.

"'She shall come back,' says I, 'with the hand of iron,' says I."

As always in this exalted state his phraseology grew Biblical.

"'Thou shalt stay here,'" I heard him grunting. "'Here to the church thou shalt stay, Joshua,' says I. 'And she shalt come back with the hand of iron—the hand of iron!'"

"Yes!" I puffed. "That's right, Miah; only hurry. There!" I cried.

The rain had lessened, and a rising moon cast a ghost through the wrack, just enough to let us glimpse a figure topping a rise before us. That it was no one but Rolldown, still fleeing the mystery and bleating as he fled, made no difference to the blurred eyes of Miah; he dug his toes into the sand and flung forward in still hotter chase—after a still-faster-speeding quarry.

I'll tell you where we caught Rolldown. It was before the church, within the very outpouring of the colored windows. When Miah discovered who his blowing captive was his rage, for a moment, was something to remember. Then it passed and left him blank and dreary with defeat. The beachcomber himself, pale as putty through his half-grown beard, was beseeching us from the pink penumbra of the Apostle Paul: "You seen it? You seen what I seen?" but Miah wouldn't hear him, and mounting the steps and passing dull-footed through the vestry, came into the veiled light and heavy scent of breath and flowers. Following at his heels I saw the faces of women turned to our entrance with expectation.

Do you know the awful sense of a party that has fallen flat? Do you know the desolation of a hope long deferred—once more deferred?

Joshua was standing in the farthest corner, beyond the pews where Miss Beedie's Sunday School class held. Looking across the sea of inquiring and disappointed faces, I saw him there, motionless, his back turned on all of us. He had been standing so for an hour, they said, staring out of a window at his own shadow cast on the churchyard fence.

It was a distressing moment. When Miah had sunk down in a rear pew and bowed his head in his hands I really think you could have heard the fall of the proverbial pin. Then, with a scarcely audible rustle, all the faces became the backs of heads and all the eyes went to the figure unstirring by the corner window. And after that, with the same accord, the spell of waiting was broken, whispering ran over the pews, the inevitable was accepted. Folks got up, shuffling their feet, putting on their wraps with the familiar, mild contortions, still whispering, whispering—"What a shame!"—"The idea!"—"I want to know!"

But some among them must have been still peeping at Joshua, for the hush that fell was sudden and complete. Turning, I saw that he had turned from the window at last, showing us his face.

Now we knew what he had been doing for himself in that long hour. His face was once more the mask of a face we had known so many years as Joshua Blake, dry, bitter, self-contained, the eyes shaded under the lids, the lips as thin as hate. He faced us, but it was not at us he looked; it was beyond us, over our heads, at the corner where the door was.

There, framed in the doorway, stood the tardy bride, a figure as white and stark as pagan stone, and a look on her face like the awful, tranquil look of a sleep-walker. Neither did she pay any heed to us, but over our heads she met the eyes of the bridegroom. So for a long breath they confronted each other, steadily. Then we heard her speak.

"He's come!" she said in a clear voice. "Andrew's come back again."

Still she looked at Joshua. He did not move or reply.

"You understand?" I tell you, I who stood under it, that it was queer enough to hear that voice, clear, strong, and yet somehow shattered, passing over our heads. "You understand, Joshua? Andrew's come back to the wedding, and now I'll marry you—if you wish."

Even yet Joshua did not speak, nor did the dry anger of his face change. He came walking, taking his time, first along the pews at the front, then up the length of the aisle. Coming down a few steps, Mary waited for him, and there was a kind of a smile now on her lips.

Joshua halted before her. Folding his hands behind him he looked her over slowly from head to foot.

"You lie!" That was all he said.

"Oh, no, Joshua. I'm not lying. Andrew has come for the wedding."

"You lie," he repeated in the same impassive tone. "You know I know you lie, Mary, for you know I know that Andrew is dead."

"Yes, yes—" She was fumbling to clear a damp fold of her gown from something held in the crook of her arm. "But I didn't say——"

With that she had the burden uncovered and held forth in her outstretched hand.

She held it out in the light where all of us could see—the thing Rolldown had discarded from his treasures, that I had picked up and been robbed of in the kindly dark—the old brown casket-thing with the polished surfaces and the bits of intricate and ghastly carvings that had once let in the light of day and the sound of words—the old, brown, sea-bitten, sand-scoured skull of Andrew Blake, with the two gold teeth in the upper jaw dulled by the tarnishing tides that had brought it up slowly from its bed in the bottom of the sea. And to think that I had carried it, and felt of it, and not known what it was!

It lay there supine in the nest of Mary's palm, paying us no heed whatever, but fixing its hollow regard on the shadows among the rafters. And Joshua, the brother, made no sound.

His face had gone a curious color, like the pallor of green things sprouting under a stone. His knees caved a little under his weight, and as we watched we saw his hands moving over his own breast, where the heart was, with a strengthless gesture, like a caress. After what seemed a long while we heard his voice, a whisper of horrible fascination.

"Turn it over!"

Mary said nothing, nor did she move to do as he bade. Like some awful play of a cat with a mouse she held quiet and watched him.

"Mary—do as I say—and turn it over!"

Her continued, unanswering silence seemed finally to rouse him. His voice turned shrill. Drawing on some last hidden reservoir of strength, he cried, "Give it to me! It's mine!" and made an astonishing dart, both hands clawing for the relic. But my cousin Duncan was there to step in his way and send him carroming along the fringe of the crowd.

The queer fellow didn't stop or turn or try again; sending up all the while the most unearthly cackle of horror my ears have ever heard, he kept right on through the door and the packed vestry, clawing his way to the open with that brief gift of vitality.

It was so preposterous and so ghastly to see him carrying on so, with his white linen and his fine black wedding-clothes and the gray hair that would have covered a selectman's head in another year—it was all so absurdly horrible that we simply stood as we were in the church and wondered and looked at Mary Matheson and saw her face still rapt and quiet, and still set in that same bedevilled smile, as if she didn't know that round tears were running in streams down her cheeks.

"Let him go," was all she said.

They didn't let him go for too long a time, for they had seen the stamp of death on the man's face. When they looked for him finally they found him lying in a dead huddle on the grass by Lem White's gate. I shall never forget the look of him in the lantern-light, nor the look of them that crowded around and stared down at him—Duncan, I remember, puzzled—Miah cursing God—and three dazed black men showing the whites of their eyes, strange negroes being brought in from the wreck: for the ship was no India ship after all, but a coffee carrier from Brazil.

But seeing Miah made me remember that long-forgotten question that the lips of this dead man had put to the deaf sea and the blind sky.

"Who is to pay the bill? Who is to pay the bill?"

Well, two of the three had helped to pay the bill now for a girl's light-hearted word. But I think the other has paid the most, for she has had longer to meet the reckoning. She still lives there alone in the house on the cow street. She is an old woman now, but there's not so much as a line on her face nor a thread of white in her hair, and that's bad. That's always bad. That's something like the thing that happened to the Wandering Jew. Yes, I'm quite sure Mary has paid.

But I am near to forgetting the answer to it all. I hadn't so long to wait as most folks had—no longer than an hour of that fateful night. For when I got home to our kitchen I found my cousin Duncan already there, with the lamp lit. I came in softly on account of the lateness, and that's how I happened to surprise him and glimpse what he had before he could get it out of sight.

I don't know yet how he came by it, but there on the kitchen table lay the skull of Andrew Blake. When I took it, against his protest, and turned it over, I found what Joshua had meant—a hole as clean and round as a gimlet-bore in the bulge at the back of the head. And when, remembering the faint, chambered impact I had felt in shaking the unknown treasure on the beach, I peeped in through the round hole, I made out the shape of a leaden slug nested loosely between two points of bone behind the nose—a bullet, I should say, from an old, single-ball dueling pistol—such a pistol as Joshua Blake had played with in the shadow of apple-trees on that distant afternoon, and carried in his pocket, no doubt, to the warm-lit gaiety of Alma Beedie's birthday party....


[16] Copyright, 1919, by The Pictorial Review Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Wilbur Daniel Steele.



From The Ladies' Home Journal

For two years Claire René's days had been very much alike. It was a dull routine, full of heavy tasks, in the tiny crumbling house, in the shrunken garden patch, and grand'mère—there was always grand'mère to care for. Often in the afternoon Claire René wandered in the forest for an hour. She was used to the silence of the tall trees; the silence in the house frightened her. All the people in her land were gone away; the great noise beyond had taken them. Sometimes the noise had stopped, but the silence in the house, the silence in the garden, and the silence of grand'mère never stopped. It was hard for Claire René to understand.

There was no one left in her land except grand'mère and Jacques. Jacques lived in the forest and cut wood; in the summer time he shot birds, in the winter time rabbits; Jacques was a very old man.

Claire René thought about a great many things when she walked in the forest in the afternoons. She wondered how old she was. She knew that she had been seven years old when her three brothers went away a long time before. She would like to have another birthday, some day, but not until Clément and Fernand and Alphonse came home again. Then they would laugh as they used to laugh on her birthdays, and catch her up in their big, strong arms, and kiss her and call her "Dear little sister." Clément was the biggest and strongest of all; sometimes he would run off with her on his back into the forest, and the others would follow running and calling; and then at the end of the chase the three brothers would make a throne of their brown, firm hands and carry Claire René back to the door of the tiny house, where grand'mère would be waiting and scolding and smiling and ruddy of cheek. Grand'mère never scolded any more; she never smiled, and her cheeks were like dried figs.

Claire René didn't often let herself think of the day that such a dreadful thing had happened. Many days after Clément and Fernand and Alphonse had gone away, grand'mère had started to walk to the nearest town four miles distant. She was gone for hours and hours; Claire René had watched for her from the doorway until dusk had begun to fall; the dusk had been a queer color, thick and blue; a terrible noise had filled the air. Then the child remembered that her three brothers had told her that they were going away to kill rabbits—like Jacques. At the time she thought it strange that they had cried about killing rabbits. But when she heard such a thunder of noise she knew it must be a very great work indeed.

She was just wondering how there could be so many rabbits in the world, when she saw an old, bent woman coming through the garden gate. It was grand'mère; Jacques was leading her; she was making a strange noise in her throat, and her eyes were closed. Jacques had stayed in the house all the night, looking at grand'mère, lying on the bed with her eyes closed. In the morning, Claire René had spoken to her, but she hadn't answered. After days and days she walked from her bed to a chair by the window. She never again did any more than that; grand'mère was blind—and she was deaf.

Jacques explained how it all happened; Claire René didn't listen carefully, but she did understand that her three brothers were not killing rabbits, but were killing men. She knew then why they had cried; they were so kind and good, Clément and Fernand and Alphonse; they would hate to kill men. But Jacques had said they were wicked men that had to be killed. He said it wouldn't take long, that all the strong men in France were shooting at them.

Claire René had a great deal to do after that. She had to bathe and dress grand'mère; she had to cook the food and scrub the floor and scour the pots and pans. She kept the pans very bright. Grand'mère might some day open her eyes, and there would be a great scolding if the pans were not bright. Claire René also tended the garden; Jacques helped her with the heavy digging. He was very mean about the vegetables; he made her put most of them in the cellar; and the green things that wouldn't keep he himself put into jars and tins and locked them in the closet. When the summer had gone he gave Claire René the keys.

"Ma petite," he said, "you learn too fast to eat too little. You must be big and well when your brothers come back."

All the winter long Claire René watched for her brothers. Once a telegram had come, brought by a boy who said he had walked all the miles of the forest. In the memory of Claire René there lay a hidden fear about telegrams. Years before, grand'mère had cried for many days when Jacques had brought from the town just such a thin, crackling envelope. And Claire René knew that after that she had no longer any young mother or father—only grand'mère and her three brothers.

Grand'mère had enough of sorrow. The telegram was better hidden in the room of her brothers. Grand'mère would never find it there; it was far away from her chair by the window, up the straight, narrow stairs, under the high, peaked gable. Then, too, there was a comfort in that room for Claire René; it was quiet; the great silence of downstairs was too big to squeeze up the narrow way. Each day she would stroke and tend the high white bed; each week she would drag the mass of feather mattress to the narrow window ledge and air it for the length of a sunny day.

At evening she would pull and pile high again the snowy layers, as quickly as her tired back could move, as quickly as her thin, blue fingers could smooth the heavy homespun sheets and comforters. Quick she must be lest Clément and Fernand and Alphonse come home before the night fell over their sleeping place. When she placed the telegram under the first high pillow (Clément's pillow) it made a sound that frightened her.

In the evenings grand'mère's chair was pulled to the great hearth fire. Claire René would watch the flamelight spread over the stonelike face. Sometimes bright sparkles from the rows of copper pots and pans would lay spots of light on the heavy closed lids.

Claire René would spring from her chair and kneel beside the dumb figure. "Grand'mère!" she would call. "Do you see? Have you the eyes again?"

Then the lights would shift, and her head would drop over her trembling knees, and she would look away from the dry, sealed eyes of grand'mère. She never cried; it might make a noise in the still, whitewashed room to frighten her. Grand'mère might find the tears when she raised her hands to let them travel over the face of her grandchild. It was enough that once grand'mère had shivered when her fingers found the hollows in Claire René's cheeks. After that the child puffed out her cheeks while the knotted hands made their daily journey. Grand'mère's fingers would smooth the sunny tangled hair, touch the freckled upturned nose; they would pause and tremble at the slightest brush from the eyelashes that fringed the deep, gray eyes.

Claire René would pile more logs on the fire and wonder what thoughts lay in grand'mère's mind; wonder whether she knew that they had so much more wood in the shed than they had food in the larder. She was clever about cooking the roots from the cellar. But grand'mère's coffee was weaker each day, and only once in a long while did Jacques bring milk. Then he used to stand and order Claire René to drink it all, but she would choke and say it was sour and sickened her; only thus could she save enough for grand'mère's coffee in the morning.

There were many things to think about, to look at on the winter evenings by the firelight: Clément's seat by the chimney corner, where he whittled and whistled; Fernand's flute hanging on the wall; the books of Alphonse on the high shelf over the dresser. Claire René found that her heart and her eyes would only find comfort if her fingers were busy. She would tiptoe to the dresser and bring out a basket, once filled with the socks of her brothers. She would crouch by the fireside, first stirring the logs to make more light for her work. It was long since the candles were gone. It was the only joyous moment in the day when she handled the dried everlastings that filled the basket. Always she must hurry, work more quickly, select the withered colors with more care. The wreaths for her three brothers must be beautiful, must be ready on time. Clément and Fernand and Alphonse must be crowned, given the reward when they came home from killing wicked men to save La Belle France!

All the months of the summer before she had watched and tended the flowers. The seeds she had found in grand'mère's cupboard. Jacques had scolded about the place that had been given them in the garden patch. But Claire René had stamped her foot and strong, strange words that belonged to her three brothers when they were angry came to her lips. Jacques had looked startled and funny and had turned his head away; in the end he had patted Claire René on her rigid shoulders and she thought his eyes were just like wet, black beads.

On the other side of the hearth, away from grand'mère's chair, she twined and wound the wreaths. No one must know. The Great Day must be soon! And in her heart she believed that on that day grand'mère would open her eyes.

In the spring Claire René finished the wreaths. The very day she placed them on the highest shelf in the dark closet under the stairs there had come a knock at the door. She was stiff with terror. Jacques never knocked; there was no one else. She clung to a heavy chair back while the same boy who had come before entered slowly and placed a second telegram in her numb fingers.

"I am sorry, mademoiselle," was all he said.

She watched him disappear through the garden gate; she listened until his steps died in the forest. Grand'mère stirred in her chair by the window; Claire René thought a flicker of pain traveled over the worn face; she thought the closed eyes twitched; Madame Populet stretched out her hands.

Claire René flew up the straight, narrow stairs; she placed the telegram under Fernand's pillow; she pressed her fists deep into the feathers; the crackle of paper made her heart stand still. There were tears starting in her eyes; she held them back. Grand'mère had enough of sorrow; she must never know of the second telegram in the house.

Thoughts came crowding into Claire René's mind. Why not tear up the white-and-blue envelopes or why not show them to Jacques—in some way throw away the fear that was eating at her heart? Then the great silence of the house below seemed to creep up the narrow stairs and lay cold hands on Claire René. Oh, why was it all so lonely! Where were her three brothers? Why must the telegrams make so great a trembling in her heart for them, make her kneel and pray that the Holy Mother would hold them in her arms forever?

Her knees were stiff when she arose; her eyes were bright, but not with tears; her back was very straight, her head held high, for was she not a grandchild of Madame Populet? A sister to Clément and Fernand and Alphonse, and through them, a child of France! She stood on her toes and dropped three kisses on the pillows of her brothers. She was big enough to keep the secret of her fear about the telegrams. It was better so.

She went downstairs singing. The sound was strange in her throat, but she must finish the song. She stood behind grand'mère's chair, and laid her hands on the still white head. When the last, high, treble note fell softly through the room she looked out of the window into the forest. There were threads of pale green showing on the tall trees; there were tiny red buds starting from the brown branches of the pollard willow that swept across the window ledge.

Claire René suddenly wanted to shout! She did shout! There was spring in the world! There was spring in her heart, in her feet, in her tingling finger tips.

She danced to the dark closet under the stairs. There they were, the wreaths, for her three brothers! The deep golden one for Clément—he was strong and square like a rock; the light golden one for Fernand—he was pale and slight; the scarlet one for Alphonse—he was straight and tall like a tree in the forest.

Claire René touched the three wreaths; they crackled dryly under her touch; she turned away and shivered. What did they sound like? Oh, yes; the crackling of the thin paper on the telegrams!

She shut the closet door softly, and went to kneel beside grand'mère's chair and looked again into the forest. The buds on the sweeping willows said "Yes"; the pale-green winding gauze through the tall trees whispered a promise. She stood up and held out her arms; she had faith in the forest; she believed what it said. Through a patch of flickering sunlight she thought she saw three forms moving toward the cottage. It was only the viburnum bushes dipping and swaying in the March wind, against the sturdy growth of darkened holly.

The noise died away entirely as the spring advanced. The silence grew greater and greater. There were few seeds for Claire René to plant in her garden; there was little strength in her arms to work them. Weeds covered the flower patch of a year ago. A few straggling everlastings showed their heads above the tangle. Claire René had plenty of strength to uproot them angrily and throw them into the overgrown path.

The three wreaths were still on the shelf in the dark closet under the stair. Their colors were dimmed, like the hope in their maker's heart; their forms were shrunken, like the forms of Claire René and grand'mère and Jacques.

Grand'mère lay in her bed most of the day. Sometimes, when the sun shone and the birds sang, Claire René would make her aching arms bathe and dress grand'mère and help her into the chair by the window. Then she would sit beside her and try to run threads through the bare places in her frocks.

At times she thought of making frocks for herself out of grand'mère's calico dresses, folded so neatly in the cupboard. But grand'mère, she argued, would need them for herself when the Great Day came, when Clément and Fernand and Alphonse would come with ringing laughter through the forest—laughter that would surely open grand'mère's eyes—and her ears. When the birds sang and the sun shone Claire René believed that day would come.

Jacques was always kind. But he had become a part of the great silence; almost as still as grand'mère he was. For hours he would sit and look at Claire René bending over her sewing, over her scrubbing, over the brightening of the pots and pans. Sometimes his shining black eyes seemed to lie down in his face, to be going away forever behind his bush of eyebrow.

Then she would start toward him and call: "Jacques, Jacques!"

He would always answer, straightening in his chair: "Yes, my little one, be not afraid. Jacques is ever near."

Claire René would sigh and go back to her work and wish that she was big enough to go out into the forest and shoot birds, as Jacques used to do. She was very hungry. She was tired of eating roots from the garden.

She would like to lie down and go to sleep for the rest of her life, or die and go to heaven and have the Holy Mother hold her in her arms and feed her thick yellow milk. Jacques no longer brought even thin blue milk. There was no coffee in the cupboard, no sugar, no bread—only hateful roots of the garden.

Claire René no longer walked in the forest. Sometimes she would lie down on a mossy place and look up through the tall trees at the patches of blue sky overhead. She wondered whether the good God still kept His home above, whether He, too, were hungry, whether the Holy Mother had work to do when her back ached and her fingers wouldn't move and were thin and bony, like young dead birds that sometimes fell from nests.

Once, when Claire René was thinking such thoughts, she saw Jacques come running toward her. His eyes were bright and shiny, and she had a fear that they might drop out of his head, as the quick breath dropped out of his mouth.

"Listen, ma petite!" he cried.

He dropped on the mossy place beside her and rocked back and forth with his hands clasped about his shaking knees. Claire René was used to waiting. She waited until Jacques found breath for speech.

Then he told her how the "Great Man from America" was coming to save France! How he was sending a million strong sons before him. How there was hope come to heavy hearts!

Claire René wanted to ask a great many questions. But Jacques went right on, talking, talking—about the right flank and the left flank and the boches and the Americans. Claire René hoped his tongue would not be too tired to answer one of her questions.

"What is America, my little one? Why, the greatest country in the world, excepting France. Where is America, my little one? Why, across the Atlantic Ocean, far from France."

Claire René sat very still with her hands in her lap. Jacques was a wise man. He knew a great deal. All old people were wise; but such strange things made them happy, far-away things that they couldn't ever touch or see, things out in the big world that went round and round. She knew that Clément and Fernand and Alphonse were out in the big world, going round and round; but in her heart she saw them only in the forest, in the garden patch, by the hearth in the tiny house, asleep in their high white bed.

In these places she could still feel their arms about her, hear their laughter, listen for their step. But out in the world! What were they doing? How could she know? Jacques made her feel very lonely. Never once did he speak of her three brothers; on and on he went about the "Great Man from America."

Presently he ceased for a moment and held Claire René's cold hands against his grizzled cheek. "But, my little one, why are you cold?"

Claire René looked for a long time into Jacques' shining eyes; then she whispered: "My brothers!"

High among the tall trees of the forest the wind was singing and sighing; beneath on a green moss bank Jacques gathered Claire René in his arms; he gathered her up like a baby and rocked her back and forth. He cried and laughed into the bright tangle of her hair.

"My poor little one! My poor little one!" he said over and over. Then he released her from his arms and held her face between his knotted hands. "Now, listen!"

She listened, and even before Jacques had finished a song began in her heart—so strong and high and true that it reached up into the treetops and joined in the chorus of the forest.

The words that came from the lips of Jacques made a great beating in her ears. Could it be so—what he was saying—that the "Great Man from America" had come to save all the Brothers of France? That soon, soon he would send Clément and Fernand and Alphonse back to the tiny house in the forest? That all the wicked men in the world would be no more? That the great and terrible noise would cease—forever?

Jacques was very, very sure that he was right about it; he had read it all in a newspaper; he had walked miles and miles to hear men talk of nothing else.

Claire René asked where the great man lived.

"In Paris, ma petite."

"And what does he look like—the brave one?"

"He is grave and quiet, like a king."

"And has he on his head the crown of gold?"

"No, ma petite, but he has in his heart the Sons of France."

"And Clément and Fernand and Alphonse also?"

Claire René waited while Jacques passed his fingers through her hair. "Yes, ma petite," he said at last.

Claire René wished that she had more hands and feet and lips and eyes and more than such a little body to hold her joy. She made circles of dancing about Jacques on their way back to the cottage. She said her happiness was so great that she might fly up into the sky and laugh from the tops of the trees. "Dear Jacques," she said as they paused at the dried garden patch, "do you think to-morrow they will come—my brothers?"

Jacques shook his head.

"Do you think one day from to-morrow?"

Again Jacques shook his head.

But Claire René was busy in her thoughts. She turned suddenly and threw her arms about him. "Will you again walk the miles of the forest for Claire René, will you?"

"But—why—for what reason, ma petite?"

She would send a letter! She would herself write to the "Great Man," and tell him about Clément and Fernand and Alphonse, tell him how good and brave they were, and about grand'mère and the silence of her eyes and ears, and about—Claire René looked frightened and clapped her fingers over her mouth.

No! She must forever keep the secret about the telegrams. Telegrams meant sorrow; there must be only happiness in the house for the brothers.

Long after twilight had fallen she pleaded with Jacques about the letter. By the firelight that same night she would write. Grand'mère had taught her to make the letters of many words; she knew what to say. In the first light of the day Jacques could be gone to the post. And then! Yes?

Not until he finally nodded his head was she satisfied. Then she wondered why so suddenly he had become heavy with sadness. Why, when she watched him trudge off into the forest, had he seemed to carry a burden on his bent back?

She thought: "Old people are like that. Grand'mère is like that; she, too, grows tired with the end of the day. They had so many long days behind them to remember—grand'mère and Jacques. And the days ahead of them?"

Claire René was often puzzled about their days ahead. They were so tired! But they would be soon happy. And grand'mère would open her eyes to see and her ears to hear when Clément and Fernand and Alphonse came back again.

Claire René ate only a mouthful of her cooked roots on that evening. For grand'mère she made a special brew of dried herbs from the forest and baked a cake from the last bit of brown flour left in the cupboard. Grand'mère was half the shape she used to be; the brothers would surely scold when they saw her so gone away.

Claire René piled the logs high on the fire; she must have light for her work, plenty of light. She searched the house for paper and envelope and pencil and when she had written she threw the paper into the fire and wept with a passion much too great for her years and her body. She had forgotten the words; they wouldn't come. And who was she to be writing to the "Great Man," a man like a king?

Until the dawn crept through the windows Claire René lay upon the hearth by the dying fire, sobbing through her sleep. The first light of day made her remember Jacques. He would be waiting! He had promised to go, to walk to the post with her letter. She looked at the dark closet under the stairs. She thought of the three wreaths; if she could make wreaths, she could make letters! She bounded to her feet; she seized the last of the paper and the bitten pencil; she struggled with the letters; she wrote: "Dear Great Man: My brothers——"

A step in the still room startled her. Grand'mère was coming from her room, fully dressed. Claire René flew to her side, but Madame Populet stood erect; she walked alone to her chair by the window. Claire René knelt beside her, and the hands that were laid on her head had a new firmness in their pressure. And grand'mère was smiling!

Claire René thought: "She is happy this morning; she feels in the air the gladness. I will make her a hot brew when I come back from Jacques."

She wrapped a dark cloak about her shoulders; in her hand was tightly clasped the half-written paper and the pencil. At the doorway she turned and called: "Good-by, grand'mère. Good-by."

Madame Populet was still smiling; her face was turned toward the forest and, through the sweeping willow over the window, sunbeams laid their fingers on the sightless eyes.

Two hours later Claire René walked through the forest singing. Her arms were full of scarlet leaves and branches of holly berries. She wanted to carry all the beautiful things she saw back to the cottage, to make the place a bower, where she and grand'mère and Clément and Fernand and Alphonse could kneel and thank the good God that they were again together.

All the world was kind on this morning. Jacques had been waiting for her at the door of his wooden hut. He had helped her with the letter. He had set out straightway to the post. Claire René had stooped and kissed the feet that had so many miles to go.

Jacques had cried out: "Ma petite, you hope too far."

But Claire René's mind and heart were a flood of joy; she had no place for doubt, no time for sorrow. She came out of the forest and stood looking at the tiny, crumbling house. No longer was she afraid of the silence. In but a short time her three brothers would fill the air with laughter; they would carry her on their backs around the house and into the forest, and grand'mère would stand waiting and smiling—and perhaps scolding; who could tell?

She pushed her way through the doorway. The berries and leaves made a tall screen about her; she could barely see grand'mère in her chair by the window. She laid the branches on the hearth.

"There!" she said. "That's good."

Grand'mère was very quiet in her chair by the window. Her hands were folded over her breast. There was something between her still fingers.

Claire René looked again, and then she screamed.

Madame Populet's eyes were open; they were fixed on the thin blue-and-white envelope clasped in her hands. Claire René pressed her fingers into her temples; she was afraid to speak aloud.

She whispered: "The third telegram!"

Who had brought it? Who had given it to grand'mère? Why was she so still? Why were her eyes open, without seeing? Claire René wanted to scream again; but instead, she made her feet take her to the chair by the window; she made her fingers pull the thin envelope from between the stiff fingers. Grand'mère's hands were cold. Her silence was more terrible than any silence Claire René had known before. The glazed, open eyes looked as if they hurt; she closed the lids with the tips of her fingers. She had seen dead birds in the forest and she knew that grand'mère was now like them.

The telegram was better burned in the fire; there it could bring no more sorrow. She watched the thin paper curl and smolder among the smoking embers of last night's blaze. She looked again toward the still figure by the window. If grand'mère was dead, why did she stay on the earth? Why didn't the Holy Mother send an angel to carry her away into the heaven of the good God?

Claire René began to tremble. What if the angels were too tired to come, were as faint and hungry as she! What, then, would become of grand'mère?

Clément and Fernand and Alphonse would be very angry to find her so cold and still and dead; they would be, perhaps, as angry to find her gone away to heaven. But grand'mère had so much of sorrow here on earth; Claire René thought the room was growing very dark; she flung her arms above her head and faintly screamed. But there was no one to hear. She fell on the hearthstone beside the red berries and the red leaves.

There was scarcely a breath left in her body when Jacques found her at dusk.

Three days later she opened her eyes in her little bed beside grand'mère's bed. Grand'mère's bed was smooth and high and white. Claire René was puzzled.

She called: "Grand'mère!"

From the outer room the voice of Jacques replied: "Yes, ma petite; I am here."

He came and put his arms about her; she laid her head against his rough coat, but her eyes were turned toward the empty bed. She was trying to remember.

Presently she sat up and asked: "Did the angel come and take grand'mère and carry her to the Holy Mother in heaven?"

Jacques crossed his heart. "Yes, ma petite," he said.

Faintly Claire René smiled and faintly she questioned: "But, my brothers?"

Jacques turned his troubled eyes away. She must wait, he said; when she was strong they would talk of many things. He told her that he had brought food to make her well, and that on the first warm day he would himself carry her out into the sunshine of the forest; there she would again run and sing and be like a happy, bright bird.

In the days that followed Claire René never spoke of grand'mère; she never spoke of her three brothers. She lay in her bed and stared about the quiet room. The silence was different, now that grand'mère was gone. Everything was different.

Jacques gave her food and care, and every day he said: "In only a little time you will be strong again, ma petite."

But something in his eyes kept her from speaking about Clément and Fernand and Alphonse. Often she thought about the telegrams upstairs in the high, white bed. She wondered if Jacques had found them there. Once she heard him walking on the floor above. He was there a long time, and when he came down his voice was queer and deep and his eyes were hidden behind a mist.

He never spoke any more about the "Great Man from America." Jacques was like grand'mère; he was old, he was full of sorrow. Claire René was afraid to ask about her letter; she thought about it each day.

But on the morning she was carried to Clément's chair by the chimney corner, she felt a great gladness spring in her heart. Yes; they would come soon—her three brothers. To-morrow she would be strong enough to walk alone to the dark closet under the stairs and look again at the three wreaths on the highest shelf.

Claire René smiled in her sleep that night; she dreamed of laughter in the house, of strong young arms about her, of quick steps and bright eyes.

Once she awoke and must have called out, for Jacques was kneeling beside her bed.

"Poor little one," he said, "you call, but there is only old Jacques to come."

Claire René put out her hand and let it rest on the old man's head. "Dear Jacques," she whispered, "always I will love you."

The sun was streaming through the tiny house the next morning. Jacques had left Claire René sitting in the warm light of the open doorway while he went to bring wood from the forest. There were no birds singing from the leafless trees, but Claire René saw a sparrow hopping about on the bright brown earth of the garden patch. She was wishing she had a great piece of white fat to hang out on a tree for the bird's winter food; wishing there were crumbs to leave on the window ledge, as grand'mère used to do.

She was wishing so hard about so many things that she failed to see three men coming out of the forest. They were tall and straight and fair, and their eyes were as blue as the sky above their heads. Their clothes were the color of pale brown sand and on their heads were jaunty caps of the selfsame color.

Jacques was with them; he was making a great many motions with his hands. They were all walking very slowly and talking very fast.

As they neared the house Jacques pointed to Claire René, and the three strange men held back. Jacques came slowly forward. The sound of his step on the hard ground interrupted Claire René's reverie; she looked up and around. She saw the three men standing at attention beyond the garden gate.

She threw back the heavy cloak wrapped about her; the thin folds of her calico dress hung limply from her sunken shoulders, and above the wasted child body the sun spun circles of gold in her tangled hair. She made a slight quivering start toward Jacques, which passed into a rigid stare toward the three figures beyond.

She was unaware when Jacques put a caressing, supporting arm about her and said: "Listen, my child."

The three men were coming forward. One of them had a letter in his hand. With kind eyes and bared heads they stood before the straining gaze of Claire René.

"The letter is for you, ma petite." Jacques voice was infinitely tender; the added pressure of his arm made Claire René conscious of his presence; she suddenly clung to him and buried her face in his coat sleeve. He went on to say: "The letter is for Claire René—from the 'Great Man from America'!"

The tangled head shook in the angle of his arm. Claire René was crying.

The tallest of the three men handed the letter to Jacques; he wiped his eyes and turned his head away. The others shifted in position and tightly folded their arms across their broad chests.

Jacques read:

To Mademoiselle Claire René: The soil of France now covers the bodies of your three brothers, Clément and Fernand and Alphonse Populet. The soil of France covers the Croix de Guerre upon their breasts. The sons of France, and of America, hold forever in their hearts the memory of their honor. We are all one family now—France and America—and so I send to you three brothers—not in place of, but in the stead of those others. They come to give you love and service in the name of America.

Claire René slowly moved apart from Jacques. She stood alone with head erect and taut arms by her sides. She hesitated a moment, then came forward and held out her hands.

"Bonjour, messieurs," she said.

The tallest of the three men covered her hands with his own. "Little friend," he said, "we can't make you forget your brothers; we want to help you remember them. We want to do some of the things for you that they used to do, and we want you to do a lot of things for us. We are pretty big, it is true, but we need a little girl like you to sort of keep us in order. We want to take you right along with us this very day—to a place where we can care for you, and——"

But Claire René slipped with electric swiftness to Jacques' side; from his sheltering arm she made declaration: "Never! I stay here with Jacques—always." Then struggling against emotion she added with finality: "I thank you, messieurs."

The tall man lingered with his thoughts a moment before he spoke; he was standing close to Claire René and made as though to lay his hand upon her hair, but drew back and said that they were all pretty good cooks and that they were very, very hungry.

At this Claire René threw a frightened, wistful glance at Jacques.

The tall man interrupted hastily. He said they had brought food with them, and would she allow them to prepare it?

Claire René nodded her head; her eyes looked beyond her questioner—out into the lonely forest.

Jacques presently lifted her into his arms and carried her within the house. With reverence he placed her in grand'mère's chair by the window. Her ears were filled with distant echoes; her sight was blurred; speech had gone from her lips. As through a dark curtain she saw the figures moving about the room; far away she heard the clatter and the talk and sometimes laughter.

After a long time Jacques came and held some steaming coffee to her lips. He made her drink and drink again; a pink flush crept into her cheeks; shyly she met the glances from the eyes of those three fair, kind faces. Then her own eyes filled with tears and she lowered her head.

The tallest of the three men came behind her chair and spoke gently, close to her ear: "Our great and good commander, who sent us here, will be very unhappy if you do not come. You see, he wanted the sister of Clément and Fernand and Alphonse Populet to be a sister to some of his own boys. It would help us a great deal, you know; we're pretty lonely too—sometimes."

The collaboration in the faces of his friends seemed to put an instant end to his effort and, as if an unspoken command were given, they all sat down and made a prompt finish to the meal.

With no word on her lips Claire René watched from Grand'mère's chair by the window. About her, figures moved like dim marionettes; they cleared the table; they polished the copper pans; they sat in the chimney corner and puffed blue circles of smoke above their heads.

Dimly she saw all this, but clearly she saw the inside of a great man's mind. She, Claire René, had work to do; she was called—for France!

Long, slanting shadows from the sinking sun were streaking the wall of the whitewashed room with slender, forklike fingers. Jacques and the three men were knotted in talk beside the ruddy fire glow. Claire René braced herself with a sharp sigh. No soldier ever went into battle with a more self-made courage than hers.

Unseen, unnoticed, noiselessly she made her pilgrimage across the room. In the dark closet, under the stairs, she reached for the wreaths. With quick, short breath she gathered them in her arms. One moment she lowered her head while her lips touched the faded crackling flowers. The compact was sealed; her sacrifice was ready.

In that attitude she passed swiftly within the circle about the fireplace. She came like a spirit of Peace with the wreaths in her arms. Over and above the serenity in her face there dawned a joyous expectancy. Yes; she could trust les Américains!

On each reverent, bowed head she placed her wreath; and when she had finished, without tremor in her voice she said: "My brothers!"


[17] Copyright, 1919, by The Curtis Publishing Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Ethel Dodd Thomas.



From Scribner's Magazine

Ralph Tuckerman had landed that day in Liverpool after a stormy winter voyage, his first across the Atlantic. The ship had slowly come up the Mersey in a fog, and the special boat train had dashed through the same dense atmosphere to the home of fogs and soot, London, and in the whole journey to his hotel the young American had seen nothing of the mother country but telegraph-poles scudding through opacity on the railway journey, and in London the loom of buildings and lights dimly red through the fog.

Although he had no acquaintances among the millions of dwellers in the city, he did not feel lonely in the comfortable coffee room of his hotel, where a cannel-coal fire flickered. The air of the room was surcharged with pungent fumes of the coal smoke which had blackened the walls and ceilings, and had converted the once brilliant red of a Turkey carpet into a dingy brown, but the young American would not have had the air less laden with the characteristic odor of London, or the carpet and walls less dingy if he had had a magician's wand.

The concept of a hotel in his native city of Chicago was a steel structure of many stories, brilliantly lighted and decorated, supplied with a lightning elevator service running through the polished marble halls which swooned in a tropical atmosphere of steam heat emanating from silvered radiators. So it was no wonder that the young man felt more at home in this inn in old London than he had ever felt in an American caravansary.

The shabby waiter who had served him at dinner appeared to him to be a true representation of the serving-man who had eaten most of David Copperfield's chops, and drained the little boy's half pint of port when he went up to school. It may be that Tuckerman's age protected him from any such invasion of his viands, but in justice to the serving-man it seems probable that he would have cut off his right hand rather than been disrespectful to a guest at dinner.

After the cloth was removed, Tuckerman ordered a half-pint decanter of port out of regard for the memory of Dickens, and, sipping it, looked about with admiration at the room with its dark old panels. Comfortable as he felt, after his dinner, he could not help regretting that he had not had with him his old friends Mr. and Mrs. Micawber and Traddles to share his enjoyment—the guests whom Copperfield entertained when "Mr. Micawber with more shirt collar than usual and a new ribbon to his eyeglass, Mrs. Micawber with a cap in a whitey-brown paper parcel, Traddles carrying the parcel and supporting Mrs. Micawber on his arm" arrived at David's lodgings and were so delightfully entertained. He wished that he could see "Micawber's face shining through a thin cloud of delicate fumes of punch," so that at the end of the evening Mr. and Mrs. Micawber would feel that they could not "have enjoyed a feast more if they had sold a bed to pay for it."

These cheery spirits seemed to come back to him from the charming paradise where they live to delight the world for all time, and it seemed to him that he could distinctly hear Mr. Micawber saying: "We twa have rin about the brae, And pu'd the gowans fine," observing as he quoted: "I am not exactly aware what gowans may be, but I have no doubt that Copperfield and myself would frequently have taken a pull at them if it had been possible."

His modest modicum of port would have seemed a poor substitute to the congenial Micawber for the punch.

Finally he went up to bed, delighted to be given a bedroom candle in a brass candlestick, and to find on his arrival there that the plumber had never entered its sacred precincts, for a hat tub on a rubber cloth awaited the can of hot water, which would be lugged up to him in the morning; the four-post bedstead with its heavy damask hangings, the cushioned grandfather's chair by the open fireplace, the huge mahogany wardrobe and the heavy furniture—all were of the period of 1830. Back to such a room Mr. Pickwick had tried to find his way on the memorable night when he so disturbed the old lady whose chamber he had unwittingly invaded.

So impressed was the young American with his transference to the past that his stem-winding watch seemed an anachronism when he came to attend to it for the night.

He settled down into the big armchair by the fire, having taken from his valise three books which he had selected for his travelling companions: "Baedeker's London Guide," "The Pickwick Papers," and "David Copperfield." The latter was in a cheap American edition which he had bought with his schoolboy's savings; a tattered volume which he knew almost by heart; which, when he took it up, opened at that part of David's "Personal History and Experience" where his aunt tells him of her financial losses, and where he dreamed his dreams of poverty in all sorts of shapes, and, as he read, this paragraph flew out at his eye:

"There was an old Roman bath in those days at the bottom of one of the streets out of the Strand—it may be there still—in which I have had many a cold plunge. Dressing myself as quickly as I could, and leaving Peggotty to look after my Aunt, I tumbled head foremost into it, and then went for a walk to Hampstead. I had a hope that this brisk treatment might freshen my wits a little."

Ralph's sleep in the old bed was unquiet. He was transported back into the England of the old coaching days, and found himself seated on the box-seat of the Ipswich coach, next a stout, red-faced, elderly coachman, his throat and chest muffled by capacious shawls, who said to him:

"If ever you are attacked with the gout, just you marry a widder as had got a good loud woice with a decent notion of using it, and you will never have the gout agin!" Then suddenly the film of the smart coach, with passengers inside and out, faded away, and Ralph found himself drinking hot brandy and water with Mr. Pickwick, in a room of a very homely description, apparently under the special patronage of Mr. Weller and other stage coachmen, for there sat the former smoking with great vehemence. The vision flashed out into darkness.

Then came deep, early morning sleep from which a sharp knock at his door aroused him, and a valet entered with a hot-water can and a cup of tea, saying: "Beg pardon, sir, eight o'clock, sir, thank you, sir."

Ralph's first inclination was to say "Thank you," but he restrained himself from this in time to save upsetting the foundations of British social life, and instead he asked:

"What kind of a morning is it?"

"Oh, sir, thank you, sir, if I should say that it is a nasty morning, sir, I should be telling the truth indeed, foggy and raining, sir, thank you, sir."

All the time he was quietly taking up Ralph's clothes, which were scattered in convulsions around the room.

"Shall I not unpack your box, sir?" asked the valet.

Ralph stopped from sipping his tea to nod assent, and the man proceeded with the unpacking with a hand which practice had made perfect.

"This is my first morning in London," observed Ralph. The valet pretended not to hear him, being unwilling to engage in any line of conversation which by any chance could take him out of the station in life to which he had been called.

"What is your name?" finally asked the American.

"Postlethwaite, sir, but I answer to the name of 'Enery."

"Well, 'Enery, did you ever hear of a Roman bath in a little street off the Strand?"

"A Roman bath, sir, in a little street off the Strand, sir? No, sir, thank you, sir, my word, sir, the Italians never take baths, sir."

"They used to take them, 'Enery, and my guide-book says that there is one of theirs to this day in Strand Lane."

The valet was silent as he continued his unpacking and arranging of Tuckerman's clothes, and the latter felt a little uncomfortable as this proceeding went on, for he was conscious of the inadequacy of his outfit, not only in the eyes of an English servant, but in his own, for he had purposely travelled "light," intending to replenish his wardrobe in London; but the well-trained servant treated the worn-out suits and frayed shirts with the utmost outward respect as he folded them up and put them away in the clothes-press.

An hour later, on the top of a 'bus, Ralph sat watching the complicated movement of traffic in the London streets, directed by the helmeted policemen. It was before the days of the motor-car, an endless stream of omnibuses, drays, hansoms, and four-wheelers, even at that early hour in the morning was pouring through the great artery of the heart of the world. This first ride on a London 'bus and the sights of the street traffic were inspiring, but familiar to the mind's eye of the young American. The Thames, alive with barges and steamers, the smoke-stained buildings, the processions of clerks, the crossing and sweepers, the smart policemen, the cab-drivers, the draymen, he knew from Leech's drawings, and he was on his way, marvellous to relate, to the oldest work of man in the city, in which the water flowed as it had been flowing ever since London was Londineum.

He got off the 'bus at Strand Lane and found a little way down the street the building he was looking for. It was a commonplace brick structure, the exterior giving no hint of its contents. A notice was posted on the black entrance door, stating the hours at which the bath was open to visitors. Ralph found out that he had fifteen minutes to wait before he could plunge head foremost into the pool. He walked somewhat impatiently up and down the street, finding the waiting unpleasant, for although it was not raining hard, the mist was cold and disagreeable. After a few turns, he came up to the door again and there found a young gentleman, dressed in a long surtout, reading the notice; the stranger turned about as Ralph approached; his face was smooth-shaven, his eyes large and melancholy, his whimsical, sensitive mouth was upcurved at the corners, his waving chestnut hair was longer than was then the fashion, the soft felt hat was pulled down over his forehead as if to ward off the fog. He swung to and fro with his right hand a Malacca joint with a chiselled gold head.

He bowed politely to Ralph, remarking:

"So you, too, are waiting for a plunge into the waters of the Holywell?"

"You are right, sir; I guess that we shall find the Roman bath cold this morning."

"You are an American, are you not?"

"I am, and therefore, sir, I am a seeker after the curious and ancient things of this city; it is my first morning in London."

"May I ask how you found out about this ancient bath? It is but little known, even to old Londoners. I often come here for a plunge, but I seldom find any other bathers here."

"Well, sir, I came across an allusion to it in 'David Copperfield,' just before I retired last night, and I looked up the locality in my guide-book."

"'David Copperfield'!" exclaimed the young man with a low whistle, and he started off upon a walking up and down as if to keep himself warm while waiting.

A moment later the heavy black door of the bathhouse was opened, and the bath attendant stepped out on the threshold, looking out into the rain; a dark-haired, heavily built man, with coarse features, a tight, cruel mouth; if he had not been dressed in rough, modern working clothes, he might well have been a holdover from the days of the Roman occupation.

"The admission is two shillings," announced the attendant as he showed the American into a dressing-room, and as the latter was paying his fee he saw the other visitor glide into a dressing-room adjoining his.

The bath was small, dark, and disappointing in appearance to the man from overseas, to whom the term "Roman bath" had conveyed an impression of vast vaulted rooms, and marble-lined swimming-pools. The bath itself was long enough for a plunge, but too small for a swim, and a hasty diver would be in danger of bumping his head on the bottom. The bricks at the side were laid edgewise, and the floor of the bath was of brick covered with cement. At the point where the water from the Holywell Spring flowed in, Ralph could see the old Roman pavement. The water in the bath was clear, but it was dark and cold looking.

As Ralph stood at the edge, reluctant to spring in, he saw the young Englishman dart from his dressing-room like a graceful sprite and make a beautiful dive into the pool. His slender body made no splash, but entered the water like a beam of light, refracting as he swam a stroke under water.

In a trice his face appeared above the surface, with no ripple or disturbance of the water.

"I feel better already," he called out. "I passed such a terrible night, almost as bad as poor Clarence's. How miserable I was last night when I lay down! I need not go into details. A loss of property; a sudden misfortune had upset my hopes of a career and of happiness.

"It was difficult to believe that night, so long to me, could be short for any one else. This consideration set me thinking, and thinking of an imaginary party where people were dancing the hours away until that became a dream too, and I heard the music incessantly playing one tune, and saw Dora incessantly dancing one dance without taking the least notice of me."

"I too dreamed the night through," thought Ralph. "And am I dreaming now?"

"I dreamed of poverty in all sorts of shapes. I seemed to dream without the previous ceremony of going to sleep. Now I was ragged, now I ran out of my office in a nightgown and boots, now I was hungrily picking up the crumbs of a poor man's scanty bread, and, still more or less conscious of my own room, I was always tossing about like a distressed ship in a sea of bedclothes. But come, my friend, plunge in, for if you passed any such night as mine, the clear cold water of Holywell Spring has marvellous healing properties, and it will freshen your wits for whatever the day may bring for them to puzzle over."

As he spoke he drew himself up on the opposite side of the bath from Ralph, and watched the latter as he took a clumsy header, his body striking the water flat, and sending great splashes over the room. When Ralph, recovering from his rude entrance into the water, looked for the other bather, he was gone. The cold water did not invite a protracted immersion, so that Ralph scrambled hastily out of it, and after a rub with a harsh towel, put on his clothes; then he noticed that the door of the stranger's cubicle was open; he looked into it to say good-by to his chance acquaintance, but it was empty, and in the corner he saw the Malacca cane with the gold head. He picked it up and carefully examined it; the head was of gold in the form of a face, eyes wide open, spectacles turned up on the forehead.

"Great Cæsar's ghost!" exclaimed Ralph, "Old Marley!"

The attendant just then appeared, Ralph handed him the cane, saying: "I found this cane in the other gentleman's dressing-room." The attendant stared at him and said gruffly:

"None of your larks, sir; there wasn't no other gentleman, and that's no cane; its my cleaning mop that I get under the seats with."


[18] Copyright, 1920, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
Copyright, 1921, by John T. Wheelwright.



From Harper's Magazine

There is sometimes melancholy in revisiting after years of absence, a place where one was joyous in the days of youth. That is why sadness stole over me on the evening of my return to Florence.

To be sure, the physical beauties of the Italian city were intact. Modernity had not farther encroached upon the landmarks that had witnessed the birth of a new age, powerful, even violent, in its individualism. From those relics, indeed—from the massive palaces, the noble porches, the monuments rising in the public squares—there still seemed to issue a faint vibration of ancient audacity and force. It was as if stone and bronze had absorbed into their particles, and stored through centuries, the great emotions released in Florence during that time of mental expansion called the Renaissance.

But this integrity of scene and influence only increased my regrets. Though the familiar setting was still here, the familiar human figures seemed all departed. I looked in vain for sobered versions of the faces that had smiled, of old, around tables in comfortable cafés, in an atmosphere of youthful gaiety, where at any moment one might be enmeshed in a Florentine prank that Boccaccio could not have bettered.

One such prank rose, all at once, before my minds eye, and suddenly, in the midst of my pessimism, I laughed aloud.

I recalled the final scene of that escapade, which I myself had managed to devise. The old café had run with a bellow of delight; the victim, ridiculous in his consternation, had rushed at me howling for vengeance. But the audience, hemming him in, had danced 'round him singing a ribald little song. The air was full of battered felt hats, coffee spoons, lumps of sugar, and waving handkerchiefs. Out on the piazza the old cab-horses had pricked up their ears; the shopkeepers had run to their doorways; the police had taken notice. It was not every day that the champion joker among us was caught in such a net as he delighted to spread.

Where were they, all my jolly young men and women? Maturity, matrimony, perhaps still other acts of fate, had scattered them. Here and there a grizzled waiter let fall the old names with a shrug of perplexity, then hastened to answer the call of a rising generation as cheerful as if it were not doomed, also, to dispersion and regrets.

Then, too, in returning I had been so unfortunate as to find Florence on the verge of spring.

The soft evening air was full of a sweetness exhaled by the surrounding cup of hills. From baskets of roses, on the steps of porticoes, a fragrance floated up like incense round the limbs of statues, which were bathed in a golden light by the lamps of the piazza. Those marble countenances were placid with an eternal youth, beneath the same stars that had embellished irrevocable nights, that recalled some excursions into an enchanted world, some romantic gestures the knack for which was gone.

"After all," I thought, "it is better not to find one of the old circle. We should make each other miserable by our reminiscences."

No sooner had I reflected thus than I found myself face to face with Antonio.

Antonio was scarcely changed. His dark visage was still vital with intelligence, still keen and strange from the exercise of an inexhaustible imagination. Yet in his eyes, which formerly had sparkled with the wit of youth, there was more depth and a hint of somberness. He had become a celebrated satirist.

"What luck!" he cried, embracing me with sincere delight. "But to think that I should have to run into you on the street!"

"I asked for you everywhere."

"In the old places? I never go to them. You have not dined? Nor I. Here, let us take this cab."

He hurried me off to a restaurant of the suburbs. Under the starry sky we sat down at a table beside a sunken garden, in which nightingales were trying their voices among the blossoms, whose perfume had been intensified by dew.

It was an old-time dinner, at least, that Antonio provided; but, alas! those others were not there to eke out the illusion of the past. To each name, as I uttered it, Antonio added an epitaph. This one had gone to bury himself in the Abruzzi hills. That one had become a professor at Bologna. Others, in vanishing, had left no trace behind them.

"And Leonello, who was going to surpass Michael Angelo?"

"Oh," my friend responded, "Leonello is still here, painting his pictures. Like me, he could not live long beyond the air of Florence."

Antonio, in fact, could trace his family back through Florentine history into the Middle Ages.

"Is Leonello the same?" I pursued. "Always up to some nonsense? But you were not much behind him in those insane adventures."

"Take that to yourself," Antonio retorted. "I recall one antic, just before you left us—" He broke off to meditate. Clicking his tongue against his teeth, he gazed at me almost with resentment, as if I were responsible for this depressing work of time. "No!" he exclaimed, looking at me in gloomy speculation, while, in the depths of his eyes, one seemed to see his extraordinary intelligence perplexed and baffled. "That war of wit is surely over. The old days are gone for good. Let us make the best of it." And he asked me what I had been doing.

I made my confession. In those years I had become fascinated by psychic phenomena—by the intrusion into human experience of weird happenings that materialism could not very well explain. Many of these happenings indicated, at least to my satisfaction, not only future existences, but also previous ones. I admitted to Antonio that, since I was in Italy again, I intended to investigate the case of a Perugian peasant girl who, though she had never been associated with educated persons, was subject to trances in which she babbled the Greek language of Cleopatra's time, and accurately described the appearance of pre-Christian Alexandria.

"I am writing a book on such matters," I concluded. "You, of course, will laugh at it——"

His somber eyes, which had been watching me intently, became blank for a time, then suddenly gave forth a flash.

"I? Laugh because you have been enthralled by weirdness?" he cried, as one who, all at once, has been profoundly moved. Yet laugh he did, in loud tones that were almost wild with strange elation. "Pardon me," he stammered, passing a trembling hand across his forehead. "You do not know the man that I have become of late."

What had my words called to his mind? From that moment everything was changed. The weight of some mysterious circumstances had descended upon Antonio, overwhelming, as it seemed to me, the pleasure that he had found in this reunion. Through the rest of the dinner he was silent, a prey to that dark exultancy, to that uncanny agitation.

This silence persisted while the cab bore us back into the city.

In the narrow streets a blaze of light from the open fronts of cook-shops flooded the lower stories of some palaces which once on a time had housed much fierceness and beauty, treachery and perverse seductiveness. Knowing Antonio's intimate acquaintance with those splendid days, I strove to rouse him by congenial allusions. His preoccupation continued; the historic syllables that issued from my lips were wasted in the clamor of the street. Yet when I pronounced the name of one of those bygone belles, Fiammetta Adimari, he repeated slowly, like a man who has found the key to everything:


"What is it, Antonio? Are you in love?"

He gave me a piercing look and sprang from the cab. We had reached the door of his house.

Antonio's bachelor apartment was distinguished by handsome austerity. The red-tiled floors reflected faintly the lights of antique candelabra, which shed their luster also upon chests quaintly carved, bric-à-brac that museums would have coveted, and chairs adorned with threadbare coats of arms. Beside the mantelpiece hung a small oil-painting, as I thought, of Antonio himself, his black hair reaching to his shoulders, and on his head a hat of the Renaissance.

"No," said he, giving me another of his strange looks, "it is my ancestor, Antonio di Manzecca, who died in the year fifteen hundred."

I remembered that somewhere in the hills north of the city there was a dilapidated stronghold called the Castle of Manzecca. Behind those walls, in the confusion of the Middle Ages, Antonio's family had developed into a nest of rural tyrants. Those old steel-clad men of the Manzecca had become what were called "Signorotti"—lords of a height or two, swooping down to raid passing convoys, waging petty wars against the neighboring castles, and at times, like bantams, too arrogant to bear in mind the shortness of their spurs, defying even Florence. In the end, as I recalled the matter, Florence had chastened the Manzecca, together with all the other lordlings of that region. The survivors had come to live in the city, where, through these hundreds of years, many changes of fortune had befallen them. My friend Antonio was their last descendant.

"But," I protested, examining the portrait, "your resemblance to this Antonio of the Renaissance could not possibly be closer."

Instead of replying, he sat down, rested his elbow on his knees, and pressed his fists against his temples. Presently I became aware that he was laughing, very softly, but in such an unnatural manner that I shivered.

I grew alarmed. It was true that in our years of separation Antonio's physical appearance had not greatly changed; but what was the meaning of this mental difference? Was his mind in danger of some sinister overshadowing? Were these queer manners the symptoms of an incipient mania? It is proposed that genius is a form of madness. Was the genius of Antonio, in its phenomenal development, on the point of losing touch with sanity? As my thoughts leaped from one conjecture to another, the tiled room took on the chill that pervades a mausoleum. From the bowl on the table the petals of a dying rose fell in a sudden cascade, like a dismal portent.

"The Castle of Manzecca," I ventured, merely to break the silence, "is quite ruined, I suppose?"

"No, the best part of it still stands. I have had some rooms restored."

"You own it?"

"I bought it back a year ago. It is there that I——" He buried his face in his hands.

"Antonio," I said, "you are in some great trouble."

"It is not trouble," he answered, in smothered tones. "But why should I hesitate to make my old friend, whose mind does not reject weirdness, my confidant? I warn you, however, that it will be a confidence weird enough to make even your experience in such matters seem tame. Go first to Perugia. Examine the peasant girl who chatters of ancient Alexandria. Return to my house one week from to-night, at dusk, and you shall share my secret."

He rose, averted his face, and went to throw himself upon a couch, or porch-bed, another relic, its woodwork covered with faded paint and gilt, amid which one might trace the gallants of the sixteenth century in pursuit of nymphs—an allegory of that age's longing for the classic past. I left him thus, flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling, oblivious of my farewell.

Poor Antonio! What a return to Florence!

A week from that night, at dusk, I returned. At Perugia I had filled a pocket-book with notes on the peasant girl's trances. The spell of those strange revelations was yet on me, but at Antonio's door I felt that I stood on the threshold of a still more agitating disclosure.

My knock was answered by Antonio himself, his hat on his head and a motorcoat over his arm. He seemed burning with impatience.

"You have your overcoat? Good." And he locked the door on the outside.

We stepped into a limousine, which whirled us away through the twilight. The weather made one remember that even in Florence the merging of March and April could be violent. To-night masses of harsh-looking clouds sped across the sky before an icy wind from the mountains. A burial-party, assembled at a convent gate, had their black robes fluttering, their waxen torches blown out.

"Death!" muttered Antonio, with a sardonic grimace. "And they call it unconquerable!"

As we paused before a dwelling-house, two men emerged upon the pavement. They were Leonello, the artist, and another friend of the old days, named Leonardo. The unusual occasion constrained our greetings. The newcomers, after pressing my hand, devoted themselves with grave solicitude to Antonio.

He burst forth at them like a man whose nervous tension is nearly unendurable:

"Yes, hang it all! I am quite well. Why the devil will you persist in coddling me?"

Leonello and Leonardo gave me a mournful look.

We now stopped at another door, where there joined us two ladies unknown to me. Both were comely, with delicate features full of sensibility. Neither, I judged, had reached the age of thirty. In the moment of meeting—a moment notable for a stammering of incoherent phrases, a darting of sidelong looks at Antonio, a general effect of furtiveness and excitement—no one remembered to present me to these ladies. However, while we were arranging ourselves in the limousine I gathered that the name of one of them was Laura, and that the other's name was Lina. In their faces, on which the street-lights cast intermittent flashes, I seemed to discern a struggle between apprehension and avidity for this adventure.

The silence, and the tension of all forms, continued even when we left the city behind us and found ourselves speeding northward along a country road.

"Northward. To the Castle of Manzecca, then?" I asked myself.

The rays from our lamps revealed the trees all bending toward the south. The wind pressed against our car, as if to hold us back from the revelation awaiting us ahead, in the midst of the black night, whence this interminable whistling moan pervaded nature. Rain dashed against the glass. Through the blurred windows the lights of farms appeared, to be instantly engulfed by darkness. Then everything vanished except the illuminated streak of road. We seemed to be fleeing from the known world, across a span of radiance that trembled over an immeasurable void, into the supernatural.

The limousine glided to a standstill.

"Here we abandon the car."

We entered the kitchen of a humble farm-house. Strings of garlic hung from the ceiling, and on the floor lay some valises.

As the ladies departed into another room, Antonio mastered his emotion and addressed me.

"What we must do, and what I must ask you to promise, may at first seem to you ridiculous," he said. "Yet your acceptance of my conditions is a matter of life or death, not to any one here present, but to another, whom we are about to visit. What I require is this: you are to put on, as we shall, the costumes in these valises, which are after the fashion of the early sixteenth century. Indeed, when our journey is resumed, there must be about us nothing to suggest the present age. Moreover, I must have your most earnest promise that when we reach our destination you will refrain from giving the least hint, by word or action, that the sixteenth century has passed away. If you feel unable to carry out this deception, we must leave you here. The slightest blunder would be fatal."

No sooner had Antonio uttered these words than he turned in a panic to Leonello and Leonardo.

"Am I wrong to have brought him?" he demanded, distractedly. "Can I depend on him at every point? You two, and Laura and Lina, know what it would mean if he should make a slip."

Much disturbed, I declared that I wished for nothing better than to return to Florence at once. But Leonardo restrained me, while Leonello, patting Antonio's shoulder in reassurance, responded:

"Trust him. You do his quick wit an injustice."

Finally Antonio, with a heavy sigh, unlocked the valises.

Hitherto I had associated masquerade with festive expectations, but nothing could have been less festive than the atmosphere in which we donned those costumes. They were rich, accurate, and complete. The wigs of flowing hair were perfectly deceptive. The fur-trimmed surcoats and the long hose were in fabrics suggestive of lost weaving arts. Each dagger, buckle, hat-gem, and finger-ring, was a true antique. Even when the two ladies appeared, in sumptuous Renaissance dresses, their coiffures as closely in accordance with that period as their expanded silhouettes, no smile crossed any face.

"Are we all—" began Antonio. His voice failed him. Muffled in thick cloaks, we faced the blustery night again.

Behind the farm-house stood horses, saddled and bridled in an obsolete manner. Our small cavalcade wound up a hillside path, which, in the darkness, the beasts felt out for themselves. One became aware of cypress-trees on either hillside, immensely tall, to judge by the thickness of their trunks. More and more numerous became these trees, as was evident from the lamentation of their countless branches. In its groan, the forest voiced to the utmost that melancholy which the imaginative mind associates with cypresses in Italy, where they seemed always to raise their funereal grace around the sites of vanished splendors.

We were ascending one of the hills that lie scattered above Florence toward the mountains, and that were formerly all covered with these solemn trees.

But the wind grew even stronger as we neared the summit. Above us loomed a gray bulk. The Castle of Manzecca reluctantly unveiled itself, bleak, towering, impressive in its decay—a ruin that was still a fortress, and that time had not injured so much as had its mortal besiegers; the last of whom had died centuries ago. A gate swung open. Our horses clattered into a courtyard which abruptly blazed with torches.

In that dazzle all the omens of our journey were fulfilled. We found ourselves, as it appeared, not only in a place embodying another age, but in that other age itself.

The streaming torches revealed shock-headed servitors of the Renaissance, their black tunics stamped in vermilion, front and back, with a device of the Manzecca. By the steps glittered the spear-points of a clump of men-at-arms whose swarthy and rugged faces remained impassive under flattened helmets. But as we dismounted a grey-hound came leaping from the castle, and in the doorway hovered an old maid-servant. To her Antonio ran straightway, his cape whipping out behind him.

"Speak, Nuta! Is she well?" he demanded.

We followed him into the castle.

It was a spacious hall, paved with stone, its limits shadowy, its core illuminated brilliantly with candles. From the rafters dangled some banners, tattered and queerly designed. Below these, in the midst of the hall—in a mellow refulgence that she herself seemed to give forth—there awaited us a woman glorified by youth and happiness, who pressed her hand to her heart.

She wore a gown of violet-colored silk, the sleeves puffed at the shoulders, the bodice tight across the breast and swelling at the waist, the skirt voluminous. On either side of her bosom, sheer linen, puckered by golden rosettes, mounted to form behind her neck a little ruff. Over her golden hair, every strand of which had been drawn back strictly from her brow, a white veil was clasped, behind her ears, by a band of pearls and amethysts cut in cabuchon.

Still, she was remarkable less for her costume than for the singularity of her charms.

To what was this singularity due? To the intense emotions that she seemed to be harboring? Or to the arrangement of her lovely features, to-day unique, which made one think of backgrounds composed of brocade and armor, the freshly painted canvases of Titian and the dazzling newness of statues by Michael Angelo? As she approached that singularity of hers became still more disquieting, as though the fragrance that enveloped her were not a woman's chosen perfume, but the very aroma of the magnificent past.

Antonio regarded her with his soul in his eyes, then greedily kissed her hands. When the others had saluted her, each of them as much moved as though she were an image in a shrine, Antonio said in a hoarse voice to me:

"I present you to Madonna Fiammetta di Foscone, my affianced bride. Madonna, this gentleman comes from a distant country to pay you homage."

"He is welcome," she answered, in a voice that accorded with her peculiar beauty.

And my bewilderment deepened as I realized that they were speaking not modern Italian, but what I gathered to be the Italian of the sixteenth century.

I found myself with Antonio in a tower-room, whither he had brought me on the ladies' retirement to prepare themselves for supper.

The wind, howling round the tower, pressed against the narrow windows covered with oiled linen. The cypress forest, which on all sides descended from our peak into the valleys, gave forth a continuous moan. Every instant the candle-light threatened to go out. The very tower seemed to be trembling, like Antonio, in awe of the secret about to be revealed. For a while my poor friend could say nothing. Seated in his rich disguise on a bench worn smooth by men whose tombs were crumbling, he leaned forward beneath the burden of his thoughts, and the long locks of his wig hung down as if to veil the disorder of his features.

Finally he began:

"In the year fifteen hundred my family still called this place their home. There were only two of them left, two brothers, the older bearing the title Lord of Manzecca. The younger brother was that Antonio di Manzecca whose portrait you saw on the wall of my apartment in the city. It is to him, as you observed, that I bear so close a resemblance.

"In a hill-castle not far away lived another family, the Foscone.

"The Lord of Foscone, a widower, had only one child left, a daughter seventeen years old. Her name was Fiammetta. Even in Florence it was said that to the north, amid the wilderness of cypress-trees, there dwelt a maiden whose beauty surrounded her with golden rays like a nimbus."

I remembered our entrance into this castle, my first glimpse of the woman awaiting us in the middle of the hall, and the glow of light around her that appeared to be a radiance expanding from her person.

But my friend continued:

"Between the two castles there was friendly intercourse. It was presumed that the Lord of Foscone would presently give his daughter in marriage to the Lord of Manzecca. Fate, however, determined that Fiammetta and Antonio di Manzecca, the younger brother, should fall in love with each other.

"Need I describe to you the fervor of that passion in the Italian springtime, at a period of our history when all the emotions were terrific in their force?

"At night, Antonio di Manzecca would slip away to the Castle of Foscone. She would be waiting for him on the platform outside her chamber, above the ramparts, overlooking the path across the hills. It chanced that by the aid of vines and fissures in the masonry he could climb the castle wall almost to that platform—almost near enough, indeed, to touch her finger-tips. Unhappily, there was nothing there to which she could attach a twisted sheet. So thus they made love—she bending down toward him, he clutching with toes and hands at the wall, her whispers making him dizzier than his perilous posture, her tears falling upon his lips through a space so little, yet greater than the distance between two stars.

"But almost everything is discovered. Antonio's meetings with Fiammetta became known to his elder brother.

"One evening Fiammetta, from the high platform, saw Antonio approaching while it was still twilight. All at once he was surrounded by servants of his own house, who had been waiting for him in ambush. Before he could move, half a dozen daggers sank into his body. Amid the thorns and nettles he sprawled lifeless, under the eyes of his beloved. As the assassins dragged his body away, there burst from the platform a prolonged peal of laughter.

"Fiammetta di Foscone had gone mad."

At that tragedy, at least, I was not surprised. The Italy of the Renaissance was full of such episodes—the murderous jealousy of brothers, the obedient cruelty of retainers, the wreckage of women's sanity by the fall of horrors much more ingeniously contrived than this. What froze my blood was the anticipation gradually shaping in my mind. I felt that this was the prelude to something monstrous, incredible, which I should be forced to believe.

"She had gone mad," my friend repeated, staring before him. "She had, in other words, lost contact with what we call reality. To her that state of madness had become reality, its delusions truth, and everything beyond those delusions misty, unreal, or non-existent."

His voice died away as he looked at his hands with an expression of disbelief. He even reached forward to touch my knee, then sighed:

"You will soon understand why I am sometimes possessed with the idea that I am dreaming."

And he resumed his tale:

"Antonio di Manzecca was buried. His elder brother found a wife elsewhere. The Lord of Foscone married again, and by that marriage had other children. But still his daughter Fiammetta stood nightly on the platform of the Castle of Foscone, gazing down at the hill path, waiting for her Antonio to climb the wall and whisper his love.

"Now she only lived in that state of ardent expectancy. The days and weeks and months were but one hour, the hour preceding his last approach to her. Every moment, in her delusion, she expected him to end that hour by coming to her as young as ever, to find her as winsome as before. In consequence, time vanished from her thought. And in vanishing from her thought, time lost its power over her.

"Her father died; but Fiammetta still kept her vigil, in appearance the same as on the evening of that tragedy. A new generation of the Foscone grew old in their turn, but Fiammetta's loveliness was still perfect. In her madness there seemed to be a sanity surpassing the sanity of other mortals. For by becoming insensible to time she had attained an earthly immortality, an uncorrupted physical beauty, in which she constantly looked forward to the delight of loving.

"So she went on and on——"

The tower shook in terror of the gale, and we shook with it, in terror of this revelation. My thoughts turned toward the woman below, who had smiled at us from that aura of physical resplendency. I felt my hair rising, and heard a voice, my own, cry out: "No, no!"

"Yes!" Antonio shouted, fixing his hands upon my arms. We were both standing, and our leaping shadows on the wall resembled a combat in which one was struggling to force insanity upon the other. He went on speaking, but his words were drowned in a screaming of vast forces that clutched at the tower as if in fury because the normal processes of nature had been defied. Would those forces attain their revenge? Was the tower about to thunder down upon the Castle of Manzecca, annihilating her and us, the secret and its possessors? For a moment I would have welcomed even that escape from thinking.

"Yes," he repeated, releasing my arms and sitting down limply on the bench. "As you anticipate, so it turned out."

I was still able to protest:

"Admitted that this has happened elsewhere, to a certain degree. In Victorian England there lived a woman whose love-affair was wrecked and whose mind automatically closed itself against everything associated with her tragedy, or subsequent to it. In her madness she, too, protected herself against pain by living in expectation of the lover's return. Because that expectation was restricted to her girlhood, she remained a girl in appearance for over fifty years. Fifty years, that is comprehensible!"

"The principle is the same," said Antonio, wearily. "Every mental phenomenon has minor and major examples. But I will tell you the rest.

"The Foscone, also, finally moved to Florence. Their castle was left in the care of hereditary servants, devoted and discreet. On that isolated hilltop no chance was afforded strangers to solve the mystery of the woman who paced the high platform in the attire of another age. Was there, in the Foscone's concealment of the awesome fact, a medieval impulse, the ancient instinct of noble houses to defend themselves against all forms of aggression, including curiosity? Or was it merely the usual aversion to being identified with abnormality? Some abnormality is so terrifying that it seals the loosest lips.

"Now and then, to be sure, some servant's tongue was set wagging by wine, or some heir of the Foscone confided in his sweetheart. But the rumor, if it went farther, soon became distorted and incredible, amid the ghost-stories of a hundred Italian castles, palaces, and villas. I myself found hints in the archives of my family, yet saw in them only a pretty tale, such as results when romantic invention is combined with pride of race.

"But I was destined to sing another tune.

"Not long ago, the last of the Foscone's modern generation passed away. There came to me an old woman-servant from the castle. It was Nuta, whom you saw below as we entered.

"Why had she sought me out? Because, if you please, in the year fifteen hundred one of my family had brought this thing to pass. It seemed to Nuta, the fact now being subject to discovery by the executors of the estate, that the care of her charge devolved upon me.

"At first I believed that old Nuta was the mad one. In the end, however, I accompanied her to the castle. At dusk, concealed by the cypresses, I discerned on the platform a face that seemed to have been transported from another epoch just in order to pierce my heart with an intolerable longing. I fell in love as one slips into a vortex, and instantly the rational world was lost beyond a whorl of ecstasy and fright.

"I regained Florence with but one thought: how could she be restored to sanity, yet be maintained in that beauty which had triumphed over centuries? As I entered my apartment I saw before me the portrait of that other Antonio di Manzecca, whom I so closely resembled, whom she had loved, whose return she still awaited. I stood there blinded by a flash of inspiration.

"At midnight my plan was complete."

As he paused, and the conclusion became clear to me, I was taken with a kind of stupor.

"A few days later," he said, "as she stood gazing down through the twilight, a man emerged from the forest, in face and dress the image of that other Antonio di Manzecca. At his signal, servants in the old-time livery of the Manzecca appeared with a ladder, which they leaned against the ramparts. He set foot upon the platform. Her pallor turned deathlike; her eyes became blank; she fainted in his arms. When she recovered she was in the Castle of Manzecca.

"That shock had restored her reason.

"Now everything around her very artfully suggested the sixteenth century—the furniture, the most trivial utensils, the costume of the humblest person in the castle. Nuta attended her. The convalescent was told that she had been ill in consequence of the attack on her lover, but that he, instead of succumbing, had been spirited away and stealthily nursed back to health. Again whole, he had returned to avenge himself on his brother, whom he had killed. Meanwhile her father had died. Therefore she had been brought from the Castle of Foscone to the Castle of Manzecca to enjoy the protection of her Antonio, whom she was now free to marry.

"All this was what she wanted to believe, so she believed it."

But Antonio's face was filled with a new distress. He rose, to pace the floor with the gestures of a man who realizes that he is locked in a cell to which there is no key.

"In the restoration of her mind," he groaned, "my own peace of mind has been destroyed. Even this love, the strangest and most thrilling in the world, will never allay the heartquakes that I have brought upon myself.

"With her perception of time restored, she will now be subject to time like other mortals. As year follows year, her youthfulness will merge into maturity, her maturity into old age, here in this castle, where nothing must ever suggest that she has attained a century other than her own. For me that means a ceaseless vigilance and fear. My devotion will always be mingled with forebodings of some blunder, some unforeseen intrusion of the present, some lightning-like revelation of the truth to her."

At that he broke down.

"Ah, if that happened, what horror should I witness?"

The gale sounded like the hooting of a thousand demons who were preparing for this man a frightful retribution. Yet even in that moment I envied him.

To her beauty, which had bewitched me at my first sight of her, was added another allurement—the thought of a magical flight far beyond the boundaries imprisoning other men. If romance is a striving toward something at once unique and sympathetic, here was romance attained. Moreover, in embracing that exquisite personification of the Renaissance, one might add to love the glamour of a terrible audacity. And the addition of glamour to love has always been one of the most assiduously practised arts.

At the bottom of the winding tower staircase, in the doorway of the hall where she had greeted us, we paused to compose ourselves.

"At least," Antonio besought me, "when in doubt, remain silent."

We entered the hall. Under a wooden gallery adorned with carved and tinted shields the supper-table was laid.

They awaited us, shimmering in their fantastic finery—the ladies Laura and Lina, my old friends Leonardo and Leonello, and the ineffable Fiammetta di Foscone. The visitors' cheeks seemed hectic from the excitement of the hour; but her face was flushed, her eyes shone, for her own reasons. As I approached her my heartbeats suffocated me. Yes, I would have taken Antonio's place and shouldered all his terrors! Before me the fair conqueror of time disappeared in a haze, out of which her voice emerged like a sweet utterance from beyond the tomb.

"You are pleased with the castle, messere?"

As I was striving to respond, Antonio said to her, half aside, in that quaint species of Italian which he had used before:

"He speaks our language with difficulty, Madonna, and in a dialect. This disability will embarrass him till he finds himself more at home."

"Then let us sup," she exclaimed. "For since this new custom of a third meal has become fashionable in Florence, no doubt you are all expiring of hunger. So quickly does habit become tyrannous, especially when it involves a pleasure."

In some manner or other I seated myself at the table.

The servants bore in, on silver platters, small chickens garnished with sugar and rose-water, a sort of galantine, tarts of almonds and honey, caramels of pine-seed. From the gallery overhead came the tinkle of a rota, a kind of guitar. The musician produced a whimsical tune suggesting a picnic of lords and ladies in the garden of an antique villa, where trick fountains, masked by blossoms, drenched the unwary with streams of water. But in the chimney of the great, cold fireplace behind my back the wind still growled its threats; the voice of Nature still menaced these audacious mortals, who were celebrating the humiliation of her laws.

Beyond the candle-light the beauty of Fiammetta di Foscone became blinding. In her there was no sign of an unnatural preservation, as, for example, in a flower that has been sustained, yet subtly altered, by imprisonment in ice. Nor did her countenance show in the least that glaze of time which changes, without abating, the fairness of marble goddesses surviving for us from remote ages of esthetic victory. But wait; she was not an animated statue, nor any product of nature other than flesh and blood! And the flesh, the glance, the whole person of this creature from another era, expressed a glorious young womanhood. I was lost in admiration, pity, and dread. For over this shining miracle hovered the shadow of disaster. One could not forget the countless menaces surrounding her.

If she should grasp the truth, if all of a sudden she should realize her disaccordance with the world of mortals, what would happen to her before our eyes? Would she succumb instantly? Or would she first shrivel into some appalling monstrosity? This deception could not last forever. Might it not end to-night?

Did the others have similar premonitions?

Their smiles seemed tremulous and wan, their movements constrained and timorous. All their efforts at gaiety were impeded by the inertia of fear. At every speech the lips of Lina and Laura quivered, the hands of Leonello and Leonardo were clenched in a nervous spasm. Antonio controlled himself only by the most heroic efforts.

What a price to pay for an illusion of happiness that was destined to a ghastly end! Yet I would still have paid that heavy price exacted from Antonio.

Fiammetta di Foscone became infected by our nervousness. At one moment her mirth was feverish; at another, a look of vague uneasiness crossed her face. Was our secret gradually penetrating to her subconscious mind? Was she to learn the fact, and perish of it, not because of bungling word or action on our part, but merely from the unwitting transmission of our thoughts?

The others redoubled their travesty of merriment. They voiced the gossip of a vanished society; the politics, fashions, and scandals of old Florence. One heard the names of noble families long since extinct, accounts of historic escapades related as if they had happened yesterday. Fiammetta recovered her animation.

Her dewy eyes turned to Antonio. Her fingers caressed her betrothal-ring, which was like the wedding-ring of the twentieth century. And in this hall tricked out with lies, amid these guests and servants who were the embodiment of falsehood, an oppressing atmosphere of dread was clarified, for a moment, by the strength and delicacy of her love.

They discussed the virtues of the Muses, the plagiarisms of Petrarch, the wonders of astrology. Her uneasiness revived. In a voice more musical than the rota in the gallery, she asked:

"My dear friends, would you attribute to some planetary influence a feeling of strangeness that I receive at times, even from the air? I demand of you whether the air does not have an unfamiliar smell to-night?"

There was a freezing moment of silence.

"It is this great wind," muttered Leonardo, "that has brought us new air from afar."

"Every place has its smell," was Leonello's contribution. "It is natural that the Castle of Manzecca should smell differently from the Castle of Foscone."

Antonio thanked his friends with an eloquent look.

"True," she assented, pensively, "every spot, every person, is surrounded by its especial ether, produced by its peculiar activity. This house, not only in its smell, but in its tenor of life, and even in its food, differs vastly from my own house, which, nevertheless, is just across the hills."

Antonio drained his goblet at a gulp. He got out the words:

"We are provincial, we Manzecca. Like a race apart."

"All old families, jealous of their integrity, are the same," ventured Laura, who looked, nevertheless, as if she were about to faint.

"Or maybe," mused Fiammetta, "it is because I have been ill that things perplex me, and sometimes startle me by an effect of strangeness. There are moments when even the stars look odd to me, and when the countryside, viewed from the tower above us, is bewildering. In one direction I see woods where I should have expected meadows; in another direction, fields where I should have expected woods. But then, I now view the countryside from a tower other than my own, and see in a new aspect that landscape with which I thought myself so well acquainted. Does that explain it?"

How touching, how pitiable, was her expression, half arch, half pleading, and so beautiful! "Oh, lovely and terrible prodigy!" I thought, "draw back; banish those thoughts; or, rather, no longer think at all—for you are on the edge of the abyss!"

Antonio spoke with difficulty:

"Dearest one, do not pain me by mentioning that illness of yours. Do not pain yourself by dwelling on it in your mind. The past with all its misfortunes is gone forever. Let us live in the present and contemplate a future full of bliss."

A quivering sigh of assent and relief went round the supper-table. But Fiammetta protested:

"I should not care to forget the past. It contained too much happiness. The hours at twilight, when I waited on the platform of the Castle of Foscone, and you clambered up the wall, are not for oblivion! Do you remember, Antonio, how you once brought with you a bunch of little damask roses, which you tossed up to me while clinging to the masonry? Those roses became my treasure. The sweetest one of them I locked in a tiny silver box which I kept always by me. That box came with me from the Castle of Foscone. The key is lost; but you shall open it with your dagger, and learn how I have cherished an emblem of that past which you ask me to forget."

With a rare smile, she drew from the bosom of her gown a very small coffer of silver, its chiseling worn smooth by innumerable caresses. Poor soul! it was in her bosom that she had cherished this pretty little box, more cruelly fatal than a viper.

Antonio, his jaws sagging, rose half-way out of his chair, then sank back, speechless and livid. Unaware, eager, and imperious, Fiammetta demanded:

"A dagger!"

Too late Antonio managed to put out a shaking hand in protest. Already a fool of a servant had presented his dirk to her. In a twinkling—before we could stop her—Fiammetta had pried back the lid.

The silver box, its oxidized interior as black as ink, contained, in place of the damask rose that had bloomed in the year fifteen hundred, only a few grains of dust.

There was no sound except from the wind, which yelled its devilish glee round the castle and in the chimney of the fireplace.

She had risen to her feet. In her eyes, peering at the little coffer, bewilderment gave place to dismay. But in our faces she found a consternation far surpassing hers.

"Only dust?"

Antonio distorted his mouth in a vain effort to speak. At last, with a frantic oath, he swept the silver box into the fireplace, where it fell amid the brush-wood and inflammable rubbish piled ready for lighting under the big logs.

Fiammetta had tried to stop him. Under her clutching hand, his fur-trimmed sleeve had slipped up, exposing his forearm. She was staring at his forearm.

"The scar?" she whispered. "Was it not here, when you raised your arm to shield yourself against them, that you caught the first knife-thrust? How long does it take for such a scar to pass entirely away?"

Lina and Laura sank back in their chairs. Leonello averted his face. Leonardo turned away. Again Antonio tried to speak. The terror that held us in its grip was communicated to Fiammetta di Foscone.

Her countenance became bloodless. Her teeth chattered. She murmured:

"What is happening to me? I am so cold!"

She sank down, amid billows of violet-colored silk, between Antonio's arms, before the fireplace. Her veil, confined by the band of pearls and amethysts, did not seem as white as her skin.

There was a hysterical babble of voices:

"She is dead! No, she has swooned! Bring vinegar! Rub her hands! Light the fire!"

Then ensued a jostling of guests and servants, who crowded forward to poke a dozen lighted candles at the brush-wood. In the midst of this confusion Fiammetta sat before the hearth, her eyes half closed, her head rolling against Antonio's shoulder, her throat, framed by the little ruff, palpitating like the breast of an expiring dove. She was in the throes of the emotions that had been at last transferred from our minds to hers and that she was doubtless on the point of comprehending.

The brush-wood caught fire. At that flicker her eyelids opened. She leaned forward. Under the brush-wood, already writhing in flames, was the fragment of a modern Italian newspaper. One plainly saw the title, part of a head-line, and the date.

Fiammetta di Foscone read the date.

As Antonio and I, between us, lifted her into a chair, she kept repeating to herself, in a soft, incredulous voice, the date. And so badly had our wits been paralyzed by this catastrophe, that none of us could find one lying word to utter.

Antonio knelt before her, his arms clasping her knees, his head bowed. He was weeping as if she were already dead. Her hands slowly stole forth to close around his face and lift it up.

"Whatever it is," she breathed, "I still have you."

As she gazed, half lifeless, but still fairer than an untinted statue, at his face, all at once her eyes became enormous. Pushing him from her, she stood bolt-upright at one movement, with a heart-rending scream:

"A stranger!"

That scream was still resounding from the rafters when we saw her fleeing across the hall, her head thrown back, her arms outspread, her white veil and violet draperies floating behind her. Her jewels glittered like the last sparkle of a splendid dream that has been doomed to swift extinction. She vanished through the doorway leading to the tower staircase.

"After her!" some one shouted.

Antonio was first; but at the doorway he stumbled, and Leonello, who was second, fell over him. Vaulting their bodies, I gained the circular staircase that ascended to the tower. I heard Antonio bawling after me:

"She will throw herself from the roof!"

The staircase was black, and the wind whistled down its well. At each landing the heavy doors on either side banged open and shut. From overhead there descended a long wail, maybe her voice, or maybe one of the countless voices of the storm. As I neared the top, a door through which I had just passed blew shut with a deafening report. I emerged upon the roof of the tower in a torrent of rain. The roof was empty.

I peered over the low battlements. Close below me swayed the tops of cypress-trees; beneath them everything was lost in the obscurity of the night. Soon, however, the darkness was lighted by torches which began to dart to and fro among the trees. By those fitful gleams I made out the crouching backs of men, the livery of the Manzecca with its black and vermilion device, helmets and sword-hilts, and finally upturned faces that appeared ruddy in the torch-light, though I knew that in reality they must be pallid. They called up to me, but the wind whipped their voices away. I made signs that she was not on the tower. The faces disappeared; again the torches wandered among the trees. Now and then I heard a shout, the barking of the greyhound, and a woman—perhaps old Nuta—in hysterics.

I began to descend the staircase. The last door through which I had passed was so tightly wedged, from its slamming, that I could not open it. I sat down on the steps to wait till the others should miss me.

What thoughts!

"Can it be true? Yes, it has happened, and I have seen the end of it! This will kill Antonio. But then, none of us will ever be the same again."

I was sure that my hair had turned white.

And she? A vast wave of pity and longing swept over me and whirled me away into the depths of despair.

Now, I told myself, they have found her. And I fell to shuddering again. Now they have brought her in, unless what they saw, when they found her, scattered them, raving, through the woods. Now they are trying to soothe Antonio, perhaps to wrench a weapon from his hand. Now surely they have noticed my absence.

I cannot imagine what impulse made me rise, at last, and try the door again. At my first touch it swung open.

Descending the staircase, I re-entered the hall.

They were all seated at the supper-table, which was now decorated with flowers, with baskets of fruit, with plates of bonbons, and with favors in the form of dolls tricked out like little ladies of the Renaissance. The servants wore tail-coats and white-cotton gloves. Leonello and Leonardo, Lina and Laura, even Antonio, had on the evening-dress appropriate to the twentieth century. But my brain reeled indeed when I saw Fiammetta, her hair done in the last Parisian style, her low-neck gown the essence of modern chic.

The company looked at me with tolerant smiles.

"Well," exclaimed Antonio, "you have certainly taken your time! We waited ages for you, then decided that the food was spoiling, and fell to. There is your place, old fellow. I'll have the relishes brought back."

I dropped into my chair with a thud. Leonardo, reaching in front of Lina, took the fabric of my antique costume between thumb and finger.

"Very recherché," was his comment. "Do you wear it for a whim?"

"He is soaking wet," announced Lina, compassionately. "I think he has been looking at the garden."

"A botanist!" cried Laura, clapping her hands. "Will you give me some advice, signore? What is the best preservative for damask roses?"

"Water them with credulity," Leonello suggested.

And they all burst out laughing in my face, with the exception of the beautiful Fiammetta.

Antonio, rising and bowing to me, spoke as follows:

"My friend, the sixteenth century bequeathed to us Florentines a little of its cheerful cruelty and something of its pleasure in vendettas. Casting your thoughts into a less remote past, you may retrieve an impression of your last performance before your departure from the Florence of our youth. Need I describe that performance? Its details were conceived and executed with much talent. It made me, who was its butt, the laughing stock of our circle for a month. Did we children of Boccaccio impart to you that knack for practical joking? Remember that the pupil does not always permanently abash his teacher. But come, let us make a lasting peace now. If after all these years I managed to catch you off your guard, you will never again catch me so. Let us forget our two chagrins in drinking to this pleasant night, which, though I fancy the fact has escaped you, happens to be the First of April."

While I was still trying to master my feelings, he added:

"I have forgotten to explain that Lina is the wife of Leonello, our new Michael Angelo, who did that portrait of me in the wig and costume of the Renaissance. Laura, on the other hand, is the wife of Leonardo. As for our heroine, Fiammetta, she is the bride of your unworthy Antonio. She has been so gracious as to marry me between two of her theatrical seasons; in fact, we are here on our honeymoon. Why the deuce have you never married? A wife might keep you out of many a laughable predicament."

Leonello hazarded, "He is waiting to marry some lady who can describe, in her trances, the cuisine of Nebuchadnezzar's palace, or the home-life of the Queen of Sheba."

"Do no such thing," Antonio implored me. "And hereafter avoid the supernatural like the plague. May this affair instil into your philosophy of life a little healthy skepticism. There is no better tonic than laughter for one who has caught the malaria of psychical research. But even Nuta, my wife's old dresser at the theater, will tell you that laughter is precious. You have given her to-night the first out-and-out guffaw that she has enjoyed in years. She says it cured her of a crick in the neck."

The fair Fiammetta, however, made a gesture of reproof, then held out her warm hand to me.

"No, Antonio," she protested, "you have not been clever, after all, but wicked. The worst of revenge is this: that it invariably exceeds its object. To what do you owe this triumph? To his solicitude for you, to his trust in you, which you have abused. Also, as I suspect, to his pity for Fiammetta di Foscone, which I have ill repaid. In fine, we owe the success of this trick to the misuse of fine emotions. That was not the custom of Messer Giovanni Boccaccio." And to me, "Will you forgive us?"

All the others looked rather chop-fallen. But Antonio soon recovered. He retorted:

"If you could have seen what an ass he made of me that time, you would not at this moment be holding his hand. Look here, old fellow, she has a sister who rather resembles her, and whose hand I have no objection to your holding as long as you wish. We will introduce you to-morrow. Ah yes, we will make you forgive us, you rascal, before we are done with you!"


[19] Copyright, 1919, by Harper & Brothers.
Copyright, 1921, by Stephen French Whitman.



From Collier's Weekly

When he was sober the man always insisted that his name was Evans, but in his cups he was accustomed to declare, in a boastful fashion, that his name was not Evans at all. However, he never went farther than this, and since none of us were particularly interested, we were satisfied to call him Evans, or, more often, Bum, for short. He was the second assistant janitor; and whereas, in some establishments, a janitor is a man of power and place, it is not so in a newspaper office. In such institutions, where great men are spoken of irreverently and by their first names, a janitor is a man of no importance. How much less, then, his second assistant. It was never a part of Evans's work, for example, to sweep the floors. There is something lordly in the gesture of the broom. But the janitor's first assistant attended to that; and Evans's regular duties were more humble, not unconnected with such things as cuspidors. There was no man so poor to do him honor; yet he had always a certain loftiness of bearing. He was tall, rather above the average height, with a long, thin, bony face like a horse, and an aristocratic stoop about his neck and shoulders. His hands were slender; he walked in a fashion that you might have called a shuffle, but which might also have been characterized as a walk of indolent assurance. His eyes were wash-blue, and his straggling mustache drooped at the corners.

Sober, he was a silent man, but when he had drunk he was apt to become mysteriously loquacious. And he drank whenever the state of his credit permitted. At such times he spoke of his antecedents in a lordly and condescending fashion which we found amusing. "You call me Evans," he would say. "That does well enough, to be sure. Quite so, and all that. Evans! Hah!"

And then he would laugh, in a barking fashion that with his long, bony countenance always suggested to me a coughing horse. But when he was pressed for details, the man—though he might be weaving and blinking with liquor—put a seal upon his lips. He said there were certain families in one of the Midland Counties of England who would welcome him home if he chose to go; but he never named them, and he never chose to go, and we put him down for a liar by the book. All of us except Sheener.

Sheener was a Jewish newsboy; that is to say, a representative of the only thoroughbred people in the world. I have known Sheener for a good many years, and he is worth knowing; also, the true tale of his life might have inspired Scheherazade. A book must be made of Sheener some day. For the present, it is enough to say that he had the enterprise which adversity has taught his people; he had the humility which they have learned by enduring insults they were powerless to resent, and he had the courage and the heart which were his ancient heritage. And—the man Evans had captured and enslaved his imagination.

He believed in Evans from the beginning. This may have been through a native credulity which failed to manifest itself in his other dealings with the world. I think it more probable that Evans and his pretensions appealed to the love of romance native to Sheener. I think he enjoyed believing, as we enjoy lending ourselves to the illusion of the theatre. Whatever the explanation, a certain alliance developed between the two; a something like friendship. I was one of those who laughed at Sheener's credulity, but he told me, in his energetic fashion, that I was making a mistake.

"You got that guy wrong," he would say. "He ain't always been a bum. A guy with half an eye can see that. The way he talks, and the way he walks, and all. There's class to him, I'm telling you. Class, bo."

"He walks like a splay-footed walrus, and he talks like a drunken old hound," I told Sheener. "He's got you buffaloed, that's all."

"Pull in your horns; you're coming to a bridge," Sheener warned me. "Don't be a goat all your life. He's a gent; that's what this guy is."

"Then I'm glad I'm a roughneck," I retorted; and Sheener shook his head.

"That's all right," he exclaimed. "That's all right. He ain't had it easy, you know. Scrubbing spittoons is enough to take the polish off any guy. I'm telling you he's there. Forty ways. You'll see, bo. You'll see."

"I'm waiting," I said.

"Keep right on," Sheener advised me. "Keep right on. The old stuff is there. It'll show. Take it from me."

I laughed at him. "If I get you," I said, "you're looking for something along the line of 'Noblesse Oblige.' What?"

"Cut the comedy," he retorted. "I'm telling you, the old class is there. You can't keep a fast horse in a poor man's stable."

"Blood will tell, eh?"

"Take it from me," said Sheener.

It will be perceived that Evans had in Sheener not only a disciple; he had an advocate and a defender. And Sheener in these rôles was not to be despised. I have said he was a newsboy; to put it more accurately, he was in his early twenties, with forty years of experience behind him, and with half the newsboys of the city obeying his commands and worshiping him like a minor god. He had full charge of our city circulation and was quite as important, and twice as valuable to the paper, as any news editor could hope to be. In making a friend of him, Evans had found an ally in the high places; and it became speedily apparent that Sheener proposed to be more than a mere friend in name. For instance, I learned one day that he was drawing Evans's wages for him, and had appointed himself in some sort a steward for the other.

"That guy wouldn't ever save a cent," he told me when I questioned him. "I give him enough to get soused on, and I stick five dollars in the bank for him every week. I made him buy a new suit of clothes with it last week. Say, you wouldn't know him if you run into him in his glad rags."

"How does he like your running his affairs?" I asked.

"Like it?" Sheener echoed. "He don't have to like it. If he tries to pull anything on me, I'll poke the old coot in the eye."

I doubt whether this was actually his method of dominating Evans. It is more likely that he used a diplomacy which occasionally appeared in his dealings with the world. Certainly the arrangement presently collapsed, for Sheener confessed to me that he had given his savings back to Evans. We were minus a second assistant janitor for a week as a consequence, and when Evans tottered back to the office and would have gone to work I told him he was through.

He took it meekly enough, but not Sheener. Sheener came to me with fire in his eye.

"Sa-a-ay," he demanded, "what's coming off here, anyhow? What do you think you're trying to pull?"

I asked him what he was talking about, and he said: "Evans says you've given him the hook."

"That's right," I admitted. "He's through."

"He is not," Sheener told me flatly. "You can't fire that guy."

"Why not?"

"He's got to live, ain't he?"

I answered, somewhat glibly, that I did not see the necessity, but the look that sprang at once into Sheener's eyes made me faintly ashamed of myself, and I went on to urge that Evans was failing to do his work and could deserve no consideration.

"That's all right," Sheener told me. "I didn't hear any kicks that his work wasn't done while he was on this bat."

"Oh, I guess it got done all right. Some one had to do it. We can't pay him for work that some one else does."

"Say, don't try to pull that stuff," Sheener protested. "As long as his work is done, you ain't got any kick. This guy has got to have a job, or he'll go bust, quick. It's all that keeps his feet on the ground. If he didn't think he was earning his living, he'd go on the bum in a minute."

I was somewhat impatient with Sheener's insistence, but I was also interested in this developing situation. "Who's going to do his work, anyhow?" I demanded.

For the first time in our acquaintance I saw Sheener look confused. "That's all right too," he told me. "It don't take any skin off your back, long as it's done."

In the end I surrendered. Evans kept his job; and Sheener—I once caught him in the act, to his vast embarrassment—did the janitor's work when Evans was unfit for duty. Also Sheener loaned him money, small sums that mounted into an interesting total; and furthermore I know that on one occasion Sheener fought for him.

The man Evans went his pompous way, accepting Sheener's homage and protection as a matter of right, and in the course of half a dozen years I left the paper for other work, saw Sheener seldom, and Evans not at all.

About ten o'clock one night in early summer I was wandering somewhat aimlessly through the South End to see what I might see when I encountered Sheener. He was running, and his dark face was twisted with anxiety. When he saw me he stopped with an exclamation of relief, and I asked him what the matter was.

"You remember old Bum Evans?" he asked, and added: "He's sick. I'm looking for a doctor. The old guy is just about all in."

"You mean to say you're still looking out for that old tramp?" I demanded.

"Sure, I am," he said hotly; "that old boy is there. He's got the stuff. Him and me are pals." He was hurrying me along the street toward the office of the doctor he sought. I asked where Evans was. "In my room," he told me. "I found him on the street. Last night. He was crazy. The D. T.'s. I ain't been able to get away from him till now. He's asleep. Wait. Here's where the doc hangs out."

Five minutes later the doctor and Sheener and I were retracing our steps toward Sheener's lodging, and presently we crowded into the small room where Evans lay on Sheener's bed. The man's muddy garments were on the floor; he himself tossed and twisted feverishly under Sheener's blankets. Sheener and the doctor bent over him, while I stood by. Evans waked, under the touch of their hands, and waked to sanity. He was cold sober and desperately sick.

When the doctor had done what could be done and gone on his way, Sheener sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed the old man's head with a tenderness of which I could not have believed the newsboy capable. Evans's eyes were open; he watched the other, and at last he said huskily:

"I say, you know, I'm a bit knocked up."

Sheener reassured him. "That's all right, bo," he said. "You hit the hay. Sleep's the dose for you. I ain't going away."

Evans moved his head on the pillow, as though lie were nodding. "A bit tight, wasn't it, what?" he asked.

"Say," Sheener agreed. "You said something, Bum. I thought you'd kick off, sure."

The old man considered for a little, his lips twitching and shaking. "I say, you know," he murmured at last. "Can't have that. Potter's Field, and all that sort of business. Won't do. Sheener, when I do take the jump, you write home for me. Pass the good word. You'll hear from them."

Sheener said: "Sure I will. Who'll I write to, Bum?"

Evans, I think, was unconscious of my presence. He gave Sheener a name; his name. Also, he told him the name of his lawyer, in one of the Midland cities of England, and added certain instructions....

When he had drifted into uneasy sleep Sheener came out into the hall to see me off. I asked him what he meant to do.

"What am I going to do?" he repeated. "I'm going to write to this guy's lawyer. Let them send for him. This ain't no place for him."

"You'll have your trouble for your pains," I told him. "The old soak is a plain liar; that's all."

Sheener laughed at me. "That's all right, bo," he told me. "I know. This guy's the real cheese. You'll see."

I asked him to let me know if he heard anything, and he said he would. But within a day or two I forgot the matter, and would hardly have remembered it if Sheener had not telephoned me a month later.

"Say, you're a wise guy, ain't you?" he derided when I answered the phone. I admitted it. "I got a letter from that lawyer in England," he told me. "This Evans is the stuff, just like I said. His wife run away with another man, and he went to the devil fifteen years ago. They've been looking for him ever since his son grew up."

"Son?" I asked.

"Son. Sure! Raising wheat out in Canada somewhere. They give me his address. He's made a pile. I'm going to write to him."

"What does Bum say?"

"Him? I ain't told him. I won't till I'm sure the kid's coming after him." He said again that I was a wise guy; and I apologized for my wisdom and asked for a share in what was to come. He promised to keep me posted.

Ten days later he telephoned me while I was at supper to ask if I could come to his room. I said: "What's up?"

"The old guy's boy is coming after him," Sheener said. "He's got the shakes waiting. I want you to come and help me take care of him."

"When's the boy coming?"

"Gets in at midnight to-night," said Sheener.

I promised to make haste; and half an hour later I joined them in Sheener's room. Sheener let me in. Evans himself sat in something like a stupor, on a chair by the bed. He was dressed in a cheap suit of ready-made clothes, to which he lent a certain dignity. His cheeks were shaven clean, his mustache was trimmed, his thin hair was plastered down on his bony skull. The man stared straight before him, trembling and quivering. He did not look toward me when I came in; and Sheener and I sat down by the table and talked together in undertones.

"The boy's really coming?" I asked.

Sheener said proudly: "I'm telling you."

"You heard from him?"

"Got a wire the day he got my letter."

"You've told Bum?"

"I told him right away. I had to do it. The old boy was sober by then, and crazy for a shot of booze. That was Monday. He wanted to go out and get pied; but when I told him about his boy, he begun to cry. And he ain't touched a drop since then."

"You haven't let him?"

"Sure I'd let him. But he wouldn't. I always told you the class was there. He says to me: 'I can't let my boy see me in this state, you know. Have to straighten up a bit. I'll need new clothes.'"

"I noticed his new suit."

"Sure," Sheener agreed. "I bought it for him."

"Out of his savings?"

"He ain't been saving much lately."

"Sheener," I asked, "how much does he owe you? For money loaned and spent for him."

Sheener said hotly: "He don't owe me a cent."

"I know. But how much have you spent on him?"

"If I hadn't have give it to him, I'd have blowed it somehow. He needed it."

I guessed at a hundred dollars, at two hundred. Sheener would not tell me. "I'm telling you, he's my pal," he said. "I'm not looking for anything out of this."

"If this millionaire son of his has any decency, he'll make it up to you."

"He don't know a thing about me," said Sheener, "except my name. I've just wrote as though I knowed the old guy, here in the house, see. Said he was sick, and all."

"And the boy gets in to-night?"

"Midnight," said Sheener, and Evans, from his chair, echoed: "Midnight!" Then asked with a certain stiff anxiety: "Do I look all right, Sheener? Look all right to see my boy?"

"Say," Sheener told him. "You look like the Prince of Wales." He went across to where the other sat and gripped him by the shoulder. "You look like the king o' the world."

Old Evans brushed at his coat anxiously; his fingers picked and twisted; and Sheener sat down on the bed beside him and began to soothe and comfort the man as though he were a child.

The son was to arrive by way of Montreal, and at eleven o'clock we left Sheener's room for the station. There was a flower stand on the corner, and Sheener bought a red carnation and fixed it in the old man's buttonhole. "That's the way the boy'll know him," he told me. "They ain't seen each other for—since the boy was a kid."

Evans accepted the attention querulously; he was trembling and feeble, yet held his head high. We took the subway, reached the station, sat down for a space in the waiting room.

But Evans was impatient; he wanted to be out in the train shed, and we went out there and walked up and down before the gate. I noticed that he was studying Sheener with some embarrassment in his eyes. Sheener was, of course, an unprepossessing figure. Lean, swarthy, somewhat flashy of dress, he looked what he was. He was my friend, of course, and I was able to look beneath the exterior. But it seemed to me that sight of him distressed Evans.

In the end the old man said, somewhat furtively: "I say, you know, I want to meet my boy alone. You won't mind standing back a bit when the train comes in."

"Sure," Sheener told him. "We won't get in the way. You'll see. He'll pick you out in a minute, old man. Leave it to me."

Evans nodded. "Quite so," he said with some relief. "Quite so, to be sure."

So we waited. Waited till the train slid in at the end of the long train shed. Sheener gripped the old man's arm. "There he comes," he said sharply. "Take a brace, now. Stand right there, where he'll spot you when he comes out. Right there, bo."

"You'll step back a bit, eh, what?" Evans asked.

"Don't worry about us," Sheener told him. "Just you keep your eye skinned for the boy. Good luck, bo."

We left him standing there, a tall, gaunt, shaky figure. Sheener and I drew back toward the stairs that lead to the elevated structure, and watched from that vantage point. The train stopped, and the passengers came into the station, at first in a trickle and then in a stream, with porters hurrying before them, baggage laden.

The son was one of the first. He emerged from the gate, a tall chap, not unlike his father. Stopped for a moment, casting his eyes about, and saw the flower in the old man's lapel. Leaped toward him hungrily.

They gripped hands, and we saw the son drop his hand on the father's shoulder. They stood there, hands still clasped, while the young man's porter waited in the background. We could hear the son's eager questions, hear the older man's drawled replies. Saw them turn at last, and heard the young man say: "Taxi!" The porter caught up the bag. The taxi stand was at our left, and they came almost directly toward us.

As they approached, Sheener stepped forward, a cheap, somewhat disreputable, figure. His hand was extended toward the younger man. The son saw him, looked at him in some surprise, looked toward his father inquiringly.

Evans saw Sheener too, and a red flush crept up his gaunt cheeks. He did not pause, did not take Sheener's extended hand; instead he looked the newsboy through and through.

Sheener fell back to my side. They stalked past us, out to the taxi stand.

I moved forward. I would have halted them, but Sheener caught my arm. I said hotly: "But see here. He can't throw you like that."

Sheener brushed his sleeve across his eyes. "Hell," he said huskily. "A gent like him can't let on that he knows a guy like me."

I looked at Sheener, and I forgot old Evans and his son. I looked at Sheener, and I caught his elbow and we turned away.

He had been quite right, of course, all the time. Blood will always tell. You can't keep a fast horse in a poor man's stable. And a man is always a man, in any guise.

If you still doubt, do as I did. Consider Sheener.


[20] Copyright, 1920, by P. F. Collier & Son, Inc.
Copyright, 1921, by Ben Ames Williams.



From The Pictorial Review

The old mail-sled running between Haney and Le Beau, in the days when Dakota was still a Territory, was nearing the end of its hundred-mile route.

It was a desolate country in those days: geographers still described it as The Great American Desert, and in looks it certainly deserved the title. Never was there anything as lonesome as that endless stretch of snow reaching across the world until it cut into a cold gray sky, excepting the same desert burned to a brown tinder by the hot wind of Summer.

Nothing but sky and plain and its voice, the wind, unless you might count a lonely sod shack blocked against the horizon, miles away from a neighbor, miles from anywhere, its red-curtained square of window glowing through the early twilight.

There were three men in the sled; Dan, the mail-carrier, crusty, belligerently Western, the self-elected guardian of every one on his route; Hillas, a younger man, hardly more than a boy, living on his pre-emption claim near the upper reaches of the stage line; the third a stranger from that part of the country vaguely defined as "the East." He was traveling, had given his name as Smith, and was as inquisitive about the country as he was reticent about his business there. Dan plainly disapproved of him.

They had driven the last cold miles in silence when the stage-driver turned to his neighbor. "Letter didn't say anything about coming out in the Spring to look over the country, did it?"

Hillas shook his head. "It was like all the rest, Dan. Don't want to build a railroad at all until the country's settled."

"God! Can't they see the other side of it? What it means to the folks already here to wait for it?"

The stranger thrust a suddenly interested profile above the handsome collar of his fur coat. He looked out over the waste of snow.

"You say there's no timber here?"

Dan maintained unfriendly silence and Hillas answered. "Nothing but scrub on the banks of the creeks. Years of prairie fires have burned out the trees, we think."

"Any ores—mines?"

The boy shook his head as he slid farther down in his worn buffalo coat of the plains.

"We're too busy rustling for something to eat first. And you can't develop mines without tools."


"Yes, a railroad first of all."

Dan shifted the lines from one fur-mittened hand to the other, swinging the freed numbed arm in rhythmic beating against his body as he looked along the horizon a bit anxiously. The stranger shivered visibly.

"It's a god-forsaken country. Why don't you get out?"

Hillas, following Dan's glance around the blurred sky-line, answered absently, "Usual answer is, 'Leave? It's all I can do to stay here.'"

Smith regarded him irritably. "Why should any sane man ever have chosen this frozen wilderness?"

Hillas closed his eyes wearily. "We came in the Spring."

"I see!" The edged voice snapped, "Visionaries!"

Hillas's eyes opened again, wide, and then the boy was looking beyond the man with the far-seeing eyes of the plainsman. He spoke under his breath as if he were alone.

"Visionary, pioneer, American. That was the evolution in the beginning. Perhaps that is what we are." Suddenly the endurance in his voice went down before a wave of bitterness. "The first pioneers had to wait, too. How could they stand it so long!"

The young shoulders drooped as he thrust stiff fingers deep within the shapeless coat pockets. He slowly withdrew his right hand holding a parcel wrapped in brown paper. He tore a three-cornered flap in the cover, looked at the brightly colored contents, replaced the flap and returned the parcel, his chin a little higher.

Dan watched the northern sky-line restlessly. "It won't be snow. Look like a blizzard to you, Hillas?"

The traveler sat up. "Blizzard?"

"Yes," Dan drawled in willing contribution to his uneasiness, "the real Dakota article where blizzards are made. None of your eastern imitations, but a ninety-mile wind that whets slivers of ice off the frozen drifts all the way down from the North Pole. Only one good thing about a blizzard—it's over in a hurry. You get to shelter or you freeze to death."

A gust of wind flung a powder of snow stingingly against their faces. The traveler withdrew his head turtlewise within the handsome collar in final condemnation. "No man in his senses would ever have deliberately come here to live."

Dan turned. "Wouldn't, eh?"


"You're American?"



"I was born here. It's my country."

"Ever read about your Pilgrim Fathers?"

"Why, of course."

"Frontiersmen, same as us. You're living on what they did. We're getting this frontier ready for those who come after. Want our children to have a better chance than we had. Our reason's same as theirs. Hillas told you the truth. Country's all right if we had a railroad."

"Humph!" With a contemptuous look across the desert. "Where's your freight, your grain, cattle——"

"West-bound freight, coal, feed, seed-grain, work, and more neighbors."

"One-sided bargain. Road that hauls empties one way doesn't pay. No Company would risk a line through here."

The angles of Dan's jaw showed white. "Maybe. Ever get a chance to pay your debt to those Pilgrim pioneers? Ever take it? Think the stock was worth saving?"

He lifted his whip-handle toward a pin-point of light across the stretch of snow. "Donovan lives over there and Mis' Donovan. We call them 'old folks' now; their hair has turned white as these drifts in two years. All they've got is here. He's a real farmer and a lot of help to the country, but they won't last long like this."

Dan swung his arm toward a glimmer nor' by nor'east. "Mis' Clark lives there, a mile back from the stage road. Clark's down in Yankton earning money to keep them going. She's alone with her baby holding down the claim." Dan's arm sagged. "We've had women go crazy out here."

The whip-stock followed the empty horizon half round the compass to a lighted red square not more than two miles away. "Mis' Carson died in the Spring. Carson stayed until he was too poor to get away. There's three children—oldest's Katy, just eleven." Dan's words failed, but his eyes told. "Somebody will brag of them as ancestors some day. They'll deserve it if they live through this."

Dan's jaw squared as he leveled his whip-handle straight at the traveler. "I've answered your questions, now you answer mine! We know your opinion of the country—you're not traveling for pleasure or your health. What are you here for?"

"Business. My own!"

"There's two kinds of business out here this time of year. 'Tain't healthy for either of them." Dan's words were measured and clipped. "You've damned the West and all that's in it good and plenty. Now I say, damn the people anywhere in the whole country that won't pay their debts from pioneer to pioneer; that lets us fight the wilderness barehanded and die fighting; that won't risk——"

A gray film dropped down over the world, a leaden shroud that was not the coming of twilight. Dan jerked about, his whip cracked out over the heads of the leaders and they broke into a quick trot. The shriek of the runners along the frozen snow cut through the ominous darkness.

"Hillas," Dan's voice came sharply, "stand up and look for the light on Clark's guide-pole about a mile to the right. God help us if it ain't burning."

Hillas struggled up, one clumsy mitten thatching his eyes from the blinding needles. "I don't see it, Dan. We can't be more than a mile away. Hadn't you better break toward it?"

"Got to keep the track 'til we—see—light!"

The wind tore the words from his mouth as it struck them in lashing fury. The leaders had disappeared in a wall of snow but Dan's lash whistled forward in reminding authority. There was a moment's lull.

"See it, Hillas?"

"No, Dan."

Tiger-like the storm leaped again, bandying them about in its paws like captive mice. The horses swerved before the punishing blows, bunched, backed, tangled. Dan stood up shouting his orders of menacing appeal above the storm.

Again a breathing space before the next deadly impact. As it came Hillas shouted, "I see it—there, Dan! It's a red light. She's in trouble."

Through the whirling smother and chaos of Dan's cries and the struggling horses the sled lunged out of the road into unbroken drifts. Again the leaders swung sidewise before the lashing of a thousand lariats of ice and bunched against the wheel-horses. Dan swore, prayed, mastered them with far-reaching lash, then the off leader went down. Dan felt behind him for Hillas and shoved the reins against his arm.

"I'll get him up—or cut leaders—loose! If I don't—come back—drive to light. Don't—get—out!"

Dan disappeared in the white fury. There were sounds of a struggle; the sled jerked sharply and stood still. Slowly it strained forward.

Hillas was standing, one foot outside on the runner, as they traveled a team's length ahead. He gave a cry—"Dan! Dan!" and gripped a furry bulk that lumbered up out of the drift.

"All—right—son." Dan reached for the reins.

Frantically they fought their slow way toward the blurred light, staggering on in a fight with the odds too savage to last. They stopped abruptly as the winded leaders leaned against a wall interposed between themselves and insatiable fury.

Dan stepped over the dashboard, groped his way along the tongue between the wheel-horses and reached the leeway of a shadowy square. "It's the shed, Hillas. Help get the team in." The exhausted animals crowded into the narrow space without protest.

"Find the guide-rope to the house, Dan?"

"On the other side, toward the shack. Where's—Smith?"

"Here, by the shed."

Dan turned toward the stranger's voice.

"We're going 'round to the blizzard-line tied from shed to shack. Take hold of it and don't let go. If you do you'll freeze before we can find you. When the wind comes, turn your back and wait. Go on when it dies down and never let go the rope. Ready? The wind's dropped. Here, Hillas, next to me."

Three blurs hugged the sod walls around to the north-east corner. The forward shadow reached upward to a swaying rope, lifted the hand of the second who guided the third.

"Hang on to my belt, too, Hillas. Ready—Smith? Got the rope?"

They crawled forward, three barely visible figures, six, eight, ten steps. With a shriek the wind tore at them, beat the breath from their bodies, cut them with stinging needle-points and threw them aside. Dan reached back to make sure of Hillas who fumbled through the darkness for the stranger.

Slowly they struggled ahead, the cold growing more intense; two steps, four, and the mounting fury of the blizzard reached its zenith. The blurs swayed like battered leaves on a vine that the wind tore in two at last and flung the living beings wide. Dan, slinging to the broken rope, rolled over and found Hillas with the frayed end of the line in his hand, reaching about through the black drifts for the stranger. Dan crept closer, his mouth at Hillas's ear, shouting, "Quick! Right behind me if we're to live through it!"

The next moment Hillas let go the rope. Dan reached madly. "Boy, you can't find him—it'll only be two instead of one! Hillas! Hillas!"

The storm screamed louder than the plainsman and began heaping the snow over three obstructions in its path, two that groped slowly and one that lay still. Dan fumbled at his belt, unfastened it, slipped the rope through the buckle, knotted it and crept its full length back toward the boy. A snow-covered something moved forward guiding another, one arm groping in blind search, reached and touched the man clinging to the belt.

Beaten and buffeted by the ceaseless fury that no longer gave quarter, they slowly fought their way hand-over-hand along the rope, Dan now crawling last. After a frozen eternity they reached the end of the line fastened man-high against a second haven of wall. Hillas pushed open the unlocked door, the three men staggered in and fell panting against the side of the room.

The stage-driver recovered first, pulled off his mittens, examined his fingers and felt quickly of nose, ears, and chin. He looked sharply at Hillas and nodded. Unceremoniously they stripped off the stranger's gloves; reached for a pan, opened the door, dipped it into the drift and plunged Smith's fingers down in the snow.

"Your nose is white, too. Thaw it out."

Abruptly Dan indicated a bench against the wall where the two men seated would take up less space.

"I'm——" The stranger's voice was unsteady. "I——," but Dan had turned his back and his attention to the homesteader.

The eight by ten room constituted the entire home. A shed roof slanted from eight feet high on the door and window side to a bit more than five on the other. A bed in one corner took up most of the space, and the remaining necessities were bestowed with the compactness of a ship's cabin. The rough boards of the roof and walls had been hidden by a covering of newspapers, with a row of illustrations pasted picture height. Cushions and curtains of turkey-red calico brightened the homely shack.

The driver had slipped off his buffalo coat and was bending over a baby exhaustedly fighting for breath that whistled shrilly through a closing throat. The mother, scarcely more than a girl, held her in tensely extended arms.

"How long's she been this way?"

"She began to choke up day before yesterday, just after you passed on the down trip."

The driver laid big finger tips on the restless wrist.

"She always has the croup when she cuts a tooth, Dan, but this is different. I've used all the medicines I have—nothing relieves the choking."

The girl lifted heavy eyelids above blue semicircles of fatigue and the compelling terror back of her eyes forced a question through dry lips.

"Dan, do you know what membranous croup is like? Is this it?"

The stage-driver picked up the lamp and held it close to the child's face, bringing out with distressing clearness the blue-veined pallor, sunken eyes, and effort of impeded breathing. He frowned, putting the lamp back quickly.

"Mebbe it is, Mis' Clark, but don't you be scared. We'll help you a spell."

Dan lifted the red curtain from the cupboard, found an emptied lard-pail, half filled it with water and placed it on an oil-stove that stood in the center of the room. He looked questioningly about the four walls, discovered a cleverly contrived tool-box beneath the cupboard shelves sorted out a pair of pincers and bits of iron, laying the latter in a row over the oil blaze. He took down a can of condensed milk, poured a spoonful of the thick stuff into a cup of water and made room for it near the bits of heating iron.

He turned to the girl, opened his lips as if to speak with a face full of pity.

Along the four-foot space between the end of the bed and the opposite wall the girl walked, crooning to the sick child she carried. As they watched, the low song died away, her shoulder rubbed heavily against the boarding, her eyelids dropped and she stood sound asleep. The next hard-drawn breath of the baby roused her and she stumbled on, crooning a lullaby.

Smith clutched the younger man's shoulder. "God, Hillas, look where she's marked the wall rubbing against it! Do you suppose she's been walking that way for three days and nights? Why, she's only a child—no older than my own daughter."

Hillas nodded.

"Where are her people? Where's her husband?"

"Down in Yankton, Dan told you, working for the Winter. Got to have the money to live."

"Where's the doctor?"

"Nearest one's in Haney—four days' trip away by stage."

The traveler stared, frowningly.

Dan was looking about the room again and after prodding the gay seat in the corner, lifted the cover and picked up a folded blanket, shaking out the erstwhile padded cushion. He hung the blanket over the back of a chair.

"Mis' Clark, there's nothing but steam will touch membranous croup. We saved my baby that way last year. Set here and I'll fix things."

He put the steaming lard-pail on the floor beside the mother and lifted the blanket over the baby's head. She put up her hand.

"She's so little, Dan, and weak. How am I going to know if she—if she——"

Dan re-arranged the blanket tent. "Jest get under with her yourself, Mis' Clark, then you'll know all that's happening."

With the pincers he picked up a bit of hot iron and dropped it hissing into the pail, which he pushed beneath the tent. The room was oppressively quiet, walled in by the thick sod from the storm. The blanket muffled the sound of the child's breathing and the girl no longer stumbled against the wall.

Dan lifted the corner of the blanket and another bit of iron hissed as it struck the water. The older man leaned toward the younger.

"Stove—fire?" with a gesture of protest against the inadequate oil blaze.

Hillas whispered, "Can't afford it. Coal is $9.00 in Haney, $18.00 here."

They sat with heads thrust forward, listening in the intolerable silence. Dan lifted the blanket, hearkened a moment, then—"pst!" another bit of iron fell into the pail. Dan stooped to the tool-chest for a reserve supply when a strangling cough made him spring to his feet and hurriedly lift the blanket.

The child was beating the air with tiny fists, fighting for breath. The mother stood rigid, arms out.

"Turn her this way!" Dan shifted the struggling child, face out. "Now watch out for the——"

The strangling cough broke and a horrible something—"It's the membrane! She's too weak—let me have her!"

Dan snatched the child and turned it face downward. The blue-faced baby fought in a supreme effort—again the horrible something—then Dan laid the child, white and motionless, in her mother's arms. She held the limp body close, her eyes wide with fear.

"Dan, is—is she——?"

A faint sobbing breath of relief fluttered the pale lips that moved in the merest ghost of a smile. The heavy eyelids half-lifted and the child nestled against its mother's breast. The girl swayed, shaking with sobs, "Baby—baby!"

She struggled for self-control and stood up straight and pale. "Dan, I ought to tell you. When it began to get dark with the storm and time to put up the lantern, I was afraid to leave the baby. If she strangled when I was gone—with no one to help her—she would die!"

Her lips quivered as she drew the child closer. "I didn't go right away but—I did—at last. I propped her up in bed and ran. If I hadn't——" Her eyes were wide with the shadowy edge of horror, "If I hadn't—you'd have been lost in the blizzard and—my baby would have died!"

She stood before the men as if for judgment, her face wet with unchecked tears. Dan patted her shoulder dumbly and touched a fresh, livid bruise that ran from the curling hair on her temple down across cheek and chin.

"Did you get this then?"

She nodded. "The storm threw me against the pole when I hoisted the lantern. I thought I'd—never—get back!"

It was Smith who translated Dan's look of appeal for the cup of warm milk and held it to the girl's lips.

"Drink it, Mis' Clark, you need it."

She made heroic attempts to swallow, her head drooped lower over the cup and fell against the driver's rough sleeve. "Poor kid, dead asleep!"

Dan guided her stumbling feet toward the bed that the traveler sprang to open. She guarded the baby in the protecting angle of her arm into safety upon the pillow, then fell like a log beside her. Dan slipped off the felt boots, lifted her feet to the bed and softly drew covers over mother and child.

"Poor kid, but she's grit, clear through!"

Dan walked to the window, looked out at the lessening storm, then at the tiny alarm-clock on the cupboard. "Be over pretty soon now!" He seated himself by the table, dropped his head wearily forward on folded arms and was asleep.

The traveler's face had lost some of its shrewdness. It was as if the white frontier had seized and shaken him into a new conception of life. He moved restlessly along the bench, then stepped softly to the side of the bed and straightened the coverlet into greater nicety while his lips twitched.

With consuming care he folded the blanket and restored the corner seat to its accustomed appearance of luxury. He looked about the room, picked up the gray kitten sleeping contentedly on the floor and settled it on the red cushion with anxious attention to comfort.

He examined with curiosity the few books carefully covered in a corner shelf, took down an old hand-tooled volume and lifted his eyebrows at the ancient coat of arms on the book plate. He tiptoed across to the bench and pointed to the script beneath the plate. "Edward Winslow (7) to his dear daughter, Alice (8)."

He motioned toward the bed. "Her name?"

Hillas nodded. Smith grinned. "Dan's right. Blood will tell, even to damning the rest of us."

He sat down on the bench. "I understand more than I did, Hillas, since—you crawled back after me—out there. But how can you stand it here? I know you and the Clarks are people of education and, oh, all the rest; you could make your way anywhere."

Hillas spoke slowly. "I think you have to live here to know. It means something to be a pioneer. You can't be one if you've got it in you to be a quitter. The country will be all right some day." He reached for his greatcoat, bringing out a brown-paper parcel. He smiled at it oddly and went on as if talking to himself.

"When the drought and the hot winds come in the Summer and burn the buffalo grass to a tinder and the monotony of the plains weighs on you as it does now, there's a common, low-growing cactus scattered over the prairie that blooms into the gayest red flower you ever saw.

"It wouldn't count for much anywhere else, but the pluck of it, without rain for months, dew even. It's the 'colors of courage.'"

He turned the torn parcel, showing the bright red within, and looked at the cupboard and window with shining, tired eyes.

"Up and down the frontier in these shacks, homes, you'll find things made of turkey-red calico, cheap, common elsewhere——" He fingered the three-cornered flap, "It's our 'colors.'" He put the parcel back in his pocket. "I bought two yards yesterday after—I got a letter at Haney."

Smith sat looking at the gay curtains before him. The fury of the storm was dying down into fitful gusts. Dan stirred, looked quickly toward the bed, then the window, and got up quietly.

"I'll hitch up. We'll stop at Peterson's and tell her to come over." He closed the door noiselessly.

The traveler was frowning intently. Finally he turned toward the boy who sat with his head leaning back against the wall, eyes closed.

"Hillas," his very tones were awkward, "they call me a shrewd business man. I am, it's a selfish job and I'm not reforming now. But twice to-night you—children have risked your lives, without thought, for a stranger. I've been thinking about that railroad. Haven't you raised any grain or cattle that could be used for freight?"

The low answer was toneless. "Drought killed the crops, prairie fires burned the hay, of course the cattle starved."

"There's no timber, ore, nothing that could be used for east-bound shipment?"

The plainsman looked searchingly into the face of the older man. "There's no timber this side the Missouri. Across the river, it's reservation—Sioux. We——" He frowned and stopped.

Smith stood up, his hands thrust deep in his pockets. "I admitted I was shrewd, Hillas, but I'm not yellow clear through, not enough to betray this part of the frontier anyhow. I had a man along here last Fall spying for minerals. That's why I'm out here now. If you know the location, and we both think you do, I'll put capital in your way to develop the mines and use what pull I have to get the road in."

He looked down at the boy and thrust out a masterful jaw. There was a ring of sincerity no one could mistake when he spoke again.

"This country's a desert now, but I'd back the Sahara peopled with your kind. This is on the square, Hillas, don't tell me you won't believe I'm—American enough to trust?"

The boy tried to speak. With stiffened body and clenched hands he struggled for self-control. Finally in a ragged whisper, "If I try to tell you what—it means—I can't talk! Dan and I know of outcropping coal over in the Buttes." He nodded in the direction of the Missouri, "but we haven't had enough money to file mining claims."

"Know where to dig for samples under this snow?"

The boy nodded. "Some in my shack too. I—" His head went down upon the crossed arms. Smith laid an awkward hand on the heaving shoulders, then rose and crossed the room to where the girl had stumbled in her vigil. Gently he touched the darkened streak where her shoulders had rubbed and blurred the newspaper print. He looked from the relentless white desert outside to the gay bravery within and bent his head, "Turkey-red—calico!"

There was the sound of jingling harness and the crunch of runners. The men bundled into fur coats.

"Hillas, the draw right by the house here," Smith stopped and looked sharply at the plainsman, then went on with firm carelessness, "This draw ought to strike a low grade that would come out near the river level. Does Dan know Clark's address?" Hillas nodded.

They tiptoed out and closed the door behind them softly. The wind had swept every cloud from the sky and the light of the Northern stars etched a dazzling world. Dan was checking up the leaders as Hillas caught him by the shoulder and shook him like a clumsy bear.

"Dan, you blind old mole, can you see the headlight of the Overland Freight blazing and thundering down that draw over the Great Missouri and Eastern?"

Dan stared.

"I knew you couldn't!" Hillas thumped him with furry fist. "Dan," the wind might easily have drowned the unsteady voice, "I've told Mr. Smith about the coal—for freight. He's going to help us get capital for mining and after that the road."

"Smith! Smith! Well I'll be—aren't you a claim spotter?"

He turned abruptly and crunched toward the stage. His passengers followed. Dan paused with his foot on the runner and looked steadily at the traveler from under lowered, shaggy brows.

"You're going to get a road out here?"

"I've told Hillas I'll put money in your way to mine the coal. Then the railroad will come."

Dan's voice rasped with tension. "We'll get out the coal. Are you going to see that the road's built?"

Unconsciously the traveler held up his right hand, "I am!"

Dan searched his face sharply. Smith nodded, "I'm making my bet on the people—friend!"

It was a new Dan who lifted his bronzed face to a white world. His voice was low and very gentle. "To bring a road here," he swung his whip-handle from Donovan's light around to Carson's square, sweeping in all that lay behind, "out here to them—" The pioneer faced the wide desert that reached into a misty space ablaze with stars, "would be like—playing God!"

The whip thudded softly into the socket and Dan rolled up on the driver's seat. Two men climbed in behind him. The long lash swung out over the leaders as Dan headed the old mail-sled across the drifted right-of-way of the Great Missouri and Eastern.


[21] Copyright, 1919, by The Pictorial Review Company.
Copyright, 1921, by Frances Gilchrist Wood.



Note. This address list does not aim to be complete, but is based simply on the magazines which I have consulted for this volume.

Adventure, Spring and Macdougal Streets, New York City.
Ainslee's Magazine, 79 Seventh Avenue, New York City.
American Boy, 142 Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan.
American Magazine, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Argosy All-Story Weekly, 280 Broadway, New York City.
Asia, 627 Lexington Avenue, New York City.
Atlantic Monthly, 8 Arlington Street, Boston, Mass.
Black Cat, 229 West 28th Street, New York City.
Catholic World, 120 West 60th Street, New York City.
Century, 353 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Christian Herald, Bible House, New York City.
Collier's Weekly, 416 West 13th Street, New York City.
Cosmopolitan Magazine, 119 West 40th Street, New York City.
Delineator, Spring and Macdougal Streets, New York City.
Dial, 152 West 13th Street, New York City.
Everybody's Magazine, Spring and Macdougal Streets, New York City.
Freeman, 32 West 58th Street, New York City.
Good Housekeeping, 119 West 40th Street, New York City.
Harper's Bazar, 119 West 40th Street, New York City.
Harper's Magazine, Franklin Square, New York City.
Hearst's Magazine, 119 West 40th Street, New York City.
Holland's Magazine, Dallas, Texas.
Ladies' Home Journal, Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pa.
Liberator, 34 Union Square East, New York City.
Little Review, 24 West 16th Street, New York City.
Little Story Magazine, 714 Drexel Building, Philadelphia, Pa.
Live Stories, 35 West 39th Street, New York City.
McCall's Magazine, 236 West 37th Street, New York City.
McClure's Magazine, 76 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
Magnificat, Manchester, N. H.
Metropolitan, 432 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Midland, Glennie, Alcona County, Mich.
Munsey's Magazine, 280 Broadway, New York City.
Outlook, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Pagan, 7 East 15th Street, New York City.
Parisienne, 25 West 45th Street, New York City.
People's Favorite Magazine, 79 Seventh Avenue, New York City.
Pictorial Review, 216 West 39th Street, New York City.
Popular Magazine, 79 Seventh Avenue, New York City.
Queen's Work, 626 North Vandeventer Avenue, St. Louis, Mo.
Red Book Magazine, North American Building, Chicago, Ill.
Saturday Evening Post, Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pa.
Scribner's Magazine, 597 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
Short Stories, Garden City, Long Island, N. Y.
Smart Set, 25 West 45th Street, New York City.
Snappy Stories, 35 West 39th Street, New York City.
Sunset, 460 Fourth Street, San Francisco, Cal.
To-day's Housewife, Cooperstown, N. Y.
Top-Notch Magazine, 79 Seventh Avenue, New York City.
Touchstone, 1 West 47th Street, New York City.
Woman's Home Companion, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
Woman's World, 107 South Clinton Street, Chicago, Ill.



Note. Only stories by American authors are listed. The best stories are indicated by an asterisk before the title of the story. The index figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 prefixed to the name of the author indicate that his work has been included in the Rolls of Honor for 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, and 1919 respectively. The list excludes reprints.

(56) Abdullah, Achmed (for biography, see 1918).

Evening Rice.

Aitken, Kenneth Lyndwode. Born at Hamilton, Ont., Canada, July 13, 1881. Education: N. Y. Public Schools and Ridley College, Ont. Profession: Electrical Engineer. Was Manager, City Electric Plant, Toronto, for four years. Chief interests: writing and photography. First story: "Height o'Land," Canadian Magazine, 1904. Died in California Dec. 5, 1919.

From the Admiralty Files.

Anderson, C. Farley.


Anderson, Jane.

Happiest Man in the World.

(3456) Anderson, Sherwood (for biography, see 1917).

*Door of the Trap.
*I Want to Know Why.
*Other Woman.
*Triumph of the Egg.

Anderton, Daisy. Born in Bedford, Ohio. High School education. First story: "Emmy's Solution," Pagan, Feb., 1919. Author of "Cousin Sadie," a novel, 1920. Lives in Bedford, Ohio.

Belated Girlhood.

(3456) Babcock, Edwina Stanton (for biography, see 1917).


(6) Barnes, Djuna (for biography, see 1919).

*Beyond the End.

Benét, Stephen Vincent. Born in Bethlehem, Pa., July 22, 1898. Education: Yale University, M. A. Chief interests: "Reading and writing poetry, playing and watching tennis, swimming without any participial qualification, and walking around between this and the other side of Paradise with a verse in one hand and a brick for my elders in the other like the rest of the incipient generation." First story: "Funeral of Mr. Bixby," Munsey's Magazine, July, 1920. Author of "Five Men and Pompey," 1915; "Young Adventure," 1918; "Heavens and Earth," 1920.

Summer Thunder.

Bercovici, Konrad. Born June 23, 1882. Dobrudgea, Rumania. Educated there and in the streets of Paris. "In other cities it was completed as far as humanly possible." Profession: organist. Chief interests: people, horses, and gardens. First short story printed at the age of twelve in a Rumanian magazine. Author of "Crimes of Charity" and "Dust of New York." Lives in New York City.


Boulton, Agnes. Born in London, England, Sept. 19, 1893, of American parents. Lived as a child near Barnegat Bay, N. J. Educated at home. First story published in the Black Cat. Married Eugene O'Neill, the playwright, 1918. Lives in Provincetown, Mass.

Hater of Mediocrity.

(2346) Brown, Alice (for biography, see 1917).

*Old Lemuel's Journey.

(56) Brownell, Agnes Mary (for biography, see 1918).


Bryner, Edna Clare. Born in Tylersburg, Penn., and spent her childhood in the lumbering region of that state. Graduate of Vassar College. Has been engaged in teaching, statistical work, reform school work, and eugenic, educational, and housing research. Chief interests: Music and friends in the winter; Adirondack trails in the summer. First story: "Life of Five Points," Dial, Sept., 1920. Lives in New York City.

*Life of Five Points.

(1456) Burt, Maxwell Struthers (for biography, see 1917).

*Dream or Two.
*Each in His Generation.
*When His Ships Came In.

(56) Cabell, James Branch (for biography, see 1918).

*Designs of Miramon.
*Feathers of Olrun.
*Hair of Melicent.
*Head of Misery.
*Hour of Freydis.

Camp, (Charles) Wadsworth. Born in Philadelphia, Oct. 18, 1879. Graduate of Princeton University, 1902. Married, 1916. On staff of N. Y. Evening Sun, 1902-5; sub-editor McClure's Magazine, 1905-6; editor of The Metropolitan, 1906-9; European correspondent, Collier's Weekly, 1916. Author: "Sinister Island," 1915; "The House of Fear," 1916; "War's Dark Frame," 1917; "The Abandoned Room," 1917; etc. Lives in New York City.

*Signal Tower.

Carnevali, Emanuel.

Tales of a Hurried Man. I.

Chapman, Edith.

Classical Case.

(2345) Cobb, Irvin S. (for biography, see 1917).

Story That Ends Twice.

Corley, Donald.

*Daimyo's Bowl.

(6) Cram, Mildred (for biography, see 1919).

Spring of Cold Water.

Crew, Helen Coale. Born in Baltimore, Md., 1866. Graduate of Bryn Mawr College, 1889. First short story, "The Lost Oasis," Everybody's Magazine, Nov., 1910. Lives in Evanston, Ill.

*Parting Genius.

Delano, Edith Barnard. Born in Washington, D. C. Married in 1908. Author: "Zebedee V.," 1912; "The Land of Content," 1913; "The Colonel's Experiment," 1913; "Rags," 1915; "The White Pearl," 1916; "June," 1916; "To-morrow Morning," 1917. Lives in East Orange, N. J.

Life and the Tide.

(456) Dobie, Charles Caldwell (for biography, see 1917).

*Christmas Cakes.

Dodge, Louis. Born at Burlington, Ia., Sept. 27, 1870. Educated at Whitman College, Ark. Unmarried. In newspaper work in Texas and St. Louis since 1893. Author: "Bonnie May," 1916; "Children of the Desert," 1917. Lives in St. Louis, Mo.

Case of MacIntyre.

(36) Dreiser, Theodore (for biography, see 1919).


(5) Ellerbe, Alma and Paul (for biographies, see 1918).

Paradise Shares.

(4) Ferber, Edna (for biography, see 1917).

*Maternal Feminine.
*You've Got To Be Selfish.

Fillmore, Parker. Born at Cincinnati, O., Sept. 21, 1878. Graduated from University of Cincinnati, 1901. Unmarried. Teacher in Philippine Islands, 1901-4. Banker in Cincinnati since 1904. Author: "The Hickory Limb," 1910; "The Young Idea," 1911; "The Rosie World," 1914; "A Little Question in Ladies' Rights," 1916; "Czecho-Slovak Fairy Tales," 1919; "The Shoemaker's Last," 1920. Lives in Cincinnati, O.

Katcha and the Devil.

Finger, Charles J. Born at Willesden, England, Sept. 25, 1871.
Common School education. Railroad Executive. Has traveled widely in South America, including Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego. Spent more than a year upon an uninhabited island, accompanied only by "Sartor Resartus." First story: "How Lazy Sam Got His Raise," Youth's Companion, 1897. Author of "Guided by the World," 1901; "A Bohemian Life," 1902. Lives in Fayetteville, Ark.

Jack Random.

(6) Fish, Horace (for biography, see 1919).

*Doom's-Day Envelope.

Follett, Wilson.


(4) Folsom, Elizabeth Irons (for biography, see 1917).


(12345) Gerould, Katharine Fullerton (for biography, see 1917).

*Honest Man.

(5) Gilbert, George (for biography, see 1918).

Sigh of the Bulbul.

(1345) Gordon, Armistead C. (for biography, see 1917).

*Panjorum Bucket.

Halverson, Delbert M. Born on a farm near Linn Grove, Ia. Educated at the State University of Iowa. First story: "Leaves in the Wind," Midland, April, 1920. Lives in Minneapolis, Minn.

Leaves in the Wind.

(4) Hartman, Lee Foster (for biography, see 1917).

*Judgment of Vulcan.

(56) Hergesheimer, Joseph (for biography, see 1918).

*Blue Ice.
*Ever So Long Ago.
*Meeker Ritual (II).
*"Read Them and Weep."

(25) Hughes, Rupert (for biography, see 1918).


Hunting, Ema S. Born at Sioux Rapids, Iowa, Oct. 8, 1885. Educated at Fort Dodge High School, Ia., and graduate of Grinnell College, 1908. Author of "A Dickens Revival." Writer of one-act plays and children's stories. First short story: "Dissipation," Midland, May, 1920. Lives at Denver, Col.

Soul That Sinneth.

Hussey, L. M. Born in Philadelphia. Studied medicine and chemistry. Director of a laboratory of biological research. First story: "The Sorrows of Mr. Harlcomb," published in the Smart Set about 1916. At present occupied with writing a novel. Lives in Philadelphia, Pa.

Lowden Household.
Two Gentlemen of Caracas.

(6) Irwin, Wallace (for biography, see 1919).


Johns, Orrick.

Big Frog.

(256) Johnson, Arthur (for biography, see 1918).

*Princess of Tork.

(3) Knight, (Clifford) Reynolds. Born at Fulton, Kan., 1886. Educated at Washburn College, Topeka, and University of Michigan. Has been engaged in railroad and newspaper work. Taught in the Signal Corps Training School at Yale during the war. Now on the editorial staff of the Kansas City Star. Chief interests: Books and music. First published story: "The Rule of Three," The Railroad Man's Magazine, Oct., 1911. Author: "Tommy of the Voices," 1918. Lives in Kansas City, Mo.

*Melody Jim.

Komroff, Manuel.


"Kral, Carlos A. V." Born in a country town in southern Michigan, Dec. 29, 1890, of Czech-Yankee descent. Has lived continuously since three years of age in one of the large cities of the Great Lakes. Graduated from a public high school, but was educated chiefly by thought and private study.

Landscape with Trees, and Colored Twilight with Music.

(6) La Motte, Ellen Newbold. Born in Louisville, Ky., of northern parentage. Privately educated. Graduated from the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1902. Since engaged in social work and public health work. Was in charge of the Tuberculosis Division of the Baltimore Health Dept. for several years. Has been living chiefly in Paris since 1913. Was in France with a year's service in a Field Hospital attached to the French Army. Spent a year in China and the Far East, 1916-7. Chief interests: the under dog, either the individual or nation. First short story: "Heroes," Atlantic Monthly, Aug., 1916. Author: "The Tuberculosis Nurse," 1914; "The Backwash of War," 1916; "Peking Dust," 1919; "Civilization," 1919. "The Backwash of War" was suppressed by the British, French and American governments. It went through four printings first, and is now released again.

Golden Stars.

McCourt, Edna Wahlert.


(6) MacManus, Seumas.

Conaleen and Donaleen.
Heartbreak of Norah O'Hara.
Lad from Largymore.

Mann, Jane. Born near New York City of Knickerbocker ancestry. After college preparatory school had several years of art education. Chief interest: wandering along coasts, living with the natives, seeing what they do and hearing what they say. First published story: "Men and a Gale o' Wind," Collier's Weekly, Nov. 8, 1913. Lives in Provincetown, Mass.


Mason, Grace Sartwell. Born at Port Allegheny, Pa., Oct. 31, 1877. Educated privately. Married to Redfern Mason, the musical critic, 1902. Author: "The Car and the Lady," 1909; "The Godparents," 1910; "Micky and His Gang," 1912; "The Bear's Claws" (with John Northern Hilliard), 1913; "The Golden Hope," 1915. Lives at Carmel, Cal.

*His Job.

(6) "Maxwell, Helena" (for biography, see 1919).


Mears, Mary M. Born at Oshkosh, Wis. Educated at State Normal School, Wis. Unmarried. Journalist since 1896. Author: "Emma Lou—Her Book," 1896; "Breath of the Runners," 1906; "The Bird in the Box"; "Rosamond the Second." Lives in New York City.

Forbidden Thing.

(36) Montague, Margaret Prescott (for biography, see 1919).

*Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge.

(6) Murray, Roy Irving. Born at Brooklyn, Wis., July 25, 1882. Graduated from Hobart College, 1904. First story: "Sealed Orders," McBride's Magazine, Dec., 1915. Is a master at St. Mark's School, Southborough, Mass.


(6) Muth, Edna Tucker.


O'Brien, Frederick. Born in Baltimore. Educated in a Jesuit school. Shipped before the mast at the age of 18. Tramped over Brazil as a day laborer, and through the West Indies. Returned to America and read law in his father's office. Wandered without money over Europe, and was a sandwichman in London. On the staff of the Paris Herald for a few months. Travelled over the western states as a hobo, was a bartender in a Mississippi levee camp, acted as a general with Coxey's Army, became a crime reporter for the Marion Star, owned by Senator Harding, Sub-editor of the Columbus Dispatch, Labor Editor of the N. Y. Journal, an investigator of crime in the Chicago slums, a freelance in San Francisco, and editor of the Honolulu Advertiser. Lived with the natives in Hawaii, published a newspaper in Manila, spent eight years as Far Eastern correspondent of the N. Y. Herald, went through the Russo-Japanese War, returned to Europe as a correspondent, spent some years on a fruit ranch in California, engaged in politics, owned two newspapers, and finally lived as a beachcomber in Tahiti, the Society Islands, the Paumoto Islands and Marquesan Islands. During 1920 he was in New York and wrote "White Shadows in the South Seas." He has now returned to Asia, leaving another book, "Drifting Among South Sea Isles," which is to be published immediately.

*Jade Bracelet of Ah Queen.

"O'Grady, R." is a pen name of a lady who lives in Des Moines, Ia. She is a graduate of the State University of Iowa, and is now engaged in newspaper work.


O'Hagan, Anne. Born in Washington, D. C. Graduate of Boston University. Since engaged on newspaper and magazine work. First story published about 1898. Chief interests: Suffrage and housekeeping. Married in March, 1908, to Francis A. Shinn. Lives in New York City.


(45) O'Higgins, Harvey J. (for biography, see 1917).

Story of Big Dan Reilly.
*Story of Mrs. Murchison.
Strange Case of Warden Jupp.

(5) Oppenheim, James (for biography, see 1918).


Osbourne, Lloyd. Born in San Francisco, April 7, 1868. Stepson of Robert Louis Stevenson. Educated at University of Edinburgh. Married 1896. Has been U. S. A. Vice-Consul-General at Samoa. Author: "The Wrong Box" (with R. L. Stevenson), 1889; "The Wrecker" (with R. L. Stevenson), 1892; "The Ebb Tide" (with R. L. Stevenson), 1894; "The Queen vs. Billy," 1900; "Love, the Fiddler," 1905; "The Motor-maniacs," 1905; "Wild Justice," 1906; "Three Speeds Forward," 1906; "Baby Bullet," 1906; "The Tin Diskers," 1906; "Schmidt," 1907; "The Adventurer," 1907; "Infatuation," 1909; "A Person of Some Importance," 1911; and other novels and short stories. Has written and produced several plays. Lives in New York City.

East is East.

(345) O'Sullivan, Vincent (for biography, see 1917).

*Dance-Hall at Unigenitus.

(123) Post, Melville Davisson. Born in Harrison County, W. Va., Apr. 19, 1871. Graduate of West Virginia University in arts and law, 1892. Married 1903. Admitted to the Bar in 1892. Member of the Board of Regents, State Normal School. Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Commission for West Virginia, 1898. Member of the Advisory Committee of the N. E. L. on question of efficiency in administration of justice, 1914-15. Author: "The Strange Schemes of Randolph Mason," 1896; "The Man of Last Resort," 1897; "Dwellers in the Hills," 1901; "The Corrector of Destinies," 1909; "The Gilded Chair," 1910; "The Nameless Thing," 1912; "Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries," 1918; "The Mystery at the Blue Villa," 1919; "The Sleuth of St. James's Square," 1920. Lives at Lost Creek, West Virginia.

Yellow Flower.

Reindel, Margaret H. Born in Cleveland, O., Dec. 2, 1896. Graduated from Western Reserve University, 1919, and spent a year at Columbia University. Now working in a New York department store. First story published: "Fear," The Touchstone. Lives in New York City.


Rice, Louise.

*Lubbeny Kiss.

Roche, Arthur Somers. Born in Somerville, Mass., Apr. 27, 1883. Son of James Jeffrey Roche. Educated at Holy Cross College and Boston University Law School. Married. Practised law for two years. Engaged in journalism since 1906. Author: "Loot," 1916; "Plunder," 1917; "The Sport of Kings," 1917. Lives at Castine, Me.


(3) Roche, Mazo De La.

Explorers of the Dawn.

(234) Rosenblatt, Benjamin (for biography, see 1917).

*Stepping Westward.

Rumsey, Frances. Born in New York City in 1886. Educated in France. Has lived chiefly in England and France, and now passes her time between Normandy, London, and New York. Married. First short story: "Cash," Century Magazine, August, 1920. Author: "Mr. Gushing and Mademoiselle du Chastel," 1917. Translator: "Japanese Impressions," by Couchoud,


(5) Russell, John (for biography, see 1918).

Wreck on Deliverance.

"Rutledge, Maryse." Born in New York City, Nov. 24, 1884. Educated in private schools, New York and Paris. Chief interests: painting, tenting, canoeing, and hunting in Maine. Married to Gardner Hale, the mural fresco painter. First story published in the Smart Set about 1903. Author: "Anne of Tréboul," 1904; "The Blind Who See"; "Wild Grapes," 1912; "Children of Fate," 1917. Divides her time between Paris and New York City.

House of Fuller.

Ryan, Kathryn White. Born in Albany, N. Y. Convent school education. Married. Lived in Denver until 1919. First story published: "The Orchids," Munsey's Magazine, May, 1919. Lives in New York City.

Man of Cone.

Saphier, William. Born in northern Rumania in 1883. Comes of a long line of butchers. Primary school education in Rumania. Student at the Art Institute of Chicago for a short time. Painter and machinist. Editor of "Others," 1917. Illustrator: "The Book of Jeremiah," 1920; "Pins for Wings," by Witter Bynner, 1920. First published story: "Kites," The Little Review. Lives in New York City.


(356) Sedgwick, Anne Douglas (for biography, see 1918).

*Christmas Roses.

(6) Sidney, Rose. Born in Toledo, O., 1888. Educated in private schools and at Columbia University. "My profession consists largely in trying to make odd holes and corners of the earth into temporary homes for my army officer husband." First published story: "Grapes of the San Jacinto," The Pictorial Review, Sept., 1919. Now living in California.


(123456) Singmaster, Elsie (for biography, see 1917).

Miss Vilda.

(345) Springer, Fleta Campbell (for biography, see 1917).


(23456) Steele, Wilbur Daniel (for biography, see 1917).

*Both Judge and Jury.
*God's Mercy.
*Out of Exile.

"Storm, Ethel." Born at Winnebago City, Minnesota. Lived in New York City since early childhood. Privately educated. Chief interests: decorative art, gardening, people. First published story: "Burned Hands," Harper's Bazar, Nov., 1918. Lives in New York City.

*Three Telegrams.

(5) Street, Julian (for biography, see 1918).


(3456) Vorse, Mary Heaton (for biography, see 1917).

*Fraycar's Fist.
Pink Fence.

Ward, Herbert Dickinson. Born at Waltham, Mass., June 30, 1861. Graduate of Amherst College, 1884. Married Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, 1888; and Edna J. Jeffress, 1916. Author of numerous books for boys and girls. Lives in Newton, Mass.

Master Note.

Welles, Harriet Ogden Deen. Born in New York City. Educated in private schools. Studied art. Wife of Rear Admiral Roger Welles, U. S. Navy. Author of "Anchors Aweigh," 1919. Lives in San Diego, Cal.

According to Ruskin.

Wheelwright, John T. Born at Roxbury, Mass., Feb. 26, 1856. Educated at Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University. Profession: Lawyer. Has been interested in public affairs, and has held appointive offices under the State of Massachusetts and the City of Boston. Was one of the founders of the Harvard Lampoon. On editorial staff of Boston Advertiser, 1882-3. Author: "Rollo's Journey to Cambridge" (with F. J. Stimson), 1880; "The King's Men" (with John Boyle O'Reilly, F. J. Stimson, and Robert Grant), 1884; "A Child of the Century," 1886; "A Bad Penny," 1896; "War Children," 1907. Lives in Boston, Mass.

*Roman Bath.

Whitman, Stephen French.

*Lost Waltz.
*To a Venetian Tune.

(56) Williams, Ben Ames (for biography, see 1918).


Wilson, John Fleming. Born at Erie, Pa., Feb. 22, 1877. Educated at Parsons College and Princeton University. Teacher, 1900-2; journalist, 1902-5; editor San Francisco Argonaut, 1906. Married, 1906. Author: "The Land Claimers," 1910; "Across the Latitudes," 1911; "The Man Who Came Back," 1912; "The Princess of Sorry Valley," 1913; "Tad Sheldon and His Boy Scouts," 1913; "The Master Key," 1915.

Uncharted Reefs.

(6) Wilson, Margaret Adelaide. Educated at Portland Academy, Portland, Oregon, and at an eastern college. Since then she has lived chiefly on her father's ranch in the San Jacinto Valley, California. First published story: "Towata and His Brother Wind," The Bellman, about 1907. Lives at Hemet, Cal.


(5) Wood, Frances Gilchrist (for biography, see 1918).

*Spoiling of Pharaoh.
*Turkey Red.

(6) Yezierska, Anzia (for biography, see 1919).




Note. Stories of special excellence are indicated by an asterisk. The index figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 prefixed to the name of the author indicate that his work has been included in the Rolls of Honor for 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, and 1919 respectively. The list excludes reprints.

I. English and Irish Authors

(123456) Aumonier, Stacy.

*Good Action.
*Golden Windmill.
*Great Unimpressionable.
*Just the Same.
*Landlord of "The-Love-a-Duck."

Barker, Granville.


Beck, L. Adams.

Fire of Beauty.
Incomparable Lady.

(12356) Blackwood, Algernon.

*First Hate.
*Running Wolf.

Buchan, John.


(6) Burke, Thomas.

*Scarlet Shoes.

Dobrée, Bonamy.


(456) Dudeney, Mrs. Henry E.

Wild Raspberries.

(46) Dunsany, Lord.

*Cheng Hi and the Window Framer.
*East and West.
*How the Lost Causes Were Removed from Valhalla.
*Pretty Quarrel.

Ervine, St. John G.

Dramatist and the Leading Lady.

(2) Gibbon, Perceval.

Knave of Diamonds.

Holding, Elizabeth Sanxay.

Problem that Perplexed Nicholson.

(4) Lawrence, D. H.


MacManus, L.


Merrick, Leonard.

To Daphne De Vere.

Monro, Harold.

*Parcel of Love.

(456) Mordaunt, Elinor.

*Adventures in the Night.
*Ginger Jar.

Nevinson, Henry W.

*In Diocletian's Day.

Owen, H. Collinson.

Temptation of Antoine.

Richardson, Dorothy M.


Sinclair, May.


(5) Stephens, James.


(2) Walpole, Hugh.

*Case of Miss Morganhurst.
*Fanny's Job.
*Honourable Clive Torby.
*No Place for Absalom.
*Stealthy Visitor.
*Third Sex.

II. Translations

(4) Andreyev, Leonid. (Russian.)

*Promise of Spring.

Anonymous. (Chinese.)

*Romance of the Western Pavilion.

(6) Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente. (Spanish.)

Old Woman of the Movies.
Sleeping-Car Porter.

(6) "France, Anatole." (Jacques Anatole Thibault.) (French.)

*Lady With the White Fan.

Ibáñez, Vicente Blasco. (Spanish.) See Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente.

Kotsyubinsky, Michael. (Russian.)

By the Sea.

(6) Level, Maurice. (French.)

Empty House.
Son of His Father.

Lichtenberger, André. (French.)

Old Fisherwoman.

Louÿs, Pierre. (French.)

False Esther.

Nodier, Charles. (French.)


Rameau, Jean. (French.)


(4) Saltykov, M. E. (Russian.)

*Wild Squire.

Schnitzler, Arthur. (German.)

*Crumbled Blossoms.

Thibault, Jacques Anatole. (French.) See "France, Anatole."

Trueba, Antonio De. (Spanish.)

Portal of Heaven.

Yushkevitch, Semyon. (Russian.)



The Ten Best American Books

1. Brown. Homespun and Gold. Macmillan.
2. Cather. Youth and the Bright Medusa. Knopf.
3. Dwight. The Emperor of Elam. Doubleday, Page.
4. Howells, Editor. Great Modern American Stories. Boni & Liveright.
5. Johnson. Under the Rose. Harper.
6. Sedgwick. Christmas Roses. Houghton Mifflin.
7. Smith. Pagan. Scribner.
8. Society of Arts and Sciences.O. Henry Prize Stories, 1919. Doubleday, Page.
9. Spofford. The Elder's People. Houghton Mifflin.
10. Yezierska. Hungry Hearts. Houghton Mifflin.

The Ten Best English Books

1. Beerbohm. Seven Men. Knopf.
2. Cannan. Windmills. Huebsch.
3. Dunsany. Tales of Three Hemispheres. Luce.
4. Easton. Golden Bird. Knopf.
5. Evans. My Neighbours. Harcourt, Brace, and Howe.
6. Galsworthy. Tatterdemalion. Scribner.
7. Huxley. Limbo. Doran.
8. O'Kelly. The Golden Barque, and the Weaver's Grave. Putnam.
9. Trevena. By Violence. Four Seas.
10. Wylie. Holy Fire. Lane.

The Ten Best Translations

1. Aleichem. Jewish Children. Knopf.
2. Andreiev. When the King Loses His Head. International Bk. Pub.
3. Annunzio. Tales of My Native Town. Doubleday, Page.
4. Brown and Phoutrides, Editors. Modern Greek Stories. Duffield.
5. Chekhov. The Chorus Girl. Macmillan.
6. Dostoevsky. The Honest Thief. Macmillan.
7. Hrbkova, Editor. Czecho-Slovak Stories. Duffield.
8. Level. Tales of Mystery and Horror. McBride.
9. McMichael, Editor. Short Stories from the Spanish. Boni & Liveright.
10. Mayran. Story of Gotton Connixloo. Dutton.

The Best New English Publications

1. Gibbon, Perceval. Those Who Smiled. Cassell.
2. Mayne, Ethel Colburn. Blindman. Chapman and Hall.
3. Mordaunt, Elinor. Old Wine in New Bottles. Hutchinson.
4. O'Kelly, Seumas. The Leprechaun of Killmeen. Martin Lester.
5. Robinson, Lennox. Eight Short Stories. Talbot Press.
6. Shorter, Dora Sigerson. A Dull Day in London. Nash.
7. Lemaître, Jules. Serenus. Selwyn and Blount.


I. American Authors

The Honourable Gentlemen and Others and Wings: Tales of the Psychic, by Achmed Abdullah (G. P. Putnam's Sons, and the James A. McCann Company). In the first of these two volumes, Mr. Abdullah has gathered the Pell Street stories of New York's Chinatown which have appeared in American magazines during the past few years. As contrasted with Thomas Burke's "Limehouse Nights," these stories reflect the oriental point of view with its characteristic fatalism and equability of temper. Four of these stories are told with the utmost economy of means and a grim pleasure in watching events unshape themselves. "A Simple Act of Piety" seemed to me one of the best short stories of 1918. The other volume is of more uneven quality, and psychic stories do not furnish Mr. Abdullah with his most natural medium, but contains at least three admirable stories.

Hand-Made Fables, by George Ade. (Doubleday, Page & Company.) Mr. Ade's new series of thirty fables are a valuable record of the war years in American life. They are written in a unique idiom full of color, if unintelligible to the foreigner. I think one may fairly say that Mr. Ade's work is thoroughly characteristic of a large section of American culture, and this section he has portrayed admirably. Undoubtedly he is our best satirist.

Joy in the Morning, by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews (Charles Scribner's Sons). This uneven collection includes two admirable stories, "The Ditch" and "Dundonald's Destroyer," to which I drew attention when they first appeared in magazines. The latter is one of the best realized legends suggested by the war, while the former is technically interesting as a thoroughly successful short story written entirely in dialogue. The other stories are of slighter content, and emotionally somewhat overtaut.

Youth and the Bright Medusa, by Willa Cather (Alfred A. Knopf). Fifteen years ago, Miss Cather published a volume of short stories entitled "The Troll Garden." This volume has long been out of print, although its influence may be seen in the work of many contemporary story writers. The greater part of its contents is now reprinted in the present volume, together with four new stories of less interest. These eight studies, dealing for the most part with the artistic temperament, are written with a detached observation of life that clearly reveals the influence of Flaubert on the one hand and of Henry James on the other, but there is a quality of personal style built up out of nervous rhythms and an instinctive reticence of personal attitude which Miss Cather only shares with Sherwood Anderson among her American compatriots. She is more assured in the traditional quality of her work than Anderson, but hardly less astringent. I regard this book as one of the most important contributions to the American short story published during the past year, and personally I consider it more significant than her four admirable novels.

From Place to Place, by Irvin S. Cobb (George H. Doran Company). I have frequently had occasion to point out in the past that Mr. Cobb's work, in depth of conception and breadth of execution, makes him the legitimate successor of Mark Twain as a painter of the ampler life of the American South and Middle West. In his new collection of nine stories, there are at least three which I confidently believe are destined to last as long as the best stories of Hawthorne and Poe. The most noteworthy of these is "Boys Will Be Boys," which I printed in a previous volume of this series. "The Luck Piece" and "The Gallowsmith," though sharply contrasted in subject matter, reveal the same profound understanding of American life which makes Mr. Cobb almost our best interpreter in fiction to readers in other countries. Like Mark Twain, Mr. Cobb is quite uncritical of his own work, and two of these stories are of merely ephemeral value. I should like no better task than to edite a selection of Mr. Cobb's stories in one volume for introduction to the English public, and I think that such a volume would be the best service American letters could render to English letters at the present moment.

The Life of the Party, by Irvin S. Cobb (George H. Doran Company). I shall claim no special literary quality for this short story which Mr. Cobb has reprinted from The Saturday Evening Post, but America usually shows such poverty in producing humorous stories that the infectious quality of this wildly improbable adventure makes the story seem better than it really is. It cannot be regarded as more than a diversion from Mr. Cobb's rich human studies of American life.

Hiker Joy, by James B. Connolly (Charles Scribner's Sons). This series of stories about a little New York wharf-rat which Mr. Connolly has reprinted from Collier's Weekly are less important than the admirable stories of the Gloucester fishermen which first made his reputation. They are told by the wharf-rat in dialect with a casual reportorial air which is tolerably convincing, and it is clear that they are based on a background of first-hand experience. Mr. Connolly's hand is not entirely subdued to the medium in which he has chosen to work, but the result is a certain monotony of interest.

Twelve Men, by Theodore Dreiser (Boni & Liveright). These twelve portraits which Mr. Dreiser has transferred to us from life represent his impressions of life's crowded thoroughfares and his reactions to many human contacts. More than one of these portraits can readily be traced to its original, and taken as a group they represent as valuable a cross-section Of our hurrying civilization as we have. Strictly speaking, however, they are not short stories, but discursive causeries on friends of Mr. Dreiser. They answer to no usual concepts of literary form, but have necessitated the creation of a new form. They reflect a gallic irony compact of pity and understanding. The brief limitations of his form prevent Mr. Dreiser from falling into errors which detract somewhat from the greatness of his novels, and as a whole I command this volume to the discriminating reader.

The Emperor of Elam, and Other Stories, by H. G. Dwight (Doubleday, Page & Company). Those who read Mr. Dwight's earlier volume entitled "Stamboul Nights" will recall the very real genius for the romantic presentation of adventure in exotic backgrounds which the author revealed. Every detail, if studied, was quietly set down without undue emphasis, and the whole was a finished composition. In the title story of the present volume, and in "The Emerald of Tamerlane," written in collaboration with John Taylor, Mr. Dwight is on the same familiar ground. I had occasion three years ago to reprint "The Emperor of Elam" in an earlier volume of this series, and it still seems to be worthy to set beside the best of Gautier. There are other stories in the present collection with the same rich background, but I should like to call particular attention to Mr. Dwight's two masterpieces, "Henrietta Stackpole Rediviva" and "Behind the Door." The former ranks with the best half-dozen American short stories, and the latter with the best half-dozen short stories of the world. I regard this volume as the most important which I have encountered since I began to publish my studies of the American short story.

The Miller's Holiday: Short Stories From the North Western Miller, Edited by Randolph Edgar (The Miller Publishing Company: Minneapolis). These fourteen stories reprinted from the files of the North Western Miller between 1883 and 1904 recall an interesting episode in the history of American literature. The paper just mentioned was the first trade journal to publish at regular intervals the best short stories procurable at the time, and out of this series was born "The Bellman," which for many years was the best literary weekly of general interest in the Middle West. The North Western Miller printed the best work of O. Henry, Howard Pyle, Octave Thanet, James Lane Allen, Hamlin Garland, Edward Everett Hale, and many others, and it was here that Frank R. Stockton first printed "The Christmas Wreck," which I should agree with the late Mr. Howells in regarding as Stockton's best story. I trust that the success of this volume will induce Mr. Edgar to edite and reprint one or more series of stories from "The Bellman." Such an undertaking would fill a very real need.

Half Portions, by Edna Ferber (Doubleday, Page & Company). Edna Ferber shares with Fannie Hurst the distinction of portraying the average American mind in its humbler human relations. Less sure than Miss Hurst in her ability to present her material in artistic form, her observation is equally keen and accurate, and in at least two stories in the present volume she seems to meet Miss Hurst on equal ground. "The Maternal Feminine," in my opinion, ranks with "The Gay Old Dog" as Miss Ferber's best story.

The Best Psychic Stories, Edited by Joseph Lewis French, with an Introduction by Dorothy Scarborough (Boni & Liveright). This very badly edited collection of stories is worth having because of the fact that it reprints certain admirable short stories by Algernon Blackwood, Ambrose Bierce, and Fiona Macleod. If it attains to a second edition, the volume would be tremendously improved by omitting the compilation of irrelevant theosophical articles on the subject, and the substitution for them of other stories which lie open to Mr. French's hand in rich measure.

Fantastics, and Other Fancies, by Lafcadio Hearn, Edited by Charles Woodward Hutson (Houghton Mifflin Company). This collection of stories, portraits, and essays which Mr. Hutson's industry has rescued from the long-lost files of The New Orleans Daily Item and The Times-Democrat belong to Hearn's early manner, when he sought to set down brief colored impressions of the old, hardly lingering Creole life which is now only a memory. In many ways akin to the art of Hérédia, they show a less classical attitude toward their subject-matter, and are frankly experimental approaches to the method of evocation by sounds and perfumes which he achieved so successfully in his later Japanese books. In these stories we may see the influence of Gautier's enamelled style already at work, operating with more precision than it was later to show, more fearful of the penumbra than his later ghost stories, and with a certain hurried air which may be largely set down to the journalistic pressure of writing weekly for newspapers. Notwithstanding this, many of the stories and sketches are a permanent addition to Hearn's work.

Waifs and Strays: Twelve Stories, by O. Henry (Doubleday, Page & Company). This volume of collectanea is divided into two parts. First of all, twelve new stories have been recovered from magazine files. Three of these are negligible journalism, and six others are chiefly interesting either as early studies for later stories, or for their biographical value. "The Cactus" and "The Red Roses of Tonia," however, rank only second to "O. Henry's" best dozen stories. The second part of the book is a miscellany of critical and biographical comment, including also some verse tributes to the story writer's memory and a valuable index to the collected edition of "O. Henry's" stories.

O. Henry Memorial Prize Stories, 1919, Chosen by the Society of Arts and Sciences, with an introduction by Blanche Colton Williams (Doubleday, Page & Company). The Society of Arts and Sciences of New York City has had the admirable idea of editing an annual volume of the best American short stories, and awarding annual prizes for the two best stories as a memorial to the art of "O. Henry." The present volume reprints fifteen stories chosen by the society, including the two prize stories,—"England to America," by Margaret Prescott Montague, and "For They Know Not What They Do," by Wilbur Daniel Steele. Five other stories by Mrs. Frances Gilchrist Wood, Miss Fannie Hurst, Miss Louise Rice, Miss Beatrice Ravenel, and Miss G. F. Alsop are admirable stories. The selection represents a fair cross-section of the year's short stories, good, bad, and indifferent, but the two prizes seem to me to have been most wisely awarded, and I conceive this formal annual tribute to be the most significant and practical means of encouraging the American short story. Toward this encouragement the public may contribute in their measure, as I understand that the royalties which accrue from the sale of this volume are to be applied to additional prizes in future years.

The Happy End, by Joseph Hergesheimer (Alfred A. Knopf). Mr. Hergesheimer's new collection of seven stories is largely drawn from the files of The Saturday Evening Post, and represents to some degree a compromise with his public. The book is measurably inferior to "Gold and Iron," but shows to a degree the same qualities of studied background and selective presentation of aspects in character which are most satisfyingly presented in his novels. In "Lonely Valleys," "Tol'able David," and "The Thrush in the Hedge," Mr. Hergesheimer's art is more nearly adequate than in the other stories, but they lack the authoritative presentation which made "The Three Black Pennys" a landmark in contemporary American fiction. They show the author to be a too frank disciple of Mr. Galsworthy in the less essential aspect of the latter's art, and their tone is too neutral to be altogether convincing.

War Stories, Selected and Edited by Roy J. Holmes and A. Starbuck (Thomas Y. Crowell Company). This anthology of twenty-one American short stories about the war would have gained measurably by compression. At least five of the stories are unimportant, and six more are not specially representative of the best that is being done. But "Blind Vision," "The Unsent Letter," "His Escape," "The Boy's Mother" and "The Sixth Man" are now made accessible in book form, and give this anthology its present value.

The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology, Compiled and edited with an introduction by William Dean Howells (Boni & Liveright). This is the best anthology of the American short story from about 1860 to 1910 which has been published, or which is likely to be published. It represents the mellow choice of an old man who was the contemporary, editor, and friend of most American writers of the past two generations, and in his reminiscent introduction Mr. Howells relates delightfully many of his personal adventures with American authors. Several of these stories will be unfamiliar to the general reader, and I am specially glad to observe in this volume two little-known masterpieces,—"The Little Room" by Madelene Yale Wynne, and "Aunt Sanna Terry," by Landon R. Dashiell. Mr. Howells' choice has been studiously limited to short stories of the older generation, and without infringing on his ground, it is to be hoped that a second series of "Great Modern American Stories" by more recent writers should be issued by the same publishers. The present volume contains an excellent bibliographical chapter on the history of the American short story, and an appendix with biographies and bibliographies of the writers included, which calls for more accurate revision.

Bedouins, by James Huneker (Charles Scribner's Sons). While this is primarily a volume of critical essays on painting, music, literature and life, it concludes with a series of seven short stories which serve as a postlude to Mr. Huneker's earlier volume, "Visionaries." They are chiefly interesting as the last dying glow of symbolism, derivative as they are from Huysmans and Mallarme. I cannot regard them as successful stories, but they have a certain experimental value which comes nearest to success in "The Cardinal's Fiddle."

Humoresque, by Fannie Hurst (Harper & Brothers). Miss Hurst's fourth volume of short stories shows a certain recession from her previous high standard, except for the title story which is told with an economy of detail unusual for her. All of these eight stories are distinctive, and six of them are admirable, but I seem to detect a tendency toward the fixation of a type, with a corresponding diminishment of faithful individual portrayal. The volume would make the reputation of a lesser writer, but Miss Hurst is after all the rightful successor of "O Henry," and we are entitled to demand from her nothing less than her best.

Legends, by Walter McLaren Imrie (The Midland Press, Glennie, Alcona Co., Mich.). I should like to call special attention to this little book by a medical officer in the Canadian army, because it seems to me to be a significant footnote to the poignant records of Barbusse, Duhamel, and Élie Faure. So far as I know, this is the only volume of fiction written in English portraying successfully from the artist's point of view the acrid monotony of war. I believe that it deserves to be placed on the same bookshelf as the volumes of the others whom I have just mentioned.

Travelling Companions, by Henry James (Boni & Liveright). These seven short stories by Henry James, which are now collected for the first time with a somewhat inept introduction by Albert Mordell, were written at the same time as the stories in his "Passionate Pilgrim." While they only serve to reveal a minor aspect of his genius, they are of considerable importance historically to the student of his literary evolution. Published between 1868 and 1874, they represent the first flush of his enthusiasm for the older civilization of Europe, and especially of Italy. He would not have wished them to be reprinted, but the present editor's course is justified by their quality, which won the admiration at the time of Tennyson and other weighty critics. Had Henry James reprinted them at all, he would have doubtless rewritten them in his later manner, and we should have lost these first clear outpourings of his sense of international contrasts.

The Best American Humorous Short Stories, Edited by Alexander Jessup (Boni & Liveright). This collection of eighteen humorous short stories furnish a tolerable conspectus of the period between 1839 and the present day. They are prefaced by an informative historical introduction which leaves little to be desired from the point of view of information. The general reader will find the book less interesting than the specialist, since a large portion of the volume is devoted to the somewhat crude beginnings of humor in our literature. Apart from the stories by Edward Everett Hale, Mark Twain, Frank R. Stockton, Bret Harte, and "O. Henry," the comparative poverty of rich understanding humor in American fiction is remarkable. The most noteworthy omission in the volume is the neglect of Irvin S. Cobb.

John Stuyvesant Ancestor and Other People, by Alvin Johnson (Harcourt, Brace & Howe). This collection of sketches, largely reprinted from the New Republic, is rather a series of studies in social and economic relations than a group of short stories. But they concern us here because of Mr. Johnson's penetrating analysis of character, which constitutes a document of no little value to the imaginative student of our institutions, and "Short Change" has no little value as a vividly etched short story.

Under the Rose, by Arthur Johnson (Harper & Brothers). With the publication of this volume, Mr. Johnson at last takes his rightful place among the best of the American short story writers who wish to continue the tradition of Henry James. In subtlety of portraiture he is the equal of Edith Wharton, and he excels her in ease and in his ability to subdue his substance to the environment in which it is set. He surpasses Mrs. Gerould by reason of the variety of his subject matter, and as a stylist he is equal to Anne Douglas Sedgwick. I have published two of these stories in previous volumes of this series, and there are at least four other stories in the volume which I should have liked to reprint.

Going West, by Basil King (Harper & Brothers). We have in this little book a reprint of one of the best short stories produced in America by the war. While it is emotionally somewhat overtaut, it has a good deal of reticence in portrayal, and there is a passion in it which transcends Mr. King's usual sentimentality.

Civilization: Tales of the Orient, by Ellen N. La Motte (George H. Doran Company). Miss La Motte is the most interesting of the new American story writers who deal with the Orient. She writes out of a long and deep background of experience with a subtle appreciation of both the Oriental and the Occidental points of view, and has developed a personal art out of a deliberately narrowed vision. "On the Heights," "Prisoners," "Under a Wineglass," and "Cosmic Justice" are the best of these stories. So definite a propagandist aim is usually fatal to fiction, but Miss La Motte succeeds by deft suggestion rather than underscored statement.

Short Stories of the New America, Selected and Edited by Mary A. Laselle (Henry Holt and Company). While this is primarily a volume of supplementary reading for secondary schools, compiled with a view to the "americanization" of the immigrant, it contains four short stories of more or less permanent value, three of which I have included in previous volumes of this series. It also draws attention to the admirable Indian stories of Grace Coolidge. The volume would be improved if three of these stories were omitted.

Chill Hours, by Helen Mackay (Duffield and Company). We have come to expect from Mrs. Mackay a somewhat tense but restrained mirroring of little human accidents, in which action is of less importance than its effects. She has a dry, nervous, unornamented style which sets down details in separate but related strokes which build up a picture whose art is not altogether successfully concealed. The present volume, which reflects Mrs. Mackay's experiences in France during the war, is more even in quality than her previous books, and "The Second Hay," "One or Another," and "He Cost Us So Much" are noteworthy stories.

Children in the Mist, by George Madden Martin (D. Appleton & Company), and More E. K. Means (G. P. Putnam's Sons). Both of these volumes represent traditional attitudes of the Southern white proprietor to the negro, and both fail in artistic achievement because of their excessive realization of the gulf between the two races. Mrs. Martin's book is the more artistic and the less sympathetic, though it has more professions of sympathy than that of Mr. Means. They both display considerable talent, the one in historical portraiture of reconstruction times, and the other in genial caricature of the more childish side of the less-educated negro. The negroes whom Mr. Means has invented have still to be born in the flesh, but there is an infectious humor in his nightmare world which he may plead as a justification for the misuse of his very real ability.

The Gift, England to America, and Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge, by Margaret Prescott Montague (E.P. Dutton & Company, and Doubleday, Page & Company). These three short stories are all spiritual studies of human reactions and moods generated by the war, set down with a deft hand in a neutral style, somewhat over-repressed perhaps, but thoroughly successful in the achievement of what Miss Montague set out to do. The second and best of these won the first prize offered last year as a memorial to "O. Henry" by The Society of Arts and Sciences of New York City. Good as it is, I am tempted to disagree with its interpretation of the English attitude toward America in general, although it may very well be true in many an individual case. Miss Montague suffers from a certain imaginative poverty which is becoming more and more characteristic of puritan art and life in America. From the point of view of style, however, these stories share distinction in the Henry James tradition only with Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Anne Douglas Sedgwick, Arthur Johnson and H. G. Dwight.

From the Life, by Harvey O'Higgins (Harper & Brothers). This volume should be read in connection with "Twelve Men," by Theodore Dreiser. Where Mr. Dreiser identifies himself with his subjects, Mr. O'Higgins stands apart in the most strict detachment. These nine studies in contemporary American life take as their point of departure in each case some tiny and apparently insignificant happening which altered the whole course of a life. Artists, actors, politicians, and business men all date their change of fortune from some ironic accident, and in three of these nine stories the author's analysis merits close re-reading by students of short story technique. Behind the apparent looseness of structure you will find a new and interesting method of presentation which is as effective as it is deliberate. I regard "From the Life" as one of the more important books of 1919.

The Mystery at the Blue Villa, by Melville Davisson Post (D. Appleton and Company), and Silent, White and Beautiful, by Tod Robbins (Boni and Liveright). These two volumes furnish an interesting contrast. The subject-matter of both is rather shoddy, but Mr. Post displays a technique in the mystery story which is quite unrivalled since Poe in its inevitable relentlessness of plot based on human weakness, while Mr. Robbins shows a wild fertility of imagination of extraordinary promise, although it is now wasted on unworthy material. I think that both books will grip the reader by their quality of suspense, and I shall look forward to Mr. Robbins' next book with eager interest.

The Best Ghost Stories. Introduction by Arthur B. Reeve (Boni and Liveright, Inc.). Mr. French's new collection of ghost stories supplements his volume entitled "Great Ghost Stories," published in the previous year. I consider it the better collection of the two, and should particularly like to call attention to the stories by Leopold Kompert and Ellis Parker Butler. The latter is Mr. Butler's best story and has, so far as I know, not been reprinted elsewhere. For the rest, the volume ranges over familiar ground.

High Life, by Harrison Rhodes (Robert M. McBride & Co.). Setting aside the title story which, as a novelette, does not concern us here, this volume is chiefly noteworthy for the reprint of "Spring-Time." When I read this story for the first time many years ago, it seemed to me one that Mr. Arthur Sherburne Hardy would have been proud to sign. It is not perhaps readily realized how difficult it is to write a story so deftly touched with sentiment, while maintaining the necessary economy of personal emotion. "The Sad Case of Quag" exemplifies the gallic aspect of Mr. Rhodes' talent.

The Red Mark, by John Russell (Alfred A. Knopf). This uneven volume of short stories by a writer of real though undisciplined talent is full of color and kaleidoscopic hurrying of events. Apart from "The Adversary," which is successful to a degree, the book is uncertain in its rendering of character, though Mr. Russell's handling of plot leaves little to be desired.

The Pagan, by Gordon Arthur Smith (Charles Scribner's Sons). It was expected that when Mr. Smith's first volume of short stories should appear, it would take its place at once as pre-eminent in the romantic revival which is beginning to be apparent in the American short story. This volume does not disappoint our expectations, although it would have gained in authority had it been confined to the five Taillandy Stories, "Jeanne, the Maid," and "The Return." Mr. Smith's output has always been wisely limited, and "The Pagan" represents the best work of nine years. These stories are only second in their kind to those of James Branch Cabell and Stephen French Whitman.

The Elder's People, by Harriet Prescott Spofford (Houghton, Mifflin Company). Mrs. Spofford has collected in this volume the best among the short stories which she has written since 1904, and the collection shows no diminution in her powers of accurate and tender observation of New England folk. These fourteen prose idyls have a mellow humanism which portrays the last autumn fires of a dying tradition. They rank with the best work of Miss Jewett and Mrs. Spofford herself in the same kind, and are a permanent addition to the small store of New England literature. I wish to call special attention to "An Old Fiddler," "A Village Dressmaker," and "A Life in a Night."

The Valley of Vision, by Henry van Dyke (Charles Scribner's Sons). This volume of notes for stories rather than stories themselves calls for no particular comment save for two admirable fugitive studies entitled "A Remembered Dream" and "The Broken Soldier and the Maid of France." These seem to me creditable additions to the small store of American legends which the war produced, but the other stories and sketches are rather bloodless. They are signs of the spiritual anæmia which is so characteristic of much of American life.

The Ninth Man, by Mary Heaton Vorse (Harper & Brothers). When this story was published in Harper's Magazine six years ago, it attracted wide attention as a vividly composed presentment of human passions in a mediæval scene. The allegory was not stressed unduly, and was perhaps taken into less account then than it will be now. But events have since clarified the story in a manner which proves Miss Vorse to have been curiously prophetic. In substance it is very different from what we have come to associate with her work, but I think that its modern social significance will now be obvious to any reader. Philosophy aside, I commend it as an admirably woven story.

Anchors Aweigh, by Harriet Welles (Charles Scribner's Sons). I think the chief value of this volume is as a quiet record of experience without any remarkable qualities of plot and style, but it is full of promise for the future, and in "Orders" Mrs. Welles has written a memorable story. The introduction by the Secretary of the Navy rather overstates the case, but I think no one will deny the genuine feeling and truth with which Mrs. Welles has presented her point of view.

Ma Pettengill, by Harry Leon Wilson (Doubleday, Page & Company). I must confess that temperamentally I am not inclined to rank these humorous stories of American life as highly as many critics. I grant their sincerity of portraiture, but they show only too plainly the signs of Mr. Wilson's compromise with his large audience in The Saturday Evening Post. They are written, however, with the author's eye on the object, and Ma Pettengill herself is vividly realized.

Hungry Hearts, by Anzia Yezierska (Houghton Mifflin Company). When I reprinted "Fat of the Land" last year I stated that it seemed to me perhaps the finest imaginative contribution to the short story made by an American artist last year. My opinion is confirmed by Miss Yezierska's first collection of stories, and particularly by "Hunger," "The Miracle," and "My Own People." I know of no other American writer who is driven by such inevitable compulsion to express her ideal of what America might be, and it serves to underscore the truth that the chief idealistic contribution to American life comes no longer from the anæmic Anglo-Saxon puritan, but from the younger elements of our mixed racial culture. Such a flaming passion of mingled indignation and love for America embodies a message which other races must heed, and proves that there is a spiritual America being born out of suffering and oppression which is destined to rule before very long.

II. English and Irish Authors

Windmills: A Book of Fables, by Gilbert Cannan (B. W. Huebsch, Inc.). This is the first American edition of a book published in London in 1915. Conceived as a new "Candide," it is a bitter satire on war and international politics. While it ostensibly consists of four short stories, they have a unity of action which is sketched rather than fully set forth. In fact, the volume is really a notebook for a larger work. Set beside the satire of Voltaire, Mr. Cannan's master, it is seen to fail because of its lack of kindly irony. In fact, it is a little overdone.

The Eve of Pascua, by "Richard Dehan" (George H. Doran Company). Two years ago I had occasion to call attention to the quite unstressed romanticism of Mrs. Graves' "Under the Hermes." The present volume is of much less significance, and I only mention it because of the title story, which is an adequately rendered picture of contemporary Spanish life, much less overdrawn than the other stories.

Poems and Prose, of Ernest Dowson (Boni and Liveright). Five of the nine short stories by Ernest Dowson are included in this admirable reprint, but it omits the better stories which appeared in The Savoy, and in a later edition I suggest that the poems be printed in a volume by themselves with Mr. Symons' memoir, and all the stories in another volume which should include among others "The Dying of Francis Donne" and "Countess Marie of The Angels."

The Golden Bird and Other Sketches, by Dorothy Eastern, with a foreword by John Galsworthy (Alfred A. Knopf). These forty short sketches of Sussex and of France are rendered deftly with a faithful objectivity of manner which has not barred out the essential poetry of their substance. These pictures are lightly touched with a quiet brooding significance, as if they had been seen at twilight moments in a dream world in which human relationships had been partly forgotten. They are frankly impressionistic, except for the group of French stories, in which Miss Easton has sought more definitely to interpret character. The danger of this form is a certain preciosity which the author has skilfully evaded, and the influence of Mr. Galsworthy is nowhere too clearly apparent. I recommend the volume as one of the best English books which has come to us during the past year.

My Neighbors: Stories of the Welsh People, by Caradoc Evans (Harcourt, Brace and Howe). In his third collection of stories, Mr. Evans has for the most part forsaken his study of the Cardigan Bay peasant for the London Welsh, and although his style preserves the same stark biblical notation as before, it seems less suited to record the ironies of an industrial civilization. Allowing for this, and for Mr. Evans' bent towards an unduly acid estimate of human nature, it must be confessed that these stories have a certain permanent literary quality, most successful in "Earthbred," "Joseph's House," and "A Widow Woman." These three collections make it tolerably clear that Mr. Evans will find his true medium in the novel, where an epic breadth of material is at hand to fit his epic breadth of speech.

Tatterdemalion, by John Galsworthy (Charles Scribner's Sons). This volume contains the ripest product of Mr. Galsworthy's short story art during the past seven years. Its range is very wide, and in these twenty-three stories, we have the best of the mystical war legends from "The Grey Angel" to "Cafard," the gentle irony of "The Recruit" and "Defeat," and the gracious vision of "Spindleberries," "The Nightmare Child," and "Buttercup-Night." Nowhere in the volume do we find the slight touch of sentimentality which has marred the strength of Mr. Galsworthy's later novels, but everywhere very quietly realised pictures of a golden age which is still possible to his imagination, despite the harsh conflict with material realities which his art has often encountered. Perhaps the best story in the present collection is "Cafard," where Mr. Galsworthy has almost miraculously succeeded in extracting the last emotional content out of a situation in which a single false touch of sentiment would have wrecked his story.

Limbo, by Aldous Huxley (George H. Doran Company). This collection of six fantasies in prose and one play has no special principle of unity except its attempt to apply the art of Laforgue to much less adequate material. Setting aside "Happy Families" as entirely negligible, and "Happily Ever After" and "Eupompus Gave Splendour to Art by Numbers" as qualified successes, the other four stories do achieve more or less what they set out to do, although Mr. Huxley only achieves a personal synthesis of style and substance in "The Death of Lully." The other three stories are full of promise as yet unrealised because of Mr. Huxley's inability or unwillingness to conceal the technique of his art.

Deep Waters, by W. W. Jacobs (Charles Scribner's Sons). Mr. Jacobs' formula is not yet outworn, but it is becoming perilously uncertain. His talent has always been a narrow one, but in his early volumes his realization of character was quite vivid, and his plot technique superb. At least two of these stories are entirely mechanical, and the majority do not rise above mediocrity. "Paying Off," "Sam's Ghost," and "Dirty Work" faintly recall Mr. Jacobs' early manner.

Lo, and Behold Ye!, by Seumas MacManus (Frederick A. Stokes Company). Many of these chimney-corner stories are older than Homer, but Mr. MacManus has retold them in the language of the roads, and this pageant of tinkers and kings, fairies and scholars, lords and fishermen march by to the sound of the pipes and the ribald comments of little boys along the road. The quality of this volume is as fresh as that of those first Donegal fairy stories which Mr. McClure discovered twenty-five years ago. I think that the best of these stories are "The Mad Man, The Dead Man, and the Devil," "Dark Patrick's Blood-horse," and "Donal O'Donnell's Standing Army," but this is only a personal selection.

The Clintons, and Others, by Archibald Marshall (Dodd, Mead and Company). I believe that this is Mr. Marshall's first volume of short stories, and they have a certain interest as a quiet chronicle of an old social order which has gone never to return. The comparison of Mr. Marshall's work with that of Anthony Trollope is as inevitable as it is to the former's disadvantage. This volume shows honest, sincere craftsmanship, and never rises nor falls below an average level of mediocrity.

The Man Who Understood Women, and While Paris Laughed, by Leonard Merrick (E. P. Dutton and Company). These two volumes of the collected edition of Mr. Merrick's novels and stories are of somewhat uneven value. The best of them have a finish which is unsurpassed in its kind by any of his English contemporaries, but there are many stories in the first of these two volumes which are somewhat ephemeral. Mr. Locke in his introduction to "The Man Who Understood Women" rather overstates Mr. Merrick's case, but at his best these stories form an interesting English parallel to the work of O. Henry. The second volume suffers the fate of all sequels in endeavouring to revive after a lapse of years the pranks and passions of the poet Tricotrin. The first five stories in the volume, while they do not attain the excellence of "The Tragedy of a Comic Song," are worthy stories in the same kind. The other seven stories are frankly mawkish in content, although redeemed by Mr. Merrick's excellent technique.

Workhouse Characters, by Margaret Wynne Nevinson (The Macmillan Company). This collection of newspaper sketches written during the past fifteen years have no pretensions to art, and were written with a frankly propagandist intention. The vividness of their portraiture and the passion of their challenge to the existing social order warrant their mention here, and I do not think they will be forgotten readily by those who read them. This volume has attracted little comment in the American press, and it would be a pity if it is permitted to go out of print over here.

The New Decameron: Volume the First (Robert M. McBride & Co.). There is more to be said for the idea which prompted these stories than for the success with which the idea has been carried out. A group of tourists seeking adventures on the Continent agree to beguile the tedium of the journey by telling each other tales. Unfortunately the Nightingale does not sing on, and the young Englishmen and women who have collaborated in this volume have gone about their task in a frankly amateurish spirit. The stories by W. F. Harvey and Sherard Vines attain a measured success, and some mention may be made of M. Storm-Jameson's story, "Mother-love." It is to be hoped that in future volumes of the series, the editor will choose his contributors more carefully, and frankly abandon the Decameron structure, which has been artificially imposed after the stories were written.

Wrack, and Other Stories, by "Dermot O'Byrne" (Dublin: The Talbot Press, Ltd.), The Golden Barque, and the Weaver's Grave, by Seumas O'Kelly (Dublin: The Talbot Press, Ltd.), and Eight Short Stories, by Lennox Robinson (Dublin: The Talbot Press, Ltd.). As these three volumes are not published in America, I only mention them here in the hope that this notice may reach a friendly publisher's eye. Up to a few years ago poetry and drama were the only two creative forms of the Irish Literary Revival. This tide has now ebbed, and is succeeded by an equally significant tide of short story writers. The series of volumes issued by the Talbot Press, of which those I have just named are the most noteworthy, should be promptly introduced to the American public, and I think that I can promise safely that they are the forerunners of a most promising literature.

The Old Card, by Roland Pertwee (Boni and Liveright, Inc.). This series of twelve short stories depict the life of an English touring actor with a quiet artistry of humor suggestive of Leonard Merrick's best work. They are quite frankly studies in sentiment, but they successfully avoid sentimentality for the most part, and in "Eliphalet Cardomay" I feel that the author has created a definitely perceived character.

Old Junk, by H. M. Tomlinson (Alfred A. Knopf). It is not my function here to point out that "Old Junk" is one of the best volumes of essays published in recent years, but simply to direct attention to the fact that it includes two short stories, "The Lascar's Walking-Stick" and "The Extra Hand," which are fine studies in atmospheric values. I think that the former should find a place in most future anthologies.

By Violence, by "John Trevena" (The Four Seas Company). Although John Trevena's novels have found a small public in America, his short stories are practically unknown. The present volume reprints three of them, of which "By Violence" is the best. In fact, it is only surpassed by "Matrimony" in its revelation of poetic grace and gentle vision. If the feeling is veiled and somewhat aloof from the common ways of men, there is none the less a fine human sympathy concealed in it. I like to think that a new reading of earth may be deciphered from this text.

Port Allington Stories, by R. E. Vernède (George H. Doran Company). This volume of stories which is drawn from the late Lieutenant Vernède's output during the past twelve years reveals a genuine talent for the felicitous portrayal of social life in an English village, and suggests that he might have gone rather far in stories of adventure. "The Maze" is the best story in the volume, and makes it clear that a brilliant short story writer was lost in France during the war.

Holy Fire, and Other Stories, by Ida A. R. Wylie (John Lane Company). I have called attention to many of these stories in previous years, but now that they are reprinted as a group I must reaffirm my belief that few among the younger English short story writers have such a command of dramatic finality as Miss Wylie. It is true that these stories might have been told with advantage in a more quiet tone. This would have made the war stories more memorable, but perhaps the problem which the book presents for solution is whether or no an instinctive dramatist is using the wrong literary medium. Certainly in "Melia, No Good" her treatment would have been less effective in a play than in a short story.

III. Translations

When the King Loses His Head, and Other Stories, by Leonid Andreyev. Translated by Archibald J. Wolfe (International Book Publishing Company), and Modern Russian Classics. Introduction by Isaac Goldberg (The Four Seas Company). In previous years I have called attention to other selections of Andreyev's stories. The present collection includes the best from the other volumes, with some new material. "Judas Iscariot" and "Lazarus" are the best of the prose poems. "Ben-Tobith," "The Marseillaise," and "Dies Iræ" are the most memorable of his very short stories, while the volume also includes "When The King Loses His Head," and a less-known novelette entitled "Life of Father Vassily." The volume entitled "Modern Russian Classics" includes five short stories by Andreyev, Sologub, Artzibashev, Chekhov, and Gorky.

Prometheus: the Fall of the House of Limón: Sunday Sunlight: Poetic Novels of Spanish Life, by Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Prose translations by Alice P. Hubbard: Poems done into English by Grace Hazard Conkling (E. P. Dutton & Co.). Señor Pérez de Ayala has achieved in these three stories what may be quite frankly regarded as a literary form. They do not conform to a single rule of the short story as we have been taught to know it. In fact, this is a pioneer book which opens up a new field. The stories have no plot, no climax, no direct characterization, and at first sight no plan. Presently it appears that the author's apparent episodic treatment of his substance has a special unity of its own woven around the spiritual relations of his heroes. It is hard to judge of an author's style in translation, but the brilliant coloring of his pictures is apparent from this English version. The nearest analogue in English are the fantasies of Norman Douglas, but Pérez de Ayala has a much more profoundly realized philosophy of life. The poems which serve as interludes in these stories, curiously enough, add to the unity of the action.

The Last Lion, and Other Tales, by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, with an Introduction by Mariano Joaquin Lorente (The Four Seas Company). The present vogue of Señor Blasco Ibáñez is more sentimental than justified, but in "Luxury" he has written an admirable story, and the other five stories have a certain distinction of coloring.

The Bishop, and Other Stories, and The Chorus Girl, and Other Stories, by Anton Chekhov; translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett (The Macmillan Company). I have called attention to previous volumes in this edition of Chekhov from time to time. These two new additions to the series carry the English version of the complete tales two-thirds of the way toward completion. Chekhov is one of the three short story writers of the world indispensable to every fellow craftsman, and these nineteen stories are drawn for the most part from the later and more mature period of his work.

The Surprises of Life, by Georges Clémenceau; translated by Grace Hall (Doubleday, Page & Company). Although this volume shows a gift of crisp narrative and sharply etched portraiture, it is chiefly important as a revelation of M. Clémenceau's state of mind. Had it been called to the attention of Mr. Wilson before he went to Paris, the course of international diplomacy might have been rather different. These twenty-five stories and sketches one and all reveal a sneering scepticism about human nature and an utter denial of moral values. From a technical point of view, "The Adventure of My Curé" is a successful story.

Tales of My Native Town, by Gabriele D'Annunzio; translated by G. Mantellini, with an Introduction by Joseph Hergesheimer (Doubleday, Page & Company). This anthology drawn from various volumes of Signor D'Annunzio's stories gives the American a fair bird's-eye view of the various aspects of his work. These twelve portraits by the Turner of corruption have a severe logic of their own which may pass for being classical. As diploma pieces they are incomparable, but as renderings of life they carry no sense of conviction. Mr. Hergesheimer's introduction is a more or less unsuccessful special plea. While it is perfectly true that the author has achieved what he set out to do, these stories already seem old-fashioned, and as years go on will be read, if at all, for their landscapes only.

Military Servitude and Grandeur, by Alfred de Vigny; translated by Frances Wilson Huard (George H. Doran Company). It is curious that this volume should have waited so long for a translator. Alfred de Vigny was an early nineteenth century forerunner of Barbusse and Duhamel, and this record of the Napoleonic wars is curiously analogous to the books of these later men. I call attention to it here because it includes "Laurette," which is one of the great French short stories.

An Honest Thief, and Other Stories, by Fyodor Dostoevsky; translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett (The Macmillan Company). This is the eleventh volume in the first collected English edition of Dostoevsky's works. The great Russian novelist was not a consummate technician when he wrote short stories, but the massive epic sweep of his genius clothed the somewhat inorganic substance of his tales with a reality which is masterly in the title story, in "An Unpleasant Predicament," and in "Another Man's Wife." The volume includes among other stories "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," which, though little known, is the key to the philosophy of his greater novels.

Civilization, 1914-1917, by Georges Duhamel; translated by E. S. Brooks (The Century Co.). This volume shares with Élie Faure's "La Sainte Face" first place among the volumes of permanent literature produced in France during the war. With more subtle and restrained artistry than M. Barbusse, the author has portrayed the simple chronicles of many of his comrades. He employs only the plainest notation of speech, with an economy not unlike that of Maupassant, and the indictment is the more terrible because of this emphasis of understatement. Before the war, M. Duhamel was known as a competent and somewhat promising poet and dramatist, and he was one of the few to whom the war brought an ampler endowment rather than a numbing silence.

Czecho-Slovak Stories, translation by Šárka B. Hrbkova (Duffield and Company). I trust that this volume will prove a point of departure for a series of books each devoted to the work of a separate Czecho-Slovak master. Certainly the work of Jan Neruda, Svatopluk Čech, and Caroline Svĕtlá, to name no others, ranks with the best of the Russian masters, and the reader is compelled to speculate as to how many more equally fine writers remain unknown to him. For such stories as these can only come out of a long and conscious tradition of art, and the greater part of these stories are drawn from volumes published during the last half century. The volume contains an admirable historical and critical introduction, and adequate biographies and bibliographies of the authors included.

Serenus, and Other Stories of the Past and Present, by Jules Lemaître; translated by "Penguin" (A. W. Evans) (London: Selwyn & Blount). Although this volume has not yet been published in the United States, it is one of the few memorable short story books of the season, and should readily find a publisher over here. Anatole France has prophesied that it will stand out in the history of the thought of the nineteenth century, just as to-day "Candide" or "Zadig" stands out in that of the eighteenth. These fourteen stories are selected from about four times that number, and a complete Lemaître would be as valuable in English as the new translation of Anatole France. The present version is faultlessly rendered by an English stylist who has sought to set down the exact shade of the critic's meaning.

Tales of Mystery and Horror, by Maurice Level; translated from the French by Alys Eyre Macklin, with an Introduction by Henry B. Irving (Robert M. McBride & Co.). Mr. Irving's introduction rather overstates M. Level's case. These stories are not literature, but their hard polished technique is as competent as that of Melville Davisson Post, and I suppose that these two men have carried Poe's technique as far as it can be carried with talent. The stories are frankly melodramatic, and wring the last drop of emotion and sentiment out of each situation presented. I think the volume will prove valuable to students of short story construction, and there is no story which does not arrest the attention of the reader.

The Story of Gotton Connixloo, followed by Forgotten, by Camille Mayran; translated by Van Wyck Brooks (E.P. Dutton & Company). Mr. Brooks' translation of these two stories in the tradition of Flaubert have been a labor of love. They will not attract a large public, but the art of this Belgian writer is flawless, and worthy of his master. Out of the simplest material he has extracted an exquisite spiritual essence, and held it up quietly so as to reflect every aspect of its value. If the first of these two stories is the most completely rounded from a technical point of view, I think that the second points the way toward his future development. He presents his characters more directly, and achieves his revelation through dialogue rather than personal statement.

Short Stories from the Spanish; Englished by Charles B. McMichael (Boni and Liveright, Inc.). The present volume contains seven short stories by Rubén Dario, Jacinto Octavio Picón, and Leopoldo Alas. They are wretchedly translated, but even in their present form one can divine the art of "The Death of the Empress of China" by the Nicaraguan Rubén Dario, and "After the Battle" by the Spaniard Jacinto Octavio Picón. The other stories are of unequal value, so far as we can judge from Mr. McMichael's translation.

The Fairy Spinning Wheel, and the Tales It Spun, by Catulle Mendès; translated by Thomas J. Vivian (The Four Seas Company). It was a happy thought to reprint this translation of M. Mendès' fairy tales which has been out of print for many years. It is probably the only work of its once renowned author which survives the passage of time. Here he has entered the child's mind and deftly presented a series of legends which suggest more than they state. Their substance is slight enough, but each has a certain symbolic value, and the poetry of M. Mendès' style has been successfully transferred to the English version.

Temptations, by David Pinski; translated by Isaac Goldberg (Brentano's). We have already come to know what a keen analyst America has in Mr. Pinski from the translations of his plays which have been published. Here he is much less interested in the surface movement of plot than in the relentless search for motive. To his Yiddish public he seems perhaps the best of short story writers who write in his tongue, and certainly he can hold his own with the best of his contemporaries in all countries. He has the universal note as few English writers may claim it, and he stands apart from his creation with absolute detachment. His work, together with that of Asch, Aleichem, Perez, and one or two others establishes Yiddish as a great literary tongue. A further series of these tales are promised if the present volume meets with the response which it deserves.

Russian Short Stories, edited by Harry C. Schweikert (Scott, Foresman and Company). This is a companion volume to Mr. Schweikert's excellent collection of French short stories, and ranges over a wide field. From Pushkin to Kuprin his selection gives a fair view of most of the Russian masters, and the collection includes a valuable historical and critical introduction, with biographical notes, and a critical apparatus for the student of short story technique. It is of special educational importance as the only volume in the field. In the next edition I suggest that Sologub should be represented for the sake of completeness.

Iolanthe's Wedding, by Hermann Sudermann; translated by Adèle S. Seltzer (Boni and Liveright, Inc.). This collection of four minor works by Sudermann contains two excellent stories, one of which is full of folk quality and a kindly irony, and the other more akin to the nervous art of Arthur Schnitzler. "The Woman Who Was His Friend" and "The Gooseherd" are less important, but of considerable technical interest.

Short Stories from the Balkans; translated by Edna Worthley Underwood (Marshall Jones Company). This volume should be set beside the collection of "Czecho-Slovak Stories," which I have mentioned on an earlier page. Here will be found further stories by Jan Neruda and Svatopluk Čech, together with a remarkable group of stories by Rumanian, Serbian, Croatian, and Hungarian authors. Neruda emerges as the greatest artist of them all, and one of the greatest artists in Europe, but special attention should be called also to the Czech writer Vrchlický, the Rumanian Caragiale, and the Hungarian Mikszáth. The translation seems competently done.

Modern Greek Stories; translated by Demetra Vaka and Aristides Phoutrides (Duffield and Company). While this collection reveals no such undoubted master as Jan Neruda, it is an extremely interesting introduction to an equally unknown literature. Seven of the nine stories are of great literary value, and perhaps the best of these is "Sea" by A. Karkavitsas. Romaic fiction still bears the marks of a young tradition, and each new writer would seem to be compelled to strike out more or less completely for himself. Consequently it is necessary to allow more than usual for technical inadequacy, but the substance of most of these stories is sufficiently remarkable to justify us in wishing a further introduction to Romaic literature.



Note. An asterisk before a title indicates distinction. This list includes single short stories, collections of short stories, and a few continuous narratives based on short stories previously published in magazines. Volumes announced for publication in the autumn of 1920 are listed here, though in some cases they had not yet appeared at the time this book went to press.

I. American Authors

Abdullah, Achmed. *Wings. McCann.

Abdullah, Achmed, and others. Ten Foot Chain. Reynolds.

Ade, George. Home Made Fables. Doubleday, Page.

Anderson, Emma Maria Thompson. A 'Chu. Review and Herald Pub. Assn.

Anderson, Robert Gordon. Seven O'clock Stories. Putnam.

Barbour, Ralph Henry. Play That Won. Appleton.

Benneville, James Seguin De. Tales of the Tokugawa. Reilly.

Bishop, William Henry. Anti-Babel. Neale.

Boyer, Wilbur S. Johnnie Kelly. Houghton Mifflin.

Bridges, Victor. Cruise of the "Scandal." Putnam.

Brown, Alice. *Homespun and Gold. Macmillan.

Butler, Ellis Parker. Swatty. Houghton Mifflin.

Carroll, P. J. Memory Sketches. School Plays Pub. Co.

Cather, Willa Sibert. *Youth and the Bright Medusa. Knopf.

Chambers, Robert W. Slayer of Souls. Doran.

Cohen, Octavus Roy. Come Seven. Dodd, Mead.

Comfort, Will Levington, and Dost, Zamin Ki. Son of Power. Doubleday, Page.

Connolly, James B. *Hiker Joy. Scribner.

"Crabb, Arthur." Samuel Lyle, Criminologist. Century Co.

Cram, Mildred. Lotus Salad. Dodd, Mead.

Cutting, Mary Stewart. Some of Us Are Married. Doubleday, Page.

Davies, Ellen Chivers. Ward Tales. Lane.

Deland, Margaret. *Small Things. Harper.

Dickson, Harris. Old Reliable in Africa. Stokes.

Dodge, Henry Irving. Skinner Makes It Fashionable. Harper.

Dost, Zami Ki. See Comfort, Will Levington and Dost, Zamin Ki.

Dwight, H. G. *Emperor of Elam. Doubleday, Page.

Edgar, Randolph, editor. *Miller's Holiday: Short Stories from The Northwestern Miller. Miller Pub. Co.

Ferber, Edna. *Half Portions. Doubleday, Page.

Fillmore, Parker. *Shoemaker's Apron. Harcourt, Brace and Howe.

Fitzgerald, Francis Scott Key. Flappers and Philosophers. Scribner.

Ford, Sewell. Meet 'Em with Shorty McCabe. Clode.
Torchy and Vee. Clode.
Torchy as a Pa. Clode.

French, Joseph Lewis, editor. *Best Psychic Stories. Boni and Liveright.
*Masterpieces of Mystery. 4 vol. Doubleday, Page.

Gittins, H. N. Short and Sweet. Lane.

Graham, James C. It Happened at Andover. Houghton Mifflin.

Hall, Herschel S. Steel Preferred. Dutton.

Haslett, Harriet Holmes. Impulses. Cornhill Co.

Heydrick, Benjamin, editor. *Americans All. Harcourt, Brace, and Howe.

Hill, Frederick Trevor. Tales Out of Court. Stokes.

Howells, William Dean, editor. *Great Modern American Stories. Boni and Liveright.

Hughes, Jennie V. Chinese Heart-Throbs. Revell.

Hughes, Rupert. *Momma, and Other Unimportant People. Harper.

Huneker, James. *Bedouins. Scribner.

Imrie, Walter McLaren. *Legends. Midland Press.

Irwin, Wallace. Suffering Husbands. Doran.

James, Henry. *Master Eustace. Seltzer.

Jessup, Alexander, editor. *Best American Humorous Short Stories. Boni and Liveright.

Johnson, Arthur. *Under the Rose. Harper.

Kelley, F. C. City and the World. Extension Press.

Lamprey, L. Masters of the Guild. Stokes.

Leacock, Stephen. Winsome Winnie. Lane.

Linderman, Frank Bird. *On a Passing Frontier. Scribner.

Linton, C. E. Earthomotor. Privately Printed.

McCarter, Margaret Hill. Paying Mother. Harper.

Mackay, Helen. *Chill Hours. Duffield.

MacManus, Seumas. *Top o' the Mornin'. Stokes.

McSpadden, J. Walker, editor. Famous Detective Stories. Crowell.
Famous Psychic Stories. Crowell.

Martin, George Madden. *Children in the Mist. Appleton.

Means, E. K. *Further E. K. Means. Putnam.

Miller, Warren H. Sea Fighters. Macmillan.

Montague, Margaret Prescott. *England to America. Doubleday, Page.
*Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge. Doubleday, Page.

Montgomery, L. M. Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Page.

Morgan, Byron. Roaring Road. Doran.

O'Brien, Edward J. Best Short Stories of 1919. Small, Maynard.

Paine, Ralph D. Ships Across the Sea. Houghton Mifflin.

Perry, Lawrence. For the Game's Sake. Scribner.

Pitman, Norman Hinsdale. Chinese Wonder Book. Dutton.

Poe, Edgar Allan. *Gold-bug. Four Seas.

Post, Melville Davisson. *Sleuth of St. James's Square. Appleton.

Rhodes, Harrison. *High Life. McBride.

Rice, Alice Hegan, and Rice, Cale Young. Turn About Tales. Century Co.

Richards, Clarice E. Tenderfoot Bride. Revell.

Richmond, Grace S. Bells of St. John's. Doubleday, Page.

Rinehart, Mary Roberts. Affinities. Doran.

Robbins, Tod. *Silent, White, and Beautiful. Boni and Liveright.

Robinson, William Henry. Witchery of Rita. Berryhill Co.

Sedgwick, Anne Douglas. *Christmas Roses. Houghton Mifflin.

Smith, Gordon Arthur. *Pagan. Scribner.

Society of Arts and Sciences. *O. Henry Memorial Prize Stories, 1919. Doubleday, Page.

Spofford, Harriet Prescott. *Elder's People. Houghton Mifflin.

Train, Arthur. Tutt and Mr. Tutt. Scribner.

Vorse, Mary Heaton. *Ninth Man. Harper.

Whalen, Louise Margaret. Father Ladden, Curate. Magnificat Pub. Co.

White, Stewart Edward. Killer. Doubleday, Page.

Widdemer, Margaret. Boardwalk. Harcourt, Brace, and Howe.

Wiggin, Kate Douglas. *Homespun Tales. Houghton Mifflin.

Wiley, Hugh. Wildcat. Doran.

Yezierska, Anzia. *Hungry Hearts. Houghton Mifflin.

II. English and Irish Authors

Baxter, Arthur Beverley. Blower of Bubbles. Appleton.

Beerbohm, Max. *Seven Men. Knopf.

Cannan, Gilbert. *Windmills. Huebsch.

"Dehan, Richard." (Clotilde Graves). Eve of Pascua. Doran.

Dell, Ethel May. Tidal Wave. Putnam.

Dunsany, Lord. *Tales of Three Hemispheres. Luce.

Easton, Dorothy. *Golden Bird. Knopf.

Evans, Caradoc. *My Neighbors. Harcourt, Brace, & Howe.

Galsworthy, John. *Tatterdemalion. Scribner.

Graves, Clotilde. See "Dehan, Richard."

Grogan, Gerald. William Pollok. Lane.

Hardy, Thomas. *Two Wessex Tales. Four Seas.

Hichens, Robert. Snake-bite. Doran.

Hutten, Baroness Von. See Von Hutten, Baroness.

Huxley, Aldous. *Limbo. Doran.

James, Montague Rhodes. *Thin Ghost. Longmans.

Jeffery, Jeffery E. Side Issues. Seltzer.

Kipling, Rudyard. *Man Who Would Be King. Four Seas.

Lipscomb, W. P. Staff Tales. Dutton.

New Decameron: Second Day. McBride.

O'Kelly, Seumas. *Golden Barque, and the Weaves's Grave. Putnam.

"Ross, Martin." See "Somerville, E. Œ.," and "Ross, Martin."

Sabatini, Rafael. Historical Nights' Entertainment, Second Series. Lippincott.

"Somerville, E. Œ.," and "Ross, Martin," Stray-Aways. Longmans, Green.

"Trevena, John." *By Violence. Four Seas.

Vernède, R. E. Port Allington Stories. Doran.

Von Hutten, Baroness. Helping Hersey. Doran.

Wylie, Ida Alena Ross. *Holy Fire. Lane.

III. Translations

"Aleichem, Shalom." (Yiddish.) *Jewish Children. Knopf.

Andreiev, Leonid. (Russian.) *When the King Loses His Head. International Bk. Pub.

Andreiev, Leonid, and others. (Russian.) *Modern Russian Classics. Four Seas.

Annunzio, Gabriele D'. (Italian.) *Tales of My Native Town. Doubleday, Page.

Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente. (Spanish.) *Last Lion. Four Seas.

Brown, Demetra Vaka, and Phoutrides, Aristides, trs. (Modern Greek.) *Modern Greek Stories. Duffield.

Chekhov, Anton. (Russian.) *Chorus Girl. Macmillan.

Clémenceau, Georges. (French.) *Surprises of Life. Doubleday, Page.

Coster, Charles de. (French.) *Flemish Legends. Stokes.

Dostoevsky, Fedor Mikhailovich. (Russian.) *Honest Thief. Macmillan.

Friedlander, Gerald, ed. and tr. (Hebrew.) Jewish Fairy Tales and Stories. Dutton.

Hrbkova, Sarka B., editor. (Czecho-Slovak.) *Czecho-Slovak Stories. Dutton.

Jacobsen, Jens Peter. (Danish.) *Mogens. Brown.

Level, Maurice. (French.) *Tales of Mystery and Horror. McBride.

McMichael, Charles B., translator. (Spanish.) *Short Stories from the Spanish. Boni & Liveright.

Maupassant, Guy de. (French.) *Mademoiselle Fifi. Four Seas.

Mayran, Camille. (French.) *Story of Gotton Connixloo. Dutton.

Pérez de Ayala, Ramón. (Spanish.) *Prometheus. Dutton.

Ragozin, Z. A., editor. (Russian.) *Little Russian Masterpieces. 4 vol. Putnam.


I. English and Irish

Andrew, Emily. Happiness in the Valley. Charles Joscelyn.

Barr, Robert. Helping Hand. Mills and Boon.
Tales of Two Continents. Mills and Boon.

Beerbohm, Max. *And Even Now. Heinemann.

Calthrop, Dion Clayton. *Bit at a Time. Mills and Boon.

Cole, Sophie. Variety Entertainment. Mills and Boon.

Conyers, Dorothea. Irish Stew. Skeffington.

Cross, Victoria. Daughters of Heaven. Laurie.

Drury, W. P. All the King's Men. Chapman and Hall.

Evans, C. S. Nash and Some Others. Heinemann.

Everard, Mrs. H. D. Death Mask. Philip Allan.

Forster, E. M. *Story of the Siren. Hogarth Press.

Frampton, Mary. Forty Years On. Arrowsmith.

Garvice, Charles. Girl at the "Bacca" Shop. Skeffington.

Gaunt, Mary. Surrender, Laurie.

Gibbon, Perceval. *Those Who Smiled. Cassell.

Green, Peter. Our Kid. Arnold.

Grimshaw, Beatrice. Coral Palace. Mills and Boon.

Harvey, William Fryer. Misadventures of Athelstan Digby. Swarthmore Press.

Howard, F. Moreton. Happy Rascals. Methuen.

Key, Uel. Broken Fang. Hodder and Stoughton.

Knowlson, T. Sharper. Man Who Would Not Grow Old. Laurie.

Leo, T. O. D. C. Two Feasts of St. Agnes. Morland.

Le Queux, William. Mysteries of a Great City. Hodder and Stoughton.

McGuffin, William. Australian Tales of the Border. Lothian Book Pub. Co.

Mansfield, Katherine. *Je Ne Parle Pas Français. Heron Press.
*Prelude. Hogarth Press.

Mayne, Ethel Colburn. *Blindman. Chapman and Hall.

Mordaunt, Elinor. *Old Wine in New Bottles. Hutchinson.

Muir, Ward. Adventures in Marriage. Simpkin, Marshall.

Newham, C. E. Gippo. W. P. Spalding.

Newman, F. J. Romance and Law in the Divorce Court. Melrose.

O'Kelly, Seumas. *Leprechaun of Killmeen. Martin Lester.

Palmer, Arnold. *My Profitable Friends. Selwyn and Blount.

Paterson, A. B. Three Elephant Power. Australian Book Co.

Riley, W. Yorkshire Suburb. Jenkins.

Robins, Elizabeth. Mills of the Gods. Butterworth.

Robinson, Lennox. *Eight Short Stories. Talbot Press.

"Sea-Pup." Musings of a Martian. Heath Cranton.

Shorter, Dora Sigerson. *Dull Day in London. Nash.

Smith, Logan Pearsall. *Stories from the Old Testament. Hogarth Press.

Stein, Gertrude. *Three Lives. Lane.

Stock, Ralph. Beach Combings. Pearson.

Taylor, Joshua. Lure of the Links. Heath Cranton.

Warrener, Marcus and Violet. House of Transformations. Epworth Press.

Wicksteed, Hilda. Titch. Swarthmore Press.

Wilderhope, John. Arch Fear. Murray and Evenden.

Wildridge, Oswald. *Clipper Folk. Blackwood.

Woolf, Virginia. *Mark on the Wall. Hogarth Press.

II. Translations

Chekhov, Anton. (Russian.) *My Life. Daniel.

Kuprin, Alexander. (Russian.) *Sasha. Paul.

Lemaître, Jules. (French.) *Serenus. Selwyn and Blount.


Ageorges, Joseph. Contes sereins. Figuière.

Arcos, René. *Bien commun. Le Sablier.

Boylesve, René. *Nymphes dansant avec des satyres. Calmann-Lévy.

"Farrĕre, Claude." Dernière déesse. Flammarion.

Geffroy, Gustave. Nouveaux contes du pays d'Quest. Crès.

Géniaux, Charles. Mes voisins de campagne. Flammarion.

Ginisty, Paul. *Terreur. Société anonyme d'édition.

Herold, A. Ferdinand. *Guirlande d'Aphrodite. Edition d'Art.

Hesse, Raymond. Bouzigny! Payot.

Hirsch, Charles-Henry. Craquement. Flammarion.

Lautrec, Gabriel de. Histoires de Tom Joé. Edition française illustrée.

Le Glay, Maurice. Récits marocains. Berger-Levrault.

Machard, Alfred. *Cent Gosses. Flammarion.
*Syndicat des fessés. Ferenczi.

Marie, Jacques. Sous l'armure. Jouve.

Mille, Pierre. *Nuit d'amour sur la montagne. Flammarion.
*Trois femmes. Calmann-Lévy.

Pillon, Marcel. Contes à ma cousine. Figuière.

Pottecher, Maurice. Joyeux Contes de la Cicogne d'Alsace. Ollendorff.

"Rachilde." *Découverte de l'Amérique. Kundig.

Régnier, Henri de. *Histories incertaines. Mercure de France.

Rhaïs, Elissa. *Café chantant. Plon.

Rochefoucauld, Gabriel de la. *Mari Calomnié. Plon-Nourrit.

Russo, Luigi Libero. Contes à la cigogne. 2e série. Messein.

Sarcey, Yvonne. Pour vivre heureux.

Sutton, Maurice. Contes retrouvés. Edit. Formosa. Bruxelles.

Tisserand, Ernest. Contes de la popote. Crès.

Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. *Nouveaux Contes Cruels. Crès.



The following abbreviations are used in this index:—

B. E. T. Boston Evening Transcript
Book (London) Bookman (London)
Book (N. Y.) Bookman (New York)
Cath. W. Catholic World
Chap. Monthly Chapbook
Cont. R. Contemporary Review
Edin. R. Edinburgh Review
Eng. R. English Review
Fortn. R. Fortnightly Review
Harp. M. Harper's Magazine
L. H. J. Ladies' Home Journal
Lib. Liberator
Liv. Age. Living Age
Lit. R. Little Review
L. Merc. London Mercury
M. de F. Mercure de France
Mir. Reedy's Mirror
Mun. Munsey's Magazine
Nat. (London) Nation (London)
N. Rep. New Republic
New S. New Statesman
19th Cent. Nineteenth Century and After
N. R. F. Nouvelle Revue Française
Peop. People's Favorite Magazine
Quart. R. Quarterly Review
R. de D. M. Revue des Deux Mondes
Sat. R. Saturday Review
Strat. J. Stratford Journal
Times Lit. Suppl. Times Literary Supplement
Touch. Touchstone (London)
Yale R. Yale Review

Abdullah, Achmed.
By Rebecca West. New S. May 8. (15:137.)

"Aleichem, Shalom."
Anonymous. New S. Mar. 13. (14:682.)

Alexander, Grace.
Thomas Hardy. N. Rep. Aug. 18. (23:335.)

Alvord, James Church.
Typical American Short Story. Yale R. Apr. (9:650.)

American Short Story.
By James Church Alvord. Yale R. Apr. (9:650.)

Andreyev, Leonid.
By Eugene M. Kayden. Dial. Nov. 15, '19. (67:425.)
By Moissaye J. Olgin. N. Rep. Dec. 24, '19. (21:123.)
By A. Sokoloff. New S. Nov. 15, '19. (14:190.)

Annunzio, Gabriele d'.
By Joseph Collins. Scr. Sept. (68:304.)
By Rebecca West. New S. June 5, (15:253.)
N. Rep. June 30. (23:155.)

Buying $2,000,000 Worth of Fiction. Peop. Oct., '19. (12.)

By Lord Ernle. Quart. R. Jul. (234:41.)

Arcos, René.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Jan. 22. (19:48.)

Bailey, John.
Henry James. London Observer. Apr. 25.

Balkan Short Stories.
By Kate Buss. B. E. T. Oct. 18, '19. (pt. 3, p. 9.)

Balzac, Honoré de.
By Princess Catherine Radziwill. Book. (N. Y.) Aug. (51:639.)
By Sir Frederick Wedmore. 19th Cent. Mar. (87:484.)
By M. P. Willcocks. Nation. (London.) Mar. 20. (26:864) and Mar. 27.

Barnes, J. S.
Contemporary Italian Short Stories. New Europe. Nov. 27, '19. (13:214.)

Beaubourg, Maurice.
By Legrand-Chabrier. M. de F. 15 août. (142:5.)

Beaunier, André.
Pierre Mille. R. de D. M. 1 juillet. (6 sér. 58:191.)

Beerbohm, Max.
Anonymous. Nation. (London.)  Nov. 22, '19. (26:272.)
By Bohun Lynch. L. Merc. June. (2:168.)
By S. W. Ath. Nov. 14, '19. (1186.)

Bent, Silas.
Henry James. Mir. June 3. (29:448.) June 24. (29:510.)

Beyle, Henri. See "Stendhal."

Blackwood, Algernon.
By Henriette Reeves. Touch. May. (7:147.)

Bourget, Paul.
Prosper Mérimée. R. de D. M. 15 Sept. (59:257.)

Bourget, Paul.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Sept. 30. (19:634.)
By R. Le Clerc Phillips. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:448.)

Braithwaite, William Stanley.
American Short Story. B. E. T. Mar. 27. (pt. 3. p. 10.)

Brooks, Van Wyck.
Mark Twain. Dial. Mar. Nat. Apr. (68:275, 424.)

Buss, Kate.
Balkan Short Stories. B. E. T. Oct. 18, '19. (pt. 3. p. 9.)

Cabell, James Branch.
Joseph Hergesheimer. Book. (N. Y.) Nov.-Dec., '19. (50:267.)

Calthrop, Dion Clayton.
O. Henry. London Observer. May 2.

Chekhov, Anton.
Diary. Ath. Apr. 2. (460.)
Letters. XII. Ath. Oct. 24, '19. (1078.)
XIII. Ath. Oct. 31, '19. (1135.)

Chekhov, Anton.
Anonymous. Ath. Jan. 23, Feb. 6. ('20:1:124, 191.)
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Feb. 12, Jul. 15. (19:103, 455.)
By Edmund Gosse. London Sunday Times. Mar. 14.
By Robert Morss Lovett. Dial. May. (68:626.)
By Robert Lynd. London Daily News. Feb. 11.
By Robert Lynd. Nation (London.) Feb. 28. (26:742.)
By J. Middleton Murry. Ath. Mar. 5. ('20:1:299.)
By Robert Nichols. London Observer. Mar. 7.
By Charles K. Trueblood. Dial. Feb. (68:253.)

Chew, Samuel C.
Thomas Hardy. N. Rep. June 2. (23:22.)

Child, Harold.
Thomas Hardy. Book. (London.) June. (58:101.)

Clemens, Samuel L. See "Twain, Mark."

Collins, Joseph.
Alfredo Panzini and Luigi Pirandello. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:410.)
Giovanni Papini. Book. (N. Y.)  (51:160.)
Gabriele D'Annunzio. Scr. Sept. (68:304.)

Colvin, Sir Sidney.
Robert Louis Stevenson. Scr. Mar. (67:338.)

Conrad, Joseph.
Stephen Crane. Book.  (N. Y.)  Feb.  (50:528.)  L. Merc. Dec., '19. (1:192.)

Conrad, Joseph.
By Stephen Gwynn. Edin. R. Apr. (231:318.)
By Ford Madox Hueffer. Eng. R. Jul.-Aug. (31:5, 107.)
Dial. Jul.-Aug. (69:52, 132.)
By R. Ellis Roberts. Book. (London.) Aug. (58:160.)
By Gilbert Seldes. Dial. Aug. (69:191.)

Coppée, François.
By Joseph J. Reilly. Cath. W. (111:614.)

Cor, Raphael.
Charles Dickens. M. de F. 1 juillet. (141:82.)

Corthis, André.
Anonymous. Rev. de D. M. 15 juin. (6 sér. 57:816.)

Coulon, Marcel.
Rachilde. M. de F. 15 sept. (142:545.)

Couperus, Louis.
By J. L. Walch. Ath. Oct. 31, '19. (1133.)

Crane, Stephen.
By Joseph Conrad. Book. (N. Y.) Feb. (50:529.) L. Merc. Dec., '19. (1:192.)

Cunninghame Grahame, R. B. See Grahame, R. B. Cunninghame.

D'Annunzio, Gabriele. See Annunzio, Gabriele d'.

Deffoux, Léon, and Zavie, Émile.
Editions Kistemaekers et le "Naturalisme." M. de F. 16 oct., '19. (135:639.)
Émile Zola. M. de F. 15 fév. (138:68.)

Dell, Floyd.
Mark Twain. Lib. Aug. (26.)

Dewey, John.
Americanism and Localism. Dial. June. (68:684.)

Dickens, Charles.
By Raphael Cor. M. de F. 1 juillet. (141:82.)

Dobie, Charles Caldwell.
By Joe Whitnah. San Francisco Bulletin. Jan. 3.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Sept. 23. (19:612.)
By E. M. Forster. London Daily News. Nov. 11, '19.
By Charles K. Trueblood. Dial. June. (68:774.)

Doyle, A. Conan.
By Beverly Stark. Book. (N. Y.) Jul. (51:579.)

Duhamel, Georges.
By Henry J. Smith. Chicago Daily News. Dec. 3, '19.

Dunsany, Lord.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Dec. 11, '19. (18:737.) July 8. (19:437.)
By Clayton Hamilton. Book. (N. Y.) Feb. (50:537.)
By Norreys Jephson O'Conor. B. E. T. Oct. 22, '19. (pt. 3. p. 2.)
By Gilbert Seldes. B. E. T. Oct. 15, '19. (pt. 2. p. 4.)
By F. W. Stokoe. Ath. Aug. 13. ('20:2:202.)
By Marguerite Wilkinson. Touch. Dec., '19. (6:111.)

Dyer, Walter A.
Short Story Orgy. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:217.)

Edgett, Edwin F.
O. Henry. B. E. T. Oct. 15, '19. (pt. 3. p. 4.)
W. W. Jacobs. B. E. T. Oct. 18, '19. (pt. 3. p. 10.)
Henry James. B. E. T. Apr. 10.
W.B. Maxwell. B. E. T. Nov. 22, '19. (pt. 3. p. 8.)

Egan, Maurice Francis.
Henry James. Cath. W. June. (111:289.)

"Eliot, George."
By H. C. Minchin. Fortn. R. Dec., '19. (112:896.)
By Edward A. Parry. Fortn. R. Dec., '19. (112:883.)
By Thomas Seccombe. Cont. R. Dec., '19. (116:660.)

Enoch, Helen.
W. J. Locke. Cont. R. June. (117:855.)

Ernle, Lord.
Apuleius. Quart. R. Jul. (234:41.)

Erskine, John.
William Dean Howells. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:385.)

Evans, C.S.
W. H. Hudson. Book. (N. Y.) Sept. (52:18.)

Ferber, Edna.
By Rebecca West. New S. Apr. 3. (14:771.)

Finger, Charles J.
Hudson and Grahame. Mir. Nov. 27, '19. (28:836.)

Flaubert, Gustave.
By Marcel Proust. N. R. F. Jan. (14:72.)
By George Saintsbury. Ath. Oct. 3, '19. (983.)
By Albert Thibaudet. N. R. F. Nov., 19. (13:942.)

Forster, E. M.
Fyodor Dostoevsky. London Daily News. Nov. 11, '19.

Forster, E. M.
By Katherine Mansfield. Ath. Aug. 13. ('20:2:209.)
By Rebecca West. New S. Aug. 28. (15:576.)

Fox, John.
By Thomas Nelson Page. Scr. Dec., '19. (66:674.)

Gale, Zona.
By Constance Mayfield Rourke. N. Rep. Aug. 11. (23:315.)

George, W. L.
Joseph Hergesheimer. Book. (London.) Sept. (58:193.)

Giraudoux, Jean.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Jul. 22. (19:470.)
By Albert Thibaudet. N. R. F. Dec., '19. (13:1064.)

Goldberg, Isaac.
Hungarian Short Stories. B. E. T. Oct. 8, '19. (pt.3. p.4.)
Ercole Luigi Morselli. Book. (N. Y.) Jul. (51:557.)
Amado Nervo. Strat. J. Jan.-Mar. (6:3.)
Spanish-American Short Stories. Book.  (N. Y.)  Feb. (50:565.)

Gorky, Maxim.
Reminiscences of Tolstoi. L. Merc. Jul. (2:304.)

Gorky, Maxim.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Jul. 15. (19:453.)
By S. Koteliansky. Ath. Apr. 30. ('20:1:587.)
By J. W. N. S. Ath. Jul. 16. ('20:2:77.)

Gosse, Edmund.
Anton Chekhov. London Sunday Times. Mar. 14.
Henry James. L. Merc. Apr.-May. (1:673, 2:29.)
Scr. Apr.-May. (67:422, 548.)

Gozzano, Guido.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Jul. 15. (19:450.)

Grahame, R. B. Cunninghame.
By Charles J. Finger. Mir. Nov. 27, '19. (28:836.)

Gwynn, Stephen.
Joseph Conrad. Edin. R. Apr. (231:318.)

Hamilton, Clayton.
Lord Dunsany. Book. (N. Y.) Feb. (50:537.)

Hardy, Thomas.
By Grace Alexander. N. Rep. Aug. 18. (23:335.)
By Samuel C. Chew. N. Rep. June 2. (23:22.)
By Harold Child. Book. (London.) June. (58:101)
By W. M. Parker, 19th Cent. Jul. (88: 63.)
By Arthur Symons. Dial. Jan. (68:66.)

Harte, Bret.
By Agnes Day Robinson. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:445.)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel.
By Mary G. Tuttiett. 19th Cent. Jan. (87:118.)

Henriet, Maurice.
Jules Lemaître. M. De F. 1 juin. (140:289.)

"Henry, O."
By Dion Clayton Calthrop. London Observer. May 2.
By Edwin F. Edgett. B. E. T. Oct. 15, '19. (pt. 3. p. 4.)
By Edward Francis Mohler. Cath. W. Sept. (111:756.)
By Raoul Narsy. Liv. Age. Oct. 11, '19. (303:86.)
By John Seymour Wood. Book. (N. Y.) Jan. (50:474.)

Hergesheimer, Joseph.
By James Branch Cabell. Book. (N. Y.) Nov.-Dec., '19. (50:267.)
By W. L. George. Book. (London.) Sept. (58:193.)

Holz, Arno.
Anonymous. Ath. Apr. 9. ('20:1:490.)

Hook, Theodore.
Anonymous. Sat. R. Sept. 25. (130:254.)

Hopkins, Gerard.
Short Story. Chap. Feb. (25.)

Howells, William Dean.
Anonymous. N. Rep. May 26. (22:393.)
By John Erskine. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:385.)
By Henry A. Lappin. Cath. W. Jul. (111:445.)
By Edward S. Martin. Harp. M. Jul. (141:265.)
By Arthur Hobson Quinn. Cen. Sept. (100:674.)
By Henry Rood. L. H. J. Sept. (42.)
By Booth Tarkington. Harp. M. Aug. (141: 346.)

Hudson, W. H.
By C. S. Evans. Book. (N. Y.) Sept. (52:18.)
By Charles J. Finger. Mir. Nov. 27, '19. (28:836.)
By Ford Madox Hueffer. Lit. R. May-June. (5.)
By Ezra Pound. Lit. R. May-June. (13.)
By Ernest Rhys. 19th Cent. Jul. (88:72.)
By John Rodker. Lit. R. May-June. (18.)

Hueffer, Ford Madox.
W. H. Hudson. Lit. R. May-June. (5.)
Thus to Revisit. Eng. R. Jul.-Aug. (31:5, 107.)
Dial. Jul.-Aug. (69:52, 132.)

Huneker, James Gibbons.
Henry James. Book. (N. Y.) May. (51:364.)

Huneker, James Gibbons.
Anon. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 12. (19:515.)

Hungarian Short Stories.
By Isaac Goldberg. B. E. T. Oct. 8, '19. (pt. 3. p. 4.)

Huxley, Aldous.
By Michael Sadleir. Voices. June. (3:235.)

Italian Short Stories.
By J. S. Barnes. New Europe. Nov. 27, '19. (13:214.)

Jacobs, W. W.
By E. F. Edgett. B. E. T. Oct. 18, '19. (pt. 3. p. 10.)

James, Henry.
Anonymous. Nation. (London.) May 8. (27:178.)
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Apr. 8. (19:217.)
Anonymous. Sat. R. June 12. (129:537.)
Anonymous. Cont. R. Jul. (118:142.)
By John Bailey. London Observer. Apr. 25.
By Silas Bent. Mir. June 3. (29: 448.) June 24. (29:510.)
By Edwin F. Edgett. B. E. T. Apr. 10.
By Maurice Francis Egan. Cath. W. June. (111:289.)
By Edmund Gosse. L. Merc. Apr.-May.  (1:673:2:29.)
Scr. Apr.-May. (67:422, 548.)
By Ford Madox Hueffer. Eng. R. Jul.-Aug. (31:5, 107.)
Dial. Jul.-Aug. (69:52, 132.)
By James G. Huneker. Book. (N. Y.) May. (51:364.)
By Philip Littell. N. Rep. June 9. (23:63.)
By Desmond MacCarthy. New S. May 15. (15:162.)
By Brander Matthews. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:389.)
By Thomas Moult. Eng. R. Aug. (31:183.)
By E. S. Nadal. Scr. Jul. (68:89.)
By Forrest Reid. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 12. (19:520.)
By Gilbert Seldes. Dial. Jul. (69:83.)
By J. C. Squire. London Sunday Times. Apr. 18.
By Louise R. Sykes. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:240.)
By Allan Wade. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 19. (19:537.)
By A. B. Walkley. Fortn. R. June. (n. s. 107:864.) London Times. June 16, Sept. 15.
By Sidney Waterlow. Ath. Apr. 23. ('20:1:537.)
By Edith Wharton. Quart. R. Jul. (234:188.)

Johnson, Alvin.
Mark Twain. N. Rep. Jul. 14. (23:201.)

Kayden, Eugene M.
Leonid Andreyev. Dial. Nov. 15, '19. (67:425.)

Keller, Gottfried.
By Alec W. G. Randall. Cont. R. Nov., '19. (116:532.)

Kipling, Rudyard.
Anonymous. Sat. R. Aug. 7. (130:113.)
By Richard Le Gallienne. Mun. Nov., '19. (68:238.)
By Desmond MacCarthy. New S. June 5. (15:249.)
By Virginia Woolf. Ath. Jul. 16. ('20:2:75.)

Koteliansky, S.
Tolstoy and Gorky. Ath. Apr. 30. ('20:1:582.)

Kuprin, Alexander.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Nov. 27, '19. (18:691)
By Katherine Mansfield. Ath. Dec. 26, '19. (1399.)

Lappin, Henry A.
William Dean Howells. Cath. W. Jul. (111:445.)

Lawrence, D. H.
By Louis Untermeyer. N. Rep. Aug. 11. (23:314.)

Le Gallienne, Richard.
Rudyard Kipling. Mun. Nov., '19. (68:238.)

Maurice Beaubourg. M. de F. 15 août. (142:5.)

Lemaître, Jules.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Sept. 2. (19:562.)
By Maurice Henriet. M. de F. 1 juin. (140:289.)

Littell, Philip.
Henry James. N. Rep. June 9. (23:63.)

Locke, W. J.
By Helen Enoch. Cont. R. June. (117:855.)

London, Jack.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 12. (19:519.)
By Katherine Mansfield. Ath. Aug. 27. ('20:2:272.)

Lovett, Robert Morss.
Anton Chekhov. Dial. May. (68:626.)
Mark Twain. Dial. Sept. (69:293.)

Lynch, Bohun.
Max Beerbohm. L. Merc. June. (2:168.)

Lynd, Robert.
Anton Chekhov. London Daily News. Feb. 11.
Anton Chekhov. Nation. (London.) Feb. 28. (26:742.)
George Meredith. London Daily News. Jan. 30.

Lysaght, S. R.
Robert Louis Stevenson. Times Lit. Suppl. Dec. 4, '19. (18:713.)

MacCarthy, Desmond.
Henry James. New S. May 15. (15:162.)
Rudyard Kipling. New S. June 5. (15:249.)

"Macleod, Fiona." (William Sharp.)
By Ethel Rolt-Wheeler. Fortn. R. Nov., '19. (112:780.)

Mansfield, Katharine.
E. M. Forster. Ath. Aug. 13. ('20:2:209.)
Alexander Kuprin. Ath. Dec. 26, '19. (1399.)
Jack London. Ath. Aug. 27. ('20:2:272.)

Martin, Edward S.
William Dean Howells. Harp. M. Jul. (141:265.)

Masefield, John.
By Edward Shanks. L. Merc. Sept. (2:578.)

Maseras, Alfons.
By Camille Pitollet. M. de F. 15 août. (142:230.)

Matthews, Brander.
Henry James. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:389).
Mark Twain. S. E. P. Mar. 6. (14.)

Maxwell, W. B.
By E. F. Edgett, B. E. T. Nov. 22, '19. (pt. 3. p. 8.)

Meredith, George.
By Robert Lynd. London Daily News. Jan. 30.

Mérimée, Prosper.
By Paul Bourget R. de D. M. 15 sept. (59:257.)

Mille, Pierre.
By André Beaunier. R. de D. M. 1 juillet. (6 sér. 58:191.)

Minchin, H. C.
George Eliot. Fortn. R. Dec. '19. (112:896.)

Mirbeau, Octave.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 12. (19:518.)

Mohler, Edward Francis.
"O. Henry." Cath. W. Sept. (111:756.)

Morrow, W. C.
By Vincent Starrett. Mir. Oct. 30, '19. (28:751.)

Morselli, Ercole Luigi.
By Isaac Goldberg. Book. (N. Y.) Jul. (51:557.)

Moult, Thomas.
Henry James. Eng. R. Aug. (31:183.)

Murry, J. Middleton.
Anton Chekhov. Ath. Mar. 5. ('20:1:299.)
Stendhal. Ath. Sept. 17. ('20:2:388.)
Oscar Wilde. Ath. Sept. 24. ('20:2:401.)

Nadal, E. S.
Henry James. Scr. Jul. (68:89.)

Narsy, Raoul.
O. Henry. Liv. Age. Oct. 11, '19. (303:86.)

Naturalism. See Deffoux, Léon, and Zavie, Émile.

Nervo, Amado.
By Isaac Goldberg. Strat. J. Jan.-Mar. (6:3.)

"New Decameron."
Anonymous. Sat. R. Aug. 7. (130:113.)
By F. W. Stokoe. Ath. Aug. 6. ('20:2:172.)

Nichols, Robert.
Anton Chekhov. London Observer. Mar. 7.

Nodier, Charles.
By George Saintsbury. Ath. Jan. 16. ('20:1:91.)

O'Brien, Edward J.
Best Short Stories of 1919. B. E. T. Nov. 28, '19. (14.)

O'Brien, Fitzjames.
By Joseph J. Reilly. Cath. W. Mar. (110:751.)

O'Conor, Norreys Jephson.
Lord Dunsany. B. E. T. Oct. 22, '19. (pt. 3. p. 2.)

Olgin, Moissaye J.
Leonid Andreyev. N. Rep. Dec. 24, '19. (21:123.)

Page, Thomas Nelson.
John Fox. Scr. Dec., '19. (66:674.)

Panzini, Alfredo.
By Joseph Collins. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:410.)
By Guido de Ruggiero. Ath. Feb. 13. ('20:1:222.)

Papini, Giovanni.
By Joseph Collins. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:160.)

Parker, W. M.
Thomas Hardy, 19th Cent. Jul. (88:63.)

Parry, Edward A.
George Eliot. Fortn. R. Dec., '19. (112:883.)

Phillips, R. Le Clerc.
Paul Bourget. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:448.)

Pirandello, Luigi.
By Joseph Collins. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:410.)

Pitollet, Camille.
Alfons Maseras. M. de F. 15 août. (142:230.)

Pontoppidan, Henrik.
By J. G. Robertson. Cont. R. Mar. (117:374.)

Pound, Ezra.
W. H. Hudson. Lit. R. May-June. (13.)

Proust, Marcel.
Gustave Flaubert. N. R. F. Jan. (14:72.)

Purcell, Gertrude M.
Ellis Parker Butler. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:473.)

Quinn, Arthur Hobson.
William Dean Howells. Cen. Sept. (100:674.)

"Rachilde." (Mme. Alfred Vallette.)
By Marcel Coulon. M. de F. 15 sept. (142:545.)

Radziwill, Princess Catherine.
Honoré de Balzac. Book. (N. Y.) Aug. (51:639.)

Randall, Alec W. G.
Gottfried Keller. Cont. R. Nov., '19. (116:532.)

Raynaud, Ernest.
Oscar Wilde. La Minerve Française. 15 août.

Read, Opie.
By Vincent Starrett. Mir. Nov. 6, '19. (28:769.)

Reeves, Henriette.
Algernon Blackwood. Touch. May. (7:147.)

Régnier, Henri de.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Feb. 19. (19:118.)

Reid, Forrest.
Henry James. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 12. (19:520.)

Reilly, Joseph J.
François Coppée. Cath. W. Aug. (111:614.)
Fitzjames O'Brien. Cath. W. Mar. (110:751.)

Rhys, Ernest.
W. H. Hudson, 19th Cent. Jul. (88:72.)

Roberts, R. Ellis.
Joseph Conrad. Book. (London.) Aug. (58:160.)

Robertson, J. G.
Henrik Pontoppidan. Cont. R. Mar. (117:374.)

Robinson, Agnes Day.
Bret Harte. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:445.)

Rodker, John.
W. H. Hudson, Lit. R. May-June. (18.)

Rolt-Wheeler, Ethel.
"Fiona Macleod." Fortn. R. Nov., '19. (112:780.).

Rood, Henry.
William Dean Howells. L. H. J. Sept. (42.)

Rourke, Constance Mayfield.
Zona Gale. N. Rep. Aug. 11. (23:315.)

Ruggiero, Guido de.
Alfred Panzini. Ath. Feb. 13. ('20:1:222.)

S., J. W. N.
Tolstoy and Gorky. Ath. Jul. 16. ('20:2:77.)

Sadleir, Michael.
Aldous Huxley. Voices. June. (3:235.)

Saintsbury, George.
Gustave Flaubert. Ath. Oct. 3, '19. (983.)
Charles Nodier. Ath. Jan. 16. ('20:1:91.)

Seccombe, Thomas.
George Eliot. Cont. R. Dec., '19. (116:660.)

Seldes, Gilbert.
Joseph Conrad. Dial. Aug. (69:191.)
Lord Dunsany. B. E. T. Oct. 15, '19. (pt. 2. p. 4.)
Henry James. Dial. Jul. (69:83.)

Shanks, Edward.
John Masefield. L. Merc. Sept. (2:578.)
Sharp, William. See "Fiona Macleod."

Singh, Kate Prosunno.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Sept. 2. (19:562.)

Smith, Henry J.
Georges Duhamel. Chicago Daily News. Dec. 3, '19.

Sokoloff, A.
Leonid Andreyev. New S. Nov. 15, '19. (14:190.)

Spanish-American Short Story. See Goldberg, Isaac.

Squire, J. C.
Henry James. London Sunday Times. Apr. 18.

Stark, Beverly.
A. Conan Doyle. Book. (N. Y.) Jul. (51:579.)

Starrett, Vincent.
W. C. Morrow. Mir. Oct. 30, '19. (28:751.)
Opie Read. Mir. Nov. 6, '19. (28:769.)

"Stendhal," (Henri Beyle.)
By John Middleton Murry. Ath. Sept. 17. ('20:2:388.)

Stevenson, Robert Louis.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Dec. 4, '19. (18:701.)
By Sir Sidney Colvin. Scr. Mar. (67:338.)
By S. R. Lysaght. Times Lit. Suppl. Dec. 4, '19. (18:713.)

Stokoe, F. W.
Lord Dunsany. Ath. Aug. 13. ('20:2:202.)
"New Decameron." Ath. Aug. 6. ('20:2:172.)

Sykes, Louise R.
Henry James. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:240.)

Symons, Arthur.
Thomas Hardy. Dial. Jan. (68:66.)
Oscar Wilde. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:129.)

Tarkington, Booth.
William Dean Howells. Harp. M. Aug. (141:346.)

Tchekhov, Anton. See Chekhov, Anton.

Thibaudet, Albert.
Gustave Flaubert. N. R. F. Nov., '19. (13:942.)
Jean Giraudoux. N. R. F. Dec., '19. (13:1064.)

Tolstoy, Count Lyof.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Jul. 15. (19:453.)
Anonymous. New S. Aug. 7. (15:505.)
By Maxim Gorky. L. Merc. Jul. (2:304.)
By S. Koteliansky. Ath. Apr. 30. ('20:1:587.)
By J. W. N. S. Ath. Jul. 16. ('20:2:77.)

Trueblood, Charles K.
Anton Chekhov. Dial. Jan. (68:80.)
Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dial. June. (68:774.)
Edith Wharton. Dial. Jan. (68:80.)

Tuttiett, Mary G.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 19th Cent. Jan. (87:118.)

"Twain, Mark."
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Sept. 23. (19:615.)
By Van Wyck Brooks. Dial. Mar. (68:275), and Apr. (68:424.)
By Floyd Dell. Lib. Aug. (26.)
By Alvin Johnson. N. Rep. Jul. 14. (23:201.)
By Robert Morss Lovett. Dial. Sept. (69:293.)
By Brander Matthews. S. E. P. Mar. 6. (14.)

Untermeyer, Louis.
D. H. Lawrence. N. Rep. Aug. 11. (23:314.)

Vallette, Mme. Alfred. See "Rachilde."

Villiers de l'Isle-Adam.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Dec. 4, '19. (18:711.)

Wade, Allan.
Henry James. Times Lit. Suppl. Aug. 19. (19:537.)

Walch, J. L.
Louis Couperus. Ath. Oct. 31, '19. (1133.)

Waldo, Harold.
Old Wests for New. Book. (N. Y.) June. (51:396.)

Walkley, A. B.
Henry James. Fortn. R. June. (n. s. 107:864.)
Henry James. London Times. June 16 and Sept. 15.

Waterlow, Sydney.
Henry James. Ath. Apr. 23. ('20:1:537.)

Wedmore, Sir Frederick.
Honoré de Balzac, 19th Cent. Mar. (87:484.)

Wells, H. G.
By Ford Madox Hueffer. Eng. R. Jul.-Aug. (31:5, 107.)
Dial. Jul.-Aug. (69:52, 132.) Reply by H. G. Wells.
Eng. R. Aug. (31:178.)

West, Rebecca.
Achmed Abdullah. New S. May 8. (15:137.)
Gabriele D'Annunzio. New S. June 5. (15:253.) N. Rep. June 30. (23:155.)
Edna Ferber. New S. Apr. 3. (14:771.)
E. M. Forster. New S. Aug. 28. (15:576.)

Wharton, Edith.
Henry James. Quart. R. Jul. (234:188.)

Wharton, Edith.
By Charles K. Trueblood. Dial. Jan. (68:80.)

Whitnah, Joe.
Charles Caldwell Dobie. San Francisco Bulletin. Jan. 3.

Wilde, Oscar.
Anonymous. Times Lit. Suppl. Oct. 30, '19. (18:605.)
By J. Middleton Murry. Ath. Sept. 24. ('20:2:401.)
By Ernest Raynaud. La Minerve Française. 15 août.
By Arthur Symons. Book. (N. Y.) Apr. (51:129.)

Wilkinson, Marguerite.
Lord Dunsany. Touch. Dec., '19. (6:111.)

Willcocks, M. P.
Honoré de Balzac. Nation. (London.) Mar. 20. (26:864.) and Mar. 27.

Williams, Orlo.
"Yellow Book." L. Merc. Sept. (2:567.)

Wilson, Arthur.
"New Decameron." Dial. Nov. 1, '19. (67:372.)

Wood, John Seymour.
O. Henry. Book. (N. Y.) Jan. (50:474.)

Woolf, Virginia.
Rudyard Kipling. Ath. Jul. 16. ('20:2:75.)

"Yellow Book."
By Orlo Williams. L. Merc. Sept. (2:567.)

Zola, Émile.
By Léon Deffoux and Émile Zavie. M. de F. 15 fév. (138:68.)


I. American Authors



Abdullah A. Abdullah. Honorable Gentleman.
Abdullah B. Abdullah. Wings.
Andrews B. Andrews. Joy in the Morning.
Andreyev C. Andreyev. When the King Loses His Head.
Ayala Ayala. Prometheus.
Cannan Cannan. Windmills.
Cather Cather. Youth and the Bright Medusa.
Chekhov D. Chekhov. Bishop.
Chekhov E. Chekhov. Chorus Girl.
Clémenceau Clémenceau. Surprises of Life.
Cobb B. Cobb. Life of the Party.
Cobb C. Cobb. From Place to Place.
Connolly A. Connolly. Hiker Joy.
D'Annunzio D'Annunzio. Tales of My Native Town.
Dostoevsky B. Dostoevsky. Honest Thief.
Dowson Dowson. Poems and Prose.
Dreiser B. Dreiser. Twelve Men.
Dwight A. Dwight. Emperor of Elam.
Easton Easton. Golden Bird.
Edgar Edgar. Miller's Holiday.
Evans A. Evans. My Neighbors.
Ferber B. Ferber. Half Portions.
French B. French. Best Psychic Stories.
Galsworthy B. Galsworthy. Tatterdemalion.
Hearn Hearn. Fantastics.
Henry B. Henry. Waifs and Strays.
Hergesheimer B. Hergesheimer. Happy End.
Holmes Holmes and Starbuck. War Stories.
Howells Howells. Great Modern American Stories.
Hrbkova Hrbkova. Czecho-Slovak Stories.
Huneker Huneker. Bedouins.
Hurst B. Hurst. Humoresque.
Huxley Huxley. Limbo.
Ibáñez Blasco Ibáñez. Last Lion.
Imrie Imrie. Legends.
Jacobs A. Jacobs. Deep Waters.
James A. James. Travelling Companions.
Jessup A. Jessup. Best American Humorous Stories.
Johnson Johnson. Under the Rose.
La Motte La Motte. Civilization.
Laselle Laselle. Short Stories of the New America.
Lemaître Lemaître. Serenus.
Level Level. Tales of Mystery and Horror.
Mackay Mackay. Chill Hours.
MacManus A. MacManus. Lo, and Behold Ye!
Marshall Marshall. Clintons.
Martin Martin. Children in the Mist.
Mayran Mayran. Story of Gotton Connixloo.
McMichael McMichael. Short Stories from the Spanish.
Merrick A. Merrick. Man Who Understood Women.
Merrick B. Merrick. While Paris Laughed.
Montague A. Montague. Gift.
Montague B. Montague. England to America.
Montague C. Montague. Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge.
Nevinson Nevinson. Workhouse Characters.
New Dec. A. New Decameron. Prologue and First Day.
O'Brien A. O'Brien. Best Short Stories of 1918.
O'Brien B. O'Brien. Best Short Stories of 1919.
O'Brien C. O'Brien. Great Modern English Stories.
O'Byrne A. O'Byrne. Wrack.
O'Higgins A. O'Higgins. From the Life.
O'Kelly B. O'Kelly. Golden Barque.
Pertwee Pertwee. Old Card.
Pinski A. Pinski. Temptations.
Post B. Post. Mystery of the Blue Villa.
Prize A. O. Henry Memorial Prize Stories. 1919.
Reeve Reeve and French. Best Ghost Stories.
Rhodes Rhodes. High Life.
Robbins Robbins. Silent, White and Beautiful.
Robinson Robinson. Eight Short Stories.
Russell Russell. Red Mark.
Russian A. Modern Russian Classics. (Four Seas Co.)
Schweikert B. Schweikert. Russian Short Stories.
Smith Smith. Pagan.
Spofford A. Spofford. Elder's People.
Sudermann Sudermann. Iolanthe's Wedding.
Tomlinson Tomlinson. Old Junk.
Trevena Trevena. By Violence.
Underwood A. Underwood. Short Stories from the Balkans.
Vernède Vernède. Port Allington Stories.
Vaka Vaka and Phoutrides. Modern Greek Stories.
Van Dyke A. Van Dyke. Valley of Vision.
Vigny Vigny. Military Servitude and Grandeur.
Vorse Vorse. Ninth Man.
Welles Welles. Anchors Aweigh.
Wilson A. Wilson. Ma Pettengill.
Wylie Wylie. Holy Fire.
Yezierska Yezierska. Hungry Hearts.

Abdullah, Achmed. (Achmed Abdullah Nadir Khan El-Durani El-Idrissyeh.) (1881- .)
**After His Kind. Abdullah A. 144.
***Cobbler's Wax. Abdullah A. 112.
*Disappointment.  Abdullah B. 43.
*Fear. Abdullah B. 211.
***Hatchetman. Abdullah A. 41.
*Himself,  to  Himself  Alone. Abdullah A. 241.
***Honourable Gentleman. Abdullah A. 1.
**Khizr. Abdullah B. 183.
Krishnavana,  Destroyer  of Souls. Abdullah B. 115.
***Light. Abdullah B. 231.
*Man Who Lost Caste. Abdullah B. 153.
*Pell Street Spring Song. Abdullah A. 73.
Renunciation. Abdullah B. 103.
**Silence. Abdullah B. 163.
***Simple Act of Piety. Abdullah A. 196. O'Brien A. 3.
Tartar. Abdullah B. 77.
That Haunting Thing. Abdullah B. 135.
***To be Accounted for. Abdullah B. 63.
***Wings. Abdullah B. 1.

Ade, George. (1866- .)
***Effie Whittlesy. Howells. 288.

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey. (1836-1907.)
***Mlle. Olympe Zabriski. Howells, 110.

Allen, James Lane. (1849- .)
Old Mill on the Elkhorn. Edgar. 133.

Alsop, Gulielma Fell.
***Kitchen Gods. O'Brien B. 3. Prize A. 253.

Ames, Jr., Fisher.
*Sergt. Warren Comes Back from France. Laselle 171.

Anderson, Sherwood (1876- .)
***Awakening. O'Brien B. 24.

Andrews, Mary Raymond Shipman. (See 1918.)
***Ditch. Andrews B. 1.
***Dundonald's  Destroyer. Andrews B. 299.
*He That Loseth His Life Shall Find It, Andrews B. 193.
**Her Country Too. Andrews B. 37.
Only One of Them. Andrews B. 137.
Robina's Doll. Andrews B. 283.
*Russian. Andrews B. 263.
**Silver  Stirrup. Andrews B. 241.
**Swallow. Andrews B. 85.
*V. C. Andrews B. 163.

Babcock, Edwina Stanton.
***Cruelties. O'Brien A. 24
***Willum's Vanilla. O'Brien B, 34.

Barnes, Djuna. (1892- .)
***Night  Among  the  Horses. O'Brien B. 65.

Bartlett, Frederic Orin. (1876- .)
Château-Thierry. Laselle. 199.
***Long, Long Ago. O'Brien B. 74.

Beer, Thomas. (1889- .)
*Absent Without Leave. Holmes. 1.

Bierce, Ambrose. (1842-1914.) (See 1918.)
***Damned Thing. Reeve. 160.
***Eyes of the Panther. French B. 95.
***Occurrence at  Owl Creek Bridge. Howells. 237.

Brooks, Alden.
**Out of the Sky. Holmes. 17.

Brown, Alice. (1857- .) (See 1918.)
***Told in the Poorhouse. Howells. 225.

Brown, Katharine Holland.
***Buster. O'Brien A. 43.

Brownell, Agnes Mary.
***Dishes. O'Brien B. 82.

Bunner, Henry Cuyler. (1855-1896.)
**Nice People. Jessup A. 141.

Burnet, Dana. (1888- .)
*Christmas Fight of X 157. Holmes. 39.
*"Red,  White,  and  Blue." Holmes. 49.

Burt, Maxwell Struthers. (1882- .) (See 1918.)
***Blood-Red One. O'Brien B. 96.

Butler, Ellis Parker. (1869- .)
***Dey Ain't No Ghosts. Reeve. 177.

"Byrne, Donn." (Bryan Oswald Donn-Byrne.) (1888- .)
**Underseaboat  F-33. Holmes. 61.

Cabell, James Branch. (1879- .)
**Porcelain Cups. Prize A. 210.
***Wedding-Jest. O'Brien B. 108.

Cable, George Washington. (1844- .)
***Jean-Ah Poquelin. Howells. 390.

Canfield, Dorothy. (Dorothy Canfield Fisher.) (1879- .) (See 1918.)
***Little Kansas Leaven. Laselle 1.

Cather, Willa Sibert. (1875- .)
***Coming, Aphrodite! Cather. 11.
***"Death in the Desert." Cather. 273.
***Diamond Mine. Cather. 79.
**Gold Slipper. Cather. 140.
***Paul's Case. Cather. 199.
**Scandal. Cather. 169.
***Sculptor's Funeral. Cather. 248.
***Wagner Matinée. Cather. 235.

Chester, George Randolph. (1869- .)
Bargain Day at Tutt House. Jessup A. 213.

Clemens, Samuel Langhorne. See "Twain, Mark."

Cobb, Irvin Shrewsbury. (1876- .) (See 1918.)
***Boys Will Be Boys. Cobb C. 96.
*Bull Called Emily. Cobb C. 382.
***Gallowsmith. Cobb C. 11.
Hoodwinked. Cobb C. 332.
John J. Coincidence. Cobb C. 259.
**Life of the Party. Cobb B. 11.
**Luck Piece. Cobb C. 156.
***Quality Folks. Cobb C. 206.
*Thunders of Silence. Cobb C. 55.
*When August the Second Was April the First. Cobb C. 302.

Connolly, James Brendan. (1868- .)
*Aboard the Horse-Boat. Connolly A. 53.
*Flying Sailor. Connolly A. 132.
*Good-bye the Horse-Boat. Connolly A. 105.
*Jack o' Lanterns. Connolly A. 6.
*London Lights. Connolly A. 214.
*Lumber Schooner. Connolly A. 27.
*North Sea Men. Connolly A. 187.
*Undersea Men. Connolly A. 79.
*Wimmin 'n' Girls. Connolly A. 159.

Cook, Mrs. George Cram. See Glaspell, Susan.

Cooke, Grace MacGowan. (1863- .)
*Call. Jessup A. 237.

Coolidge, Grace.
**Indian of the Reservation. Laselle. 109.

Curtis, George William. (1824-1892.)
**Titbottom's Spectacles. Jessup A. 52.

Dashiell, Landon R.
***Aunt Sanna Terry. Howells. 352.

Derieux, Samuel Arthur. (1881- .)
*Trial in Tom Belcher's Store. Prize A. 192.

Dobie, Charles Caldwell. (1881- .) (See 1918.)
***Open Window. O'Brien A. 61.

Dreiser, Theodore. (1871- .) (See 1918.)
***Country Doctor. Dreiser B. 110.
***Culhane, the Solid Man. Dreiser B. 134.
***De Maupassant, Jr. Dreiser B. 206.
***Doer of the Word. Dreiser B. 53.
***Lost Phoebe. Howells. 295.
***Mayor and His People. Dreiser B. 320.
***Mighty Rourke. Dreiser  B. 287.
***My Brother Paul. Dreiser B. 76.
***Peter. Dreiser B. 18.
***True Patriarch. Dreiser B. 187.
***Vanity, Vanity. Dreiser B. 263.
***Village Feudists. Dreiser B. 239.
***W. L. S. Dreiser B. 344.

Dwight, Harry Griswold. (1875- .) (See 1918.)
***Bald Spot. Dwight A. 290.
**Bathers. Dwight A. 151.
***Behind the Door. Dwight A. 266.
***Emperor of Elam. Dwight A. 306.
***Henrietta Stackpole Radiviva. Dwight A. 32.
***Like Michael. Dwight A. 3.
**Mrs. Derwall and the Higher Life. Dwight A. 131.
***Pagan. Dwight A. 52.
**Retarded Bombs. Dwight A. 172.
***Studio Smoke. Dwight A. 252.
***Susannah and the Elder. Dwight A. 191.
***Unto the Day. Dwight A. 108.
***White Bombazine. Dwight A. 82.

Dwight, Harry Griswold. (1875- .) (See 1918) and Taylor, John R. M.
***Emerald of Tamerlane. Dwight A. 221.

Dwyer, James Francis. (1874- .)
***Citizen. Laselle. 85.
*Little Man in the Smoker. Holmes. 79.

Dyke, Henry Van. See Van Dyke, Henry.

Edwards, George Wharton. (1859- .)
**Clavecin-Bruges. French B. 54.

Edwards, Harry Stillwell. (1855- .)
**Elder Brown's Backslide. Jessup A. 109.

Emery, Gilbert.
"Squads Right." Holmes. 86.

Empey, Arthur Guy. (1883- .)
*Coward. Laselle. 181.

Ferber, Edna. (1887- .)
April 25th, As Usual. Ferber B. 36. Price A. 274.
*Dancing Girls. Ferber B. 280.
*Farmer in the Dell. Ferber B. 239.
*Long Distance. Ferber B. 148.
***Maternal Feminine. Ferber B. 3.
**Old Lady Mandle. Ferber B. 76.
One Hundred Per Cent. Ferber B. 201. Holmes. 95.
*Un Morso Doo Pang. Ferber B. 157.
***You've Got To Be Selfish. Ferber B. 113.

Fish, Horace. (1885- .)
***Wrists on the Door. O'Brien B. 123.

Fisher, Dorothy Canfield. See Canfield, Dorothy.

Freedley, Mary Mitchell. (1894- .)
***Blind Vision. Holmes. 119. O'Brien A. 85.

Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins. (1862- .) (See 1918.)
***Revolt of Mother. Howells. 207.

French, Alice. See "Thanet, Octave."

Fuller, Henry Blake. (1857- .)
***Striking an Average. Howells. 267.

Garland, Hamlin. (1860- .) (See 1918.)
*Graceless Husband. Edgar. 142.
***Return of a Private. Howells. 248.

Gerould, Gordon Hall. (1877- .)
***Imagination. O'Brien A. 92.

Gerry, Margarita Spalding. (1870- .)
*Flag Factory. Holmes. 126.

Gilbert, George. (1874- .)
***In Maulmain Fever-Ward. O'Brien A. 109.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Stetson. (1860- .)
***Yellow Wall Paper. Howells. 320.

Glaspell, Susan (Keating). (Mrs. George Cram Cook.) (1882- .)
***"Government Goat." O'Brien B. 147.

Goodman, Henry. (1893- .)
***Stone. O'Brien B. 167.

Haines, Donal Hamilton. (1886- .)
*Bill. Holmes. 136.

Hale, Edward Everett. (1822-1909.)
*First Grain Market. Edgar. 181.
***My Double; and How He Undid Me. Howells. 3. Jessup A. 75.

Hallet, Richard Matthews. (1887- .)
***To the Bitter End. O'Brien B. 178.

Harris, Joel Chandler. (1848-1908.) (See 1918.)
***Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and the Tar Baby. Howells. 413.

Harte, Francis Bret. (1839-1902.) (See 1918.)
***Colonel Starbottle for the Plaintiff. Jessup A. 170.
***Outcasts of Poker Flat. Howells. 143.

Hastings, Wells. (1878- .)
*Gideon. Jessup A. 260.

Hearn, Lafcadio. (1850-1904.)
***All in White. Hearn. 29.
***Aphrodite and the King's Prisoner. Hearn. 102.
***Bird and the Girl. Hearn. 150.
***Black Cupid. Hearn. 71.
***Devil's Carbuncle. Hearn. 40.
***El Vomito. Hearn. 136.
***Fountain of Gold. Hearn. 110.
***Ghostly Kiss. Hearn. 66.
***Gipsy's Story. Hearn. 174.
***Hiouen-thsang. Hearn. 211.
***Idyl of a French Snuff-Box. Hearn. 143.
***Kiss Fantastical. Hearn. 152.
***Little Red Kitten. Hearn. 33.
***Name on the Stone. Hearn. 98.
***One Pill-Box. Hearn. 183.
***Post-Office. Hearn. 227.
***Vision of the Dead Creole. Hearn. 92.

"Henry, O." (William Sydney Porter.) (1867-1910.) (See 1918.)
***Cactus. Henry B. 76.
*Church with an Overshot Wheel. Edgar. 1.
Confessions of a Humourist. Henry B. 52.
Detective Detector. Henry B. 82.
*Dog and the Playlet. Henry B. 90.
***Duplicity of Hargraves. Jessup A. 199.
Hearts and Hands. Henry B. 72.
Little Talk About Mobs. Henry B. 97.
*Out of Nazareth. Henry B. 32.
***Red Roses of Tonia. Henry B. 3.
**Round the Circle. Henry B. 17.
*Rubber Plant's Story. Henry B. 25.
*Sparrows in Madison Square. Henry B. 66.

"Henry, O." (William Sydney Porter) (1867-1910), and Lyon, Harris Merton. (1881-1916.)
*Snow Man. Henry B. 102.

Hergesheimer, Joseph. (1880- .) (See 1918.)
*Bread. Hergesheimer B. 193.
*Egyptian Chariot. Hergesheimer B. 55.
Flower of Spain. Hergesheimer B. 93.
**Lonely Valleys. Hergesheimer B. 11.
***Meeker Ritual. O'Brien B. 200.
*Rosemary Roselle. Hergesheimer B. 231.
**Thrush in the Hedge. Hergesheimer B. 283.
**Tol'able David. Hergesheimer B. 155.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. (1809-1894.)
*Visit to the Asylum for Aged and Decayed Punsters. Jessup A. 94.

Humphrey, George. (1889- .)
***Father's Hand. O'Brien A. 125.

Huneker, James Gibbons. (1860- .)
**Brothers-in-Law. Huneker. 201.
**Cardinal's Fiddle. Huneker. 247.
**Grindstones. Huneker. 216.
Renunciation. Huneker. 256.
*Supreme Sin. Huneker. 177.
Venus or Valkyr? Huneker. 225.
*Vision Malefic. Huneker. 261.

Hurst, Fannie. (1889- .) (See 1918.)
**Boob Spelled Backward. Hurst B. 220.
**Even as You and I. Hurst B. 262.
*"Heads." Hurst B. 170.
***Humoresque. Hurst  B. 1. Prize A. 148.
**Oats for the Woman. Hurst B. 45.
**Petal on the Current. Hurst B. 85.
**White Goods. Hurst B. 126.
*Wrong Pew. Hurst B. 300.

Imrie, Walter McLaren.
***Daybreak. Imrie. 7.
**Dead Men's Teeth. Imrie. 29.
***Remembrance. Imrie. 41.
**Storm. Imrie. 15.

Ingersoll, Will E.
***Centenarian. O'Brien B. 225.

James, Henry. (1843-1916.)
***Adina. James A. 223.
***At Isella. James A. 125.
***De Grey: a Romance. James A. 269.
***Guest's Confession. James A. 157.
*** Passionate Pilgrim. Howells. 43.
***Professor Fargo. James A. 87.
***Sweetheart of M. Briseux. James A. 53.
***Travelling Companions. James A. 1.

Jewett, Sarah Orne. (1849-1909.)
***Courting of Sister Wisby. Howells. 190.

Johnson, Arthur. (1881- .)
***His New Mortal Coil. Johnson 270.
How the Ship Came In. Johnson. 303.
***Little Family. Johnson. 237.
***Mr. Eberdeen's House. Johnson. 138.
**One Hundred Eightieth Meridian. Johnson. 115.
***Princess of Tork. Johnson. 1.
***Riders in the Dark. Johnson. 54.
*Two Lovers. Johnson. 183.
***Visit of the Master. Johnson. 203. O'Brien A. 131.

Johnston, Calvin.
***Messengers. O'Brien B. 237.

Johnston, Richard Malcolm. (1822-1898.)
*Hotel Experience of Mr. Pink Fluker. Jessup A. 128.

Jones, Howard Mumford.
***Mrs. Drainger's Veil. O'Brien B. 269.

Kirkland, Caroline Matilda Stansbury. (1801-1864.) Schoolmaster's Progress. Jessup A. 18.

Kline, Burton. (1877- .)
***In the Open Code. O'Brien A. 149.

Kompert, Leopold.
***Silent Woman. Reeve. 60.

La Motte, Ellen Newbold. (1873- .)
**Canterbury Chimes. La Motte. 177.
*Civilization. La Motte. 93.
***Cosmic Justice. La Motte. 247.
*Homesick. La Motte. 65.
**Misunderstanding. La Motte 121.
***On the Heights. La Motte. 33
***Prisoners. La Motte. 141.
***Under a Wineglass. O'Brien B. 297. La Motte. 217.
**Yellow Streak. La Motte. 11.

Lampton, William James. ( -1917.)
**How the Widow Won the Deacon. Jessup A. 252.

Leslie, Eliza. (1787-1858.)
Watkinson Evening. Jessup A. 34.

Lewars, Elsie Singmaster. See Singmaster, Elsie.

Lewis, Sinclair. (1885- .)
***Willow Walk. O'Brien A. 154.

Lieberman, Elias. (1883- .)
***Thing of Beauty. O'Brien B. 305.

London, Jack. (1876-1916.) (See 1918.)
*When the World Was Young. French B. 1.

Lummis, Charles Fletcher. (1859- .)
*Blue-Corn Witch. Edgar. 120.
*Swearing Enchiladas. Edgar. 156.

Lyon, Harris Merton. See "Henry, O.", and Lyon, Harris Merton.

Mackay, Helen. (1876- .)
**At the End. Mackay. 3.
**Cauldron. Mackay. 95.
**Footsteps. Mackay. 178.
***"He Cost Us So Much." Mackay. 154.
**"Here Are the Shadows!" Mackay. 160.
**"I Take Pen in Hand." Mackay. 172.
**Little Cousins of No. 12. Mackay. 148.
**Madame Anna. Mackay. 143.
*Moment. Mackay. 188.
**9 and the 10. Mackay. 184.
**Odette in Pink Taffeta. Mackay. 20.
***One or Another. Mackay. 72.
***Second Hay. Mackay. 49.
*She Who Would Not Eat Soup. Mackay. 164.
*Their Places. Mackay. 35.
**Vow. Mackay. 168.

MacManus, Seumas. (1870- .)
***Bodach and the Boy. MacManus A. 51.
***Dark  Patrick's Blood-horse. MacManus A. 32.
***Day of the Scholars. MacManus A. 117.
***Donal O'Donnell's Standing Army. MacManus A. 131.
***Far Adventures of Billy Burns. MacManus A. 71.
***Jack and the Lord High Mayor. MacManus A. 215.
**King's Curing. MacManus A. 163.
***Long Cromachy of the Crows. MacManus A. 196.
**Lord Thorny's Eldest Son. MacManus A. 180.
***Mad Man, the Dead Man, and the Devil. MacManus A. 1.
*Man Who Would Dream. MacManus A. 99.
**Parvarted Bachelor. MacManus A. 150.
***Quare  Birds. MacManus  A. 240.
***Queen's Conquest. MacManus A. 16.
***Resurrection of Dinny Muldoon. MacManus A. 263.
***Son of Strength. MacManus A. 248.
**Tinker of Tamlacht. MacManus A. 84.

Marshall, Edison. (1894- .)
**Elephant Remembers. Prize A. 78.

Martin, George Madden. (1866- .)
*Blue Handkerchief. Martin. 71.
*Fire from  Heaven. Martin. 223.
*Flight. Martin. 1.
*Inskip Niggah. Martin. 120.
*Malviney. Martin. 252.
*Pom. Martin. 160.
*Sixty Years  After. Martin. 276.
*Sleeping Sickness. Martin. 200.

Matthews, James Brander. (1852- .)
**Rival Ghosts. Reeve. 141.

Montague, Margaret Prescott. (1878- .) (See 1918.)
***England to America. Prize A. 3. Montague B. 3.
**Gift. Montague A. 3.
***Uncle Sam of Freedom Ridge. Montague C. 3.

Morris, George Pope. (1802-1864.)
Little Frenchman and His Water Lots. Jessup A. 1.

Morris, Gouverneur. (1876- .)
Behind the Door. Holmes. 145.
***Unsent Letter. Holmes. 155.

Mosley, Katherine Prescott.
***Story Vinton Heard at Mallorie. O'Brien A. 191.

O'Brien, Mary Heaton Vorse. See Vorse, Mary Heaton.

O'Higgins, Harvey Jerrold. (1876- .)
**Benjamin  McNeil Murdock. O'Higgins A. 129.
**Conrad Norman. O'Higgins A. 171.
**District Attorney Wickson. O'Higgins A. 305.
**Hon. Benjamin P. Divins. O'Higgins A. 245.
**Jane Shore. O'Higgins A. 45.
***Owen Carey. O'Higgins A. 3.
**Sir Watson Tyler. O'Higgins A. 269.
***Thomas Wales Warren. O'Higgins A. 89.
***W.T. O'Higgins A. 217.

Osborne, William Hamilton. (1873- .)
Infamous Inoculation. Holmes. 166.

O'Sullivan, Vincent. (1872- .)
***Interval. Reeve. 170.

Payne, Will. (1855- .)
***His Escape. Holmes. 196.

Pelley, William Dudley.
***Toast to Forty-Five. O'Brien A. 200.

Pier, Arthur Stanwood. (1874- .)
Night Attack. Laselle. 119.

Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849.) (See 1918.)
*Angel of the Odd. Jessup A. 7.
***Ligeia. French B. 61.

Pope, Laura Spencer Portor. See Portor, Laura Spencer.

Porter, William Sydney. See "Henry, O."

Portor, Laura Spencer. (Mrs. Francis Pope.) (See 1918.)
***Boy's Mother. Holmes. 217.

Post, Melville Davisson. (1871- .) (See 1918.)
Ally. Post B. 243.
***Baron Starkheim. Post B. 333.
**Behind the Stars. Post B. 361.
**Five Thousand Dollars Reward. Prize A. 120.
*Girl in the Villa. Post B. 217.
*Girl from Galacia. Post B. 117.
**Great Legend. Post B. 55.
Laughter of Allah. Post B. 79.
**Lord  Winton's Adventure. Post B. 265.
*Miller of Ostend. Post B. 199.
***Mystery at the Blue Villa. Post B. 3.
***New Administration. Post B. 29.
*Pacifist. Post B. 137.
***Sleuth of the Stars. Post B. 157.
**Stolen Life. Post B. 99.
**Sunburned Lady. Post B. 311.
**Wage-Earners. Post B. 291.
*Witch of the Lecca. Post B. 179.

Pulver, Mary Brecht. (1883- .)
***Path of Glory. Laselle. 133.

Putnam, George Palmer. (1887- .)
***Sixth Man. Holmes. 233.

Pyle, Howard. (1853-1911.)
**Blueskin, the Pirate. Edgar. 71.
**Captain Scarfield. Edgar. 14.

Ravenel, Beatrice Witte. (1870- .)
***High Cost of Conscience. Prize A. 228.

Rhodes, Harrison (Garfield). (1871- .)
***Extra Men. O'Brien A. 223.
*Fair Daughter of a Fairer Mother. Rhodes. 143.
Importance of Being Mrs. Cooper. Rhodes. 171.
**Little  Miracle  at  Tlemcar. Rhodes. 115.
**Sad Case of Quag. Rhodes. 189.
***Spring-time. Rhodes. 213.
**Vive l'Amérique! Rhodes. 233.

Rice, Louise.
***Lubbeny Kiss. Prize A. 180.

Rickford, Katherine.
***Joseph. French B. 41.

Robbins, Tod.
*For Art's Sake. Robbins. 109.
*Silent, White, and Beautiful. Robbins. 1.
***Who Wants a Green Bottle? Robbins. 30.
**Wild Wullie, the Waster. Robbins. 71.

Russell, John. (1885- .)
***Adversary. Russell. 182.
**Amok. Russell. 374.
*Doubloon Gold. Russell. 59.
*East of Eastward. Russell. 301.
**Fourth Man. Russell. 327.
Jetsam. Russell. 273.
*Lost God. Russell. 219.
**Meaning—Chase Yourself. Russell. 251.
*Passion-Vine. Russell. 144.
**Practicing of Christopher. Russell. 114.
*Price of the Head. Russell. 356.
Red Mark. Russell. 9.
**Slanted Beam. Russell. 201.
*Wicks of Macassar. Russell. 97.

Singmaster, Elsie. (Elsie Singmaster Lewars.) (1879- .) (See 1918.)
***Survivors. Laselle. 43.

Smith, Gordon Arthur. (1886- .)
**Bottom of the Cup. Smith. 67.
**City of Lights. Smith. 38.
***End of the Road. Smith. 138.
*Every Move. Smith. 249.
***Feet of Gold. Smith. 100.
***Jeanne, The Maid. Smith. 218.
Letitia. Smith. 283.
**Pagan. Smith. 3.
***Return. Smith. 345.
*Tropic Madness. Smith. 177.
*Young Man's Fancy. Smith. 315.

Sneddon, Robert W. (1880- .)
*Son of Belgium. Holmes. 262.

Spofford, Harriet Prescott. (1835- .)
**Blessing Called Peace. Spofford A. 179.
**Change of Heart. Spofford A. 27.

Spofford, Harriet Prescott (con.)
***Circumstance. Howells. 22.
**Deacon's Whistle. Spofford A. 1.
*Father James. Spofford A. 197.
**Impossible Choice. Spofford A. 227.
**John-a-Dreams. Spofford  A. 101.
***Life in a Night. Spofford A. 293.
*Miss  Mahala  and  Johnny. Spofford A. 311.
**Miss Mahala's Miracle. Spofford A. 125.
**Miss Mahala's Will. Spofford A. 273.
***Old Fiddler. Spofford A. 147.
**Rural Telephone. Spofford A. 55.
**Step-Father. Spofford A. 77.
***Village Dressmaker. Spofford A. 243.

Springer, Fleta Campbell. (1886- .)
***Solitaire. O'Brien A. 232.

Springer, Thomas Grant.
*Blood of the Dragon. Prize A. 135.

Steele, Wilbur Daniel. (1886- .) (See 1918.)
***Dark Hour. O'Brien A. 258.
***"For They Know Not What They Do." Prize A. 21.

Stetson, Charlotte Perkins. See Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Stetson.

Stockton, Frank Richard. (1834-1902.)
***Buller-Podington Compact. Jessup A. 151.
***Christmas Wreck. Howells. 155. Edgar. 203.

Street, Julian (Leonard). (1879- .)
***Bird of Serbia. O'Brien A. 268.

Sullivan, Francis William. (1887- .)
Godson of Jeannette Gontreau. Holmes. 243.

Tarkington, (Newton) Booth. (1869- .)
*Captain Schlotterwerz. Holmes. 276.

Terhune, Albert Payson. (1872- .)
*On Strike. Price A. 56.
Wildcat. Laselle. 55.

"Thanet, Octave." (Alice French.) (1850- .)
***Labor Question at Glasscock's. Edgar. 171.
Miller's Seal. Edgar. 104.
Wild Western Way. Edgar. 35. 35.

Tracy, Virginia. (1875- .)
***Lotus Eaters. Howells. 361.

"Twain, Mark." (Samuel Langhorne Clemens.) (1835-1910.)
***Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Howells. 36. Jessup A. 102.

Van Dyke, Henry. (1852- .)
*Antwerp Road. Van Dyke A. 15.
*Boy of Nazareth Dreams. Van Dyke A. 257.
**Broken Soldier and the Maid of France. Van Dyke A. 87.
City of Refuge. Van Dyke A. 21.
Hearing Ear. Van Dyke A. 137.
*Hero and Tin Soldiers. Van Dyke A. 231.
Primitive and His Sandals. Van Dyke A. 216.
**Remembered Dream. Van Dyke A. 1.
*Salvage Point. Van Dyke A. 237.
*Sanctuary of Trees. Van Dyke A. 37.

Venable, Edward Carrington (1884- .)
***At Isham's. O'Brien A. 293.

Vorse, Mary (Marvin) Heaton. (Mary Heaton Vorse O'Brien.)
***De Vilmarte's Luck. O'Brien A. 305.
***Ninth Man. Vorse. 1.
***Other Room. O'Brien B. 312.

Welles, Harriet, Ogden Deen.
**Admiral's Birthday. Welles. 33.
**Admiral's Hollyhocks. Welles. 128.
*Anchors Aweigh. Welles. 98.
**Between the Treaty Ports. Welles. 47.
*Day. Welles. 165.
**Duty First. Welles. 105.
*Flags. Welles. 251.
**Guam—and Effie. Welles. 214.
*Holding Mast. Welles. 186.
*In the Day's Work. Welles. 1.
***Orders. Welles. 79.
**Wall. Welles. 197.

Weston, George (T.). (1880- .)
**Feminine Touch. Holmes. 299.

Wharton, Edith. (1862- .)
***Mission of Jane. Howells. 170.

Wilkins, Mary E. See Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins.

Williams, Ben Ames. (1889- .)
**They Grind Exceeding Small. Prize A. 42.

Wilson, Harry Leon. (1866- .)
*As to Herman Wagner. Wilson A. 281.
*Can Happen! Wilson A. 234.
*Change of Venus. Wilson A. 209.
*Curls. Wilson A. 303.
Love Story. Wilson A. 38.
*Ma Pettengill and the Animal Kingdom. Wilson A. 3.
*One Arrowhead Day. Wilson A. 145.
*Porch Wren. Wilson A. 178.
*Red-Gap and the Big-League Stuff. Wilson A. 76.
*Taker-Up. Wilson A. 259.
*Vendetta. Wilson A. 109.

Wood, Frances Gilchrist.
***Turkey Red. Prize A. 105.
***White Battalion. O'Brien A. 325.

Wyatt, Edith Franklin. (1873- .) (See 1918.)
***Failure. Howells. 312.

Wynne, Madelene Yale. (1847-1913.)
***Little Room. Howells. 338.

Yezierska, Anzia. (1886- .)
***"Fat of the Land." Yezierska. 178. O'Brien B. 326.
*Free Vacation House. Yezierska. 97.
**How I Found America. Yezierska. 250.
***Hunger. Yezierska. 35.
**Lost "Beautifulness." Yezierska. 65.
***Miracle. Yezierska. 114.
***My Own People. Yezierska. 224.
**Soap and Water. Yezierska. 163.
**Where Lovers Dream. Yezierska. 142.
**Wings. Yezierska. 1.

II. English and Irish Authors

Barr, Robert. (1850-1912.)
*Dorothy of the Mill. Edgar. 53.
*Mill on the Kop. Edgar. 188.

Barrie, Sir James Matthew.(1860- .) (See 1918.)
***How Gavin Birse Put It to Mag Lownie. O'Brien C. 111.

Bax, Arnold. See "O'Byrne, Dermot."

Benson, Edward Frederic. (1867- .)
***Man Who Went Too Far. Reeve. 85.

Beresford, John Davys. (1873- .)
***Lost Suburb. O'Brien C. 309.

Blackwell, Basil.
History of Joseph Binns. New Dec. A. 169.

Blackwood, Algernon. (1869- .)
***Man Who Played Upon the Leaf. O'Brien C. 176.
***Return. French B. 24.
***Second Generation. French B. 31.
***Woman's Ghost Story. Reeve. 108.

Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Edward George. (1803-1873.) (See 1918.)
***Haunted and the Haunters. Reeve. 31.

Burke, Thomas. (1887- .)
***Chink and the Child. O'Brien C. 250.

Cannan, Gilbert. (1884- .)
***Birth. O'Brien C. 346.
***Gynecologia. Cannan. 107.
***Out of Work. Cannan. 159.
***Samways Island. Cannan. 1.
***Ultimus. Cannan. 49.

Couch, Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller. See Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur Thomas.

Cunninghame Graham, Robert Bontine. (1852- .)
***Fourth Magus. O'Brien C. 214.

Defoe, Daniel. (1659-1731.) (See 1918.)
***Apparition of Mrs. Veal. Reeve. 3.

De Sélincourt, Hugh. See Sélincourt, Hugh de.

Dowson, Ernest. (1867-1900.)
***Case of Conscience. Dowson. 150.
***Diary of a Successful Man. Dowson. 133.
***Dying of Francis Donne. O'Brien C. 64.
***Orchestral Violin. Dowson. 165.
***Souvenirs of an Egoist. Dowson. 187.
*** Statute of Limitations. Dowson. 210.

Easton, Dorothy.
**Adversity. Easton. 117.
*Arbor Vitæ. Easton. 141.
*Benefactors. Easton. 137.
**Box of Chocolates. Easton. 92.
*Corner Stone. Easton. 130.
***Day in the Country. Easton. 209.
***For the Red Cross. Easton. 38.
***Frog's Hole. Easton. 30.
**Genteel. Easton. 69.
***Golden Bird. Easton. 11.
***Heart-Breaker. Easton. 56.
**Heartless. Easton. 200.
**Impossible. Easton. 19.
**It Is Forbidden to Touch the Flowers. Easton. 191.
**Laughing Down. Easton. 26.
**Madame  Pottirand. Easton. 254.
*Miss Audrey. Easton. 185.
**Old Indian. Easton. 156.
**Our Men. Easton. 172.
***Shepherd. Easton. 123.
*Spring Evening. Easton. 77.
**Steam Mill. Easton. 48.
***Transformation. Easton. 52.
***Twilight. Easton. 83.
**Unfortunate. Easton. 228.

"Egerton, George." (Mary Chavelita Golding Bright.)
***Empty Frame. O'Brien C. 88.

Evans, Caradoc.
***According to the Pattern. Evans A. 31.
***Earthbred. Evans A. 81.
***For Better. Evans A. 99.
***Greater Than Love. O'Brien C. 340.
***Joseph's House. Evans A. 155.
***Like Brothers. Evans A. 173.
***Lost Treasure. Evans A. 215.
***Love and Hate. Evans A. 11.
***Profit and Glory. Evans A. 231.
**Saint David and the Prophets. Evans A. 131.
***Treasure and Trouble. Evans A. 117.
**Two Apostles. Evans A. 59.
***Unanswered  Prayers. Evans A. 199.
***Widow Woman. Evans A. 187.

Galsworthy, John. (1867- .) (See 1918.)
***Bright Side. Galsworthy B. 75.
*Buttercup  Night. Galsworthy B. 295.
***"Cafard." Galsworthy B. 105.
***Defeat. Galsworthy B. 27.
*"Dog It Was That Died." Galsworthy B. 147.
**Expectations. Galsworthy  B. 227.
***Flotsam  and  Jetsam. Galsworthy B. 51.
***Grey Angel. Galsworthy B. 3.
*In Heaven and Earth. Galsworthy B. 169.
**Manna. Galsworthy B. 239.
Mother Stone. Galsworthy B. 173.
**Muffled Ship. Galsworthy B. 187.
***Nightmare Child. Galsworthy B. 283.
*Peace  Meeting. Galsworthy B. 137.
*Poirot and Bidan. Galsworthy B. 179.
*Recorded. Galsworthy B. 117.
***Recruit. Galsworthy B. 125.
***Spindleberries. Galsworthy B. 209.
***Strange Thing. Galsworthy B. 255.
***Two  Looks. Galsworthy  B. 271.

Graham, R. B. Cunninghame. See Cunninghame Graham, Robert Bontine.

Grant-Watson, E. L.
***Man and Brute. O'Brien C. 296.

Hardy, Thomas. (1840- .) (See 1918.)
***Three Strangers. O'Brien. C. 1.

Harvey, William F.
**Beast with Five Fingers. New Dec. A. 29.

Henham, Ernest G. See "Trevena, John."

Hewlett, Maurice (Henry). (1861- .)
***Quattrocentisteria. O'Brien C. 126.

Hudson, W. H.
***Old Thorn. O'Brien C. 196.

Huxley, Aldous.
***Bookshop. Huxley. 259.
***Cynthia. Huxley. 245.
***Death of Lully. Huxley. 269.
**Eupompus Gave Splendour to Art by Numbers. Huxley. 192.
***Farcical  History of Richard Greenow. Huxley. 1.
**Happily Ever After. Huxley. 116.

Jacobs, William Wymark. (1868- .) (See 1918.)
Bedridden. Jacobs A. 98.
*Convert. Jacobs A. 112.
**Dirty Work. Jacobs A. 262.
*Family Cares. Jacobs A. 171.
*Husbandry. Jacobs A. 140.
*Made to Measure. Jacobs A. 51.
**Paying Off. Jacobs A. 29.
**Sam's Ghost. Jacobs A. 75.
*Shareholders. Jacobs A. 1.
*Striking Hard. Jacobs A. 234.
*Substitute. Jacobs A. 207.
Winter Offensive. Jacobs A. 199.

James, Montague Rhodes. (1862- .) (See 1918.)
***Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book. Reeve. 18.

Jameson, M. Storm-. See Storm-Jameson, M.

Kipling, Rudyard. (1865- .) (See 1918.)
***Phantom Rickshaw. Reeve. 118.
***Three Musketeers. O'Brien C. 93.
***Wee Willie Winkie. O'Brien C. 99.

Lawrence, David Herbert. (1885- .)
***Sick Collier. O'Brien C. 332.

Lytton, Lord. George Bulwer-. See Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Edward George.

"Macleod, Fiona." (William Sharp.) (1856-1905.) (See 1918.)
**Fisher of Men. O'Brien C. 117.
***Sin-Eater. French B. 126.

Marshall, Archibald. (1866- .)
*Audacious Ann. Marshall. 191.
*Bookkeeper. Marshall. 303.
*Builder. Marshall. 155.
*"In that State of Life." Marshall. 95.
*Kencote. Marshall. 3.
*Little Squire. Marshall. 175.
*Son of Service. Marshall. 63.
*Squire and the War. Marshall. 327.
*Terrors. Marshall. 41.

Merrick, Leonard. (1864- .)
**Antenuptial. Merrick B. 274.
**Antiques and Amoretti. Merrick B. 228.
***"At Home, Beloved, At Home." Merrick B. 29.
**Back of Bohemia. Merrick A. 293.
**Banquets of Kiki. Merrick B. 150.
*Bishop's Comedy. Merrick A. 344.
**Call from the Past. Merrick A. 383.
*Child in the Garden. Merrick A. 160.
***Dead Violets. Merrick A. 239.
*Favourite Plot. Merrick A. 259.
**Frankenstein II. Merrick A. 50.
***Lady of Lyons. Merrick A. 313.
***Laurels and the Lady. Merrick A. 81.
***Letter to the Duchess. Merrick A. 180.
***Man Who Understood Women. Merrick A. 1.
***Meeting in the Galéries Lafayette. Merrick B. 78.
***Monsieur Blotto and the Lions. Merrick B. 54.
***"On Est Mieux Ici qu'en Face." Merrick B. 11.
**Piece of Sugar. Merrick B. 127.
**Poet Grows Practical. Merrick B. 173.
***Prince in the Fairy Tale. Merrick A. 200.
*Reconciliation. Merrick A. 368.
**Reformed  Character. Merrick B. 205.
*Reverie. Merrick A. 364.
**Tale That Wouldn't Do. Merrick A. 68.
*Third M. Merrick A. 326.
*Time the Humorist. Merrick A. 277.
***Very Good Thing For the Girl. Merrick A. 18.
**Waiting for Henriette. Merrick B. 251.
*With Intent to Defraud. Merrick A. 224.
**Woman in the Book. Merrick B. 102.
***Woman Who Wished to Die. Merrick A. 35.

Middleton, Richard. (1882-1911.)
***Ghost Ship. O'Brien C. 225.

Nevinson, Henry Woodd. (1852- .)
***Fire of Prometheus. O'Brien C. 157.

Nevinson, Margaret Wynne.
*Alien. Nevinson. 130.
"And, Behold the Babe Wept." Nevinson. 47.
*Blind and Deaf. Nevinson. 39.
Daughter of the State. Nevinson. 80.
*Detained by Marital Authority. Nevinson. 21.
*Eunice Smith—Drunk. Nevinson. 13.
"Girl! God Help Her!" Nevinson. 145.
*In the Lunatic Asylum. Nevinson. 118.
*In the Phthisis Ward. Nevinson. 80.
**Irish Catholic. Nevinson. 91.
*"Mary, Mary, Pity Women!" Nevinson. 53.
*Mothers. Nevinson. 104.
**Obscure Conversationist. Nevinson. 97.
*Old Inky. Nevinson. 75.
*Publicans and Harlots. Nevinson. 68.
*Runaway. Nevinson. 138.
*Suicide. Nevinson. 61.
**Sweep's Legacy. Nevinson. 126.
"Too Old at Forty." Nevinson. 115.
***Vow. Nevinson. 33.
*Welsh Sailor. Nevinson. 27.
*"Widows Indeed!" Nevinson. 134.
*"Your Son's Your Son." Nevinson. 110.

Nightingale, M. T.
*Stone House Affair. New Dec. A. 112.

"O'Byrne, Dermot." (Arnold Edward Trevor Bax.) (1883- .)
***Before Dawn. O'Byrne A. 29.
***Coward's Saga. O'Byrne A. 84.
***"From the Fury of the O'Flahertys." O'Byrne A. 67.
***Invisible City of Coolanoole. O'Byrne A. 127.
***King's Messenger. O'Byrne A. 156.
***Vision of St. Molaise. O'Byrne A. 172.
***Wrack. O'Byrne A. 1.

O'Kelly, Seumas.
***Billy the Clown. O'Kelly B. 149.
***Derelict. O'Kelly B. 173.
***Haven. O'Kelly B. 134.
***Hike and Calcutta. O'Kelly B. 121.
***Man with the Gift. O'Kelly B. 200.
***Michael and Mary. O'Kelly B. 111.
***Weaver's Grave. O'Kelly B. 9.

Pertwee, Roland.
***Big Chance. Pertwee 1.
***Clouds. Pertwee. 243.
***Cure that Worked Wonders. Pertwee. 42.
***Dear Departed. Pertwee. 212.
***Eliphalet Touch. Pertwee. 67.
***Final Curtain. Pertwee. 271.
***Gas Works. Pertwee. 143.
***Getting the Best. Pertwee. 102.