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    ProjectGutenberg'sTheBestAmericanHumorousShortStories,byVarious

    ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostnorestrictionswhatsoever.Youmaycopyit,giveitawayorreuseitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincludedwiththiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net

    Title:TheBestAmericanHumorousShortStories

    Author:Various

    ReleaseDate:February5,2004[EBook#10947]

    Language:English

    ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAMERICANHUMOR***

    ProducedbyKeithM.EckrichandPGDistributedProofreaders

    THEBESTAMERICANHUMOROUSSHORTSTORIES

    EditedbyALEXANDERJESSUP,Editorof"RepresentativeAmericanShortStories,""TheBookoftheShortStory,"the"LittleFrenchMasterpieces"Series,etc.

    INTRODUCTION

    Thisvolumedoesnotaimtocontainall"thebestAmericanhumorousshortstories"therearemanyotherstoriesequallyasgood,Isuppose,inmuchthesamevein,scatteredthroughtherangeofAmericanliterature.Ihavetriedtokeepacertainunityofaimandimpressioninselectingthesestories.InthefirstplaceIdeterminedthatthepiecesofbrieffictionwhichIincludedmustfirstofallbenotmerelygoodstories,butgoodshortstories.IputmyselfinthepositionofonewhowasabouttoselectthebestshortstoriesinthewholerangeofAmericanliterature,[1]butwho,justbeforehestartedtodothis,wasnotifiedthathemustrefrainfromselectinganyofthebestAmericanshortstoriesthatdidnotcontaintheelementofhumortoamarkeddegree.ButIhavekeptinmindthewideboundariesofthetermhumor,andalsothefactthatthehumorousstandardshouldbekeptsecondalthoughaclosesecondtotheshortstorystandard.

    Inviewofthenecessarylimitationsastothevolume'ssize,IcouldnothopetorepresentallperiodsofAmericanliteratureadequately,norwasthisnecessaryinordertogiveexamplesofthebestthathasbeendoneintheshortstoryinahumorousveininAmericanliterature.Probablyalltypesoftheshortstoryofhumorareincludedhere,atanyrate.NotonlycopyrightrestrictionsbutinameasuremyownopinionhavecombinedtoexcludeanythingbyJoelChandlerHarrisUncleRemusfromthecollection.Harrisisprimarilyinhisbestworkahumorist,andonlysecondarilyashortstorywriter.Asahumoristheisofthefirstrankasawriterofshortstorieshisplaceishardlysohigh.His

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    humorisnotmerefunninessanddiversionheisahumoristinthefundamentalandlargesense,asareCervantes,Rabelais,andMarkTwain.

    Nobookisdullerthanabookofjokes,forwhatisrefreshinginsmalldosesbecomesnauseatingwhenperusedinlargeassignments.Humorinliteratureisatitsbestnotwhenservedmerelybyitselfbutwhenpresentedalongwithotheringredientsofliteraryforceinordertogiveawiderepresentationoflife.Therefore"professionalliteraryhumorists,"astheymaybecalled,havenotbeenmuchconsideredinmakingupthiscollection.InthehistoryofAmericanhumortherearethreenameswhichstandoutmoreprominentlythanallothersbeforeMarkTwain,who,however,alsobelongstoawiderclassification:"JoshBillings"(HenryWheelerShaw,18151885),"PetroleumV.Nasby"(DavidRossLocke,18331888),and"ArtemusWard"(CharlesFarrarBrowne,18341867).InthehistoryofAmericanhumorthesenamesrankhighinthefieldofAmericanliteratureandtheAmericanshortstorytheydonotranksohigh.Ihavefoundnothingoftheirsthatwasfirstclassbothashumorandasshortstory.PerhapsjustbelowthesethreeshouldbementionedGeorgeHoratioDerby(18231861),authorofPhoenixiana(1855)andtheSquibobPapers(1859),whowroteunderthename"JohnPhoenix."Ashasbeenjustlysaid,"Derby,Shaw,LockeandBrownecarriedtoanextremenumeroustricksalreadyinventedbyearlierAmericanhumorists,particularlythetricksofgiganticexaggerationandcalmfacedmendacity,buttheyareplainlyinthemainchannelofAmericanhumor,whichhaditsorigininthefirstcommentsofsettlersupontheconditionsofthefrontier,longdrewitsprincipalinspirationfromthedifferencesbetweenthatfrontierandthemoresettledandcompactregionsofthecountry,andreacheditshighestdevelopmentinMarkTwain,inhisyouthachildoftheAmericanfrontier,admirerandimitatorofDerbyandBrowne,andeventuallyamanoftheworldandoneofitsgreatesthumorists."[2]Norhavesuchlaterwriterswhowereessentiallyhumoristsas"BillNye"(EdgarWilsonNye,18501896)beenconsidered,becausetheirworkdoesnotattaintheliterarystandardandtheshortstorystandardascreditablyasitdoesthehumorousone.Whenwecometothecloseofthenineteenthcenturytheworkofsuchmenas"Mr.Dooley"(FinleyPeterDunne,1867)andGeorgeAde(1866)standsout.Butwhilethesetwowriterssuccessfullyconformtotheexactingcriticalrequirementsofgoodhumorandespeciallytheformerofgoodliterature,neitherthoughAdemoresoattainstothegreatestexcellenceoftheshortstory.Mr.DooleyoftheArcheyRoadisessentiallyawholesomeandwidepoisedhumorousphilosopher,andtheauthorofFablesinSlangischieflyasatirist,whetherinfable,playorwhatnot.

    ThisvolumemightwellhavestartedwithsomethingbyWashingtonIrving,Isupposemanycriticswouldsay.Itdoesnotseemtome,however,thatIrving'sbestshortstories,suchasTheLegendofSleepyHollowandRipVanWinkle,areessentiallyhumorousstories,althoughtheyareo'erspreadwiththegeniallightofreminiscence.Itisthearmchairgenialityoftheeighteenthcenturyessayists,aconstituentoftheauthorratherthanofhismaterialandproduct.Irving'sbesthumorouscreations,indeed,arescarcelyshortstoriesatall,butratheressaylikesketches,orsketchlikeessays.JamesLawson(17991880)inhisTalesandSketches:byaCosmopolite(1830),notablyinTheDapperGentleman'sStory,isalsoplainlyafollowerofIrving.WecometoadifferentveinintheworkofsuchwritersasWilliamTappanThompson(18121882),authoroftheamusingstoriesinletterform,MajorJones'sCourtship(1840)JohnsonJonesHooper(18151862),authorofWidowRugby'sHusband,andOtherTalesofAlabama(1851)JosephG.Baldwin(18151864),whowroteTheFlushTimesofAlabamaandMississippi(1853)andAugustusBaldwinLongstreet(17901870),whoseGeorgiaScenes(1835)areasimportantin"localcolor"astheyareracyinhumor.Yetnoneofthesewritersyieldtheexcellentshortstorywhichisalsoagoodpieceofhumorousliterature.Buttheyopenedthewayfortheworkoflaterwriterswhodidattainthesecombinedexcellences.

    ThesentimentalveinofthemidcenturyisseenintheworkofSebaSmith(17921868),ElizaLeslie(17871858),FrancesMiriamWhitcher("WidowBedott,"18111852),MaryW.Janvrin(18301870),andAliceBradleyHavenNeal(18281863).ThewellknownworkofJosephClayNeal(18071847)issoallpervadedwithcaricatureandhumorthatitbelongswiththeworkoftheprofessionalhumoristschoolratherthanwiththeshortstorywriters.TomentionhisCharcoalSketches,orScenesinaMetropolis(18371849)mustsuffice.TheworkofSebaSmithissufficientlyexpressedinhistitle,

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    WayDownEast,orPortraituresofYankeeLife(1854),althoughhisLettersofMajorJackDowning(1833)isbetterknown.OfhissinglestoriesmaybementionedTheGeneralCourtandJaneAndrews'FirkinofButter(October,1847,Graham'sMagazine).TheworkofFrancesMiriamWhitcher("WidowBedott")isofsomewhatfinergrain,bothashumorandinotherliteraryqualities.Herstoriesorsketches,suchasAuntMagwire'sAccountofParsonScrantum'sDonationParty(March,1848,Godey'sLady'sBook)andAuntMagwire'sAccountoftheMissiontoMuffletegawmy(July,1859,Godey's),wereafterwardscollectedinTheWidowBedottPapers(18555680).ThescopeoftheworkofMaryB.Havenissufficientlysuggestedbyherstory,Mrs.Bowen'sParlorandSpareBedroom(February,1860,Godey's),whilethebeststoriesofMaryW.JanvrinincludeTheForeignCountor,HighArtinTattletown(October,1860,Godey's)andCityRelationsor,theNewmans'SummeratClovernook(November,1861,Godey's).TheworkofAliceBradleyHavenNealisofsomewhatsimilartexture.Herbook,TheGossipsofRivertown,withSketchesinProseandVerse(1850)indicatesherfield,asdoesthesingletitle,TheThirdClassHotel(December,1861,Godey's).PerhapsthemostrepresentativefigureofthisschoolisElizaLeslie(17871858),whoas"MissLeslie"wasoneofthemostfrequentcontributorstothemagazinesofthe1830's,1840'sand1850's.OneofherbeststoriesisTheWatkinsonEvening(December,1846,Godey'sLady'sBook),includedinthepresentvolumeothersareTheBatsonCottage(November,1846,Godey'sLady'sBook)andJulietIrwinor,theCarriagePeople(June,1847,Godey'sLady'sBook).OneofherchiefcollectionsofstoriesisPencilSketches(18331837)."MissLeslie,"wroteEdgarAllanPoe,"iscelebratedforthehomelynaturalnessofherstoriesandforthebroadsatireofhercomicstyle."ShewastheeditorofTheGiftoneofthebestannualsofthetime,andinthatpositionperhapsexertedherchiefinfluenceonAmericanliteratureWhenonehasreadthreeorfourrepresentativestoriesbythesesevenauthorsonecangraspthemall.Theirtitlesasarulestrikethekeynote.Thesewriters,except"theWidowBedott,"areperhapssentimentalistsratherthanhumoristsinintention,butreadinthelightoflaterdaystheirapparentseriousdelineationsofthefrolicsandfoiblesoftheirtimetakeonahighlyhumorousaspect.

    GeorgePopeMorris(18021864)wasoneofthefoundersofTheNewYorkMirror,andforatimeitseditor.Heisbestknownastheauthorofthepoem,Woodman,SpareThatTree,andotherpoemsandsongs.TheLittleFrenchmanandHisWaterLots(1839),thefirststoryinthepresentvolume,isselectednotbecauseMorriswasespeciallyprominentinthefieldoftheshortstoryorhumorousprosebutbecauseofthissinglestory'srepresentativecharacter.EdgarAllanPoe(18091849)followswithTheAngeloftheOdd(October,1844,ColumbianMagazine),perhapsthebestofhishumorousstories.TheSystemofDr.TarrandProf.Fether(November,1845,Graham'sMagazine)mayberatedhigher,butitisnotessentiallyahumorousstory.Ratheritisincisivesatire,withtoobitinganundercurrenttopassmusterinthecompanyofthegenialinliterature.Poe'shumorousstoriesasawholehavetendedtobelittleratherthanincreasehisfame,manyofthemvergingontheinane.Therearesome,however,whichareatleastexcellentfoolingfewmorethanthat.

    ProbablythisishardlytheplaceforanextendeddiscussionofPoe,sincethepresentvolumecoversneitherAmericanliteratureasawholenortheAmericanshortstoryingeneral,andPoeisnotahumoristinhismorenotableproductions.LetitbesaidthatPoeinventedorperfectedmoreexactly,perfectedhisowninventionofthemodernshortstorythatishisgeneralandsupremeachievement.Healsostandssuperlativeforthequalityofthreevarietiesofshortstories,thoseofterror,beautyandratiocination.InthefirstclassbelongADescentintotheMaelstrom(1841),ThePitandthePendulum(1842),TheBlackCat(1843),andTheCaskofAmontillado(1846).IntherealmofbeautyhisnotableproductionsareTheAssignation(1834),Shadow:aParable(1835),Ligeia(1838),TheFalloftheHouseofUsher(1839),Eleonora(1841),andTheMasqueoftheRedDeath(1842).ThetalesofratiocinationwhatarenowgenerallytermeddetectivestoriesincludeTheMurdersintheRueMorgue(1841)anditssequel,TheMysteryofMarieRogt(18421843),TheGoldBug(1843),TheOblongBox(1844),"ThouArttheMan"(1844),andThePurloinedLetter(1844).

    Then,too,Poewasamasterofstyle,oneofthegreatestinEnglishprose,possiblythegreatestsinceDeQuincey,andquitethemostremarkableamongAmericanauthors.Poe'sinfluenceontheshortstoryformhasbeentremendous.Althoughtheeffectsofstructuremaybeastoundingintheirpoweror

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    unexpectedness,yetthemeansbywhichtheseeffectsarebroughtaboutarepurelymechanical.Anystudentoffictioncancomprehendthem,almostanypractitioneroffictionwithabenttowardformcanfairlymasterthem.Themeritofanyshortstoryproductiondependsonmanyotherelementsaswellthevalueofthestructuralelementtotheproductionasawholedependsfirstontheselectionoftheparticularsortofstructuralschemebestsuitedtothestoryinhand,andsecondly,onthewayinwhichthisiscombinedwiththepieceofwritingtoformawellbalancedwhole.Styleismoredifficulttoimitatethanstructure,butontheotherhandtheoriginofstructuralinfluenceismoredifficulttotracethanthatofstyle.Sowhile,inageneralway,wefeelthatPoe'sinfluenceonstructureintheshortstoryhasbeengreat,itisdifficultratherthanobvioustotraceparticularinstances.Itisfeltintheadvanceofthegenerallevelofshortstoryart.Thereisnothingpersonalaboutstructurethereiseverythingpersonalaboutstyle.Poe'sstyleisbothtoomuchhisownandtoosuperlativelygoodtobesuccessfullyimitatedwhomhavewehadwho,evenifhewereamasterofstructuraleffects,couldbeasecondPoe?Lookingatthematterinanotherway,Poe'sstyleisnothisownatall.Thereisnothing"personal"aboutitinthepettysenseofthatterm.Ratherwefeelthat,inthecaseofthisauthor,universalityhasbeenattained.ItwasPoe'sgoodfortunetobehimselfinstyle,asoftenincontent,onaplaneofuniversalappeal.Butinsomegeneralcharacteristicsofhisstylehisworkcanbe,notperhapsimitated,butemulated.Greatervividness,deftimpressionism,brevitythatstrikesinstantlytoatellingeffectalltheseanauthormayhavewithoutimitatinganyone'sstylebutratherimitatingexcellence.Poe's"imitators"whohaveamountedtoanythinghavenottriedtoimitatehimbuttoviewithhim.Theyarestrivingafterperfectionism.OfcoursethesortofgoodstyleinwhichPoeindulgedisnotthekindofstyleorthevarietiesofstylesuitedforallpurposes,butforthepurposestowhichitisadapteditmaywellbecalledsupreme.

    Thenasapoethisworkisalmostorquiteasexcellentinasomewhatmorerestrictedrange.InverseheisprobablythebestartistinAmericanletters.Herehissolepursuitwasbeauty,bothofformandthoughtheisvividandapt,intenselylyricalbutwithoutmuchrangeofthought.Hehasdeepintuitionsbutnocomprehensivegraspoflife.

    Hiscriticismis,onthewhole,theleastimportantpartofhiswork.Hehadafewgoodandbrilliantideaswhichcameatjusttherighttimetomakeastirintheworld,andthesehislogicalmindandtellingstyleenabledhimtopresenttothebestadvantage.Asacriticheisneitherbroadminded,learned,norcomprehensive.Norishe,exceptinthefewideasreferredto,deep.Heis,however,limitedlyoriginalperhapsintenselyoriginalwithinhisnarrowscope.ButtheexcellencesandlimitationsofPoeinanyonepartofhisworkwerehislimitationsandexcellencesinall.

    AsPoe'sbestshortstoriesmaybementioned:Metzengerstein(Jan.14,1832,PhiladelphiaSaturdayCourier),Ms.FoundinaBottle(October19,1833,BaltimoreSaturdayVisiter),TheAssignation(January,1834,Godey'sLady'sBook),Berenice(March,1835,SouthernLiteraryMessenger),Morella(April,1835,SouthernLiteraryMessenger),TheUnparalleledAdventureofOneHansPfaall(June,1835,SouthernLiteraryMessenger),KingPest:aTaleContaininganAllegory(September,1835,SouthernLiteraryMessenger),Shadow:aParable(September,1835,SouthernLiteraryMessenger),Ligeia(September,1838,AmericanMuseum),TheFalloftheHouseofUsher(September,1839,Burton'sGentleman'sMagazine),WilliamWilson(1839:Giftfor1840),TheConversationofEirosandCharmion(December,1839,Burton'sGentleman'sMagazine),TheMurdersintheRueMorgue(April,1841,Graham'sMagazine),ADescentintotheMaelstrom(May,1841,Graham'sMagazine),Eleonora(1841:Giftfor1842),TheMasqueoftheRedDeath(May,1842,Graham'sMagazine),ThePitandthePendulum(1842:Giftfor1843),TheTellTaleHeart(January,1843,Pioneer),TheGoldBug(June21and28,1843,DollarNewspaper),TheBlackCat(August19,1843,UnitedStatesSaturdayPost),TheOblongBox(September,1844,Godey'sLady'sBook),TheAngeloftheOdd(October,1844,ColumbianMagazine),"ThouArttheMan"(November,1844,Godey'sLady'sBook),ThePurloinedLetter(1844:Giftfor1845),TheImpofthePerverse(July,1845,Graham'sMagazine),TheSystemofDr.TarrandProf.Fether(November,1845,Graham'sMagazine),TheFactsintheCaseofM.Valdemar(December,1845,AmericanWhigReview),TheCaskofAmontillado(November,1846,Godey'sLady'sBook),andLander'sCottage

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    (June9,1849,FlagofOurUnion).Poe'schiefcollectionsare:TalesoftheGrotesqueandArabesque(1840),Tales(1845),andTheWorksoftheLateEdgarAllanPoe(185056).Thesetitleshavebeendroppedfromrecenteditionsofhisworks,however,andthestoriesbroughttogetherunderthetitleTales,orundersubdivisionsfurnishedbyhiseditors,suchasTalesofRatiocination,etc.

    CarolineMatildaStansburyKirkland(18011864)wroteofthefrontierlifeoftheMiddleWestinthemidnineteenthcentury.HerprincipalcollectionofshortstoriesisWesternClearings(1845),fromwhichTheSchoolmaster'sProgress,firstpublishedinTheGiftfor1845(outin1844),istaken.OtherstoriesrepublishedinthatcollectionareTheBallatThram'sHuddle(April,1840,KnickerbockerMagazine),RecollectionsoftheLandFever(September,1840,KnickerbockerMagazine),andTheBeeTree(TheGiftfor1842outin1841).Herdescriptionofthecountryschoolmaster,"apuppetcutoutofshingleandjerkedbyastring,"andthelocalcoloringeneralofthisandotherstoriesgiveheraleadingplaceamongthewritersofherperiodwhocombinedfidelityindelineatingfrontierlifewithsufficientfictionalinteresttomakeapleasingwholeofpermanentvalue.

    GeorgeWilliamCurtis(18241892)gainedhischieffameasanessayist,andprobablybecamebestknownfromthedepartmentwhichheconducted,from1853,asTheEditor'sEasyChairforHarper'sMagazineformanyyears.Hisvolume,PrueandI(1856),containsmanyfictionalelements,andastoryfromit,Titbottom'sSpectacles,whichfirstappearedinPutnam'sMonthlyforDecember,1854,isgiveninthisvolumebecauseitisagoodhumorousshortstoryratherthanbecauseofitsauthor'sgeneraleminenceinthisfield.OtherstoriesofhisworthnotingareTheShroudedPortrait(inTheKnickerbockerGallery,1855)andTheMillenialClub(November,1858,KnickerbockerMagazine).

    EdwardEverettHale(18221909)ischieflyknownastheauthoroftheshortstory,TheManWithoutaCountry(December,1863,AtlanticMonthly),buthisventureinthecomicvein,MyDoubleandHowHeUndidMe(September,1859,AtlanticMonthly),isequallyworthyofappreciation.Itwashisfirstpublishedstoryofimportance.Othernoteworthystoriesofhisare:TheBrickMoon(October,NovemberandDecember,1869,AtlanticMonthly),LifeintheBrickMoon(February,1870,AtlanticMonthly),andSusan'sEscort(May,1890,Harper'sMagazine).Hischiefvolumesofshortstoriesare:TheManWithoutaCountry,andOtherTales(1868)TheBrickMoon,andOtherStories(1873)CrusoeinNewYork,andOtherTales(1880)andSusan'sEscort,andOthers(1897).ThestoriesbyHalewhichhavemadehisfameallshowabilityofnomeanorderbuttheyarecharacterizedbyinventionandingenuityratherthanbysuffusingimagination.ThereisnotmuchhomogeneityaboutHale'swork.Almostanytwostoriesofhisreadasiftheymighthavebeenwrittenbydifferentauthors.Forthetimebeingperhapsthisisanadvantagehisstoriescharmbytheirnoveltyandindividuality.Inthelongrun,however,thisprovesratherahandicap.Trueindividuality,inliteratureasintheotherarts,consistsnotin"beingdifferent"ondifferentoccasionsindifferentworkssomuchasinbeingsamelydifferentfromotherwritersinbeingconsistentlyone'sself,ratherthandiffusedlyvariousselves.Thisdoesnotlessenthevalueofparticularstories,ofcourse.ItmerelyinjuresHale'sfameasawhole.Perhapssomewillchieflyfeelnotsomuchthathisstoriesaredifferentamongthemselves,butthattheyarenotstronglyanythinganybody'sinparticular,thattheylackstrongpersonality.Thepathwaytofameisstrewnwithstrayexhibitionsoftalent.Apartfromhispurelyliteraryproductions,Halewasoneofthelargemoralforcesofhistime,through"uplift"bothinspeechandthewrittenword.

    OliverWendellHolmes(18091894),oneoftheleadingwitsofAmericanliterature,isnotatallwellknownasashortstorywriter,nordidhewritemanybriefpiecesoffiction.HisfamerestschieflyonhispoemsandontheBreakfastTablebooks(1858186018721890).OldIronsides,TheLastLeaf,TheChamberedNautilusandHomesickinHeavenaresecureofplacesintheanthologiesofthefuture,whilehislighterversehasmadehimoneoftheleadingAmericanwritersof"familiarverse."FrederickLockerLampsonintheprefacetothefirsteditionofhisLyraElegantiarum(1867)declaredthatHolmeswas"perhapsthebestlivingwriterofthisspeciesofverse."HistrenchantattackonHomeopathyandItsKindredDelusions(1842)makesuswonderwhatwouldhavebeenhisattitudetowardsomeofthebeliefsofourowndayChristianScience,forexample.Hemighthave"exposed"

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    itundersomesuchtitleasTheReligioMedicalMasquerade,orbroughtthebatteriesofhishumortobearonitinthemannerofRobertLouisStevenson'sfable,SomethingInIt:"Perhapsthereisnotmuchinit,asIsupposedbutthereissomethinginitafterall.Letmebethankfulforthat."InHolmes'longworksoffiction,ElsieVenner(1861),TheGuardianAngel(1867)andAMortalAntipathy(1885),themethodisstillsomewhatthatoftheessayist.IhavefoundashortpieceoffictionbyhimintheMarch,1832,numberofTheNewEnglandMagazine,calledTheDbut,signedO.W.H.TheStoryofIrisinTheProfessorattheBreakfastTable,whichraninTheAtlanticthroughout1859,andAVisittotheAsylumforAgedandDecayedPunsters(January,1861,Atlantic)arehisonlyotherbrieffictionsofwhichIamaware.ThelastnamedhasbeengivenplaceinthepresentselectionbecauseitischaracteristicofacertaintypeandperiodofAmericanhumor,althoughitsshortstoryqualitiesarenotparticularlystrong.

    SamuelLanghorneClemens(18351910),whoachievedfameas"MarkTwain,"isonlyincidentallyashortstorywriter,althoughhewrotemanyshortpiecesoffiction.Hishumorousquality,Imean,issopreponderant,thatonehardlythinksoftheform.Indeed,heisneververystronginfictionalconstruction,andofthemodernshortstoryartheevidentlykneworcaredlittle.Heisahumoristinthelargesense,asareRabelaisandCervantes,althoughheisalsoahumoristinvariousrestrictedapplicationsofthewordthatarewhollyAmerican.TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCountywashisfirstpublicationofimportance,anditsawthelightintheNov.18,1865,numberofTheSaturdayPress.Itwasrepublishedinthecollection,TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches,in1867.Othersofhisbestpiecesofshortfictionare:TheCanvasser'sTale(December,1876,AtlanticMonthly),The1,000,000BankNote(January,1893,CenturyMagazine),TheEsquimauMaiden'sRomance(November,1893,Cosmopolitan),TravelingwithaReformer(December,1893,Cosmopolitan),TheManThatCorruptedHadleyburg(December,1899,Harper's),ADoubleBarrelledDetectiveStory(JanuaryandFebruary,1902,Harper's)ADog'sTale(December,1903,Harper's),andEve'sDiary(December,1905,Harper's).AmongTwain'schiefcollectionsofshortstoriesare:TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches(1867)TheStolenWhiteElephant(1882),The1,000,000BankNote(1893),andTheManThatCorruptedHadleyburg,andOtherStoriesandSketches(1900).

    HarryStillwellEdwards(1855),anativeofGeorgia,togetherwithSarahBarnwellElliott(?)andWillN.Harben(18581919)havecontinuedintheveinofthatearlierwriter,AugustusBaldwinLongstreet(17901870),authorofGeorgiaScenes(1835).Edwards'bestworkistobefoundinhisshortstoriesofblackandwhitelifeafterthemannerofRichardMalcolmJohnston.Hehaswrittenseveralnovels,butheisessentiallyawriterofhumannaturesketches."Heishumorousandpicturesque,"saysFredLewisPattee,"andoftenheisforamomentthemasterofpathos,buthehasaddednothingnewandnothingcommandinglydistinctive."[3]AnexceptiontothismightbemadeinfavorofElderBrown'sBackslide(August,1885,Harper's),astoryinwhichalltheelementsaresonicelybalancedthattheresultmaywellbecalledamasterpieceofobjectivehumorandpathos.Othersofhisshortstoriesespeciallyworthyofmentionare:TwoRunaways(July,1886,Century),SisterTodhunter'sHeart(July,1887,Century),"DeValleyan'deShadder"(January,1888,Century),AnIdylof"Sinkin'Mount'in"(October,1888,Century),TheRivalSouls(March,1889,Century),TheWoodhavenGoat(March,1899,Century),andTheShadow(December,1906,Century).HischiefcollectionsareTwoRunaways,andOtherStories(1889)andHisDefense,andOtherStories(1898).

    Themostnotable,however,ofthegroupofshortstorywritersofGeorgialifeisperhapsRichardMalcolmJohnston(18221898).HestandsbetweenLongstreetandtheyoungerwritersofGeorgialife.Hisfirstbookwas_GeorgiaSketches,byanOldMan(1864).TheGoosePondSchool,ashortstory,hadbeenwrittenin1857itwasnotpublished,however,tillitappearedintheNovemberandDecember,1869,numbersofaSouthernmagazine,TheNewEclectic,overthepseudonym"PhilemonPerch."HisfamousDukesboroughTales(18711874)waslargelyarepublicationoftheearlierbook.Othernoteworthycollectionsofhisare:Mr.AbsalomBillingsleaandOtherGeorgiaFolk(1888),Mr.Fortner'sMaritalClaims,andOtherStories(1892),andOldTimesinMiddleGeorgia(1897).Amongindividualstoriesstandout:TheOrganGrinder(July,1870,NewEclectic),Mr.Neelus

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    Peeler'sConditions(June,1879,Scribner'sMonthly),TheBriefEmbarrassmentofMr.IversonBlount(September,1884,Century)TheHotelExperienceofMr.PinkFluker(June,1886,Century),republishedinthepresentcollectionTheWimpyAdoptions(February,1887,Century),TheExperimentsofMissSallyCash(September,1888,Century),andOurWitch(March,1897,Century).JohnstonmustberankedalmostwithBretHarteasapioneerin"localcolor"work,althoughhisworkhadlittlerecognitionuntilhisDukesboroughTaleswererepublishedbyHarper&Brothersin1883.

    BretHarte(18391902)ismentionedhereowingtothelatedateofhisstoryincludedinthisvolume,ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff(March,1901,Harper's),althoughhisworkasawholeofcoursebelongstoanearlierperiodofourliterature.ItisnowwellthumbedliteraryhistorythatTheLuckofRoaringCamp(August,1868,Overland)andTheOutcastsofPokerFlat(January,1869,Overland)broughthimapopularitythat,initssuddennessandextent,hadnoprecedentinAmericanliteraturesaveinthecaseofMrs.StoweandUncleTom'sCabin.AccordingtoHarte'sownstatement,madeintheretrospectoflateryears,hesetoutdeliberatelytoaddanewprovincetoAmericanliterature.Althoughhisworkhasbeenbelittledbecausehehaschosenexceptionalandtheatrichappenings,yethisrealstrengthcamefromhiscontactwithWesternlife.

    IrvingandDickensandothermodelsservedonlytoteachhimhisart."Finally,"saysProf.Pattee,"Hartewastheparentofthemodernformoftheshortstory.ItwashewhostartedKiplingandCableandThomasNelsonPage.Fewindeedhavesurpassedhiminthemechanicsofthismostdifficultofarts.Accordingtohisownbelief,theformisanAmericanproductHartehasdescribedthegenesisofhisownart.ItsprangfromtheWesternhumorandwasdevelopedbythecircumstancesthatsurroundedhim.Manyofhisshortstoriesaremodels.Theycontainnotasuperfluousword,theyhandleasingleincidentwithgrapicpower,theyclosewithoutmoralorcomment.Theformcameasanaturalevolutionfromhislimitationsandpowers.Withhimthestorymustofnecessitybebrief.BretHartewastheartistofimpulse,thepainterofsingleburningmoments,theflashlightphotographerwhocaughtinluriddetailonedramaticepisodeinthelifeofamanoracommunityandlefttherestindarkness."[4]

    Harte'shumorismostly"Westernhumor"Thereisnotalwaysuproariousmerriment,butthereisaconstantbackgroundofhumor.IknowofnomoreamusingsceneinAmericanliteraturethanthatinthecourtroomwhentheColonelgiveshisversionofthedeacon'smethodofsignalingtothewidowinHarte'sstoryincludedinthepresentvolume,ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff.Hereispartofit:

    "Truetotheinstructionsshehadreceivedfromhim,herlipspartinthemusicalutterance(theColonelloweredhisvoiceinafaintfalsetto,presumablyinfondimitationofhisfairclient)Kerree!'Instantlythenightbecomesresonantwiththeimpassionedreply(theColonelhereliftedhisvoiceinstentoriantones),Kerrow!'Again,ashepasses,risesthesoftKerree!'again,ashisformislostinthedistance,comesbackthedeepKerrow!'"

    WhileHarte'sstoriesallhaveinthemacertainelementorbackgroundofhumor,yetperhapsthemajorityofthemarechieflyromanticordramaticevenmorethantheyarehumorous.

    Amongthebestofhisshortstoriesmaybementioned:TheLuckofRoaringCamp(August,1868,Overland),TheOutcastsofPokerFlat(January,1869,Overland),Tennessee'sPartner(October,1869,Overland),BrownofCalaveras(March,1870,Overland),Flip:aCaliforniaRomance(inFlip,andOtherStories,1882),LeftOutonLoneStarMountain(January,1884,Longman's),AnIngenueoftheSierras(July,1894,McClure's),TheBellRingerofAngel's(inTheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories,1894),ChuChu(inTheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories,1894),TheManandtheMountain(inTheAncestorsofPeterAtherly,andOtherTales,1897),SalomyJane'sKiss(inStoriesinLightandShadow,1898),TheYoungestMissPiper(February,1900,Leslie'sMonthly),ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff(March,1901,Harper's),AMercuryoftheFoothills(July,1901,Cosmopolitan),LantyFoster'sMistake(December,1901,NewEngland),AnAliBabaoftheSierras(January4,1902,SaturdayEveningPost),andDickBoyle'sBusinessCard(inTrent'sTrust,andOtherStories,1903).Amonghisnotablecollectionsofstoriesare:TheLuckofRoaringCamp,and

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    OtherSketches(1870),Flip,andOtherStories(1882),OntheFrontier(1884),ColonelStarbottle'sClient,andSomeOtherPeople(1892),AProtgofJackHamlin's,andOtherStories(1894),TheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories(1894),TheAncestorsofPeterAtherly,andOtherTales(1897),OpeningsintheOldTrail(1902),andTrent'sTrust,andOtherStories(1903).Thetitlesandmakeupofseveralofhiscollectionswerechangedwhentheycametobearrangedinthecompleteeditionofhisworks.[5]

    HenryCuylerBunner(18551896)isoneofthehumorousgeniusesofAmericanliterature.Heisequallyathomeincleververseorthebriefshortstory.Prof.FredLewisPatteehassummeduphisachievementasfollows:"Another[thanStockton]whodidmuchtoadvancetheshortstorytowardthemechanicalperfectionithadattainedtoatthecloseofthecenturywasHenryCuylerBunner,editorofPuckandcreatorofsomeofthemostexquisiteversdesocitoftheperiod.Thetitleofoneofhiscollections,MadeinFrance:FrenchTalesRetoldwithaU.S.Twist(1893),formsanintroductiontohisfiction.Notthathewasanimitatorfewhavebeenmoreoriginalorhaveputmoreoftheirownpersonalityintotheirwork.HisgeniuswasGallic.LikeAldrich,heapproachedtheshortstoryfromthefastidiousstandpointofthelyricpoet.Withhim,aswithAldrich,artwasamatterofexquisitetouches,ofinfinitecompression,ofalmostimperceptibleshadings.Theluridsplashesandtheheavyemphasisofthelocalcoloristsoffendedhissensitivetaste:hewouldworkwithsuggestion,withmicroscopicfocussings,andalwayswithdignityandelegance.HewasmoreAmericanthanHenryJames,moreeventhanAldrich.HechosealwaysdistinctivelyAmericansubjectsNewYorkCitywashisfavoritethemeandhisworkhadmoredepthofsoulthanStockton'sorAldrich's.Thestorymaybetrivial,amereexpandedanecdote,yetitissuretobesovitallytreatedthat,likeMaupassant'swork,itgripsandremains,and,whatismore,itliftsandchastensorexplains.ItmaybesaidwithassurancethatShortSixesmarksoneofthehighplaceswhichhavebeenattainedbytheAmericanshortstory."[6]

    AmongBunner'sbeststoriesare:LoveinOldCloathes(September,1883,Century),ASuccessfulFailure(July,1887,Puck),TheLoveLettersofSmith(July23,1890,Puck)TheNicePeople(July30,1890,Puck),TheNineCentGirls(August13,1890,Puck),TheTwoChurchesof'Quawket(August27,1890,Puck),ARoundUp(September10,1890,Puck),ASisterlyScheme(September24,1890,Puck),OurAromaticUncle(August,1895,Scribner's),TheTimeTableTest(inTheSuburbanSage,1896).HecollaboratedwithProf.BranderMatthewsinseveralstories,notablyinTheDocumentsintheCase(Sept.,1879,Scribner'sMonthly).Hisbestcollectionsare:_ShortSixes:StoriestobeReadWhiletheCandleBurns(1891),MoreShortSixes(1894),andLoveinOldCloathes,andOtherStories(1896).

    AfterPoeandHawthornealmostthefirstauthorinAmericatomakeavertiginousimpressionbyhisshortstorieswasBretHarte.Thewideandsuddenpopularityheattainedbythepublicationofhistwoshortstories,TheLuckofRoaringCamp(1868)andTheOutcastsofPokerFlat(1869),hasalreadybeennoted.[7]ButonestoryjustbeforeHartethatastonishedthefictionaudiencewithitspowerandartwasHarrietPrescottSpofford's(1835)TheAmberGods(JanuaryandFebruary,1860,Atlantic),withitsstartlingending,"Imusthavediedattenminutespastone."AfterHartethenextstorytomakeagreatsensationwasThomasBaileyAldrich'sMarjorieDaw(April,1873,Atlantic),astorywithasurpriseattheend,ashadbeenhisAStruggleforLife(July,1867,Atlantic),althoughitwasonlyMarjorieDawthatattractedmuchattentionatthetime.ThencameGeorgeWashingtonCable's(1844)"PossonJone',"(April1,1876,Appleton'sJournal)andalittlelaterCharlesEgbertCraddock's(1850)TheDancin'PartyatHarrison'sCove(May,1878,Atlantic)andTheStarintheValley(November,1878,Atlantic).ButtheworkofCableandCraddock,thoughofsterlingworth,wonitswaygradually.EvenEdwardEverettHale's(18221909)MyDoubleandHowHeUndidMe(September,1859,Atlantic)andTheManWithoutaCountry(December,1863,Atlantic)hadfallencomparativelystillborn.Thetrulyastoundingshortstorysuccesses,afterPoeandHawthorne,then,wereSpofford,BretHarteandAldrich.NextcameFrankRichardStockton(18341902)."TheinterestcreatedbytheappearanceofMarjorieDaw,"saysProf.Pattee,"wasmildcomparedwiththataccordedtoFrankR.Stockton'sTheLadyortheTiger?(1884).Stocktonhadnotthetechniqueof

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    Aldrichnorhisnaturalnessandease.Certainlyhehadnothisatmosphereofthebeaumondeandhisgraceofstyle,butinwhimsicalityandunexpectednessandinthatsubtleartthatmakestheobviouslyimpossibleseemperfectlyplausibleandcommonplacehesurpassednotonlyhimbutEdwardEverettHaleandallothers.AfterStocktonandTheLadyortheTiger?itwasrealizedevenbytheuncriticalthatshortstorywritinghadbecomeasubtleartandthatthemasterofitssubtletieshadhisreaderathismercy."[8]ThepublicationofStockton'sshortstoriescoversaperiodofoverfortyyears,fromMahala'sDrive(November,1868,Lippincott's)toTheTroubleSheCausedWhenSheKissed(December,1911,Ladies'HomeJournal),publishednineyearsafterhisdeath.Amongthemorenotableofhisstoriesmaybementioned:TheTransferredGhost(May,1882,Century),TheLadyortheTiger?(November,1882,Century),TheReversibleLandscape(July,1884,Century),TheRemarkableWreckofthe"ThomasHyke"(August,1884,Century),"HisWife'sDeceasedSister"(January,1884,Century),ATaleofNegativeGravity(December,1884,Century),TheChristmasWreck(inTheChristmasWreck,andOtherStories,1886),AmosKilbright(inAmosKilbright,HisAdscititiousExperiences,withOtherStories,1888),Asaph(May,1892,Cosmopolitan),MyTerminalMoraine(April26,1892,Collier'sOnceaWeekLibrary),TheMagicEgg(June,1894,Century),TheBullerPodingtonCompact(August,1897,Scribner's),andTheWidow'sCruise(inAStoryTeller'sPack,1897).Mostofhisbestworkwasgatheredintothecollections:TheLadyortheTiger?,andOtherStories(1884),TheBeeManofOrn,andOtherFancifulTales(1887),AmosKilbright,HisAdscititiousExperiences,withOtherStories(1888),TheClocksofRondaine,andOtherStories(1892),AChosenFew(1895),AStoryTeller'sPack(1897),andTheQueen'sMuseum,andOtherFancifulTales(1906).

    AfterStocktonandBunnercomeO.Henry(18621910)andJackLondon(18761916),apostlesoftheburlyandvigorousinfiction.BesideorabovethemstandHenryJames(18431916)althoughhebelongstoanearlierperiodaswellEdithWharton(1862),AliceBrown(1857),MargaretWadeDeland(1857),andKatharineFullertonGerould(1879),practitionersinallthatO.HenryandLondonarenot,ofthefinerfields,themoresubtlenuancesofmodernlife.WithO.HenryandLondon,thoughperhapslessnoteworthy,aretobegroupedGeorgeRandolphChester(1869)andIrvinShrewsburyCobb(1876).Then,standingrathereachbyhimself,areMelvilleDavissonPost(1871),amasterofpsychologicalmysterystories,andWilburDanielSteele(1886),whoseworkitishardtoclassify.ThesetennamesrepresentmuchthatisbestinAmericanshortstoryproductionsincethebeginningofthetwentiethcentury(1900).NotallarenotableforhumorbutinasmuchasanyconsiderationoftheAmericanhumorousshortstorycannotbewhollydissociatedfromaconsiderationoftheAmericanshortstoryingeneral,ithasseemednotamisstomentiontheseauthorshere.AlthoughSarahOrneJewett(18491909)livedonintothetwentiethcenturyandMaryE.WilkinsFreeman(1862)isstillwithus,thebestandmosttypicalworkofthesetwowritersbelongsinthelasttwodecadesofthepreviouscentury.ToanearlierperiodalsobelongCharlesEgbertCraddock(1850),GeorgeWashingtonCable(1844),ThomasNelsonPage(1853),ConstanceFenimoreWoolson(18481894),HarrietPrescottSpofford(1835),HamlinGarland(1860),AmbroseBierce(1842?),RoseTerryCooke(18271892),andKateChopin(18511904).

    "O.Henry"wasthepennameadoptedbyWilliamSydneyPorter.HebeganhisshortstorycareerbycontributingWhistlingDick'sChristmasStockingtoMcClure'sMagazinein1899.HefolloweditwithmanystoriesdealingwithWesternandSouthandCentralAmericanlife,andlatercamemostofhisstoriesofthelifeofNewYorkCity,inwhichfieldliesmostofhisbestwork.HecontributedmorestoriestotheNewYorkWorldthantoanyotheronepublicationasifthestoriesoftheauthorwholatercametobehailedas"theAmericanMaupassant"werenotgoodenoughforthe"leading"magazinesbutfitonlyforthesensationlovingpublicoftheSundaypapers!HisfirstpublishedstorythatshoweddistinctstrengthwasperhapsABlackjackBargainer(August,1901,Munsey's).Hefollowedthiswithsuchmasterlystoriesas:TheDuplicityofHargraves(February,1902,JuniorMunsey),TheMarionettes(April,1902,BlackCat),ARetrievedReformation(April,1903,Cosmopolitan),TheGuardianoftheAccolade(May,1903,Cosmopolitan),TheEnchantedKiss(February,1904,Metropolitan),TheFurnishedRoom(August14,1904,NewYorkWorld),AnUnfinishedStory(August,1905,McClure's),TheCountandtheWeddingGuest(October8,1905,

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    NewYorkWorld),TheGiftoftheMagi(December10,1905,NewYorkWorld),TheTrimmedLamp(August,1906,McClure's),Phoebe(November,1907,Everybody's),TheHidingofBlackBill(October,1908,Everybody's),NoStory(June,1909,Metropolitan),AMunicipalReport(November,1909,Hampton's),AServiceofLove(inTheFourMillion,1909),ThePendulum(inTheTrimmedLamp,1910),BrickdustRow(inTheTrimmedLamp,1910),andTheAssessorofSuccess(inTheTrimmedLamp,1910).AmongO.Henry'sbestvolumesofshortstoriesare:TheFourMillion(1909),Options(1909),RoadsofDestiny(1909),TheTrimmedLamp(1910),StrictlyBusiness:MoreStoriesoftheFourMillion(1910),Whirligigs(1910),andSixesandSevens(1911).

    "Nowhereisthereanythingjustlikethem.Inhisbestworkandhistalesofthegreatmetropolisarehisbestheisunique.Thesoulofhisartisunexpectedness.Humorateveryturnthereis,andsentimentandphilosophyandsurprise.Onenevermaybesureofhimself.Theendisalwaysasensation.Noforesightmaypredictit,andthesensationalwaysisgenuine.WhateverelseO.Henrywas,hewasanartist,amasterofplotanddiction,agenuinehumorist,andaphilosopher.Hisweaknesslayintheverynatureofhisart.Hewasanentertainerbentonlyonamusingandsurprisinghisreader.Everywherebrilliancy,buttoooftenitisjoinedtocheapnessart,yetartmergingswiftlyintocaricature.LikeHarte,hecannotbetrusted.BothwritersonthewholemaybesaidtohaveloweredthestandardsofAmericanliterature,sincebothworkedinthesurfaceoflifewiththeatricintentandalwayswithoutmoralbackground,O.Henrymoves,butheneverlifts.Allisfortissimoheslapsthereaderonthebackandlaughsloudlyasifhewereinabarroom.Hischaracters,withfewexceptions,areextremes,caricatures.Evenhisshopgirls,inthelimningofwhomhedidhisbestwork,arenotreallyindividualsratheraretheytypes,symbols.Hisworkwasliteraryvaudeville,brilliant,highlyamusing,andyetvaudeville."[9]TheDuplicityofHargraves,thestorybyO.Henrygiveninthisvolume,isfreefrommostofhisdefects.Ithasablendofhumorandpathosthatputsitonaplaneofuniversalappeal.

    GeorgeRandolphChester(1869)gaineddistinctionbycreatingthegenialmodernbusinessmanofAmericanliteraturewhoisnotcontentto"getrichquick"throughtheordinarychannels.NeedIsaythatIrefertothatamazingcompoundoflikeablenessandsharppractices,GetRichQuickWallingford?Thestoryofhisincludedinthisvolume,BargainDayatTuttHouse(June,1905,McClure's),wasnearlyhisfirststoryonlytwoothers,whichcameoutinTheSaturdayEveningPostin1903and1904,precededit.Itsbreathlessdramaticactioniswellbalancedbyhumor.Otherstoriesofhisdeservingofspecialmentionare:ACornerinFarmers(February,29,1908,SaturdayEveningPost),AFortuneinSmoke(March14,1908,SaturdayEveningPost),EasyMoney(November14,1908,SaturdayEveningPost),TheTripleCross(December5,1908,SaturdayEveningPost),SpoilingtheEgyptians(December26,1908,SaturdayEveningPost),Whipsawed!(January16,1909,SaturdayEveningPost),TheBubbleBank(January30andFebruary6,1909,SaturdayEveningPost),StraightBusiness(February27,1909,SaturdayEveningPost),SamTurner:aBusinessMan'sLoveStory(March26,April2and9,1910,SaturdayEveningPost),FundamentalJustice(July25,1914,SaturdayEveningPost),AScropperPatcher(October,1916,Everybody's),andJollyBachelors(February,1918,Cosmopolitan).Hisbestcollectionsare:GetRichQuickWallingford(1908),YoungWallingford(1910),WallingfordinHisPrime(1913),andWallingfordandBlackieDaw(1913).Itisoftendifficulttofindinhisbooksshortstoriesthatonemaybelookingfor,forthereasonthatthetitlesoftheindividualstorieshavebeenremovedinordertomakethebookslooklikenovelssubdividedintochapters.

    GraceMacGowanCooke(1863)isawriterallofwhoseworkhasinterestandperdurablestuffinit,butfewaretheauthorswhoseachievementsintheAmericanshortstorystandoutasawhole.InACall(August,1906,Harper's)shesurpassesherselfandisnotperhapsherselfsurpassedbyanyofthehumorousshortstoriesthathavecometotheforesofarinAmericainthetwentiethcentury.Thestoryisnolessdelightfulinitsfidelitytofactandunderstandingofyounghumannaturethaninitsrelishofhumor.Someofherstoriesdeservingofspecialmentionare:TheCaptureofAndyProudfoot(June,1904,Harper's),IntheStrengthoftheHills(December,1905,Metropolitan),TheMachinationsofOcoeeGallantine(April,1906,Century),ACall(August,1906,Harper's),ScottBohannon'sBond

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    (May4,1907,Collier's),andACleanShave(November,1912,Century).Herbestshortstoriesdonotseemtohavebeencollectedinvolumesasyet,althoughshehashadseveralnotablelongworksoffictionpublished,suchasThePowerandtheGlory(1910),andseveralgoodjuveniles.

    WilliamJamesLampton(?1917),whowasknowntomanyofhisadmirersasWillLamptonorasW.J.L.merely,wasoneofthemostuniqueandinterestingcharactersofliteraryandBohemianNewYorkfromabout1895tohisdeathin1917.IrememberwalkingupFifthAvenuewithhimoneSundayafternoonjustafterhehadshownmealetterfromthemanwhowasthenComptrolleroftheCurrency.Theletterwassignedsoillegiblythatmycompanionwasindoubtsastothesender,sohesuggestedthatwestopatawellknownhotelatthecornerof59thStreet,andaskthemanagerwhotheComptrolleroftheCurrencythenwas,sothathemightknowwhomtheletterwasfrom.Hesaidthatthemanagerofabighotellikethat,wheremanyprominentpeoplestayed,wouldbesuretoknow.Whenthisproblemhadbeensolvedtooursatisfaction,JohnSkeltonWilliamsprovingtobetheman,Lamptonsaid,"Nowyou'vetoldmewhoheis,I'llshowyouwhoIam."SoheaskedforacopyofTheAmericanMagazineatanewsstandinthehotelcorridor,openedit,andshowedthemanagerafullpagepictureofhimselfcladinacostumesuggestiveofthetimeofChristopherColumbus,withhighruffsaroundhisneck,thathappenedtoappearinthemagazinethecurrentmonth.Imentionthisincidenttoillustratethelackofconventionalityandwhimsicaloriginalityoftheman,thatstoodoutnolessforciblyinhiswritingsthaninhisdailylife.Hehadlittleusefor"doingtheusualthingintheusualsortofway."Hefirstgainedprominencebyhisbookofverse,Yawps(1900).Hispoemswerefreefromconventionintechniqueaswellasinspirit,althoughtheirchiefinnovationwassimplythatasaruletherewasnoregularnumberofsyllablesinalineheletthelinesbeanylengththeywantedtobe,tofitthesenseorthelengthofwhathehadtosay.Heoncesaidtomethatifanythingofhiswasrememberedhethoughtitwouldbehispoem,Lo,theSummerGirl.Hismuseoftentookthedirectionofsatire,butitwasalwaysgoodnaturedevenwhenithitthehardest.Hehadinhismakeupmuchofthedetachedphilosopher,likeCervantesandMarkTwain.

    Therewassomethingcosmicabouthisattitudetolife,andthisshowedinmuchthathedid.HewastheonlyAmericanwriterofhumorousverseofhisdaywhomIalwayscaredtoread,orwhoselinesIcouldremembermorethanafewweeks.Thiswasperhapsbecausehisworkwasnevermerelyhumorous,butalwayshadabigsweepofbackgroundtoit,liketheruggednessoftheKentuckymountainsfromwhichhecame.ItwasColonelGeorgeHarvey,theneditorofHarper'sWeekly,whohadstartedtheboomtomakeWoodrowWilsonPresident.Wilsonafterwards,atleastseemingly,repudiatedhissponsor,probablybecauseofHarvey'sidentificationwithvariousmoneyedinterests.Lampton'spoemonthesubject,withitsrefrain,"Neveragain,saidColonelGeorge,"Irememberasoneofthemostnotableofhispoemsoncurrenttopics.ButwhatalwaysseemedtomethebestofhispoemsdealingwithmattersofthehourwasonethatIsuggestedhewrite,whichdealtwithgiftgivingtothepublic,ataboutthetimethatAndrewCarnegiewasmakingabigstirwithhisgiftsforlibraries,beginning:

    Dunno,perhapsOneoftheyapsLikemewouldmakeAholybreakDoinghisturnWithmoneytoburn.Anyhow,IWouldn'tshyMakingatry!

    andcontaining,amongmanyeffectivetouches,thepatheticlines,

    I'dhelpThepoorwhotrytohelpthemselves,Whohavetoworksohardforbread

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    Theycan'tgetveryfarahead.

    WhenJamesLaneAllen'snovel,TheReignofLaw,cameout(1900),alittlequatrainbyLamptonthatappearedinTheBookman(September,1900)sweptlikewildfireacrossthecountry,andwasreadbyahundredtimesasmanypeopleasthebookitself:

    "TheReignofLaw"?Well,Allen,you'reluckyIt'sthefirsttimeiteverRainedlawinKentucky!

    ThereaderneednotberemindedthatatthatperiodKentuckyfamilyfeudswerewelltothefore.AsLamptonhadstartedasapoet,theeditorswereboundtokeephimpigeonholedasfarastheycould,andhisambitiontowriteshortstorieswasnotatfirstmuchencouragedbythem.HispredicamentwassomethinglikethatofthechiefcharacterofFrankR.Stockton'sstory,"HisWife'sDeceasedSister"(January,1884,Century),whohadwrittenastorysogoodthatwheneverhebroughttheeditorsanotherstorytheyinvariablyansweredinsubstance,"We'reafraiditwon'tdo.Can'tyougiveussomethinglike'HisWife'sDeceasedSister'?"ThiswasmerelyStockton'sturningtoaccounthisownsomewhatsimilarexperiencewiththeeditorsafterhisstory,TheLadyortheTiger?(November,1882,Century)appeared.Likewisetheeditorsdidn'twantLampton'sshortstoriesforawhilebecausetheylikedhispoemssowell.

    DoIhearsomecriticsexclaimingthatthereisnothingremarkableaboutHowtheWidowWontheDeacon,thestorybyLamptonincludedinthisvolume?Ithandlesanamusingsituationlightlyandwithgrace.Itisoneofthosethingsthatreadeasilyandareoftendifficulttoachieve.Amonghisbeststoriesare:ThePeople'sNumberoftheWorthyvilleWatchman(May12,1900,SaturdayEveningPost),Love'sStrangeSpell(April27,1901,SaturdayEveningPost),AbimelechHiggins'Way(August24,1001,SaturdayEveningPost),ACupofTea(March,1902,Metropolitan),WinningHisSpurs(May,1904,Cosmopolitan),ThePerfidyofMajorPulsifer(November,1909,Cosmopolitan),HowtheWidowWontheDeacon(April,1911,Harper'sBazaar),andABrownStudy(December,1913,Lippincott's).Thereisnocollectionasyetofhisshortstories.Althoughfamiliarlyknownas"Colonel"Lampton,andalthoughofKentucky,hewasnotmerelya"KentuckyColonel,"forhewasactuallyappointedColonelonthestaffofthegovernorofKentucky.AtthetimeofhisdeathhewasabouttobemadeabrigadiergeneralandwasplanningtoraiseabrigadeofKentuckymountaineersforserviceintheGreatWar.Ashehadjuststruckhisstrideinshortstorywriting,thelosstoliteraturewasevengreaterthanthepatrioticloss.

    Gideon(April,1914,Century),byWellsHastings(1878),thestorywithwhichthisvolumecloses,callstomindthelargenumberofnotableshortstoriesinAmericanliteraturebywriterswhohavemadenolargenameforthemselvesasshortstorywriters,orevenotherwiseinletters.Americanliteraturehasalwaysbeenstronginits"stray"shortstoriesofnote.InMr.Hastings'case,however,Ifeelthatthefameissuretocome.HegraduatedfromYalein1902,collaboratedwithBrianHooker(1880)inanovel,TheProfessor'sMystery(1911)andalonewroteanothernovel,TheManintheBrownDerby(1911).Hisshortstoriesinclude:TheNewLittleBoy(July,1911,American),ThatDay(September,1911,American),ThePickUp(December,1911,Everybody's),andGideon(April,1914,Century).Thelaststorystandsout.Itcanbecomparedwithoutdisadvantagetothebestwork,orallbuttheverybestwork,ofThomasNelsonPage,itseemstome.Andfromthereader'sstandpointithastheadvantageisthisnotalsoanauthor'sadvantage?ofamoremodernsettingandtreatment.Mr.Hastingsis,Ihavebeentold,adirectorinoveradozenlargecorporations.Letushopethathisbusinessactivitieswillnotkeephimtoomuchawayfromtheproductionofliteraturefortorankasapieceofliterature,somethingofpermanentliteraryvalue,Gideonissurelyentitled.

    ALEXANDERJESSUP.

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    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTIONAlexanderJessup

    THELITTLEFRENCHMANANDHISWATERLOTS(1839)GeorgePopeMorris

    THEANGELOFTHEODD(1844)EdgarAllanPoe

    THESCHOOLMASTER'SPROGRESS(1844)CarolineM.S.Kirkland

    THEWATKINSONEVENING(1846)ElizaLeslie

    TITBOTTOM'SSPECTACLES(1854)GeorgeWilliamCurtis

    MYDOUBLEANDHOWHEUNDIDME(1859)EdwardEverettHale

    AVISITTOTHEASYLUMFORAGEDANDDECAYEDPUNSTERS(1861)OliverWendellHolmes

    THECELEBRATEDJUMPINGFROGOFCALAVERASCOUNTY(1865)MarkTwain

    ELDERBROWN'SBACKSLIDE(1885)HarryStillwellEdwards

    THEHOTELEXPERIENCEOFMR.PINKFLUKER(1886)RichardMalcolmJohnston

    THENICEPEOPLE(1890)HenryCuylerBunner

    THEBULLERPODINGTONCOMPACT(1897)FrankRichardStockton

    COLONELSTARBOTTLEFORTHEPLAINTIFF(1901)BretHarte

    THEDUPLICITYOFHARGRAVES(1902)O.Henry

    BARGAINDAYATTUTTHOUSE(1905)GeorgeRandolphChester

    ACALL(1906)GraceMacGowanCooke

    HOWTHEWIDOWWONTHEDEACON(1911)WilliamJamesLampton

    GIDEON(1914)WellsHastings

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    TheNicePeople,byHenryCuylerBunner,isrepublishedfromhisvolume,ShortSixes,bypermissionofitspublishers,CharlesScribner'sSons.TheBullerPodingtonCompact,byFrankRichardStockton,isfromhisvolume,AfieldandAfloat,andisrepublishedbypermissionofCharlesScribner'sSons.ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff,byBretHarte,isfromthecollectionofhisstoriesentitledOpeningsintheOldTrail,andisrepublishedbypermissionoftheHoughtonMifflinCompany,theauthorizedpublishersofBretHarte'scompleteworks.TheDuplicityofHargraves,by

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    O.Henry,isfromhisvolume,SixesandSevens,andisrepublishedbypermissionofitspublishers,Doubleday,Page&Co.Thesestoriesarefullyprotectedbycopyright,andshouldnotberepublishedexceptbypermissionofthepublishersmentioned.ThanksaredueMrs.GraceMacGowanCookeforpermissiontouseherstory,ACall,republishedherefromHarper'sMagazineWellsHastings,forpermissiontoreprinthisstory,Gideon,fromTheCenturyMagazineandGeorgeRandolphChester,forpermissiontoincludeBargainDayatTuttHouse,fromMcClure'sMagazine.IwouldalsothanktheheirsofthelatelamentedColonelWilliamJ.Lamptonforpermissiontousehisstory,HowtheWidowWontheDeacon,fromHarper'sBazaar.Thesestoriesareallcopyrighted,andcannotberepublishedexceptbyauthorizationoftheirauthorsorheirs.TheeditorregretsthattheirpublishershaveseenfittorefusehimpermissiontoincludeGeorgeW.Cable'sstory,"PossonJone',"andIrvinS.Cobb'sstory,TheSmartAleck.HealsoregretshewasunabletoobtainacopyofJosephC.Duport'sstory,TheWeddingatTimberHollow,intimeforinclusion,towhichitsmeritsasheremembersthemcertainlyentitleit.Mr.Duport,inadditiontohisliteraryactivities,hasstartedaninteresting"backtoNature"experimentatWestfield,Massachusetts.

    [Footnote1:ThisIhaveattemptedinRepresentativeAmericanShortStories(Allyn&Bacon:Boston,1922).]

    [Footnote2:WillD.Howe,inTheCambridgeHistoryofAmericanLiterature,Vol.II,pp.158159(G.P.Putnam'sSons,1918).]

    [Footnote3:AHistoryofAmericanLiteratureSince1870,p.317(TheCenturyCo.:1915).]

    [Footnote4:AHistoryofAmericanLiteratureSince1870,pp7981.]

    [Footnote5:"TheWorksofBretHarte,"twentyvolumes.TheHoughtonMifflinCompany,Boston.]

    [Footnote6:TheCambridgeHistoryofAmericanLiterature,Vol.II,p.386.]

    [Footnote7:SeethisIntroduction.]

    [Footnote8:TheCambridgeHistoryofAmericanLiterature,Vol.II,p.385.]

    [Footnote9:FredLewisPattee,inTheCambridgeHistoryofAmericanLiterature,Vol.II,p.394.]

    *****

    To:CHARLESGOODRICHWHITING,Critic,Poet,Friend

    *****

    THELITTLEFRENCHMANANDHISWATERLOTS

    BYGEORGEPOPEMORRIS(18021864)

    [FromTheLittleFrenchmanandHisWaterLots,withOtherSketchesoftheTimes(1839),byGeorgePopeMorris.]

    Lookintothosetheycallunfortunate,

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    And,closerview'd,you'llfindtheyareunwise.Young.

    Letwealthcomeinbycomelythrift,Andnotbyanyfoolishshift:TishasteMakeswaste:WhogripestoohardthedryandslipperysandHoldsnoneatall,orlittle,inhishand.Herrick.

    Letwellalone.Proverb.

    Howmuchrealcomforteveryonemightenjoyifhewouldbecontentedwiththelotinwhichheavenhascasthim,andhowmuchtroublewouldbeavoidedifpeoplewouldonly"letwellalone."Amoderateindependence,quietlyandhonestlyprocured,iscertainlyeverywaypreferableeventoimmensepossessionsachievedbythewearandtearofmindandbodysonecessarytoprocurethem.Yetthereareveryfewindividuals,letthembedoingeversowellintheworld,whoarenotalwaysstrainingeverynervetodobetterandthisisoneofthemanycauseswhyfailuresinbusinesssofrequentlyoccuramongus.Thepresentgenerationseemunwillingto"realize"byslowandsuredegreesbutchooserathertosettheirwholehopesuponasinglecast,whicheithermakesormarsthemforever!

    Gentlereader,doyourememberMonsieurPoopoo?HeusedtokeepasmalltoystoreinChatham,nearthecornerofPearlStreet.Youmustrecollecthim,ofcourse.Helivedthereformanyyears,andwasoneofthemostpoliteandaccommodatingofshopkeepers.Whenajuvenile,youhaveboughttopsandmarblesofhimathousandtimes.Tobesureyouhaveandseenhisvinegarvisagelightedupwithasmileasyouflunghimthecoppersandyouhavelaughedathislittlestraightqueueandhisdimitybreeches,andalltheotherodditiesthatmadeuptheeverydayapparelofmylittleFrenchman.Ah,Iperceiveyourecollecthimnow.

    Well,then,therelivedMonsieurPoopooeversincehecamefrom"dear,delightfulParis,"ashewaswonttocallthecityofhisnativitytherehetookinthepenniesforhiskickshawstherehelaidasidefivethousanddollarsagainstarainydaytherehewasashappyasalarkandthere,inallhumanprobability,hewouldhavebeentothisveryday,arespectedandsubstantialcitizen,hadhebeenwillingto"letwellalone."ButMonsieurPoopoohadheardstrangestoriesabouttheprodigiousriseinrealestateand,havingunderstoodthatmostofhisneighborshadbecomesuddenlyrichbyspeculatinginlots,heinstantlygrewdissatisfiedwithhisownlot,forthwithdeterminedtoshutupshop,turneverythingintocash,andsetaboutmakingmoneyinrightdownearnest.Nosoonersaidthandoneandourquondamstorekeeperafewdaysafterwardattendedanextensivesaleofrealestate,attheMerchants'Exchange.

    Therewastheauctioneer,withhisbeautifulandinvitinglithographicmapsallthelotsassmoothandsquareandenticinglylaidoutaspossibleandtherewerethespeculatorsandthere,inthemidstofthem,stoodMonsieurPoopoo.

    "Heretheyare,gentlemen,"saidheofthehammer,"themostvaluablelotseverofferedforsale.Givemeabidforthem!"

    "Onehundredeach,"saidabystander.

    "Onehundred!"saidtheauctioneer,"scarcelyenoughtopayforthemaps.Onehundredgoingandfiftygone!Mr.H.,theyareyours.Anoblepurchase.You'llsellthosesamelotsinlessthanafortnightforfiftythousanddollarsprofit!"

    MonsieurPoopooprickeduphisearsatthis,andwaslostinastonishment.ThiswasamucheasierwaycertainlyofaccumulatingrichesthansellingtoysinChathamStreet,andhedeterminedtobuy

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    andmendhisfortunewithoutdelay.

    Theauctioneerproceededinhissale.Otherparcelswereofferedanddisposedof,andallthepurchaserswerepromisedimmenseadvantagesfortheirenterprise.Atlastcameamorevaluableparcelthanalltherest.Thecompanypressedaroundthestand,andMonsieurPoopoodidthesame.

    "Inowofferyou,gentlemen,thesemagnificentlots,delightfullysituatedonLongIsland,withvaluablewaterprivileges.Propertyinfeetitleindisputabletermsofsale,cashdeedsreadyfordeliveryimmediatelyafterthesale.Howmuchforthem?Givethemastartatsomething.Howmuch?"Theauctioneerlookedaroundtherewerenobidders.AtlasthecaughttheeyeofMonsieurPoopoo."Didyousayonehundred,sir?BeautifullotsvaluablewaterprivilegesshallIsayonehundredforyou?"

    "Oui,monsieurIwillgiveyouvonhundreddollarapiece,fordelotviddevaluarblevatareprivalegec'esta."

    "Onlyonehundredapieceforthesesixtyvaluablelotsonlyonehundredgoinggoinggoinggone!"

    MonsieurPoopoowasthefortunatepossessor.Theauctioneercongratulatedhimthesaleclosedandthecompanydispersed.

    "Pardonnezmoi,monsieur,"saidPoopoo,astheauctioneerdescendedhispedestal,"youshallexcusezmoi,ifIshallgotovotrebureau,yourcountinghouse,verquicktomakeeverytingsurewidrespectodelotviddevaluarblevatareprivalege.Vonleetlebirdindehandhevorthtwoindetree,c'estvraieh?"

    "Certainly,sir."

    "Vellden,allons."

    Andthegentlemenrepairedtothecountinghouse,wherethesixthousanddollarswerepaid,andthedeedsofthepropertydelivered.MonsieurPoopooputthesecarefullyinhispocket,andashewasabouttakinghisleave,theauctioneermadehimapresentofthelithographicoutlineofthelots,whichwasaveryliberalthingonhispart,consideringthemapwasabeautifulspecimenofthatgloriousart.Poopoocouldnotadmireitsufficiently.Therewerehissixtylots,asuniformaspossible,andhislittlegrayeyessparkledlikediamondsastheywanderedfromoneendofthespacioussheettotheother.

    Poopoo'sheartwasaslightasafeather,andhesnappedhisfingersintheverywantonnessofjoyasherepairedtoDelmonico's,andorderedthefirstgoodFrenchdinnerthathadgladdenedhispalatesincehisarrivalinAmerica.

    Afterhavingdiscussedhisrepast,andwasheditdownwithabottleofchoiceoldclaret,heresolveduponavisittoLongIslandtoviewhispurchase.Heconsequentlyimmediatelyhiredahorseandgig,crossedtheBrooklynferry,anddrovealongthemarginoftherivertotheWallabout,thelocationinquestion.

    Ourfriend,however,wasnotalittleperplexedtofindhisproperty.Everythingonthemapwasasfairandevenaspossible,whileallthegroundsabouthimwereasundulatedastheycouldwellbeimagined,andtherewasanelbowoftheEastRiverthrustingitselfquiteintotheribsoftheland,whichseemedtohavenobusinessthere.ThispuzzledtheFrenchmanexceedinglyand,beingastrangerinthoseparts,hecalledtoafarmerinanadjacentfield.

    "Monami,areyouacquaintviddispartofdecountryeh?"

    "Yes,Iwasbornhere,andknoweveryinchofit."

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    "Ah,c'estbien,datvilldo,"andtheFrenchmangotoutofthegig,tiedthehorse,andproducedhislithographicmap.

    "DenmaybeyouvillhavedekindnesstoshowmedesixtylotvichIhavebought,viddevaluarblevatareprivalege?"

    Thefarmerglancedhiseyeoverthepaper.

    "Yes,sir,withpleasureifyouwillbegoodenoughtogetintomyboat,Iwillrowyououttothem!"

    "Vatdatyousay,sure?"

    "Myfriend,"saidthefarmer,"thissectionofLongIslandhasrecentlybeenboughtupbythespeculatorsofNewYork,andlaidoutforagreatcitybuttheprincipalstreetisonlyvisibleatlowtide.WhenthispartoftheEastRiverisfilledup,itwillbejustthere.Yourlots,asyouwillperceive,arebeyonditandarenowallunderwater."

    AtfirsttheFrenchmanwasincredulous.Hecouldnotbelievehissenses.Asthefacts,however,graduallybrokeuponhim,heshutoneeye,squintedobliquelyattheheavenstheriverthefarmerandthenheturnedawayandsquintedatthemalloveragain!Therewashispurchasesureenoughbutthenitcouldnotbeperceivedfortherewasariverflowingoverit!Hedrewaboxfromhiswaistcoatpocket,openedit,withanemphaticknockuponthelid,tookapinchofsnuffandrestoredittohiswaistcoatpocketasbefore.Poopoowasevidentlyintrouble,having"thoughtswhichoftenlietoodeepfortears"and,ashisgriefwasalsotoobigforwords,heuntiedhishorse,jumpedintohisgig,andreturnedtotheauctioneerinhothaste.

    Itwasnearnightwhenhearrivedattheauctionroomhishorseinafoamandhimselfinafury.Theauctioneerwasleaningbackinhischair,withhislegsstuckoutofalowwindow,quietlysmokingacigarafterthelaborsoftheday,andhummingthemusicfromthelastnewopera.

    "Monsieur,Ihavemuchplaisirtofin'you,chezvous,athome."

    "Ah,Poopoo!gladtoseeyou.Takeaseat,oldboy."

    "ButIshallnottakedeseat,sare."

    "Nowhy,what'sthematter?"

    "Oh,beaucoupdematter.Ihavebeentoseedegranlotvotyousellmetoday."

    "Well,sir,Ihopeyoulikeyourpurchase?"

    "No,monsieur,Inolikehim."

    "I'msorryforitbutthereisnogroundforyourcomplaint."

    "No,saredareisnogroundatalldegroundisallvatare!"

    "Youjoke!"

    "Inojoke.Inevarejokejen'entendspaslaraillerie,Sare,voulezvoushavedekindnesstogivemebackdemoneyvotIpay!"

    "Certainlynot."

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    "DenvillyoubesogoodastotakedeEastRiveroffdetopofmylot?"

    "That'syourbusiness,sir,notmine."

    "DenImakevonmauvaiseaffairevongranmistake!"

    "Ihopenot.Idon'tthinkyouhavethrownyourmoneyawayintheland."

    "No,sarebutItroitavayindevatare!"

    "That'snotmyfault."

    "Yes,sare,butitisyourfault.You'revonvergranrascaltoswindlemeoutofdel'argent."

    "Hello,oldPoopoo,yougrowpersonalandifyoucan'tkeepaciviltongueinyourhead,youmustgooutofmycountingroom."

    "VareshallIgoto,eh?"

    "Tothedevil,foraughtIcare,youfoolisholdFrenchman!"saidtheauctioneer,waxingwarm.

    "But,sare,Ivillnotgotodedeviltoobligeyou!"repliedtheFrenchman,waxingwarmer."YousheatmeoutofalldedollarvotImakeinShathamStreetbutIvillnotgotodedevilforalldat.Ivishyoumaygotodedevilyourselfyoudemyankeedoodell,andIvillgoanddrownmyself,toutdesuite,rightavay."

    "Youcouldn'tmakeabetteruseofyourwaterprivileges,oldboy!"

    "Ah,misricorde!Ah,mondieu,jesuisabm.Iamruin!Iamdoneup!Iambreakallintotensousanleetlepieces!Iamvonlameduck,andIshallvaddleacrossdegranoceanforParis,vishisdeonlyvaluarblevatareprivalegedatisleftmepresent!"

    PoorPoopoowasasgoodashisword.Hesailedinthenextpacket,andarrivedinParisalmostaspennilessasthedayheleftit.

    Shouldanyonefeeldisposedtodoubttheveritablecircumstanceshererecorded,lethimcrosstheEastRivertotheWallabout,andfarmerJwillrowhimouttotheveryplacewherethepoorFrenchman'slotsstillremainunderwater.

    THEANGELOFTHEODD

    [FromTheColumbianMagazine,October,1844.]

    BYEDGARALLANPOE(18091849)

    ItwasachillyNovemberafternoon.Ihadjustconsummatedanunusuallyheartydinner,ofwhichthedyspeptictruffeformednottheleastimportantitem,andwassittingaloneinthediningroomwithmyfeetuponthefenderandatmyelbowasmalltablewhichIhadrolleduptothefire,anduponwhichweresomeapologiesfordessert,withsomemiscellaneousbottlesofwine,spirit,andliqueur.InthemorningIhadbeenreadingGlover'sLeonidas,Wilkie'sEpigoniad,Lamartine'sPilgrimage,Barlow'sColumbiad,Tuckerman'sSicily,andGriswold'sCuriosities,Iamwillingtoconfess,therefore,thatInowfeltalittlestupid.ImadeefforttoarousemyselfbyfrequentaidofLafitte,andallfailing,Ibetookmyselftoastraynewspaperindespair.Havingcarefullyperusedthecolumnof"Housesto

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    let,"andthecolumnof"Dogslost,"andthenthecolumnsof"Wivesandapprenticesrunaway,"Iattackedwithgreatresolutiontheeditorialmatter,andreadingitfrombeginningtoendwithoutunderstandingasyllable,conceivedthepossibilityofitsbeingChinese,andsorereaditfromtheendtothebeginning,butwithnomoresatisfactoryresult.Iwasaboutthrowingawayindisgust

    Thisfoliooffourpages,happyworkWhichnotevencriticscriticise,

    whenIfeltmyattentionsomewhatarousedbytheparagraphwhichfollows:

    "Theavenuestodeatharenumerousandstrange.ALondonpapermentionsthedeceaseofapersonfromasingularcause.Hewasplayingat'puffthedart,'whichisplayedwithalongneedleinsertedinsomeworsted,andblownatatargetthroughatintube.Heplacedtheneedleatthewrongendofthetube,anddrawinghisbreathstronglytopuffthedartforwardwithforce,drewtheneedleintohisthroat.Itenteredthelungs,andinafewdayskilledhim."

    UponseeingthisIfellintoagreatrage,withoutexactlyknowingwhy."Thisthing,"Iexclaimed,"isacontemptiblefalsehoodapoorhoaxtheleesoftheinventionofsomepitiablepennyaliner,ofsomewretchedconcocterofaccidentsinCocaigne.Thesefellowsknowingtheextravagantgullibilityoftheagesettheirwitstoworkintheimaginationofimprobablepossibilities,ofoddaccidentsastheytermthem,buttoareflectingintellect(likemine,Iadded,inparenthesis,puttingmyforefingerunconsciouslytothesideofmynose),toacontemplativeunderstandingsuchasImyselfpossess,itseemsevidentatoncethatthemarvelousincreaseoflateinthese'oddaccidents'isbyfartheoddestaccidentofall.Formyownpart,Iintendtobelievenothinghenceforwardthathasanythingofthe'singular'aboutit."

    "MeinGott,den,vatavoolyoubeesfordat!"repliedoneofthemostremarkablevoicesIeverheard.AtfirstItookitforarumblinginmyearssuchasamansometimesexperienceswhengettingverydrunkbutuponsecondthought,Iconsideredthesoundasmorenearlyresemblingthatwhichproceedsfromanemptybarrelbeatenwithabigstickand,infact,thisIshouldhaveconcludedittobe,butforthearticulationofthesyllablesandwords.Iambynomeansnaturallynervous,andtheveryfewglassesofLafittewhichIhadsippedservedtoemboldenmealittle,sothatIfeltnothingoftrepidation,butmerelyupliftedmyeyeswithaleisurelymovementandlookedcarefullyaroundtheroomfortheintruder.Icouldnot,however,perceiveanyoneatall.

    "Humph!"resumedthevoiceasIcontinuedmysurvey,"youmuspesodronkasdepigdenfornotzeemeasIzithereatyourzide."

    HereuponIbethoughtmeoflookingimmediatelybeforemynose,andthere,sureenough,confrontingmeatthetablesatapersonagenondescript,althoughnotaltogetherindescribable.Hisbodywasawinepipeorarumpuncheon,orsomethingofthatcharacter,andhadatrulyFalstaffianair.Initsnetherextremitywereinsertedtwokegs,whichseemedtoanswerallthepurposesoflegs.Forarmstheredangledfromtheupperportionofthecarcasstwotolerablylongbottleswiththenecksoutwardforhands.AlltheheadthatIsawthemonsterpossessedofwasoneofthoseHessiancanteenswhichresemblealargesnuffboxwithaholeinthemiddleofthelid.Thiscanteen(withafunnelonitstoplikeacavaliercapslouchedovertheeyes)wassetonedgeuponthepuncheon,withtheholetowardmyselfandthroughthishole,whichseemedpuckereduplikethemouthofaverypreciseoldmaid,thecreaturewasemittingcertainrumblingandgrumblingnoiseswhichheevidentlyintendedforintelligibletalk.

    "Izay,"saidhe,"youmospedronkasdepig,vorzitdareandnotzeemezitereandIzay,doo,youmospepiggervoolasdegoose,vortodispeliefvatizprintindeprint.'Tizdetroofdatitizeberyvordobit."

    "Whoareyou,pray?"saidIwithmuchdignity,althoughsomewhatpuzzled"howdidyougethere?

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    andwhatisityouaretalkingabout?"

    "AsvorowIcom'dere,"repliedthefigure,"datiznoneofyourpizzinessandasvorvatIbetalkingapout,IbetalkapoutvatItinkproperandasvorwhoIbe,vydatisdeverytingIcom'dherefortoletyouzeeforyourself."

    "Youareadrunkenvagabond,"saidI,"andIshallringthebellandordermyfootmantokickyouintothestreet."

    "He!he!he!"saidthefellow,"hu!hu!hu!datyoucan'tdo."

    "Can'tdo!"saidI,"whatdoyoumean?Ican'tdowhat?"

    "Ringdepell,"hereplied,attemptingagrinwithhislittlevillainousmouth.

    UponthisImadeanefforttogetupinordertoputmythreatintoexecution,buttheruffianjustreachedacrossthetableverydeliberately,andhittingmeatapontheforeheadwiththeneckofoneofthelongbottles,knockedmebackintothearmchairfromwhichIhadhalfarisen.Iwasutterlyastounded,andforamomentwasquiteatalosswhattodo.Inthemeantimehecontinuedhistalk.

    "Youzee,"saidhe,"itiztebessvorzitstillandnowyoushallknowwhoIpe.Lookatme!zee!IamteAngelovteOdd."

    "Andoddenough,too,"Iventuredtoreply"butIwasalwaysundertheimpressionthatanangelhadwings."

    "Tewing!"hecried,highlyincensed,"vatIpedomittewing?MeinGott!doyoutakemeforashicken?"

    "Nooh,no!"Ireplied,muchalarmed"youarenochickencertainlynot."

    "Well,den,zitstillandpehabeyourself,orI'llrapyouagainmidmevist.Itizteshickenabtewing,undteowlabtewing,undteimpabtewing,undteheadteuffelabtewing.Teangelabnottewing,andIamteAngelovteOdd."

    "Andyourbusinesswithmeatpresentisis"

    "Mypizziness!"ejaculatedthething,"vyvatalowbredpuppyyoumospevortoaskagentlemanundanangelapouthispizziness!"

    ThislanguagewasrathermorethanIcouldbear,evenfromanangelso,pluckingupcourage,Iseizedasaltcellarwhichlaywithinreach,andhurleditattheheadoftheintruder.Eitherhedodged,however,ormyaimwasinaccurateforallIaccomplishedwasthedemolitionofthecrystalwhichprotectedthedialoftheclockuponthemantelpiece.AsfortheAngel,heevincedhissenseofmyassaultbygivingmetwoorthreehard,consecutiverapsupontheforeheadasbefore.Thesereducedmeatoncetosubmission,andIamalmostashamedtoconfessthat,eitherthroughpainorvexation,therecameafewtearsintomyeyes.

    "MeinGott!"saidtheAngeloftheOdd,apparentlymuchsoftenedatmydistress"meinGott,temanisederferrydronkorferryzorry.Youmosnottrinkitsostrongyoumosputtewaterintewine.Here,trinkdis,likeagoodveller,anddon'tgrynowdon't!"

    HereupontheAngeloftheOddreplenishedmygoblet(whichwasaboutathirdfullofport)withacolorlessfluidthathepouredfromoneofhishandbottles.Iobservedthatthesebottleshadlabelsabouttheirnecks,andthattheselabelswereinscribed"Kirschenwsser."

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    TheconsideratekindnessoftheAngelmollifiedmeinnolittlemeasureand,aidedbythewaterwithwhichhedilutedmyportmorethanonce,Iatlengthregainedsufficienttempertolistentohisveryextraordinarydiscourse.Icannotpretendtorecountallthathetoldme,butIgleanedfromwhathesaidthathewasageniuswhopresidedoverthecontretempsofmankind,andwhosebusinessitwastobringabouttheoddaccidentswhicharecontinuallyastonishingtheskeptic.Onceortwice,uponmyventuringtoexpressmytotalincredulityinrespecttohispretensions,hegrewveryangryindeed,sothatatlengthIconsidereditthewiserpolicytosaynothingatall,andlethimhavehisownway.Hetalkedon,therefore,atgreatlength,whileImerelyleanedbackinmychairwithmyeyesshut,andamusedmyselfwithmunchingraisinsandfilipingthestemsabouttheroom.But,byandby,theAngelsuddenlyconstruedthisbehaviorofmineintocontempt.Hearoseinaterriblepassion,slouchedhisfunneldownoverhiseyes,sworeavastoath,utteredathreatofsomecharacter,whichIdidnotpreciselycomprehend,andfinallymademealowbowanddeparted,wishingme,inthelanguageofthearchbishopin"GilBias,"beaucoupdebonheuretunpeuplusdebonsens.

    Hisdepartureaffordedmerelief.TheveryfewglassesofLafittethatIhadsippedhadtheeffectofrenderingmedrowsy,andIfeltinclinedtotakeanapofsomefifteenortwentyminutes,asismycustomafterdinner.AtsixIhadanappointmentofconsequence,whichitwasquiteindispensablethatIshouldkeep.Thepolicyofinsuranceformydwellinghousehadexpiredthedaybeforeandsomedisputehavingarisenitwasagreedthat,atsix,Ishouldmeettheboardofdirectorsofthecompanyandsettlethetermsofarenewal.Glancingupwardattheclockonthemantelpiece(forIfelttoodrowsytotakeoutmywatch),IhadthepleasuretofindthatIhadstilltwentyfiveminutestospare.ItwashalfpastfiveIcouldeasilywalktotheinsuranceofficeinfiveminutesandmyusualsiestashadneverbeenknowntoexceedfiveandtwenty.Ifeltsufficientlysafe,therefore,andcomposedmyselftomyslumbersforthwith.

    Havingcompletedthemtomysatisfaction,Iagainlookedtowardthetimepiece,andwashalfinclinedtobelieveinthepossibilityofoddaccidentswhenIfoundthat,insteadofmyordinaryfifteenortwentyminutes,Ihadbeendozingonlythreeforitstillwantedsevenandtwentyoftheappointedhour.Ibetookmyselfagaintomynap,andatlengthasecondtimeawoke,when,tomyutteramazement,itstillwantedtwentysevenminutesofsix.Ijumpeduptoexaminetheclock,andfoundthatithadceasedrunning.Mywatchinformedmethatitwashalfpastsevenand,ofcourse,havingslepttwohours,Iwastoolateformyappointment."Itwillmakenodifference,"Isaid:"Icancallattheofficeinthemorningandapologizeinthemeantimewhatcanbethematterwiththeclock?"UponexaminingitIdiscoveredthatoneoftheraisinstemswhichIhadbeenfilipingabouttheroomduringthediscourseoftheAngeloftheOddhadflownthroughthefracturedcrystal,andlodging,singularlyenough,inthekeyhole,withanendprojectingoutward,hadthusarrestedtherevolutionoftheminutehand.

    "Ah!"saidI,"Iseehowitis.Thisthingspeaksforitself.Anaturalaccident,suchaswillhappennowandthen!"

    Igavethematternofurtherconsideration,andatmyusualhourretiredtobed.Here,havingplacedacandleuponareadingstandatthebedhead,andhavingmadeanattempttoperusesomepagesoftheOmnipresenceoftheDeity,Iunfortunatelyfellasleepinlessthantwentyseconds,leavingthelightburningasitwas.

    MydreamswereterrificallydisturbedbyvisionsoftheAngeloftheOdd.Methoughthestoodatthefootofthecouch,drewasidethecurtains,andinthehollow,detestabletonesofarumpuncheon,menacedmewiththebitterestvengeanceforthecontemptwithwhichIhadtreatedhim.Heconcludedalongharanguebytakingoffhisfunnelcap,insertingthetubeintomygullet,andthusdelugingmewithanoceanofKirschenwsser,whichhepouredinacontinuousflood,fromoneofthelongneckedbottlesthatstoodhiminsteadofanarm.Myagonywasatlengthinsufferable,andIawokejustintimetoperceivethatarathadrunoffwiththelightedcandlefromthestand,butnotinseasontopreventhismakinghisescapewithitthroughthehole,Verysoonastrong,suffocatingodorassailedmynostrilsthehouse,Iclearlyperceived,wasonfire.Inafewminutestheblazebrokeforth

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    withviolence,andinanincrediblybriefperiodtheentirebuildingwaswrappedinflames.Allegressfrommychamber,exceptthroughawindow,wascutoff.Thecrowd,however,quicklyprocuredandraisedalongladder.BymeansofthisIwasdescendingrapidly,andinapparentsafety,whenahugehog,aboutwhoserotundstomach,andindeedaboutwhosewholeairandphysiognomy,therewassomethingwhichremindedmeoftheAngeloftheOddwhenthishog,Isay,whichhithertohadbeenquietlyslumberinginthemud,tookitsuddenlyintohisheadthathisleftshoulderneededscratching,andcouldfindnomoreconvenientrubbingpostthanthataffordedbythefootoftheladder.InaninstantIwasprecipitated,andhadthemisfortunetofracturemyarm.

    Thisaccident,withthelossofmyinsurance,andwiththemoreseriouslossofmyhair,thewholeofwhichhadbeensingedoffbythefire,predisposedmetoseriousimpressions,sothatfinallyImadeupmymindtotakeawife.Therewasarichwidowdisconsolateforthelossofherseventhhusband,andtoherwoundedspiritIofferedthebalmofmyvows.Sheyieldedareluctantconsenttomyprayers.Ikneltatherfeetingratitudeandadoration.SheblushedandbowedherluxurianttressesintoclosecontactwiththosesuppliedmetemporarilybyGrandjean.Iknownothowtheentanglementtookplacebutsoitwas.Iarosewithashiningpate,wiglesssheindisdainandwrath,halfburiedinalienhair.Thusendedmyhopesofthewidowbyanaccidentwhichcouldnothavebeenanticipated,tobesure,butwhichthenaturalsequenceofeventshadbroughtabout.

    Withoutdespairing,however,Iundertookthesiegeofalessimplacableheart.Thefateswereagainpropitiousforabriefperiod,butagainatrivialincidentinterfered.Meetingmybetrothedinanavenuethrongedwiththeeliteofthecity,Iwashasteningtogreetherwithoneofmybestconsideredbows,whenasmallparticleofsomeforeignmatterlodginginthecornerofmyeyerenderedmeforthemomentcompletelyblind.BeforeIcouldrecovermysight,theladyofmylovehaddisappearedirreparablyaffrontedatwhatshechosetoconsidermypremeditatedrudenessinpassingherbyungreeted.WhileIstoodbewilderedatthesuddennessofthisaccident(whichmighthavehappened,nevertheless,toanyoneunderthesun),andwhileIstillcontinuedincapableofsight,IwasaccostedbytheAngeloftheOdd,whoprofferedmehisaidwithacivilitywhichIhadnoreasontoexpect.Heexaminedmydisorderedeyewithmuchgentlenessandskill,informedmethatIhadadropinit,and(whatevera"drop"was)tookitout,andaffordedmerelief.

    Inowconsideredithightimetodie(sincefortunehadsodeterminedtopersecuteme),andaccordinglymademywaytothenearestriver.Here,divestingmyselfofmyclothes(forthereisnoreasonwhywecannotdieaswewereborn),Ithrewmyselfheadlongintothecurrentthesolewitnessofmyfatebeingasolitarycrowthathadbeenseducedintotheeatingofbrandysaturatedcorn,andsohadstaggeredawayfromhisfellows.NosoonerhadIenteredthewaterthanthisbirdtookitintohisheadtoflyawaywiththemostindispensableportionofmyapparel.Postponing,therefore,forthepresent,mysuicidaldesign,Ijustslippedmynetherextremitiesintothesleevesofmycoat,andbetookmyselftoapursuitofthefelonwithallthenimblenesswhichthecaserequiredanditscircumstanceswouldadmit.Butmyevildestinyattendedmestill.AsIranatfullspeed,withmynoseupintheatmosphere,andintentonlyuponthepurloinerofmyproperty,Isuddenlyperceivedthatmyfeetrestednolongeruponterrafirmathefactis,Ihadthrownmyselfoveraprecipice,andshouldinevitablyhavebeendashedtopiecesbutformygoodfortuneingraspingtheendofalongguiderope,whichdependedfromapassingballoon.

    AssoonasIsufficientlyrecoveredmysensestocomprehendtheterrificpredicamentinwhichIstood,orratherhung,Iexertedallthepowerofmylungstomakethatpredicamentknowntotheaeronautoverhead.ButforalongtimeIexertedmyselfinvain.Eitherthefoolcouldnot,orthevillainwouldnotperceiveme.Meanwhilethemachinerapidlysoared,whilemystrengthevenmorerapidlyfailed.Iwassoonuponthepointofresigningmyselftomyfate,anddroppingquietlyintothesea,whenmyspiritsweresuddenlyrevivedbyhearingahollowvoicefromabove,whichseemedtobelazilyhumminganoperaair.Lookingup,IperceivedtheAngeloftheOdd.Hewasleaning,withhisarmsfolded,overtherimofthecarandwithapipeinhismouth,atwhichhepuffedleisurely,seemedtobeuponexcellenttermswithhimselfandtheuniverse.Iwastoomuchexhaustedtospeak,

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    soImerelyregardedhimwithanimploringair.

    Forseveralminutes,althoughhelookedmefullintheface,hesaidnothing.Atlength,removingcarefullyhismeerschaumfromtherighttotheleftcornerofhismouth,hecondescendedtospeak.

    "Whopeyou,"heasked,"undwhatderteuffelyoupedodare?"

    Tothispieceofimpudence,cruelty,andaffectation,Icouldreplyonlybyejaculatingthemonosyllable"Help!"

    "Elp!"echoedtheruffian,"notI.Dareiztepottleelpyourself,undpetam'd!"

    WiththesewordsheletfallaheavybottleofKirschenwsser,which,droppingpreciselyuponthecrownofmyhead,causedmetoimaginethatmybrainswereentirelyknockedout.ImpressedwiththisideaIwasabouttorelinquishmyholdandgiveuptheghostwithagoodgrace,whenIwasarrestedbythecryoftheAngel,whobademeholdon.

    "'Oldon!"hesaid:"don'tpeinte'urrydon't.Willyoupetakedeodderpottle,or'aveyoupegotzoberyet,andcometoyourzenzes?"

    Imadehaste,hereupon,tonodmyheadtwiceonceinthenegative,meaningtherebythatIwouldprefernottakingtheotherbottleatpresentandonceintheaffirmative,intendingthustoimplythatIwassoberandhadpositivelycometomysenses.BythesemeansIsomewhatsoftenedtheAngel.

    "Undyoupelief,ten,"heinquired,"attelast?Youpelief,ten,intepossibilityofteodd?"

    Iagainnoddedmyheadinassent.

    "Undyouavepeliefinme,teAngelofteOdd?"

    Inoddedagain.

    "Undyouacknowledgetatyoupeteblinddronkundtevool?"

    Inoddedoncemore.

    "Putyourrighthandintoyourleftpreechespocket,ten,intokenovyourvullzubmizzionuntoteAngelovteOdd."

    Thisthing,forveryobviousreasons,Ifounditquiteimpossibletodo.Inthefirstplace,myleftarmhadbeenbrokeninmyfallfromtheladder,andtherefore,hadIletgomyholdwiththerighthandImusthaveletgoaltogether.Inthesecondplace,IcouldhavenobreechesuntilIcameacrossthecrow.Iwasthereforeobliged,muchtomyregret,toshakemyheadinthenegative,intendingthustogivetheAngeltounderstandthatIfounditinconvenient,justatthatmoment,tocomplywithhisveryreasonabledemand!Nosooner,however,hadIceasedshakingmyheadthan

    "Gotoderteuffel,ten!"roaredtheAngeloftheOdd.

    InpronouncingthesewordshedrewasharpknifeacrosstheguideropebywhichIwassuspended,andaswethenhappenedtobepreciselyovermyownhouse(which,duringmyperegrinations,hadbeenhandsomelyrebuilt),itsooccurredthatItumbledheadlongdowntheamplechimneyandalituponthediningroomhearth.

    Uponcomingtomysenses(forthefallhadverythoroughlystunnedme)Ifounditaboutfouro'clockinthemorning.IlayoutstretchedwhereIhadfallenfromtheballoon.Myheadgroveledintheashesofanextinguishedfire,whilemyfeetreposeduponthewreckofasmalltable,overthrown,andamid

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    thefragmentsofamiscellaneousdessert,intermingledwithanewspaper,somebrokenglassesandshatteredbottles,andanemptyjugoftheSchiedamKirschenwsser.ThusrevengedhimselftheAngeloftheOdd.

    THESCHOOLMASTER'SPROGRESS

    ByCarolineM.S.Kirkland(18011864)

    [FromTheGiftfor1845,publishedlatein1844.Republishedinthevolume,WesternClearings(1845),byCarolineM.S.Kirkland.]

    MasterWilliamHornercametoourvillagetoschoolwhenhewasabouteighteenyearsold:tall,lank,straightsided,andstraighthaired,withamouthofthemostpuckeredandsolemnkind.Hisfigureandmovementswerethoseofapuppetcutoutofshingleandjerkedbyastringandhisaddresscorrespondedverywellwithhisappearance.Neverdidthatprimmouthgivewaybeforealaugh.Afaintandmistysmilewasthewidestdeparturefromitspropriety,andthisunaccustomeddisturbancemadewrinklesintheflat,skinnycheekslikethoseinthesurfaceofalake,aftertheintrusionofastone.MasterHornerknewwellwhatbelongedtothepedagogicalcharacter,andthatfacialsolemnitystoodhighonthelistofindispensablequalifications.Hehadmadeuphismindbeforehelefthisfather'shousehowhewouldlookduringtheterm.Hehadnotplannedanysmiles(knowingthathemust"boardround"),anditwasnotforordinaryoccurrencestoalterhisarrangementssothatwhenhewasbetrayedintoarelaxationofthemuscles,itwas"insuchasort"asifhewasputtinghisbreadandbutterinjeopardy.

    Trulyhehadagravetimethatfirstwinter.Therodofpowerwasnewtohim,andhefeltithis"duty"touseitmorefrequentlythanmighthavebeenthoughtnecessarybythoseuponwhosesensetheprivilegehadpalled.Tearsandsulkyfaces,andimpotentfistsdoubledfiercelywhenhisbackwasturned,weretherewardsofhisconscientiousnessandtheboysandgirlstooweregladwhenworkingtimecameroundagain,andthemasterwenthometohelphisfatheronthefarm.

    ButwiththeautumncameMasterHorneragain,droppingamongusasquietlyasthefadedleaves,andawakeningatleastasmuchseriousreflection.Wouldhebeasselfsacrificingasbefore,postponinghisowneaseandcomforttothepublicgood,orwouldhehavebecomemoresedentary,andlessfondofcircumambulatingtheschoolroomwithaswitchoverhisshoulder?Manywerefaintohopehemighthavelearnedtosmokeduringthesummer,anaccomplishmentwhichwouldprobablyhavemoderatedhisenergynotalittle,anddisposedhimrathertoreveriethantoaction.Butherehewas,andallthebroaderchestedandstouterarmedforhislaborsintheharvestfield.

    LetitnotbesupposedthatMasterHornerwasofacruelandogrishnatureababeeateraHerodonewhodelightedintorturingthehelpless.Suchsoulstheremaybe,amongthoseendowedwiththeawfulcontroloftheferule,buttheyarerareinthefreshandnaturalregionswedescribe.Itis,webelieve,whereyounggentlemenaretobecrammedforcollege,thattheprocessofhardeningheartandskintogethergoesonmostvigorously.Yetamongtheuneducatedthereissohigharespectforbodilystrength,thatitisnecessaryfortheschoolmastertoshow,firstofall,thathepossessesthisinadmissiblerequisiteforhisplace.Therestismorereadilytakenforgranted.Brainshemayhaveastrongarmhemusthave:soheprovesthemoreimportantclaimfirst.WemustthereforemakealldueallowanceforMasterHorner,whocouldnotbeexpectedtoovertophispositionsofarastodiscernatoncethephilosophyofteaching.

    Hewassadlybrowbeatenduringhisfirsttermofservicebyagreatbroadshoulderedloutofsomeeighteenyearsorso,whothoughtheneededalittlemore"schooling,"butatthesametimefeltquitecompetenttodirectthemannerandmeasureofhisattempts.

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    "You'doughttobeginwithlargehand,Joshuay,"saidMasterHornertothisyouth.

    "WhatshouldIwantcoarsehandfor?"saidthedisciple,withgreatcontempt"coarsehandwon'tneverdomenogood.Iwantafinehandcopy."

    Themasterlookedattheinfantgiant,anddidashewished,butwesaynotwithwhatsecretresolutions.

    Atanothertime,MasterHorner,havinghadahintfromsomeonemoreknowingthanhimself,proposedtohiselderscholarstowriteafterdictation,expatiatingatthesametimequitefloridly(theideashavingbeensuppliedbytheknowingfriend),upontheadvantageslikelytoarisefromthispractice,andsaying,amongotherthings,

    "Itwillhelpyou,whenyouwriteletters,tospellthewordsgood."

    "Pooh!"saidJoshua,"spellin'ain'tnothin'letthemthatfindsthemistakescorrect'em.I'mforeveryone'shavin'awayoftheirown."

    "Howdaredyoubesosaucytothemaster?"askedoneofthelittleboys,afterschool.

    "BecauseIcouldlickhim,easy,"saidthehopefulJoshua,whoknewverywellwhythemasterdidnotundertakehimonthespot.

    CanwewonderthatMasterHornerdeterminedtomakehisempiregoodasfarasitwent?

    Anewexaminationwasrequiredontheentranceintoasecondterm,and,withwhateversecrettrepidation,themasterwasobligedtosubmit.Ourlawprescribesexaminations,butforgetstoprovideforthecompetencyoftheexaminerssothatfewbetterfarcesofferthanthecourseofquestionandanswerontheseoccasions.WeknownotpreciselywhatwereMasterHorner'strialsbutwehaveheardofasharpdisputebetweentheinspectorswhetherangelspeltangleorangel.Anglehadit,andtheschoolmaintainedthatpronunciationeverafter.MasterHornerpassed,andhewasrequestedtodrawupthecertificatefortheinspectorstosign,asonehadlefthisspectaclesathome,andtheotherhadabadcold,sothatitwasnotconvenientforeithertowritemorethanhisname.MasterHomer'sexhibitionoflearningonthisoccasiondidnotreachus,butweknowthatitmusthavebeenconsiderable,sincehestoodtheordeal.

    "Whatisorthography?"saidaninspectoronce,inourpresence.

    Thecandidatewrithedagooddeal,studiedthebeamsoverheadandthechickensoutofthewindow,andthenreplied,

    "ItissolongsinceIlearntthefirstpartofthespellingbook,thatIcan'tjustlyanswerthatquestion.ButifIcouldjustlookitover,IguessIcould."

    Ourschoolmasterentereduponhissecondtermwithnewcourageandinvigoratedauthority.Twicecertified,whoshoulddaredoubthiscompetency?EvenJoshuawascivil,andlesserloutsofcourseobsequiousthoughthegirlstookmoreliberties,fortheyfeelevenatthatearlyage,thatinfluenceisstrongerthanstrength.

    Couldayoungschoolmasterthinkofferulingagirlwithherhairinringletsandagoldringonherfinger?Impossibleandtheimmunityextendedtoallthelittlesistersandcousinsandtherewereenoughlargegirlstoprotectallthefemininepartoftheschool.WiththeboysMasterHornerstillhadmanyabattle,andwhetherwithaviewtothis,orasaneconomicalruse,heneverworehiscoatinschool,sayingitwastoowarm.Perhapsitwasanastuteattentiontotheprejudicesofhisemployers,wholovenomanthatdoesnotearnhislivingbythesweatofhisbrow.Theshirtsleevesgavetheideaofamanuallaborschoolinonesenseatleast.Itwasevidentthatthemasterworked,andthat

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    affordedaprobabilitythatthescholarsworkedtoo.

    MasterHorner'ssuccesswasmosttriumphantthatwinter.Ayear'sgrowthhadimprovedhisoutwardmanexceedingly,fillingoutthelimbssothattheydidnotremindyousoforciblyofayoungcolt's,andsupplyingthecheekswiththefleshandbloodsonecessarywheremustacheswerenotworn.Experiencehadgivenhimadegreeofconfidence,andconfidencegavehimpower.Inshort,peoplesaidthemasterhadwakedupandsohehad.HeactuallysetaboutreadingforimprovementandalthoughattheendofthetermhecouldnotquitemakeoutfromhishistoricalstudieswhichsideHannibalwason,yetthisisreadilyexplainedbythefactthatheboardedround,andwasobligedtoreadgenerallybyfirelight,surroundedbyungovernedchildren.

    Afterthis,MasterHornermadehisownbargain.Whenschooltimecameroundwiththefollowingautumn,andtheteacherpresentedhimselfforathirdexamination,suchatestwaspronouncednolongernecessaryandthedistrictconsentedtoengagehimattheastoundingrateofsixteendollarsamonth,withtheunderstandingthathewastohaveafixedhome,providedhewaswillingtoallowadollaraweekforit.MasterHornerbethoughthimofthesuccessive"killingtimes,"andconsequentdoughnutsofthetwentyfamiliesinwhichhehadsojournedtheyearsbefore,andconsentedtotheexaction.

    Beholdourfriendnowashighasdistrictteachercaneverhopetobehisscholarshipestablished,hishomestationaryandnotrevolving,andthegoodbehaviorofthecommunityinsuredbythefactthathe,beingofage,hadnowafarmtoretireuponincaseofanydisgust.

    MasterHornerwasatoncethepreminentbeauoftheneighborhood,spiteoftheprejudiceagainstlearning.Hebrushedhishairstraightupinfront,andworeaskyblueribbonforaguardtohissilverwatch,andwalkedasifthetallheelsofhisbluntbootswereeggshellsandnotleather.Yethewasfarfromneglectingthedutiesofhisplace.HewasbeauonlyonSundaysandholidaysveryschoolmastertherestofthetime.

    Itwasata"spellingschool"thatMasterHornerfirstmettheeducatedeyesofMissHarrietBangle,ayoungladyvisitingtheEnglehartsinourneighborhood.ShewasfromoneofthetownsinWesternNewYork,andhadbroughtwithheravarietyofcityairsandgracessomewhatcaricatured,setoffwithyearoldFrenchfashionsmuchtravestied.Whethershehadbeensentouttothenewcountrytotry,somewhatlate,arusticchanceforanestablishment,orwhetherhercompanyhadbeenfoundrathertryingathome,wecannotsay.Theviewwhichshewasatsomepainstomakeunderstoodwas,thatherfriendshadcontrivedthismethodofkeepingheroutofthewayofadesperateloverwhoseaddresseswerenotacceptabletothem.

    Ifitshouldseemsurprisingthatsohighbredavisitorshouldbesojourninginthewildwoods,itmustberememberedthatmorethanonecelebratedEnglishmanandnotafewdistinguishedAmericanshavefarmerbrothersinthewesterncountry,nowhitlessrusticintheirexteriorandmanneroflifethantheplainestoftheirneighbors.Whenthesearevisitedbytheirrefinedkinsfolk,weofthewoodscatchglimpsesofthegayworld,orthinkwedo.

    ThatgreatmedicinehathWithitstinctgilded

    manyavulgarismtothesatisfactionofwiserheadsthanours.

    MissBangle'smannerbespokeforherthathighconsiderationwhichshefelttobeherdue.Yetshecondescendedtobeamusedbytherusticsandtheirawkwardattemptsatgaietyandeleganceand,tosaytruth,fewofthevillagemerrymakingsescapedher,thoughsheworealwaystheairofgreatsuperiority.

    Thespellingschoolisoneoftheordinarywinteramusementsinthecountry.Itoccursonceina

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    fortnight,orso,andhaspowertodrawoutalltheyoungpeopleformilesround,arrayedintheirbestclothesandtheirholidaybehavior.Whenallisready,umpiresareelected,andafterthesehavetakenthedistinguishedplaceusuallyoccupiedbytheteacher,theyoungpeopleoftheschoolchoosethetwobestscholarstoheadtheopposingclasses.Theseleaderschoosetheirfollowersfromthemass,eachcallinganameinturn,untilallthespellersarerankedononesideortheother,liningthesidesoftheroom,andallstanding.Theschoolmaster,standingtoo,takeshisspellingbook,andgivesaplacidyetaweinspiringlookalongtheranks,remarkingthatheintendstobeveryimpartial,andthatheshallgiveoutnothingthatisnotinthespellingbook.Forthefirsthalfhourorsohechoosescommonandeasywords,thatthespiritoftheeveningmaynotbedampedbythetooearlythinningoftheclasses.Whenawordismissed,theblundererhastositdown,andbeaspectatoronlyfortherestoftheevening.Atcertainintervals,someofthebestspeakersmounttheplatform,and"speakapiece,"whichisgenerallyasdeclamatoryaspossible.

    Theexcitementofthissceneisequaltothataffordedbyanycityspectaclewhateverandtowardsthecloseoftheevening,whendifficultandunusualwordsarechosentoconfoundthesmallnumberwhostillkeepthefloor,itbecomesscarcelylessthanpainful.Whenperhapsonlyoneortworemaintobepuzzled,themaster,wearyatlastofhistask,thoughafavoriteone,triesbytrickstoputdownthosewhomhecannotovercomeinfairfight.Ifamongallthecurious,useless,unheardofwordswhichmaybepickedoutofthespellingbook,hecannotfindonewhichthescholarshavenotnoticed,hegetsthelastheaddownbysomequiporcatch."Bay"willperhapsbethesoundonescholarspellsit"bey,"another,"bay,"whilethemasterallthetimemeans"ba,"whichcomeswithintherule,beinginthespellingbook.

    Itwasononeoftheseoccasions,aswehavesaid,thatMissBangle,havingcometothespellingschooltogetmaterialsforalettertoafemalefriend,firstshoneuponMr.Horner.Shewasexcessivelyamusedbyhissolemnairandpuckeredmouth,andsethimdownatonceasfairgame.Yetshecouldnothelpbecomingsomewhatinterestedinthespellingschool,andafteritwasoverfoundshehadnotstoreduphalfasmanyoftheschoolmaster'spointsassheintended,forthebenefitofhercorrespondent.

    Intheevening'scontestayounggirlfromsomefewmiles'distance,EllenKingsbury,theonlychildofasubstantialfarmer,hadbeentheverylasttositdown,afteraprolongedeffortonthepartofMr.Hornertopuzzleher,forthecreditofhisownschool.Sheblushed,andsmiled,andblushedagain,butspelton,untilMr.Horner'scheekswerecrimsonwithexcitementandsometouchofshamethatheshouldbebaffledathisownweapons.Atlength,eitherbyaccidentordesign,Ellenmissedaword,andsinkingintoherseatwasnumberedwiththeslain.

    Inthelaughandtalkwhichfollowed(forwiththeconclusionofthespelling,allformofapublicassemblyvanishes),ourschoolmastersaidsomanygallantthingstohisfairenemy,andappearedsomuchanimatedbytheexcitementofthecontest,thatMissBanglebegantolookuponhimwithrathermorerespect,andtofeelsomewhatindignantthatalittlerusticlikeEllenshouldabsorbtheentireattentionoftheonlybeau.Sheputon,therefore,hermostgraciousaspect,andmingledinthecirclecausedtheschoolmastertobepresentedtoher,anddidherbesttofascinatehimbycertainairsandgraceswhichshehadfoundsuccessfulelsewhere.Whatgameistoosmallfortheclosewovennetofacoquette?

    Mr.HornerquittednotthefairEllenuntilhehadhandedherintoherfather'ssleighandhethenwendedhiswayhomewards,neverthinkingthatheoughttohaveescortedMissBangletoheruncle's,thoughshecertainlywaitedalittlewhileforhisreturn.

    Wemustnotfollowintoparticularsthesubsequentintercourseofourschoolmasterwiththecivilizedyounglady.AllthatconcernsusistheresultofMissBangle'sbenevolentdesignsuponhisheart.Shetriedmostsincerelytofinditsvulnerablespot,meaningnodoubttoputMr.Homeronhisguardforthefutureandshewasunfeignedlysurprisedtodiscoverthatherbesteffortswereofnoavail.Sheconcludedhemusthavetakenacounterpoison,andshewasnotslowinguessingitssource.Shehad

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    observedthepeculiarfirewhichlighteduphiseyesinthepresenceofEllenKingsbury,andshebethoughtherofaplanwhichwouldensurehersomeamusementattheexpenseoftheseimpertinentrustics,thoughinamannerdifferentsomewhatfromheroriginalmorenaturalideaofsimplecoquetry.

    AletterwaswrittentoMasterHorner,purportingtocomefromEllenKingsbury,wordedsoartfullythattheschoolmasterunderstoodatoncethatitwasintendedtobeasecretcommunication,thoughitsostensibleobjectwasaninquiryaboutsomeordinaryaffair.ThiswaslaidinMr.Horner'sdeskbeforehecametoschool,withanintimationthathemightleaveananswerinacertainspotonthefollowingmorning.Thebaittookatonce,forMr.Horner,honestandtruehimself,andmuchsmittenwiththefairEllen,wastoohappytobecircumspect.Theanswerwasdulyplaced,andasdulycarriedtoMissBanglebyheraccomplice,JoeEnglehart,anunluckypicklewho"wasalwaysforill,neverforgood,"andwhofoundnodifficultyinobtainingtheletterunwatched,sincethemasterwasobligedtobeinschoolatnine,andJoecouldalwayslingerafewminuteslater.Thisanswerbeingopenedandlaughedat,MissBanglehadonlytocontrivearejoinder,whichbeingrathermoreparticularinitstonethantheoriginalcommunication,ledonyetagainthehappyschoolmaster,whobranchedoutintosentiment,"taffetaphrases,silkentermsprecise,"talkedofhillsanddalesandrivulets,andthepleasuresoffriendship,andconcludedbyentreatingacontinuanceofthecorrespondence.

    Anotherletterandanother,everyonemoreflatteringandencouragingthanthelast,almostturnedthesoberheadofourpoormaster,andwarmeduphisheartsoeffectuallythathecouldscarcelyattendtohisbusiness.Thespellingschoolswereremembered,however,andEllenKingsburymadeoneofthemerrycompanybutthelatestletterhadnotforgottentocautionMr.Hornernottobetraytheintimacysothathewasinhonorboundtorestricthimselftothelanguageoftheeyeshardasitwastoforbearthesinglewhisperforwhichhewouldhavegivenhisverydictionary.So,theirmeetingpassedoffwithouttheexplanationwhichMissBanglebegantofearwouldcutshortherbenevolentamusement.

    Thecorrespondencewasresumedwithrenewedspirit,andcarriedonuntilMissBangle,thoughnotoverburdenedwithsensitiveness,begantobealittlealarmedfortheconsequencesofhermaliciouspleasantry.Sheperceivedthatsheherselfhadturnedschoolmistress,andthatMasterHorner,insteadofbeingmerelyherdupe,hadbecomeherpupiltooforthestyleofhisreplieshadbeenconstantlyimprovingandtheearnestandmanlytonewhichheassumedpromisedanythingbutthequiet,sheepishpocketingofinjuryandinsult,uponwhichshehadcounted.Intruth,therewassomethingdeeperthanvanityinthefeelingswithwhichheregardedEllenKingsbury.Theencouragementwhichhesupposedhimselftohavereceived,threwdownthebarrierwhichhisextremebashfulnesswouldhaveinterposedbetweenhimselfandanyonewhopossessedcharmsenoughtoattracthimandwemustexcusehimif,insuchacase,hedidnotcriticisethemodeofencouragement,butrathergraspedeagerlytheprofferedgoodwithoutascruple,oronewhichhewouldowntohimself,astotheproprietywithwhichitwastendered.Hewasasmuchinloveasamancanbe,andtheseriousnessofrealattachmentgavebothgraceanddignitytohisonceawkwarddiction.

    TheevidentdeterminationofMr.HornertocometothepointofaskingpapabroughtMissBangletoaveryawkwardpass.Shehadexpectedtoreturnhomebeforemattershadproceededsofar,butbeingobligedtoremainsometimelonger,shewasequallyafraidtogoonandtoleaveoff,adnouementbeingalmostcertaintoensueineithercase.Thingsstoodthuswhenitwastimetoprepareforthegrandexhibitionwhichwastoclosethewinter'sterm.

    Thisisanaffairoftoomuchmagnitudetobefullydescribedinthesmallspaceyetremaininginwhichtobringoutourveracioushistory.Itmustbe"slubber'do'erinhaste"itsimportantpreliminarieslefttothecoldimaginationofthereaderitsfinespiritperhapsevaporatingforwantofbeingembodiedinwords.Wecanonlysaythatourmaster,whoseschoollifewastoclosewiththeterm,laboredasmanneverbeforelaboredinsuchacause,resolutetotrailacloudofgloryafterhimwhenheleftus.Notacandlesticknoracurtainthatwasattainable,eitherbycoaxingorbribery,wasleftinthevillageeventheonlypiano,thatfrailtreasure,waswiledawayandplacedinonecornerof

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    thericketystage.ThemostsplendidofallthepiecesintheColumbianOrator,theAmericanSpeaker,thebutwemustnotenumerateinaword,themostastoundingandpatheticspecimensofeloquencewithinkenofeitherteacherorscholars,hadbeenselectedfortheoccasionandseveralyoungladiesandgentlemen,whoseacademicalcoursehadbeenhappilyconcludedatanearlierperiod,eitheratourowninstitutionoratsomeother,hadconsentedtolendthemselvestotheparts,andtheirchoicestdecorationsfortheproperties,ofthedramaticportionoftheentertainment.

    AmongtheselastwasprettyEllenKingsbury,whohadagreedtopersonatetheQueenofScots,inthegardenscenefromSchiller'stragedyofMaryStuartandthiscircumstanceaccidentallyaffordedMasterHornertheopportunityhehadsolongdesired,ofseeinghisfascinatingcorrespondentwithoutthepresenceofpeeringeyes.Adressrehearsaloccupiedtheafternoonbeforethedayofdays,andthepatheticexpostulationsofthelovelyMary

    MinealldothhangmylifemydestinyUponmywordsupontheforceoftears!

    aidedbythelongveil,andtheemotionwhichsympathybroughtintoEllen'scountenance,provedtoomuchfortheenforcedprudenceofMasterHorner.Whentherehearsalwasover,andtheheroesandheroinesweretoreturnhome,itwasfoundthat,byastrokeofwittyinventionnotnewinthecountry,theharnessofMr.Kingsbury'shorseshadbeencutinseveralplaces,hiswhiphidden,hisbuffaloskinsspreadontheground,andthesleighturnedbottomupwardsonthem.Thisaffordedanexcuseforthemaster'sborrowingahorseandsleighofsomebody,andclaimingtheprivilegeoftakingMissEllenhome,whileherfatherreturnedwithonlyAuntSallyandagreatbagofbranfromthemillcompanionsaboutequallyinteresting.

    Here,then,wasthegoldenopportunitysolongwishedfor!Herewasthepowerofascertainingatoncewhatisneverquitecertainuntilwehavehearditfromwarm,livinglips,whosetestimonyisstrengthenedbyglancesinwhichthewholesoulspeaksorseemstospeak.Thetimewasshort,forthesleighingwasbuttoofineandFatherKingsbury,havingtieduphisharness,andcollectedhisscatteredequipment,wasdrivingsoclosebehindthattherewasnopossibilityoflingeringforamoment.YetmanymomentswerelostbeforeMr.Horner,verymuchinearnest,andallunhackneyedinmattersofthissort,couldfindawordinwhichtoclothehisnewfoundfeelings.Thehorseseemedtoflythedistancewashalfpastandatlength,inabsolutedespairofanythingbetter,heblurtedoutatoncewhathehaddeterminedtoavoidadirectreferencetothecorrespondence.

    Agameatcrosspurposesensuedexclamationsandexplanations,anddenialsandapologiesfilledupthetimewhichwastohavemadeMasterHornersoblest.ThelightfromMr.Kingsbury'swindowsshoneuponthepath,andthewholeresultofthisconferencesolongedfor,wasaburstoftearsfromtheperplexedandmortifiedEllen,whosprangfromMr.Horner'sattemptstodetainher,rushedintothehousewithoutvouchsafinghimawordofadieu,andlefthimstanding,nobadpersonificationofOrpheus,afterthelasthopelessflittingofhisEurydice.

    "Won'tyou'light,Master?"saidMr.Kingsbury.

    "Yesnothankyougoodevening,"stammeredpoorMasterHorner,sostupefiedthatevenAuntSallycalledhim"adummy."

    Thehorsetookthesleighagainstthefence,goinghome,andthrewoutthemaster,whoscarcelyrecollectedtheaccidentwhiletoEllentheissueofthisunfortunatedrivewasasleeplessnightandsohighafeverinthemorningthatourvillagedoctorwascalledtoMr.Kingsbury'sbeforebreakfast.

    PoorMasterHorner'sdistressmayhardlybeimagined.Disappointed,bewildered,cuttothequick,yetasmuchinloveasever,hecouldonlyinbittersilenceturnoverinhisthoughtstheissueofhischerisheddreamnowpersuadinghimselfthatEllen'sdenialwastheeffectofasuddenbashfulness,nowinveighingagainsttheficklenessofthesex,asallmendowhentheyareangrywithanyone

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    womaninparticular.Buthisexhibitionmustgooninspiteofwretchednessandhewentaboutmechanically,talkingofcurtainsandcandles,andmusic,andattitudes,andpauses,andemphasis,lookinglikeasomnambulistwhose"eyesareopenbuttheirsenseisshut,"andoftensurprisingthoseconcernedbytheutterunfitnessofhisanswers.

    ItwasalmosteveningwhenMr.Kingsbury,havingdiscovered,throughtheinterventionoftheDoctorandAuntSallythecauseofEllen'sdistress,madehisappearancebeforetheunhappyeyesofMasterHorner,angry,solemnanddeterminedtakingtheschoolmasterapart,andrequiring,anexplanationofhistreatmentofhisdaughter.Invaindidtheperplexedloveraskfortimetoclearhimself,declarehisrespectforMissEllenandhiswillingnesstogiveeveryexplanationwhichshemightrequirethefatherwasnottobeputoffandthoughexcessivelyreluctant,Mr.HornerhadnoresourcebuttoshowtheletterswhichalonecouldaccountforhisstrangediscoursetoEllen.Heunlockedhisdesk,slowlyandunwillingly,whiletheoldman'simpatiencewassuchthathecouldscarcelyforbearthrustinginhisownhandtosnatchatthepaperswhichweretoexplainthisvexatiousmystery.WhatcouldequaltheutterconfusionofMasterHornerandthecontemptuousangerofthefather,whennolettersweretobefound!Mr.Kingsburywastoopassionatetolistentoreason,ortoreflectforonemomentupontheirreproachablegoodnameoftheschoolmaster.Hewentawayininexorablewraththreateningeverypracticablevisitationofpublicandprivatejusticeupontheheadoftheoffender,whomheaccusedofhavingattemptedtotrickhisdaughterintoanentanglementwhichshouldresultinhisfavor.

    Adolefulexhibitionwasthislastoneofourthriceapprovedandmostworthyteacher!Sternnecessityandthepowerofhabitenabledhimtogothroughwithmostofhispart,butwherewastheproudfirewhichhadlighteduphiseyeonsimilaroccasionsbefore?HesatasoneofthreejudgesbeforewhomtheunfortunateRobertEmmetwasdraggedinhisshirtsleeves,bytwofiercelookingofficialsbutthechiefjudgelookedfarmorelikeacriminalthandidtheproperrepresentative.HeoughttohavepersonatedOthello,butwasobligedtoexcusehimselffromravingfor"thehandkerchief!thehandkerchief!"ontheratheranomalouspleaofabadcold.MaryStuartbeing"i'thebond,"wasanxiouslyexpectedbytheimpatientcrowd,anditwaswithdistressamountingtoagonythatthemasterwasobligedtoannounce,inperson,thenecessityofomittingthatpartoftherepresentation,onaccountoftheillnessofoneoftheyoungladies.

    Scarcelyhadthewordsbeenuttered,andthespeakerhiddenhisburningfacebehindthecurtain,whenMr.Kingsburystartedupinhisplaceamidthethrong,togiveapublicrecitalofhisgrievancenouncommonresortinthenewcountry.Hedashedatoncetothepointandbeforesomefriendswhosawtheutterimproprietyofhisproceedingcouldpersuadehimtodeferhisvengeance,hehadlaidbeforetheassemblysomethreehundredpeople,perhapshisownstatementofthecase.Hewasgotoutatlast,halfcoaxed,halfhustledandthegentlepubliconlyhalfunderstandingwhathadbeensetforththusunexpectedly,madequiteaprettyrowofit.Someclamoredloudlyfortheconclusionoftheexercisesothersgaveutterancesinnoparticularlychoicetermstoavarietyofopinionsastotheschoolmaster'sproceedings,varyingthenoteoccasionallybyshouting,"Theletters!theletters!whydon'tyoubringouttheletters?"

    Atlength,bymeansofmuchrappingonthedeskbythepresidentoftheevening,whowasfortunatelya"popular"character,orderwaspartiallyrestoredandthefavoritescenefromMissMore'sdialogueofDavidandGoliathwasannouncedastheclosingpiece.ThesightoflittleDavidinawhitetunicedgedwithredtape,withacalicoscripandaveryprimitivelookingslingandahugeGoliathdecoratedwithamilitiabeltandsword,andaspearlikeaweaver'sbeamindeed,enchainedeverybody'sattention.Eventhepeccantschoolmasterandhispretendedletterswereforgotten,whilethesapientGoliath,everytimethatheraisedthespear,intheenergyofhisdeclamation,tothumpuponthestage,pickedawayfragmentsofthelowceiling,whichfellconspicuouslyonhisgreatshockofblackhair.Atlast,withthecrowningthreat,upwentthespearforanastoundingthump,anddowncamealargepieceoftheceiling,andwithitashowerofletters.

    Theconfusionthatensuedbeggarsalldescription.Ageneralscrambletookplace,andinanother

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    momenttwentypairsofeyes,atleast,werefeastingonthechoicephraseslavisheduponMr.Horner.MissBanglehadsatthroughthewholepreviousscene,tremblingforherself,althoughshehad,asshesupposed,guardedcunninglyagainstexposure.ShehadneedednoprophettotellherwhatmustbetheresultofattettebetweenMr.HornerandEllenandthemomentshesawthemdriveofftogether,sheinducedherimptoseizetheopportunityofabstractingthewholeparceloflettersfromMr.Horner'sdeskwhichhedidbymeansofasortofskillwhichcomesbynaturetosuchgoblinspickingthelockbytheaidofacrookednail,asneatlyasifhehadbeenbornwithintheshadowoftheTombs.

    Butmagicianssometimessufferseverelyfromthemalicewithwhichtheyhavethemselvesinspiredtheirfamiliars.JoeEngleharthavingbeenaconvenienttoolthusfarthoughtitquitetimetotormentMissBanglealittleso,havingstolenthelettersatherbidding,hehidthemonhisownaccount,andnopersuasionsofherscouldinducehimtorevealthisimportantsecret,whichhechosetoreserveasarodincasesherefusedhimsomeintercessionwithhisfather,orsomeotheraccommodation,renderednecessarybyhismischievoushabits.

    Hehadconcealedthepreciousparcelsintheunflooredloftabovetheschoolroom,aplaceaccessibleonlybymeansofasmalltrapdoorwithoutstaircaseorladderandherehemeanttohavekeptthemwhileitsuitedhispurposes,butfortheuntimelyintrusionoftheweaver'sbeam.

    MissBanglehadsatthroughall,aswehavesaid,thinkingtheletterssafe,yetvowingvengeanceagainstherconfederatefornotallowinghertosecurethembyasatisfactoryconflagrationanditwasnotuntilsheheardherownnamewhisperedthroughthecrowd,thatshewasawakenedtohertruesituation.Thesagacityofthelowcreatureswhomshehaddespisedshowedthematoncethatthelettersmustbehers,sincehercharacterhadbeenprettyshrewdlyguessed,andthehandwritingworeamorepractisedairthanisusualamongfemalesinthecountry.Thiswasfirsttakenforgranted,andthenspokenofasanacknowledgedfact.

    Theassemblymovedliketheheavingsofatroubledsea.Everybodyfeltthatthiswaseverybody'sbusiness."Putherout!"washeardfrommorethanoneroughvoicenearthedoor,andthiswasrespondedtobyloudandangrymurmursfromwithin.

    Mr.Englehart,notwaitingtoinquireintothemeritsofthecaseinthissceneofconfusion,hastenedtogethisfamilyoutasquietlyandasquicklyaspossible,butgroansandhissesfollowedhisnieceasshehunghalffaintingonhisarm,quailingcompletelybeneaththeinstinctiveindignationoftherusticpublic.Asshepassedout,ayellresoundedamongtherudeboysaboutthedoor,andshewasliftedintoasleigh,insensiblefromterror.Shedisappearedfromthatevening,andnooneknewthetimeofherfinaldeparturefor"theeast."

    Mr.Kingsbury,whoisajustmanwhenheisnotinapassion,madeallthereparationinhispowerforhisharshandillconsideredattackuponthemasterandwebelievethatfunctionarydidnotshowanytraitsofimplacabilityofcharacter.Atleasthewasseen,notmanydaysafter,sittingpeaceablyatteawithMr.Kingsbury,AuntSally,andMissEllenandhehassincegonehometobuildahouseuponhisfarm.Andpeopledosay,thatafterafewmonthsmore,EllenwillnotneedMissBangle'sinterventionifsheshouldseefittocorrespondwiththeschoolmaster.

    THEWATKINSONEVENING

    [FromGodey'sLady'sBook,December,1846.]

    ByElizaLeslie(17871858)

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    Mrs.Morland,apolishedandaccomplishedwoman,wasthewidowofadistinguishedsenatorfromoneofthewesternstates,ofwhich,also,herhusbandhadtwicefilledtheofficeofgovernor.HerdaughterhavingcompletedhereducationatthebestboardingschoolinPhiladelphia,andhersonbeingabouttograduateatPrinceton,themotherhadplannedwithherchildrenatourtoNiagaraandthelakes,returningbywayofBoston.OnleavingPhiladelphia,Mrs.MorlandandthedelightedCarolinestoppedatPrincetontobepresentattheannualcommencement,andhadthehappinessofseeingtheirbelovedEdwardreceivehisdiplomaasbachelorofartsafterhearinghimdeliver,withgreatapplause,anorationonthebeautiesoftheAmericancharacter.Collegeyouthsareverypronetotreatonsubjectsthatimplygreatexperienceoftheworld.ButEdwardMorlandwasfullofkindfeelingforeverythingandeverybodyandhisviewsoflifehadhithertobeentintedwithaperpetualrosecolor.

    Mrs.Morland,notdependingaltogetheruponthecelebrityofherlatehusband,andwishingthatherchildrenshouldseespecimensofthebestsocietyinthenortherncities,hadlefthomewithnumerouslettersofintroduction.ButwhentheyarrivedatNewYork,shefoundtohergreatregret,thathavingunpackedandtakenouthersmalltravelingdesk,duringhershortstayinPhiladelphia,shehadstrangelyleftitbehindintheclosetofherroomatthehotel.Inthisdeskweredepositedallherletters,excepttwowhichhadbeenofferedtoherbyfriendsinPhiladelphia.Theyoungpeople,impatienttoseethewondersofNiagara,hadentreatedhertostaybutadayortwointhecityofNewYork,andthoughtthesetwoletterswouldbequitesufficientforthepresent.Inthemeantimeshewrotebacktothehotel,requestingthatthemissingdeskshouldbeforwardedtoNewYorkassoonaspossible.

    OnthemorningaftertheirarrivalatthegreatcommercialmetropolisofAmerica,theMorlandfamilytookacarriagetorideroundthroughtheprincipalpartsofthecity,andtodelivertheirtwolettersatthehousestowhichtheywereaddressed,andwhichwerebothsituatedintheregionthatliesbetweentheupperpartofBroadwayandtheNorthRiver.InoneofthemostfashionablestreetstheyfoundtheelegantmansionofMrs.St.Leonardbutonstoppingatthedoor,wereinformedthatitsmistresswasnotathome.Theythenlefttheintroductoryletter(whichtheyhadpreparedforthismischance,byenclosingitinanenvelopewithacard),andproceedingtoanotherstreetconsiderablyfartherup,theyarrivedatthedwellingoftheWatkinsonfamily,tothemistressofwhichtheotherPhiladelphialetterwasdirected.Itwasoneofalargeblockofhousesallexactlyalike,andallshutupfromtoptobottom,accordingtoacustommoreprevalentinNewYorkthaninanyothercity.

    Heretheywerealsounsuccessfultheservantwhocametothedoortellingthemthattheladieswereparticularlyengagedandcouldseenocompany.Sotheylefttheirsecondletterandcardanddroveoff,continuingtheirridetilltheyreachedtheCrotonwaterworks,whichtheyquittedthecarriagetoseeandadmire.Onreturningtothehotel,withtheintentionafteranhourortwoofresttogooutagain,andwalktillneardinnertime,theyfoundwaitingthemanotefromMrs.Watkinson,expressingherregretthatshehadnotbeenabletoseethemwhentheycalledandexplainingthatherfamilydutiesalwaysobligedhertodenyherselfthepleasureofreceivingmorningvisitors,andthatherservantshadgeneralorderstothateffect.Butsherequestedtheircompanyforthatevening(namingnineo'clockasthehour),andparticularlydesiredanimmediateanswer.

    "Isuppose,"saidMrs.Morland,"sheintendsaskingsomeofherfriendstomeetus,incaseweaccepttheinvitationandthereforeisnaturallydesirousofareplyassoonaspossible.Ofcoursewewillnotkeepherinsuspense.Mrs.Denham,whovolunteeredtheletter,assuredmethatMrs.WatkinsonwasoneofthemostestimablewomeninNewYork,andapatterntothecircleinwhichshemoved.ItseemsthatMr.DenhamandMr.Watkinsonareconnectedinbusiness.Shallwego?"

    Theyoungpeopleassented,sayingtheyhadnodoubtofpassingapleasantevening.

    Thebilletofacceptancehavingbeenwritten,itwassentoffimmediately,entrustedtooneoftheerrandgoersbelongingtothehotel,thatitmightbereceivedinadvanceofthenexthourforthedispatchpostandEdwardMorlanddesiredthemantogetintoanomnibuswiththenotethatnotimemightbelostindeliveringit."Itisbutright"saidhetohismother"thatweshouldgiveMrs.

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    Watkinsonanampleopportunityofmakingherpreparations,andsendingroundtoinviteherfriends."

    "Howconsiderateyouare,dearEdward"saidCaroline"alwayssothoughtfulofeveryone'sconvenience.Yourcollegefriendsmusthaveidolizedyou."

    "No"saidEdward"theycalledmeaprig."Justthenaremarkablyhandsomecarriagedroveuptotheprivatedoorofthehotel.Fromitalightedaveryelegantwoman,whoinafewmomentswasusheredintothedrawingroombytheheadwaiter,andonhisdesignatingMrs.Morland'sfamily,sheadvancedandgracefullyannouncedherselfasMrs.St.Leonard.Thiswastheladyatwhosehousetheyhadleftthefirstletterofintroduction.Sheexpressedregretatnothavingbeenathomewhentheycalledbutsaidthatonfindingtheirletter,shehadimmediatelycomedowntoseethem,andtoengagethemfortheevening."Tonight"saidMrs.St.Leonard"IexpectasmanyfriendsasIcancollectforasummerparty.Theoccasionistherecentmarriageofmyniece,whowithherhusbandhasjustreturnedfromtheirbridalexcursion,andtheywillbesoonontheirwaytotheirresidenceinBaltimore.IthinkIcanpromiseyouanagreeableevening,asIexpectsomeverydelightfulpeople,withwhomIshallbemosthappytomakeyouacquainted."

    EdwardandCarolineexchangedglances,andcouldnotrefrainfromlookingwistfullyattheirmother,onwhosecountenanceashadeofregretwasveryapparent.AfterashortpausesherepliedtoMrs.St.Leonard"Iamtrulysorrytosaythatwehavejustansweredintheaffirmativeapreviousinvitationforthisveryevening."

    "Iamindeeddisappointed"saidMrs.St.Leonard,whohadbeenlookingapprovinglyattheprepossessingappearanceofthetwoyoungpeople."Istherenowayinwhichyoucanrevokeyourcompliancewiththisunfortunatefirstinvitationatleast,Iamsure,itisunfortunateforme.WhatavexatiouscontretempsthatIshouldhavechancedtobeoutwhenyoucalledthusmissingthepleasureofseeingyouatonce,andsecuringthatofyoursocietyforthisevening?Thetruthis,Iwasdisappointedinsomeofthepreparationsthathadbeensenthomethismorning,andIhadtogomyselfandhavethethingsrectified,andwasdetainedawaylongerthanIexpected.MayIasktowhomyouareengagedthisevening?PerhapsIknowtheladyifso,Ishouldbeverymuchtemptedtogoandbegyoufromher."

    "TheladyisMrs.JohnWatkinson"repliedMrs.Morland"mostprobablyshewillinvitesomeofherfriendstomeetus."

    "Thatofcourse"answeredMrs.St.Leonard"IamreallyverysorryandIregrettosaythatIdonotknowheratall."

    "Weshallhavetoabidebyourfirstdecision,"saidMrs.Morland."ByMrs.Watkinson,mentioninginhernotethehourofnine,itistobepresumedsheintendsaskingsomeothercompany.Icannotpossiblydisappointher.Icanspeakfeelinglyastotheannoyance(forIhaveknownitbymyownexperience)whenafterinvitinganumberofmyfriendstomeetsomestrangers,thestrangershavesentanexcusealmostattheeleventhhour.Ithinknoinducements,howeverstrong,couldtemptmetodosomyself."

    "Iconfessthatyouareperfectlyright,"saidMrs.St.Leonard."IseeyoumustgotoMrs.Watkinson.Butcanyounotdividetheevening,bypassingapartofitwithherandthenfinishingwithme?"

    Atthissuggestiontheeyesoftheyoungpeoplesparkled,fortheyhadbecomedelightedwithMrs.St.Leonard,andimaginedthatapartyatherhousemustbeeverywaycharming.Also,partieswerenoveltiestobothofthem.

    "Ifpossiblewewilldoso,"answeredMrs.Morland,"andwithwhatpleasureIneednotassureyou.WeleaveNewYorktomorrow,butweshallreturnthiswayinSeptember,andwillthenbeexceedinglyhappytoseemoreofMrs.St.Leonard."

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    AfteralittlemoreconversationMrs.St.Leonardtookherleave,repeatingherhopeofstillseeinghernewfriendsatherhousethatnightandenjoiningthemtoletherknowassoonastheyreturnedtoNewYorkontheirwayhome.

    EdwardMorlandhandedhertohercarriage,andthenjoinedhismotherandsisterintheircommendationsofMrs.St.Leonard,withwhoseexceedingbeautywereunitedacountenancebeamingwithintelligence,andamannerthatputeveryoneattheireaseimmediately.

    "Sheisanevidence,"saidEdward,"howsuperiorourwomenoffashionaretothoseofEurope."

    "Wait,mydearson,"saidMrs.Morland,"tillyouhavebeeninEurope,andhadanopportunityofforminganopiniononthatpoint(asonmanyothers)fromactualobservation.Formypart,Ibelievethatinallcivilizedcountriestheupperclassesofpeopleareverymuchalike,atleastintheirleadingcharacteristics."

    "Ah!herecomesthemanthatwassenttoMrs.Watkinson,"saidCarolineMorland."Ihopehecouldnotfindthehouseandhasbroughtthenotebackwithhim.WeshallthenbeabletogoatfirsttoMrs.St.Leonard's,andpassthewholeeveningthere."

    Themanreportedthathehadfoundthehouse,andhaddeliveredthenoteintoMrs.Watkinson'sownhands,asshechancedtobecrossingtheentrywhenthedoorwasopenedandthatshereaditimmediately,andsaid"Verywell."

    "Areyoucertainthatyoumadenomistakeinthehouse,"saidEdward,"andthatyoureallydidgiveittoMrs.Watkinson?"

    "Andit'squitesureIam,sir,"repliedtheman,"whenIfirstcameoverfromtheouldcountryIlivedwiththemawhile,andthoughwhenshesawmetoday,shedidnotletonthatsherememberedmydoingthatsame,shecouldnothelpcallingmeJames.Yes,theralewordsshesaidwhenIhandedherthebillyduxwas,'Verywell,James.'"

    "Come,come,"saidEdward,whentheyfoundthemselvesalone,"letuslookonthebrightside.IfwedonotfindalargepartyatMrs.Watkinson's,wemayinallprobabilitymeetsomeveryagreeablepeoplethere,andenjoythefeastofreasonandtheflowofsoul.WemayfindtheWatkinsonhousesopleasantastoleaveitwithregretevenforMrs.St.Leonard's."

    "IdonotbelieveMrs.Watkinsonisinfashionablesociety,"saidCaroline,"orMrs.St.Leonardwouldhaveknownher.IheardsomeoftheladiesheretalkinglasteveningofMrs.St.Leonard,andIfoundfromwhattheysaidthatsheisamongtheliteofthelite."

    "Evenifsheis,"observedMrs.Morland,"arepolishofmannersandcultivationofmindconfinedexclusivelytopersonsofthatclass?"

    "Certainlynot,"saidEdward,"themosttalentedandrefinedyouthatourcollege,andheinwhosesocietyIfoundthegreatestpleasure,wasthesonofabricklayer."

    Intheladies'drawingroom,afterdinner,theMorlandsheardaconversationbetweenseveralofthefemaleguests,whoallseemedtoknowMrs.St.Leonardverywellbyreputation,andtheytalkedofherpartythatwasto"comeoff"onthisevening.

    "Ihear,"saidonelady,"thatMrs.St.Leonardistohaveanunusualnumberoflions."

    Shethenproceededtonameagallantgeneral,withhiselegantwifeandaccomplisheddaughteracelebratedcommanderinthenavytwohighlydistinguishedmembersofCongress,andevenanexpresident.AlsoseveralofthemosteminentamongtheAmericanliterati,andtwofirstrateartists.

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    EdwardMorlandfeltasifhecouldsay,"HadIthreeearsI'dhearthee."

    "SuchawomanasMrs.St.Leonardcanalwayscommandthebestlionsthataretobefound,"observedanotherlady.

    "Andthen,"saidathird,"Ihavebeentoldthatshehassuchexquisitetasteinlightingandembellishingheralwayselegantrooms.Andhersuppertable,whetherforsummerorwinterparties,issobeautifullyarrangedalltheviandsaresodelicious,andtheattendanceoftheservantssoperfectandMrs.St.Leonarddoesthehonorswithsomucheaseandtact."

    "Somefriendsofminethatvisither,"saidafourthlady,"describeherpartiesasabsoluteperfection.Shealwaysmanagestobringtogetherthosepersonsthatarebestfittedtoenjoyeachother'sconversation.Stillnooneisoverlookedorneglected.Theneverythingatherreunionsissowellproportionedshehasjustenoughofmusic,andjustenoughofwhateveramusementmayaddtothepleasureofherguestsandstillthereisnoappearanceofdesignormanagementonherpart."

    "Andbetterthanall,"saidtheladywhohadspokenfirsts"Mrs.St.Leonardisoneofthekindest,mostgenerous,andmostbenevolentofwomenshedoesgoodineverypossibleway."

    "Icanlistennolonger,"saidCarolinetoEdward,risingtochangeherseat."IfIhearanymoreIshallabsolutelyhatetheWatkinsons.Howprovokingthattheyshouldhavesentusthefirstinvitation.IfwehadonlythoughtofwaitingtillwecouldhearfromMrs.St.Leonard!"

    "Forshame,Caroline,"saidherbrother,"howcanyoutalksoofpersonsyouhaveneverseen,andtowhomyououghttofeelgratefulforthekindnessoftheirinvitationevenifithasinterferedwithanotherparty,thatImustconfessseemstoofferunusualattractions.NowIhaveapresentimentthatweshallfindtheWatkinsonpartoftheeveningveryenjoyable."

    Assoonasteawasover,Mrs.Morlandandherdaughterrepairedtotheirtoilettes.Fortunately,fashionaswellasgoodtaste,hasdecidedthat,atasummerparty,thecostumeoftheladiesshouldnevergobeyondanelegantsimplicity.ThereforeourtwoladiesinpreparingfortheirintendedappearanceatMrs.St.Leonard's,wereenabledtoattirethemselvesinamannerthatwouldnotseemoutofplaceinthesmallercompanytheyexpectedtomeetattheWatkinsons.Overanunderdressoflawn,CarolineMorlandputonawhiteorgandytrimmedwithlace,anddecoratedwithbowsofpinkribbon.Atthebackofherheadwasawreathoffreshandbeautifulpinkflowers,tiedwithasimilarribbon.Mrs.Morlandworeablackgrenadineoverasatin,andalacecaptrimmedwithwhite.

    Itwasbutaquarterpastnineo'clockwhentheircarriagestoppedattheWatkinsondoor.Thefrontofthehouselookedverydark.NotaraygleamedthroughtheVenetianshutters,andtheglimmerbeyondthefanlightoverthedoorwasalmostimperceptible.Afterthecoachmanhadrungseveraltimes,anIrishgirlopenedthedoor,cautiously(asIrishgirlsalwaysdo),andadmittedthemintotheentry,whereonelightonlywasburninginabranchlamp."Shallwegoupstairs?"saidMrs.Morland."Andwhatforwouldyegoupstairs?"saidthegirlinaperttone."It'salldarkthere,andthere'snopreparations.Yecanlaveyourthingshereahangingontherack.Itisapartyye'reexpecting?Blessedarethemwhatexpectsnothing."

    ThesanguineEdwardMorlandlookedratherblankatthisintelligence,andhissisterwhisperedtohim,"We'llgetofftoMrs.St.Leonard'sassoonaswepossiblycan.Whendidyoutellthecoachmantocomeforus?"

    "Athalfpastten,"wasthebrother'sreply.

    "Oh!Edward,Edward!"sheexclaimed,"AndIdaresayhewillnotbepunctual.Hemaykeepusheretilleleven."

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    "Courage,mesenfants,"saidtheirmother,"etparlezplusdoucement."

    Thegirlthenusheredthemintothebackparlor,saying,"Here'sthecompany."

    Theroomwaslargeandgloomy.Achecqueredmatcoveredthefloor,andallthefurniturewasencasedinstripedcalicocovers,andthelamps,mirrors,etc.concealedundergreengauze.Thefrontparlorwasentirelydark,andinthebackapartmentwasnootherlightthanashadedlamponalargecentretable,roundwhichwasassembledacircleofchildrenofallsizesandages.Onabackless,cushionlesssofasatMrs.Watkinson,andayounglady,whomsheintroducedasherdaughterJane.AndMrs.MorlandinreturnpresentedEdwardandCaroline.

    "Willyoutaketherockingchair,ma'am?"inquiredMrs.Watkinson.

    Mrs.Morlanddecliningtheoffer,thehostesstookitherself,andseesawedonitnearlythewholetime.Itwasaveryawkward,highlegged,crouchbackedrockingchair,andshamefullyunprovidedwithanythingintheformofafootstool.

    "Myhusbandisaway,atBoston,onbusiness,"saidMrs.Watkinson."Ithoughtatfirst,ma'am,Ishouldnotbeabletoaskyouherethisevening,foritisnotourwaytohavecompanyinhisabsencebutmydaughterJaneoverpersuadedmetosendforyou."

    "Whatapity,"thoughtCaroline.

    "Youmusttakeusasyoufindus,ma'am,"continuedMrs.Watkinson."Weusenoceremonywithanybodyandourruleisnevertoputourselvesoutoftheway.Wedonotgiveparties[lookingatthedressesoftheladies].Ourfirstdutyistoourchildren,andwecannotwasteoursubstanceonfashionandfolly.They'llhavecausetothankusforitwhenwedie."

    Somethinglikeasobwasheardfromthecentretable,atwhichthechildrenweresitting,andaboywasseentoholdhishandkerchieftohisface.

    "Joseph,mychild,"saidhismother,"donotcry.Youhavenoidea,ma'am,whatanextraordinaryboythatis.Youseehowthebarementionofsuchathingasourdeathshasovercomehim."

    Therewasanothersobbehindthehandkerchief,andtheMorlandsthoughtitnowsoundedverymuchlikeasmotheredlaugh.

    "AsIwassaying,ma'am,"continuedMrs.Watkinson,"wenevergiveparties.Weleaveallsinfulthingstothevainandfoolish.MydaughterJanehasbeentellingme,thatsheheardthismorningofapartythatisgoingontonightatthewidowSt.Leonard's.Itisonlyfifteenyearssinceherhusbanddied.Hewascarriedoffwithathreedays'illness,buttwomonthsaftertheyweremarried.Ihavehadadomesticthatlivedwiththematthetime,soIknowallaboutit.Andtheresheisnow,livinginaneleganthouse,andridinginhercarriage,anddressinganddashing,andgivingparties,andenjoyinglife,asshecallsit.Poorcreature,howIpityher!Thankheaven,nobodythatIknowgoestoherparties.IftheydidIwouldneverwishtoseethemagaininmyhouse.Itisanencouragementtofollyandnonsenseandfollyandnonsensearesinful.Donotyouthinkso,ma'am?"

    "Ifcarriedtoofartheymaycertainlybecomeso,"repliedMrs.Morland.

    "Wehaveheard,"saidEdward,"thatMrs.St.Leonard,thoughoneoftheornamentsofthegayworld,hasakindheart,abeneficentspiritandaliberalhand."

    "Iknowverylittleabouther,"repliedMrs.Watkinson,drawingupherhead,"andIhavenottheleastdesiretoknowanymore.Itiswellshehasnochildrenthey'dbelostsheepifbroughtupinherfold.Formypart,ma'am,"shecontinued,turningtoMrs.Morland,"Iamquitesatisfiedwiththequietjoys

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    ofahappyhome.Andnomotherhastheleastbusinesswithanyotherpleasures.Myinnocentbabesknownothingaboutplays,andballs,andpartiesandtheynevershall.Dotheylookasiftheyhadbeenaccustomedtoalifeofpleasure?"

    Theycertainlydidnot!forwhentheMorlandstookaglanceatthem,theythoughttheyhadneverseenyouthfulfacesthatwerelessgay,andindeedlessprepossessing.

    Therewasnotagoodfeatureorapleasantexpressionamongthemall.EdwardMorlandrecollectedhishavingoftenread"thatchildhoodisalwayslovely."ButhesawthatthejuvenileWatkinsonswereanexceptiontotherule.

    "Thefirstdutyofamotheristoherchildren,"repeatedMrs.Watkinson."Tillnineo'clock,mydaughterJaneandmyselfareoccupiedeveryeveninginhearingthelessonsthattheyhavelearnedfortomorrow'sschool.Beforethathourwecanreceivenovisitors,andweneverhavecompanytotea,asthatwouldinterferetoomuchwithourduties.Wehadjustfinishedhearingtheselessonswhenyouarrived.Afterwardsthechildrenarepermittedtoindulgethemselvesinrationalplay,forIpermitnoamusementthatisnotalsoinstructive.Mychildrenaresowelltrained,thatevenwhenalonetheirsportsarealwaysserious."

    Twooftheboysglancedslylyateachother,withwhatEdwardMorlandcomprehendedasanexpressionofpitchpennyandmarbles.

    "Theyarenowengagedattheirgameofastronomy,"continuedMrs.Watkinson."Theyhavealsoasortofgeographycards,andasetofmathematicalcards.Itisablesseddiscovery,theinventionoftheseeducationarygamessothateventheplaytimeofchildrencanbeturnedtoaccount.Andyouhavenoidea,ma'am,howtheyenjoythem."

    JustthentheboyJosephrosefromthetable,andstalkinguptoMrs.Watkinson,saidtoher,"Mamma,pleasetowhipme."

    Atthisunusualrequestthevisitorslookedmuchamazed,andMrs.Watkinsonrepliedtohim,"Whipyou,mybestJosephforwhatcause?Ihavenotseenyoudoanythingwrongthisevening,andyouknowmyanxietyinducesmetowatchmychildrenallthetime."

    "Youcouldnotseeme,"answeredJoseph,"forIhavenotdoneanythingverywrong.ButIhavehadabadthought,andyouknowMr.Ironrulesaysthatafaultimaginedisjustaswickedasafaultcommitted."

    "Yousee,ma'am,whatagoodmemoryhehas,"saidMrs.WatkinsonasidetoMrs.Morland."ButmybestJoseph,youmakeyourmothertremble.Whatfaulthaveyouimagined?Whatwasyourbadthought?"

    "Ay,"saidanotherboy,"what'syourthoughtlike?"

    "Mythought,"saidJoseph,"was'Confoundallastronomy,andIcouldseethemanhangedthatmadethisgame.'"

    "Oh!mychild,"exclaimedthemother,stoppingherears,"Iamindeedshocked.Iamgladyourepentedsoimmediately."

    "Yes,"returnedJoseph,"butIamafraidmyrepentancewon'tlast.IfIamnotwhipped,ImayhavethesebadthoughtswheneverIplayatastronomy,andworsestillatthegeographygame.Whipme,ma,andpunishmeasIdeserve.There'stherattaninthecorner:I'llbringittoyoumyself."

    "Excellentboy!"saidhismother."YouknowIalwayspardonmychildrenwhentheyaresocandidastoconfesstheirfaults."

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    "Soyoudo,"saidJoseph,"butawhippingwillcuremebetter."

    "Icannotresolvetopunishsoconscientiousachild,"saidMrs.Watkinson.

    "ShallItakethetroubleoffyourhands?"inquiredEdward,losingallpatienceinhisdisgustatthesanctimonioushypocrisyofthisyoungBlifil."Itissuchararityforaboytorequestawhipping,thatsoremarkableadesireoughtbyallmeanstobegratified."

    Josephturnedroundandmadeafaceathim.

    "Givemetherattan,"saidEdward,halflaughing,andofferingtotakeitoutofhishand."I'lluseittoyourfullsatisfaction."

    Theboythoughtitmostprudenttostrideoffandreturntothetable,andensconcehimselfamonghisbrothersandsisterssomeofwhomwerestaringwithstupidsurpriseotherswerewhisperingandgigglinginthehopeofseeingJosephgetarealflogging.

    Mrs.WatkinsonhavingbestowedabitterlookonEdward,hastenedtoturntheattentionofhismothertosomethingelse."Mrs.Morland,"saidshe,"allowmetointroduceyoutomyyoungesthope."Shepointedtoasleepyboyaboutfiveyearsold,whowithheadthrownbackandmouthwideopen,wasslumberinginhischair.

    Mrs.Watkinson'schildrenwereofthatuncomfortablespecieswhonevergotobedatleastneverwithoutallmannerofresistance.Allherboastedauthoritywasinadequatetocompelthemtheyneverwouldconfessthemselvessleepyalwayswantedto"situp,"andtherewasanightlysceneofscolding,coaxing,threateningandmanoeuvringtogetthemoff.

    "Ideclare,"saidMrs.Watkinson,"dearBennyisalmostasleep.Shakehimup,Christopher.Iwanthimtospeakaspeech.Hisschoolmistresstakesgreatpainsinteachingherlittlepupilstospeak,andstandsupherselfandshowsthemhow."

    Thechildhavingbeenshakenuphard(twoorthreeothershelpingChristopher),rubbedhiseyesandbegantowhine.Hismotherwenttohim,tookhimonherlap,hushedhimup,andbegantocoaxhim.Thisdone,shestoodhimonhisfeetbeforeMrs.Morland,anddesiredhimtospeakaspeechforthecompany.Thechildputhisthumbintohismouth,andremainedsilent.

    "Ma,"saidJaneWatkinson,"youhadbettertellhimwhatspeechtospeak."

    "SpeakCatoorPlato,"saidhismother."Whichdoyoucallit?Comenow,Bennyhowdoesitbegin?'Youarequiterightandreasonable,Plato.'That'sit."

    "SpeakLucius,"saidhissisterJane."Comenow,Bennysay'yourthoughtsareturnedonpeace.'"

    Thelittleboylookedverymuchasiftheywerenot,andasifmeditatinganoutbreak.

    "No,no!"exclaimedChristopher,"lethimsayHamlet.Comenow,Benny'Tobeornottobe.'"

    "Itain'ttobeatall,"criedBenny,"andIwon'tspeaktheleastbitofitforanyofyou.Ihatethatspeech!"

    "Onlyseehisobstinacy,"saidthesolemnJoseph."Andishetobegivenupto?"

    "Speakanything,Benny,"saidMrs.Watkinson,"anythingsothatitisonlyaspeech."

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    AlltheWatkinsonvoicesnowbegantoclamorviolentlyattheobstinatechild"Speakaspeech!speakaspeech!speakaspeech!"Buttheyhadnomoreeffectthanthereiteratedexhortationswithwhichnursesconfusethepoorheadsofbabies,whentheyrequirethemto"shakeadaydayshakeadayday!"

    Mrs.Morlandnowinterfered,andbeggedthatthesleepylittleboymightbeexcusedonwhichhescreamedoutthat"hewasn'tsleepyatall,andwouldnotgotobedever."

    "Ineverknewanyofmychildrenbehavesobefore,"saidMrs.Watkinson."Theyarealwaysmodelsofobedience,ma'am.Alookissufficientforthem.AndImustsaythattheyhaveineverywayprofitedbytheeducationwearegivingthem.Itisnotourway,ma'am,towasteourmoneyinpartiesandfooleries,andfinefurnitureandfineclothes,andrichfood,andallsuchabominations.Ourfirstdutyistoourchildren,andtomakethemlearneverythingthatistaughtintheschools.Iftheygowrong,itwillnotbeforwantofeducation.Hester,mydear,comeandtalktoMissMorlandinFrench."

    Hester(unlikeherlittlebrotherthatwouldnotspeakaspeech)steppedboldlyforward,andaddressedCarolineMorlandwith:"ParlezvousFranais,mademoiselle?Commentsevamadamevotremre?Aimezvouslamusique?Aimezvousladanse?Bonjourbonsoirbonrepos.Comprenezvous?"

    Tothistirade,utteredwithgreatvolubility,MissMorlandmadenootherreplythan,"Ouijecomprens."

    "Verywell,Hesterverywellindeed,"saidMrs.Watkinson."Yousee,ma'am,"turningtoMrs.Morland,"howveryfluentsheisinFrenchandshehasonlybeenlearningelevenquarters."

    AfterconsiderablewhisperingbetweenJaneandhermother,theformerwithdrew,andsentinbytheIrishgirlawaiterwithabasketofsodabiscuit,apitcherofwater,andsomeglasses.Mrs.Watkinsoninvitedhergueststoconsiderthemselvesathomeandhelpthemselvesfreely,saying:"Weneverletcakes,sweetmeats,confectionery,oranysuchthingsenterthehouse,astheywouldbeveryunwholesomeforthechildren,anditwouldbesinfultoputtemptationintheirway.Iamsure,ma'am,youwillagreewithmethattheplainestfoodisthebestforeverybody.Peoplethatwantnicethingsmaygotopartiesforthembuttheywillnevergetanywithme."

    Whenthecollationwasover,andeverychildprovidedwithabiscuit,Mrs.WatkinsonsaidtoMrs.Morland:"Now,ma'am,youshallhavesomemusicfrommydaughterJane,whoisoneofMr.Bangwhanger'sbestscholars."

    JaneWatkinsonsatdowntothepianoandcommencedapowerfulpieceofsixmortalpages,whichsheplayedoutoftimeandoutoftunebutwithtremendousforceofhandsnotwithstandingwhich,ithad,however,thegoodeffectofputtingmostofthechildrentosleep.

    TotheMorlandstheeveninghadseemedalreadyfivehourslong.StillitwasonlyhalfpasttenwhenJanewasinthemidstofherpiece.TheguestshadalltacitlydeterminedthatitwouldbebestnottoletMrs.WatkinsonknowtheirintentiontogodirectlyfromherhousetoMrs.St.Leonard'spartyandthearrivaloftheircarriagewouldhavebeenthesignalofdeparture,evenifJane'spiecehadnotreacheditstermination.Theystoleglancesattheclockonthemantel.Itwantedbutaquarterofeleven,whenJanerosefromthepiano,andwascongratulatedbyhermotherontheexcellenceofhermusic.Stillnocarriagewasheardtostopnodoorbellwasheardtoring.Mrs.Morlandexpressedherfearsthatthecoachmanhadforgottentocomeforthem.

    "Hashebeenpaidforbringingyouhere?"askedMrs.Watkinson.

    "Ipaidhimwhenwecametothedoor,"saidEdward."Ithoughtperhapshemightwantthemoneyforsomepurposebeforehecameforus."

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    "Thatwasverykindinyou,sir,"saidMrs.Watkinson,"butnotverywise.There'snodependenceonanycoachmanandperhapsashemaybesureofbusinessenoughthisrainynighthemaynevercomeatallbeingalreadypaidforbringingyouhere."

    Now,thetruthwasthatthecoachmanhadcomeattheappointedtime,butthenoiseofJane'spianohadpreventedhisarrivalbeingheardinthebackparlor.TheIrishgirlhadgonetothedoorwhenherangthebell,andrecognizedinhimwhatshecalled"anouldfriend."Justthenaladyandgentlemanwhohadbeencaughtintheraincamerunningalong,andseeingacarriagedrawingupatadoor,thegentlemaninquiredofthedriverifhecouldnottakethemtoRutgersPlace.ThedriverrepliedthathehadjustcomefortwoladiesandagentlemanwhomhehadbroughtfromtheAstorHouse.

    "IndeedandPatrick,"saidthegirlwhostoodatthedoor,"ifIwasyouI'dbeaftermakinganotherpennytonight.MissJaneispoundingawayatoneofherlongmusicpieces,anditwon'tbeoverbeforeyouhavetimetogettoRutgersandbackagain.Andifyoudomakethemwaitawhile,where'stheharm?They'veadryroofovertheirheads,andIwarrantit'snotthefirstwaitingthey'veeverhadintheirlivesanditwon'tbethelastneither."

    "Exactlyso,"saidthegentlemanandregardlessoftheproprietyoffirstsendingtoconsultthepersonswhohadengagedthecarriage,hetoldhiswifetostepin,andfollowingherinstantlyhimself,theydroveawaytoRutgersPlace.

    Reader,ifyouwereeverdetainedinastrangehousebythenonarrivalofyourcarriage,youwilleasilyunderstandtheexcessiveannoyanceoffindingthatyouarekeepingafamilyoutoftheirbedsbeyondtheirusualhour.Andinthiscase,therewasadoublegrievancetheguestsbeingallimpatiencetogetofftoabetterplace.Thechildren,allcryingwhenwakenedfromtheirsleep,werefinallytakentobedbytwoservantmaids,andJaneWatkinson,whonevercamebackagain.NonewereleftbutHester,thegreatFrenchscholar,who,beingoneofthoseyoungimpsthatseemtohavethefacultyoflivingwithoutsleep,satboltuprightwithhereyeswideopen,watchingtheuncomfortablevisitors.

    TheMorlandsfeltasiftheycouldbearitnolonger,andEdwardproposedsendingforanothercarriagetothenearestliverystable.

    "Wedon'tkeepamannow,"saidMrs.Watkinson,whosatnoddingintherockingchair,attemptingnowandthenasnatchofconversation,andsaying"ma'am"stillmorefrequentlythanusual."Menservantsaredreadfultrials,ma'am,andwegavethemupthreeyearsago.AndIdon'tknowhowMaryorKatyaretogooutthisstormynightinsearchofaliverystable."

    "OnnoconsiderationcouldIallowthewomentodoso,"repliedEdward."Ifyouwillobligemebytheloanofanumbrella,Iwillgomyself."

    Accordinglyhesetoutonthisbusiness,butwasunsuccessfulattwoliverystables,thecarriagesbeingallout.Atlasthefoundone,andwasdriveninittoMr.Watkinson'shouse,wherehismotherandsisterwereawaitinghim,allquiteready,withtheircalashesandshawlson.TheygladlytooktheirleaveMrs.Watkinsonrousingherselftohopetheyhadspentapleasantevening,andthattheywouldcomeandpassanotherwithherontheirreturntoNewYork.Insuchcaseshowdifficultitistoreplyevenwithwhatarecalled"wordsofcourse."

    Akitchenlampwasbroughttolightthemtothedoor,theentrylamphavinglongsincebeenextinguished.Fortunatelytherainhadceasedthestarsbegantoreappear,andtheMorlands,whentheyfoundthemselvesinthecarriageandontheirwaytoMrs.St.Leonard's,feltasiftheycouldbreatheagain.Asmaybesupposed,theyfreelydiscussedtheannoyancesoftheeveningbutnowthosetroubleswereovertheyfeltratherinclinedtobemerryaboutthem.

    "Dearmother,"saidEdward,"howIpitiedyouforhavingtoendureMrs.Watkinson'sperpetual

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    'ma'aming'and'ma'aming'forIknowyoudisliketheword."

    "Iwish,"saidCaroline,"Iwasnotsopronetobetakenwithridiculousrecollections.ButreallytonightIcouldnotgetthatoldfoolishchild'splayoutofmyhead

    HerecomethreeknightsoutofSpainAcourtingofyourdaughterJane."

    "IshallcertainlyneverbeoneofthoseSpanishknights,"saidEdward."HerdaughterJaneisinnodangerofbeingruledbyany'flatteringtongue'ofmine.Butwhatashameforustobetalkingoftheminthismanner."

    TheydrovetoMrs.St.Leonard's,hopingtobeyetintimetopasshalfanhourtherethoughitwasnowneartwelveo'clockandsummerpartiesnevercontinuetoaverylatehour.Butastheycameintothestreetinwhichshelivedtheyweremetbyanumberofcoachesontheirwayhome,andonreachingthedoorofherbrilliantlylightedmansion,theysawthelastoftheguestsdrivingoffinthelastofthecarriages,andseveralmusicianscomingdownthestepswiththeirinstrumentsintheirhands.

    "Sotherehasbeenadance,then!"sighedCaroline."Oh,whatwehavemissed!Itisreallytooprovoking."

    "Soitis,"saidEdward"butrememberthattomorrowmorningwesetoffforNiagara."

    "IwillleaveanoteforMrs.St.Leonard,"saidhismother,"explainingthatweweredetainedatMrs.Watkinson'sbyourcoachmandisappointingus.Letusconsoleourselveswiththehopeofseeingmoreofthisladyonourreturn.Andnow,dearCaroline,youmustdrawamoralfromtheuntowardeventsoftoday.Whenyouaremistressofahouse,andwishtoshowcivilitytostrangers,lettheinvitationbealwaysaccompaniedwithafrankdisclosureofwhattheyaretoexpect.Andifyoucannotconvenientlyinvitecompanytomeetthem,tellthematoncethatyouwillnotinsistontheirkeepingtheirengagementwithyouifanythingoffersafterwardsthattheythinktheywouldpreferprovidedonlythattheyapprizeyouintimeofthechangeintheirplan."

    "Oh,mamma,"repliedCaroline,"youmaybesureIshallalwaystakecarenottobetraymyvisitorsintoanengagementwhichtheymayhavecausetoregret,particularlyiftheyarestrangerswhosetimeislimited.Ishallcertainly,asyousay,tellthemnottoconsiderthemselvesboundtomeiftheyafterwardsreceiveaninvitationwhichpromisesthemmoreenjoyment.ItwillbealongwhilebeforeIforget,theWatkinsonevening."

    TITBOTTOM'SSPECTACLES

    BYGEORGEWILLIAMCURTIS(18241892)

    [FromPutnam'sMonthly,December,1854.Republishedinthevolume,PrueandI(1856),byGeorgeWilliamCurtis(Harper&Brothers).]

    Inmymind'seye,Horatio.

    PrueandIdonotentertainmuchourmeansforbidit.Intruth,otherpeopleentertainforus.Weenjoythathospitalityofwhichnoaccountismade.Weseetheshow,andhearthemusic,andsmelltheflowersofgreatfestivities,tastingasitwerethedrippingsfromrichdishes.Ourowndinnerserviceisremarkablyplain,ourdinners,evenonstateoccasions,arestrictlyinkeeping,andalmostouronly

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    guestisTitbottom.IbuyahandfulofrosesasIcomeupfromtheoffice,perhaps,andPruearrangesthemsoprettilyinaglassdishforthecentreofthetablethatevenwhenIhavehurriedouttoseeAureliastepintohercarriagetogoouttodine,Ihavethoughtthatthebouquetshecarriedwasnotmorebeautifulbecauseitwasmorecostly.Igrantthatitwasmoreharmoniouswithhersuperbbeautyandherrichattire.AndIhavenodoubtthatifAureliaknewtheoldman,whomshemusthaveseensooftenwatchingher,andhiswife,whoornamentshersexwithasmuchsweetness,althoughwithlesssplendor,thanAureliaherself,shewouldalsoacknowledgethatthenosegayofroseswasasfineandfitupontheirtableasherownsumptuousbouquetisforherself.Ihavethatfaithintheperceptionofthatlovelylady.ItisatleastmyhabitIhopeImaysay,mynature,tobelievethebestofpeople,ratherthantheworst.IfIthoughtthatallthissparklingsettingofbeautythisfinefashiontheseblazingjewelsandlustroussilksandairygauzes,embellishedwithgoldthreadedembroideryandwroughtinathousandexquisiteelaborations,sothatIcannotseeoneofthoselovelygirlspassmebywithoutthankingGodforthevisionifIthoughtthatthiswasall,andthatunderneathherlaceflouncesanddiamondbraceletsAureliawasasullen,selfishwoman,thenIshouldturnsadlyhomewards,forIshouldseethatherjewelswereflashingscornupontheobjecttheyadorned,andthatherlaceswereofamoreexquisitelovelinessthanthewomanwhomtheymerelytouchedwithasuperficialgrace.Itwouldbelikeagailydecoratedmausoleumbrighttosee,butsilentanddarkwithin.

    "Greatexcellences,mydearPrue,"Isometimesallowmyselftosay,"lieconcealedinthedepthsofcharacter,likepearlsatthebottomofthesea.Underthelaughing,glancingsurface,howlittletheyaresuspected!Perhapsloveisnothingelsethanthesightofthembyoneperson.Henceeveryman'smistressisapttobeanenigmatoeverybodyelse.IhavenodoubtthatwhenAureliaisengaged,peoplewillsaythatsheisamostadmirablegirl,certainlybuttheycannotunderstandwhyanymanshouldbeinlovewithher.Asifitwereatallnecessarythattheyshould!Andherlover,likeaboywhofindsapearlinthepublicstreet,andwondersasmuchthatothersdidnotseeitasthathedid,willtrembleuntilheknowshispassionisreturnedfeeling,ofcourse,thatthewholeworldmustbeinlovewiththisparagonwhocannotpossiblysmileuponanythingsounworthyashe."

    "Ihope,therefore,mydearMrs.Prue,"Icontinuetosaytomywife,wholooksupfromherworkregardingmewithpleasedpride,asifIweresuchanirresistiblehumorist,"youwillallowmetobelievethatthedepthmaybecalmalthoughthesurfaceisdancing.IfyoutellmethatAureliaisbutagiddygirl,Ishallbelievethatyouthinkso.ButIshallknow,allthewhile,whatprofounddignity,andsweetness,andpeacelieatthefoundationofhercharacter."

    IsaysuchthingstoTitbottomduringthedullseasonattheoffice.AndIhaveknownhimsometimestoreplywithakindofdry,sadhumor,notasifheenjoyedthejoke,butasifthejokemustbemade,thathesawnoreasonwhyIshouldbedullbecausetheseasonwasso.

    "AndwhatdoIknowofAureliaoranyothergirl?"hesaystomewiththatabstractedair."I,whoseAureliaswereofanothercenturyandanotherzone."

    Thenhefallsintoasilencewhichitseemsquiteprofanetointerrupt.Butaswesituponourhighstoolsatthedeskoppositeeachother,Ileaninguponmyelbowsandlookingathimhe,withsidelongface,glancingoutofthewindow,asifitcommandedaboundlesslandscape,insteadofadim,dingyofficecourt,Icannotrefrainfromsaying:

    "Well!"

    Heturnsslowly,andIgochattingonalittletooloquacious,perhaps,aboutthoseyounggirls.ButIknowthatTitbottomregardssuchanexcessasvenial,forhissadnessissosweetthatyoucouldbelieveitthereflectionofasmilefromlong,longyearsago.

    Oneday,afterIhadbeentalkingforalongtime,andwehadputupourbooks,andwerepreparingtoleave,hestoodforsometimebythewindow,gazingwithadroopingintentness,asifhereallysaw

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    somethingmorethanthedarkcourt,andsaidslowly:

    "Perhapsyouwouldhavedifferentimpressionsofthingsifyousawthemthroughmyspectacles."

    Therewasnochangeinhisexpression.Hestilllookedfromthewindow,andIsaid:

    "Titbottom,Ididnotknowthatyouusedglasses.Ihaveneverseenyouwearingspectacles."

    "No,Idon'toftenwearthem.Iamnotveryfondoflookingthroughthem.Butsometimesanirresistiblenecessitycompelsmetoputthemon,andIcannothelpseeing."Titbottomsighed.

    "Isitsogrievousafate,tosee?"inquiredI.

    "Yesthroughmyspectacles,"hesaid,turningslowlyandlookingatmewithwansolemnity.

    Itgrewdarkaswestoodintheofficetalking,andtakingourhatswewentouttogether.Thenarrowstreetofbusinesswasdeserted.Theheavyironshuttersweregloomilyclosedoverthewindows.Fromoneortwoofficesstruggledthedimgleamofanearlycandle,bywhoselightsomeperplexedaccountantsatbelated,andhuntingforhiserror.Acarelessclerkpassed,whistling.Butthegreattideoflifehadebbed.Wehearditsroarfaraway,andthesoundstoleintothatsilentstreetlikethemurmuroftheoceanintoaninlanddell.

    "Youwillcomeanddinewithus,Titbottom?"

    Heassentedbycontinuingtowalkwithme,andIthinkwewerebothgladwhenwereachedthehouse,andPruecametomeetus,saying:

    "DoyouknowIhopedyouwouldbringMr.Titbottomtodine?"

    Titbottomsmiledgently,andanswered:

    "Hemighthavebroughthisspectacleswithhim,andIhavebeenahappiermanforit."

    Pruelookedalittlepuzzled.

    "Mydear,"Isaid,"youmustknowthatourfriend,Mr.Titbottom,isthehappypossessorofapairofwonderfulspectacles.Ihaveneverseenthem,indeedand,fromwhathesays,Ishouldberatherafraidofbeingseenbythem.MostshortsightedpersonsareverygladtohavethehelpofglassesbutMr.Titbottomseemstofindverylittlepleasureinhis."

    "Itisbecausetheymakehimtoofarsighted,perhaps,"interruptedPruequietly,asshetookthesilversoupladlefromthesideboard.

    Wesippedourwineafterdinner,andPruetookherwork.Canamanbetoofarsighted?Ididnotaskthequestionaloud.TheverytoneinwhichPruehadspokenconvincedmethathemight.

    "Atleast,"Isaid,"Mr.Titbottomwillnotrefusetotellusthehistoryofhismysteriousspectacles.Ihaveknownplentyofmagicineyes"andIglancedatthetenderblueeyesofPrue"butIhavenotheardofanyenchantedglasses."

    "Yetyoumusthaveseentheglassinwhichyourwifelookseverymorning,andItakeitthatglassmustbedailyenchanted."saidTitbottom,withabowofquaintrespecttomywife.

    IdonotthinkIhaveseensuchablushuponPrue'scheeksincewell,sinceagreatmanyyearsago.

    "Iwillgladlytellyouthehistoryofmyspectacles,"beganTitbottom."ItisverysimpleandIamnot

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    atallsurethatagreatmanyotherpeoplehavenotapairofthesamekind.Ihavenever,indeed,heardofthembythegross,likethoseofouryoungfriend,Moses,thesonoftheVicarofWakefield.Infact,Ithinkagrosswouldbequiteenoughtosupplytheworld.Itisakindofarticleforwhichthedemanddoesnotincreasewithuse.Ifweshouldallwearspectacleslikemine,weshouldneversmileanymore.OhIamnotquitesureweshouldallbeveryhappy."

    "Averyimportantdifference,"saidPrue,countingherstitches.

    "YouknowmygrandfatherTitbottomwasaWestIndian.Alargeproprietor,andaneasyman,hebaskedinthetropicalsun,leadinghisquiet,luxuriouslife.Helivedmuchalone,andwaswhatpeoplecalleccentric,bywhichIunderstandthathewasverymuchhimself,and,refusingtheinfluenceofotherpeople,theyhadtheirlittlerevenges,andcalledhimnames.Itisahabitnotexclusivelytropical.IthinkIhaveseenthesamethingeveninthiscity.Buthewasgreatlybelovedmyblandandbountifulgrandfather.Hewassolargeheartedandopenhanded.Hewassofriendly,andthoughtful,andgenial,thatevenhisjokeshadtheairofgracefulbenedictions.Hedidnotseemtogrowold,andhewasoneofthosewhoneverappeartohavebeenveryyoung.Heflourishedinaperennialmaturity,animmortalmiddleage.

    "Mygrandfatherlivedupononeofthesmallislands,St.Kit's,perhaps,andhisdomainextendedtothesea.Hishouse,aramblingWestIndianmansion,wassurroundedwithdeep,spaciouspiazzas,coveredwithluxuriouslounges,amongwhichonecapaciouschairwashispeculiarseat.Theytellmeheusedsometimestositthereforthewholeday,hisgreat,soft,browneyesfasteneduponthesea,watchingthespecksofsailsthatflasheduponthehorizon,whiletheevanescentexpressionschasedeachotheroverhisplacidface,asifitreflectedthecalmandchangingseabeforehim.Hismorningcostumewasanampledressinggownofgorgeouslyfloweredsilk,andhismorningwasveryapttolastallday.

    "Herarelyread,buthewouldpacethegreatpiazzaforhours,withhishandssunkeninthepocketsofhisdressinggown,andanairofsweetreverie,whichanyauthormightbeveryhappytoproduce.

    "Society,ofcourse,hesawlittle.Therewassomeslightapprehensionthatifhewerebiddentosocialentertainmentshemightforgethiscoat,orarrivewithoutsomeotheressentialpartofhisdressandthereisaslytraditionintheTitbottomfamilythat,havingbeeninvitedtoaballinhonorofthenewgovernoroftheisland,mygrandfatherTitbottomsaunteredintothehalltowardsmidnight,wrappedinthegorgeousflowersofhisdressinggown,andwithhishandsburiedinthepockets,asusual.Therewasgreatexcitement,andimmensedeprecationofgubernatorialire.Butithappenedthatthegovernorandmygrandfatherwereoldfriends,andtherewasnooffense.Butastheywereconversingtogether,oneofthedistressedmanagerscastindignantglancesatthebrilliantcostumeofmygrandfather,whosummonedhim,andaskedcourteously:

    "'Didyouinvitemeormycoat?'

    "'You,inapropercoat,'repliedthemanager.

    "Thegovernorsmiledapprovingly,andlookedatmygrandfather.

    "'Myfriend,"saidhetothemanager,'Ibegyourpardon,Iforgot.'

    "Thenextdaymygrandfatherwasseenpromenadinginfullballdressalongthestreetsofthelittletown.

    "'Theyoughttoknow,'saidhe,'thatIhaveapropercoat,andthatnotcontemptnorpoverty,butforgetfulness,sentmetoaballinmydressinggown.'

    "Hedidnotmuchfrequentsocialfestivalsafterthisfailure,buthealwaystoldthestorywith

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    satisfactionandaquietsmile.

    "Toastranger,lifeuponthoselittleislandsisuniformeventoweariness.Buttheoldnativedonslikemygrandfatherripenintheprolongedsunshine,liketheturtleupontheBahamabanks,norknowofexistencemoredesirable.LifeinthetropicsItaketobeaplacidtorpidity.Duringthelong,warmmorningsofnearlyhalfacentury,mygrandfatherTitbottomhadsatinhisdressinggownandgazedatthesea.ButonecalmJuneday,asheslowlypacedthepiazzaafterbreakfast,hisdreamyglancewasarrestedbyalittlevessel,evidentlynearingtheshore.Hecalledforhisspyglass,andsurveyingthecraft,sawthatshecamefromtheneighboringisland.Sheglidedsmoothly,slowly,overthesummersea.Thewarmmorningairwassweetwithperfumes,andsilentwithheat.Theseasparkledlanguidly,andthebrilliantbluehungcloudlesslyover.Scoresoflittleislandvesselshadmygrandfatherseencomeoverthehorizon,andcastanchorintheport.Hundredsofsummermorningshadthewhitesailsflashedandfaded,likevaguefacesthroughforgottendreams.Butthistimehelaiddownthespyglass,andleanedagainstacolumnofthepiazza,andwatchedthevesselwithanintentnessthathecouldnotexplain.Shecamenearerandnearer,agracefulspectreinthedazzlingmorning.

    "'DecidedlyImuststepdownandseeaboutthatvessel,'saidmygrandfatherTitbottom.

    "Hegatheredhisampledressinggownabouthim,andsteppedfromthepiazzawithnootherprotectionfromthesunthanthelittlesmokingcapuponhishead.Hisfaceworeacalm,beamingsmile,asifheapprovedofalltheworld.Hewasnotanoldman,buttherewasalmostapatriarchalpathosinhisexpressionashesaunteredalonginthesunshinetowardstheshore.Agroupofidlegazerswascollectedtowatchthearrival.Thelittlevesselfurledhersailsanddriftedslowlylandward,andasshewasofverylightdraft,shecameclosetotheshelvingshore.Alongplankwasputoutfromherside,andthedebarkationcommenced.MygrandfatherTitbottomstoodlookingontoseethepassengersdescend.Therewerebutafewofthem,andmostlytradersfromtheneighboringisland.Butsuddenlythefaceofayounggirlappearedoverthesideofthevessel,andshesteppedupontheplanktodescend.MygrandfatherTitbottominstantlyadvanced,andmovingbrisklyreachedthetopoftheplankatthesamemoment,andwiththeoldtasselofhiscapflashinginthesun,andonehandinthepocketofhisdressinggown,withtheotherhehandedtheyoungladycarefullydowntheplank.ThatyoungladywasafterwardsmygrandmotherTitbottom.

    "Andso,overthegleamingseawhichhehadwatchedsolong,andwhichseemedthustorewardhispatientgaze,camehisbridethatsunnymorning.

    "'Ofcoursewearehappy,'heusedtosay:'ForyouarethegiftofthesunIhavelovedsolongandsowell.'AndmygrandfatherTitbottomwouldlayhishandsotenderlyuponthegoldenhairofhisyoungbride,thatyoucouldfancyhimadevoutParseecaressingsunbeams.

    "Therewereendlessfestivitiesuponoccasionofthemarriageandmygrandfatherdidnotgotooneoftheminhisdressinggown.Thegentlesweetnessofhiswifemeltedeveryheartintoloveandsympathy.Hewasmucholderthanshe,withoutdoubt.Butage,asheusedtosaywithasmileofimmortalyouth,isamatteroffeeling,notofyears.Andif,sometimes,asshesatbyhissideuponthepiazza,herfancylookedthroughhereyesuponthatsummerseaandsawayoungerlover,perhapssomeoneofthosegracefulandglowingheroeswhooccupytheforegroundofallyoungmaidens'visionsbythesea,yetshecouldnotfindonemoregenerousandgracious,norfancyonemoreworthyandlovingthanmygrandfatherTitbottom.Andifinthemoonlitmidnight,whilehelaycalmlysleeping,sheleanedoutofthewindowandsankintovaguereveriesofsweetpossibility,andwatchedthegleamingpathofthemoonlightuponthewater,untilthedawnglidedoverititwasonlythatmoodofnamelessregretandlonging,whichunderliesallhumanhappiness,oritwasthevisionofthatlifeofsociety,whichshehadneverseen,butofwhichshehadoftenread,andwhichlookedveryfairandalluringacrosstheseatoagirlishimaginationwhichknewthatitshouldneverknowthatreality.

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    "TheseWestIndianyearswerethegreatdaysofthefamily,"saidTitbottom,withanairofmajesticandregalregret,pausingandmusinginourlittleparlor,likealateStuartinexile,rememberingEngland.Prueraisedhereyesfromherwork,andlookedathimwithasubduedadmirationforIhaveobservedthat,liketherestofhersex,shehasasingularsympathywiththerepresentativeofareducedfamily.Perhapsitistheirfinerperceptionwhichleadsthesetenderheartedwomentorecognizethedivinerightofsocialsuperioritysomuchmorereadilythanweandyet,muchasTitbottomwasenhancedinmywife'sadmirationbythediscoverythathisduskysadnessofnatureandexpressionwas,asitwere,theexpiringgleamandlatetwilightofancestralsplendors,IdoubtifMr.Bournewouldhavepreferredhimforbookkeeperamomentsooneruponthataccount.Intruth,Ihaveobserved,downtown,thatthefactofyourancestorsdoingnothingisnotconsideredgoodproofthatyoucandoanything.ButPrueandhersexregardsentimentmorethanaction,andIunderstandeasilyenoughwhysheisnevertiredofhearingmereadofPrinceCharlie.IfTitbottomhadbeenonlyalittleyounger,alittlehandsomer,alittlemoregallantlydressedinfact,alittlemoreofthePrinceCharlie,Iamsurehereyeswouldnothavefallenagainuponherworksotranquilly,asheresumedhisstory.

    "IcanremembermygrandfatherTitbottom,althoughIwasaveryyoungchild,andhewasaveryoldman.Myyoungmotherandmyyounggrandmotherareverydistinctfiguresinmymemory,ministeringtotheoldgentleman,wrappedinhisdressinggown,andseateduponthepiazza.Irememberhiswhitehairandhiscalmsmile,andhow,notlongbeforehedied,hecalledmetohim,andlayinghishanduponmyhead,saidtome:

    "Mychild,theworldisnotthisgreatsunnypiazza,norlifethefairystorieswhichthewomentellyouhereasyousitintheirlaps.Ishallsoonbegone,butIwanttoleavewithyousomemementoofmyloveforyou,andIknownothingmorevaluablethanthesespectacles,whichyourgrandmotherbroughtfromhernativeisland,whenshearrivedhereonefinesummermorning,longago.Icannotquitetellwhether,whenyougrowolder,youwillregarditasagiftofthegreatestvalueorassomethingthatyouhadbeenhappiernevertohavepossessed.'

    "'Butgrandpapa,Iamnotshortsighted.'

    "'Myson,areyounothuman?'saidtheoldgentlemanandhowshallIeverforgetthethoughtfulsadnesswithwhich,atthesametimehehandedmethespectacles.

    "InstinctivelyIputthemon,andlookedatmygrandfather.ButIsawnograndfather,nopiazza,noflowereddressinggown:Isawonlyaluxuriantpalmtree,wavingbroadlyoveratranquillandscape.Pleasanthomesclusteredaroundit.Gardensteemingwithfruitandflowersflocksquietlyfeedingbirdswheelingandchirping.Iheardchildren'svoices,andthelowlullabyofhappymothers.Thesoundofcheerfulsingingcamewaftedfromdistantfieldsuponthelightbreeze.Goldenharvestsglistenedoutofsight,andIcaughttheirrustlingwhisperofprosperity.Awarm,mellowatmospherebathedthewhole.IhaveseencopiesofthelandscapesoftheItalianpainterClaudewhichseemedtomefaintreminiscencesofthatcalmandhappyvision.Butallthispeaceandprosperityseemedtoflowfromthespreadingpalmasfromafountain.

    "IdonotknowhowlongIlooked,butIhad,apparently,nopower,asIhadnowill,toremovethespectacles.WhatawonderfulislandmustNevisbe,thoughtI,ifpeoplecarrysuchpicturesintheirpockets,onlybybuyingapairofspectacles!WhatwonderthatmydeargrandmotherTitbottomhaslivedsuchaplacidlife,andhasblessedusallwithhersunnytemper,whenshehaslivedsurroundedbysuchimagesofpeace.

    "Mygrandfatherdied.Butstill,inthewarmmorningsunshineuponthepiazza,Ifelthisplacidpresence,andasIcrawledintohisgreatchair,anddriftedoninreveriethroughthestill,tropicalday,itwasasifhissoft,dreamyeyehadpassedintomysoul.Mygrandmothercherishedhismemorywithtenderregret.Aviolentpassionofgriefforhislosswasnomorepossiblethanforthepensivedecayoftheyear.Wehavenoportraitofhim,butIseealways,whenIrememberhim,thatpeacefulandluxuriantpalm.AndIthinkthattohaveknownonegoodoldmanonemanwho,throughthe

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    chancesandrubsofalonglife,hascarriedhisheartinhishand,likeapalmbranch,wavingalldiscordsintopeace,helpsourfaithinGod,inourselves,andineachother,morethanmanysermons.IhardlyknowwhethertobegratefultomygrandfatherforthespectaclesandyetwhenIrememberthatitistothemIowethepleasantimageofhimwhichIcherish,Iseemtomyselfsadlyungrateful.

    "Madam,"saidTitbottomtoPrue,solemnly,"mymemoryisalongandgloomygallery,andonlyremotely,atitsfurtherend,doIseetheglimmerofsoftsunshine,andonlytherearethepleasantpictureshung.Theyseemtomeveryhappyalongwhosegallerythesunlightstreamstotheirveryfeet,strikingallthepicturedwallsintounfadingsplendor."

    Pruehadlaidherworkinherlap,andasTitbottompausedamoment,andIturnedtowardsher,Ifoundhermildeyesfasteneduponmyface,andglisteningwithhappytears.

    "Misfortunesofmanykindscameheavilyuponthefamilyaftertheheadwasgone.Thegreathousewasrelinquished.Myparentswerebothdead,andmygrandmotherhadentirechargeofme.ButfromthemomentthatIreceivedthegiftofthespectacles,Icouldnotresisttheirfascination,andIwithdrewintomyself,andbecameasolitaryboy.Therewerenotmanycompanionsformeofmyownage,andtheygraduallyleftme,or,atleast,hadnotaheartysympathywithmeforiftheyteasedmeIpulledoutmyspectaclesandsurveyedthemsoseriouslythattheyacquiredakindofaweofme,andevidentlyregardedmygrandfather'sgiftasaconcealedmagicalweaponwhichmightbedangerouslydrawnuponthematanymoment.Whenever,inourgames,therewerequarrelsandhighwords,andIbegantofeelaboutmydressandtowearagravelook,theyalltookthealarm,andshouted,'LookoutforTitbottom'sspectacles,'andscatteredlikeaflockofscaredsheep.

    "NorcouldIwonderatit.For,atfirst,beforetheytookthealarm,IsawstrangesightswhenIlookedatthemthroughtheglasses.Iftwowerequarrellingaboutamarbleoraball,IhadonlytogobehindatreewhereIwasconcealedandlookatthemleisurely.Thenthescenechanged,andnolongeragreenmeadowwithboysplaying,butaspotwhichIdidnotrecognize,andformsthatmademeshudderorsmile.Itwasnotabigboybullyingalittleone,butayoungwolfwithglisteningteethandalambcoweringbeforehimor,itwasadogfaithfulandfamishingorastargoingslowlyintoeclipseorarainbowfadingoraflowerbloomingorasunrisingorawaningmoon.Therevelationsofthespectaclesdeterminedmyfeelingfortheboys,andforallwhomIsawthroughthem.Noshyness,norawkwardness,norsilence,couldseparatemefromthosewholookedlovelyasliliestomyilluminatedeyes.IfIfeltmyselfwarmlydrawntoanyoneIstruggledwiththefiercedesireofseeinghimthroughthespectacles.Ilongedtoenjoytheluxuryofignorantfeeling,tolovewithoutknowing,tofloatlikealeafupontheeddiesoflife,driftednowtoasunnypoint,nowtoasolemnshadenowoverglitteringripples,nowovergleamingcalms,andnottodeterminedports,atrimvesselwithaninexorablerudder.

    "But,sometimes,masteredafterlongstruggles,Iseizedmyspectaclesandsaunteredintothelittletown.PuttingthemtomyeyesIpeeredintothehousesandatthepeoplewhopassedme.Heresatafamilyatbreakfast,andIstoodatthewindowlookingin.Omotleymeal!fantasticvision!Thegoodmothersawherlordsittingopposite,agrave,respectablebeing,eatingmuffins.ButIsawonlyabankbill,moreorlesscrumpledandtattered,markedwithalargerorlesserfigure.Ifasharpwindblewsuddenly,Isawittrembleandflutteritwasthin,flat,impalpable.Iremovedmyglasses,andlookedwithmyeyesatthewife.Icouldhavesmiledtoseethehumidtendernesswithwhichsheregardedherstrangevisvis.Islifeonlyagameofblindman'sbuff?ofdrollcrosspurposes?

    "OrIputthemonagain,andlookedatthewife.HowmanystouttreesIsaw,howmanytenderflowers,howmanyplacidpoolsyes,andhowmanylittlestreamswindingoutofsight,shrinkingbeforethelarge,hard,roundeyesopposite,andslippingoffintosolitudeandshade,withalow,innersongfortheirownsolace.AndinmanyhousesIthoughttoseeangels,nymphs,oratleast,women,andcouldonlyfindbroomsticks,mops,orkettles,hurryingabout,rattling,tinkling,inastateofshrillactivity.Imadecallsuponelegantladies,andafterIhadenjoyedtheglossofsilkandthedelicacyoflace,andtheflashofjewels,Islippedonmyspectacles,andsawapeacock'sfeather,flouncedand

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    furbelowedandflutteringoranironrod,thin,sharp,andhardnorcouldIpossiblymistakethemovementofthedraperyforanyflexibilityofthethingdraped,or,mysteriouslychilled,Isawastatueofperfectform,orflowingmovement,itmightbealabaster,orbronze,ormarble,butsadlyoftenitwasiceandIknewthatafterithadshonealittle,andfrozenafeweyeswithitsdespairingperfection,itcouldnotbeputawayinthenichesofpalacesforornamentandproudfamilytradition,likethealabaster,orbronze,ormarblestatues,butwouldmelt,andshrink,andfallcoldlyawayincolorlessanduselesswater,beabsorbedintheearthandutterlyforgotten.

    "Butthetruesadnesswasratherinseeingthosewho,nothavingthespectacles,thoughtthattheironrodwasflexible,andtheicestatuewarm.Isawmanyagallantheart,whichseemedtomebraveandloyalasthecrusaderssentbygenuineandnoblefaithtoSyriaandthesepulchre,pursuing,throughdaysandnights,andalonglifeofdevotion,thehopeoflightingatleastasmileinthecoldeyes,ifnotafireintheicyheart.Iwatchedtheearnest,enthusiasticsacrifice.Isawthepureresolve,thegenerousfaith,thefinescornofdoubt,theimpatienceofsuspicion.Iwatchedthegrace,theardor,thegloryofdevotion.ThroughthosestrangespectacleshowoftenIsawthenoblestheartrenouncingallotherhope,allotherambition,allotherlife,thanthepossibleloveofsomeoneofthosestatues.Ah!me,itwasterrible,buttheyhadnotthelovetogive.TheParianfacewassopolishedandsmooth,becausetherewasnosorrowupontheheart,and,drearilyoften,nohearttobetouched.Icouldnotwonderthatthenobleheartofdevotionwasbroken,forithaddasheditselfagainstastone.Iwept,untilmyspectaclesweredimmedforthathopelesssorrowbuttherewasapangbeyondtearsforthoseicystatues.

    "Stillaboy,Iwasthustoomuchamaninknowledge,IdidnotcomprehendthesightsIwascompelledtosee.Iusedtotearmyglassesawayfrommyeyes,and,frightenedatmyself,runtoescapemyownconsciousness.Reachingthesmallhousewherewethenlived,Iplungedintomygrandmother'sroomand,throwingmyselfuponthefloor,buriedmyfaceinherlapandsobbedmyselftosleepwithprematuregrief.ButwhenIawakened,andfelthercoolhanduponmyhotforehead,andheardthelow,sweetsong,orthegentlestory,orthetenderlytoldparablefromtheBible,withwhichshetriedtosootheme,Icouldnotresistthemysticfascinationthatluredme,asIlayinherlap,tostealaglanceatherthroughthespectacles.

    "PicturesoftheMadonnahavenotherrareandpensivebeauty.Uponthetranquillittleislandsherlifehadbeeneventless,andallthefinepossibilitiesofhernaturewerelikeflowersthatneverbloomed.PlacidwereallheryearsyetIhavereadofnoheroine,ofnowomangreatinsuddencrises,thatitdidnotseemtomeshemighthavebeen.Thewifeandwidowofamanwholovedhisownhomebetterthanthehomesofothers,Ihaveyetheardofnoqueen,nobelle,noimperialbeauty,whomingrace,andbrilliancy,andpersuasivecourtesy,shemightnothavesurpassed.

    "Madam,"saidTitbottomtomywife,whosehearthunguponhisstory"yourhusband'syoungfriend,Aurelia,wearssometimesacameliainherhair,andnodiamondintheballroomseemssocostlyasthatperfectflower,whichwomenenvy,andforwhoseleastandwitheredpetalmensighyet,inthetropicalsolitudesofBrazil,howmanyacameliabuddropsfromabushthatnoeyehaseverseen,which,haditfloweredandbeennoticed,wouldhavegildedallheartswithitsmemory.

    "WhenIstolethesefurtiveglancesatmygrandmother,halffearingthattheywerewrong,Isawonlyacalmlake,whoseshoreswerelow,andoverwhichtheskyhungunbroken,sothattheleaststarwasclearlyreflected.Ithadanatmosphereofsolemntwilighttranquillity,andsocompletelydiditsunruffledsurfaceblendwiththecloudless,starstuddedsky,that,whenIlookedthroughmyspectaclesatmygrandmother,thevisionseemedtomeallheavenandstars.Yet,asIgazedandgazed,Ifeltwhatstatelycitiesmightwellhavebeenbuiltuponthoseshores,andhaveflashedprosperityoverthecalm,likecoruscationsofpearls.

    "Idreamedofgorgeousfleets,silkensailedandblownbyperfumedwinds,driftingoverthosedepthlesswatersandthroughthosespaciousskies.Igazeduponthetwilight,theinscrutablesilence,likeaGodfearingdiscovereruponanew,andvast,anddimsea,burstinguponhimthroughforest

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    glooms,andinthefervorofwhoseimpassionedgaze,amillennialandpoeticworldarises,andmanneednolongerdietobehappy.

    "Mycompanionsnaturallydesertedme,forIhadgrownwearilygraveandabstracted:and,unabletoresisttheallurementofmyspectacles,Iwasconstantlylostinaworld,ofwhichthosecompanionswerepart,yetofwhichtheyknewnothing.Igrewcoldandhard,almostmorosepeopleseemedtomeblindandunreasonable.Theydidthewrongthing.Theycalledgreen,yellowandblack,white.Youngmensaidofagirl,'Whatalovely,simplecreature!'Ilooked,andtherewasonlyaglisteningwispofstraw,dryandhollow.Ortheysaid,'Whatacold,proudbeauty!'Ilooked,andlo!aMadonna,whoseheartheldtheworld.Ortheysaid,'Whatawild,giddygirl!'andIsawaglancing,dancingmountainstream,pureasthevirginsnowswhenceitflowed,singingthroughsunandshade,overpearlsandgolddust,slippingalongunstainedbyweed,orrain,orheavyfootofcattle,touchingtheflowerswithadewykiss,abeamofgrace,ahappysong,alineoflight,inthedimandtroubledlandscape.

    "Mygrandmothersentmetoschool,butIlookedatthemaster,andsawthathewasasmooth,roundferuleoranimpropernounoravulgarfraction,andrefusedtoobeyhim.Orhewasapieceofstring,arag,awillowwand,andIhadacontemptuouspity.Butonewasawellofcool,deepwater,andlookingsuddenlyin,oneday,Isawthestars.Hegavemeallmyschooling.WithhimIusedtowalkbythesea,and,aswestrolledandthewavesplungedinlonglegionsbeforeus,Ilookedathimthroughthespectacles,andashiseyedilatedwiththeboundlessview,andhischestheavedwithanimpossibledesire,IsawXerxesandhisarmytossingandglittering,rankuponrank,multitudeuponmultitude,outofsight,buteverregularlyadvancingandwiththeconfusedroarofceaselessmusic,prostratingthemselvesinabjecthomage.Or,aswitharmsoutstretchedandhairstreamingonthewind,hechantedfulllinesoftheresoundingIliad,IsawHomerpacingtheAEgeansandsintheGreeksunsetsofforgottentimes.

    "Mygrandmotherdied,andIwasthrownintotheworldwithoutresources,andwithnocapitalbutmyspectacles.Itriedtofindemployment,butmenwereshyofme.TherewasavaguesuspicionthatIwaseitheralittlecrazed,oragooddealinleaguewiththePrinceofDarkness.Mycompanionswhowouldpersistincallingapieceofpaintedmuslinafairandfragrantflowerhadnodifficultysuccesswaitedforthemaroundeverycorner,andarrivedineveryship.Itriedtoteach,forIlovedchildren.Butifanythingexcitedmysuspicion,and,puttingonmyspectacles,IsawthatIwasfondlingasnake,orsmellingatabudwithaworminit,Isprangupinhorrorandranawayor,ifitseemedtomethroughtheglassesthatacherubsmileduponme,orarosewasbloominginmybuttonhole,thenIfeltmyselfimperfectandimpure,notfittobeleadingandtrainingwhatwassoessentiallysuperiorinqualitytomyself,andIkissedthechildrenandleftthemweepingandwondering.

    "IndespairIwenttoagreatmerchantontheisland,andaskedhimtoemployme.

    "'Myyoungfriend,'saidhe,'Iunderstandthatyouhavesomesingularsecret,somecharm,orspell,orgift,orsomething,Idon'tknowwhat,ofwhichpeopleareafraid.Now,youknow,mydear,'saidthemerchant,swellingup,andapparentlyprouderofhisgreatstomachthanofhislargefortune,'Iamnotofthatkind.Iamnoteasilyfrightened.Youmayspareyourselfthepainoftryingtoimposeuponme.PeoplewhoproposetocometotimebeforeIarrive,areaccustomedtoariseveryearlyinthemorning,'saidhe,thrustinghisthumbsinthearmholesofhiswaistcoat,andspreadingthefingers,liketwofans,uponhisbosom.'IthinkIhaveheardsomethingofyoursecret.Youhaveapairofspectacles,Ibelieve,thatyouvalueverymuch,becauseyourgrandmotherbroughtthemasamarriageportiontoyourgrandfather.Now,ifyouthinkfittosellmethosespectacles,Iwillpayyouthelargestmarketpriceforglasses.Whatdoyousay?'

    "ItoldhimthatIhadnottheslightestideaofsellingmyspectacles.

    "'Myyoungfriendmeanstoeatthem,Isuppose,'saidhewithacontemptuoussmile.

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    "Imadenoreply,butwasturningtoleavetheoffice,whenthemerchantcalledafterme

    "'Myyoungfriend,poorpeopleshouldneversufferthemselvestogetintopets.Angerisanexpensiveluxury,inwhichonlymenofacertainincomecanindulge.Apairofspectaclesandahottemperarenotthemostpromisingcapitalforsuccessinlife,MasterTitbottom.'

    "Isaidnothing,butputmyhanduponthedoortogoout,whenthemerchantsaidmorerespectfully,

    "'Well,youfoolishboy,ifyouwillnotsellyourspectacles,perhapsyouwillagreetoselltheuseofthemtome.Thatis,youshallonlyputthemonwhenIdirectyou,andformypurposes.Hallo!youlittlefool!'criedheimpatiently,ashesawthatIintendedtomakenoreply.

    "ButIhadpulledoutmyspectacles,andputthemonformyownpurpose,andagainsthisdirectionanddesire.Ilookedathim,andsawahugebaldheadedwildboar,withgrosschopsandaleeringeyeonlythemoreridiculousforthehigharched,goldbowedspectacles,thatstraddledhisnose.Oneofhisforehoofswasthrustintothesafe,wherehisbillspayablewerehived,andtheotherintohispocket,amongtheloosechangeandbillsthere.Hisearswereprickedforwardwithabrisk,sensitivesmartness.Inaworldwhereprizeporkwasthebestexcellence,hewouldhavecarriedoffallthepremiums.

    "Isteppedintothenextofficeinthestreet,andamildfaced,genialman,alsoalargeandopulentmerchant,askedmemybusinessinsuchatone,thatIinstantlylookedthroughmyspectacles,andsawalandflowingwithmilkandhoney.ThereIpitchedmytent,andstayedtillthegoodmandied,andhisbusinesswasdiscontinued.

    "Butwhilethere,"saidTitbottom,andhisvoicetrembledawayintoasigh,"IfirstsawPreciosa.Spiteofthespectacles,IsawPreciosa.Fordays,forweeks,formonths,Ididnottakemyspectacleswithme.Iranawayfromthem,Ithrewthemuponhighshelves,Itriedtomakeupmymindtothrowthemintothesea,ordownthewell.Icouldnot,Iwouldnot,IdarednotlookatPreciosathroughthespectacles.ItwasnotpossibleformedeliberatelytodestroythembutIawokeinthenight,andcouldalmosthavecursedmydearoldgrandfatherforhisgift.Iescapedfromtheoffice,andsatforwholedayswithPreciosa.ItoldherthestrangethingsIhadseenwithmymysticglasses.ThehourswerenotenoughforthewildromanceswhichIravedinherear.Shelistened,astonishedandappalled.Herblueeyesturneduponmewithasweetdeprecation.Sheclungtome,andthenwithdrew,andfledfearfullyfromtheroom.Butshecouldnotstayaway.Shecouldnotresistmyvoice,inwhosetonesburnedallthelovethatfilledmyheartandbrain.TheveryefforttoresistthedesireofseeingherasIsaweverybodyelse,gaveafrenzyandanunnaturaltensiontomyfeelingandmymanner.Isatbyherside,lookingintohereyes,smoothingherhair,foldinghertomyheart,whichwassunkenanddeepwhynotforever?inthatdreamofpeace.Iranfromherpresence,andshouted,andleapedwithjoy,andsatthewholenightthrough,thrilledintohappinessbythethoughtofherloveandloveliness,likeawindharp,tightlystrung,andansweringtheairiestsighofthebreezewithmusic.Thencamecalmerdaystheconvictionofdeeplovesettleduponourlivesasafterthehurrying,heavingdaysofspring,comestheblandandbenignantsummer.

    "'Itisnodream,then,afterall,andwearehappy,'Isaidtoher,onedayandtherecamenoanswer,forhappinessisspeechless.

    "Wearehappythen,"Isaidtomyself,"thereisnoexcitementnow.HowgladIamthatIcannowlookatherthroughmyspectacles."

    "Ifearedlestsomeinstinctshouldwarnmetobeware.Iescapedfromherarms,andranhomeandseizedtheglassesandboundedbackagaintoPreciosa.AsIenteredtheroomIwasheated,myheadwasswimmingwithconfusedapprehension,myeyesmusthaveglared.Preciosawasfrightened,andrisingfromherseat,stoodwithaninquiringglanceofsurpriseinhereyes.ButIwasbentwithfrenzyuponmypurpose.Iwasmerelyawarethatshewasintheroom.Isawnothingelse.Iheardnothing.I

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    caredfornothing,buttoseeherthroughthatmagicglass,andfeelatonce,allthefulnessofblissfulperfectionwhichthatwouldreveal.Preciosastoodbeforethemirror,butalarmedatmywildandeagermovements,unabletodistinguishwhatIhadinmyhands,andseeingmeraisethemsuddenlytomyface,sheshriekedwithterror,andfellfaintinguponthefloor,attheverymomentthatIplacedtheglassesbeforemyeyes,andbeheldmyself,reflectedinthemirror,beforewhichshehadbeenstanding.

    "Dearmadam,"criedTitbottom,tomywife,springingupandfallingbackagaininhischair,paleandtrembling,whilePruerantohimandtookhishand,andIpouredoutaglassofwater"Isawmyself."

    Therewassilenceformanyminutes.Pruelaidherhandgentlyupontheheadofourguest,whoseeyeswereclosed,andwhobreathedsoftly,likeaninfantinsleeping.Perhaps,inallthelongyearsofanguishsincethathour,notenderhandhadtouchedhisbrow,norwipedawaythedampsofabittersorrow.Perhapsthetender,maternalfingersofmywifesoothedhiswearyheadwiththeconvictionthathefeltthehandofhismotherplayingwiththelonghairofherboyinthesoftWestIndianmorning.Perhapsitwasonlythenaturalreliefofexpressingapentupsorrow.Whenhespokeagain,itwaswiththeold,subduedtone,andtheairofquaintsolemnity.

    "Thesethingsweremattersoflong,longago,andIcametothiscountrysoonafter.Ibroughtwithme,prematureage,apastofmelancholymemories,andthemagicspectacles.Ihadbecometheirslave.Ihadnothingmoretofear.Havingseenmyself,Iwascompelledtoseeothers,properlytounderstandmyrelationstothem.Thelightsthatcheerthefutureofothermenhadgoneoutforme.Myeyeswerethoseofanexileturnedbackwardsupontherecedingshore,andnotforwardswithhopeupontheocean.Imingledwithmen,butwithlittlepleasure.Therearebutmanyvarietiesofafewtypes.IdidnotfindthoseIcametoclearersightedthanthoseIhadleftbehind.Iheardmencalledshrewdandwise,andreportsaidtheywerehighlyintelligentandsuccessful.ButwhenIlookedatthemthroughmyglasses,Ifoundnohaloofrealmanliness.MyfinestsensedetectednoaromaofpurityandprinciplebutIsawonlyafungusthathadfattenedandspreadinanight.Theyallwenttothetheatertoseeactorsuponthestage.Iwenttoseeactorsintheboxes,soconsummatelycunning,thattheothersdidnotknowtheywereacting,andtheydidnotsuspectitthemselves.

    "Perhapsyouwonderitdidnotmakememisanthropical.Mydearfriends,donotforgetthatIhadseenmyself.Itmademecompassionate,notcynical.OfcourseIcouldnotvaluehighlytheordinarystandardsofsuccessandexcellence.WhenIwenttochurchandsawathin,blue,artificialflower,oragreatsleepycushionexpoundingthebeautyofholinesstopewsfullofeagles,halfeagles,andthreepences,howeveradroitlyconcealedinbroadclothandboots:orsawanonioninanEasterbonnetweepingoverthesinsofMagdalen,Ididnotfeelastheyfeltwhosawinallthis,notonlypropriety,butpiety.Orwhenatpublicmeetingsaneelstooduponend,andwriggledandsquirmedlithelyineverydirection,anddeclaredthat,forhispart,hewentinforrainbowsandhotwaterhowcouldIhelpseeingthathewasstillblackandlovedaslimypool?

    "IcouldnotgrowmisanthropicalwhenIsawintheeyesofsomanywhowerecalledold,thegushingfountainsofeternalyouth,andthelightofanimmortaldawn,orwhenIsawthosewhowereesteemedunsuccessfulandaimless,rulingafairrealmofpeaceandplenty,eitherinthemselves,ormoreperfectlyinanotherarealmandprincelypossessionforwhichtheyhadwellrenouncedahopelesssearchandabelatedtriumph.Iknewonemanwhohadbeenforyearsabywordforhavingsoughtthephilosopher'sstone.ButIlookedathimthroughthespectaclesandsawasatisfactioninconcentratedenergies,andatenacityarisingfromdevotiontoanobledream,whichwasnotapparentintheyouthswhopitiedhimintheaimlesseffeminacyofclubs,norintheclevergentlemenwhocrackedtheirthinjokesuponhimoveragossipingdinner.

    "Andtherewasyourneighborovertheway,whopassesforawomanwhohasfailedinhercareer,becausesheisanoldmaid.Peoplewagsolemnheadsofpity,andsaythatshemadesogreatamistakeinnotmarryingthebrilliantandfamousmanwhowasforlongyearshersuitor.Itisclearthatno

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    orangeflowerwilleverbloomforher.Theyoungpeoplemaketenderromancesaboutherastheywatchher,andthinkofhersolitaryhoursofbitterregret,andwastinglonging,nevertobesatisfied.WhenIfirstcametotownIsharedthissympathy,andpleasedmyimaginationwithfancyingherhardstrugglewiththeconvictionthatshehadlostallthatmadelifebeautiful.IsupposedthatifIlookedatherthroughmyspectacles,Ishouldseethatitwasonlyherradianttemperwhichsoilluminatedherdress,thatwedidnotseeittobeheavysables.Butwhen,oneday,Ididraisemyglassesandglancedather,Ididnotseetheoldmaidwhomweallpitiedforasecretsorrow,butawomanwhosenaturewasatropic,inwhichthesunshone,andbirdssang,andflowersbloomedforever.Therewerenoregrets,nodoubtsandhalfwishes,butacalmsweetness,atransparentpeace.Isawherblushwhenthatoldloverpassedby,orpausedtospeaktoher,butitwasonlythesignofdelicatefeminineconsciousness.Sheknewhislove,andhonoredit,althoughshecouldnotunderstanditnorreturnit.Ilookedcloselyather,andIsawthatalthoughalltheworldhadexclaimedatherindifferencetosuchhomage,andhaddeclareditwasastonishingsheshouldlosesofineamatch,shewouldonlysaysimplyandquietly

    "'IfShakespearelovedmeandIdidnotlovehim,howcouldImarryhim?'

    "CouldIbemisanthropicalwhenIsawsuchfidelity,anddignity,andsimplicity?

    "YoumaybelievethatIwasespeciallycurioustolookatthatoldloverofhers,throughmyglasses.Hewasnolongeryoung,youknow,whenIcame,andhisfameandfortuneweresecure.CertainlyIhaveheardoffewmenmorebeloved,andofnonemoreworthytobeloved.Hehadtheeasymannerofamanoftheworld,thesensitivegraceofapoet,andthecharitablejudgmentofawidetraveller.Hewasaccountedthemostsuccessfulandmostunspoiledofmen.Handsome,brilliant,wise,tender,graceful,accomplished,rich,andfamous,Ilookedathim,withoutthespectacles,insurprise,andadmiration,andwonderedhowyourneighboroverthewayhadbeensoentirelyuntouchedbyhishomage.Iwatchedtheirintercourseinsociety,Isawhergaysmile,hercordialgreetingImarkedhisfrankaddress,hisloftycourtesy.Theirmannertoldnotales.Theeagerworldwasbalked,andIpulledoutmyspectacles.

    "Ihadseenher,already,andnowIsawhim.Helivedonlyinmemory,andhismemorywasaspaciousandstatelypalace.Buthedidnotoftenestfrequentthebanquetinghall,wherewereendlesshospitalityandfeastingnordidheloitermuchinreceptionrooms,whereathrongofnewvisitorswasforeverswarmingnordidhefeedhisvanitybyhauntingtheapartmentinwhichwerestoredthetrophiesofhisvariedtriumphsnordreammuchinthegreatgalleryhungwithpicturesofhistravels.Butfromalltheseloftyhallsofmemoryheconstantlyescapedtoaremoteandsolitarychamber,intowhichnoonehadeverpenetrated.Butmyfataleyes,behindtheglasses,followedandenteredwithhim,andsawthatthechamberwasachapel.Itwasdim,andsilent,andsweetwithperpetualincensethatburneduponanaltarbeforeapictureforeverveiled.There,wheneverIchancedtolook,Isawhimkneelandprayandthere,bydayandbynight,afuneralhymnwaschanted.

    "IdonotbelieveyouwillbesurprisedthatIhavebeencontenttoremaindeputybookkeeper.Myspectaclesregulatedmyambition,andIearlylearnedthattherewerebettergodsthanPlutus.Theglasseshavelostmuchoftheirfascinationnow,andIdonotoftenusethem.Sometimesthedesireisirresistible.WheneverIamgreatlyinterested,IamcompelledtotakethemoutandseewhatitisthatIadmire.

    "Andyetandyet,"saidTitbottom,afterapause,"IamnotsurethatIthankmygrandfather."

    Pruehadlongsincelaidawayherwork,andhadheardeverywordofthestory.Isawthatthedearwomanhadyetonequestiontoask,andhadbeenearnestlyhopingtohearsomethingthatwouldspareherthenecessityofasking.ButTitbottomhadresumedhisusualtone,afterthemomentaryexcitement,andmadenofurtherallusiontohimself.WeallsatsilentlyTitbottom'seyesfastenedmusinglyuponthecarpet:Pruelookingwistfullyathim,andIregardingboth.

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    Itwaspastmidnight,andourguestarosetogo.Heshookhandsquietly,madehisgraveSpanishbowtoPrue,andtakinghishat,wenttowardsthefrontdoor.PrueandIaccompaniedhim.Isawinhereyesthatshewouldaskherquestion.AndasTitbottomopenedthedoor,Iheardthelowwords:

    "AndPreciosa?"

    Titbottompaused.Hehadjustopenedthedoorandthemoonlightstreamedoverhimashestood,turningbacktous.

    "Ihaveseenherbutoncesince.Itwasinchurch,andshewaskneelingwithhereyesclosed,sothatshedidnotseeme.ButIrubbedtheglasseswell,andlookedather,andsawawhitelily,whosestemwasbroken,butwhichwasfreshandluminous,andfragrant,still."

    "Thatwasamiracle,"interruptedPrue.

    "Madam,itwasamiracle,"repliedTitbottom,"andforthatonesightIamdevoutlygratefulformygrandfather'sgift.Isaw,thatalthoughaflowermayhavelostitsholduponearthlymoisture,itmaystillbloomassweetly,fedbythedewsofheaven."

    Thedoorclosed,andhewasgone.ButasPrueputherarminmineandwewentupstairstogether,shewhisperedinmyear:

    "HowgladIamthatyoudon'twearspectacles."

    MYDOUBLEANDHOWHEUNDIDME

    ByEdwardEverettHale(18221909)

    [FromTheAtlanticMonthly,September,1859.Republishedinthevolume,TheManWithoutaCountry,andOtherTales(1868),byEdwardEverettHale(Little,Brown&Co.).]

    ItisnotoftenthatItroublethereadersofTheAtlanticMonthly.Ishouldnottroublethemnow,butfortheimportunitiesofmywife,who"feelstoinsist"thatadutytosocietyisunfulfilled,tillIhavetoldwhyIhadtohaveadouble,andhowheundidme.Sheissure,shesays,thatintelligentpersonscannotunderstandthatpressureuponpublicservantswhichalonedrivesanymanintotheemploymentofadouble.AndwhileIfearshethinks,atthebottomofherheart,thatmyfortuneswillneverberemade,shehasafainthope,that,asanotherRasselas,Imayteachalessontofuturepublics,fromwhichtheymayprofit,thoughwedie.Owingtothebehaviorofmydouble,or,ifyouplease,tothatpublicpressurewhichcompelledmetoemployhim,Ihaveplentyofleisuretowritethiscommunication.

    Iam,orratherwas,aminister,oftheSandemanianconnection.Iwassettledintheactive,wideawaketownofNaguadavick,ononeofthefinestwaterpowersinMaine.WeusedtocallitaWesterntownintheheartofthecivilizationofNewEngland.Acharmingplaceitwasandis.Aspirited,braveyoungparishhadIanditseemedasifwemighthaveall"thejoyofeventfulliving"toourhearts'content.

    Alas!howlittleweknewonthedayofmyordination,andinthosehalcyonmomentsofourfirsthousekeeping!Tobetheconfidentialfriendinahundredfamiliesinthetowncuttingthesocialtrifle,asmyfriendHaliburtonsays,"fromthetopofthewhippedsyllabubtothebottomofthespongecake,whichisthefoundation"tokeepabreastofthethoughtoftheageinone'sstudy,andtodoone'sbestonSundaytointerweavethatthoughtwiththeactivelifeofanactivetown,andtoinspiritbothandmakebothinfinitebyglimpsesoftheEternalGlory,seemedsuchanexquisite

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    forelookintoone'slife!Enoughtodo,andallsorealandsogrand!Ifthisvisioncouldonlyhavelasted.

    Thetruthis,thatthisvisionwasnotinitselfadelusion,nor,indeed,halfbrightenough.Ifonecouldonlyhavebeenlefttodohisownbusiness,thevisionwouldhaveaccomplisheditselfandbroughtoutnewparaheliacalvisions,eachasbrightastheoriginal.Themiserywasandis,aswefoundout,IandPolly,beforelong,that,besidesthevision,andbesidestheusualhumanandfinitefailuresinlife(suchasbreakingtheoldpitcherthatcameoverintheMayflower,andputtingintothefirethealpenstockwithwhichherfatherclimbedMontBlanc)besides,these,Isay(imitatingthestyleofRobinsonCrusoe),therewerepitchforkedinonusagreatrowenheapofhumbugs,handeddownfromsomeunknownseedtime,inwhichwewereexpected,andIchiefly,tofulfilcertainpublicfunctionsbeforethecommunity,ofthecharacterofthosefulfilledbythethirdrowofsupernumerarieswhostandbehindtheSepoysinthespectacleoftheCataractoftheGanges.Theyweretheduties,inaword,whichoneperformsasmemberofoneoranothersocialclassorsubdivision,whollydistinctfromwhatonedoesasA.byhimselfA.Whatinvisiblepowerputthesefunctionsonme,itwouldbeveryhardtotell.Butsuchpowertherewasandis.AndIhadnotbeenatworkayearbeforeIfoundIwaslivingtwolives,onerealandonemerelyfunctionalfortwosetsofpeople,onemyparish,whomIloved,andtheotheravaguepublic,forwhomIdidnotcaretwostraws.Allthiswasinavaguenotion,whicheverybodyhadandhas,thatthissecondlifewouldeventuallybringoutsomegreatresults,unknownatpresent,tosomebodysomewhere.

    Crazedbythisdualityoflife,IfirstreadDr.WiganontheDualityoftheBrain,hopingthatIcouldtrainonesideofmyheadtodotheseoutsidejobs,andtheothertodomyintimateandrealduties.ForRichardGreenoughoncetoldmethat,instudyingforthestatueofFranklin,hefoundthattheleftsideofthegreatman'sfacewasphilosophicandreflective,andtherightsidefunnyandsmiling.Ifyouwillgoandlookatthebronzestatue,youwillfindhehasrepeatedthisobservationthereforposterity.TheeasternprofileistheportraitofthestatesmanFranklin,thewesternofPoorRichard.ButDr.Wigandoesnotgointothesenicetiesofthissubject,andIfailed.Itwasthenthat,onmywife'ssuggestion,IresolvedtolookoutforaDouble.

    Iwas,atfirst,singularlysuccessful.WehappenedtoberecreatingatStaffordSpringsthatsummer.Werodeoutoneday,foroneoftherelaxationsofthatwateringplace,tothegreatMonsonponHouse.Wewerepassingthroughoneofthelargehalls,whenmydestinywasfulfilled!Isawmyman!

    Hewasnotshaven.Hehadonnospectacles.Hewasdressedinagreenbaizeroundaboutandfadedblueoveralls,wornsadlyattheknee.ButIsawatoncethathewasofmyheight,fivefeetfourandahalf.Hehadblackhair,wornoffbyhishat.SohaveandhavenotI.Hestoopedinwalking.SodoI.Hishandswerelarge,andmine.AndchoicestgiftofFateinallhehad,not"astrawberrymarkonhisleftarm,"butacutfromajuvenilebrickbatoverhisrighteye,slightlyaffectingtheplayofthateyebrow.Reader,sohaveI!Myfatewassealed!

    AwordwithMr.Holley,oneoftheinspectors,settledthewholething.ItprovedthatthisDennisSheawasaharmless,amiablefellow,oftheclassknownasshiftless,whohadsealedhisfatebymarryingadumbwife,whowasatthatmomentironinginthelaundry.BeforeIleftStafford,Ihadhiredbothforfiveyears.WehadappliedtoJudgePynchon,thentheprobatejudgeatSpringfield,tochangethenameofDennisSheatoFredericIngham.WehadexplainedtotheJudge,whatwastheprecisetruth,thataneccentricgentlemanwishedtoadoptDennisunderthisnewnameintohisfamily.ItneveroccurredtohimthatDennismightbemorethanfourteenyearsold.Andthus,toshortenthispreface,whenwereturnedatnighttomyparsonageatNaguadavick,thereenteredMrs.Ingham,hernewdumblaundress,myself,whoamMr.FredericIngham,andmydouble,whowasMr.FredericInghambyasgoodrightasI.

    Oh,thefunwehadthenextmorninginshavinghisbeardtomypattern,cuttinghishairtomatchmine,andteachinghimhowtowearandhowtotakeoffgoldbowedspectacles!Really,theywereelectroplate,andtheglasswasplain(forthepoorfellow'seyeswereexcellent).Theninfour

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    successiveafternoonsItaughthimfourspeeches.IhadfoundthesewouldbequiteenoughforthesupernumerarySepoylineoflife,anditwaswellformetheywere.Forthoughhewasgoodnatured,hewasveryshiftless,anditwas,asournationalproverbsays,"likepullingteeth"toteachhim.Butattheendofthenextweekhecouldsay,withquitemyeasyandfriskyair:

    1."Verywell,thankyou.Andyou?"Thisforananswertocasualsalutations.

    2."Iamverygladyoulikedit."

    3."Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotoccupythetime."

    4."Iagree,ingeneral,withmyfriendontheothersideoftheroom."

    AtfirstIhadafeelingthatIwasgoingtobeatgreatcostforclothinghim.Butitproved,ofcourse,atonce,that,wheneverhewasout,Ishouldbeathome.AndIwent,duringthebrightperiodofhissuccess,tosofewofthoseawfulpageantswhichrequireablackdresscoatandwhattheungodlycall,afterMr.Dickens,awhitechoker,thatinthehappyretreatofmyowndressinggownsandjacketsmydayswentbyashappilyandcheaplyasthoseofanotherThalaba.AndPollydeclarestherewasneverayearwhenthetailoringcostsolittle.Helived(Dennis,notThalaba)inhiswife'sroomoverthekitchen.Hehadordersnevertoshowhimselfatthatwindow.Whenheappearedinthefrontofthehouse,Iretiredtomysanctissimumandmydressinggown.Inshort,theDutchmanand,hiswife,intheoldweatherbox,hadnotlesstodowith,eachotherthanheandI.Hemadethefurnacefireandsplitthewoodbeforedaylightthenhewenttosleepagain,andsleptlatethencamefororders,witharedsilkbandannatiedroundhishead,withhisoverallson,andhisdresscoatandspectaclesoff.Ifwehappenedtobeinterrupted,nooneguessedthathewasFredericInghamaswellasIand,intheneighborhood,theregrewupanimpressionthattheminister'sIrishmanworkeddaytimesinthefactoryvillageatNewCoventry.AfterIhadgivenhimhisorders,Ineversawhimtillthenextday.

    IlaunchedhimbysendinghimtoameetingoftheEnlightenmentBoard.TheEnlightenmentBoardconsistsofseventyfourmembers,ofwhomsixtysevenarenecessarytoformaquorum.OnebecomesamemberundertheregulationslaiddowninoldJudgeDudley'swill.IbecameonebybeingordainedpastorofachurchinNaguadavick.Youseeyoucannothelpyourself,ifyouwould.Atthisparticulartimewehadhadfoursuccessivemeetings,averagingfourhourseachwhollyoccupiedinwhippinginaquorum.Atthefirstonlyelevenmenwerepresentatthenext,byforceofthreecirculars,twentysevenatthethird,thankstotwodays'canvassingbyAuchmutyandmyself,beggingmentocome,wehadsixty.HalftheotherswereinEurope.Butwithoutaquorumwecoulddonothing.Alltherestofuswaitedgrimlyforourfourhours,andadjournedwithoutanyaction.Atthefourthmeetingwehadflagged,andonlygotfiftyninetogether.ButonthefirstappearanceofmydoublewhomIsentonthisfatalMondaytothefifthmeetinghewasthesixtyseventhmanwhoenteredtheroom.Hewasgreetedwithastormofapplause!Thepoorfellowhadmissedhiswayreadthestreetsignsillthroughhisspectacles(veryill,infact,withoutthem)andhadnotdaredtoinquire.HeenteredtheroomfindingthepresidentandsecretaryholdingtotheirchairstwojudgesoftheSupremeCourt,whowerealsomembersexofficio,andwerebeggingleavetogoaway.Onhisentranceallwaschanged.Presto,thebylawswereamended,andtheWesternpropertywasgivenaway.Nobodystoppedtoconversewithhim.Hevoted,asIhadchargedhimtodo,ineveryinstance,withtheminority.Iwonnewlaurelsasamanofsense,thoughalittleunpunctualandDennis,aliasIngham,returnedtotheparsonage,astonishedtoseewithhowlittlewisdomtheworldisgoverned.Hecutafewofmyparishionersinthestreetbuthehadhisglassesoff,andIamknowntobenearsighted.EventuallyherecognizedthemmorereadilythanI.

    I"sethimagain"attheexhibitionoftheNewCoventryAcademyandhereheundertooka"speakingpart"as,inmyboyish,worldlydays,IrememberthebillsusedtosayofMlle.Celeste.WearealltrusteesoftheNewCoventryAcademyandtherehaslatelybeen"agooddealoffeeling"becausetheSandemaniantrusteesdidnotregularlyattendtheexhibitions.Ithasbeenintimated,indeed,thattheSandemaniansareleaningtowardsFreeWill,andthatwehave,therefore,neglectedthesesemi

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    annualexhibitions,whilethereisnodoubtthatAuchmutylastyearwenttoCommencementatWaterville.NowtheheadmasteratNewCoventryisarealgoodfellow,whoknowsaSanskritrootwhenheseesit,andoftencracksetymologieswithmesothat,instrictness,Ioughttogototheirexhibitions.Butthink,reader,ofsittingthroughthreelongJulydaysinthatAcademychapel,followingtheprogramfrom

    TuesdayMorning.EnglishComposition.Sunshine.MissJones,

    roundto

    TrioonThreePianos.DuelfromoperaofMidshipmanEasy.Marryatt.

    cominginatnine,Thursdayevening!Thinkofthis,reader,formenwhoknowtheworldistryingtogobackward,andwhowouldgivetheirlivesiftheycouldhelpiton!Well!ThedoublehadsucceededsowellattheBoard,thatIsenthimtotheAcademy.(ShadeofPlato,pardon!)HearrivedearlyonTuesday,when,indeed,fewbutmothersandclergymenaregenerallyexpected,andreturnedintheeveningtous,coveredwithhonors.Hehaddinedattherighthandofthechairman,andhespokeinhightermsoftherepast.ThechairmanhadexpressedhisinterestintheFrenchconversation."Iamverygladyoulikedit,"saidDennisandthepoorchairman,abashed,supposedtheaccenthadbeenwrong.Attheendoftheday,thegentlemenpresenthadbeencalleduponforspeechestheRev.FredericInghamfirst,asithappeneduponwhichDennishadrisen,andhadsaid,"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotoccupythetime."Thegirlsweredelighted,becauseDr.Dabney,theyearbefore,hadgiventhematthisoccasionascoldingonimproprietyofbehavioratlyceumlectures.TheyalldeclaredMr.Inghamwasaloveandsohandsome!(Dennisisgoodlooking.)Threeofthem,witharmsbehindtheothers'waists,followedhimuptothewagonherodehomeinandalittlegirlwithabluesashhadbeensenttogivehimarosebud.Afterthisdebutinspeaking,hewenttotheexhibitionfortwodaysmore,tothemutualsatisfactionofallconcerned.Indeed,Pollyreportedthathehadpronouncedthetrustees'dinnersofahighergradethanthoseoftheparsonage.Whenthenexttermbegan,IfoundsixoftheAcademygirlshadobtainedpermissiontocomeacrosstheriverandattendourchurch.Butthisarrangementdidnotlongcontinue.

    AfterthishewenttoseveralCommencementsforme,andatethedinnersprovidedhesatthroughthreeofourQuarterlyConventionsformealwaysvotingjudiciously,bythesimplerulementionedabove,ofsidingwiththeminority.AndI,meanwhile,whohadbeforebeenlosingcasteamongmyfriends,asholdingmyselfalooffromtheassociationsofthebody,begantoriseineverybody'sfavor."Ingham'sagoodfellowalwaysonhand""nevertalksmuchbutdoestherightthingattherighttime""isnotasunpunctualasheusedtobehecomesearly,andsitsthroughtotheend.""Hehasgotoverhisoldtalkativehabit,too.IspoketoafriendofhisaboutitonceandIthinkInghamtookitkindly,"etc.,etc.

    ThisvotingpowerofDenniswasparticularlyvaluableatthequarterlymeetingsoftheProprietorsoftheNaguadavickFerry.Mywifeinheritedfromherfathersomesharesinthatenterprise,whichisnotyetfullydeveloped,thoughitdoubtlesswillbecomeaveryvaluableproperty.ThelawofMainethenforbadestockholderstoappearbyproxyatsuchmeetings.Pollydislikedtogo,notbeing,infact,a"hens'rightshen,"andtransferredherstocktome.I,aftergoingonce,dislikeditmorethanshe.ButDenniswenttothenextmeeting,andlikeditverymuch.Hesaidthearmchairsweregood,thecollationgood,andthefreeridestostockholderspleasant.Hewasalittlefrightenedwhentheyfirsttookhimupononeoftheferryboats,butaftertwoorthreequarterlymeetingshebecamequitebrave.

    ThusfarIneverhadanydifficultywithhim.Indeed,beingofthattypewhichiscalledshiftless,hewasonlytoohappytobetolddailywhattodo,andtobechargednottobeforthputtingorinanywayoriginalinhisdischargeofthatduty.Helearned,however,todiscriminatebetweenthelinesofhislife,andverymuchpreferredthesestockholders'meetingsandtrustees'dinnersandcommencementcollationstoanothersetofoccasions,fromwhichheusedtobegoffmostpiteously.Ourexcellentbrother,Dr.Fillmore,hadtakenanotionatthistimethatourSandemanianchurchesneededmore

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    expressionofmutualsympathy.Heinsisteduponitthatwewereremiss.Hesaid,that,iftheBishopcametopreachatNaguadavick,alltheEpiscopalclergyoftheneighborhoodwerepresentifDr.Pondcame,alltheCongregationalclergymenturnedouttohearhimifDr.Nichols,alltheUnitariansandhethoughtweowedittoeachotherthat,whenevertherewasanoccasionalserviceataSandemanianchurch,theotherbrethrenshouldall,ifpossible,attend."Itlookedwell,"ifnothingmore.NowthisreallymeantthatIhadnotbeentohearoneofDr.Fillmore'slecturesontheEthnologyofReligion.HeforgotthathedidnothearoneofmycourseontheSandemanianismofAnselm.ButIfeltbadlywhenhesaiditandafterwardsIalwaysmadeDennisgotohearallthebrethrenpreach,whenIwasnotpreachingmyself.Thiswaswhathetookexceptionstotheonlything,asIsaid,whichheeverdidexceptto.Nowcametheadvantageofhislongmorningnap,andofthegreenteawithwhichPollysuppliedthekitchen.Buthewouldplead,sohumbly,tobeletoff,onlyfromoneortwo!Ineverexceptedhim,however.Iknewthelectureswereofvalue,andIthoughtitbestheshouldbeabletokeeptheconnection.

    PollyismorerashthanIam,asthereaderhasobservedintheoutsetofthismemoir.SheriskedDennisonenightundertheeyesofherownsex.GovernorGorgeshadalwaysbeenverykindtousandwhenhegavehisgreatannualpartytothetown,askedus.IconfessIhatedtogo.IwasdeepinthenewvolumeofPfeiffer'sMystics,whichHaliburtonhadjustsentmefromBoston."Buthowrude,"saidPolly,"nottoreturntheGovernor'scivilityandMrs.Gorges's,whentheywillbesuretoaskwhyyouareaway!"StillIdemurred,andatlastshe,withthewitofEveandofSemiramisconjoined,letmeoffbysayingthat,ifIwouldgoinwithher,andsustaintheinitialconversationswiththeGovernorandtheladiesstayingthere,shewouldriskDennisfortherestoftheevening.Andthatwasjustwhatwedid.ShetookDennisintrainingallthatafternoon,instructedhiminfashionableconversation,cautionedhimagainstthetemptationsofthesuppertableandatnineintheeveninghedroveusalldowninthecarryall.ImadethegrandstarentrewithPollyandtheprettyWaltongirls,whowerestayingwithus.WehadputDennisintoagreatroughtopcoat,withouthisglassesandthegirlsneverdreamed,inthedarkness,oflookingathim.Hesatinthecarriage,atthedoor,whileweentered.IdidtheagreeabletoMrs.Gorges,wasintroducedtoherniece.MissFernandaIcomplimentedJudgeJeffriesonhisdecisioninthegreatcaseofD'Aulnayvs.LaconiaMiningCo.Isteppedintothedressingroomforamomentsteppedoutforanotherwalkedhome,afteranodwithDennis,andtyingthehorsetoapumpandwhileIwalkedhome,Mr.FredericIngham,mydouble,steppedinthroughthelibraryintotheGorges'sgrandsaloon.

    Oh!Pollydiedoflaughingasshetoldmeofitatmidnight!Andevenhere,whereIhavetoteachmyhandstohewthebeechforstakestofenceourcave,shediesoflaughingassherecallsitandsaysthatsingleoccasionwasworthallwehavepaidforit.GallantEvethatsheis!ShejoinedDennisatthelibrarydoor,andinaninstantpresentedhimtoDr.Ochterlong,fromBaltimore,whowasonavisitintown,andwastalkingwithher,asDenniscamein."Mr.InghamwouldliketohearwhatyouweretellingusaboutyoursuccessamongtheGermanpopulation."AndDennisbowedandsaid,inspiteofascowlfromPolly,"I'mverygladyoulikedit."ButDr.Ochterlongdidnotobserve,andplungedintothetideofexplanation,Dennislisteninglikeaprimeminister,andbowinglikeamandarinwhichis,Isuppose,thesamething.PollydeclareditwasjustlikeHaliburton'sLatinconversationwiththeHungarianminister,ofwhichheisveryfondoftelling."QuoenesithistoriaReformationisinUngari?"quothHaliburton,aftersomethought.Andhisconfrrerepliedgallantly,"Inseculodecimotertio,"etc.,etc.,etc.andfromdecimotertio[Whichmeans,"Inthethirteenthcentury,"mydearlittlebellandcoralreader.Youhaverightlyguessedthatthequestionmeans,"WhatisthehistoryoftheReformationinHungary?"]tothenineteenthcenturyandahalflastedtilltheoysterscame.SowasitthatbeforeDr.Ochterlongcametothe"success,"ornearit,GovernorGorgescametoDennisandaskedhimtohandMrs.Jeffriesdowntosupper,arequestwhichheheardwithgreatjoy.

    Pollywasskippingroundtheroom,Iguess,gayasalark.Auchmutycametoher"inpityforpoorIngham,"whowassoboredbythestupidpunditandAuchmutycouldnotunderstandwhyIstooditsolong.ButwhenDennistookMrs.Jeffriesdown,Pollycouldnotresiststandingnearthem.Hewas

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    alittleflustered,tillthesightoftheeatablesanddrinkablesgavehimthesameMerciancouragewhichitgaveDiggory.Alittleexcitedthen,heattemptedoneortwoofhisspeechestotheJudge'slady.Butlittleheknewhowharditwastogetinevenapromptuthereedgewise."Verywell,Ithankyou,"saidhe,aftertheeatingelementswereadjusted"andyou?"Andthendidnothehavetohearaboutthemumps,andthemeasles,andarnica,andbelladonna,andchamomileflower,anddodecathem,tillshechangedoystersforsaladandthenabouttheoldpracticeandthenew,andwhathersistersaid,andwhathersister'sfriendsaid,andwhatthephysiciantohersister'sfriendsaid,andthenwhatwassaidbythebrotherofthesisterofthephysicianofthefriendofhersister,exactlyasifithadbeeninOllendorff?Therewasamoment'spause,asshedeclinedchampagne."Iamverygladyoulikedit,"saidDennisagain,whichhenevershouldhavesaid,buttoonewhocomplimentedasermon."Oh!youaresosharp,Mr.Ingham!No!Ineverdrinkanywineatallexceptsometimesinsummeralittlecurrantspiritsfromourowncurrants,youknow.Myownmotherthatis,Icallhermyownmother,because,youknow,Idonotremember,"etc.,etc.,etc.tilltheycametothecandiedorangeattheendofthefeastwhenDennis,ratherconfused,thoughthemustsaysomething,andtriedNo.4"Iagree,ingeneral,withmyfriendtheothersideoftheroom"whichhenevershouldhavesaidbutatapublicmeeting.ButMrs.Jeffries,whoneverlistensexpectingtounderstand,caughthimupinstantlywith,"Well,I'msuremyhusbandreturnsthecomplimenthealwaysagreeswithyouthoughwedoworshipwiththeMethodistsbutyouknow,Mr.Ingham,"etc.,etc.,etc.,tillthemovewasmadeupstairsandasDennisledherthroughthehall,hewasscarcelyunderstoodbyanybutPolly,ashesaid,"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotoccupythetime."

    Hisgreatresourcetherestoftheeveningwasstandinginthelibrary,carryingonanimatedconversationswithoneandanotherinmuchthesameway.Pollyhadinitiatedhiminthemysteriesofadiscoveryofmine,thatitisnotnecessarytofinishyoursentenceinacrowd,butbyasortofmumble,omittingsibilantsanddentals.This,indeed,ifyourwordsfailyou,answerseveninpublicextemporespeechbutbetterwhereothertalkingisgoingon.Thus:"WemissedyouattheNaturalHistorySociety,Ingham."Inghamreplies:"Iamverygligloglum,thatis,thatyouweremmmmm."Bygraduallydroppingthevoice,theinterlocutoriscompelledtosupplytheanswer."Mrs.Ingham,IhopeyourfriendAugustaisbetter."Augustahasnotbeenill.Pollycannotthinkofexplaining,however,andanswers:"Thankyou,ma'amsheisveryrearasonwewahwewob,"inlowerandlowertones.AndMrs.Throckmorton,whoforgotthesubjectofwhichshespoke,assoonassheaskedthequestion,isquitesatisfied.Denniscouldseeintothecardroom,andcametoPollytoaskifhemightnotgoandplayallfours.But,ofcourse,shesternlyrefused.Atmidnighttheycamehomedelightedly:Polly,asIsaid,wildtotellmethestoryofvictoryonlyboththeprettyWaltongirlssaid:"CousinFrederic,youdidnotcomenearmealltheevening."

    WealwayscalledhimDennisathome,forconvenience,thoughhisrealnamewasFredericIngham,asIhaveexplained.Whentheelectiondaycameround,however,IfoundthatbysomeaccidenttherewasonlyoneFredericIngham'snameonthevotinglistand,asIwasquitebusythatdayinwritingsomeforeignletterstoHalle,IthoughtIwouldforegomyprivilegeofsuffrage,andstayquietlyathome,tellingDennisthathemightusetherecordonthevotinglistandvote.Igavehimaticket,whichItoldhimhemightuse,ifhelikedto.ThatwasthatverysharpelectioninMainewhichthereadersofTheAtlanticsowellremember,andithadbeenintimatedinpublicthattheministerswoulddowellnottoappearatthepolls.Ofcourse,afterthat,wehadtoappearbyselforproxy.Still,Naguadavickwasnotthenacity,andthisstandinginadoublequeueattownmeetingseveralhourstovotewasaboreofthefirstwaterandso,whenIfoundthattherewasbutoneFredericInghamonthelist,andthatoneofusmustgiveup,Istayedathomeandfinishedtheletters(which,indeed,procuredforFothergillhiscovetedappointmentofProfessorofAstronomyatLeavenworth),andIgaveDennis,aswecalledhim,thechance.SomethinginthemattergaveagooddealofpopularitytotheFredericInghamnameandattheadjournedelection,nextweek,FredericInghamwaschosentothelegislature.WhetherthiswasIorDennis,Ineverreallyknew.MyfriendsseemedtothinkitwasIbutIfelt,that,asDennishaddonethepopularthing,hewasentitledtothehonorsoIsenthimtoAugustawhenthetimecame,andhetooktheoaths.Andaveryvaluablememberhemade.They

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    appointedhimontheCommitteeonParishesbutIwrotealetterforhim,resigning,onthegroundthathetookaninterestinourclaimtothestumpageintheminister'ssixteenthsofGoreA,nextNo.7,inthe10thRange.Henevermadeanyspeeches,andalwaysvotedwiththeminority,whichwaswhathewassenttodo.Hemademeandhimselfagreatmanygoodfriends,someofwhomIdidnotafterwardsrecognizeasquicklyasDennisdidmyparishioners.Ononeortwooccasions,whentherewaswoodtosawathome,IkepthimathomebutItookthoseoccasionstogotoAugustamyself.Findingmyselfofteninhisvacantseatatthesetimes,IwatchedtheproceedingswithagooddealofcareandoncewassomuchexcitedthatIdeliveredmysomewhatcelebratedspeechontheCentralSchoolDistrictquestion,aspeechofwhichtheStateofMaineprintedsomeextracopies.Ibelievethereisnoformalrulepermittingstrangerstospeakbutnooneobjected.

    Dennishimself,asIsaid,neverspokeatall.Butourexperiencethissessionledmetothink,thatif,bysomesuch"generalunderstanding"asthereportsspeakofinlegislationdaily,everymemberofCongressmightleaveadoubletositthroughthosedeadlysessionsandanswertorollcallsanddothelegitimatepartyvoting,whichappearsstereotypedintheregularlistofAshe,Bocock,Black,etc.,weshouldgaindecidedlyinworkingpower.Asthingsstand,thesaddeststateprisonIevervisitisthatRepresentatives'ChamberinWashington.Ifamanleavesforanhour,twenty"correspondents"maybehowling,"WherewasMr.PrendergastwhentheOregonbillpassed?"AndifpoorPrendergaststaysthere!Certainly,theworstuseyoucanmakeofamanistoputhiminprison!

    Iknow,indeed,thatpublicmenofthehighestrankhaveresortedtothisexpedientlongago.Dumas'snovelofTheIronMaskturnsonthebrutalimprisonmentofLouistheFourteenth'sdouble.Thereseemslittledoubt,inourownhistory,thatitwastherealGeneralPiercewhoshedtearswhenthedelegatefromLawrenceexplainedtohimthesufferingsofthepeoplethereandonlyGeneralPierce'sdoublewhohadgiventheordersfortheassaultonthattown,whichwasinvadedthenextday.Mycharmingfriend,GeorgeWithers,has,Iamalmostsure,adouble,whopreacheshisafternoonsermonsforhim.Thisisthereasonthatthetheologyoftenvariessofromthatoftheforenoon.Butthatdoubleisalmostascharmingastheoriginal.Someofthemostwelldefinedmen,whostandoutmostprominentlyonthebackgroundofhistory,areinthiswaystereoscopicmenwhoowetheirdistinctrelieftotheslightdifferencesbetweenthedoubles.AllthisIknow.Mypresentsuggestionissimplythegreatextensionofthesystem,sothatallpublicmachineworkmaybedonebyit.

    ButIseeIloiteronmystory,whichisrushingtotheplunge.Letmestopaninstantmore,however,torecall,wereitonlytomyself,thatcharmingyearwhileallwasyetwell.Afterthedoublehadbecomeamatterofcourse,fornearlytwelvemonthsbeforeheundidme,whatayearitwas!Fullofactivelife,fullofhappylove,ofthehardestwork,ofthesweetestsleep,andthefulfilmentofsomanyofthefreshaspirationsanddreamsofboyhood!Denniswenttoeveryschoolcommitteemeeting,andsatthroughallthoselatewranglingswhichusedtokeepmeuptillmidnightandawaketillmorning.HeattendedallthelecturestowhichforeignexilessentmeticketsbeggingmetocomefortheloveofHeavenandofBohemia.Heacceptedandusedalltheticketsforcharityconcertswhichweresenttome.Heappearedeverywherewhereitwasspeciallydesirablethat"ourdenomination,"or"ourparty,"or"ourclass,"or"ourfamily,"or"ourstreet,"or"ourtown,"or"ourcountry,"or"ourstate,"shouldbefullyrepresented.AndIfellbacktothatcharminglifewhichinboyhoodonedreamsof,whenhesupposesheshalldohisowndutyandmakehisownsacrifices,withoutbeingtiedupwiththoseofotherpeople.MyrustySanskrit,Arabic,Hebrew,Greek,Latin,French,Italian,Spanish,GermanandEnglishbegantotakepolish.Heavens!howlittleIhaddonewiththemwhileIattendedtomypublicduties!Mycallsonmyparishionersbecamethefriendly,frequent,homelikesociabilitiestheyweremeanttobe,insteadofthehardworkofamangoadedtodesperationbythesightofhislistsofarrears.Andpreaching!whataluxurypreachingwaswhenIhadonSundaythewholeresultofanindividual,personalweek,fromwhichtospeaktoapeoplewhomallthatweekIhadbeenmeetingashandtohandfriend!InevertiredonSunday,andwasinconditiontoleavethesermonathome,ifIchose,andpreachitextempore,asallmenshoulddoalways.Indeed,Iwonder,whenIthinkthatasensiblepeoplelikeoursreallymoreattachedtotheirclergythantheywereinthelostdays,whentheMathersandNortonswerenoblemenshouldchoosetoneutralizesomuchoftheirministers'

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    lives,anddestroysomuchoftheirearlytraining,bythisundefinedpassionforseeingtheminpublic.Itspringsfromourbalancingofsects.IfaspiritedEpiscopaliantakesaninterestinthealmshouse,andisputonthePoorBoard,everyotherdenominationmusthaveaministerthere,lestthepoorhousebechangedintoSt.Paul'sCathedral.IfaSandemanianischosenpresidentoftheYoungMen'sLibrary,theremustbeaMethodistvicepresidentandaBaptistsecretary.AndifaUniversalistSundaySchoolConventioncollectsfivehundreddelegates,thenextCongregationalistSabbathSchoolConferencemustbeaslarge,"lest'they'whoevertheymaybeshouldthink'we'whoeverwemaybearegoingdown."

    Freedfromthesenecessities,thathappyyear,Ibegantoknowmywifebysight.Wesaweachothersometimes.Inthoselongmornings,whenDenniswasinthestudyexplainingtomappeddlersthatIhadelevenmapsofJerusalemalready,andtoschoolbookagentsthatIwouldseethemhangedbeforeIwouldbebribedtointroducetheirtextbooksintotheschoolssheandIwereatworktogether,asinthoseolddreamydaysandintheseofourlogcabinagain.ButallthiscouldnotlastandatlengthpoorDennis,mydouble,overtaskedinturn,undidme.

    Itwasthusithappened.ThereisanexcellentfellowonceaministerIwillcallhimIsaacswhodeserveswelloftheworldtillhedies,andafterbecauseheonce,inarealexigency,didtherightthing,intherightway,attherighttime,asnoothermancoulddoit.Intheworld'sgreatfootballmatch,theballbychancefoundhimloiteringontheoutsideofthefieldheclosedwithit,"camped"it,charged,ithomeyes,rightthroughtheothersidenotdisturbed,notfrightenedbyhisownsuccessandbreathlessfoundhimselfagreatmanastheGreatDeltarangapplause.Buthedidnotfindhimselfarichmanandthefootballhasnevercomeinhiswayagain.Fromthatmomenttothismomenthehasbeenofnouse,thatonecansee,atall.Still,forthatgreatactwespeakofIsaacsgratefullyandrememberhimkindlyandheforgeson,hopingtomeetthefootballsomewhereagain.Inthatvaguehope,hehadarrangeda"movement"forageneralorganizationofthehumanfamilyintoDebatingClubs,CountySocieties,StateUnions,etc.,etc.,withaviewofinducingallchildrentotakeholdofthehandlesoftheirknivesandforks,insteadofthemetal.Childrenhavebadhabitsinthatway.Themovement,ofcourse,wasabsurdbutwealldidourbesttoforward,notit,buthim.ItcametimefortheannualcountymeetingonthissubjecttobeheldatNaguadavick.Isaacscameround,goodfellow!toarrangeforitgotthetownhall,gottheGovernortopreside(thesaint!heoughttohavetripletdoublesprovidedhimbylaw),andthencametogetmetospeak."No,"Isaid,"Iwouldnotspeak,iftenGovernorspresided.Idonotbelieveintheenterprise.IfIspoke,itshouldbetosaychildrenshouldtakeholdoftheprongsoftheforksandthebladesoftheknives.Iwouldsubscribetendollars,butIwouldnotspeakamill."SopoorIsaacswenthisway,sadly,tocoaxAuchmutytospeak,andDelafield.Iwentout.Notlongafter,hecameback,andtoldPollythattheyhadpromisedtospeaktheGovernorwouldspeakandhehimselfwouldclosewiththequarterlyreport,andsomeinterestinganecdotesregarding.MissBiffin'swayofhandlingherknifeandMr.Nellis'swayoffootinghisfork."NowifMr.Inghamwillonlycomeandsitontheplatform,heneednotsayonewordbutitwillshowwellinthepaperitwillshowthattheSandemanianstakeasmuchinterestinthemovementastheArmeniansortheMesopotamians,andwillbeagreatfavortome."Polly,goodsoul!wastempted,andshepromised.SheknewMrs.Isaacswasstarving,andthebabiessheknewDenniswasathomeandshepromised!Nightcame,andIreturned.Iheardherstory.Iwassorry.Idoubted.ButPollyhadpromisedtobegme,andIdaredall!ItoldDennistoholdhispeace,underallcircumstances,andsenthimdown.

    Itwasnothalfanhourmorebeforehereturned,wildwithexcitementinaperfectIrishfurywhichitwaslongbeforeIunderstood.ButIknewatoncethathehadundoneme!

    Whathappenedwasthis:Theaudiencegottogether,attractedbyGovernorGorges'sname.Therewereathousandpeople.PoorGorgeswaslatefromAugusta.Theybecameimpatient.Hecameindirectfromthetrainatlast,reallyignorantoftheobjectofthemeeting.Heopeneditinthefewestpossiblewords,andsaidothergentlemenwerepresentwhowouldentertainthembetterthanhe.Theaudienceweredisappointed,butwaited.TheGovernor,promptedbyIsaacs,said,"TheHonorableMr.

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    Delafieldwilladdressyou."Delafieldhadforgottentheknivesandforks,andwasplayingtheRuyLopezopeningatthechessclub."TheRev.Mr.Auchmutywilladdressyou."Auchmutyhadpromisedtospeaklate,andwasattheschoolcommittee."IseeDr.Stearnsinthehallperhapshewillsayaword."Dr.Stearnssaidhehadcometolistenandnottospeak.TheGovernorandIsaacswhispered.TheGovernorlookedatDennis,whowasresplendentontheplatformbutIsaacs,togivehimhisdue,shookhishead.Butthelookwasenough.Amiserablelad,illbred,whohadoncebeeninBoston,thoughtitwouldsoundwelltocallforme,andpeepedout,"Ingham!"Afewmorewretchescried,"Ingham!Ingham!"StillIsaacswasfirmbuttheGovernor,anxious,indeed,topreventarow,knewIwouldsaysomething,andsaid,"OurfriendMr.Inghamisalwayspreparedandthoughwehadnotrelieduponhim,hewillsayaword,perhaps."Applausefollowed,whichturnedDennis'shead.Herose,flattered,andtriedNo.3:"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotlongeroccupythetime!"andsatdown,lookingforhishatforthingsseemedsqually.Butthepeoplecried,"Goon!goon!"andsomeapplauded.Dennis,stillconfused,butflatteredbytheapplause,towhichneitherhenorIareused,roseagain,andthistimetriedNo.2:"Iamverygladyoulikedit!"inasonorous,cleardelivery.Mybestfriendsstared.AllthepeoplewhodidnotknowmepersonallyyelledwithdelightattheaspectoftheeveningtheGovernorwasbesidehimself,andpoorIsaacsthoughthewasundone!Alas,itwasI!Aboyinthegallerycriedinaloudtone,"It'sallaninfernalhumbug,"justasDennis,wavinghishand,commandedsilence,andtriedNo.4:"Iagree,ingeneral,withmyfriendtheothersideoftheroom."ThepoorGovernordoubtedhissenses,andcrossedtostophimnotintime,however.Thesamegalleryboyshouted,"How'syourmother?"andDennis,nowcompletelylost,tried,ashislastshot,No.1,vainly:"Verywell,thankyouandyou?"

    IthinkImusthavebeenundonealready.ButDennis,likeanotherLockhardchose"tomakesicker."Theaudienceroseinawhirlofamazement,rage,andsorrow.Someotherimpertinence,aimedatDennis,brokeallrestraint,and,inpureIrish,hedeliveredhimselfofanaddresstothegallery,invitinganypersonwhowishedtofighttocomedownanddosostating,thattheywerealldogsandcowardsthathewouldtakeanyfiveofthemsinglehanded,"Shure,IhavesaidallhisRiverenceandtheMisthressbademesay,"criedhe,indefianceand,seizingtheGovernor'scanefromhishand,brandishedit,quarterstafffashion,abovehishead.Hewas,indeed,gotfromthehallonlywiththegreatestdifficultybytheGovernor,theCityMarshal,whohadbeencalledin,andtheSuperintendentofmySundaySchool.

    Theuniversalimpression,ofcourse,was,thattheRev.FredericInghamhadlostallcommandofhimselfinsomeofthosehauntsofintoxicationwhichforfifteenyearsIhavebeenlaboringtodestroy.Tillthismoment,indeed,thatistheimpressioninNaguadavick.ThisnumberofTheAtlanticwillrelievefromitahundredfriendsofminewhohavebeensadlywoundedbythatnotionnowforyearsbutIshallnotbelikelyevertoshowmyheadthereagain.

    No!Mydoublehasundoneme.

    Welefttownatseventhenextmorning.IcametoNo.9,intheThirdRange,andsettledontheMinister'sLot,InthenewtownsinMaine,thefirstsettledministerhasagiftofahundredacresofland.IamthefirstsettledministerinNo.9.MywifeandlittlePaulinaaremyparish.Weraisecornenoughtoliveoninsummer.Wekillbear'smeatenoughtocarbonizeitinwinter.IworkonsteadilyonmyTracesofSandemanianismintheSixthandSeventhCenturies,whichIhopetopersuadePhillips,Sampson&Co.topublishnextyear.Weareveryhappy,buttheworldthinksweareundone.

    AVISITTOTHEASYLUMFORAGEDANDDECAYEDPUNSTERS

    ByOliverWendellHolmes(18091894)

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    [FromTheAtlanticMonthly,January,1861.RepublishedinSoundingsfromtheAtlantic(1864),byOliverWendellHolmes,whoseauthorizedpublishersaretheHoughtonMifflinCompany.]

    HavingjustreturnedfromavisittothisadmirableInstitutionincompanywithafriendwhoisoneoftheDirectors,weproposegivingashortaccountofwhatwesawandheard.ThegreatsuccessoftheAsylumforIdiotsandFeeblemindedYouth,severalofthescholarsfromwhichhavereachedconsiderabledistinction,oneofthembeingconnectedwithaleadingDailyPaperinthiscity,andothershavingservedintheStateandNationalLegislatures,wasthemotivewhichledtothefoundationofthisexcellentcharity.Ourlatedistinguishedtownsman,NoahDow,Esquire,asiswellknown,bequeathedalargeportionofhisfortunetothisestablishment"beingtheretomoved,"ashiswillexpressedit,"bythedesireofN.DowingsomepublicInstitutionforthebenefitofMankind."BeingconsultedastotheRulesoftheInstitutionandtheselectionofaSuperintendent,hereplied,that"allBoardsmustconstructtheirownPlatformsofoperation.Letthemselectanyhowandheshouldbepleased."N.E.Howe,Esq.,waschosenincompliancewiththisdelicatesuggestion.

    TheCharterprovidesforthesupportof"OnehundredagedanddecayedGentlemenPunsters."Oninquiryiftherewaynoprovisionforfemales,myfriendcalledmyattentiontothisremarkablepsychologicalfact,namely:

    THEREISNOSUCHTHINGASAFEMALEPUNSTER.

    Thisremarkstruckmeforcibly,andonreflectionIfoundthatIneverknewnorheardofone,thoughIhaveonceortwiceheardawomanmakeasingledetachedpun,asIhaveknownahentocrow.

    OnarrivingatthesouthgateoftheAsylumgrounds,Iwasabouttoring,butmyfriendheldmyarmandbeggedmetorapwithmystick,whichIdid.Anoldmanwithaverycomicalfacepresentlyopenedthegateandputouthishead.

    "SoyoupreferCanetoAbell,doyou?"hesaidandbeganchucklingandcoughingatagreatrate.

    Myfriendwinkedatme.

    "You'reherestill,OldJoe,Isee,"hesaidtotheoldman.

    "Yes,yesandit'sveryodd,consideringhowoftenI'vebolted,nights."

    Hethenthrewopenthedoublegatesforustoridethrough.

    "Now,"saidtheoldman,ashepulledthegatesafterus,"you'vehadalongjourney."

    "Why,howisthat,OldJoe?"saidmyfriend.

    "Don'tyousee?"heanswered"there'stheEasthingesontheonesideofthegate,andthere'stheWesthingesont'othersidehaw!haw!haw!"

    Wehadnosoonergotintotheyardthanafeeblelittlegentleman,witharemarkablybrighteye,cameuptous,lookingveryserious,asifsomethinghadhappened.

    "ThetownhasenteredacomplaintagainsttheAsylumasagamblingestablishment,"hesaidtomyfriend,theDirector.

    "Whatdoyoumean?"saidmyfriend.

    "Why,theycomplainthatthere'saloto'ryeonthepremises,"heanswered,pointingtoafieldofthatgrainandhobbledaway,hisshouldersshakingwithlaughter,ashewent.

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    Onenteringthemainbuilding,wesawtheRulesandRegulationsfortheAsylumconspicuouslypostedup.Imadeafewextractswhichmaybeinteresting:

    SECT.I.OFVERBALEXERCISES.

    5.EachInmateshallbepermittedtomakePunsfreelyfromeightinthemorninguntiltenatnight,exceptduringServiceintheChapelandGracebeforeMeals.

    6.Atteno'clockthegaswillbeturnedoff,andnofurtherPuns,Conundrums,orotherplayonwordswillbeallowedtobeuttered,ortobeutteredaloud.

    9.InmateswhohavelosttheirfacultiesandcannotanylongermakePunsshallbepermittedtorepeatsuchasmaybeselectedforthembytheChaplainoutoftheworkofMr.JosephMiller.

    10.ViolentandunmanageablePunsters,whointerruptotherswhenengagedinconversation,withPunsorattemptsatthesame,shallbedeprivedoftheirJosephMillers,and,ifnecessary,placedinsolitaryconfinement.

    SECT.III.OFDEPORTMENTATMEALS.

    4.NoInmateshallmakeanyPun,orattemptatthesame,untiltheBlessinghasbeenaskedandthecompanyaredecentlyseated.

    7.CertainPunshavingbeenplacedontheIndexExpurgatoriusoftheInstitution,noInmateshallbeallowedtoutterthem,onpainofbeingdebarredtheperusalofPunchandVanityFair,and,ifrepeated,deprivedofhisJosephMiller.

    Amongthesearethefollowing:

    AllusionstoAtticsalt,whenaskedtopassthesaltcellar.

    RemarksontheInmatesbeingmustered,etc.,etc.

    AssociatingbakedbeanswiththebenefactorsoftheInstitution.

    Sayingthatbeefeatingisbefitting,etc.,etc.

    Thefollowingarealsoprohibited,exceptingtosuchInmatesasmayhavelosttheirfacultiesandcannotanylongermakePunsoftheirown:

    "yourownhairorawig""itwillbelongenough,"etc.,etc."littleofitsage,"etc.,etc.also,playinguponthefollowingwords:_hos_pitalmayorpunpitiedbreadsauce,etc.,etc.,etc.SeeINDEXEXPURGATORIUS,printedforuseofInmates.

    ThesubjoinedConundrumisnotallowed:WhyisHastyPuddinglikethePrince?Becauseitcomesattendedbyitssweetnorthisvariationtoit,towit:Becausethe'lassesrunsafterit.

    TheSuperintendent,whowentroundwithus,hadbeenanotedpunsterinhistime,andwellknowninthebusinessworld,butlosthiscustomersbymakingtoofreewiththeirnamesasinthefamousstoryhesetafloatin'29offourJerriesattachingtothenamesofanotedJudge,aneminentLawyer,theSecretaryoftheBoardofForeignMissions,andthewellknownLandlordatSpringfield.OneofthefourJerries,headded,wasofgiganticmagnitude.TheplayonwordswasbroughtoutbyanaccidentalremarkofSolomons,thewellknownBanker."Capitalpunishment!"theJewwasoverheardsaying,withreferencetotheguiltyparties.Hewasunderstood,assaying,Acapitalpunismeant,whichledtoaninvestigationandthereliefofthegreatlyexcitedpublicmind.

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    TheSuperintendentshowedsomeofhisoldtendencies,ashewentroundwithus.

    "Doyouknow"hebrokeoutallatonce"whytheydon'ttakesteppesinTartaryforestablishingInsaneHospitals?"

    Webothconfessedignorance.

    "Becausetherearenomadpeopletobefoundthere,"hesaid,withadignifiedsmile.

    HeproceededtointroduceustodifferentInmates.Thefirstwasamiddleaged,scholarlyman,whowasseatedatatablewithaWebster'sDictionaryandasheetofpaperbeforehim.

    "Well,whatlucktoday,Mr.Mowzer?"saidtheSuperintendent.

    "Threeorfouronly,"saidMr.Mowzer."Willyouhear'emnownowI'mhere?"

    Weallnodded.

    "Don'tyouseeWebsterersinthewordscent_er_andtheat_er_?

    "Ifhespellsleatherlether,andfeatherfether,isn'ttheredangerthathe'llgiveusabadspellofweather?

    "Besides,Websterisaresurrectionisthedoesnotallowutorestquietlyinthemould.

    "Andagain,becauseMr.Worcesterinsertsanillustrationinhistext,isthatanyreasonwhyMr.Webster'spublishersshouldhitchoneonintheirappendix?It'swhatIcallaConnectacuttrick.

    "Whyishiswayofspellinglikethefloorofanoven?Becauseitisunderbread."

    "Mowzer!"saidtheSuperintendent,"thatwordisontheIndex!"

    "Iforgot,"saidMr.Mowzer"pleasedon'tdeprivemeofVanityFairthisonetime,sir."

    "Theseareall,thismorning.Goodday,gentlemen."ThentotheSuperintendent:"Addyou,sir!"

    ThenextInmatewasasemiidioticlookingoldman.Hehadaheapofblocklettersbeforehim,and,aswecameup,hepointed,withoutsayingaword,tothearrangementshehadmadewiththemonthetable.Theywereevidentlyanagrams,andhadthemeritoftransposingthelettersofthewordsemployedwithoutadditionorsubtraction.Hereareafewofthem:

    TIMES.SMITE!POST.STOP!

    TRIBUNE.TRUENIB.WORLD.DR.OWL.

    ADVERTISER.{RESVERIDAT.{ISTRUE.READ!

    ALLOPATHY.ALLO'TH'PAY.HOMOEOPATHY.O,THE!O!O,MY!PAH!

    ThementionofseveralNewYorkpapersledtotwoorthreequestions.Thus:WhethertheEditorofTheTribunewasH.G.really?Ifthecomplexionofhispoliticswerenotaccountedforbyhisbeinganeagerpersonhimself?WhetherWendellFillipswerenotareducedcopyofJohnKnocks?WhetheraNewYorkFeuilletonisteisnotthesamethingasaFellowdownEast?

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    Atthistimeaplausiblelooking,baldheadedmanjoinedus,evidentlywaitingtotakeapartintheconversation.

    "Goodmorning,Mr.Riggles,"saidtheSuperintendent,"Anythingfreshthismorning?AnyConundrum?"

    "Ihaven'tlookedatthecattle,"heanswered,dryly.

    "Cattle?Whycattle?"

    "Why,toseeifthere'sanycornunder'em!"hesaidandimmediatelyasked,"WhyisDouglasliketheearth?"

    Wetried,butcouldn'tguess.

    "Becausehewasflattenedoutatthepolls!"saidMr.Riggles.

    "Afamouspolitician,formerly,"saidtheSuperintendent."HisgrandfatherwasaseizeHessianistintheRevolutionaryWar.Bytheway,Ihearthefreezeoildoctrinesdon'tgodownatNewBedford."

    ThenextInmatelookedasifhemighthavebeenasailorformerly.

    "Askhimwhathiscallingwas,"saidtheSuperintendent.

    "Followedthesea,"herepliedtothequestionputbyoneofus."Wentasmateinafishingschooner."

    "Whydidyougiveitup?"

    "BecauseIdidn'tlikeworkingfortwomasters,"hereplied.

    Presentlywecameuponagroupofelderlypersons,gatheredaboutavenerablegentlemanwithflowinglocks,whowaspropoundingquestionstoarowofInmates.

    "CananyInmategivemeamottoforM.Berger?"hesaid.

    Nobodyrespondedfortwoorthreeminutes.Atlastoneoldman,whomIatoncerecognizedasaGraduateofourUniversity(Anno1800)helduphishand.

    "Remacuetetigit."

    "Gototheheadoftheclass,Josselyn,"saidthevenerablepatriarch.

    ThesuccessfulInmatedidashewastold,butinaveryroughway,pushingagainsttwoorthreeoftheClass.

    "Howisthis?"saidthePatriarch.

    "Youtoldmetogoupjostlin',"hereplied.

    Theoldgentlemenwhohadbeenshovedaboutenjoyedthepuntoomuchtobeangry.

    PresentlythePatriarchaskedagain:

    "WhywasM.BergerauthorizedtogotothedancesgiventothePrince?"

    TheClasshadtogiveupthis,andheansweredithimself:

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    "Becauseeveryoneofhiscarromswasatickittotheball."

    "WhocollectsthemoneytodefraytheexpensesofthelastcampaigninItaly?"askedthePatriarch.

    HereagaintheClassfailed.

    "Thewarcloud'srollingDun,"heanswered.

    "Andwhatismulledwinemadewith?"

    Threeorfourvoicesexclaimedatonce:

    "SizzleyMadeira!"

    Hereaservantentered,andsaid,"Luncheontime."Theoldgentlemen,whohaveexcellentappetites,dispersedatonce,oneofthempolitelyaskingusifwewouldnotstopandhaveabitofbreadandalittlemiteofcheese.

    "ThereisonethingIhaveforgottentoshowyou,"saidtheSuperintendent,"thecellfortheconfinementofviolentandunmanageablePunsters."

    Wewereverycurioustoseeit,particularlywithreferencetotheallegedabsenceofeveryobjectuponwhichaplayofwordscouldpossiblybemade.

    TheSuperintendentledusupsomedarkstairstoacorridor,thenalonganarrowpassage,thendownabroadflightofstepsintoanotherpassageway,andopenedalargedoorwhichlookedoutonthemainentrance.

    "Wehavenotseenthecellfortheconfinementof'violentandunmanageable'Punsters,"webothexclaimed.

    "Thisisthesell!"heexclaimed,pointingtotheoutsideprospect.

    Myfriend,theDirector,lookedmeinthefacesogoodnaturedlythatIhadtolaugh.

    "WeliketohumortheInmates,"hesaid."Ithasabadeffect,wefind,ontheirhealthandspiritstodisappointthemoftheirlittlepleasantries.Someofthejeststowhichwehavelistenedarenotnewtome,thoughIdaresayyoumaynothaveheardthemoftenbefore.Thesamethinghappensingeneralsociety,withthisadditionaldisadvantage,thatthereisnopunishmentprovidedfor'violentandunmanageable'Punsters,asinourInstitution."

    WemadeourbowtotheSuperintendentandwalkedtotheplacewhereourcarriagewaswaitingforus.Onourway,anexceedinglydecrepitoldmanmovedslowlytowardus,withaperfectlyblanklookonhisface,butstillappearingasifhewishedtospeak.

    "Look!"saidtheDirector"thatisourCentenarian."

    Theancientmancrawledtowardus,cockedoneeye,withwhichheseemedtoseealittle,upatus,andsaid:

    "Sarvant,youngGentlemen.Whyisaaalikeaaa?Giveitup?Becauseit'saaaa."

    Hesmiledapleasantsmile,asifitwereallplainenough.

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    "OnehundredandsevenlastChristmas,"saidtheDirector."OflateyearsheputshiswholeConundrumsinblankbuttheypleasehimjustaswell."

    Wetookourdeparture,muchgratifiedandinstructedbyourvisit,hopingtohavesomefutureopportunityofinspectingtheRecordsofthisexcellentCharityandmakingextractsforthebenefitofourReaders.

    THECELEBRATEDJUMPINGFROGOFCALAVERASCOUNTY

    ByMarkTwain(18351910)

    [FromTheSaturdayPress,Nov.18,1865.RepublishedinTheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches(1867),byMarkTwain,allofwhoseworksarepublishedbyHarper&Brothers.]

    Incompliancewiththerequestofafriendofmine,whowrotemefromtheEast,Icalledongoodnatured,garrulousoldSimonWheeler,andinquiredaftermyfriend'sfriend,LeonidasW.Smiley,asrequestedtodo,andIhereuntoappendtheresult.IhavealurkingsuspicionthatLeonidasW.SmileyisamythandthatmyfriendneverknewsuchapersonageandthatheonlyconjecturedthatifIaskedoldWheelerabouthim,itwouldremindhimofhisinfamousJimSmiley,andhewouldgotoworkandboremetodeathwithsomeexasperatingreminiscenceofhimaslongandastediousasitshouldbeuselesstome.Ifthatwasthedesign,itsucceeded.

    IfoundSimonWheelerdozingcomfortablybythebarroomstoveofthedilapidatedtaverninthedecayedminingcampofAngel's,andInoticedthathewasfatandbaldheaded,andhadanexpressionofwinninggentlenessandsimplicityuponhistranquilcountenance.Herousedup,andgavemegoodday.ItoldhimafriendhadcommissionedmetomakesomeinquiriesaboutacherishedcompanionofhisboyhoodnamedLeonidasW.SmileyRev.LeonidasW.Smiley,ayoungministeroftheGospel,whohehadheardwasatonetimearesidentofAngel'sCamp.IaddedthatifMr.WheelercouldtellmeanythingaboutthisRev.LeonidasW.Smiley,Iwouldfeelundermanyobligationstohim.

    SimonWheelerbackedmeintoacornerandblockadedmetherewithhischair,andthensatdownandreeledoffthemonotonousnarrativewhichfollowsthisparagraph.Heneversmiled,heneverfrowned,heneverchangedhisvoicefromthegentleflowingkeytowhichhetunedhisinitialsentence,heneverbetrayedtheslightestsuspicionofenthusiasmbutallthroughtheinterminablenarrativethereranaveinofimpressiveearnestnessandsincerity,whichshowedmeplainlythat,sofarfromhisimaginingthattherewasanythingridiculousorfunnyabouthisstory,heregardeditasareallyimportantmatter,andadmireditstwoheroesasmenoftranscendentgeniusinfinesse.Ilethimgooninhisownway,andneverinterruptedhimonce.

    "Rev.LeonidasW.H'm,ReverendLewell,therewasafellerhereoncebythenameofJimSmiley,inthewinterof'49ormaybeitwasthespringof'50Idon'trecollectexactly,somehow,thoughwhatmakesmethinkitwasoneortheotherisbecauseIrememberthebigflumewarn'tfinishedwhenhefirstcametothecampbutanyway,hewasthecuriousestmanaboutalwaysbettingonanythingthatturnedupyoueversee,ifhecouldgetanybodytobetontheothersideandifhecouldn'the'dchangesides.Anywaythatsuitedtheothermanwouldsuithimanywayjustso'shegotabet,hewassatisfied.Butstillhewaslucky,uncommonluckyhemostalwayscomeoutwinner.Hewasalwaysreadyandlayingforachancetherecouldn'tbenosolit'rythingmentionedbutthatfeller'doffertobetonit,andtakeanysideyouplease,asIwasjusttellingyou.Iftherewasahorserace,you'dfindhimflushoryou'dfindhimbustedattheendofitiftherewasadogfight,he'dbeton

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    itiftherewasacatfight,he'dbetonitiftherewasachickenfight,he'dbetonitwhy,iftherewastwobirdssettingonafence,hewouldbetyouwhichonewouldflyfirstoriftherewasacampmeeting,hewouldbetherereg'lartobetonParsonWalker,whichhejudgedtobethebestexhorterabouthere,andhewas,too,andagoodman.Ifheevenseeastraddlebugstarttogoanywheres,hewouldbetyouhowlongitwouldtakehimtogettotowhereverhewasgoingto,andifyoutookhimup,hewouldfollerthatstraddlebugtoMexicobutwhathewouldfindoutwherehewasboundforandhowlonghewasontheroad.LotsoftheboysherehasseenthatSmileyandcantellyouabouthim.Why,itnevermadenodifferencetohimhe'dbetonanythingthedangestfeller.ParsonWalker'swifelaidverysickonce,foragoodwhile,anditseemedasiftheywarn'tgoingtosaveherbutonemorninghecomein,andSmileyupandaskedhimhowshewas,andhesaidshewasconsiderablebetterthanktheLordforhisinf'nit'mercyandcomingonsosmartthatwiththeblessingofProv'denceshe'dgetwellyetandSmiley,beforehethought,says,Well,I'llrisktwoandahalfshedon'tanyway.'"

    ThishyerSmileyhadamaretheboyscalledherthefifteenminutenag,butthatwasonlyinfun,youknow,because,ofcourse,shewasfasterthanthatandheusedtowinmoneyonthathorse,forallshewassoslowandalwayshadtheasthma,orthedistemper,ortheconsumption,orsomethingofthatkind.Theyusedtogivehertwoorthreehundredyardsstart,andthenpassherunderwaybutalwaysatthefagendoftheraceshe'dgetexcitedanddesperatelike,andcomecavortingandstraddlingup,andscatteringherlegsaroundlimber,sometimesintheair,andsometimesouttoonesideamongstthefences,andkickingupmoredustandraisingmoreracketwithhercoughingandsneezingandblowinghernoseandalwaysfetchupatthestandjustaboutaneckahead,asnearasyoucouldcipheritdown.

    Andhehadalittlesmallbullpup,thattolookathimyou'dthinkhewarn'tworthacentbuttosetaroundandlookorneryandlayforachancetostealsomething.Butassoonasmoneywasuponhimhewasadifferentdoghisunderjaw'dbegintostickoutlikethefo'castleofasteamboat,andhisteethwoulduncoverandshinelikethefurnaces.Andadogmighttacklehimandbullyraghim,andbitehim,andthrowhimoverhisshouldertwoorthreetimes,andAndrewJacksonwhichwasthenameofthepupAndrewJacksonwouldneverletonbutwhathewassatisfied,andhadn'texpectednothingelseandthebetsbeingdoubledanddoubledontheothersideallthetime,tillthemoneywasallupandthenallofasuddenhewouldgrabthatotherdogjestbythej'intofhishindlegandfreezetoitnotchaw,youunderstand,butonlyjustgripandhangontilltheythrowedupthesponge,ifitwasayear.Smileyalwayscomeoutwinneronthatpup,tillheharnessedadogoncethatdidn'thavenohindlegs,becausethey'dbeensawedoffinacircularsaw,andwhenthethinghadgonealongfarenough,andthemoneywasallup,andhecometomakeasnatchforhispetholt,heseeinaminutehowhe'dbeenimposedon,andhowtheotherdoghadhiminthedoor,sotospeak,andhe'pearedsurprised,andthenhelookedsorterdiscouragedlike,anddidn'ttrynomoretowinthefight,andsohegotshuckedoutbad.HegaveSmileyalook,asmuchastosayhisheartwasbroke,anditwashisfault,forputtingupadogthathadn'tnohindlegsforhimtotakeholtof,whichwashismaindependenceinafight,andthenhelimpedoffapieceandlaiddownanddied.Itwasagoodpup,wasthatAndrewJackson,andwouldhavemadeanameforhisselfifhe'dlived,forthestuffwasinhimandhehadgeniusIknowit,becausehehadn'tnoopportunitiestospeakof,anditdon'tstandtoreasonthatadogcouldmakesuchafightashecouldunderthemcircumstancesifhehadn'tnotalent.ItalwaysmakesmefeelsorrywhenIthinkofthatlastfightofhis'n,andthewayitturnedout.

    Well,thishyerSmileyhadrattarriers,andchickencocks,andtomcatsandallofthemkindofthings,tillyoucouldn'trest,andyoucouldn'tfetchnothingforhimtobetonbuthe'dmatchyou.Heketchedafrogoneday,andtookhimhome,andsaidhecal'latedtoeducatehimandsoheneverdonenothingforthreemonthsbutsetinhisbackyardandlearnthatfrogtojump.Andyoubetyouhedidlearnhim,too.He'dgivehimalittlepunchbehind,andthenextminuteyou'dseethatfrogwhirlingintheairlikeadoughnutseehimturnonesummerset,ormaybeacouple,ifhegotagoodstart,andcomedownflatfootedandallright,likeacat.Hegothimupsointhematterofketchingflies,andkep'himinpracticesoconstant,thathe'dnailaflyeverytimeasfurashecouldseehim.Smileysaidallafrog

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    wantedwaseducation,andhecoulddo'mostanythingandIbelievehim.Why,I'veseenhimsetDan'lWebsterdownhereonthisfloorDan'lWebsterwasthenameofthefrogandsingout,"Flies,Dan'l,flies!"andquicker'nyoucouldwinkhe'dspringstraightupandsnakeaflyoff'nthecounterthere,andflopdownonthefloorag'inassolidasagobofmud,andfalltoscratchingthesideofhisheadwithhishindfootasindifferentasifhehadn'tnoideahe'dbeendoin'anymore'nanyfrogmightdo.Youneverseeafrogsomodestandstraightfor'ardashewas,forallhewassogifted.Andwhenitcometofairandsquarejumpingonadeadlevel,hecouldgetovermoregroundatonestraddlethananyanimalofhisbreedyoueversee.Jumpingonadeadlevelwashisstrongsuit,youunderstandandwhenitcometothat,Smileywouldanteupmoneyonhimaslongashehadared.Smileywasmonstrousproudofhisfrog,andwellhemightbe,forfellersthathadtraveledandbeeneverywheres,allsaidhelaidoveranyfrogthatevertheysee.

    Well,Smileykep'thebeastinalittlelatticebox,andheusedtofetchhimdowntownsometimesandlayforabet.Onedayafellerastrangerinthecamp,hewascomeacrosthimwithhisbox,andsays:

    "Whatmightbethatyou'vegotinthebox?"

    AndSmileysays,sorterindifferentlike,"Itmightbeaparrot,oritmightbeacanary,maybe,butitain'tit'sonlyjustafrog."

    Andthefellertookit,andlookedatitcareful,andturneditroundthiswayandthat,andsays,"H'mso'tis.Well,what'shegoodfor?"

    "Well,"Smileysays,easyandcareless,"he'sgoodenoughforonething,IshouldjudgehecanoutjumpanyfroginCalaverascounty."

    Thefellertooktheboxagain,andtookanotherlong,particularlook,andgiveitbacktoSmiley,andsays,verydeliberate,"Well,"hesays,"Idon'tseenop'intsaboutthatfrogthat'sanybetter'nanyotherfrog."

    "Maybeyoudon't,"Smileysays."Maybeyouunderstandfrogsandmaybeyoudon'tunderstand'emmaybeyou'vehadexperience,andmaybeyouain'tonlyaamature,asitwere.Anyways,I'vegotmyopinionandI'llriskfortydollarsthathecanoutjumpanyfroginCalaverasCounty."

    Andthefellerstudiedaminute,andthensays,kindersadlike,"Well,I'monlyastrangerhere,andIain'tgotnofrogbutifIhadafrog,I'dbetyou."

    AndthenSmileysays,"That'sallrightthat'sallrightifyou'llholdmyboxaminute,I'llgoandgetyouafrog."Andsothefellertookthebox,andputuphisfortydollarsalongwithSmiley's,andsetdowntowait.

    Sohesetthereagoodwhilethinkingandthinkingtohisself,andthenhegotthefrogoutandprizedhismouthopenandtookateaspoonandfilledhimfullofquailshotfilled!himprettynearuptohischinandsethimonthefloor.Smileyhewenttotheswampandsloppedaroundinthemudforalongtime,andfinallyheketchedafrog,andfetchedhimin,andgivehimtothisfeller,andsays:

    "Now,ifyou'reready,sethimalongsideofDan'l,withhisforepawsjustevenwithDan'l's,andI'llgivetheword."Thenhesays,"Onetwothreegit!"andhimandthefellertouchedupthefrogsfrombehind,andthenewfroghoppedofflively,butDan'lgiveaheave,andhysteduphisshoulderssolikeaFrenchman,butitwarn'tnousehecouldn'tbudgehewasplantedassolidasachurch,andhecouldn'tnomorestirthanifhewasanchoredout.Smileywasagooddealsurprised,andhewasdisgustedtoo,buthedidn'thavenoideawhatthematterwas,ofcourse.

    Thefellertookthemoneyandstartedawayandwhenhewasgoingoutatthedoor,hesorterjerked

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    histhumboverhisshouldersoatDan'l,andsaysagain,verydeliberate,"Well,"hesays,"Idon'tseenop'intsaboutthatfrogthat'sanybetter'nanyotherfrog."

    SmileyhestoodscratchinghisheadandlookingdownatDan'lalongtime,andatlastsays,"IdowonderwhatinthenationthatfrogthrowedoffforIwonderifthereain'tsomethingthematterwithhimhe'pearstolookmightybaggy,somehow."AndheketchedDan'lupbythenapoftheneck,andheftedhim,andsays,"Whyblamemycatsifhedon'tweighfivepounds!"andturnedhimupsidedownandhebelchedoutadoublehandfulofshot.Andthenheseehowitwas,andhewasthemaddestmanhesetthefrogdownandtookoutafterthatfeller,butheneverketchedhim.And

    (HereSimonWheelerheardhisnamecalledfromthefrontyard,andgotuptoseewhatwaswanted.)Andturningtomeashemovedaway,hesaid:"Justsetwhereyouare,stranger,andresteasyIain'tgoingtobegoneasecond."

    But,byyourleave,IdidnotthinkthatacontinuationofthehistoryoftheenterprisingvagabondJimSmileywouldbelikelytoaffordmemuchinformationconcerningtheRev.LeonidasW.Smiley,andsoIstartedaway.

    AtthedoorImetthesociableWheelerreturning,andhebuttonholedmeandrecommenced:

    "Well,thishyerSmileyhadayaller,oneeyedcowthatdidn'thavenotail,onlyjestashortstumplikeabannanner,and"

    However,lackingbothtimeandinclination,Ididnotwaittohearabouttheafflictedcow,buttookmyleave.

    ELDERBROWN'SBACKSLIDE

    ByHarryStillwellEdwards(1855)

    [FromHarper'sMagazine,August,1885copyright,1885,byHarper&Bros.republishedinthevolume,TwoRunaways,andOtherStories(1889),byHarryStillwellEdwards(TheCenturyCo.).]

    ElderBrowntoldhiswifegoodbyatthefarmhousedoorasmechanicallyasthoughhisproposedtriptoMacon,tenmilesaway,wasaneverydayaffair,while,asamatteroffact,manyyearshadelapsedsinceunaccompaniedhesetfootinthecity.Hedidnotkissher.Manyverygoodmenneverkisstheirwives.Butsmallblameattachestotheelderforhisomissiononthisoccasion,sincehiswifehadlongagodiscouragedallamorousdemonstrationsonthepartofherliegelord,andatthisparticularmomentwasfillingthepartingmomentswitharattlinglistofdirectionsconcerningthread,buttons,hooks,needles,andallthemanyetceterasofanindustrioushousewife'sbasket.Theelderwaslaboriouslyassortingthesepostscriptcommissionsinhismemory,wellknowingthattoreturnwithanyoneofthemneglectedwouldcausetroubleinthefamilycircle.

    ElderBrownmountedhispatientsteedthatstoodsleepilymotionlessinthewarmsunlight,withhisgreatpointedearsdisplayedtotherightandleft,asthoughtheirownerhadgrowntiredofthelifeburdentheirweightinflicteduponhim,andwas,oldsoldierfashion,readytoforegotheoncerigidalertnessofearlytrainingforthepleasuresoffrequentrestonarms.

    "And,elder,don'tyouforgitthemcalikerscraps,oryou'llbewantin'kiversoonan'nokiverwillbeacomin'."

    ElderBrowndidnotturnhishead,butmerelyletthewhiphand,whichhadbeencheckedinitsbackwardmotion,fallasheansweredmechanically.Thebeasthebestroderespondedwitharapid

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    whiskingofitstailandagreatshowofeffort,asitambledoffdownthesandyroad,therider'slonglegsseemingnowandthentotouchtheground.

    Butasthezigzagpanelsoftherailfencecreptbehindhim,andhefeltthefreedomofthemorningbeginningtoactuponhiswelltrainedblood,themechanicalmanneroftheoldman'smindgaveplacetoamildexuberance.Aweightseemedtobeliftingfromitouncebyounceasthefencepanels,theweedycorners,thepersimmonsproutsandsassafrasbushescreptawaybehindhim,sothatbythetimeamilelaybetweenhimandthelifepartnerofhisjoysandsorrowshewasinareasonablycontentedframeofmind,andstillimproving.

    ItwasaqueerfigurethatcreptalongtheroadthatcheeryMaymorning.Itwastallandgaunt,andhadbeenforthirtyyearsormore.Thelonghead,baldontop,coveredbehindwithirongrayhair,andinfrontwithashorttangledgrowththatcurledandkinkedineverydirection,wassurmountedbyanoldfashionedstovepipehat,wornandstained,buteminentlyimpressive.AnoldfashionedHenryClayclothcoat,stainedandthreadbare,divideditselfimpartiallyoverthedonkey'sbackanddangledonhissides.Thiswasallthatremainedoftheelder'sweddingsuitoffortyyearsago.Onlyconstantcare,anduseoflateyearslimitedtoextraoccasions,hadpreserveditsolong.Thetrousershadsoonpartedcompanywiththeirfriends.Thesubstituteswereredjeans,which,whiletheydidnotwellmatchhiscourtcostume,werebetterabletowithstandtheoldman'sabuse,forif,inadditiontohisfrequentreligiousexcursionsastridehisbeast,thereeverwasamanwhowasfondofsittingdownwithhisfeethigherthanhishead,itwasthisselfsameElderBrown.

    Themorningexpanded,andtheoldmanexpandedwithitforwhileavigorousleaderinhischurch,theelderathomewas,itmustbeadmitted,anuncomplainingslave.Totheintenseastonishmentofthebeastherode,therecamenewvigorintothewhackswhichfelluponhisflanksandthebeastallowedastonishmenttosurprisehimintoreallifeanddecidedmotion.Somewhereintheelder'sexpandingsoulatunehadbeguntoring.Possiblyhetookupthefar,fainttunethatcamefromthestragglinggangofnegroesawayoffinthefield,astheyslowlychoppedamidthethreadlikerowsofcottonplantswhichlinedthelevelground,forthemelodyhehummedsoftlyandthensangstrongly,inthequavering,catchytonesofagoodoldcountrychurchman,was"I'mgladsalvation'sfree."

    ItwasduringthesingingofthishymnthatElderBrown'sregularmotioninspiringstrokeswereforthefirsttimevaried.Hebegantoholdhishickoryupatcertainpausesinthemelody,andbeatthechangesuponthesidesofhisastonishedsteed.Thechorusunderthisarrangementwas:

    I'mgladsalvation'sfree,I'mgladsalvation'sfree,I'mgladsalvation'sfreeforall,I'mgladsalvation'sfree.

    Whereverthereisanitalic,thehickorydescended.Itfellaboutasregularlyandafterthefashionofthestickbeatinguponthebassdrumduringafuneralmarch.Butthebeast,althoughconvincedthatsomethingseriouswasimpending,didnotconsiderafuneralmarchappropriatefortheoccasion.Heprotested,atfirst,withvigorouswhiskingsofhistailandarapidshiftingofhisears.Findingthesedemonstrationsunavailing,andconvincedthatsomeurgentcauseforhurryhadsuddenlyinvadedtheelder'sserenity,asithadhisown,hebegantocoverthegroundwithfranticleapsthatwouldhavesurprisedhisownercouldhehaverealizedwhatwasgoingon.ButElderBrown'seyeswerehalfclosed,andhewassingingatthetopofhisvoice.Lostinatranceofdivineexaltation,forhefelttheeffectsoftheinvigoratingmotion,bentonlyonmakingtheairringwiththelineswhichhedimlyimaginedweredrawinguponhimtheeyesofthewholefemalecongregation,hewassupremelyunconsciousthathisbeastwashurrying.

    Andthustheexcursionproceeded,untilsuddenlyashote,surprisedinhiscalmsearchforrootsinafencecorner,dartedintotheroad,andstoodforaninstantgazinguponthenewcomerswiththatidioticstarewhichonlyapigcanimitate.Thesuddenappearanceofthisunlookedforapparition

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    actedstronglyuponthedonkey.Withonesupremeefforthecollectedhimselfintoamotionlessmassofmatter,bracinghisfrontlegswideapartthatistosay,hestoppedshort.Therehestood,returningthepig'sidioticstarewithaninterestwhichmusthaveledtothepresumptionthatneverbeforeinallhisvariedlifehadheseensuchasingularlittlecreature.Endoverendwentthemanofprayer,finallybringingupfulllengthinthesand,strikingjustasheshouldhaveshouted"free"forthefourthtimeinhisgloriouschorus.

    Fullyconvincedthathisalarmhadbeenwellfounded,theshotespedoutfromunderthegiganticmissilehurledathimbythedonkey,andscampereddowntheroad,turningfirstoneearandthentheothertodetectanysoundsofpursuit.Thedonkey,alsoconvincedthattheobjectbeforewhichhehadhaltedwassupernatural,startedbackviolentlyuponseeingitapparentlyturntoaman.Butseeingthatithadturnedtonothingbutaman,hewanderedupintothedesertedfencecorner,andbegantonibblerefreshmentfromascruboak.

    Foramomenttheeldergazedupintothesky,halfimpressedwiththeideathatthecampmeetingplatformhadgivenway.Butthetruthforceditswaytothefrontinhisdisorderedunderstandingatlast,andwithpainfuldignityhestaggeredintoanuprightposition,andregainedhisbeaver.Hewasshockedagain.Neverbeforeinallthelongyearsithadservedhimhadheseenitinsuchshape.Thetruthis,ElderBrownhadneverbeforetriedtostandonhisheadinit.Ascalmlyaspossiblehebegantostraightenitout,caringbutlittleforthedustuponhisgarments.Thebeaverwashisspecialcrownofdignity.Toloseitwastobereducedtoalevelwiththecommonwoolhatherd.Hedidhisbest,pulling,pressing,andpushing,butthehatdidnotlooknaturalwhenhehadfinished.Itseemedtohavebeenlaidoffintocounties,sections,andtownlots.Likeawellcutjewel,ithadafaceforhim,viewitfromwhateverpointhechose,aqualitywhichsoimpressedhimthatalumpgatheredinhisthroat,andhiseyeswinkedvigorously.

    ElderBrownwasnot,however,amanfortears.Hewasamanofaction.Thesuddenvisionwhichmethiswanderinggaze,thedonkeycalmlychewingscrubbuds,withthegreenjuicealreadyoozingfromthecornersofhisfrothymouth,acteduponhimlikemagic.Hewas,afterall,onlyhuman,andwhenhegothandsuponapieceofbrushhethrashedthepoorbeastuntilitseemedasthoughevenitsalreadyhalftannedhidewouldbeeternallyruined.Thoroughlyexhaustedatlast,hewearilystraddledhissaddle,andwithhischinuponhisbreastresumedtheearlymorningtenorofhisway.

    II

    "Goodmornin',sir."

    ElderBrownleanedoverthelittlepinepicketwhichdividedthebookkeepers'departmentofaMaconwarehousefromtheroomingeneral,andsurveyedthewelldressedbackofagentlemanwhowasbusilyfiguringatadeskwithin.Theapartmentwascarpetless,andthedustofadecadelaydeepontheoldbooks,shelves,andthefamiliaradvertisementsofguanoandfertilizerswhichdecoratedtheroom.Anoldstove,rustywiththenicotinecontributedbyfarmersduringthepreviousseasonwhilewaitingbyitsglowingsidesfortheircottontobesold,stoodstraightupinabedofsand,andfestoonsofcobwebsclungtotheuppersashesofthemurkywindows.Thelowersashofonewindowhadbeenraised,andintheyardwithout,nearlyanacreinextent,layafewbalesofcotton,withjaggedholesintheirends,justasthesamplerhadleftthem.ElderBrownhadtimetonoticeallthesefamiliarpoints,forthefigureatthedeskkeptserenelyatitstask,anddeignednoreply.

    "Goodmornin',sir,"saidElderBrownagain,inhismostdignifiedtones."IsMr.Thomasin?"

    "Goodmorning,sir,"saidthefigure."I'llwaitonyouinaminute."Theminutepassed,andfourmorejoinedit.Thenthedeskmanturned.

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    "Well,sir,whatcanIdoforyou?"

    Theelderwasnotinthebestofhumorwhenhearrived,andhisstateofmindhadnotimproved.Hewaitedfullaminuteashesurveyedthemanofbusiness.

    "IthoughtImoutbeabletomakesomearrangementswithyoutogitsomemoney,butIreckonIwasmistaken."Thewarehousemancamenearer.

    "ThisisMr.Brown,Ibelieve.Ididnotrecognizeyouatonce.Youarenotinoftentoseeus."

    "Nomywifeusually'tendstothetownbizness,whileIrunthechurchandfarm.Gotafallfrommydonkeythismorning,"hesaid,noticingaquizzical,interrogatinglookuponthefacebeforehim,"andfellsquar'onthehat."Hemadeapretenseofsmoothingit.Themanofbusinesshadalreadylostinterest.

    "Howmuchmoneywillyouwant,Mr.Brown?"

    "Well,aboutsevenhundreddollars,"saidtheelder,replacinghishat,andturningafurtivelookuponthewarehouseman.Theotherwastappingwithhispenciluponthelittleshelflyingacrosstherail.

    "Icangetyoufivehundred."

    "ButIoughterhaveseven."

    "Can'tarrangeforthatamount.Waittilllaterintheseason,andcomeagain.Moneyisverytightnow.Howmuchcottonwillyouraise?"

    "Well,Icountonahundr'dbales.An'youcan'tgitthesev'nhundr'ddollars?"

    "Liketoobligeyou,butcan'trightnowwillfixitforyoulateron."

    "Well,"saidtheelder,slowly,"fixupthepapersforfive,an'I'llmakeitgoasfaraspossible."

    Thepapersweredrawn.Anotewasmadeoutfor$552.50,fortheinterestwasatoneandahalfpercent.forsevenmonths,andamortgageontenmulesbelongingtotheelderwasdrawnandsigned.Theelderthenpromisedtosendhiscottontothewarehousetobesoldinthefall,andwithacurt"Anythingelse?"anda"Thankee,that'sall,"thetwoparted.

    ElderBrownnowmadeanefforttorecallthesupplementalcommissionsshoutedtohimuponhisdeparture,intendingtoexecutethemfirst,andthentakehiswrittenlistitembyitem.Hismentalresolveshadjustreachedthispointwhenanewthoughtmadeitselfknown.Passersbywerepuzzledtoseetheoldmansuddenlysnatchhisheadpieceoffandpeerwithanintentandawestruckairintoitsirregularcaverns.Someofthemwereshockedwhenhesuddenlyandvigorouslyejaculated:

    "HannahMariaJemimy!goldarnan'blueblazes!"

    Hehadsuddenlyrememberedhavingplacedhismemorandainthathat,andashestudieditsemptydepthshismindpicturedtheimportantscrapflutteringalongthesandysceneofhisearlymorningtumble.Itwasthisthatcausedhimtograzeanoathwithlessmarginthathehadallowedhimselfintwentyyears.Whatwouldtheoldladysay?

    Alas!ElderBrownknewtoowell.Whatshewouldnotsaywaswhatpuzzledhim.Butashestoodbareheadedinthesunlightasenseofutterdesolationcameanddweltwithhim.HiseyeresteduponsleepingBalaamanchoredtoapostinthestreet,andsoasherecalledthetreacherythatlayatthebaseofallhisaffliction,gloomwasaddedtothedesolation.

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    Toturnbackandsearchforthelostpaperwouldhavebeenworsethanuseless.Onlyonecoursewasopentohim,andatitwenttheleaderofhispeople.Hecalledatthegroceryheinvadedtherecessesofthedrygoodsestablishmentsheransackedthehardwarestoresandwhereverhewenthemadelifeaburdenfortheclerks,overhaulingshowcasesandpullingdownwholeshelvesofstock.Occasionallyanitemofhismemorandawouldcometolight,andthrustinghishandintohiscapaciouspocket,wherelaytheproceedsofhischeck,hewouldpayforituponthespot,andinsistuponhavingitrolledup.Tothesuggestionoftheslavewhomhehadinchargeforthetimebeingthatthearticlesbelaidasideuntilhehadfinished,hewouldnotlisten.

    "Nowyoulookhere,sonny,"hesaid,inthedrygoodsstore,"I'mconductingthisrevival,an'Idon'tneednohelpinmyline.Justyoutiethemstockin'supan'lemmehave'em.ThenIknowI'vegot'em."Aseachpurchasewaspromptlypaidfor,andchangehadtobesecured,theclerkearnedhissalaryforthatdayatleast.

    Soitwaswhen,neartheheatoftheday,thegoodmanarrivedatthedrugstore,thelastandonlyunvisiteddivisionoftrade,hemadehisappearanceequippedwithhalfahundredpackages,whichnestledinhisarmsandbulgedoutaboutthesectionsofhisclothingthatboastedofpockets.Ashedepositedhisdeckloaduponthecounter,greatdropsofperspirationrolleddownhisfaceandoverhiswaterloggedcollartothefloor.

    Therewassomethingexquisitelyrefreshinginthegreatglassesoffoamingsodathataspruceyoungmanwasdrawingfromamarblefountain,abovewhichhalfadozenpolarbearsinanambitiousprintweredisportingthemselves.Therecameabreakintherunofcustomers,andthespruceyoungman,havingsweptthefoamfromthemarble,dexterouslyliftedaglassfromtherevolvingrackwhichhadrinseditwithafiercelittlestreamofwater,andaskedmechanically,ashecaughttheintenselookoftheperspiringelder,"Whatsyrup,sir?"

    Nowithadnotoccurredtotheeldertodrinksoda,butthesuggestion,comingasitdidinhisexhaustedstate,wasoverpowering.Hedrewnearawkwardly,putonhisglasses,andexaminedthelistofsyrupswithgreatcare.Theyoungman,beingforthemomentatleisure,surveyedcriticallythegauntfigure,thefadedbandanna,theantiqueclawhammercoat,andthebatteredstovepipehat,withagraduallyrelaxingcountenance.Heevencalledtheprescriptionclerk'sattentionbyacoughandaquickjerkofthethumb.Theprescriptionclerksmiledfreely,andcontinuedhisassaultsuponapieceofbluemass.

    "Ireckon,"saidtheelder,restinghishandsuponhiskneesandbendingdowntothelist,"youmaygimmesassprillaan'alittlestrawberry.Sassprilla'sgoodforthebloodthistimeeryear,an'strawberry'sgoodanytime."

    Thespruceyoungmanletthesyrupstreamintotheglassashesmiledaffably.Thinking,perhaps,todrawouttheoddcharacter,heventureduponajesthimself,repeatingapuninventedbythemanwhomadethefirstsodafountain.Withasweepofhisarmheclearedawaytheswarmofinsectsasheremarked,"Peoplewholikeaflyintheirsareeasilyaccommodated."

    ItwasfromsheergoodnatureonlythatElderBrownreplied,withhisusualbroad,socialsmile,"Well,aflynowan'thendon'thurtnobody."

    Nowifthereisanybodyintheworldwhoprideshimselfonknowingathingortwo,itisthespruceyoungmanwhopresidesoverasodafountain.Thisparticularyounggentlemandidnotevendeemareplynecessary.Hevanishedaninstant,andwhenhereturnedacloseobservermighthaveseenthatthemixtureintheglassheborehadslightlychangedcolorandincreasedinquantity.Buttheeldersawonlythewhizzingstreamofwaterdartintoitscenter,andtherosyfoamriseandtrembleontheglass'srim.Thenextinstanthewasholdinghisbreathandsippingthecoolingdrink.

    AsElderBrownpaidhissmallscorehewasatpeacewiththeworld.Ifirmlybelievethatwhenhehad

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    finishedhistrading,andthelittlebluestringedpackageshadbeenstoredaway,couldthepoordonkeyhavemadehisappearanceatthedoor,andgazedwithhismeek,fawnlikeeyesintohismaster's,hewouldhaveobtainedfullandfreeforgiveness.

    ElderBrownpausedatthedoorashewasabouttoleave.Arosycheekedschoolgirlwasjustliftingacreamymixturetoherlipsbeforethefountain.Itwasaprettypicture,andheturnedback,resolvedtoindulgeinonemoreglassofthedelightfulbeveragebeforebeginninghislongridehomeward.

    "Fixitupagain,sonny,"hesaid,renewinghisbroad,confidingsmile,asthespruceyoungmanpoisedaglassinquiringly.Thelivingautomatonwentthroughthesamemotionsasbefore,andagainElderBrownquaffedthefatalmixture.

    Whatasingularpowerishabit!UptothistimeElderBrownhadbeenentirelyinnocentoftransgression,butwiththeoldalcoholicfireinhisveins,twentyyearsdroppedfromhisshoulders,andafeelingcameoverhimfamiliartoeverymanwhohasbeen"inhiscups."Asamatteroffact,theelderwouldhavebeenaconfirmeddrunkardtwentyyearsbeforehadhiswifebeenlessstrongminded.Shetookthereinsintoherownhandswhenshefoundthathisbusinessandstrongdrinkdidnotmixwell,workedhimintothechurch,sustainedhisresolutionsbymakingitdifficultanddangerousforhimtogettohistoddy.Shebecamethebusinessheadofthefamily,andhethespiritual.Onlyatrareintervalsdidheever"backslide"duringthetwentyyearsofthenewera,andMrs.Brownherselfusedtosaythatthe"sugarinhis'nturnedtogallbeforethebackslideended."Peoplewhoknewherneverdoubtedit.

    ButElderBrown'ssinduringtheremainderofthedaycontainedanelementofresponsibility.AshemovedmajesticallydowntowardwhereBalaamsleptinthesunlight,hefeltnofatigue.Therewasaglowuponhischeekbones,andafainttingeuponhisprominentnose.Henoddedfamiliarlytopeopleashemetthem,andsawnotthelookofamusementwhichsucceededastonishmentuponthevariousfaces.WhenhereachedtheneighborhoodofBalaamitsuddenlyoccurredtohimthathemighthaveforgottensomeoneofhisnumerouscommissions,andhepausedtothink.Thenabrilliantidearoseinhismind.HewouldforestallblameanddisarmangerwithkindnesshewouldpurchaseHannahabonnet.

    Whatwoman'shearteverfailedtosoftenatsightofanewbonnet?

    AsIhavestated,theelderwasamanofaction.Heenteredastorenearathand.

    "Goodmorning,"saidanaffablegentlemanwithaHebrewcountenance,approaching.

    "Goodmornin',goodmornin',"saidtheelder,pilinghisbundlesonthecounter."Ihopeyouarewell?"ElderBrownextendedhishandfervidly.

    "Quitewell,Ithankyou.What"

    "Andthelittlewife?"saidElderBrown,affectionatelyretainingtheJew'shand.

    "Quitewell,sir."

    "Andthelittleonesquitewell,Ihope,too?"

    "Yes,sirallwell,thankyou.SomethingIcandoforyou?"

    Theaffablemerchantwastryingtorecallhiscustomer'sname.

    "Notnow,notnow,thankee.IfyoupleasetoletmybundlesstayuntellIcomeback"

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    "Can'tIshowyousomething?Hat,coat"

    "Notnow.Bebackbimeby."

    WasitchanceorfatethatbroughtElderBrowninfrontofabar?Theglassesshonebrightupontheshelvesastheswingingdoorflappedbacktoletoutacoatlessclerk,whopassedhimwitharush,chewinguponafarewellmouthfulofbrownbreadandbologna.ElderBrownbeheldforaninstantthefamiliarscenewithin.Thescrewsofhisresolutionhadbeenloosened.Atsightoftheglisteningbarthewholemoralstructureoftwentyyearscametumblingdown.Mechanicallyheenteredthesaloon,andlaidasilverquarteruponthebarashesaid:

    "Alittlewhiskeyan'sugar."Thearmsofthebartenderworkedlikeafaker'sinasideshowashesetouttheglasswithitslittlequotaof"shortsweetening"andacutglassdecanter,andsentahalftumblerofwaterspinningalongfromtheupperendofthebarwithadimeinchange.

    "Whiskeyishigher'nusedtobe,"saidElderBrownbutthebartenderwastakinganotherorder,anddidnothearhim.ElderBrownstirredawaythesugar,andletasteadystreamofredliquidflowintotheglass.Heswallowedthedrinkasunconcernedlyasthoughhismorningtodhadneverbeensuspended,andpocketedthechange."Butitain'tanybetterthanitwas,"heconcluded,ashepassedout.Hedidnotevenseemtorealizethathehaddoneanythingextraordinary.

    Therewasamillinerystoreupthestreet,andthitherwithuncertainstephewendedhisway,feelingalittlemoreelate,andaltogethersociable.Apretty,blackeyedgirl,strugglingtokeepdownhermirth,cameforwardandfacedhimbehindthecounter.ElderBrownliftedhisfadedhatwiththepoliteness,ifnotthegrace,ofaCastilian,andmadeasweepingbow.Againhewasinhiselement.Buthedidnotspeak.Ashowerofoddsandends,smallpackages,thread,needles,andbuttons,releasedfromtheirprison,rattleddownabouthim.

    Thegirllaughed.Shecouldnothelpit.Andtheelder,leaninghishandonthecounter,laughed,too,untilseveralothergirlscamehalfwaytothefront.Thenthey,hidingbehindcountersandsuspendedcloaks,laughedandsnickereduntiltheyreconvulsedtheelder'svisvis,whohadbeenmakingdesperateeffortstoresumeherdemureappearance.

    "Letmehelpyou,sir,"shesaid,comingfrombehindthecounter,uponseeingElderBrownbeginningtoadjusthisspectaclesforasearch.Hewavedherbackmajestically."No,mydear,nocan'tallowit.Youmoutsilethempurtyfingers.No,ma'am.Nogen'l'man'll'lowerladytodosuchathing."Theelderwasgentlyforcingthegirlbacktoherplace."Leaveittome.I'vepickedupbiggerthings'nthem.Pickedmyselfupthismornin'.Balaamyoudon'tknowBalaamhe'smydonkeyhetumbledmeoverhisheadinthesandthismornin'."AndElderBrownhadtoresumeanuprightpositionuntilhisparoxysmoflaughterhadpassed."Youseethisoldhat?"extendingit,halffullofpackages"Ifellclearinteritjes'ascleaninteritasthemthingstharfellout'nit."Helaughedagain,andsodidthegirls."But,mydear,Iwhaledhalfthehideoff'nhimforit."

    "Oh,sir!howcouldyou?Indeed,sir.Ithinkyoudidwrong.Thepoorbrutedidnotknowwhathewasdoing,Idaresay,andprobablyhehasbeenafaithfulfriend."Thegirlcasthermischievouseyestowardshercompanions,whosnickeredagain.Theoldmanwasnotconsciousofthesarcasm.Heonlysawreproach.Hisfacestraightened,andheregardedthegirlsoberly.

    "Mebbeyou'reright,mydearmebbeIoughtn't."

    "Iamsureofit,"saidthegirl."Butnowdon'tyouwanttobuyabonnetoracloaktocarryhometoyourwife?"

    "Well,you'rewhistlin'now,birdiethat'smyintentionset'emallout."Againtheelder'sfaceshonewithdelight."An'Idon'twantnoonehossbonnetneither."

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    "Ofcoursenot.Nowhereisonepinksilk,withdelicatepalebluefeathers.Justthethingfortheseason.Wehavenothingmoreelegantinstock."ElderBrownhelditout,upsidedown,atarm'slength.

    "Well,now,that'ssuthin'like.Willitsootasorterredheaded'ooman?"

    Aperfectlysobermanwouldhavesaidthegirl'scorsetsmusthaveundergoneaterriblestrain,buttheelderdidnotnoticeherdumbconvulsion.Sheanswered,heroically:

    "Perfectly,sir.Itisanexquisitematch."

    "Ithinkyou'rewhistlin'again.Nancy'shead'sred,redasawoodpeck's.Sorrel'sonlyhalfwaytothecolorofhertopknot,an'itdoseemlikeredoughtertosootred.Nancy'sredan'thehat'sredlikegoeswithlike,an'birdsofafeatherflocktogether."Theoldmanlaugheduntilhischeekswerewet.

    Thegirl,beginningtofeelalittleuneasy,andseeingacustomerentering,rapidlyfixedupthebonnet,tookfifteendollarsoutofatwentydollarbill,andcalmlyaskedtheelderifhewantedanythingelse.Hethrusthischangesomewhereintohisclothes,andbeataretreat.Ithadoccurredtohimthathewasnearlydrunk.

    ElderBrown'sstepbegantoloseitsbuoyancy.Hefoundhimselfutterlyunabletowalkstraight.Therewasanuncertainstraddleinhisgaitthatcarriedhimfromonesideofthewalktotheother,andcausedpeoplewhomhemettocheerfullyyieldhimplentyofroom.

    Balaamsawhimcoming.PoorBalaam.Hehadmadeanearlystartthatday,andforhourshestoodinthesunawaitingrelief.Whenheopenedhissleepyeyesandraisedhisexpressiveearstoapositionofattention,theoldfamiliarcoatandbatteredhatoftheelderwerebeforehim.Helifteduphishonestvoiceandcriedaloudforjoy.

    Theeffectwaselectricalforoneinstant.ElderBrownsurveyedthebeastwithhorror,butagaininhisunderstandingthererangoutthetrumpetwords.

    "Drunk,drunk,drunk,drerunc,erunc,unc,unc."

    Hestoopedinstinctivelyforamissilewithwhichtosmitehisaccuser,butbroughtupsuddenlywithajerkandahandfulofsand.Straighteninghimselfupwithamajesticdignity,heextendedhisrighthandimpressively.

    "You'reagoldarnliar,Balaam,and,blastyouroldbuttons,youkinwalkhomebyyourself,forI'mdangedifyoush'llridemeerstep."

    SurelyCoriolanusneverturnedhisbackuponRomewithagranderdignitythansatupontheoldman'sformashefacedaboutandleftthebrutetosurveywithanxiouseyesthenewdepartureofhismaster.

    Hesawtheelderzigzagalongthestreet,andbeheldhimabouttoturnafriendlycorner.Oncemorehelifteduphismightyvoice:

    "Drunk,drunk,drunk,drerunc,drerunc,erunc,unc,unc."

    Oncemoretheelderturnedwithliftedhandandshoutedback:

    "You'realiar,Balaam,goldarnyou!You'reeriffamousliar."Thenhepassedfromview.

    III

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    Mrs.Brownstooduponthestepsanxiouslyawaitingthereturnofherliegelord.Sheknewhehadwithhimalargesumofmoney,orshouldhave,andsheknewalsothathewasamanwithoutbusinessmethods.Shehadlongsincerepentedofthedecisionwhichsenthimtotown.Whentheoldbatteredhatandflourcoveredcoatloomedupinthegloamingandconfrontedher,shestaredwithterror.Thenextinstantshehadseizedhim.

    "FortheLordsakes,ElderBrown,whatailsyou?AsIlive,ifthemanain'tdrunk!ElderBrown!ElderBrown!forthelifeofmecan'tImakeyouhear?Youcrazyoldhypocrite!youdesavin'oldsinner!youblackheartedwretch!wherehaveyouben?"

    Theeldermadeanefforttowaveheroff.

    "Woman,"hesaid,withgranddignity,"youforgityussefshuknowwareI'veben'swell'sIdo.Bentotown,wife,an'seeyerwatI'vebroughtthefines'hat,olewoman,Icouldgit.Look'tthecolor.Likegoes'ithlikeit'sredan'you'rered,an'it'sadeadmatch.Whatyermean?Hey!holeon!olewoman!you!Hannah!you."Sheliterallyshookhimintosilence.

    "Youmiserablewretch!youlowdowndrunkensot!whatdoyoumeanbycominghomeandinsultingyourwife?"Hannahceasedshakinghimfrompureexhaustion.

    "Whereisit,Isay?whereisit?"

    Bythistimeshewasturninghispocketswrongsideout.Fromoneshegotpills,fromanotherchange,fromanotherpackages.

    "TheLordbepraised,andthisisbetterluckthanIhoped!Oh,elder!elder!elder!whatdidyoudoitfor?Why,man,whereisBalaam?"

    Thoughtofthebeastchokedoffthethreatenedhysterics.

    "Balaam?Balaam?"saidtheelder,groggily."He'sintown.Theinfernalolefool'sultedme,an'Ilef'himtowalkhome."

    Hiswifesurveyedhim.Reallyatthatmomentshedidthinkhismindwasgonebuttheleerupontheoldman'sfaceenragedherbeyondendurance.

    "Youdid,didyou?Well,now,Ireckonyou'lllaughforsomecause,youwill.Backyougo,sirstraightbackan'don'tyoucomehome'thoutthatdonkey,oryou'llrueit,sureasmynameisHannahBrown.Aleck!youAleckkk!"

    Ablackboydartedroundthecorner,frombehindwhich,withseveralothers,hehadbeheldthebriefbutstirringscene.

    "Putasaddleonermule.Theelder'sgwinebacktotown.Anddon'tyoubelongaboutitneither."

    "Yessum."Aleck'sivoriesgleamedinthedarknessashedisappeared.

    ElderBrownwassobereratthatmomentthanhehadbeenforhours.

    "Hannah,youdon'tmeanit?"

    "Yes,sir,Ido.BackyougototownassureasmynameisHannahBrown."

    Theelderwassilent.Hehadneverknownhiswifetorelentonanyoccasionaftershehadaffirmedherintention,supplementedwith"assureasmynameisHannahBrown."Itwasherwayofswearing.

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    Noaffidavitwouldhavehadhalftheclaimuponherasthatsimpleenunciation.

    SobacktotownwentElderBrown,notintheorderoftheearlymorn,butsilently,moodily,despairingly,surroundedbymentalandactualgloom.

    Theoldmanhadturnedalastappealingglanceupontheangrywoman,ashemountedwithAleck'sassistance,andsatinthelightthatstreamedfromoutthekitchenwindow.Shemettheglancewithoutawaver.

    "Shemeansit,assureasmynameisElderBrown,"hesaid,thickly.Thenherodeon.

    IV

    TosaythatElderBrownsufferedonthislongjourneybacktoMaconwouldonlymildlyoutlinehisexperience.Hisearlymorning'sfallhadbeguntomakeitselffelt.Hewassoreanduncomfortable.Besides,hisstomachwasempty,andcalledfortwomealsithadmissedforthefirsttimeinyears.

    When,soreandweary,theelderenteredthecity,theelectriclightsshoneaboveitlikejewelsinacrown.Thecitysleptthatis,thebetterportionofitdid.Hereandthere,however,thelowerlightsflashedoutintothenight.Moodilytheelderpursuedhisjourney,andasherode,faroffinthenightthereroseandquiveredaplaintivecry.ElderBrownsmiledwearily:itwasBalaam'sappeal,andherecognizedit.Theanimalherodealsorecognizedit,andreplied,untilthesilenceofthecitywasdestroyed.Theoddclamorandconfusiondrewfromasaloonnearbyagroupofnoisyyoungsters,whohadbeenmakinganightofit.TheysurroundedElderBrownashebegantotransferhimselftothehungrybeasttowhosemotionhewasmoreaccustomed,andinthe"hailfellowwellmet"styleofthedaybegantobandyjestsuponhisappearance.NowElderBrownwasnotinajestinghumor.Positivelyhewasintheworsthumorpossible.Theresultwasthatbeforemanyminutespassedtheoldmanwasswingingseveralofthecrowdbytheircollars,andbreakingthepeaceofthecity.Apolicemanapproached,andbutforthegoodhumoredparty,uponwhomtheelder'spluckhadmadeafavorableimpression,wouldhaveruntheoldmanintothebarracks.Thecrowd,however,drewhimlaughinglyintothesaloonandtothebar.Thereactionwastoomuchforhishalfralliedsenses.Heyieldedagain.Therevivingliquorpassedhislips.Gloomvanished.Hebecameoneoftheboys.

    ThecompanyintowhichElderBrownhadfallenwaswhatisknownas"firstclass."Tosuchnothingissocaptivatingasanadventureoutofthecommonrunofaccidents.Thegauntcountryman,withhisbatteredhatandclawhammercoat,wasaprizeofanextraordinarynature.Theydrewhimintoarearroom,whosegildedframesandpolishedtablesbetrayedthecharacterandpurposeoftheplace,andpliedhimwithwineuntiltenthousandlightsdancedabouthim.Thefunincreased.OneyoungstermadeapoliticalspeechfromthetopofthetableanotherimpersonatedHamletandfinallyElderBrownwasliftedintoachair,andsangacampmeetingsong.Thiswasrenderedbyhimwithstartlingeffect.Hestoodupright,withhishatjauntilyknockedtooneside,andhiscoattailsornamentedwithacoupleofshowbills,kindlypinnedonbyhisadmirers.Inhislefthandhewavedthestubofacigar,andonhisbackwasanadmirablerepresentationofBalaam'shead,executedbysomeartistwithbilliardchalk.

    Astheeldersanghisfavoritehymn,"I'mgladsalvation'sfree,"hisstentorianvoiceawoketheechoes.Mostofthecompanyrolleduponthefloorinconvulsionsoflaughter.

    Theexhibitioncametoaclosebythechairoverturning.AgainElderBrownfellintohisbelovedhat.Hearoseandshouted:"Whoa,Balaam!"Againheseizedthenearestweapon,andsoughtsatisfaction.Theyounggentlemanwithpoliticalsentimentswasknockedunderthetable,andHamletonlyescapedinjurybybeatingtheinfuriatedelderintothestreet.

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    Whatnext?Well,Ihardlyknow.HowtheelderfoundBalaamisamysteryyet:notthatBalaamwashardtofind,butthattheoldmanwasinnoconditiontofindanything.Stillhedid,andclimbinglaboriouslyintothesaddle,heheldonstupidlywhilethehungrybeaststruckoutforhome.

    V

    HannahBrowndidnotsleepthatnight.Sleepwouldnotcome.Hourafterhourpassed,andherwrathrefusedtobequelled.Shetriedeveryconceivablemethod,buttimehungheavily.Itwasnotquitepeepofday,however,whenshelaidherwellwornfamilyBibleaside.Ithadbeenhermother's,andamidalltheanxietiesandtribulationsincidenttothelifeofawomanwhohadfreenegroesandamiserablehusbandtomanage,ithadbeenhermainstayandcomfort.Shehadfrequentlyreaditinanger,pageafterpage,withoutknowingwhatwascontainedinthelines.Buteventuallythewordsbecameintelligibleandtookmeaning.Shewrestedconsolationfromitbymereforceofwill.

    Andsoonthisoccasionwhensheclosedthebookthefierceangerwasgone.

    Shewasnotahardwomannaturally.Fatehadbroughtherconditionswhichcoveredupthewomanheartwithinher,butthoughitlaydeep,itwastherestill.Asshesatwithfoldedhandshereyesfelluponwhat?

    Thepinkbonnetwiththeblueplume!

    Itmayappearstrangetothosewhodonotunderstandsuchnatures,buttomehernextactionwasperfectlynatural.Sheburstintoaconvulsivelaughthen,seizingthequeerobject,bentherfaceuponitandsobbedhysterically.Whenthestormwasover,verytenderlyshelaidthegiftaside,andbareheadedpassedoutintothenight.

    Forahalfhourshestoodattheendofthelane,andthenhungryBalaamandhismasterhoveinsight.Reachingoutherhand,shecheckedthebeast.

    "William,"saidshe,verygently,"whereisthemule?"

    Theelderhadbeenasleep.Hewokeandgazeduponherblankly.

    "Whatmule,Hannah?"

    "Themuleyourodetotown."

    Foronefullminutetheelderstudiedherface.Thenitburstfromhislips:

    "Well,blessme!ifIdidn'tbringBalaamandforgitthemule!"

    Thewomanlaughedtillhereyesranwater.

    "William,"saidshe,"you'redrunk."

    "Hannah,"saidhe,meekly,"Iknowit.Thetruthis,Hannah,I"

    "Nevermind,now,William,"shesaid,gently."Youaretiredandhungry.Comeintothehouse,husband."

    LeadingBalaam,shedisappeareddownthelaneandwhen,afewminuteslater,HannahBrownandherhusbandenteredthroughthelightthatstreamedoutoftheopendoorherarmswerearoundhim,andherfaceupturnedtohis.

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    THEHOTELEXPERIENCEOFMR.PINKFLUKER

    BYRICHARDMALCOLMJOHNSTON(18221898)

    [FromTheCenturyMagazine,June,1886copyright,1886,byTheCenturyCo.republishedinthevolume,Mr.AbsalomBillingslea,andOtherGeorgiaFolk(1888),byRichardMalcolmJohnston(Harper&Brothers).]

    I

    Mr.PetersonFluker,generallycalledPink,forhisfondnessforasstylishdressingashecouldafford,wasoneofthatsortofmenwhohabituallyseembusyandefficientwhentheyarenot.Hehadthebustlingactivityoftennoticeableinmenofhissize,andinonewayandanotherhadmadeup,ashebelieved,forbeingsomuchsmallerthanmostofhisadultacquaintanceofthemalesex.Prominentamonghisachievementsonthatlinewasgettingmarriedtoawomanwho,amongotherexcellentgifts,hadthatofbeingtwiceasbigasherhusband.

    "Foolwho?"onthedayafterhismarriagehehadasked,withalookatthosewhohadoftensaidthathewastoolittletohaveawife.

    Theyhadalittlepropertytobeginwith,acoupleofhundredsofacres,andtwoorthreenegroesapiece.Yet,exceptinthenaturalincreaseofthelatter,theaccretionsofworldlyestatehadbeeninconsiderabletillnow,whentheiroldestchild,Marann,wassomefifteenyearsold.TheseaccretionshadbeensavedandtakencareofbyMrs.Fluker,whowasasstaidandsilentashewasmobileandvoluble.

    Mr.Flukeroftensaidthatitpuzzledhimhowitwasthathemadesmallercropsthanmostofhisneighbors,when,ifnotalwaysconvincing,hecouldgenerallyputeveryoneofthemtosilenceindiscussionsuponagriculturaltopics.Thispuzzlehadledhimtonotunfrequentruminationsinhismindastowhetherornothisvocationmightlieinsomethinghigherthanthemeretillingoftheground.Theseruminationshadlatelytakenadefinitedirection,anditwasafterseveralconversationswhichhehadheldwithhisfriendMattPike.

    Mr.MattPikewasabachelorofsomethirtysummers,aforetimeclerkconsecutivelyineachofthetwostoresofthevillage,butlatterlyatraderonalimitedscaleinhorses,wagons,cows,andsimilarobjectsofcommerce,andatalltimesapolitician.HishopesofholdingofficehadbeencontinuallydisappointeduntilMr.JohnSanksbecamesheriff,andrewardedwithadeputyshipsomeimportantspecialservicerenderedbyhiminthelateveryclosecanvass.Nowwasachancetorise,Mr.Pikethought.Allhewanted,hehadoftensaid,wasastart.Politics,Iwouldremark,however,hadbeenregardedbyMr.Pikeasameansratherthananend.Itisdoubtfulifhehopedtobecomegovernorofthestate,atleastbeforeanadvancedperiodinhiscareer.Hismainobjectnowwastogetmoney,andhebelievedthatofficialpositionwouldpromotehiminthelineofhisambitionfasterthanwaspossibletoanyprivatestation,byleadinghimintomoreextensiveacquaintancewithmankind,theirneeds,theirdesires,andtheircaprices.Adeputysheriff,providedthatlawyerswerenottooindulgentinallowingacknowledgmentofserviceofcourtprocesses,inpostponingleviesandsales,andinsettlementoflitigatedcases,mightpickupthreehundreddollars,agoodsumforthosetimes,afactwhichMr.Pikehadknownandponderedlong.

    IthappenedjustaboutthenthatthearrearsofrentforthevillagehotelhadsoaccumulatedonMr.Spouter,thelastoccupant,thattheowner,anindulgentman,finallyhadsaid,whathehadbeenexpectedforyearsandyearstosay,thathecouldnotwaitonMr.Spouterforeverandeternally.Itwasatthisverynick,sotospeak,thatMr.PikemadetoMr.Flukerthesuggestiontoquitabusinesssofarbeneathhispowers,sellout,orrentout,ortenantout,ordosomethingelsewithhisfarm,marchinto

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    town,planthimselfupontheruinsofJacobSpouter,andbeginhisupwardsoar.

    NowMr.Flukerhadmanyandmanyatimeacknowledgedthathehadambitionsoonenighthesaidtohiswife:

    "Youseehowitishere,Nervy.Farmin'somehowdon'tsuitmytalons.Ineedtobeflungmore'mongpeopletofetchoutwhat'sinme.Thenthar'sMarann,whichisgittin'tobenighontoagrowdupwomanan'thechildneedthes'ietywhichyou'bleegedtoacknowledgeissca'ceabouthere,sixmilefromtown.YourbrerSamcanstayherean'raisebutter,chickens,eggs,pigs,an'an'an'soforth.MattPikesayhejes'knowthey'smoneyinit,an'specialwithahousekeeperkeerfulan'equinomicallikeyou."

    Itisalwayscurioustheextentofinfluencethatsomemenhaveuponwiveswhoaretheirsuperiors.Mrs.Fluker,inspiteofaccidents,hadeversetuponherhusbandavaluethatwasnotrecognizedoutsideofhisfamily.Inthisrespectthereseemsasurprisingcompensationinhumanlife.ButthisremarkImakeonlyinpassing.Mrs.Fluker,admittinginherheartthatfarmingwasnotherhusband'sforte,hoped,likeatruewife,thatitmightbefoundinthenewfieldtowhichheaspired.Besides,shedidnotforgetthatherbrotherSamhadsaidtoherseveraltimesprivatelythatifhisbrerPinkwouldn'thavesomanynotionsandwouldlethimaloneinhismanagement,theywouldalldobetter.Shereflectedforadayortwo,andthensaid:

    "Maybeit'sbest,Mr.Fluker.I'mwillin'totryitforayear,anyhow.Wecan'tlosemuchbythat.AsforMattPike,Ihain'ttheconfidenceinhimyouhas.Still,hebein'aboarderanddeputysheriff,hemightaccidentallydoussomegood.I'lltryitforayearprovidin'you'llfetchmethemoneyasit'spaidin,foryouknowIknowhowtomanagethatbetter'nyoudo,andyouknowI'lltrytomanageitandalltherestofthebusinessforthebest."

    TothisprovisionMr.Flukergaveconsent,qualifiedbytheclaimthathewastoretainasmallmarginforindispensablepersonalexigencies.Forhecontended,perhapswithjustice,thatnomanintheresponsiblepositionhewasabouttotakeoughttobeexpectedtogoabout,orsitabout,orevenloungeabout,withoutevenacontinentalredinhispocket.

    ThenewhouseIsaynewbecausetonguecouldnottelltheamountofscouring,scalding,andwhitewashingthatthatexcellenthousekeeperhaddonebeforeasinglestickofherfurniturewentintoitthenewhouse,Irepeat,openedwithsixeatingboardersattendollarsamonthapiece,andtwoeatingandsleepingateleven,besidesMr.Pike,whomadeaspecialcontract.Transientcustomwashopedtoholditsown,andthatofthecountypeopleunderthedeputy'spatronageandinfluencetobeconsiderablyenlarged.

    InwordsandotherencouragementMr.Pikewaspronounced.Hecouldcommendhonestly,andhedidsocordially.

    "Thethingtodo,Pink,istohaveyourpricesreg'lar,andmakepeoplepayupreg'lar.Tendollarsforeatin',jes'soeleb'nforeatin'an'sleepin'halfadollarfordinner,jes'soquarterapieceforbreakfast,supper,andbed,iswhatIcallreason'blebo'd.Asforme,Isca'celyknowhowtorig'late,because,youknow,I'ma'officernow,an'incourseInatchelhastobeawaysometimesan'onexpensesat'totherplaces,an'itseemlikesome'lowanceoughtbygoodrightstobemadeforthatdon'tyouthinkso?"

    "Why,mattero'course,Mattwhatyouthink?Iain'tsopowerfulgoodatfiggers.Nervyis.S'posenyouspeaktoher'boutit."

    "Oh,that'sperfec'unuseless,Pink.I'ma'officero'thelaw,Pink,an'thelawconsiderwomenwell,Imaysaythelaw,shedeal'ithmen,notwomen,an'sheexpectherofficerstounderstan'figgers,an'ifIhadn'to'understoodfiggersMr.Sankswouldn'tordarsnt'to'p'intmehisdep'ty.Me'n'youcanfixthemterms.Nowseehere,reg'larbo'deatin'bo'd,Imeanistendollars,an'sleepin'andsinguil

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    mealsis'cordin'tothefiggersyou'vesotfor'em.Ain'tthatso?Jes'so.Now,Pink,youan'me'llkeeparunnin'account,youachargin'forreg'larbo'd,an'Ia'lowin'tomyselfcredicsformyabsentees,accordin'totransioncustomersan'singuilmealersan'sleepers.Isthatfa'r,erisitnotfa'r?"

    Mr.Flukerturnedhishead,andaftermakingorthinkinghehadmadeacalculation,answered:

    "That'sthatseemfa'r,Matt."

    "Cert'nly'tis,PinkIknowedyou'dsayso,an'youknowI'dneverwishtobenothin'butfa'r'ithpeopleIlike,likeIdoyouan'yourwife.Letthatbetheunderstandin',then,betwix'us.An'Pink,lettheunderstandin'bejes'betwix'us,forI'vesawenougho'thisworldtofindoutthatamannevermakesnothin'bymakin'ablowin'horno'hisbusiness.Youmakethet'otherspayupspuntial,monthly.You'n'mecansettlewhensomeverit'sconvenant,saythreemonthsfromtoday.IncourseIshalltalkupforthehousewhensomeverandwharsomeverIgoorstay.Youknowthat.An'asformybed,"saidMr.Pikefinally,"whensomeverIain'therebybedtime,youwelcometoputanytransionpersoninit,an'alsoan'likewise,whentransioncustomispressin',andyoucrampedforbeddin',I'mwillin'togiveitupforthetimebein'an'rather'nyoushouldbecrampedtoobad,I'lltakemychancessomewharselse,evenifIhastotakeapalletattheheado'thesta'rsteps."

    "Nervy,"saidMr.Flukertohiswifeafterwards,"MattPike'sasensibleran'afriendlieran'a'commodatinerfeller'nIthought."

    Then,withoutgivingdetailsofthecontract,hementionedmerelythewillingnessoftheirboardertoresignhisbedonoccasionsofpressingemergency.

    "He'stalkedmightyfinetomeandMarann,"answeredMrs.Fluker."We'llseehowheholdsout.OnethingIdonotlikeofhisdoin',an'that'sthetalkin''boutSimMarchmantoMarann,an'makin'gameo'hiscountryways,ashecall'em.Sechasthatain'tright."

    ItmaybeaswelltoexplainjustherethatSimeonMarchman,thepersonjustnamedbyMrs.Fluker,astout,industriousyoungfarmer,residingwithhisparentsinthecountrynearbywheretheFlukershaddweltbeforeremovingtotown,hadbeeneyingMarannforayearortwo,andwaitinguponherfastripeningwomanhoodwithintentionsthat,hebelievedtobehiddeninhisownbreast,thoughhehadtakenlesspainstoconcealthemfromMarannthanfromtherestofhisacquaintance.Notthathehadevertoldheroftheminsomanywords,butOh,Ineednotstophereinthemidstofthisnarrationtoexplainhowsuchintentionsbecomeknown,oratleaststronglysuspectedbygirls,eventhoselessbrightthanMarannFluker.Simeonhadnotcordiallyindorsedthemovementintotown,though,ofcourse,knowingitwasnoneofhisbusiness,hehadneversomuchashintedopposition.Iwouldnotbesurprised,also,ifhereflectedthattheremightbesomeselfishnessinhishostility,oratleastthatitwasheightenedbyapprehensionspersonaltohimself.

    Consideringthewantofexperienceinthenewtenants,matterswentonremarkablywell.Mrs.Fluker,accustomedtorisefromhercouchlongbeforethelark,managedtothesatisfactionofall,regularboarders,singlemealtakers,andtransientpeople.Marannwenttothevillageschool,hermotherdressingher,thoughwithprudenteconomy,asneatlyandalmostastastefullyasanyofherschoolmateswhile,astostudy,deportment,andgeneralprogress,therewasnotagirlinthewholeschooltobeather,Idon'tcarewhoshewas.

    II

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    DuringanotinconsiderableperiodMr.Flukerindulgedthehonorableconvictionthatatlasthehadfoundtheveininwhichhisbesttalentslay,andhewashappyinforesightoftheprosperityandfelicitywhichthatdiscoverypromisedtohimselfandhisfamily.Hisnativeactivityfoundmanymoreobjectsforitsexertionthanbefore.Herodeouttothefarm,notoften,butsometimes,asamatterofduty,andwasforcedtoacknowledgethatSamwasmanagingbetterthancouldhavebeenexpectedintheabsenceofhisowncontinuousguidance.Intownhewalkedaboutthehotel,entertainedtheguests,carvedatthemeals,hoveredaboutthestores,thedoctors'offices,thewagonandblacksmithshops,discussedmercantile,medical,mechanicalquestionswithspecialistsinallthesedepartments,throwingintothemallmoreandmoreofpoliticsastheintimacybetweenhimandhispatronandchiefboarderincreased.

    Nowastothatpatronandchiefboarder.TheneedofextendinghisacquaintanceseemedtopressuponMr.Pikewitheverincreasingweight.Hewashereandthere,alloverthecountyatthecountyseat,atthecountyvillages,atjustices'courts,atexecutors'andadministrators'sales,atquarterlyandprotractedreligiousmeetings,atbarbecuesofeverydimension,onhuntingexcursionsandfishingfrolics,atsocialpartiesinallneighborhoods.ItgottobesaidofMr.Pikethatafreeracceptorofhospitableinvitations,orabetterappreciatorofhospitableintentions,wasnotandneedednottobefoundpossiblyinthewholestate.Norwasthisadmirabledeportmentconfinedtothecountyinwhichheheldsohighofficialposition.Heattended,amongotheroccasionslesspublic,thespringsessionsofthesupremeandcountycourtsinthefouradjoiningcounties:theguestofacquaintanceoldandnewoverthere.Whenstartinguponsuchtravels,hewouldsometimesbreakfastwithhistravelingcompanioninthevillage,and,ifsomewhatbelatedinthereturn,supwithhimalso.

    Yet,whenatFlukers',nomancouldhavebeenamorecheerfulandotherwisesatisfactoryboarderthanMr.MattPike.Hepraisedeverydishsetbeforehim,braggedtotheirveryfacesofhishostandhostess,andinspiteofhisabsenceswastheoftenesttositandchatwithMarannwhenhermotherwouldlethergointotheparlor.Hereandeverywhereaboutthehouse,inthediningroom,inthepassage,atthefootofthestairs,hewouldjokewithMarannabouthercountrybeau,ashestyledpoorSimMarchman,andhewouldtalkasthoughhewasratherashamedofSim,andwantedMaranntostringherbowforhighergame.

    BrerSamdidmanagewell,notonlythefields,buttheyard.EverySaturdayoftheworldhesentinsomethingorothertohissister.Idon'tknowwhetherIoughttotellitornot,butforthesakeofwhatisduetopureveracityIwill.OnasmanyasthreedifferentoccasionsSimMarchman,asifhehadlostallselfrespect,orhadnotaparticleoftact,broughtinhimself,insteadofsendingbyanegro,abucketofbutterandacoopofspringchickensasafreegifttoMrs.Fluker.Idothink,onmysoul,thatMr.MattPikewasmuchamusedbysuchdegradationhowever,hemustsaythattheywereallfirstrate.AsforMarann,shewasverysorryforSim,andwishedhehadnotbroughtthesegoodthingsatall.

    NobodyknewhowitcameaboutbutwhentheFlukershadbeenintownsomewherebetweentwoandthreemonths,SimMarchman,who(tousehisownwords)hadneverbotheredheragreatdealwithhisvisits,begantosuspectthatwhatfewhemadewerereceivedbyMarannlatelywithlesscordialitythanbeforeandsooneday,knowingnobetter,inhisawkward,straightforwardcountrymanners,hewantedtoknowthereasonwhy.ThenMaranngrewdistant,andaskedSimthefollowingquestion:

    "YouknowwhereMr.Pike'sgone,Mr.Marchman?"

    Nowthefactwas,andsheknewit,thatMarannFlukerhadneverbefore,notsinceshewasborn,addressedthatboyasMister.

    Thevisitor'sfacereddenedandreddened.

    "No,"hefalteredinanswer"nonoma'am,Ishouldsay.IIdon'tknowwhereMr.Pike'sgone."

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    Thenhelookedaroundforhishat,discovereditintime,tookitintohishands,turneditaroundtwoorthreetimes,then,biddinggoodbyewithoutshakinghands,tookhimselfoff.

    Mrs.FlukerlikedalltheMarchmans,andshewastroubledsomewhatwhensheheardofthequicknessandmannerofSim'sdepartureforhehadbeenfullyexpectedbyhertostaytodinner.

    "Sayhedidn'tevenshakehands,Marann?Whatfor?Whatyoudotohim?"

    "Notoneblessedthing,maonlyhewantedtoknowwhyIwasn'tgladdertoseehim."ThenMarannlookedindignant.

    "Saythemwords,Marann?"

    "No,buthehinted'em."

    "Whatdidyousaythen?"

    "Ijustasked,ameaningnothinginthewideworld,maIaskedhimifheknewwhereMr.Pikehadgone."

    "Andthatwereanswerenoughtohurthisfeelin's.WhatyouwanttoknowwhereMattPike'sgonefor,Marann?"

    "Ididn'tcareaboutknowing,ma,butIdidn'tlikethewaySimtalked."

    "Lookhere,Marann.Lookstraightatme.You'llbemightyfuroffyourfeetifyouletMattPikeputthingsinyourheadthathain'tnobusinessabein'there,andspecialifyoufindyourselfawantin'toknowwherehe'saperambulatin'inhiseverlastin'meanderin's.Notacenthashepaidforhisboard,andwhichyourpasayhehavea'understandin'withhimaboutallowin'forhisabsentees,whichisallrightenough,butwhichit'snowgoin'ontothreemont's,andwhatiscomin'tousIneedandIwant.Heought,yourpaoughttoletmebargainwithMattPike,becauseheknowhedon'tunderstan'figgerslikeMattPike.Hedon'tknowexactlywhatthebargainwereforI'veaskedhim,andhealwaysbeginswithamultiplyin'ofwordsandneveranswersme."

    OnhisnextreturnfromhistravelsMr.PikenoticedacoldnessinMrs.Fluker'smanner,andthisenhancedhispraiseofthehouse.Thelastweekofthethirdmonthcame.Mr.Pikewasoftennoticed,beforeandaftermeals,standingatthedeskinthehoteloffice(calledinthosetimesthebarroom)engagedinmakingcalculations.ThedaybeforethecontractexpiredMrs.Fluker,whohadnotindulgedherselfwithasingleholidaysincetheyhadbeenintown,leftMaranninchargeofthehouse,androdeforth,spendingpartofthedaywithMrs.Marchman,Sim'smother.Allweregladtoseeher,ofcourse,andshereturnedsmartly,freshenedbythevisit.ThatnightshehadatalkwithMarann,andoh,howMaranndidcry!

    Theverylastdaycame.Likeinsurancepolicies,thecontractwastoexpireatacertainhour.SimMarchmancamejustbeforedinner,towhichhewassentforbyMrs.Fluker,whohadseenhimasherodeintotown.

    "Hello,Sim,"saidMr.Pikeashetookhisseatoppositehim."Youhere?What'sthenewsinthecountry?How'syourhealth?How'scrops?"

    "Jestmod'rate,Mr.Pike.Gotlittlebusinesswithyouafterdinner,efyoucansparetime."

    "Allright.GotalittlematterwithPinkherefirst.'Twon'ttakelong.Seeyouarfteramejiant,Sim."

    Neverhadthedeputybeenmoregraciousandwitty.Hetalkedandtalked,outtalkingevenMr.Flukerhewastheonlymanintownwhocoulddothat.HewinkedatMarannasheputquestionstoSim,

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    someofthewordsemployedinwhichSimhadneverheardbefore.YetSimheldupaswellashecould,andafterdinnerfollowedMarannwithsomelittledignityintotheparlor.TheyhadnotbeentheremorethantenminuteswhenMrs.Flukerwasheardtowalkrapidlyalongthepassageleadingfromthediningroom,toenterherownchamberforonlyamoment,thentocomeoutandrushtotheparlordoorwiththegigwhipinherhand.SuchuncommonconductinawomanlikeMrs.PinkFlukerofcourseneedsexplanation.

    Whenalltheotherboardershadleftthehouse,thedeputyandMr.Flukerhavingrepairedtothebarroom,theformersaid:

    "Now,Pink,foroursettlement,asyousayyourwifethinkwebetterhaveone.I'd'a'beenwillin'toletaccountskeeponarunnin',knowin'whatastraightforrardssorto'manyouwas.Yourcount,efIain'tmistakened,isjes'thirtythreedollars,evenmoney.Isthatso,orisitnot?"

    "That'sit,toadollar,Matt.Threetimeselebenmakethirtythree,don'tit?"

    "Itdo,Pink,orelebentimesthree,jes'whichyouplease.Nowhere'smycount,onwhichyou'llsee,Pink,thatnotnarycenthaveIchargedforinfloonce.Ihasinflooncedaconsider'blecustomtothishouse,asyouknow,bo'din'andtransion.ButIdonethatouto'myrespectsofyouan'MissisFluker,an'yourkeepin'ofafa'rI'llsay,asI'vesaidfreckwent,averyfa'rhouse.Ilettheminflooncesgotofriendship,efyou'lltakeitso.Willyou,PinkFluker?"

    "Cert'nly,Matt,an'I'mathousandtimesobleegedtoyou,an'"

    "Saynomore,Pink,onthatp'into'view.EfIlikeaman,Iknowhowtotreathim.Nowastothep'intso'absentees,mybusinessasdep'tysheriffhastookmeawayfromthisinconsider'bletownfreckwent,hain'tit?"

    "Ithave,Matt,ersomethin'else,more'nIwereaexpectin',an'"

    "Jes'so.Butapublicofficer,Pink,whenjootycallonhimtogo,hegottogoinfackhegottogoth,astheScripturesay,ain'tthatso?"

    "Is'poseso,Matt,bygoodrights,aaofficialspeakin'."

    Mr.Flukerfeltthathewasbecomingalittleconfused.

    "Jes'so.Now,Pink,Iweretohavecredicsformyabsentees'cordin'totransionan'singlemealbo'dersan'sleepersain'tthatso?"

    "IIsomethin'o'thatsort,Matt,"heansweredvaguely.

    "Jes'so.Nowlookhere,"drawingfromhispocketapaper."Itomone.Twentyeightdinnersathalfadollarmakesfourteendollars,don'tit?Jes'so.Twentyfivebreakfastsataquartermakessixan'aquarter,whichmakedinnersan'breakfaststwentyan'aquarter.Follermeup,asIgoup,Pink.Twentyfivesuppersataquartermakessixan'aquarter,an'whichthemaddedtothetwentyan'aquartermakesthemtwentysixan'ahalf.Foller,Pink,an'ifyouketchmeinanymistakesinthekyarin'an'addin',p'intitout.Twentytwoan'ahalfbedsan'Isayhalf,Pink,becauseyou'memberonenightwhenthemA'gustylawyersgothere'boutmidnightontheirwaytoco't,rather'nhaveyoutoobadcramped,Iristomakewayfortwoof'emyitasIhadonegoodnap,Ididn'tthinkIoughttoputthatdownbutforhalf.Themmakesfivedollarshalfan'seb'npence,an'whichkyar'dontothet'othertwentysixan'ahalf,fetchesthewholecabooltojes'thirtytwodollarsan'seb'npence.ButImadeupmymindI'dflingoutthatseb'npence,an'jes'callitadollarevenmoney,an'whichhere'sthesolidsilver."

    Inspiteoftherapiditywithwhichthisenumerationofcounterchargeswasmade,Mr.Fluker

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    commencedperspiringatthefirstitem,andwhenthebalancewasannouncedhisfacewascoveredwithhugedrops.

    ItwasatthisjuncturethatMrs.Fluker,who,wellknowingherhusband'sunfamiliaritywithcomplicatedaccounts,hadfeltherdutytobelisteningnearthebarroomdoor,left,andquicklyafterwardsappearedbeforeMarannandSimasIhaverepresented.

    "YouthinkMattPikeain'ttryin'tosettlewithyourpawithadollar?I'mgoin'tomakehimkeephisdollar,an'I'mgoin'togivehimsomethin'togo'longwithit."

    "ThegoodLordhavemercyuponus!"exclaimedMarann,springingupandcatchingholdofhermother'sskirts,asshebeganheradvancetowardsthebarroom."Oh,ma!fortheLord'ssake!Sim,Sim,Sim,ifyoucare_any_thingformeinthiswideworld,don'tletmagointothatroom!"

    "MissisFluker,"saidSim,risinginstantly,"waitjesttwominutestillIseeMr.Pikeonsomepressin'businessIwon'tkeepyouovertwominutesawaitin'."

    Hetookher,setherdowninachairtrembling,lookedatheramomentasshebegantoweep,then,goingoutandclosingthedoor,stroderapidlytothebarroom.

    "Letmehelpyousettleyourboardbill,Mr.Pike,bypayin'youalittleoneIoweyou."

    Doublinghisfist,hestruckoutwithablowthatfelledthedeputytothefloor.Thencatchinghimbyhisheels,hedraggedhimoutofthehouseintothestreet.Liftinghisfootabovehisface,hesaid:

    "YoustirtillItellyou,an'I'llstompyournosedownevenwiththebalanceofyourmeanface.'Tain'texactlymybusinesshowyoucheatedMr.Fluker,though,'ponmysoul,Ineverknowedatrifliner,lowdownertrick.ButIowedyoumyselfforyourtalkin''boutandyourlyin''boutme,andnowI'vepaidyouan'efyouonlyknowedit,I'vesavedyoufromagigwhippin'.Nowyoumaygitup."

    "Here'shisdollar,Sim,"saidMr.Fluker,throwingitoutofthewindow."Nervysaymakehimtakeit."

    Thevanquished,notdaringtorefuse,pocketedthecoin,andslunkawayamidthejeersofascoreofvillagerswhohadbeendrawntothescene.

    InallhumanprobabilitythelateomissionoftheshakingofSim'sandMarann'shandswascompensatedattheirpartingthatafternoon.Iammoreconfidentonthispointbecauseattheendoftheyearthosehandswerejoinedinseparablybythepreacher.ButthiswaswhentheyhadallgonebacktotheiroldhomeforifMr.Flukerdidnotbecomefullyconvincedthathismathematicaleducationwasnotadvancedquiteenoughforalltheexigenciesofhotelkeeping,hiswifedeclaredthatshehadhadenoughofit,andthatsheandMarannweregoinghome.Mr.Flukermaybesaid,therefore,tohavefollowed,ratherthanled,hisfamilyonthereturn.

    Asforthedeputy,findingthatifhedidnotleaveitvoluntarilyhewouldbedrummedoutofthevillage,hedeparted,whitherIdonotrememberifanybodyeverknew.

    THENICEPEOPLE

    ByHenryCuylerBunner(18551896)

    [FromPuck,July30,1890.Republishedinthevolume,ShortSixes:StoriestoBeReadWhiletheCandleBurns(1891),byHenryCuyler

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    Bunnercopyright,1890,byAliceLarnedBunnerreprintedbypermissionofthepublishers,CharlesScribner'aSons.]

    "Theycertainlyarenicepeople,"Iassentedtomywife'sobservation,usingthecolloquialphrasewithaconsciousnessthatitwasanythingbut"nice"English,"andI'llbetthattheirthreechildrenarebetterbroughtupthanmostof"

    "Twochildren,"correctedmywife.

    "Three,hetoldme."

    "Mydear,shesaidthereweretwo."

    "Hesaidthree."

    "You'vesimplyforgotten.I'msureshetoldmetheyhadonlytwoaboyandagirl."

    "Well,Ididn'tenterintoparticulars."

    "No,dear,andyoucouldn'thaveunderstoodhim.Twochildren."

    "Allright,"IsaidbutIdidnotthinkitwasallright.Asanearsightedmanlearnsbyenforcedobservationtorecognizepersonsatadistancewhenthefaceisnotvisibletothenormaleye,sothemanwithabadmemorylearns,almostunconsciously,tolistencarefullyandreportaccurately.MymemoryisbadbutIhadnothadtimetoforgetthatMr.BrewsterBredehadtoldmethatafternoonthathehadthreechildren,atpresentleftinthecareofhismotherinlaw,whileheandMrs.Bredetooktheirsummervacation.

    "Twochildren,"repeatedmywife"andtheyarestayingwithhisauntJenny."

    "Hetoldmewithhismotherinlaw,"Iputin.Mywifelookedatmewithaseriousexpression.Menmaynotremembermuchofwhattheyaretoldaboutchildrenbutanymanknowsthedifferencebetweenanauntandamotherinlaw.

    "Butdon'tyouthinkthey'renicepeople?"askedmywife.

    "Oh,certainly,"Ireplied."Onlytheyseemtobealittlemixedupabouttheirchildren."

    "Thatisn'tanicethingtosay,"returnedmywife.Icouldnotdenyit.

    *****

    Andyet,thenextmorning,whentheBredescamedownandseatedthemselvesoppositeusattable,beamingandsmilingintheirnatural,pleasant,wellbredfashion,Iknew,toasocialcertainty,thattheywere"nice"people.Hewasafinelookingfellowinhisneattennisflannels,slim,graceful,twentyeightorthirtyyearsold,withaFrenchypointedbeard.Shewas"nice"inallherprettyclothes,andsheherselfwasprettywiththattypeofprettinesswhichoutwearsmostothertypestheprettinessthatliesinaroundedfigure,aduskyskin,plump,rosycheeks,whiteteethandblackeyes.Shemighthavebeentwentyfiveyouguessedthatshewasprettierthanshewasattwenty,andthatshewouldbeprettierstillatforty.

    AndnicepeoplewereallwewantedtomakeushappyinMr.Jacobus'ssummerboardinghouseontopofOrangeMountain.Foraweekwehadcomedowntobreakfasteachmorning,wonderingwhywewastedthepreciousdaysofidlenesswiththecompanygatheredaroundtheJacobusboard.WhatjoyofhumancompanionshipwastobehadoutofMrs.TabbandMissHoogencamp,thetwomiddle

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    agedgossipsfromScranton,Pa.outofMr.andMrs.Biggle,aninduratedheadbookkeeperandhisprimandcensoriouswifeoutofoldMajorHalkit,aretiredbusinessman,who,havingoncesoldafewsharesoncommission,wroteforcircularsofeverystockcompanythatwasstarted,andtriedtoinduceeveryonetoinvestwhowouldlistentohim?Welookedaroundatthosedullfaces,thetruthfulindicesofmeanandbarrenminds,anddecidedthatwewouldleavethatmorning.ThenweateMrs.Jacobus'sbiscuit,lightasAurora'scloudlets,drankherhonestcoffee,inhaledtheperfumeofthelateazaleaswithwhichshedeckedhertable,anddecidedtopostponeourdepartureonemoreday.Andthenwewanderedouttotakeourmorningglanceatwhatwecalled"ourview"anditseemedtousasifTabbandHoogencampandHalkitandtheBigglesescouldnotdriveusawayinayear.

    Iwasnotsurprisedwhen,afterbreakfast,mywifeinvitedtheBredestowalkwithusto"ourview."TheHoogencampBiggleTabbHalkitcontingentneverstirredoffJacobus'sverandabutwebothfeltthattheBredeswouldnotprofanethatsacredscene.Westrolledslowlyacrossthefields,passedthroughthelittlebeltofwoodsand,asIheardMrs.Brede'slittlecryofstartledrapture,ImotionedtoBredetolookup.

    "ByJove!"hecried,"heavenly!"

    Welookedofffromthebrowofthemountainoverfifteenmilesofbillowinggreen,towhere,faracrossafarstretchofpalebluelayadimpurplelinethatweknewwasStatenIsland.Townsandvillageslaybeforeusandunderustherewereridgesandhills,uplandsandlowlands,woodsandplains,allmassedandmingledinthatgreatsilentseaofsunlitgreen.Forsilentitwastous,standinginthesilenceofahighplacesilentwithaSundaystillnessthatmadeuslisten,withouttakingthought,forthesoundofbellscomingupfromthespiresthatroseabovethetreetopsthetreetopsthatlayasfarbeneathusasthelightcloudswereaboveusthatdroppedgreatshadowsuponourheadsandfaintspecksofshadeuponthebroadsweepoflandatthemountain'sfoot.

    "Andsothatisyourview?"askedMrs.Brede,afteramoment"youareverygeneroustomakeitours,too."

    Thenwelaydownonthegrass,andBredebegantotalk,inagentlevoice,asifhefelttheinfluenceoftheplace.Hehadpaddledacanoe,inhisearlierdays,hesaid,andhekneweveryriverandcreekinthatvaststretchoflandscape.Hefoundhislandmarks,andpointedouttouswherethePassaicandtheHackensackflowed,invisibletous,hiddenbehindgreatridgesthatinoursightwerebutcombingsofthegreenwavesuponwhichwelookeddown.Andyet,onthefurthersideofthosebroadridgesandriseswerescoresofvillagesalittleworldofcountrylife,lyingunseenunderoureyes.

    "Agooddeallikelookingathumanity,"hesaid"thereissuchathingasgettingsofaraboveourfellowmenthatweseeonlyonesideofthem."

    Ah,howmuchbetterwasthissortoftalkthanthechatterandgossipoftheTabbandtheHoogencampthantheMajor'sdissertationsuponhiseverlastingcirculars!MywifeandIexchangedglances.

    "Now,whenIwentuptheMatterhorn"Mr.Bredebegan.

    "Why,dear,"interruptedhiswife,"Ididn'tknowyoueverwentuptheMatterhorn."

    "Ititwasfiveyearsago,"saidMr.Brede,hurriedly."IIdidn'ttellyouwhenIwasontheotherside,youknowitwasratherdangerouswell,asIwassayingitlookedoh,itdidn'tlookatalllikethis."

    Acloudfloatedoverhead,throwingitsgreatshadowoverthefieldwherewelay.Theshadowpassedoverthemountain'sbrowandreappearedfarbelow,arapidlydecreasingblot,flyingeastwardoverthegoldengreen.MywifeandIexchangedglancesoncemore.

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    Somehow,theshadowlingeredoverusall.Aswewenthome,theBredeswentsidebysidealongthenarrowpath,andmywifeandIwalkedtogether.

    "Shouldyouthink,"sheaskedme,"thatamanwouldclimbtheMatterhorntheveryfirstyearhewasmarried?"

    "Idon'tknow,mydear,"Ianswered,evasively"thisisn'tthefirstyearIhavebeenmarried,notbyagoodmany,andIwouldn'tclimbitforafarm."

    "YouknowwhatImean,"shesaid.

    Idid.

    *****

    Whenwereachedtheboardinghouse,Mr.Jacobustookmeaside.

    "Youknow,"hebeganhisdiscourse,"mywifesheusettoliveinN'York!"

    Ididn'tknow,butIsaid"Yes."

    "Shesaysthenumbersonthestreetsrunscrisscrosslike.Thirtyfour'sononesideo'thestreetan'thirtyfiveont'other.How'sthat?"

    "Thatistheinvariablerule,Ibelieve."

    "ThenIsaytheseherenewfolkthatyou'n'yourwifeseemsomightytakenupwithd'yeknowanythingabout'em?"

    "Iknownothingaboutthecharacterofyourboarders,Mr.Jacobus,"Ireplied,consciousofsomeirritability."IfIchoosetoassociatewithanyofthem"

    "Jesssojessso!"brokeinJacobus."Ihain'tnothin'tosayag'instyersosherbil'ty.Butdoyeknowthem?"

    "Why,certainlynot,"Ireplied.

    "WellthatwasallIwuzaskin'ye.Yesee,whenhecomeheretotaketheroomsyouwasn'therethenhetoldmywifethathelivedatnumberthirtyfourinhisstreet.An'yistiddyshetoldherthattheylivedatnumberthirtyfive.Hesaidhelivedinanapartmenthouse.Nowtherecan'tbenoapartmenthouseontwosidesofthesamestreet,kinthey?"

    "Whatstreetwasit?"Iinquired,wearily.

    "Hundred'n'twentyfirststreet."

    "Maybe,"Ireplied,stillmorewearily."That'sHarlem.NobodyknowswhatpeoplewilldoinHarlem."

    Iwentuptomywife'sroom.

    "Don'tyouthinkit'squeer?"sheaskedme.

    "IthinkI'llhaveatalkwiththatyoungmantonight,"Isaid,"andseeifhecangivesomeaccountof

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    himself."

    "But,mydear,"mywifesaid,gravely,"shedoesn'tknowwhetherthey'vehadthemeaslesornot."

    "Why,GreatScott!"Iexclaimed,"theymusthavehadthemwhentheywerechildren."

    "Pleasedon'tbestupid,"saidmywife."Imeanttheirchildren."

    Afterdinnerthatnightorrather,aftersupper,forwehaddinnerinthemiddleofthedayatJacobus'sIwalkeddownthelongverandahtoaskBrede,whowasplacidlysmokingattheotherend,toaccompanymeonatwilightstroll.HalfwaydownImetMajorHalkit.

    "Thatfriendofyours,"hesaid,indicatingtheunconsciousfigureatthefurtherendofthehouse,"seemstobeaqueersortofaDick.Hetoldmethathewasoutofbusiness,andjustlookingroundforachancetoinvesthiscapital.AndI'vebeentellinghimwhataneverlastingbigshowhehadtotakestockintheCapitolineTrustCompanystartsnextmonthfourmillioncapitalItoldyouallaboutit.'Oh,well,'hesays,'let'swaitandthinkaboutit.''Wait!'saysI,'theCapitolineTrustCompanywon'twaitforyou,myboy.Thisislettingyouinonthegroundfloor,'saysI,'andit'snowornever.''Oh,letitwait,'sayshe.Idon'tknowwhat'sintotheman."

    "Idon'tknowhowwellheknowshisownbusiness,Major,"IsaidasIstartedagainforBrede'sendoftheveranda.ButIwastroublednonetheless.TheMajorcouldnothaveinfluencedthesaleofoneshareofstockintheCapitolineCompany.Butthatstockwasagreatinvestmentararechanceforapurchaserwithafewthousanddollars.PerhapsitwasnomoreremarkablethatBredeshouldnotinvestthanthatIshouldnotandyet,itseemedtoaddonecircumstancemoretotheothersuspiciouscircumstances.

    *****

    WhenIwentupstairsthatevening,IfoundmywifeputtingherhairtobedIdon'tknowhowIcanbetterdescribeanoperationfamiliartoeverymarriedman.Iwaiteduntilthelasttresswascoiledup,andthenIspoke:

    "I'vetalkedwithBrede,"Isaid,"andIdidn'thavetocatechizehim.Heseemedtofeelthatsomesortofexplanationwaslookedfor,andhewasveryoutspoken.Youwererightaboutthechildrenthatis,Imusthavemisunderstoodhim.Thereareonlytwo.ButtheMatterhornepisodewassimpleenough.Hedidn'trealizehowdangerousitwasuntilhehadgotsofarintoitthathecouldn'tbackoutandhedidn'ttellher,becausehe'dleftherhere,yousee,andunderthecircumstances"

    "Leftherhere!"criedmywife."I'vebeensittingwithherthewholeafternoon,sewing,andshetoldmethatheleftheratGeneva,andcamebackandtookhertoBasle,andthebabywasborntherenowI'msure,dear,becauseIaskedher."

    "PerhapsIwasmistakenwhenIthoughthesaidshewasonthissideofthewater,"Isuggested,withbitter,bitingirony.

    "Youpoordear,didIabuseyou?"saidmywife."But,doyouknow,Mrs.Tabbsaidthatshedidn'tknowhowmanylumpsofsugarhetookinhiscoffee.Nowthatseemsqueer,doesn'tit?"

    Itdid.Itwasasmallthing.Butitlookedqueer,Veryqueer.

    *****

    Thenextmorning,itwasclearthatwarwasdeclaredagainsttheBredes.Theycamedowntobreakfastsomewhatlate,and,assoonastheyarrived,theBigglesesswoopedupthelastfragmentsthatremainedontheirplates,andmadeastatelymarchoutofthediningroom,ThenMiss

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    Hoogencamparoseanddeparted,leavingawholefishballonherplate.EvenasAtalantamighthavedroppedanapplebehindhertotemptherpursuertocheckhisspeed,soMissHoogencampleftthatfishballbehindher,andbetweenhermaidenselfandcontamination.

    Wehadfinishedourbreakfast,mywifeandI,beforetheBredesappeared.Wetalkeditover,andagreedthatweweregladthatwehadnotbeenobligedtotakesidesuponsuchinsufficienttestimony.

    Afterbreakfast,itwasthecustomofthemalehalfoftheJacobushouseholdtogoaroundthecornerofthebuildingandsmoketheirpipesandcigarswheretheywouldnotannoytheladies.Wesatunderatrelliscoveredwithagrapevinethathadbornenograpesinthememoryofman.Thisvine,however,boreleaves,andthese,onthatpleasantsummermorning,shieldedfromustwopersonswhowereinearnestconversationinthestraggling,halfdeadflowergardenatthesideofthehouse.

    "Idon'twant,"weheardMr.Jacobussay,"toenterinnoman'spryvacybutIdowanttoknowwhoitmaybe,like,thatIhevinmyhouse.NowwhatIaskofyou,andIdon'twantyoutotakeitasinnowayspersonal,ishevyouyourmerridgelicensewithyou?"

    "No,"weheardthevoiceofMr.Bredereply."Haveyouyours?"

    Ithinkitwasachanceshotbutittoldallthesame.TheMajor(hewasawidower)andMr.BiggleandIlookedateachotherandMr.Jacobus,ontheothersideofthegrapetrellis,lookedatIdon'tknowwhatandwasassilentaswewere.

    Whereisyourmarriagelicense,marriedreader?Doyouknow?Fourmen,notincludingMr.Brede,stoodorsatononesideortheotherofthatgrapetrellis,andnotoneofthemknewwherehismarriagelicensewas.EachofushadhadonetheMajorhadhadthree.Butwherewerethey?Whereisyours?Tuckedinyourbestman'spocketdepositedinhisdeskorwashedtoapulpinhiswhitewaistcoat(ifwhitewaistcoatsbethefashionofthehour),washedoutofexistencecanyoutellwhereitis?Canyouunlessyouareoneofthosepeoplewhoframethatinterestingdocumentandhangitupontheirdrawingroomwalls?

    Mr.Brede'svoicearose,afteranawfulstillnessofwhatseemedlikefiveminutes,andwas,probably,thirtyseconds:

    "Mr.Jacobus,willyoumakeoutyourbillatonce,andletmepayit?Ishallleavebythesixo'clocktrain.Andwillyoualsosendthewagonformytrunks?"

    "Ihain'tsaidIwantedtohevyeleave"beganMr.JacobusbutBredecuthimshort.

    "Bringmeyourbill."

    "But,"remonstratedJacobus,"efyeain't"

    "Bringmeyourbill!"saidMr.Brede.

    *****

    MywifeandIwentoutforourmorning'swalk.Butitseemedtous,whenwelookedat"ourview,"asifwecouldonlyseethoseinvisiblevillagesofwhichBredehadtoldusthatothersideoftheridgesandrisesofwhichwecatchnoglimpsefromloftyhillsorfromtheheightsofhumanselfesteem.WemeanttostayoutuntiltheBredeshadtakentheirdeparturebutwereturnedjustintimetoseePete,theJacobusdarkey,theblackerofboots,thebrasherofcoats,thegeneralhandymanofthehouse,loadingtheBredetrunksontheJacobuswagon.

    And,aswesteppedupontheverandah,downcameMrs.Brede,leaningonMr.Brede'sarm,asthough

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    shewereillanditwasclearthatshehadbeencrying.Therewereheavyringsaboutherprettyblackeyes.

    Mywifetookasteptowardher.

    "Lookatthatdress,dear,"shewhispered"sheneverthoughtanythinglikethiswasgoingtohappenwhensheputthaton."

    Itwasapretty,delicate,daintydress,agraceful,narrowstripedaffair.Herhatwastrimmedwithanarrowstripedsilkofthesamecolorsmaroonandwhiteandinherhandsheheldaparasolthatmatchedherdress.

    "She'shadanewdressontwiceaday,"saidmywife,"butthat'stheprettiestyet.Oh,somehowI'mawfullysorrythey'regoing!"

    Butgoingtheywere.Theymovedtowardthesteps.Mrs.Bredelookedtowardmywife,andmywifemovedtowardMrs.Brede.Buttheostracizedwoman,asthoughshefeltthedeephumiliationofherposition,turnedsharplyaway,andopenedherparasoltoshieldhereyesfromthesun.Ashowerofriceahalfpoundshowerofricefelldownoverherprettyhatandherprettydress,andfellinaspatteringcircleonthefloor,outliningherskirtsandthereitlayinabroad,unevenband,brightinthemorningsun.

    Mrs.Bredewasinmywife'sarms,sobbingasifheryoungheartwouldbreak.

    "Oh,youpoor,dear,sillychildren!"mywifecried,asMrs.Bredesobbedonhershoulder,"whydidn'tyoutellus?"

    "WWWWedidn'twanttobetttakenforabbbbbridalcouple,"sobbedMrs.Brede"andwedddidn'tdreamwhatawfullieswe'dhavetotell,andalltheawawfulmixedupnessofit.Oh,dear,dear,dear!"

    *****

    "Pete!"commandedMr.Jacobus,"putbackthemtrunks.Thesefolksstayshere'slong'stheywantster.Mr.Brede"heheldoutalarge,hardhand"I'dorter'veknownbetter,"hesaid.AndmylastdoubtofMr.Bredevanishedasheshookthatgrimyhandinmanlyfashion.

    Thetwowomenwerewalkingofftoward"ourview,"eachwithanarmabouttheother'swaisttouchedbyasuddensisterhoodofsympathy.

    "Gentlemen,"saidMr.Brede,addressingJacobus,Biggle,theMajorandme,"thereisahostelrydownthestreetwheretheysellhonestNewJerseybeer.Irecognizetheobligationsofthesituation."

    Wefivemenfileddownthestreet.Thetwowomenwenttowardthepleasantslopewherethesunlightgildedtheforeheadofthegreathill.OnMr.Jacobus'sverandalayaspatteredcircleofshininggrainsofrice.TwoofMr.Jacobus'spigeonsflewdownandpickeduptheshininggrains,makinggratefulnoisesfardownintheirthroats.

    THEBULLERPODINGTONCOMPACT

    BYFRANKRICHARDSTOCKTON(18341902)

    [FromScribner'sMagazine,August,1897.RepublishedinAfieldand

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    Afloat,byFrankRichardStocktoncopyright,1900,byCharlesScribner'sSons.Reprintedbypermissionofthepublishers.]

    "Itellyou,William,"saidThomasBullertohisfriendMr.Podington,"Iamtrulysorryaboutit,butIcannotarrangeforitthisyear.Now,astomyinvitationthatisverydifferent."

    "Ofcourseitisdifferent,"wasthereply,"butIamobligedtosay,asIsaidbefore,thatIreallycannotacceptit."

    RemarkssimilartothesehadbeenmadebyThomasBullerandWilliamPodingtonatleastonceayearforsomefiveyears.Theywereoldfriendstheyhadbeenschoolboystogetherandhadbeenassociatedinbusinesssincetheywereyoungmen.Theyhadnowreachedavigorousmiddleagetheywereeachmarried,andeachhadahouseinthecountryinwhichheresidedforapartoftheyear.Theywerewarmlyattachedtoeachother,andeachwasthebestfriendwhichtheotherhadinthisworld.Butduringalltheseyearsneitherofthemhadvisitedtheotherinhiscountryhome.

    Thereasonforthisavoidanceofeachotherattheirrespectiveruralresidencesmaybebrieflystated.Mr.Buller'scountryhousewassituatedbythesea,andhewasveryfondofthewater.Hehadagoodcatboat,whichhesailedhimselfwithmuchjudgmentandskill,anditwashisgreatestpleasuretotakehisfriendsandvisitorsuponlittleexcursionsonthebay.ButMr.Podingtonwasdesperatelyafraidofthewater,andhewasparticularlyafraidofanycraftsailedbyanamateur.IfhisfriendBullerwouldhaveemployedaprofessionalmariner,ofyearsandexperience,tosteerandmanagehisboat,PodingtonmighthavebeenwillingtotakeanoccasionalsailbutasBulleralwaysinsisteduponsailinghisownboat,andtookitillifanyofhisvisitorsdoubtedhisabilitytodosoproperly,Podingtondidnotwishtowoundtheselfloveofhisfriend,andhedidnotwishtobedrowned.ConsequentlyhecouldnotbringhimselftoconsenttogotoBuller'shousebythesea.

    ToreceivehisgoodfriendBullerathisownhouseinthebeautifuluplandregioninwhichhelivedwouldhavebeenagreatjoytoMr.PodingtonbutBullercouldnotbeinducedtovisithim.Podingtonwasveryfondofhorsesandalwaysdrovehimself,whileBullerwasmoreafraidofhorsesthanhewasofelephantsorlions.Tooneormorehorsesdrivenbyacoachmanofyearsandexperiencehedidnotalwaysobject,buttoahorsedrivenbyPodington,whohadmuchexperienceandknowledgeregardingmercantileaffairs,butwasmerelyanamateurhorseman,hemostdecidedlyandstronglyobjected.Hedidnotwishtohurthisfriend'sfeelingsbyrefusingtogoouttodrivewithhim,buthewouldnotrackhisownnervoussystembyaccompanyinghim.ThereforeitwasthathehadnotyetvisitedthebeautifuluplandcountryresidenceofMr.Podington.

    Atlastthisstateofthingsgrewawkward.Mrs.BullerandMrs.Podington,oftenwiththeirfamilies,visitedeachotherattheircountryhouses,butthefactthatontheseoccasionstheywereneveraccompaniedbytheirhusbandscausedmoreandmoregossipamongtheirneighborsbothintheuplandcountryandbythesea.

    Onedayinspringasthetwosatintheircityoffice,whereMr.Podingtonhadjustrepeatedhisannualinvitation,hisfriendrepliedtohimthus:

    "William,ifIcometoseeyouthissummer,willyouvisitme?Thethingisbeginningtolookalittleridiculous,andpeoplearetalkingaboutit."

    Mr.Podingtonputhishandtohisbrowandforafewmomentsclosedhiseyes.Inhismindhesawacatboatuponitsside,thesailsspreadoutoverthewater,andtwomen,almostentirelyimmersedinthewaves,makingeffortstoreachthesideoftheboat.OneofthesewasgettingonverywellthatwasBuller.Theotherseemedabouttosink,hisarmswereuselesslywavingintheairthatwashimself.Butheopenedhiseyesandlookedbravelyoutofthewindowitwastimetoconquerallthisitwasindeedgrowingridiculous.Bullerhadbeensailingmanyyearsandhadneverbeenupset.

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    "Yes,"saidhe"IwilldoitIamreadyanytimeyouname."

    Mr.Bullerroseandstretchedouthishand.

    "Good!"saidhe"itisacompact!"

    Bullerwasthefirsttomakethepromisedcountryvisit.Hehadnotmentionedthesubjectofhorsestohisfriend,butheknewthroughMrs.BullerthatPodingtonstillcontinuedtobehisowndriver.Shehadinformedhim,however,thatatpresenthewasaccustomedtodriveabigblackhorsewhich,inheropinion,wasasgentleandreliableastheseanimalseverbecame,andshecouldnotimaginehowanybodycouldbeafraidofhim.Sowhen,thenextmorningafterhisarrival,Mr.Bullerwasaskedbyhishostifhewouldliketotakeadrive,hesuppressedacertainrisingemotionandsaidthatitwouldpleasehimverymuch.

    WhenthegoodblackhorsehadjoggedalongapleasantroadforhalfanhourMr.Bullerbegantofeelthat,perhaps,foralltheseyearshehadbeenlaboringunderamisconception.Itseemedtobepossiblethatthereweresomehorsestowhichsurroundingcircumstancesintheshapeofsightsandsoundsweresoirrelevantthattheyweretoacertaindegreeentirelysafe,evenwhenguidedandcontrolledbyanamateurhand.Astheypassedsomemeadowland,somebodybehindahedgefiredagunMr.Bullerwasfrightened,butthehorsewasnot.

    "William,"saidBuller,lookingcheerfullyaroundhim,

    "Ihadnoideathatyoulivedinsuchaprettycountry.Infact,Imightalmostcallitbeautiful.Youhavenotanywidestretchofwater,suchasIlikesomuch,buthereisaprettyriver,thoserollinghillsareverycharming,and,beyond,youhavetheblueofthemountains."

    "Itislovely,"saidhisfriend"Inevergettiredofdrivingthroughthiscountry.Ofcoursetheseasideisveryfine,butherewehavesuchavarietyofscenery."

    Mr.Bullercouldnothelpthinkingthatsometimestheseasidewasalittlemonotonous,andthathehadlostagreatdealofpleasurebynotvaryinghissummersbygoinguptospendaweekortwowithPodington.

    "William,"saidhe,"howlonghaveyouhadthishorse?"

    "Abouttwoyears,"saidMr.Podington"beforeIgothim,Iusedtodriveapair."

    "Heavens!"thoughtBuller,"howluckyIwasnottocometwoyearsago!"Andhisregretsfornotsoonervisitinghisfriendgreatlydecreased.

    Nowtheycametoaplacewherethestream,bywhichtheroadran,hadbeendammedforamillandhadwidenedintoabeautifulpond.

    "Therenow!"criedMr.Buller."That'swhatIlike.William,youseemtohaveeverything!Thisisreallyaveryprettysheetofwater,andthereflectionsofthetreesovertheremakeacharmingpictureyoucan'tgetthatattheseaside,youknow."

    Mr.Podingtonwasdelightedhisfaceglowedhewasrejoicedatthepleasureofhisfriend."Itellyou,Thomas,"saidhe,"that"

    "William!"exclaimedBuller,withasuddensquirminhisseat,"whatisthatIhear?Isthatatrain?"

    "Yes,"saidMr.Podington,"thatisthetenforty,up."

    "Doesitcomenearhere?"askedMr.Buller,nervously."Doesitgooverthatbridge?"

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    "Yes,"saidPodington,"butitcan'thurtus,forourroadgoesunderthebridgeweareperfectlysafethereisnoriskofaccident."

    "Butyourhorse!Yourhorse!"exclaimedBuller,asthetraincamenearerandnearer."Whatwillhedo?"

    "Do?"saidPodington"he'lldowhatheisdoingnowhedoesn'tmindtrains."

    "Butlookhere,William,"exclaimedBuller,"itwillgettherejustaswedonohorsecouldstandaroaringupintheairlikethat!"

    Podingtonlaughed."Hewouldnotminditintheleast,"saidhe.

    "Come,comenow,"criedBuller."Really,Ican'tstandthis!Juststopaminute,William,andletmegetout.Itsetsallmynervesquivering."

    Mr.Podingtonsmiledwithasuperiorsmile."Oh,youneedn'tgetout,"saidhe"there'snottheleastdangerintheworld.ButIdon'twanttomakeyounervous,andIwillturnaroundanddrivetheotherway."

    "Butyoucan't!"screamedBuller."Thisroadisnotwideenough,andthattrainisnearlyhere.Pleasestop!"

    TheimputationthattheroadwasnotwideenoughforhimtoturnwastoomuchforMr.Podingtontobear.Hewasveryproudofhisabilitytoturnavehicleinanarrowplace.

    "Turn!"saidhe"that'stheeasiestthingintheworld.Seealittletotheright,thenaback,thenasweeptotheleftandwewillbegoingtheotherway."Andinstantlyhebeganthemaneuverinwhichhewassuchanadept.

    "Oh,Thomas!"criedBuller,halfrisinginhisseat,"thattrainisalmosthere!"

    "Andwearealmost"Mr.Podingtonwasabouttosay"turnedaround,"buthestopped.Mr.Buller'sexclamationshadmadehimalittlenervous,and,inhisanxietytoturnquickly,hehadpulleduponhishorse'sbitwithmoreenergythanwasactuallynecessary,andhisnervousnessbeingcommunicatedtothehorse,thatanimalbackedwithsuchextraordinaryvigorthatthehindwheelsofthewagonwentoverabitofgrassbytheroadandintothewater.ThesuddenjoltgaveanewimpetustoMr.Buller'sfears.

    "You'llupset!"hecried,andnotthinkingofwhathewasabout,helaidholdofhisfriend'sarm.Thehorse,startledbythissuddenjerkuponhisbit,which,combinedwiththethunderingofthetrain,whichwasnowonthebridge,madehimthinkthatsomethingextraordinarywasabouttohappen,gaveasuddenandforciblestartbackward,sothatnotonlythehindwheelsofthelightwagon,buttheforewheelsandhisownhindlegswentintothewater.Asthebankatthisspotslopedsteeply,thewagoncontinuedtogobackward,despitetheeffortsoftheagitatedhorsetofindafootingonthecrumblingedgeofthebank.

    "Whoa!"criedMr.Buller.

    "Getup!"exclaimedMr.Podington,applyinghiswhipupontheplungingbeast.

    Butexclamationsandcastigationshadnoeffectuponthehorse.Theoriginalbedofthestreamranclosetotheroad,andthebankwassosteepandtheearthsosoftthatitwasimpossibleforthehorsetoadvanceorevenmaintainhisfooting.Back,backhewent,untilthewholeequipagewasinthewaterandthewagonwasafloat.

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    Thisvehiclewasaroadwagon,withoutatop,andthejointsofitsboxbodyweretightenoughtopreventthewaterfromimmediatelyenteringitso,somewhatdeeplysunken,itresteduponthewater.Therewasacurrentinthispartofthepondanditturnedthewagondownstream.Thehorsewasnowentirelyimmersedinthewater,withtheexceptionofhisheadandtheupperpartofhisneck,and,unabletoreachthebottomwithhisfeet,hemadevigorouseffortstoswim.

    Mr.Podington,thereinsandwhipinhishands,sathorrifiedandpaletheaccidentwassosudden,hewassostartledandsofrightenedthat,foramoment,hecouldnotspeakaword.Mr.Buller,ontheotherhand,wasnowlivelyandalert.Thewagonhadnosoonerfloatedawayfromtheshorethanhefelthimselfathome.Hewasuponhisfavoriteelementwaterhadnofearsforhim.Hesawthathisfriendwasnearlyfrightenedoutofhiswits,andthat,figurativelyspeaking,hemuststeptothehelmandtakechargeofthevessel.Hestoodupandgazedabouthim.

    "Putheracrossstream!"heshouted"shecan'tmakeheadwayagainstthiscurrent.Headhertothatclumpoftreesontheothersidethebankislowerthere,andwecanbeachher.Movealittletheotherway,wemusttrimboat.Nowthen,pullonyourstarboardrein."

    Podingtonobeyed,andthehorseslightlychangedhisdirection.

    "Yousee,"saidBuller,"itwon'tdotosailstraightacross,becausethecurrentwouldcarryusdownandlandusbelowthatspot."

    Mr.Podingtonsaidnotawordheexpectedeverymomenttoseethehorsesinkintoawaterygrave.

    "Itisn'tsobadafterall,isit,Podington?Ifwehadarudderandabitofasailitwouldbeagreathelptothehorse.Thiswagonisnotabadboat."

    ThedespairingPodingtonlookedathisfeet."It'scomingin,"hesaidinahuskyvoice."Thomas,thewaterisovermyshoes!"

    "Thatisso,"saidBuller."IamsousedtowaterIdidn'tnoticeit.Sheleaks.Doyoucarryanythingtobailheroutwith?"

    "Bail!"criedPodington,nowfindinghisvoice."Oh,Thomas,wearesinking!"

    "That'sso,"saidBuller"sheleakslikeasieve."

    Theweightoftherunninggearandofthetwomenwasentirelytoomuchforthebuoyancyofthewagonbody.Thewaterrapidlyrosetowardthetopofitssides.

    "Wearegoingtodrown!"criedPodington,suddenlyrising.

    "Lickhim!Lickhim!"exclaimedBuller."Makehimswimfaster!"

    "There'snothingtolick,"criedPodington,vainlylashingatthewater,forhecouldnotreachthehorse'shead.Thepoormanwasdreadfullyfrightenedhehadneverevenimagineditpossiblethatheshouldbedrownedinhisownwagon.

    "Whoop!"criedBuller,asthewaterroseoverthesides."Steadyyourself,oldboy,oryou'llgooverboard!"Andthenextmomentthewagonbodysunkoutofsight.

    Butitdidnotgodownveryfar.Thedeepestpartofthechannelofthestreamhadbeenpassed,andwithabumpthewheelsstruckthebottom.

    "Heavens!"exclaimedBuller,"weareaground."

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    "Aground!"exclaimedPodington,"Heavenbepraised!"

    Asthetwomenstoodupinthesubmergedwagonthewaterwasabovetheirknees,andwhenPodingtonlookedoutoverthesurfaceofthepond,nowsonearhisface,itseemedlikeasheetofwaterhehadneverseenbefore.Itwassomethinghorrible,threateningtoriseandenvelophim.Hetrembledsothathecouldscarcelykeephisfooting.

    "William,"saidhiscompanion,"youmustsitdownifyoudon't,you'lltumbleoverboardandbedrowned.Thereisnothingforyoutoholdto."

    "Sitdown,"saidPodington,gazingblanklyatthewateraroundhim,"Ican'tdothat!"

    Atthismomentthehorsemadeaslightmovement.Havingtouchedbottomafterhiseffortsinswimmingacrossthemainbedofthestream,withafloatingwagonintow,hehadstoodforafewmoments,hisheadandneckwellabovewater,andhisbackbarelyvisiblebeneaththesurface.Havingrecoveredhisbreath,henowthoughtitwastimetomoveon.

    AtthefirststepofthehorseMr.Podingtonbegantototter.InstinctivelyheclutchedBuller.

    "Sitdown!"criedthelatter,"oryou'llhaveusbothoverboard."TherewasnohelpforitdownsatMr.Podingtonand,aswithagreatsplashhecameheavilyupontheseat,thewaterrosetohiswaist.

    "Ough!"saidhe."Thomas,shoutforhelp."

    "Nousedoingthat,"repliedBuller,stillstandingonhisnauticallegs"Idon'tseeanybody,andIdon'tseeanyboat.We'llgetoutallright.Justyousticktighttothethwart."

    "Thewhat?"feeblyaskedtheother.

    "Oh,theseat,Imean.Wecangettotheshoreallrightifyousteerthehorsestraight.Headhimmoreacrossthepond."

    "Ican'theadhim,"criedPodington."Ihavedroppedthereins!"

    "Goodgracious!"criedMr.Buller,"that'sbad.Can'tyousteerhimbyshouting'Gee'and'Haw'?"

    "No,"saidPodington,"heisn'tanoxbutperhapsIcanstophim."Andwithasmuchvoiceashecouldsummon,hecalledout:"Whoa!"andthehorsestopped.

    "Ifyoucan'tsteerhimanyotherway,"saidBuller,"wemustgetthereins.Lendmeyourwhip."

    "Ihavedroppedthattoo,"saidPodington"thereitfloats."

    "Oh,dear,"saidBuller,"IguessI'llhavetodiveforthemifheweretorunaway,weshouldbeinanawfulfix."

    "Don'tgetout!Don'tgetout!"exclaimedPodington."Youcanreachoverthedashboard."

    "Asthat'sunderwater,"saidBuller,"itwillbethesamethingasdivingbutit'sgottobedone,andI'lltryit.Don'tyoumovenowIammoreusedtowaterthanyouare."

    Mr.Bullertookoffhishatandaskedhisfriendtoholdit.Hethoughtofhiswatchandothercontentsofhispockets,buttherewasnoplacetoputthem,sohegavethemnomoreconsideration.Thenbravelygettingonhiskneesinthewater,heleanedoverthedashboard,almostdisappearingfromsight.WithhisdisengagedhandMr.Podingtongraspedthesubmergedcoattailsofhisfriend.

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    InafewsecondstheupperpartofMr.Bullerrosefromthewater.Hewasdrippingandpuffing,andMr.Podingtoncouldnotbutthinkwhatadifferenceitmadeintheappearanceofhisfriendtohavehishairplasteredclosetohishead.

    "Igotholdofoneofthem,"saidthesputteringBuller,"butitwasfasttosomethingandIcouldn'tgetitloose."

    "Wasitthickandwide?"askedPodington.

    "Yes,"wastheanswer"itdidseemso."

    "Oh,thatwasatrace,"saidPodington"Idon'twantthatthereinsarethinnerandlighter."

    "NowIremembertheyare,"saidBuller."I'llgodownagain."

    AgainMr.Bullerleanedoverthedashboard,andthistimeheremaineddownlonger,andwhenhecameuphepuffedandsputteredmorethanbefore.

    "Isthisit?"saidhe,holdingupastripofwetleather.

    "Yes,"saidPodington,"you'vegotthereins."

    "Well,takethem,andsteer.Iwouldhavefoundthemsoonerifhistailhadnotgotintomyeyes.Thatlongtail'sfloatingdownthereandspreadingitselfoutlikeafanittangleditselfallaroundmyhead.Itwouldhavebeenmucheasierifhehadbeenabobtailedhorse."

    "Nowthen,"saidPodington,"takeyourhat,Thomas,andI'lltrytodrive."

    Mr.Bullerputonhishat,whichwastheonlydrythingabouthim,andthenervousPodingtonstartedthehorsesosuddenlythateventhesealegsofBullerweresurprised,andhecameveryneargoingbackwardintothewaterbutrecoveringhimself,hesatdown.

    "Idon'twonderyoudidnotliketodothis,William,"saidhe."WetasIam,it'sghastly!"

    Encouragedbyhismaster'svoice,andbythefeelingofthefamiliarhanduponhisbit,thehorsemovedbravelyon.

    Butthebottomwasveryroughanduneven.Sometimesthewheelsstruckalargestone,terrifyingMr.Buller,whothoughttheyweregoingtoupsetandsometimestheysankintosoftmud,horrifyingMr.Podington,whothoughttheyweregoingtodrown.

    Thusproceeding,theypresentedastrangesight.AtfirstMr.Podingtonheldhishandsabovethewaterashedrove,buthesoonfoundthisawkward,anddroppedthemtotheirusualposition,sothatnothingwasvisibleabovethewaterbuttheheadandneckofahorseandtheheadsandshouldersoftwomen.

    Nowthesubmarineequipagecametoalowplaceinthebottom,andevenMr.Bullershudderedasthewaterrosetohischin.Podingtongaveahowlofhorror,andthehorse,withhigh,upliftedhead,wasobligedtoswim.Atthismomentaboywithaguncamestrollingalongtheroad,andhearingMr.Podington'scry,hecasthiseyesoverthewater.Instinctivelyheraisedhisweapontohisshoulder,andthen,inaninstant,perceivingthattheobjectshebeheldwerenotaquaticbirds,hedroppedhisgunandranyellingdowntheroadtowardthemill.

    Butthehollowinthebottomwasanarrowone,andwhenitwaspassedthedepthofthewatergraduallydecreased.Thebackofthehorsecameintoview,thedashboardbecamevisible,andthebodiesandthespiritsofthetwomenrapidlyrose.Nowtherewasvigoroussplashingandtugging,andthenajetblackhorse,shiningasifhehadbeennewlyvarnished,pulledadrippingwagoncontaining

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    twowellsoakedmenuponashelvingshore.

    "Oh,Iamchilledtothebones!"saidPodington.

    "Ishouldthinkso,"repliedhisfriend"ifyouhavegottobewet,itisagreatdealpleasanterunderthewater."

    TherewasafieldroadonthissideofthepondwhichPodingtonwellknew,andproceedingalongthistheycametothebridgeandgotintothemainroad.

    "Nowwemustgethomeasfastaswecan,"criedPodington,"orweshallbothtakecold.IwishIhadn'tlostmywhip.Hinow!Getalong!"

    Podingtonwasnowfulloflifeandenergy,hiswheelswereonthehardroad,andhewashimselfagain.

    Whenhefoundhisheadwasturnedtowardhishome,thehorsesetoffatagreatrate.

    "Hithere!"criedPodington."IamsosorryIlostmywhip."

    "Whip!"saidBuller,holdingfasttothesideoftheseat"surelyyoudon'twanthimtogoanyfasterthanthis.Andlookhere,William,"headded,"itseemstomewearemuchmorelikelytotakecoldinourwetclothesifwerushthroughtheairinthisway.Really,itseemstomethathorseisrunningaway."

    "Notabitofit,"criedPodington."Hewantstogethome,andhewantshisdinner.Isn'theafinehorse?Lookhowhestepsout!"

    "Stepsout!"saidBuller,"IthinkI'dliketostepoutmyself.Don'tyouthinkitwouldbewiserformetowalkhome,William?Thatwillwarmmeup."

    "Itwilltakeyouanhour,"saidhisfriend."Staywhereyouare,andI'llhaveyouinadrysuitofclothesinlessthanfifteenminutes."

    "Itellyou,William,"saidMr.Buller,asthetwosatsmokingafterdinner,"whatyououghttodoyoushouldnevergooutdrivingwithoutalifepreserverandapairofoarsIalwaystakethem.Itwouldmakeyoufeelsafer."

    Mr.Bullerwenthomethenextday,becauseMr.Podington'sclothesdidnotfithim,andhisownoutdoorsuitwassoshrunkenastobeuncomfortable.Besides,therewasanotherreason,connectedwiththedesireofhorsestoreachtheirhomes,whichpromptedhisreturn.Buthehadnotforgottenhiscompactwithhisfriend,andinthecourseofaweekhewrotetoPodington,invitinghimtospendsomedayswithhim.Mr.Podingtonwasamanofhonor,andinspiteofhisrecentunfortunatewaterexperiencehewouldnotbreakhisword.HewenttoMr.Buller'sseasidehomeatthetimeappointed.

    Earlyonthemorningafterhisarrival,beforethefamilywereup,Mr.Podingtonwentoutandstrolleddowntotheedgeofthebay.HewenttolookatBuller'sboat.Hewaswellawarethathewouldbeaskedtotakeasail,andasBullerhaddrivenwithhim,itwouldbeimpossibleforhimtodeclinesailingwithBullerbuthemustseetheboat.Therewasatrainforhishomeataquarterpastsevenifhewerenotonthepremiseshecouldnotbeaskedtosail.IfBuller'sboatwerealittle,flimsything,hewouldtakethattrainbuthewouldwaitandsee.

    Therewasonlyonesmallboatanchorednearthebeach,andamanapparentlyafishermaninformedMr.PodingtonthatitbelongedtoMr.Buller.Podingtonlookedatiteagerlyitwasnotverysmallandnotflimsy.

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    "Doyouconsiderthatasafeboat?"heaskedthefisherman.

    "Safe?"repliedtheman."Youcouldnotupsetherifyoutried.Lookatherbreadthofbeam!Youcouldgoanywhereinthatboat!Areyouthinkingofbuyingher?"

    TheideathathewouldthinkofbuyingaboatmadeMr.Podingtonlaugh.Theinformationthatitwouldbeimpossibletoupsetthelittlevesselhadgreatlycheeredhim,andhecouldlaugh.

    ShortlyafterbreakfastMr.Buller,likeanursewithadoseofmedicine,cametoMr.Podingtonwiththeexpectedinvitationtotakeasail.

    "Now,William,"saidhishost,"Iunderstandperfectlyyourfeelingaboutboats,andwhatIwishtoprovetoyouisthatitisafeelingwithoutanyfoundation.Idon'twanttoshockyouormakeyounervous,soIamnotgoingtotakeyououttodayonthebayinmyboat.Youareassafeonthebayasyouwouldbeonlandalittlesafer,perhaps,undercertaincircumstances,towhichwewillnotalludebutstillitissometimesalittlerough,andthis,atfirst,mightcauseyousomeuneasiness,andsoIamgoingtoletyoubeginyoureducationinthesailinglineonperfectlysmoothwater.Aboutthreemilesbackofusthereisaveryprettylakeseveralmileslong.Itispartofthecanalsystemwhichconnectsthetownwiththerailroad.Ihavesentmyboattothetown,andwecanwalkupthereandgobythecanaltothelakeitisonlyaboutthreemiles."

    Ifhehadtosailatall,thiskindofsailingsuitedMr.Podington.Acanal,aquietlake,andaboatwhichcouldnotbeupset.Whentheyreachedthetowntheboatwasinthecanal,readyforthem.

    "Now,"saidMr.Buller,"yougetinandmakeyourselfcomfortable.Myideaistohitchontoacanalboatandbetowedtothelake.Theboatsgenerallystartaboutthistimeinthemorning,andIwillgoandseeaboutit."

    Mr.Podington,underthedirectionofhisfriend,tookaseatinthesternofthesailboat,andthenheremarked:

    "Thomas,haveyoualifepreserveronboard?YouknowIamnotusedtoanykindofvessel,andIamclumsy.Nothingmighthappentotheboat,butImighttripandfalloverboard,andIcan'tswim."

    "Allright,"saidBuller"here'salifepreserver,andyoucanputiton.Iwantyoutofeelperfectlysafe.NowIwillgoandseeaboutthetow."

    ButMr.Bullerfoundthatthecanalboatswouldnotstartattheirusualtimetheloadingofoneofthemwasnotfinished,andhewasinformedthathemighthavetowaitforanhourormore.ThisdidnotsuitMr.Bulleratall,andhedidnothesitatetoshowhisannoyance.

    "Itellyou,sir,whatyoucando,"saidoneofthemeninchargeoftheboats"ifyoudon'twanttowaittillwearereadytostart,we'llletyouhaveaboyandahorsetotowyouuptothelake.Thatwon'tcostyoumuch,andthey'llbebackbeforewewant'em."

    Thebargainwasmade,andMr.Bullerjoyfullyreturnedtohisboatwiththeintelligencethattheywerenottowaitforthecanalboats.Alongrope,withahorseattachedtotheotherendofit,wasspeedilymadefasttotheboat,andwithaboyattheheadofthehorse,theystartedupthecanal.

    "NowthisisthekindofsailingIlike,"saidMr.Podington."IfIlivednearacanalIbelieveIwouldbuyaboatandtrainmyhorsetotow.Icouldhavealongpairofropelinesanddrivehimmyselfthenwhentheroadswereroughandbadthecanalwouldalwaysbesmooth."

    "Thisisallverynice,"repliedMr.Buller,whosatbythetillertokeeptheboatawayfromthebank,"andIamgladtoseeyouinaboatunderanycircumstances.Doyouknow,William,thatalthoughIdidnotplanit,therecouldnothavebeenabetterwaytobeginyoursailingeducation.Hereweglide

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    along,slowlyandgently,withnopossiblethoughtofdanger,foriftheboatshouldsuddenlyspringaleak,asifitwerethebodyofawagon,allwewouldhavetodowouldbetosteponshore,andbythetimeyougettotheendofthecanalyouwilllikethisgentlemotionsomuchthatyouwillbeperfectlyreadytobeginthesecondstageofyournauticaleducation."

    "Yes,"saidMr.Podington."Howlongdidyousaythiscanalis?"

    "Aboutthreemiles,"answeredhisfriend."Thenwewillgointothelockandinafewminutesweshallbeonthelake."

    "SofarasIamconcerned,"saidMr.Podington,"Iwishthecanalweretwelvemileslong.Icannotimagineanythingpleasanterthanthis.IfIlivedanywherenearacanalalongcanal,Imean,thisoneistooshortI'd"

    "Come,comenow,"interruptedBuller."Don'tbecontenttostayintheprimaryschooljustbecauseitiseasy.WhenwegetonthelakeIwillshowyouthatinaboat,withagentlebreeze,suchaswearelikelytohavetoday,youwillfindthemotionquiteaspleasing,andeversomuchmoreinspiriting.Ishouldnotbeabitsurprised,William,ifafteryouhavebeentwoorthreetimesonthelakeyouwillaskmeyes,positivelyaskmetotakeyououtonthebay!"

    Mr.Podingtonsmiled,andleaningbackward,helookedupatthebeautifulbluesky.

    "Youcan'tgivemeanythingbetterthanthis,Thomas,"saidhe"butyouneedn'tthinkIamweakeningyoudrovewithme,andIwillsailwithyou."

    ThethoughtcameintoBuller'smindthathehaddonebothofthesethingswithPodington,buthedidnotwishtocallupunpleasantmemories,andsaidnothing.

    Abouthalfamilefromthetowntherestoodasmallcottagewherehousecleaningwasgoingon,andonafence,notfarfromthecanal,therehungacarpetgailyadornedwithstripesandspotsofredandyellow.

    Whenthedrowsytowhorsecameabreastofthehouse,andthecarpetcaughthiseye,hesuddenlystoppedandgaveastarttowardthecanal.Then,impressedwithahorroroftheglaringapparition,hegatheredhimselfup,andwithabounddashedalongthetowpath.Theastoundedboygaveashout,butwasspeedilyleftbehind.TheboatofMr.Bullershotforwardasifshehadbeenstruckbyasquall.

    Theterrifiedhorsespedonasifaredandyellowdemonwereafterhim.Theboatbounded,andplunged,andfrequentlystruckthegrassybankofthecanal,asifitwouldbreakitselftopieces.Mr.Podingtonclutchedtheboomtokeephimselffrombeingthrownout,whileMr.Buller,bothhandsuponthetiller,franticallyendeavoredtokeeptheboatfromthebank.

    "William!"hescreamed,"heisrunningawaywithusweshallbedashedtopieces!Can'tyougetforwardandcastoffthatline?"

    "Whatdoyoumean?"criedPodington,astheboomgaveagreatjerkasifitwouldbreakitsfasteningsanddraghimoverboard.

    "Imeanuntiethetowline.We'llbesmashedifyoudon't!Ican'tleavethistiller.Don'ttrytostandupholdontotheboomandcreepforward.Steadynow,oryou'llbeoverboard!"

    Mr.Podingtonstumbledtothebowoftheboat,hiseffortsgreatlyimpededbythebigcorklifepreservertiedunderhisarms,andthemotionoftheboatwassoviolentanderraticthathewasobligedtoholdontothemastwithonearmandtotrytoloosentheknotwiththeotherbuttherewasagreatstrainontherope,andhecoulddonothingwithonehand.

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    "Cutit!Cutit!"criedMr.Buller.

    "Ihaven'taknife,"repliedPodington.

    Mr.Bullerwasterriblyfrightenedhisboatwascuttingthroughthewaterasnevervesselofherclasshadspedsincesailboatswereinvented,andbumpingagainstthebankasifshewereabilliardballreboundingfromtheedgeofatable.Heforgothewasinaboatheonlyknewthatforthefirsttimeinhislifehewasinarunaway.Heletgothetiller.Itwasofnousetohim.

    "William,"hecried,"letusjumpoutthenexttimewearenearenoughtoshore!"

    "Don'tdothat!Don'tdothat!"repliedPodington."Don'tjumpoutinarunawaythatisthewaytogethurt.Sticktoyourseat,myboyhecan'tkeepthisupmuchlonger.He'lllosehiswind!"

    Mr.Podingtonwasgreatlyexcited,buthewasnotfrightened,asBullerwas.Hehadbeeninarunawaybefore,andhecouldnothelpthinkinghowmuchbetterawagonwasthanaboatinsuchacase.

    "IfhewerehitchedupshorterandIhadasnafflebitandastoutpairofreins,"thoughthe,"Icouldsoonbringhimup."

    ButMr.Bullerwasrapidlylosinghiswits.Thehorseseemedtobegoingfasterthanever.Theboatbumpedharderagainstthebank,andatonetimeBullerthoughttheycouldturnover.

    Suddenlyathoughtstruckhim.

    "William,"heshouted,"tipthatanchorovertheside!Throwitin,anyway!"

    Mr.Podingtonlookedabouthim,and,almostunderhisfeet,sawtheanchor.HedidnotinstantlycomprehendwhyBullerwanteditthrownoverboard,butthiswasnotatimetoaskquestions.Thedifficultiesimposedbythelifepreserver,andthenecessityofholdingonwithonehand,interferedverymuchwithhisgettingattheanchorandthrowingitovertheside,butatlasthesucceeded,andjustastheboatthrewupherbowasifshewereabouttojumponshore,theanchorwentoutanditslineshotafterit.Therewasanirregulartremblingoftheboatastheanchorstruggledalongthebottomofthecanalthentherewasagreatshocktheboatranintothebankandstoppedthetowlinewastightenedlikeaguitarstring,andthehorse,jerkedbackwithgreatviolence,cametumblinginaheapupontheground.

    InstantlyMr.Podingtonwasontheshoreandrunningatthetopofhisspeedtowardthehorse.TheastoundedanimalhadscarcelybeguntostruggletohisfeetwhenPodingtonrusheduponhim,pressedhisheadbacktotheground,andsatuponit.

    "Hurrah!"hecried,wavinghishatabovehishead."Getout,Bullerheisallrightnow!"

    PresentlyMr.Bullerapproached,verymuchshakenup.

    "Allright?"hesaid."Idon'tcallahorseflatinaroadwithamanonhisheadallrightbutholdhimdowntillwegethimloosefrommyboat.Thatisthethingtodo.William,casthimloosefromtheboatbeforeyoulethimup!Whatwillhedowhenhegetsup?"

    "Oh.he'llbequietenoughwhenhegetsup,"saidPodington."Butifyou'vegotaknifeyoucancuthistracesImeanthatropebutno,youneedn't.Herecomestheboy.We'llsettlethisbusinessinveryshortordernow."

    Whenthehorsewasonhisfeet,andallconnectionbetweentheanimalandtheboathadbeensevered,Mr.Podingtonlookedathisfriend.

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    "Thomas,"saidhe,"youseemtohavehadahardtimeofit.Youhavelostyourhatandyoulookasifyouhadbeeninawrestlingmatch."

    "Ihave,"repliedtheother"IwrestledwiththattillerandIwonderitdidn'tthrowmeout."

    Nowapproachedtheboy."ShallIhitchhimonagain,sir?"saidhe."He'squietenoughnow."

    "No,"criedMr.Buller"Iwantnomoresailingafterahorse,and,besides,wecan'tgoonthelakewiththatboatshehasbeenbatteredaboutsomuchthatshemusthaveopenedadozenseams.Thebestthingwecandoistowalkhome."

    Mr.Podingtonagreedwithhisfriendthatwalkinghomewasthebestthingtheycoulddo.Theboatwasexaminedandfoundtobeleaking,butnotverybadly,andwhenhermasthadbeenunshippedandeverythinghadbeenmadetightandrightonboard,shewaspulledoutofthewayoftowlinesandboats,andmadefastuntilshecouldbesentforfromthetown.

    Mr.BullerandMr.Podingtonwalkedbacktowardthetown.Theyhadnotgoneveryfarwhentheymetapartyofboys,who,uponseeingthem,burstintounseemlylaughter.

    "Mister,"criedoneofthem,"youneedn'tbeafraidoftumblingintothecanal.Whydon'tyoutakeoffyourlifepreserverandletthatothermanputitonhishead?"

    Thetwofriendslookedateachotherandcouldnothelpjoininginthelaughteroftheboys.

    "ByGeorge!Iforgotallaboutthis,"saidPodington,asheunfastenedthecorkjacket."Itdoeslookalittlesupertimidtowearalifepreserverjustbecauseonehappenstobewalkingbythesideofacanal."

    Mr.Bullertiedahandkerchiefonhishead,andMr.Podingtonrolleduphislifepreserverandcarrieditunderhisarm.Thustheyreachedthetown,whereBullerboughtahat,Podingtondispensedwithhisbundle,andarrangementsweremadetobringbacktheboat.

    "Runawayinasailboat!"exclaimedoneofthecanalboatmenwhenhehadheardabouttheaccident."Uponmyword!Thatbeatsanythingthatcouldhappentoaman!"

    "No,itdoesn't,"repliedMr.Buller,quietly."Ihavegonetothebottominafounderedroadwagon."

    Themanlookedathimfixedly.

    "Wasyoueverstruckinthemudinaballoon?"heasked.

    "Notyet,"repliedMr.Buller.

    ItrequiredtendaystoputMr.Buller'ssailboatintopropercondition,andfortendaysMr.Podingtonstayedwithhisfriend,andenjoyedhisvisitverymuch.Theystrolledonthebeach,theytooklongwalksinthebackcountry,theyfishedfromtheendofapier,theysmoked,theytalked,andwerehappyandcontent.

    "Thomas,"saidMr.Podington,onthelasteveningofhisstay,"IhaveenjoyedmyselfverymuchsinceIhavebeendownhere,andnow,Thomas,ifIweretocomedownagainnextsummer,wouldyoumindwouldyoumind,not"

    "Iwouldnotminditabit,"repliedBuller,promptly."I'llneversomuchasmentionitsoyoucancomealongwithoutathoughtofit.Andsinceyouhavealludedtothesubject,William,"hecontinued,"I'dlikeverymuchtocomeandseeyouagainyouknowmyvisitwasaveryshortone

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    thisyear.Thatisabeautifulcountryyoulivein.Suchavarietyofscenery,suchanopportunityforwalksandrambles!But,William,ifyoucouldonlymakeupyourmindnotto"

    "Oh,thatisallright!"exclaimedPodington."Idonotneedtomakeupmymind.Youcometomyhouseandyouwillneversomuchashearofit.Here'smyhanduponit!"

    "Andhere'smine!"saidMr.Buller.

    Andtheyshookhandsoveranewcompact.

    COLONELSTARBOTTLEFORTHEPLAINTIFF

    ByBretHarte(18391902)

    [FromHarper'sMagazine,March,1901.Republishedinthevolume,OpeningsintheOldTrail(1902),byBretHartecopyright,1902,byHoughtonMifflinCompany,theauthorizedpublishersofBretHarte'scompleteworksreprintedbytheirpermission.]

    IthadbeenadayoftriumphforColonelStarbottle.First,forhispersonality,asitwouldhavebeendifficulttoseparatetheColonel'sachievementsfromhisindividualitysecond,forhisoratoricalabilitiesasasympatheticpleaderandthird,forhisfunctionsastheleadingcounselfortheEurekaDitchCompanyversustheStateofCalifornia.OnhisstrictlylegalperformancesinthisissueIprefernottospeaktherewerethosewhodeniedthem,althoughthejuryhadacceptedtheminthefaceoftherulingofthehalfamused,halfcynicalJudgehimself.ForanhourtheyhadlaughedwiththeColonel,weptwithhim,beenstirredtopersonalindignationorpatrioticexaltationbyhispassionateandloftyperiodswhatelsecouldtheydothangivehimtheirverdict?IfitwasallegedbysomethattheAmericaneagle,ThomasJefferson,andtheResolutionsof'98hadnothingwhatevertodowiththecontestofaditchcompanyoveradoubtfullywordedlegislativedocumentthatwholesaleabuseoftheStateAttorneyandhispoliticalmotiveshadnottheslightestconnectionwiththelegalquestionraiseditwas,nevertheless,generallyacceptedthatthelosingpartywouldhavebeenonlytoogladtohavetheColonelontheirside.AndColonelStarbottleknewthis,as,perspiring,florid,andpanting,herebuttonedthelowerbuttonsofhisbluefrockcoat,whichhadbecomeloosedinanoratoricalspasm,andreadjustedhisoldfashioned,spotlessshirtfrillaboveitashestruttedfromthecourtroomamidstthehandshakingsandacclamationsofhisfriends.

    Andhereanunprecedentedthingoccurred.TheColonelabsolutelydeclinedspirituousrefreshmentattheneighboringPalmettoSaloon,anddeclaredhisintentionofproceedingdirectlytohisofficeintheadjoiningsquare.NeverthelesstheColonelquittedthebuildingalone,andapparentlyunarmedexceptforhisfaithfulgoldheadedstick,whichhungasusualfromhisforearm.Thecrowdgazedafterhimwithundisguisedadmirationofthisnewevidenceofhispluck.ItwasrememberedalsothatamysteriousnotehadbeenhandedtohimattheconclusionofhisspeechevidentlyachallengefromtheStateAttorney.ItwasquiteplainthattheColonelapractisedduellistwashasteninghometoanswerit.

    Buthereintheywerewrong.Thenotewasinafemalehand,andsimplyrequestedtheColoneltoaccordaninterviewwiththewriterattheColonel'sofficeassoonasheleftthecourt.ButitwasanengagementthattheColonelasdevotedtothefairsexashewastothe"code"wasnolesspromptinaccepting.Heflickedawaythedustfromhisspotlesswhitetrousersandvarnishedbootswithhishandkerchief,andsettledhisblackcravatunderhisByroncollarashenearedhisoffice.Hewassurprised,however,onopeningthedoorofhisprivateofficetofindhisvisitoralreadytherehewasstillmorestartledtofindhersomewhatpastmiddleageandplainlyattired.ButtheColonelwasbroughtupinaschoolofSouthernpoliteness,alreadyantiqueintherepublic,andhisbowofcourtesy

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    belongedtotheepochofhisshirtfrillandstrappedtrousers.Noonecouldhavedetectedhisdisappointmentinhismanner,albeithissentenceswereshortandincomplete.ButtheColonel'scolloquialspeechwasapttobefragmentaryincoherenciesofhislargeroratoricalutterances.

    "Athousandpardonsforerhavingkeptaladywaitinger!Butercongratulationsoffriendsandercourtesyduetothemerinterferedwiththoughperhapsonlyheightenedbyprocrastinationpleasureofha!"AndtheColonelcompletedhissentencewithagallantwaveofhisfatbutwhiteandwellkepthand.

    "Yes!Icametoseeyoualongo'thatspeechofyours.Iwasincourt.WhenIheardyougettin'itoffonthatjury,Isaystomyselfthat'sthekindo'lawyerIwant.Amanthat'sfloweryandconvincin'!Justthemantotakeupourcase."

    "Ah!It'samatterofbusiness,Isee,"saidtheColonel,inwardlyrelieved,butexternallycareless."AndermayIaskthenatureofthecase?"

    "Well!it'sabreacho'promisesuit,"saidthevisitor,calmly.

    IftheColonelhadbeensurprisedbefore,hewasnowreallystartled,andwithanaddedhorrorthatrequiredallhispolitenesstoconceal.Breachofpromisecaseswerehispeculiaraversion.Hehadalwaysheldthemtobeakindoflitigationwhichcouldhavebeenobviatedbythepromptkillingofthemasculineoffenderinwhichcasehewouldhavegladlydefendedthekiller.Butasuitfordamages!damages!withthereadingoflovelettersbeforeahilariousjuryandcourt,wasagainstallhisinstincts.Hischivalrywasoutragedhissenseofhumorwassmallandinthecourseofhiscareerhehadlostoneortwoimportantcasesthroughanunexpecteddevelopmentofthisqualityinajury.

    Thewomanhadevidentlynoticedhishesitation,butmistookitscause."Itain'tmebutmydarter."

    TheColonelrecoveredhispoliteness."Ah!Iamrelieved,mydearmadam!Icouldhardlyconceiveamanignorantenoughtoererthrowawaysuchevidentgoodfortuneorbaseenoughtodeceivethetrustfulnessofwomanhoodmaturedandexperiencedonlyinthechivalryofoursex,ha!"

    Thewomansmiledgrimly."Yes!it'smydarter,ZaideeHookersoyemightsparesomeofthemprettyspeechesforherbeforethejury."

    TheColonelwincedslightlybeforethisdoubtfulprospect,butsmiled."Ha!Yes!certainlythejury.Butermydearlady,needwegoasfarasthat?Cannotthisaffairbesettlederoutofcourt?Couldnotthiserindividualbeadmonishedtoldthathemustgivesatisfactionpersonalsatisfactionforhisdastardlyconducttoernearrelativeorevenvaluedpersonalfriend?TheerarrangementsnecessaryforthatpurposeImyselfwouldundertake."

    Hewasquitesincereindeed,hissmallblackeyesshonewiththatfirewhichaprettywomanoran"affairofhonor"couldalonekindle.Thevisitorstaredvacantlyathim,andsaid,slowly:

    "Andwhatgoodisthatgoin'todous?"

    "Compelhimtoerperformhispromise,"saidtheColonel,leaningbackinhischair.

    "Ketchhimdoin'it!"saidthewoman,scornfully."Nothatain'twotwe'reafter.Wemustmakehimpay!Damagesandnothin'shorto'that."

    TheColonelbithislip."Isuppose,"hesaid,gloomily,"youhavedocumentaryevidencewrittenpromisesandprotestationsererloveletters,infact?"

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    "Nonaryaletter!Yesee,that'sjestitandthat'swhereyoucomein.You'vegottoconvincethatjuryyourself.You'vegottoshowwhatitistellthewholestoryyourownway.Lord!toamanlikeyouthat'snothin'."

    Startlingasthisadmissionmighthavebeentoanyotherlawyer,Starbottlewasabsolutelyrelievedbyit.Theabsenceofanymirthprovokingcorrespondence,andtheappealsolelytohisownpowersofpersuasion,actuallystruckhisfancy.Helightlyputasidethecomplimentwithawaveofhiswhitehand.

    "Ofcourse,"saidtheColonel,confidently,"thereisstronglypresumptiveandcorroborativeevidence?Perhapsyoucangivemeerabriefoutlineoftheaffair?"

    "Zaideekindothatstraightenough,Ireckon,"saidthewoman"whatIwanttoknowfirstis,kinyoutakethecase?"

    TheColoneldidnothesitatehiscuriositywaspiqued."Icertainlycan.Ihavenodoubtyourdaughterwillputmeinpossessionofsufficientfactsanddetailstoconstitutewhatwecallerabrief."

    "Shekinbebriefenoughorlongenoughforthematterofthat,"saidthewoman,rising.TheColonelacceptedthisimpliedwitticismwithasmile.

    "AndwhenmayIhavethepleasureofseeingher?"heasked,politely.

    "Well,IreckonassoonasIcantrotoutandcallher.She'sjustoutside,meanderin'intheroadkindershy,yeknow,atfirst."

    Shewalkedtothedoor.TheastoundedColonelneverthelessgallantlyaccompaniedherasshesteppedoutintothestreetandcalled,shrilly,"YouZaidee!"

    Ayounggirlhereapparentlydetachedherselffromatreeandtheostentatiousperusalofanoldelectionposter,andsauntereddowntowardstheofficedoor.Likehermother,shewasplainlydressedunlikeher,shehadapale,ratherrefinedface,withademuremouthanddowncasteyes.ThiswasalltheColonelsawashebowedprofoundlyandledthewayintohisoffice,forsheacceptedhissalutationswithoutliftingherhead.Hehelpedhergallantlytoachair,onwhichsheseatedherselfsideways,somewhatceremoniously,withhereyesfollowingthepointofherparasolasshetracedapatternonthecarpet.Asecondchairofferedtothemotherthatlady,however,declined."IreckontoleaveyouandZaideetogethertotalkitout,"shesaidturningtoherdaughter,sheadded,"Jestyoutellhimall,Zaidee,"andbeforetheColonelcouldriseagain,disappearedfromtheroom.Inspiteofhisprofessionalexperience,Starbottlewasforamomentembarrassed.Theyounggirl,however,brokethesilencewithoutlookingup.

    "AdoniramK.Hotchkiss,"shebegan,inamonotonousvoice,asifitwerearecitationaddressedtothepublic,"firstbegantotakenoticeofmeayearago.Arterthatoffandon"

    "Onemoment,"interruptedtheastoundedColonel"doyoumeanHotchkissthePresidentoftheDitchCompany?"Hehadrecognizedthenameofaprominentcitizenarigidascetic,taciturn,middleagedmanadeaconandmorethanthat,theheadofthecompanyhehadjustdefended.Itseemedinconceivable.

    "That'shim,"shecontinued,witheyesstillfixedontheparasolandwithoutchanginghermonotonoustone"offandoneversince.MostofthetimeattheFreeWillBaptistchurchatmorningservice,prayermeetings,andsuch.Andathomeoutsideerintheroad."

    "IsitthisgentlemanMr.AdoniramK.Hotchkisswhoerpromisedmarriage?"stammeredtheColonel.

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    "Yes."

    TheColonelshifteduneasilyinhischair."Mostextraordinary!foryouseemydearyoungladythisbecomesaermostdelicateaffair."

    "That'swhatmawsaid,"returnedtheyoungwoman,simply,yetwiththefaintestsmileplayingaroundherdemurelipsanddowncastcheek.

    "Imean,"saidtheColonel,withapainedyetcourteoussmile,"thatthisergentlemanisinfacteroneofmyclients."

    "That'swhatmawsaid,too,andofcourseyourknowinghimwillmakeitalltheeasierforyou,"saidtheyoungwoman.

    AslightflushcrossedtheColonel'scheekashereturnedquicklyandalittlestiffly,"Onthecontraryeritmaymakeitimpossibleformetoeractinthismatter."

    Thegirlliftedhereyes.TheColonelheldhisbreathasthelonglasheswereraisedtohislevel.Eventoanordinaryobserverthatsuddenrevelationofhereyesseemedtotransformherfacewithsubtlewitchery.Theywerelarge,brown,andsoft,yetfilledwithanextraordinarypenetrationandprescience.Theyweretheeyesofanexperiencedwomanofthirtyfixedinthefaceofachild.WhatelsetheColonelsawthereHeavenonlyknows!Hefelthisinmostsecretspluckedfromhimhiswholesoullaidbarehisvanity,belligerency,gallantryevenhismedievalchivalry,penetrated,andyetilluminated,inthatsingleglance.Andwhentheeyelidsfellagain,hefeltthatagreaterpartofhimselfhadbeenswallowedupinthem.

    "Ibegyourpardon,"hesaid,hurriedly."Imeanthismattermaybearrangederamicably.MyinterestwithandasyouwiselysaymyerknowledgeofmyclienterMr.Hotchkissmayaffectacompromise."

    "Anddamages,"saidtheyounggirl,readdressingherparasol,asifshehadneverlookedup.

    TheColonelwinced."Anderundoubtedlycompensationifyoudonotpressafulfilmentofthepromise.Unless,"hesaid,withanattemptedreturntohisformereasygallantry,which,however,therecollectionofhereyesmadedifficult,"itisaquestionofertheaffections?"

    "Which?"saidhisfairclient,softly.

    "Ifyoustilllovehim?"explainedtheColonel,actuallyblushing.

    ZaideeagainlookedupagaintakingtheColonel'sbreathawaywitheyesthatexpressednotonlythefullestperceptionofwhathehadsaid,butofwhathethoughtandhadnotsaid,andwithanaddedsubtlesuggestionofwhathemighthavethought."That'stellin',"shesaid,droppingherlonglashesagain.TheColonellaughedvacantly.Thenfeelinghimselfgrowingimbecile,heforcedanequallyweakgravity."PardonmeIunderstandtherearenolettersmayIknowthewayinwhichheformulatedhisdeclarationandpromises?"

    "Hymnbooks,"saidthegirl,briefly.

    "Ibegyourpardon,"saidthemystifiedlawyer.

    "Hymnbooksmarkedwordsinthemwithpencilandpassed'emontome,"repeatedZaidee."Like'love,''dear,''precious,''sweet,'and'blessed,'"sheadded,accentingeachwordwithapushofherparasolonthecarpet."SometimesawholelineouterTateandBradyandSolomon'sSong,youknow,andsich."

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    "Ibelieve,"saidtheColonel,loftily,"thattheerphrasesofsacredpsalmodylendthemselvestothelanguageoftheaffections.Butinregardtothedistinctpromiseofmarriagewasthereernootherexpression?"

    "MarriageServiceintheprayerbooklinesandwordsouterthatallmarked,"saidZaidee.TheColonelnoddednaturallyandapprovingly."Verygood.Wereotherscognizantofthis?Werethereanywitnesses?"

    "Ofcoursenot,"saidthegirl."Onlymeandhim.Itwasgenerallyatchurchtimeorprayermeeting.Once,inpassingtheplate,heslippedoneo'thempeppermintlozengeswiththelettersstampedonit'Iloveyou'formetotake."

    TheColonelcoughedslightly."Andyouhavethelozenge?"

    "Iateit,"saidthegirl,simply.

    "Ah,"saidtheColonel.Afterapauseheadded,delicately:"Butweretheseattentionserconfinedtoersacredprecincts?Didhemeetyouelsewhere?"

    "Useterpassourhouseontheroad,"returnedthegirl,droppingintohermonotonousrecital,"andusetersignal."

    "Ah,signal?"repeatedtheColonel,approvingly.

    "Yes!He'dsay'Kerrow,'andI'dsay'Kerree.'Suthinglikeabird,youknow."

    Indeed,assheliftedhervoiceinimitationofthecalltheColonelthoughtitcertainlyverysweetandbirdlike.Atleastasshegaveit.Withhisremembranceofthegrimdeaconhehaddoubtsastothemelodiousnessofhisutterance.Hegravelymadeherrepeatit.

    "Andafterthatsignal?"headded,suggestively.

    "He'dpasson,"saidthegirl.

    TheColonelcoughedslightly,andtappedhisdeskwithhispenholder.

    "Werethereanyendearmentsercaressesersuchastakingyourhanderclaspingyourwaist?"hesuggested,withagallantyetrespectfulsweepofhiswhitehandandbowingofhishead"erslightpressureofyourfingersinthechangesofadanceImean,"hecorrectedhimself,withanapologeticcough"inthepassingoftheplate?"

    "Nohewasnotwhatyou'dcall'fond,'"returnedthegirl.

    "Ah!AdoniramK.Hotchkisswasnot'fond'intheordinaryacceptanceoftheword,"saidtheColonel,withprofessionalgravity.

    Sheliftedherdisturbingeyes,andagainabsorbedhisinherown.Shealsosaid"Yes,"althoughhereyesintheirmysteriousprescienceofallhewasthinkingdisclaimedthenecessityofanyansweratall.Hesmiledvacantly.Therewasalongpause.Onwhichsheslowlydisengagedherparasolfromthecarpetpatternandstoodup.

    "Ireckonthat'saboutall,"shesaid.

    "Eryesbutonemoment,"saidtheColonel,vaguely.Hewouldhavelikedtokeepherlonger,butwithherstrangepremonitionofhimhefeltpowerlesstodetainher,orexplainhisreasonfordoingso.

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    Heinstinctivelyknewshehadtoldhimallhisprofessionaljudgmenttoldhimthatamorehopelesscasehadnevercometohisknowledge.Yethewasnotdaunted,onlyembarrassed."Nomatter,"hesaid,vaguely."OfcourseIshallhavetoconsultwithyouagain."Hereyesagainansweredthatsheexpectedhewould,butsheadded,simply,"When?"

    "Inthecourseofadayortwo,"saidtheColonel,quickly."Iwillsendyouword."Sheturnedtogo.Inhiseagernesstoopenthedoorforherheupsethischair,andwithsomeconfusion,thatwasactuallyyouthful,healmostimpededhermovementsinthehall,andknockedhisbroadbrimmedPanamahatfromhisbowinghandinafinalgallantsweep.Yetashersmall,trim,youthfulfigure,withitssimpleLeghornstrawhatconfinedbyabluebowunderherroundchin,passedawaybeforehim,shelookedmorelikeachildthanever.

    TheColonelspentthatafternooninmakingdiplomaticinquiries.Hefoundhisyouthfulclientwasthedaughterofawidowwhohadasmallranchonthecrossroads,nearthenewFreeWillBaptistchurchtheevidenttheatreofthispastoral.Theyledasecludedlifethegirlbeinglittleknowninthetown,andherbeautyandfascinationapparentlynotyetbeingarecognizedfact.TheColonelfeltapleasurablereliefatthis,andageneralsatisfactionhecouldnotaccountfor.HisfewinquiriesconcerningMr.Hotchkissonlyconfirmedhisownimpressionsoftheallegedloveraseriousminded,practicallyabstractedmanabstentiveofyouthfulsociety,andthelastmanapparentlycapableoflevityoftheaffectionsorseriousflirtation.TheColonelwasmystifiedbutdeterminedofpurposewhateverthatpurposemighthavebeen.

    Thenextdayhewasathisofficeatthesamehour.HewasaloneasusualtheColonel'sofficereallybeinghisprivatelodgings,disposedinconnectingrooms,asingleapartmentreservedforconsultation.Hehadnoclerkhispapersandbriefsbeingtakenbyhisfaithfulbodyservantandexslave"Jim"toanotherfirmwhodidhisofficeworksincethedeathofMajorStrykertheColonel'sonlylawpartner,whofellinaduelsomeyearsprevious.WithafineconstancytheColonelstillretainedhispartner'snameonhisdoorplateand,itwasallegedbythesuperstitious,keptacertaininvincibilityalsothroughthemanesofthatlamentedandsomewhatfearedman.

    TheColonelconsultedhiswatch,whoseheavygoldcasestillshowedthemarksofaprovidentialinterferencewithabulletdestinedforitsowner,andreplaceditwithsomedifficultyandshortnessofbreathinhisfob.Atthesamemomentheheardastepinthepassage,andthedooropenedtoAdoniramK.Hotchkiss.TheColonelwasimpressedhehadaduellist'srespectforpunctuality.

    Themanenteredwithanodandtheexpectant,inquiringlookofabusyman.AshisfeetcrossedthatsacredthresholdtheColonelbecameallcourtesyheplacedachairforhisvisitor,andtookhishatfromhishalfreluctanthand.Hethenopenedacupboardandbroughtoutabottleofwhiskeyandtwoglasses.

    "Aerslightrefreshment,Mr.Hotchkiss,"hesuggested,politely."Ineverdrink,"repliedHotchkiss,withthesevereattitudeofatotalabstainer."Ahernotthefinestbourbonwhiskey,selectedbyaKentuckyfriend?No?Pardonme!Acigar,thenthemildestHavana."

    "Idonotusetobacconoralcoholinanyform,"repeatedHotchkiss,ascetically."Ihavenofoolishweaknesses."

    TheColonel'smoist,beadyeyessweptsilentlyoverhisclient'ssallowface.Heleanedbackcomfortablyinhischair,andhalfclosinghiseyesasindreamyreminiscence,said,slowly:"Yourreply,Mr.Hotchkiss,remindsmeofersing'larcircumstancesthateroccurred,inpointoffactattheSt.CharlesHotel,NewOrleans.PinkeyHornblowerpersonalfriendinvitedSenatorDoolittletojoinhiminsocialglass.Received,sing'larlyenough,replysimilartoyours.'Don'tdrinknorsmoke?'saidPinkey.'Gad,sir,youmustbemightysweetontheladies.'Ha!"TheColonelpausedlongenoughtoallowthefaintflushtopassfromHotchkiss'scheek,andwenton,halfclosinghiseyes:"'Iallownoman,sir,todiscussmypersonalhabits,'saidDoolittle,overhisshirtcollar.'ThenI

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    reckonshootin'mustbeoneofthosehabits,'saidPinkey,coolly.BothmendroveoutontheShellRoadbackofcemeterynextmorning.PinkeyputbulletattwelvepacesthroughDoolittle'stemple.PoorDooneverspokeagain.Leftthreewivesandsevenchildren,theysaytwoof'emblack."

    "Igotanotefromyouthismorning,"saidHotchkiss,withbadlyconcealedimpatience."Isupposeinreferencetoourcase.Youhavetakenjudgment,Ibelieve."TheColonel,withoutreplying,slowlyfilledaglassofwhiskeyandwater.Foramomenthehelditdreamilybeforehim,asifstillengagedingentlereminiscencescalledupbytheact.Thentossingitoff,hewipedhislipswithalargewhitehandkerchief,andleaningbackcomfortablyinhischair,said,withawaveofhishand,"TheinterviewIrequested,Mr.Hotchkiss,concernsasubjectwhichImaysayisereratpresentnotofapublicorbusinessnaturealthoughlateritmightbecomeererboth.Itisanaffairofsomeerdelicacy."

    TheColonelpaused,andMr.Hotchkissregardedhimwithincreasedimpatience.TheColonel,however,continued,withunchangeddeliberation:"Itconcernserayoungladyabeautiful,highsouledcreature,sir,who,apartfromherpersonallovelinessererImaysayisofoneofthefirstfamiliesofMissouri,andernotremotelyconnectedbymarriagewithoneoferermyboyhood'sdearestfriends.Thelatter,Igrievetosay,wasapureinventionoftheColonel'sanoratoricaladditiontothescantyinformationhehadobtainedthepreviousday.Theyounglady,"hecontinued,blandly,"enjoysthefurtherdistinctionofbeingtheobjectofsuchattentionfromyouaswouldmakethisinterviewreallyaconfidentialmatterereramongfriendsandererrelationsinpresentandfuture.IneednotsaythattheladyIrefertoisMissZaideeJunoHooker,onlydaughterofAlmiraAnnHooker,relictofJeffersonBrownHooker,formerlyofBooneCounty,Kentucky,andlatterlyoferPikeCounty,Missouri."

    Thesallow,ascetichueofMr.Hotchkiss'sfacehadpassedthroughalividandthenagreenishshade,andfinallysettledintoasullenred."What'sallthisabout?"hedemanded,roughly.TheleasttouchofbelligerentfirecameintoStarbottle'seye,buthisblandcourtesydidnotchange."Ibelieve,"hesaid,politely,"Ihavemademyselfclearasbetweenergentlemen,thoughperhapsnotasclearasIshouldtoererjury."

    Mr.Hotchkisswasapparentlystruckwithsomesignificanceinthelawyer'sreply."Idon'tknow,"hesaid,inalowerandmorecautiousvoice,"whatyoumeanbywhatyoucall'myattentions'toanyoneorhowitconcernsyou.Ihavenotexhaustedhalfadozenwordswiththepersonyounamehaveneverwrittenheralinenorevencalledatherhouse."Herosewithanassumptionofease,pulleddownhiswaistcoat,buttonedhiscoat,andtookuphishat.TheColoneldidnotmove."IbelieveIhavealreadyindicatedmymeaninginwhatIhavecalled'yourattentions,'"saidtheColonel,blandly,"andgivenyoumy'concern'forspeakingaserermutualfriend.AstoyourstatementofyourrelationswithMissHooker,Imaystatethatitisfullycorroboratedbythestatementoftheyoungladyherselfinthisveryofficeyesterday."

    "Thenwhatdoesthisimpertinentnonsensemean?WhyamIsummonedhere?"saidHotchkiss,furiously.

    "Because,"saidtheColonel,deliberately,"thatstatementisinfamouslyyes,damnablytoyourdiscredit,sir!"

    Mr.Hotchkisswashereseizedbyoneofthoseimportantandinconsistentrageswhichoccasionallybetraythehabituallycautiousandtimidman.HecaughtuptheColonel'sstick,whichwaslyingonthetable.AtthesamemomenttheColonel,withoutanyapparenteffort,graspeditbythehandle.ToMr.Hotchkiss'sastonishment,thestickseparatedintwopieces,leavingthehandleandabouttwofeetofnarrowglitteringsteelintheColonel'shand.Themanrecoiled,droppingtheuselessfragment.TheColonelpickeditup,fittingtheshiningbladeinit,clickedthespring,andthenrising,withafaceofcourtesyyetofunmistakablygenuinepain,andwithevenaslighttremorinhisvoice,said,gravely:

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    "Mr.Hotchkiss,Ioweyouathousandapologies,sir,thateraweaponshouldbedrawnbymeeventhroughyourowninadvertenceunderthesacredprotectionofmyroof,anduponanunarmedman.Ibegyourpardon,sir,andIevenwithdrawtheexpressionswhichprovokedthatinadvertence.Nordoesthisapologypreventyoufromholdingmeresponsiblepersonallyresponsibleelsewhereforanindiscretioncommittedinbehalfofaladymyerclient."

    "Yourclient?Doyoumeanyouhavetakenhercase?You,thecounselfortheDitchCompany?"saidMr.Hotchkiss,intremblingindignation.

    "Havingwonyourcase,sir,"saidtheColonel,coolly,"theerusagesofadvocacydonotpreventmefromespousingthecauseoftheweakandunprotected."

    "Weshallsee,sir,"saidHotchkiss,graspingthehandleofthedoorandbackingintothepassage."Thereareotherlawyerswho"

    "Permitmetoseeyouout,"interruptedtheColonel,risingpolitely.

    "willbereadytoresisttheattacksofblackmail,"continuedHotchkiss,retreatingalongthepassage.

    "Andthenyouwillbeabletorepeatyourremarkstomeinthestreet,"continuedtheColonel,bowing,ashepersistedinfollowinghisvisitortothedoor.

    ButhereMr.Hotchkissquicklyslammeditbehindhim,andhurriedaway.TheColonelreturnedtohisoffice,andsittingdown,tookasheetofletterpaperbearingtheinscription"StarbottleandStryker,AttorneysandCounsellors,"andwrotethefollowinglines:

    HookerversusHotchkiss.

    DEARMADAM,Havinghadavisitfromthedefendantinabove,weshouldbepleasedtohaveaninterviewwithyouat2p.m.tomorrow.Yourobedientservants,STARBOTTLEANDSTRYKER.

    ThishesealedanddespatchedbyhistrustedservantJim,andthendevotedafewmomentstoreflection.ItwasthecustomoftheColoneltoactfirst,andjustifytheactionbyreasonafterwards.

    HeknewthatHotchkisswouldatoncelaythematterbeforerivalcounsel.HeknewthattheywouldadvisehimthatMissHookerhad"nocase"thatshewouldbenonsuitedonherownevidence,andheoughtnottocompromise,butbereadytostandtrial.Hebelieved,however,thatHotchkissfearedthatexposure,andalthoughhisowninstinctshadbeenatfirstagainstthatremedy,hewasnowinstinctivelyinfavorofit.Herememberedhisownpowerwithajuryhisvanityandhischivalryalikeapprovedofthisheroicmethodhewasboundbytheprosaicfactshehadhisowntheoryofthecase,whichnomereevidencecouldgainsay.Infact,Mrs.Hooker'sownwordsthat"hewastotellthestoryinhisownway"actuallyappearedtohimaninspirationandaprophecy.

    Perhapstherewassomethingelse,duepossiblytothelady'swonderfuleyes,ofwhichhehadthoughtmuch.Yetitwasnothersimplicitythataffectedhimsolelyonthecontrary,itwasherapparentintelligentreadingofthecharacterofherrecreantloverandofhisown!OfalltheColonel'sprevious"light"or"serious"lovesnonehadeverbeforeflatteredhiminthatway.Anditwasthis,combinedwiththerespectwhichhehadheldfortheirprofessionalrelations,thatprecludedhishavingamorefamiliarknowledgeofhisclient,throughseriousquestioning,orplayfulgallantry.Iamnotsureitwasnotpartofthecharmtohavearusticfemmeincompriseasaclient.

    Nothingcouldexceedtherespectwithwhichhegreetedherassheenteredhisofficethenextday.Heevenaffectednottonoticethatshehadputonherbestclothes,andhemadenodoubtappearedas

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    whenshehadfirstattractedthematureyetfaithlessattentionsofDeaconHotchkissatchurch.Awhitevirginalmuslinwasbeltedaroundherslimfigurebyablueribbon,andherLeghornhatwasdrawnaroundherovalcheekbyabowofthesamecolor.ShehadaSoutherngirl'snarrowfeet,encasedinwhitestockingsandkidslippers,whichwerecrossedprimlybeforeherasshesatinachair,supportingherarmbyherfaithfulparasolplantedfirmlyonthefloor.Afaintodorofsouthernwoodexhaledfromher,and,oddlyenough,stirredtheColonelwithafaroffrecollectionofapineshadedSundayschoolonaGeorgiahillsideandofhisfirstlove,agedten,inashort,starchedfrock.Possiblyitwasthesamerecollectionthatrevivedsomethingoftheawkwardnesshehadfeltthen.

    He,however,smiledvaguelyand,sittingdown,coughedslightly,andplacedhisfingertipstogether."IhavehadanerinterviewwithMr.Hotchkiss,butIerregrettosaythereseemstobenoprospectofercompromise."Hepaused,andtohissurpriseherlistless"company"facelitupwithanadorablesmile."Ofcourse!ketchhim!"shesaid."Washemadwhenyoutoldhim?"Sheputherkneescomfortablytogetherandleanedforwardforareply.

    Forallthat,wildhorsescouldnothavetornfromtheColonelawordaboutHotchkiss'sanger."Heexpressedhisintentionofemployingcounselanddefendingasuit,"returnedtheColonel,affablybaskinginhersmile.Shedraggedherchairnearerhisdesk."Thenyou'llfighthimtoothandnail?"shesaideagerly"you'llshowhimup?You'lltellthewholestoryyourownway?You'llgivehimfits?andyou'llmakehimpay?Sure?"shewenton,breathlessly.

    "Ierwill,"saidtheColonel,almostasbreathlessly.

    Shecaughthisfatwhitehand,whichwaslyingonthetable,betweenherownandliftedittoherlips.Hefelthersoftyoungfingerseventhroughthelislethreadglovesthatencasedthemandthewarmmoistureofherlipsuponhisskin.Hefelthimselfflushingbutwasunabletobreakthesilenceorchangehisposition.Thenextmomentshehadscuttledbackwithherchairtoheroldposition.

    "Iercertainlyshalldomybest,"stammeredtheColonel,inanattempttorecoverhisdignityandcomposure.

    "That'senough!You'lldoit,"saidthegirl,enthusiastically."Lordy!JustyoutalkformeasyedidforhisoldDitchCompany,andyou'llfetchiteverytime!Why,whenyoumadethatjurysituptheotherdaywhenyougotthatoffabouttheMerrikanflagwavingequallyovertherightsofhonestcitizensbandedtogetherinpeacefulcommercialpursuits,aswellasoverthefortressofofficialproflig"

    "Oligarchy,"murmuredtheColonel,courteously.

    "Oligarchy,"repeatedthegirl,quickly,"mybreathwasjusttookaway.Isaidtomaw,'Ain'thetoosweetforanything!'Idid,honestInjin!Andwhenyourolleditalloffattheendnevermissingaword(youdidn'tneedtomark'eminalessonbook,buthad'emallreadyonyourtongue),andwalkedoutWell!Ididn'tknowyounortheDitchCompanyfromAdam,butIcouldhavejustrunoverandkissedyoutherebeforethewholecourt!"

    Shelaughed,withherfaceglowing,althoughherstrangeeyeswerecastdown.Alack!theColonel'sfacewasequallyflushed,andhisownbeadyeyeswereonhisdesk.Toanyotherwomanhewouldhavevoicedthebanalgallantrythatheshouldnow,himself,lookforwardtothatreward,butthewordsneverreachedhislips.Helaughed,coughedslightly,andwhenhelookedupagainshehadfallenintothesameattitudeasonherfirstvisit,withherparasolpointonthefloor.

    "Imustaskyoutoerdirectyourmemorytoeranotherpointthebreakingoffoftheerererengagement.Didheergiveanyreasonforit?Orshowanycause?"

    "Noheneversaidanything,"returnedthegirl.

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    "Notinhisusualway?ernoreproachesoutofthehymnbook?orthesacredwritings?"

    "Nohejustquit."

    "Erceasedhisattentions,"saidtheColonel,gravely."Andnaturallyyouerwerenotconsciousofanycauseforhisdoingso."ThegirlraisedherwonderfuleyessosuddenlyandsopenetratinglywithoutreplyinanyotherwaythattheColonelcouldonlyhurriedlysay:"Isee!None,ofcourse!"

    Atwhichsherose,theColonelrisingalso."Weshallbeginproceedingsatonce.Imust,however,cautionyoutoanswernoquestionsnorsayanythingaboutthiscasetoanyoneuntilyouareincourt."

    Sheansweredhisrequestwithanotherintelligentlookandanod.Heaccompaniedhertothedoor.Ashetookherprofferedhandheraisedthelislethreadfingerstohislipswitholdfashionedgallantry.Asifthatacthadcondonedforhisfirstomissionsandawkwardness,hebecamehisoldfashionedselfagain,buttonedhiscoat,pulledouthisshirtfrill,andstruttedbacktohisdesk.

    AdayortwolateritwasknownthroughoutthetownthatZaideeHookerhadsuedAdoniramHotchkissforbreachofpromise,andthatthedamageswerelaidatfivethousanddollars.AsinthosebucolicdaystheWesternpresswasunderthesecurecensorshipofarevolver,acautioustoneofcriticismprevailed,andanygossipwasconfinedtopersonalexpression,andeventhenattheriskofthegossiper.Nevertheless,thesituationprovokedtheintensestcuriosity.TheColonelwasapproacheduntilhisstatementthatheshouldconsideranyattempttoovercomehisprofessionalsecrecyapersonalreflectionwithheldfurtheradvances.Thecommunitywerelefttothemoreostentatiousinformationofthedefendant'scounsel,Messrs.KitchamandBilser,thatthecasewas"ridiculous"and"rotten,"thattheplaintiffwouldbenonsuited,andthefireeatingStarbottlewouldbetaughtalessonthathecouldnot"bully"thelawandthereweresomedarkhintsofaconspiracy.Itwasevenhintedthatthe"case"wastherevengefulandpreposterousoutcomeoftherefusalofHotchkisstopayStarbottleanextravagantfeeforhislateservicestotheDitchCompany.ItisunnecessarytosaythatthesewordswerenotreportedtotheColonel.Itwas,however,anunfortunatecircumstanceforthecalmer,ethicalconsiderationofthesubjectthatthechurchsidedwithHotchkiss,asthisprovokedanequaladherencetotheplaintiffandStarbottleonthepartofthelargerbodyofnonchurchgoers,whoweredelightedatapossibleexposureoftheweaknessofreligiousrectitude."I'veallushadmysuspicionso'themearlycandlelightmeetingsdownatthatgospelshop,"saidonecritic,"andIreckonDeaconHotchkissdidn'tropeinthegalstoattendjestforpsalmsinging.""Thenforhimtogetupandleavetheboardaforethegame'sfinishedandtrytosneakoutofit,"saidanother."Isupposethat'swhattheycallreligious."

    Itwasthereforenotremarkablethatthecourthousethreeweekslaterwascrowdedwithanexcitedmultitudeofthecuriousandsympathizing.Thefairplaintiff,withhermother,wasearlyinattendance,andundertheColonel'sadviceappearedinthesamemodestgarbinwhichshehadfirstvisitedhisoffice.Thisandherdowncastmodestdemeanorwereperhapsatfirstdisappointingtothecrowd,whohadevidentlyexpectedaparagonoflovelinessastheCirceofthegrimasceticdefendant,whosatbesidehiscounsel.ButpresentlyalleyeswerefixedontheColonel,whocertainlymadeupinhisappearanceanydeficiencyofhisfairclient.Hisportlyfigurewasclothedinabluedresscoatwithbrassbuttons,abuffwaistcoatwhichpermittedhisfrilledshirtfronttobecomeerectileaboveit,ablacksatinstockwhichconfinedaboyishturneddowncollararoundhisfullneck,andimmaculatedrilltrousers,strappedovervarnishedboots.Amurmurranroundthecourt."Old'PersonallyResponsible'hadgothiswarpainton,""TheOldWarHorseissmellingpowder,"werewhisperedcomments.Yetforallthatthemostirreverentamongthemrecognizedvaguely,inthisbizarrefigure,somethingofanhonoredpastintheircountry'shistory,andpossiblyfeltthespellofolddeedsandoldnamesthathadoncethrilledtheirboyishpulses.ThenewDistrictJudgereturnedColonelStarbottle'sprofoundlypunctiliousbow.TheColonelwasfollowedbyhisnegroservant,carryingaparcelofhymnbooksandBibles,who,withacourtesyevidentlyimitatedfromhismaster,placedonebeforetheoppositecounsel.This,afterafirstcuriousglance,thelawyersomewhatsuperciliouslytossedaside.ButwhenJim,proceedingtothejurybox,placedwithequalpoliteness

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    theremainingcopiesbeforethejury,theoppositecounselsprangtohisfeet.

    "IwanttodirecttheattentionoftheCourttothisunprecedentedtamperingwiththejury,bythisgratuitousexhibitionofmatterimpertinentandirrelevanttotheissue."

    TheJudgecastaninquiringlookatColonelStarbottle.

    "MayitpleasetheCourt,"returnedColonelStarbottlewithdignity,ignoringthecounsel,"thedefendant'scounselwillobservethatheisalreadyfurnishedwiththematterwhichIregrettosayhehastreatedinthepresenceoftheCourtandofhisclient,adeaconofthechurchwithergreatsuperciliousness.WhenIstatetoyourHonorthatthebooksinquestionarehymnbooksandcopiesoftheHolyScriptures,andthattheyarefortheinstructionofthejury,towhomIshallhavetorefertheminthecourseofmyopening,IbelieveIamwithinmyrights."

    "Theactiscertainlyunprecedented,"saidtheJudge,dryly,"butunlessthecounselfortheplaintiffexpectsthejurytosingfromthesehymnbooks,theirintroductionisnotimproper,andIcannotadmittheobjection.Asdefendant'scounselarefurnishedwithcopiesalso,theycannotplead'surprise,'asintheintroductionofnewmatter,andasplaintiff'scounselreliesevidentlyuponthejury'sattentiontohisopening,hewouldnotbethefirstpersontodistractit."Afterapauseheadded,addressingtheColonel,whoremainedstanding,"TheCourtiswithyou,sirproceed."

    ButtheColonelremainedmotionlessandstatuesque,withfoldedarms.

    "Ihaveoverruledtheobjection,"repeatedtheJudge"youmaygoon."

    "Iamwaiting,yourHonor,fortheerwithdrawalbythedefendant'scounseloftheword'tampering,'asreferstomyself,andof'impertinent,'asreferstothesacredvolumes."

    "Therequestisaproperone,andIhavenodoubtwillbeaccededto,"returnedtheJudge,quietly.Thedefendant'scounselroseandmumbledafewwordsofapology,andtheincidentclosed.Therewas,however,ageneralfeelingthattheColonelhadinsomeway"scored,"andifhisobjecthadbeentoexcitethegreatestcuriosityaboutthebooks,hehadmadehispoint.

    Butimpassiveofhisvictory,heinflatedhischest,withhisrighthandinthebreastofhisbuttonedcoat,andbegan.Hisusualhighcolorhadpaledslightly,butthesmallpupilsofhisprominenteyesglitteredlikesteel.Theyounggirlleanedforwardinherchairwithanattentionsobreathless,asympathysoquick,andanadmirationsoartlessandunconsciousthatinaninstantshedividedwiththespeakertheattentionofthewholeassemblage.Itwasveryhotthecourtwascrowdedtosuffocationeventheopenwindowsrevealedacrowdoffacesoutsidethebuilding,eagerlyfollowingtheColonel'swords.

    Hewouldremindthejurythatonlyafewweeksagohestoodthereastheadvocateofapowerfulcompany,thenrepresentedbythepresentdefendant.Hespokethenasthechampionofstrictjusticeagainstlegaloppressionnolessshouldhetodaychampionthecauseoftheunprotectedandthecomparativelydefenselesssaveforthatparamountpowerwhichsurroundsbeautyandinnocenceeventhoughtheplaintiffofyesterdaywasthedefendantoftoday.Asheapproachedthecourtamomentagohehadraisedhiseyesandbeheldthestarryflagflyingfromitsdomeandheknewthatgloriousbannerwasasymboloftheperfectequality,undertheConstitution,oftherichandthepoor,thestrongandtheweakanequalitywhichmadethesimplecitizentakenfromtheploughintheveld,thepickinthegulch,orfrombehindthecounterintheminingtown,whoservedonthatjury,theequalarbitersofjusticewiththathighestlegalluminarywhomtheywereproudtowelcomeonthebenchtoday.TheColonelpaused,withastatelybowtotheimpassiveJudge.Itwasthis,hecontinued,whichliftedhisheartasheapproachedthebuilding.Andyethehadentereditwithanuncertainhemightalmostsayatimidstep.Andwhy?Heknew,gentlemen,hewasabouttoconfrontaprofoundaye!asacredresponsibility!Thosehymnbooksandholywritingshandedto

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    thejurywerenot,ashisHonorsurmised,forthepurposeofenablingthejurytoindulgeinerpreliminarychoralexercise!Hemight,indeed,say"alasnot!"Theywerethedamning,incontrovertibleproofsoftheperfidyofthedefendant.AndtheywouldproveasterribleawarningtohimasthefatalcharactersuponBelshazzar'swall.Therewasastrongsensation.Hotchkissturnedasallowgreen.Hislawyersassumedacarelesssmile.

    Itwashisdutytotellthemthatthiswasnotoneofthoseordinary"breachofpromise"caseswhichweretoooftentheoccasionofruthlessmirthandindecentlevityinthecourtroom.Thejurywouldfindnothingofthathere,Therewerenoloveletterswiththeepithetsofendearment,northosemysticcrossesandcipherswhich,hehadbeencrediblyinformed,chastelyhidtheexchangeofthosemutualcaressesknownas"kisses."Therewasnocrueltearingoftheveilfromthosesacredprivaciesofthehumanaffectiontherewasnoforensicshoutingoutofthosefondconfidencesmeantonlyforone.Buttherewas,hewasshockedtosay,anewsacrilegiousintrusion.TheweakpipingsofCupidweremingledwiththechorusofthesaintsthesanctityofthetempleknownasthe"meetinghouse"wasdesecratedbyproceedingsmoreinkeepingwiththeshrineofVenusandtheinspiredwritingsthemselveswereusedasthemediumofamatoryandwantonflirtationbythedefendantinhissacredcapacityasDeacon.

    TheColonelartisticallypausedafterthisthunderousdenunciation.Thejuryturnedeagerlytotheleavesofthehymnbooks,butthelargergazeoftheaudienceremainedfixeduponthespeakerandthegirl,whosatinraptadmirationofhisperiods.Afterthehush,theColonelcontinuedinalowerandsaddervoice:"Thereare,perhaps,fewofushere,gentlemenwiththeexceptionofthedefendantwhocanarrogatetothemselvesthetitleofregularchurchgoers,ortowhomthesehumblerfunctionsoftheprayermeeting,theSundayschool,andtheBibleclassarehabituallyfamiliar.Yet"moresolemnly"downinyourheartsisthedeepconvictionofourshortcomingsandfailings,andalaudabledesirethatothersatleastshouldprofitbytheteachingsweneglect.Perhaps,"hecontinued,closinghiseyesdreamily,"thereisnotamanherewhodoesnotrecallthehappydaysofhisboyhood,therusticvillagespire,thelessonssharedwithsomeartlessvillagemaiden,withwhomhelatersauntered,handinhand,throughthewoods,asthesimplerhymeroseupontheirlips,

    AlwaysmakeitapointtohaveitaruleNevertobelateattheSabbathschool."

    Hewouldrecallthestrawberryfeasts,thewelcomeannualpicnic,redolentwithhunksofgingerbreadandsarsaparilla.Howwouldtheyfeeltoknowthatthesesacredrecollectionswerenowforeverprofanedintheirmemorybytheknowledgethatthedefendantwascapableofusingsuchoccasionstomakelovetothelargergirlsandteachers,whilsthisartlesscompanionswereinnocentlytheCourtwillpardonmeforintroducingwhatIamcrediblyinformedisthelocalexpression'doinggooseberry'?"Thetremulousflickerofasmilepassedoverthefacesofthelisteningcrowd,andtheColonelslightlywinced.Butherecoveredhimselfinstantly,andcontinued:

    "Myclient,theonlydaughterofawidowedmotherwhohasforyearsstemmedthevaryingtidesofadversityinthewesternprecinctsofthistownstandsbeforeyoutodayinvestedonlyinherowninnocence.Shewearsnoerrichgiftsofherfaithlessadmirerispanopliedinnojewels,rings,normementoesofaffectionsuchasloversdelighttohangupontheshrineoftheiraffectionshersisnottheglorywithwhichSolomondecoratedtheQueenofSheba,thoughthedefendant,asIshallshowlater,clothedherinthelessexpensiveflowersoftheking'spoetry.No!gentlemen!Thedefendantexhibitedinthisaffairacertainfrugalityoferpecuniaryinvestment,whichIamwillingtoadmitmaybecommendableinhisclass.Hisonlygiftwascharacteristicalikeofhismethodsandhiseconomy.Thereis,Iunderstand,acertainnotunimportantfeatureofreligiousexerciseknownas'takingacollection.'Thedefendant,onthisoccasion,bythemutepresentationofatipplatecoveredwithbaize,solicitedthepecuniarycontributionsofthefaithful.Onapproachingtheplaintiff,however,hehimselfslippedalovetokenupontheplateandpushedittowardsher.Thatlovetokenwasalozengeasmalldisk,Ihavereasontobelieve,concoctedofpeppermintandsugar,bearinguponitsreversesurfacethesimplewords,'Iloveyou!'Ihavesinceascertainedthatthesedisksmaybebought

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    forfivecentsadozenoratconsiderablylessthanonehalfcentforthesinglelozenge.Yes,gentlemen,thewords'Iloveyou!'theoldestlegendofalltherefrain,'whenthemorningstarssangtogether'werepresentedtotheplaintiffbyamediumsoinsignificantthatthereis,happily,nocoinintherepubliclowenoughtorepresentitsvalue.

    "Ishallprovetoyou,gentlemenofthejury,"saidtheColonel,solemnly,drawingaBiblefromhiscoattailpocket,"thatthedefendant,forthelasttwelvemonths,conductedanamatorycorrespondencewiththeplaintiffbymeansofunderlinedwordsofsacredwritandchurchpsalmody,suchas'beloved,''precious,'and'dearest,'occasionallyappropriatingwholepassageswhichseemedappositetohistenderpassion.Ishallcallyourattentiontooneofthem.Thedefendant,whileprofessingtobeatotalabstaineramanwho,inmyownknowledge,hasrefusedspirituousrefreshmentasaninordinateweaknessoftheflesh,withshamelesshypocrisyunderscoreswithhispencilthefollowingpassageandpresentsittotheplaintiff.ThegentlemenofthejurywillfinditintheSongofSolomon,page548,chapterII,verse5."Afterapause,inwhichtherapidrustlingofleaveswasheardinthejurybox,ColonelStarbottledeclaimedinapleading,stentorianvoice,"'Staymewitherflagons,comfortmewitherapplesforIamersickoflove.'Yes,gentlemen!yes,youmaywellturnfromthoseaccusingpagesandlookatthedoublefaceddefendant.Hedesirestoerbe'stayedwithflagons'!Iamnotaware,atpresent,whatkindofliquorishabituallydispensedatthesemeetings,andforwhichthedefendantsourgentlyclamoredbutitwillbemydutybeforethistrialisovertodiscoverit,ifIhavetosummoneverybarkeeperinthisdistrict.Forthemoment,Iwillsimplycallyourattentiontothequantity.Itisnotasingledrinkthatthedefendantasksfornotaglassoflightandgenerouswine,tobesharedwithhisinamoratabutanumberofflagonsorvessels,eachpossiblyholdingapintmeasureforhimself!"

    Thesmileoftheaudiencehadbecomealaugh.TheJudgelookedupwarningly,whenhiseyecaughtthefactthattheColonelhadagainwincedatthismirth.Heregardedhimseriously.Mr.Hotchkiss'scounselhadjoinedinthelaughaffectedly,butHotchkisshimselfwasashypale.Therewasalsoacommotioninthejurybox,ahurriedturningoverofleaves,andanexciteddiscussion.

    "Thegentlemenofthejury,"saidtheJudge,withofficialgravity,"willpleasekeeporderandattendonlytothespeechesofcounsel.Anydiscussionhereisirregularandprematureandmustbereservedforthejuryroomaftertheyhaveretired."

    Theforemanofthejurystruggledtohisfeet.Hewasapowerfulman,withagoodhumoredface,and,inspiteofhisunfelicitousnicknameof"TheBoneBreaker,"hadakindly,simple,butsomewhatemotionalnature.Nevertheless,itappearedasifhewerelaboringundersomepowerfulindignation.

    "Canweaskaquestion,Judge?"hesaid,respectfully,althoughhisvoicehadtheunmistakableWesternAmericanringinit,asofonewhowasunconsciousthathecouldbeaddressinganybuthispeers.

    "Yes,"saidtheJudge,goodhumoredly.

    "We'refindinginthisyerepiece,outofwhichtheKernelhesjustbinaquotin',somelanguagethatmeandmypardnersallowhadn'tortertobereadoutaforeayoungladyincourtandwewanttoknowofyouezafairmindedandimpartialmanefthisisthereg'larkindo'bookgiventogalsandbabiesdownatthemeetin'house."

    "Thejurywillpleasefollowthecounsel'sspeech,withoutcomment,"saidtheJudge,briefly,fullyawarethatthedefendant'scounselwouldspringtohisfeet,ashedidpromptly."TheCourtwillallowustoexplaintothegentlementhatthelanguagetheyseemtoobjecttohasbeenacceptedbythebesttheologiansforthelastthousandyearsasbeingpurelymystic.AsIwillexplainlater,thosearemerelysymbolsoftheChurch"

    "Ofwot?"interruptedtheforeman,indeepscorn.

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    "OftheChurch!"

    "Weain'taskin'anyquestionso'youandweain'ttakin'anyanswers,"saidtheforeman,sittingdownpromptly.

    "Imustinsist,"saidtheJudge,sternly,"thattheplaintiff'scounselbeallowedtocontinuehisopeningwithoutinterruption.You"(todefendant'scounsel)"willhaveyouropportunitytoreplylater."

    Thecounselsankdowninhisseatwiththebitterconvictionthatthejurywasmanifestlyagainsthim,andthecaseasgoodaslost.Buthisfacewasscarcelyasdisturbedashisclient's,who,ingreatagitation,hadbeguntoarguewithhimwildly,andwasapparentlypressingsomepointagainstthelawyer'svehementopposal.TheColonel'smurkyeyesbrightenedashestillstooderectwithhishandthrustinhisbreast.

    "Itwillbeputtoyou,gentlemen,whenthecounselontheothersiderefrainsfrommereinterruptionandconfineshimselftoreply,thatmyunfortunateclienthasnoactionnoremedyatlawbecausetherewerenospokenwordsofendearment.But,gentlemen,itwilldependuponyoutosaywhatareandwhatarenotarticulateexpressionsoflove.Weallknowthatamongtheloweranimals,withwhomyoumaypossiblybecalledupontoclassifythedefendant,therearecertainsignalsmoreorlessharmonious,asthecasemaybe.Theassbrays,thehorseneighs,thesheepbleatsthefeathereddenizensofthegrovecalltotheirmatesinmoremusicalroundelays.Thesearerecognizedfacts,gentlemen,whichyouyourselves,asdwellersamongnatureinthisbeautifulland,areallcognizantof.Theyarefactsthatnoonewoulddenyandweshouldhaveapooropinionoftheasswho,atersuchasuprememoment,wouldattempttosuggestthathiscallwasunthinkingandwithoutsignificance.But,gentlemen,Ishallprovetoyouthatsuchwasthefoolish,selfconvictingcustomofthedefendant.Withthegreatestreluctance,andtheergreatestpain,Isucceededinwrestingfromthemaidenlymodestyofmyfairclienttheinnocentconfessionthatthedefendanthadinducedhertocorrespondwithhiminthesemethods.Picturetoyourself,gentlemen,thelonelymoonlightroadbesidethewidow'shumblecottage.Itisabeautifulnight,sanctifiedtotheaffections,andtheinnocentgirlisleaningfromhercasement.Presentlythereappearsupontheroadaslinking,stealthyfigurethedefendant,onhiswaytochurch.Truetotheinstructionshehasreceivedfromhim,herlipspartinthemusicalutterance"(theColonelloweredhisvoiceinafaintfalsetto,presumablyinfondimitationofhisfairclient),"'Kerree!'Instantlythenightbecameresonantwiththeimpassionedreply"(theColonelhereliftedhisvoiceinstentoriantones),"'Kerrow.'Again,ashepasses,risesthesoft'Kerree'again,ashisformislostinthedistance,comesbackthedeep'Kerrow.'"

    Aburstoflaughter,long,loud,andirrepressible,struckthewholecourtroom,andbeforetheJudgecouldlifthishalfcomposedfaceandtakehishandkerchieffromhismouth,afaint"Kerree"fromsomeunrecognizedobscurityofthecourtroomwasfollowedbyaloud"Kerrow"fromsomeoppositelocality."Thesheriffwillclearthecourt,"saidtheJudge,sternlybutalas,astheembarrassedandchokingofficialsrushedhitherandthither,asoft"Kerree"fromthespectatorsatthewindow,outsidethecourthouse,wasansweredbyaloudchorusof"Kerrows"fromtheoppositewindows,filledwithonlookers.Againthelaughteraroseeverywhereeventhefairplaintiffherselfsatconvulsedbehindherhandkerchief.

    ThefigureofColonelStarbottlealoneremainederectwhiteandrigid.AndthentheJudge,lookingup,sawwhatnooneelseinthecourthadseenthattheColonelwassincereandinearnestthatwhathehadconceivedtobethepleader'smostperfectacting,andmostelaborateirony,werethedeep,serious,mirthlessconvictionsofamanwithouttheleastsenseofhumor.TherewasatouchofthisrespectintheJudge'svoiceashesaidtohim,gently,"Youmayproceed,ColonelStarbottle."

    "IthankyourHonor,"saidtheColonel,slowly,"forrecognizinganddoingallinyourpowertopreventaninterruptionthat,duringmythirtyyears'experienceatthebar,Ihaveneveryetbeensubjectedtowithouttheprivilegeofholdingtheinstigatorsthereofresponsiblepersonallyresponsible.ItispossiblymyfaultthatIhavefailed,oratorically,toconveytothegentlemenofthe

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    jurythefullforceandsignificanceofthedefendant'ssignals.Iamawarethatmyvoiceissingularlydeficientinproducingeitherthedulcettonesofmyfairclientortheimpassionedvehemenceofthedefendant'srepose.Iwill,"continuedtheColonel,withafatiguedbutblindfatuitythatignoredthehurriedlyknitbrowsandwarningeyesoftheJudge,"tryagain.Thenoteutteredbymyclient"(loweringhisvoicetothefaintestoffalsettos)"was'Kerree'theresponsewas'Kerrow'"andtheColonel'svoicefairlyshookthedomeabovehim.

    Anotheruproaroflaughterfollowedthisapparentlyaudaciousrepetition,butwasinterruptedbyanunlookedforincident.Thedefendantroseabruptly,andtearinghimselfawayfromthewithholdinghandandpleadingprotestationsofhiscounsel,absolutelyfledfromthecourtroom,hisappearanceoutsidebeingrecognizedbyaprolonged"Kerrow"fromthebystanders,whichagainandagainfollowedhiminthedistance.Inthemomentarysilencewhichfollowed,theColonel'svoicewasheardsaying,"Weresthere,yourHonor,"andhesatdown.Nolesswhite,butmoreagitated,wasthefaceofthedefendant'scounsel,whoinstantlyrose.

    "Forsomeunexplainedreason,yourHonor,myclientdesirestosuspendfurtherproceedings,withaviewtoeffectapeaceablecompromisewiththeplaintiff.Asheisamanofwealthandposition,heisableandwillingtopayliberallyforthatprivilege.WhileI,ashiscounsel,amstillconvincedofhislegalirresponsibility,ashehaschosen,however,topubliclyabandonhisrightshere,IcanonlyaskyourHonor'spermissiontosuspendfurtherproceedingsuntilIcanconferwithColonelStarbottle."

    "AsfarasIcanfollowthepleadings,"saidtheJudge,gravely,"thecaseseemstobehardlyoneforlitigation,andIapproveofthedefendant'scourse,whileIstronglyurgetheplaintifftoacceptit."

    ColonelStarbottlebentoverhisfairclient.Presentlyherose,unchangedinlookordemeanor."Iyield,yourHonor,tothewishesofmyclient,anderlady.Weaccept."

    BeforethecourtadjournedthatdayitwasknownthroughoutthetownthatAdoniramK.Hotchkisshadcompromisedthesuitforfourthousanddollarsandcosts.

    ColonelStarbottlehadsofarrecoveredhisequanimityastostrutjauntilytowardshisoffice,wherehewastomeethisfairclient.Hewassurprised,however,tofindheralreadythere,andincompanywithasomewhatsheepishlookingyoungmanastranger.IftheColonelhadanydisappointmentinmeetingathirdpartytotheinterview,hisoldfashionedcourtesydidnotpermithimtoshowit.Hebowedgraciously,andpolitelymotionedthemeachtoaseat.

    "IreckonedI'dbringHiramroundwithme,"saidtheyounglady,liftinghersearchingeyes,afterapause,totheColonel's,"thoughhewasawfulshy,andallowedthatyoudidn'tknowhimfromAdamorevensuspectedhisexistence.ButIsaid,'That'sjustwhereyouslipup,Hiramapow'fulmanliketheColonelknowseverythingandI'veseenitinhiseye.'Lordy!"shecontinued,withalaugh,leaningforwardoverherparasol,ashereyesagainsoughttheColonel's,"don'tyourememberwhenyouaskedmeifIlovedthatoldHotchkiss,andItoldyou'That'stellin','andyoulookedatme,Lordy!IknewthenyoususpectedtherewasaHiramsomewhereasgoodasifI'dtoldyou.Now,you,jestgetup,Hiram,andgivetheColonelagoodhandshake.Forifitwasn'tforhimandhissearchin'ways,andhisawfulpoweroflanguage,Iwouldn'thevgotthatfourthousanddollarsouto'thatflirtyfoolHotchkissenoughtobuyafarm,soasyouandmecouldgetmarried!That'swhatyouowetohim.Don'tstandtherelikeastuckfoolstarin'athim.Hewon'teatyouthoughhe'skilledmanyabetterman.Come,haveIgottodoallthekissin'!"

    ItisofrecordthattheColonelbowedsocourteouslyandsoprofoundlythathemanagednotmerelytoevadetheprofferedhandoftheshyHiram,buttoonlylightlytouchthefrankerandmoreimpulsivefingertipsofthegentleZaidee."IeroffermysincerestcongratulationsthoughIthinkyoueroverestimatemyerpowersofpenetration.Unfortunately,apressingengagement,whichmayobligemealsotoleavetowntonight,forbidsmysayingmore.Ihaveerlefttheerbusinesssettlementofthisercaseinthehandsofthelawyerswhodomyofficework,andwhowillshow

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    youeveryattention.Andnowletmewishyouaverygoodafternoon."

    Nevertheless,theColonelreturnedtohisprivateroom,anditwasnearlytwilightwhenthefaithfulJimentered,tofindhimsittingmeditativelybeforehisdesk."'Fo'God!KernelIhopedeyain'tnuffindematter,butyou'slookin'mightlysolemn!Iain'tseenyoulookdatway,Kernel,sincededaypoohMarseStrykerwasfetchedhomeshotfroodehead."

    "Handmedownthewhiskey,Jim,"saidtheColonel,risingslowly.

    Thenegroflewtotheclosetjoyfully,andbroughtoutthebottle.TheColonelpouredoutaglassofthespiritanddrankitwithhisolddeliberation.

    "You'requiteright,Jim,"hesaid,puttingdownhisglass,"butI'mergettingoldandsomehowIammissingpoorStrykerdamnably!"

    THEDUPLICITYOFHARGRAVES

    ByO.Henry(18621910)

    [FromTheJuniorMunsey,February,1902.Republishedinthevolume,SixesandSevens(1911),byO.Henrycopyright,1911,byDoubleday,Page&Co.reprintedbytheirpermission.]

    WhenMajorPendletonTalbot,ofMobile,sir,andhisdaughter,MissLydiaTalbot,cametoWashingtontoreside,theyselectedforaboardingplaceahousethatstoodfiftyyardsbackfromoneofthequietestavenues.Itwasanoldfashionedbrickbuilding,withaporticoupheldbytallwhitepillars.Theyardwasshadedbystatelylocustsandelms,andacatalpatreeinseasonraineditspinkandwhiteblossomsuponthegrass.Rowsofhighboxbusheslinedthefenceandwalks.ItwastheSouthernstyleandaspectoftheplacethatpleasedtheeyesoftheTalbots.

    Inthispleasantprivateboardinghousetheyengagedrooms,includingastudyforMajorTalbot,whowasaddingthefinishingchapterstohisbook,AnecdotesandReminiscencesoftheAlabamaArmy,Bench,andBar.

    MajorTalbotwasoftheold,oldSouth.Thepresentdayhadlittleinterestorexcellenceinhiseyes.HismindlivedinthatperiodbeforetheCivilWarwhentheTalbotsownedthousandsofacresoffinecottonlandandtheslavestotillthemwhenthefamilymansionwasthesceneofprincelyhospitality,anddrewitsguestsfromthearistocracyoftheSouth.Outofthatperiodhehadbroughtallitsoldprideandscruplesofhonor,anantiquatedandpunctiliouspoliteness,and(youwouldthink)itswardrobe.

    Suchclothesweresurelynevermadewithinfiftyyears.TheMajorwastall,butwheneverhemadethatwonderful,archaicgenuflexionhecalledabow,thecornersofhisfrockcoatsweptthefloor.ThatgarmentwasasurpriseeventoWashington,whichhaslongagoceasedtoshyatthefrocksandbroadbrimmedhatsofSouthernCongressmen.Oneoftheboarderschristenedita"FatherHubbard,"anditcertainlywashighinthewaistandfullintheskirt.

    ButtheMajor,withallhisqueerclothes,hisimmenseareaofplaited,ravelingshirtbosom,andthelittleblackstringtiewiththebowalwaysslippingononeside,bothwassmiledatandlikedinMrs.Vardeman'sselectboardinghouse.Someoftheyoungdepartmentclerkswouldoften"stringhim,"astheycalledit,gettinghimstarteduponthesubjectdearesttohimthetraditionsandhistoryofhisbelovedSouthland.DuringhistalkshewouldquotefreelyfromtheAnecdotesandReminiscences.Buttheywereverycarefulnottolethimseetheirdesigns,forinspiteofhissixtyeightyearshecouldmaketheboldestofthemuncomfortableunderthesteadyregardofhispiercinggrayeyes.

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    MissLydiawasaplump,littleoldmaidofthirtyfive,withsmoothlydrawn,tightlytwistedhairthatmadeherlookstillolder.Oldfashioned,too,shewasbutantebellumglorydidnotradiatefromherasitdidfromtheMajor.Shepossessedathriftycommonsense,anditwasshewhohandledthefinancesofthefamily,andmetallcomerswhentherewerebillstopay.TheMajorregardedboardbillsandwashbillsascontemptiblenuisances.Theykeptcominginsopersistentlyandsooften.Why,theMajorwantedtoknow,couldtheynotbefiledandpaidinalumpsumatsomeconvenientperiodsaywhentheAnecdotesandReminiscenceshadbeenpublishedandpaidfor?MissLydiawouldcalmlygoonwithhersewingandsay,"We'llpayaswegoaslongasthemoneylasts,andthenperhapsthey'llhavetolumpit."

    MostofMrs.Vardeman'sboarderswereawayduringtheday,beingnearlyalldepartmentclerksandbusinessmenbuttherewasoneofthemwhowasaboutthehouseagreatdealfrommorningtonight.ThiswasayoungmannamedHenryHopkinsHargraveseveryoneinthehouseaddressedhimbyhisfullnamewhowasengagedatoneofthepopularvaudevilletheaters.Vaudevillehasrisentosucharespectableplaneinthelastfewyears,andMr.Hargraveswassuchamodestandwellmanneredperson,thatMrs.Vardemancouldfindnoobjectiontoenrollinghimuponherlistofboarders.

    AtthetheaterHargraveswasknownasanallrounddialectcomedian,havingalargerepertoireofGerman,Irish,Swede,andblackfacespecialties.ButMr.Hargraveswasambitious,andoftenspokeofhisgreatdesiretosucceedinlegitimatecomedy.

    ThisyoungmanappearedtoconceiveastrongfancyforMajorTalbot.WheneverthatgentlemanwouldbeginhisSouthernreminiscences,orrepeatsomeoftheliveliestoftheanecdotes,Hargravescouldalwaysbefound,themostattentiveamonghislisteners.

    ForatimetheMajorshowedaninclinationtodiscouragetheadvancesofthe"playactor,"asheprivatelytermedhimbutsoontheyoungman'sagreeablemannerandindubitableappreciationoftheoldgentleman'sstoriescompletelywonhimover.

    Itwasnotlongbeforethetwowerelikeoldchums.TheMajorsetaparteachafternoontoreadtohimthemanuscriptofhisbook.DuringtheanecdotesHargravesneverfailedtolaughatexactlytherightpoint.TheMajorwasmovedtodeclaretoMissLydiaonedaythatyoungHargravespossessedremarkableperceptionandagratifyingrespectfortheoldrgime.AndwhenitcametotalkingofthoseolddaysifMajorTalbotlikedtotalk,Mr.Hargraveswasentrancedtolisten.

    Likealmostalloldpeoplewhotalkofthepast,theMajorlovedtolingeroverdetails.Indescribingthesplendid,almostroyal,daysoftheoldplanters,hewouldhesitateuntilhehadrecalledthenameofthenegrowhoheldhishorse,ortheexactdateofcertainminorhappenings,orthenumberofbalesofcottonraisedinsuchayearbutHargravesnevergrewimpatientorlostinterest.Onthecontrary,hewouldadvancequestionsonavarietyofsubjectsconnectedwiththelifeofthattime,andheneverfailedtoextractreadyreplies.

    Thefoxhunts,the'possumsuppers,thehoedownsandjubileesinthenegroquarters,thebanquetsintheplantationhousehall,wheninvitationswentforfiftymilesaroundtheoccasionalfeudswiththeneighboringgentrytheMajor'sduelwithRathboneCulbertsonaboutKittyChalmers,whoafterwardmarriedaThwaiteofSouthCarolinaandprivateyachtracesforfabuloussumsonMobileBaythequaintbeliefs,improvidenthabits,andloyalvirtuesoftheoldslavesalltheseweresubjectsthatheldboththeMajorandHargravesabsorbedforhoursatatime.

    Sometimes,atnight,whentheyoungmanwouldbecomingupstairstohisroomafterhisturnatthetheaterwasover,theMajorwouldappearatthedoorofhisstudyandbeckonarchlytohim.Goingin,Hargraveswouldfindalittletablesetwithadecanter,sugarbowl,fruit,andabigbunchoffreshgreenmint.

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    "Itoccurredtome,"theMajorwouldbeginhewasalwaysceremonious"thatperhapsyoumighthavefoundyourdutiesattheatyourplaceofoccupationsufficientlyarduoustoenableyou,Mr.Hargraves,toappreciatewhatthepoetmightwellhavehadinhismindwhenhewrote,'tiredNature'ssweetrestorer'oneofourSouthernjuleps."

    ItwasafascinationtoHargravestowatchhimmakeit.Hetookrankamongartistswhenhebegan,andhenevervariedtheprocess.Withwhatdelicacyhebruisedthemintwithwhatexquisitenicetyheestimatedtheingredientswithwhatsolicitouscarehecappedthecompoundwiththescarletfruitglowingagainstthedarkgreenfringe!Andthenthehospitalityandgracewithwhichheofferedit,aftertheselectedoatstrawshadbeenplungedintoitstinklingdepths!

    AfteraboutfourmonthsinWashington,MissLydiadiscoveredonemorningthattheywerealmostwithoutmoney.TheAnecdotesandReminiscenceswascompleted,butpublishershadnotjumpedatthecollectedgemsofAlabamasenseandwit.TherentalofasmallhousewhichtheystillownedinMobilewastwomonthsinarrears.Theirboardmoneyforthemonthwouldbedueinthreedays.MissLydiacalledherfathertoaconsultation.

    "Nomoney?"saidhewithasurprisedlook."Itisquiteannoyingtobecalledonsofrequentlyforthesepettysums,Really,I"

    TheMajorsearchedhispockets.Hefoundonlyatwodollarbill,whichhereturnedtohisvestpocket.

    "Imustattendtothisatonce,Lydia,"hesaid."KindlygetmemyumbrellaandIwillgodowntownimmediately.Thecongressmanfromourdistrict,GeneralFulghum,assuredmesomedaysagothathewouldusehisinfluencetogetmybookpublishedatanearlydate.Iwillgotohishotelatonceandseewhatarrangementhasbeenmade."

    WithasadlittlesmileMissLydiawatchedhimbuttonhis"FatherHubbard"anddepart,pausingatthedoor,ashealwaysdid,tobowprofoundly.

    Thatevening,atdark,hereturned.ItseemedthatCongressmanFulghumhadseenthepublisherwhohadtheMajor'smanuscriptforreading.Thatpersonhadsaidthatiftheanecdotes,etc.,werecarefullypruneddownaboutonehalf,inordertoeliminatethesectionalandclassprejudicewithwhichthebookwasdyedfromendtoend,hemightconsideritspublication.

    TheMajorwasinawhiteheatofanger,butregainedhisequanimity,accordingtohiscodeofmanners,assoonashewasinMissLydia'spresence.

    "Wemusthavemoney,"saidMissLydia,withalittlewrinkleabovehernose."Givemethetwodollars,andIwilltelegraphtoUncleRalphforsometonight."

    TheMajordrewasmallenvelopefromhisuppervestpocketandtosseditonthetable.

    "Perhapsitwasinjudicious,"hesaidmildly,"butthesumwassomerelynominalthatIboughtticketstothetheatertonight.It'sanewwardrama,Lydia.IthoughtyouwouldbepleasedtowitnessitsfirstproductioninWashington.IamtoldthattheSouthhasveryfairtreatmentintheplay.IconfessIshouldliketoseetheperformancemyself."

    MissLydiathrewupherhandsinsilentdespair.

    Still,astheticketswerebought,theymightaswellbeused.Sothatevening,astheysatinthetheaterlisteningtothelivelyoverture,evenMissLydiawasmindedtorelegatetheirtroubles,forthehour,tosecondplace.TheMajor,inspotlesslinen,withhisextraordinarycoatshowingonlywhereitwascloselybuttoned,andhiswhitehairsmoothlyroached,lookedreallyfineanddistinguished.ThecurtainwentuponthefirstactofAMagnoliaFlower,revealingatypicalSouthernplantationscene.

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    MajorTalbotbetrayedsomeinterest.

    "Oh,see!"exclaimedMissLydia,nudginghisarm,andpointingtoherprogram.

    TheMajorputonhisglassesandreadthelineinthecastofcharactersthatherfingersindicated.

    Col.WebsterCalhoun.Mr.HopkinsHargraves.

    "It'sourMr.Hargraves,"saidMissLydia."Itmustbehisfirstappearanceinwhathecalls'thelegitimate.'I'msogladforhim."

    NotuntilthesecondactdidCol.WebsterCalhounappearuponthestage.WhenhemadehisentryMajorTalbotgaveanaudiblesniff,glaredathim,andseemedtofreezesolid.MissLydiautteredalittle,ambiguoussqueakandcrumpledherprograminherhand.ForColonelCalhounwasmadeupasnearlyresemblingMajorTalbotasonepeadoesanother.Thelong,thinwhitehair,curlyattheends,thearistocraticbeakofanose,thecrumpled,wide,ravelingshirtfront,thestringtie,withthebownearlyunderoneear,werealmostexactlyduplicated.Andthen,toclinchtheimitation,heworethetwintotheMajor'ssupposedtobeunparalleledcoat.Highcollared,baggy,empirewaisted,ampleskirted,hangingafootlowerinfrontthanbehind,thegarmentcouldhavebeendesignedfromnootherpattern.Fromthenon,theMajorandMissLydiasatbewitched,andsawthecounterfeitpresentmentofahaughtyTalbot"dragged,"astheMajorafterwardexpressedit,"throughtheslanderousmireofacorruptstage."

    Mr.Hargraveshadusedhisopportunitieswell.HehadcaughttheMajor'slittleidiosyncrasiesofspeech,accent,andintonationandhispompouscourtlinesstoperfectionexaggeratingalltothepurposeofthestage.WhenheperformedthatmarvelousbowthattheMajorfondlyimaginedtobethepinkofallsalutations,theaudiencesentforthasuddenroundofheartyapplause.

    MissLydiasatimmovable,notdaringtoglancetowardherfather.Sometimesherhandnexttohimwouldbelaidagainsthercheek,asiftoconcealthesmilewhich,inspiteofherdisapproval,shecouldnotentirelysuppress.

    TheculminationofHargravesaudaciousimitationtookplaceinthethirdact.ThesceneiswhereColonelCalhounentertainsafewoftheneighboringplantersinhis"den."

    Standingatatableinthecenterofthestage,withhisfriendsgroupedabouthim,hedeliversthatinimitable,ramblingcharactermonologuesofamousinAMagnoliaFlower,atthesametimethathedeftlymakesjulepsfortheparty.

    MajorTalbot,sittingquietly,butwhitewithindignation,heardhisbeststoriesretold,hispettheoriesandhobbiesadvancedandexpanded,andthedreamoftheAnecdotesandReminiscencesserved,exaggeratedandgarbled.HisfavoritenarrativethatofhisduelwithRathboneCulbertsonwasnotomitted,anditwasdeliveredwithmorefire,egotism,andgustothantheMajorhimselfputintoit.

    Themonologueconcludedwithaquaint,delicious,wittylittlelectureontheartofconcoctingajulep,illustratedbytheact.HereMajorTalbot'sdelicatebutshowysciencewasreproducedtoahair'sbreadthfromhisdaintyhandlingofthefragrantweed"theonethousandthpartofagraintoomuchpressure,gentlemen,andyouextractthebitterness,insteadofthearoma,ofthisheavenbestowedplant"tohissolicitousselectionoftheoatenstraws.

    Atthecloseofthescenetheaudienceraisedatumultuousroarofappreciation.Theportrayalofthetypewassoexact,sosureandthorough,thattheleadingcharactersintheplaywereforgotten.Afterrepeatedcalls,Hargravescamebeforethecurtainandbowed,hisratherboyishfacebrightandflushedwiththeknowledgeofsuccess.

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    AtlastMissLydiaturnedandlookedattheMajor.Histhinnostrilswereworkinglikethegillsofafish.Helaidbothshakinghandsuponthearmsofhischairtorise.

    "Wewillgo,Lydia,"hesaidchokingly."Thisisanabominabledesecration."

    Beforehecouldrise,shepulledhimbackintohisseat.

    "Wewillstayitout,"shedeclared."Doyouwanttoadvertisethecopybyexhibitingtheoriginalcoat?"Sotheyremainedtotheend.

    Hargraves'ssuccessmusthavekepthimuplatethatnight,forneitheratthebreakfastnoratthedinnertabledidheappear.

    AboutthreeintheafternoonhetappedatthedoorofMajorTalbot'sstudy.TheMajoropenedit,andHargraveswalkedinwithhishandsfullofthemorningpaperstoofullofhistriumphtonoticeanythingunusualintheMajor'sdemeanor.

    "Iputitallover'emlastnight,Major,"hebeganexultantly."Ihadmyinning,and,Ithink,scored.Here'swhatThePostsays:

    "'HisconceptionandportrayaloftheoldtimeSoutherncolonel,withhisabsurdgrandiloquence,hiseccentricgarb,hisquaintidiomsandphrases,hismotheatenprideoffamily,andhisreallykindheart,fastidioussenseofhonor,andlovablesimplicity,isthebestdelineationofacharacterroleontheboardstoday.ThecoatwornbyColonelCalhounisitselfnothinglessthananevolutionofgenius.Mr.Hargraveshascapturedhispublic.'

    "Howdoesthatsound,Major,forafirstnighter?"

    "Ihadthehonor"theMajor'svoicesoundedominouslyfrigid"ofwitnessingyourveryremarkableperformance,sir,lastnight."

    Hargraveslookeddisconcerted.

    "Youwerethere?Ididn'tknowyoueverIdidn'tknowyoucaredforthetheater.Oh,Isay,MajorTalbot,"heexclaimedfrankly,"don'tyoubeoffended.IadmitIdidgetalotofpointersfromyouthathelpedoutwonderfullyinthepart.Butit'satype,youknownotindividual.Thewaytheaudiencecaughtonshowsthat.HalfthepatronsofthattheaterareSoutherners.Theyrecognizedit."

    "Mr.Hargraves,"saidtheMajor,whohadremainedstanding,"youhaveputuponmeanunpardonableinsult.Youhaveburlesquedmyperson,grosslybetrayedmyconfidence,andmisusedmyhospitality.IfIthoughtyoupossessedthefaintestconceptionofwhatisthesignmanualofagentleman,orwhatisdueone,Iwouldcallyouout,sir,oldasIam.Iwillaskyoutoleavetheroom,sir."

    Theactorappearedtobeslightlybewildered,andseemedhardlytotakeinthefullmeaningoftheoldgentleman'swords.

    "Iamtrulysorryyoutookoffense,"hesaidregretfully."Upherewedon'tlookatthingsjustasyoupeopledo.Iknowmenwhowouldbuyouthalfthehousetohavetheirpersonalityputonthestagesothepublicwouldrecognizeit."

    "TheyarenotfromAlabama,sir,"saidtheMajorhaughtily.

    "Perhapsnot.Ihaveaprettygoodmemory,Majorletmequoteafewlinesfromyourbook.InresponsetoatoastatabanquetgiveninMilledgeville,Ibelieveyouuttered,andintendtohaveprinted,thesewords:

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    "'TheNorthernmanisutterlywithoutsentimentorwarmthexceptinsofarasthefeelingsmaybeturnedtohisowncommercialprofit.Hewillsufferwithoutresentmentanyimputationcastuponthehonorofhimselforhislovedonesthatdoesnotbearwithittheconsequenceofpecuniaryloss.Inhischarity,hegiveswithaliberalhandbutitmustbeheraldedwiththetrumpetandchronicledinbrass.'

    "DoyouthinkthatpictureisfairerthantheoneyousawofColonelCalhounlastnight?"

    "Thedescription,"saidtheMajor,frowning,"isnotwithoutgrounds.Someexaglatitudemustbeallowedinpublicspeaking."

    "Andinpublicacting,"repliedHargraves.

    "Thatisnotthepoint,"persistedtheMajor,unrelenting."Itwasapersonalcaricature.Ipositivelydeclinetooverlookit,sir."

    "MajorTalbot,"saidHargraves,withawinningsmile,"Iwishyouwouldunderstandme.IwantyoutoknowthatIneverdreamedofinsultingyou.Inmyprofession,alllifebelongstome.ItakewhatIwant,andwhatIcan,andreturnitoverthefootlights.Now,ifyouwill,let'sletitgoatthat.Icameintoseeyouaboutsomethingelse.We'vebeenprettygoodfriendsforsomemonths,andI'mgoingtotaketheriskofoffendingyouagain.IknowyouarehardupformoneynevermindhowIfoundout,aboardinghouseisnoplacetokeepsuchmatterssecretandIwantyoutoletmehelpyououtofthepinch.I'vebeenthereoftenenoughmyself.I'vebeengettingafairsalaryalltheseason,andI'vesavedsomemoney.You'rewelcometoacouplehundredorevenmoreuntilyouget"

    "Stop!"commandedtheMajor,withhisarmoutstretched."Itseemsthatmybookdidn'tlie,afterall.Youthinkyourmoneysalvewillhealallthehurtsofhonor.UndernocircumstanceswouldIacceptaloanfromacasualacquaintanceandastoyou,sir,IwouldstarvebeforeIwouldconsideryourinsultingofferofafinancialadjustmentofthecircumstanceswehavediscussed.Ibegtorepeatmyrequestrelativetoyourquittingtheapartment."

    Hargravestookhisdeparturewithoutanotherword.Healsoleftthehousethesameday,moving,asMrs.Vardemanexplainedatthesuppertable,nearerthevicinityofthedowntowntheater,whereAMagnoliaFlowerwasbookedforaweek'srun.

    CriticalwasthesituationwithMajorTalbotandMissLydia.TherewasnooneinWashingtontowhomtheMajor'sscruplesallowedhimtoapplyforaloan.MissLydiawrotealettertoUncleRalph,butitwasdoubtfulwhetherthatrelative'sconstrictedaffairswouldpermithimtofurnishhelp.TheMajorwasforcedtomakeanapologeticaddresstoMrs.Vardemanregardingthedelayedpaymentforboard,referringto"delinquentrentals"and"delayedremittances"inaratherconfusedstrain.

    Deliverancecamefromanentirelyunexpectedsource.

    LateoneafternoonthedoormaidcameupandannouncedanoldcoloredmanwhowantedtoseeMajorTalbot.TheMajoraskedthathebesentuptohisstudy.Soonanolddarkeyappearedinthedoorway,withhishatinhand,bowing,andscrapingwithoneclumsyfoot.Hewasquitedecentlydressedinabaggysuitofblack.Hisbig,coarseshoesshonewithametalliclustersuggestiveofstovepolish.Hisbushywoolwasgrayalmostwhite.Aftermiddlelife,itisdifficulttoestimatetheageofanegro.ThisonemighthaveseenasmanyyearsashadMajorTalbot.

    "Ibeboundyoudon'tknowme,Mars'Pendleton,"werehisfirstwords.

    TheMajorroseandcameforwardattheold,familiarstyleofaddress.Itwasoneoftheoldplantationdarkeyswithoutadoubtbuttheyhadbeenwidelyscattered,andhecouldnotrecallthevoiceorface.

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    "Idon'tbelieveIdo,"hesaidkindly"unlessyouwillassistmymemory."

    "Don'tyou'memberCindy'sMose,Mars'Pendleton,what'migrated'mediatelyafterdewar?"

    "Waitamoment,"saidtheMajor,rubbinghisforeheadwiththetipsofhisfingers.Helovedtorecalleverythingconnectedwiththosebeloveddays."Cindy'sMose,"hereflected."Youworkedamongthehorsesbreakingthecolts.Yes,Iremembernow.Afterthesurrender,youtookthenameofdon'tpromptmeMitchell,andwenttotheWesttoNebraska."

    "Yassir,yassir,"theoldman'sfacestretchedwithadelightedgrin"dat'shim,dat'sit.Newbraska.Dat'smeMoseMitchell.OldUncleMoseMitchell,deycallsmenow.Oldmars',yourpa,gimmeapahofdemmulecoltswhenIlef'furtostahtmegoin'with.You'memberdemcolts,Mars'Pendleton?"

    "Idon'tseemtorecallthecolts,"saidtheMajor."Youknow.IwasmarriedthefirstyearofthewarandlivingattheoldFollinsbeeplace.Butsitdown,sitdown,UncleMose.I'mgladtoseeyou.Ihopeyouhaveprospered."

    UncleMosetookachairandlaidhishatcarefullyonthefloorbesideit.

    "YessiroflateIdonemoutyfamous.WhenIfirstgottoNewbraska,deyfolkscomeallroun'metoseedemmulecolts.Deyain'tseenomuleslikedeminNewbraska.Isolddemmulesforthreehundreddollars.Yessirthreehundred.

    "DenIopenablacksmithshop,suh,andmadesomemoneyandboughtsomelan'.Meandmyold'omandoneraisedupseb'mchillun,andalldoin'well'cepttwoof'emwhatdied.Fo'yearagoarailroadcomealongandstahtatownslamag'instmylan',and,suh,Mars'Pendleton,UncleMoseamworthleb'mthousanddollarsinmoney,property,andlan'."

    "I'mgladtohearit,"saidtheMajorheartily."Gladtohearit."

    "Anddatlittlebabyofyo'n,Mars'PendletononewhatyounameMissLyddyIbebounddatlittletaddonegroweduptellnobodywouldn'tknowher."

    TheMajorsteppedtothedoorandcalled:"Lydie,dear,willyoucome?"

    MissLydia,lookingquitegrownupandalittleworried,cameinfromherroom.

    "Dar,now!What'dItellyou?Iknoweddatbabydonebeplumgrowedup.Youdon't'memberUncleMose,child?"

    "ThisisAuntCindy'sMose,Lydia,"explainedtheMajor."HeleftSunnymeadfortheWestwhenyouweretwoyearsold."

    "Well,"saidMissLydia,"Icanhardlybeexpectedtorememberyou,UncleMose,atthatage.And,asyousay,I'm'plumgrowedup,'andwasablessedlongtimeago.ButI'mgladtoseeyou,evenifIcan'trememberyou."

    Andshewas.AndsowastheMajor.Somethingaliveandtangiblehadcometolinkthemwiththehappypast.Thethreesatandtalkedovertheoldentimes,theMajorandUncleMosecorrectingorpromptingeachotherastheyreviewedtheplantationscenesanddays.

    TheMajorinquiredwhattheoldmanwasdoingsofarfromhishome.

    "UncleMoseamadelicate,"heexplained,"todegrandBaptis'conventionindiscity.Ineverpreachednone,butbein'aresidin'elderindechurch,andablefurtopaymyownexpenses,deysent

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    mealong."

    "AndhowdidyouknowwewereinWashington?"inquiredMissLydia.

    "Dey'saculludmanworksindehotelwharIstops,whatcomesfromMobile.HetoldmeheseenMars'Pendletoncomin'outendishherehouseonemawnin'.

    "WhatIcomefur,"continuedUncleMose,reachingintohispocket"besidesdesightofhomefolkswastopayMars'PendletonwhatIoweshim.

    "Yessirthreehundreddollars."HehandedtheMajorarollofbills."WhenIlef'oldmars'says:'Takedemmulecolts,Mose,and,ifitbesoyougitsable,payfur'em.'Yessirdemwashiswords.Dewarhaddonelef'oldmars'po'hisself.Oldmars'bein'longagodead,dedebtdescendstoMars'Pendleton.Threehundreddollars.UncleMoseisplentyabletopaynow.Whendatrailroadbuymylan'Ilaidofftopayfurdemmules.Countdemoney,Mars'Pendleton.Dat'swhatIsolddemmulesfur.Yessir."

    TearswereinMajorTalbot'seyes.HetookUncleMose'shandandlaidhisotheruponhisshoulder.

    "Dear,faithful,oldservitor,"hesaidinanunsteadyvoice,"Idon'tmindsayingtoyouthat'Mars'Pendletonspenthislastdollarintheworldaweekago.Wewillacceptthismoney,UncleMose,since,inaway,itisasortofpayment,aswellasatokenoftheloyaltyanddevotionoftheoldrgime.Lydia,mydear,takethemoney.YouarebetterfittedthanItomanageitsexpenditure."

    "Takeit,honey,"saidUncleMose."Hitbelongstoyou.Hit'sTalbotmoney."

    AfterUncleMosehadgone,MissLydiahadagoodcryforjoyandtheMajorturnedhisfacetoacorner,andsmokedhisclaypipevolcanically.

    ThesucceedingdayssawtheTalbotsrestoredtopeaceandease.MissLydia'sfacelostitsworriedlook.Themajorappearedinanewfrockcoat,inwhichhelookedlikeawaxfigurepersonifyingthememoryofhisgoldenage.AnotherpublisherwhoreadthemanuscriptoftheAnecdotesandReminiscencesthoughtthat,withalittleretouchingandtoningdownofthehighlights,hecouldmakeareallybrightandsalablevolumeofit.Altogether,thesituationwascomfortable,andnotwithoutthetouchofhopethatisoftensweeterthanarrivedblessings.

    Oneday,aboutaweekaftertheirpieceofgoodluck,amaidbroughtaletterforMissLydiatoherroom.ThepostmarkshowedthatitwasfromNewYork.Notknowinganyonethere,MissLydia,inamildflutterofwonder,satdownbyhertableandopenedtheletterwithherscissors.Thiswaswhatsheread:

    DEARMISSTALBOT:

    Ithoughtyoumightbegladtolearnofmygoodfortune.IhavereceivedandacceptedanofferoftwohundreddollarsperweekbyaNewYorkstockcompanytoplayColonelCalhouninAMagnoliaFlower.

    ThereissomethingelseIwantedyoutoknow.Iguessyou'dbetternottellMajorTalbot.Iwasanxioustomakehimsomeamendsforthegreathelphewastomeinstudyingthepart,andforthebadhumorhewasinaboutit.Herefusedtoletme,soIdiditanyhow.Icouldeasilysparethethreehundred.

    Sincerelyyours,H.HOPKINSHARGRAVES.

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    P.S.HowdidIplayUncleMose?

    MajorTalbot,passingthroughthehall,sawMissLydia'sdooropenandstopped.

    "Anymailforusthismorning,Lydia,dear?"heasked.

    MissLydiaslidtheletterbeneathafoldofherdress.

    "TheMobileChroniclecame,"shesaidpromptly."It'sonthetableinyourstudy."

    BARGAINDAYATTUTTHOUSE

    ByGeorgeRandolphChester(1869)

    [FromMcClure'sMagazine,June,1905copyright,1905,bytheS.S.McClureCo.republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    I

    Justasthestagerumbledoverthericketyoldbridge,creakingandgroaning,thesuncamefrombehindthecloudsthathadfrownedalltheway,andthepassengerscheeredupabit.Thetworichlydressedmatronswhohadbeensoutterlyandunnecessarilyoblivioustothepresenceofeachothernowsuspendedhostilitiesforthemomentbymutualandunspokenconsent,andviewedwithreliefthelittle,goldentintedvalleyandthetreecladroadjustbeyond.Therespectivehusbandsofthesetwoladiesexchangedamereglance,nomore,ofcomfort.They,too,wererelieved,thoughmorebythemomentarytrucethanbyanythingelse.Theyregrettedverymuchtobecompelledtohateeachother,foreachhadreckoneduphisvisvisasaratherpropersortoffellow,probablyamanofsomeachievement,usedtogoodlivingandgoodcompany.

    Extremeicinesswasunavoidablebetweenthem,however.Whenonestrangerhasasplendidlypreservedblondewifeandtheotherasplendidlypreservedbrunettewife,bothofwhomhavewonsocialprominencebyyearsofhardfightingandaloofness,thereremainsnothingforthetwomenbuttofollowthelead,especiallywhendirectlyundertheeyesoftheleaders.

    Thesonoftheblondematronsmiledcheerfullyasthewelcomelightfloodedthecoach.

    Hewasanicelookingyoungman,ofabouttwentytwo,onemightjudge,andhedidhissmiling,thoughinaperfectlyimpersonalandcorrectsortofmanner,attheprettydaughterofthebrunettematron.Theprettydaughteralsosmiled,buthersmilewasdemurelydirectedatthetreesoutside,cladastheywereinalltheflaminggloryoftheirautumntints,glisteningwiththerecentrainanddrippingwithgemsthatsparkledandflashedinthenoondaysunastheyfell.

    Itismarveloushowmuchonecanseeoutofthecorneroftheeye,whileseemingtoviewmerescenery.

    Thedriverlookeddown,ashedrovesafelyoffthebridge,andshookhisheadattheswirlofwaterthatrushedandeddied,darkandmuddy,closeupundertherottenplankingthenhecrackedhiswhip,andthehorsessturdilyattackedthelittlehill.

    Thick,overhangingtreesoneithersidenowdimmedthelightagain,andthetwoplumpmatronsoncemoreglaredpasttheoppositeshoulders,profoundlyunawareofeachother.Thehusbandstookonthepolitelysurlylookrequiredofthem.Theblondeson'seyesstillsoughtthebrunettedaughter,butit

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    wasfurtivelydoneandquiteunsuccessfully,forthedaughterwasnowdoingalittleglaringonherownaccount.Theblondematronhadjustswepthereyesacrossthedaughter'sskirt,estimatingthefitandmaterialofitwithcontemptsoartisticallyveiledthatitcouldalmostbeunderstoodinthedark.

    II

    Thebigbaysswungtothebrowofthehillwithease,anddashedintoasmallcircularclearing,whereaquaintlittletwostorybuilding,withamossywateringtroughoutinfront,nestledundertheshadeofmajesticoldtreesthatrearedtheirbrownandscarletcrownsproudlyintothesky.Along,lowporchranacrossthefrontofthestructure,andacomplainingsignhungoutannouncing,indim,weatherfleckedlettersonacrackedboard,thatthiswasthe"TuttHouse."Agrayheadedman,inbrownoverallsandfadedbluejumper,stoodontheporchandshookhisfistatthestageasitwhirledby.

    "Whatadelightfullyoldfashionedinn!"exclaimedtheprettydaughter."HowIshouldliketostopthereovernight!"

    "Youwouldprobablywishyourselfawaybeforemorning,Evelyn,"repliedhermotherindifferently."Nodoubtitwouldbeameresiegeofdiscomfort."

    Theblondematronturnedtoherhusband.Theprettydaughterhadbeenlookingatthepicturesque"inn"betweentheheadsofthisladyandherson.

    "Edward,pleasepulldowntheshadebehindme,"shedirected."Thereisquiteadraughtfromthatbrokenwindow."

    Theprettydaughterbitherlip.Thebrunettematroncontinuedtostareattheshadeintheexactspotuponwhichhergazehadbeenbeforedirected,andsheneverquiveredaneyelash.Theyoungmanseemedveryuncomfortable,andhetriedtolookhisapologiestotheprettydaughter,butshecouldnotseehimnow,notevenifhereyeshadbeenallcorners.

    Theywerebowlingalongthroughanotheravenueoftreeswhenthedriversuddenlyshouted,"Whoathere!"

    Thehorseswerebroughtupwithajerkthatwaswellnighfataltotheassortmentofdignityinsidethecoach.Aloudroaringcouldbeheard,bothaheadandintherear,asharpsplittinglikeafusilladeofpistolshots,thenacreakingandtearingoftimbers.Thedriverbentsuddenlyforward.

    "Gidap!"hecried,andthehorsessprangforwardwithalurch.Heswungthemaroundasharpbendwithaskillfulhandandpoisedhisweightabovethebrakeastheyplungedatterrificspeeddownasteepgrade.Theroaringwaslouderthanevernow,anditbecamedeafeningastheysuddenlyemergedfromthethickunderbrushatthebottomofthedeclivity.

    "Caught,bygravy!"ejaculatedthedriver,and,forthesecondtime,hebroughtthecoachtoanabruptstop.

    "Doseewhatisthematter,Ralph,"saidtheblondematronimpatiently.

    Thuscommanded,theyoungmanswungoutandaskedthedriveraboutit.

    "Paintsvilledam'sbusted,"hewasinformed."Ibeenalookin'feritthismanyayear,an'thisherefreshetdoneit.Youseethehollerthere?Well,they'stenfooto'waterinit,an'ithadorttobestone

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    dry.Thebridgeistoreoutbehindus,an'we'restuckheretillthatwaterrunsout.Wecan'tgitawaytilltomorry,anyways."

    Hepointedoutthepeculiartopographyoftheplace,andRalphgotbackinthecoach.

    "We'repracticallyonafloodmadeisland,"heexclaimed,withoneeyeontheprettydaughter,"andweshallhavetostopovernightatthatquaint,oldfashionedinnwepassedafewmomentsago."

    Theprettydaughter'seyestwinkled,andhethoughthecaughtaswift,directgleamfromunderthelonglashesbuthewasnotsure.

    "Dearme,howannoying,"saidtheblondematron,butthebrunettematronstillstared,withouttheslightesttraceofinterestinanythingelse,attheinfinitesimalspotshehadselectedontheaffrontingwindowshade.

    Thetwomengavesighsofresignation,andcastcarefullyconcealedglancesateachother,speculatingonthepossibilityofacigarandaglass,andmaybeagoodstoryortwo,orpossiblyevenagameofpokeraftertheeveningmeal.Whocouldtellwhatmightormightnothappen?

    III

    Whenthestagedrewupinfrontofthelittlehotel,itfoundUncleBillyTuttpreparedforhisrevenge.InformerdaysthestagehadalwaysstoppedattheTuttHouseforthenoondaymeal.Sincethenewrailwaywasbuiltthroughtheadjoiningcounty,however,thestagetripbecameameretwelvemile,crosscountrytransferfromonerailroadtoanother,andthestagemadealatertrip,allowingthepassengersplentyoftimefor"dinner"beforetheystarted.Dayafterday,asthecoachflashedbywithitsmoneyladenpassengers,UncleBillyhadhopedthatitwouldbreakdown.Butthiswasbetter,muchbetter.Thecoachmightbequicklymended,butnottheflood.

    "I'magoin't'charge'emtilltheysqueal,"hedeclaredtothetimidlyprotestingAuntMargaret,"an'thenI'mgoin't'charge'emaleastmitemore,drat'em!"

    Heretreatedbehindtheroughwoodencounterthatdiddutyasadesk,slammedopentheflimsy,paperbound"cashbook"thatservedasaregister,andplantedhiselbowsuncompromisinglyoneithersideofit.

    "Let'embringintheirowntraps,"hecommented,andAuntMargaretfled,ashamedandconsciencesmitten,tothekitchen.Itseemedawful.

    Thefirstoneoutofthecoachwasthehusbandofthebrunettematron,and,proceedingunderinstructions,hewaitedneitherforluggagenorwomenfolk,buthurriedstraightintotheTuttHouse.Theothermanwouldhavebeenneckandneckwithhimintherace,ifithadnotbeenthathepausedtoseizetwosuitcasesandhadthemisfortunetodropone,whichburstopenandscatteredachoiceassortmentoflingeriefromoneendofthedingycoachtotheother.

    Intheconfusionofrescuingthefluffery,theownerofthesuitcasehadtosacrificeherhauteurandhelpherhusbandandsonblockuptheaisle,whiletheothermatronhadtheineffablesatisfactionofbeingkeptwaiting,atlastbeingenabledtosay,sweetlyandwiththemostpoliteconsideration:

    "Willyoukindlyallowmetopass?"

    Theblondematronraisedupandsweptherskirtsbackperfectlyflat.Shewaspalebutcollected.Her

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    husbandwaspinkbutcollected.Hersonwascrimsonanduncollected.Thebrunettedaughtercouldnothavefoundaneyeanywhereinhiscountenanceassherustledoutafterhermother.

    "IdohopethatBelmonthasbeenabletosecurechoicequarters,"thetriumphingmatronremarkedasherdaughterjoinedherontheground."Thisplacelookedsoverysmallthattherecanscarcelybemorethanonecomfortablesuiteinit."

    Itwasavitalthrust.Onlyasplendidlycultivatedselfcontrolpreventedtheblondematronfromretaliatingupontheunfortunatewhohadmuddledthings.Evenso,hereyesspokewholeshelvesofvolumes.

    Themanwhofirstreachedtheregisterwrote,inastraightblackscrawl,"J.BelmontVanKamp,wife,anddaughter."Therebeingnospaceleftforhisaddress,heputnonedown.

    "Iwantthreeadjoiningrooms,ensuiteifpossible,"hedemanded.

    "Three!"exclaimedUncleBilly,scratchinghishead."Won'ttwodoye?Iain'tgotbutsixbedroomsinth'house.Mean'Marg'tsleepsinone,an'we'reagittin'toooldferashakedownonth'floor.I'llhavet'saveoneroomferth'driver,an'thatleavesfour.Youtaketwonow"

    Mr.VanKampcastahastyglanceoutofthewindow,Theothermanwasgettingoutofthecoach.Hisownwifewassteppingontheporch.

    "Whatdoyouaskformealsandlodginguntilthistimetomorrow?"heinterrupted.

    Thedecisivemomenthadarrived.UncleBillydrewadeepbreath.

    "Twodollarsahead!"hedefiantlyannounced.There!Itwasout!HewishedMargarethadstayedtohearhimsayit.

    Theguestdidnotseemtobeseriouslyshocked,andUncleBillywasbeginningtobesorryhehadnotsaidthreedollars,whenMr.VanKampstoppedthelandlord'sownbreath.

    "I'llgiveyoufifteendollarsforthethreebestroomsinthehouse,"hecalmlysaid,andLandlordTuttgaspedasthemoneyfluttereddownunderhisnose.

    "Jis'takeyorefolksrightonup,Mr.Kamp,"saidUncleBilly,pouncingonthemoney."Th'roomsisth'threerightalongth'hullfronto'th'house.I'llbeupandmakeonafireinaminute.Jis'taketh'JonesvilleBanneran'th'UtickyClarionalongwithye."

    AstheswishofskirtsmarkedthepassageoftheVanKampsupthewidehallstairway,theotherpartysweptintotheroom.

    Themanwrote,inaroundflourish,"EdwardEastmanEllsworth,wife,andson."

    "I'dlikethreechoicerooms,ensuite,"hesaid.

    "Gosh!"saidUncleBilly,regretfully."That'swhatMr.Kampwanted,fustoff,an'hegotit.Theyhain'tbutth'littleroomoverth'kitchenleft.I'llhavetoputyouan'yourwifeinthat,an'letyourboysleepwithth'driver."

    TheconsternationintheEllsworthpartywaspastcalculatingbyanyknownstandardsofmeasurement.Thethingwasanoutrage!Itwasnottobeborne!Theywouldnotsubmittoit!

    UncleBilly,however,secureinhismasteryofthesituation,calmlyquarteredthemashehadsaid."An'let'emsplutteralltheywantto,"hecommentedcomfortablytohimself.

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    IV

    TheEllsworthswereholdingafamilyindignationmeetingonthebroadporchwhentheVanRampscamecontentedlydownforawalk,andbrushedbythemwithunseeingeyes.

    "Itmakesaperfectlyfascinatingsuite,"observedMrs.VanKamp,inapleasantlyconversationaltonethatcouldbeeasilyoverheardbyanyoneimpoliteenoughtolisten."Thatdelightfuloldfashionedfireplaceinthemiddleapartmentmakesitanidealsittingroom,andthebedsaresoroomyandcomfortable."

    "Ijustknewitwouldbelikethis!"chirrupedMissEvelyn."Iremarkedaswepassedtheplace,ifyouwillremember,howcharmingitwouldbetostopinthisdear,quaintoldinnovernight.Allmywishesseemtocometruethisyear."

    Thesesimpleand,ofcourse,entirelyunpremeditatedremarkswereasvinegarandwormwoodtoMrs.Ellsworth,andshegazedaftertheretreatingVanKampswithaglintinhereyethatwouldmakeoneunderstandLucretiaBorgiaatlast.

    HersonalsogazedaftertheretreatingVanKamp.Shehadanexquisitefigure,andshecarriedherselfwithamostdelectablegrace.Asthepartydrewawayfromtheinnshedroppedbehindtheeldersandwanderedoffintoasidepathtogatherautumnleaves.

    Ralph,too,startedoffforawalk,butnaturallynotinthesamedirection.

    "Edward!"suddenlysaidMrs.Ellsworth."Iwantyoutoturnthosepeopleoutofthatsuitebeforenight!"

    "Verywell,"herepliedwithasigh,andgotuptodoit.Hehadwreckedarailroadandmadeone,andhadoperatedsuccessfulcornersinnutmegsandchicory.Notaskseemedimpossible.Hewalkedintoseethelandlord.

    "WhataretheVanKampspayingyouforthosethreerooms?"heasked.

    "Fifteendollars,"UncleBillyinformedhim,smokingoneofMr.VanKamp'sgoodcigarsandtwiddlinghisthumbsinhugecontent.

    "I'llgiveyouthirtyforthem.Justsettheirbaggageoutsideandtellthemtheroomsareoccupied."

    "Nosirree!"rejoinedUncleBilly."Abargain'sabargain,an'IallussticktooneImake."

    Mr.Ellsworthwithdrew,butnotdefeated.Hehadneversupposedthatsuchanabsurdpropositionwouldbeaccepted.Itwasonlyafeeler,andhehadnoticedawinceofregretinhislandlord.Hesatdownontheporchandlitastrongcigar.Hiswifedidnotbotherhim.Shegazedcomplacentlyattheflamingfoliageopposite,andallowedhimtothink.Gettingimpossiblethingswashisbusinessinlife,andshehadconfidenceinhim.

    "Iwanttorentyourentirehouseforaweek,"heannouncedtoUncleBillyafewminuteslater.Ithadoccurredtohimthatthefloodmightlastlongerthantheyanticipated.

    UncleBilly'seyestwinkled.

    "Ireckonitkinbedid,"heallowed."Ireckonahotelman'sgotarighttorenthishullhousearyminute."

    "Ofcoursehehas.Howmuchdoyouwant?"

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    UncleBillyhadmadeonemistakeinnotaskingthissortoffolksenough,andhereflectedinperplexity.

    "Makemeaoffer,"heproposed."Efithain'tenoughI'lltellye.Youwanttorentth'hullplace,backlotan'all?"

    "No,justthemerehouse.Thatwillbeenough,"answeredtheotherwithasmile.Hewasonthepointofofferingahundreddollars,whenhesawthelittlewrinklesaboutMr.Tutt'seyes,andhesaidseventyfive.

    "Sho,ye'rejokin'!"retortedUncleBilly.Hehadbeenconsideredafinehorsetraderinthatpartofthecountry."Makeitahundredandtwentyfive,an'I'llgoye."

    Mr.Ellsworthcountedoutsomebills.

    "Here'sahundred,"hesaid."Thatoughttobeaboutright."

    "Fifteenmore,"insistedUncleBilly.

    Withalittlefrownofimpatiencetheothercountedofftheextramoneyandhandeditover.UncleBillygravelyhandeditback.

    "Them'sthefifteendollarsMr.Kampgiveme,"heexplained."You'vegotthehullhouseferaweek,an'o'courseallth'moneythat'stookeninisyour'n.Youkindoasyepleaseaboutrentin'outroomstootherfolks,Ireckon.Abargain'sabargain,an'IallussticktooneImake."

    V

    RalphEllsworthstalkedamongthetrees,feverishlysearchingforsquirrels,scarletleaves,andtheglintofabrownwalkingdress,thislastnotbeingsoeasytolocateinsunlitautumnwoods.Timeaftertimehequickenedhispace,onlytofindthathehadbeenfooledbyapatchofdogwood,aclumpofhawbushesorevenaleafstrewnknoll,butatlastheunmistakablysawthedress,andthenhesloweddowntoacarelesssaunter.

    Shewasreachingupforsomebrilliantlycoloredmapleleaves,andwasentirelyunconsciousofhispresence,especiallyaftershehadseenhim.Herposeshowedherprettyfiguretoadvantage,but,ofcourse,shedidnotknowthat.Howshouldshe?

    Ralphadmiredthepictureverymuch.Thehat,thehair,thegown,thedaintyshoes,eventhenarrowstripofsilkenhosethatwasrevealedasshestoodauptoe,wereallofadeep,richbrownthatprovedanexquisitefoilforthepinkandcreamofhercheeks.Herememberedthathereyeswerealmostthesameshade,andwonderedhowitwasthatwomenfolkhappenedoncombinationsindressthatsowellsetofftheirnaturalcharms.Thefool!

    Hewasaboutthreetreesaway,now,andapanicakintothatwhichhuntersdescribeas"buckague"seizedhim.Hedecidedthathereallyhadnoexcuseforcominganynearer.Itwouldnotdo,either,tobeseenstaringatherifsheshouldhappentoturnherhead,soheveeredoff,intendingtoregaintheroad.Itwouldbeimpossibletodothiswithoutpassingdirectlyinherrangeofvision,andhedidnotintendtotrytoavoidit.Hehadafine,manlyfigureofhisown.

    Hehadjustpassedthenearestradiustohercircleandwasproceedingalongthetangentthathehadlaidoutforhimself,whentheunwittingmaidlookedcarefullydownandsawatangleofrootsather

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    veryfeet.Shewassounfortunate,asecondlater,astoslipherfootinthisverytangleandgiveherankleeversoslightatwist.

    "Oh!"criedMissVanKamp,andRalphEllsworthflewtotherescue.Hehadnotbeennoticingheratall,andyethehadstartedtohersidebeforeshehadevencriedout,whichwasstrange.Shehadaveryattractivevoice.

    "MayIbeofassistance?"heanxiouslyinquired.

    "Ithinknot,thankyou,"shereplied,compressingherlipstokeepbacktheintolerablepain,andhalfclosinghereyestoshowthefinelashes.Decliningtheprofferedhelp,sheextricatedherfoot,pickedupherautumnbranches,andturnedaway.Shewasintenselyaversetoanythingthatcouldbeconstruedasaflirtation,evenofthemildest,hecouldcertainlyseethat.Shetookastep,swayedslightly,droppedtheleaves,andclutchedoutherhandtohim.

    "Itisnothing,"sheassuredhiminamoment,withdrawingthehandafterhehadhelditquitelongenough."Nothingwhatever.Igavemyfootaslightwrench,andturnedtheleastbitfaintforamoment."

    "Youmustpermitmetowalkback,atleasttotheroad,withyou,"heinsisted,gatheringupherarmloadofbranches."Icouldn'tthinkofleavingyouherealone."

    Ashestoopedtoraisethegaywoodlandtreasureshesmiledtohimself,eversoslightly.Thiswasnothisfirstseasonout,either.

    "Delightfulspot,isn'tit?"heobservedastheyregainedtheroadandsaunteredinthedirectionoftheTuttHouse.

    "Quiteso,"shereservedlyanswered.Shehadnoticedthatsmileashestooped.Hemustbesnubbedalittle.Itwouldbesogoodforhim.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowBillyEvans,ofBoston,doyou?"heasked.

    "Ithinknot.IambutverylittleacquaintedinBoston."

    "Toobad,"hewenton."IwasratherinhopesyouknewBilly.Allsortsofasplendidfellow,andknowseverybody."

    "Notquite,itseems,"sheremindedhim,andhewincedattheerror.Inspiteoftheslysmilethathehadpermittedtohimself,hewasunusuallyinterested.

    Hetriedtheweather,theflood,theaccident,golf,booksandthreegood,substantial,warrantedjokes,buttheconversationlaggedinspiteofhim.MissVanKampwouldnotfortheworldhaveitunderstoodthatthisunconventionalmeeting,madeallowablebyherwrenchedankle,couldpossiblyfulfillthefunctionsofaformalintroduction.

    "Whataripping,queeroldbuildingthatis!"heexclaimed,makingonemorebraveeffortastheycameinsightofthehotel.

    "Itis,rather,"sheassented."Theroomsinitareasquaintanddelightfulastheexterior,too."

    Shelookedasharmlessandinnocentasabasketofpeachesasshesaidit,andneverthesuspicionofasmiledeepenedthedimpleinthecheektowardhim.Thesmilewasglowingcheerfullyawayinside,though.Hecouldfeelit,ifhecouldnotseeit,andhelaughedaloud.

    "Yourcrowdrathergotthebetterofusthere,"headmittedwiththekeenappreciationofonestillquite

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    closetocollegedays.

    "Ofcourse,thematerisfurious,butIratherlookonitasalark."

    ShethawedlikeanAprilicicle.

    "It'sperfectlyjolly,"shelaughedwithhim."Awfullyselfishofus,too,Iknow,butsuchloadsoffun."

    TheywereclosetotheTuttHousenow,andherlimp,thathadentirelydisappearedastheyemergedfromthewoods,nowbecamequiteperceptible.Theremightbepeoplelookingoutofthewindows,thoughitishardtoseewhythatshouldaffectalimp.

    Ralphwasdelightedtofindthatathawhadsetin,andhemadeonemoreattempttoestablishatleastaproxyacquaintance.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowPeysonKingsley,ofPhiladelphia,doyou?"

    "I'mafraidIdon't,"shereplied."IknowsofewPhiladelphiapeople,yousee."Shewasratherregretfulaboutitthistime.Hereallywasacleversortofafellow,inspiteofthatsmile.

    ThecenterwindowinthesecondflooroftheTuttHouseswungopen,itslittlesquaresofglassflashingjubilantlyinthesunlight.Mrs.Ellsworthleanedoutoverthesill,fromthequaintoldsittingroomoftheVanKampapartments!

    "Oh,Ralph!"shecalledinhermostdulcettones."Kindlyexcuseyourselfandcomerightonuptooursuiteforafewmoments!"

    VI

    Itisnotnearlysoeasytotakeapracticaljokeastoperpetrateone.Evelynwassittingthoughtfullyontheporchwhenherfatherandmotherreturned.Mrs.Ellsworthwassittingatthecenterwindowabove,placidlylookingout.HereyessweptcarelesslyovertheVanKamps,andunconcernedlypassedontotherestofthelandscape.

    Mrs.VanKampgaspedandclutchedthearmofherhusband.Therewasnoneed.He,too,hadseentheapparition.Evelynnow,forthefirsttime,sawtherealhumorofthesituation.ShesmiledasshethoughtofRalph.Sheowedhimone,butsheneverworriedaboutherdebts.Shealwaysmanagedtogetthempaid,principalandinterest.

    Mr.VanKampsuddenlygloweredandstrodeintotheTuttHouse.UncleBillymethimatthedoor,reflectivelychewingastraw,andhandedhimanenvelope.Mr.VanKamptoreitopenanddrewoutanote.Threefivedollarbillscameoutwithitandflutteredtotheporchfloor.Thismissiveconfrontedhim:

    MR.J.BELMONTVANKAMP,

    DEARSIR:ThisistonotifyyouthatIhaverentedtheentireTuttHousefortheensuingweek,andamcompelledtoassumepossessionofthethreesecondfloorfrontrooms.HerewithIamenclosingthefifteendollarsyoupaidtosecurethesuite.Youarequitewelcometomakeuse,asmyguest,ofthesmallroomoverthekitchen.Youwillfindyourluggageinthatroom.Regrettinganyinconveniencethatthistransactionmaycauseyou,Iam,

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    Yoursrespectfully,EDWARDEASTMANELLSWORTH.

    Mr.VanKamppassedthenotetohiswifeandsatdownoralargechair.Hewasgladthatthechairwascomfortableandroomy.Evelynpickedupthebillsandtuckedthemintoherwaist.Sheneveroverlookedanyofherperquisites.Mrs.VanKampreadthenote,andthetipofhernosebecamewhite.Shealsosatdown,butshewasthefirsttofindhervoice.

    "Atrocious!"sheexclaimed."Atrocious!Simplyatrocious,Belmont.Thisisahouseofpublicentertainment.Theycan'tturnusoutinthishighmindedmanner!Isn'ttherealaworsomethingtothateffect?"

    "Itwouldn'tmatteriftherewas,"hethoughtfullyreplied."ThisfellowEllsworthwouldbetooclevertobecaughtbyit.Hewouldsaythatthehousewasnotahotelbutaprivateresidenceduringtheperiodforwhichhehasrentedit."

    Personally,heratheradmiredEllsworth.Seemedtobearesourcefulsortofchapwhoknewhowtomakemoneybehaveitself,anddoitslittletrickswithoutbalkingintheharness.

    "Thenyoucanmakehimtakedownthesign!"hiswifedeclared.

    Heshookhisheaddecidedly.

    "Itwouldn'tdo,Belle,"hereplied."Itwouldbespite,notretaliation,andnotatallsportsmanlike.Thecourseyousuggestwouldbelittleusmorethanitwouldannoythem.Theremustbesomeotherway."

    HewentintotalkwithUncleBilly.

    "Iwanttobuythisplace,"hestated."Isitforsale?"

    "Itsartinis!"repliedUncleBilly.Hedidnotmerelytwinklethistime.Hegrinned.

    "Howmuch?"

    "Threethousanddollars."Mr.Tuttwasusedtochargingbythistime,andhebetrayednohesitation.

    "I'llwriteyououtacheckatonce,"andMr.VanKampreachedinhispocketwiththereflectionthatthespot,afterall,wasanidealoneforaquietsummerretreat.

    "Airyouagoin't'scribblethattherethreethousan'onapieceo'paper?"inquiredUncleBilly,sittingboltupright."Efyouairafiggerin'onthat,Mr.Kamp,jis'yousaveyoretime.Igiveamanfourdollarsferoneo'themcheckthingsoncet,an'Iowemyselfthemfourdollarsyit."

    Mr.VanKampretiredindisorder,butthethoughtofhiswifeanddaughterwaitingconfidentlyontheporchstoppedhim.Moreover,thethinghadresolveditselfratherintoacontestbetweenEllsworthandhimself,andhehaddonealittlemakingandbreakingofmenandthingsinhisowntime.Hedidsomegatlinggunthinkingoutbythenewelpost,andpresentlyrejoinedUncleBilly.

    "Mr.Tutt,tellmejustexactlywhatMr.Ellsworthrented,please,"herequested.

    "Th'hullhouse,"repliedBilly,andthenhesomewhatsternlyadded:"Paidmespotcashferit,too."

    Mr.VanKamptookawadofloosebillsfromhistrouserspocket,straightenedthemoutleisurely,andplacedtheminhisbillbook,alongwithsomesmoothyellowbacksofeyebulgingdenominations.UncleBillysatupandstoppedtwiddlinghisthumbs.

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    "Nothingwassaidaboutthefurniture,wasthere?"suavelyinquiredVanKamp.

    UncleBillyleanedblanklybackinhischair.Littlebylittlethelightdawnedontheexhorsetrader.Thecrow'sfeetreappearedabouthiseyes,hismouthtwitched,hesmiled,hegrinned,thenheslappedhisthighandhawhawed.

    "No!"roaredUncleBilly."No,therewasn't,bygum!"

    "Nothingbutthehouse?"

    "Hisveryownwords!"chuckledUncleBilly."'Jis'th'merehouse,'sayshe,an'hegitsit.Abargain'sabargain,an'IallussticktooneImake."

    "Howmuchforthefurniturefortheweek?"

    "Fiftydollars!"Mr.Tuttknewhowtodobusinesswiththiskindofpeoplenow,youbet.

    Mr.VanKamppromptlycountedoutthemoney.

    "Dratit!"commentedUncleBillytohimself."Icould'a'gotmore!"

    "Nowwherecanwemakeourselvescomfortablewiththisfurniture?"

    UncleBillychirkedup.Allwasnotyetlost.

    "Waal,"hereflectivelydrawled,"there'sth'newbarn.Ithain'tbeenusedfornothin'yit,senctIbuiltittwoyearsago.Ijis'hadn'tth'heartt'putth'crittersinitaslongasth'oleonestoodup."

    TheothersmiledatthisflashlightonUncleBilly'scharacter,andtheywentouttolookatthebarn.

    VII

    UncleBillycamebackfromthe"TuttHouseAnnex,"asMr.VanKampdubbedthebarn,withenoughmoremoneytomakehimlovealltheworlduntilhegotusedtohavingit.UncleBillybelongstoalargefamily.

    Mr.VanKampjoinedthewomenontheporch,andexplainedtheattractivelynovelsituationtothem.TheywerechattinggailywhentheEllsworthscamedownthestairs.Mr.EllsworthpausedforamomenttoexchangeawordwithUncleBilly.

    "Mr.Tutt,"saidhe,laughing,"ifwegoforabitofexercisewillyouguaranteeusthepossessionofourroomswhenwecomeback?"

    "Yessirree!"UncleBillyassuredhim."Theyshan'tnobodytakethemroomsawayfromyoufermoney,marbles,nerchalk.Abargain'sabargain,an'IallussticktooneImake,"andhevirtuouslytookachewoftobaccowhileheinspectedtheafternoonskywithaclearconscience.

    "Iwanttogetsomeofthosesplendidautumnleavestodecorateourcozyapartments,"Mrs.EllsworthtoldherhusbandastheypassedinhearingoftheVanKamps."DoyouknowthoseoldtimeragrugsarethemostoddlydecorativeeffectsthatIhaveeverseen.Theyaresorichincolorandsoexquisitelyblended."

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    Therewerereasonswhythispoisonedarrowfailedtorankle,buttheVanKampsdidnottroubletoexplain.TheywerewaitingforRalphtocomeoutandjoinhisparents.Ralph,itseemed,however,haddecidednottotakeawalk.Hehadalreadyfatiguedhimself,hehadexplained,andhismotherhadfavoredhimwithasignificantlook.Shecouldreadilybelievehim,shehadassuredhim,andhadthenlefthiminscorn.

    TheVanKampswentouttoconsiderthearrangementofthebarn.Evelynreturnedfirstandcameoutontheporchtofindahandkerchief.Itwasnotthere,butRalphwas.Shewasverymuchsurprisedtoseehim,andsheintimatedasmuch.

    "It'sdreadfullydampinthewoods,"heexplained."Bytheway,youdon'thappentoknowtheWhitleys,ofWashington,doyou?Mostexcellentpeople."

    "I'mquitesorrythatIdonot,"shereplied."Butyouwillhavetoexcuseme.Weshallbekeptverybusywitharrangingourapartments."

    Ralphsprangtohisfeetwithaludicrousexpression.

    "Notthesecondfloorfrontsuite!"heexclaimed.

    "Oh,no!Notatall,"shereassuredhim.

    Helaughedlightly.

    "Honorsareabouteveninthatgame,"hesaid.

    "Evelyn,"calledhermotherfromthehall."Pleasecomeandtakethosefrontsuitecurtainsdowntothebarn."

    "Pardonmewhilewetakethenexttrick,"remarkedEvelynwithalaughquiteaslightandgleefulashisown,anddisappearedintothehall.

    Hefollowedherslowly,andwasmetatthedoorbyherfather.

    "YouaretheyoungerMr.Ellsworth,Ibelieve,"politelysaidMr.VanKamp.

    "RalphEllsworth.Yes,sir."

    "Hereisanoteforyourfather.Itisunsealed.Youarequiteatlibertytoreadit."

    Mr.VanKampbowedhimselfaway,andRalphopenedthenote,whichread:

    EDWARDEASTMANELLSWORTH,ESQ.,

    DearSir:ThisistonotifyyouthatIhaverentedtheentirefurnitureoftheTuttHousefortheensuingweek,andamcompelledtoassumepossessionofthatinthethreesecondfloorfrontrooms,aswellasallthebalancenotinactualusebyMr.andMrs.Tuttandthedriverofthestage.Youarequitewelcome,however,tomakeuseofthefurnishingsinthesmallroomoverthekitchen.Yourluggageyouwillfindundisturbed.Regrettinganyinconveniencethatthistransactionmaycauseyou,Iremain,

    Yoursrespectfully,

    J.BELMONTVANKAMP.

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    Ralphscratchedhisheadinamusedperplexity.Itdevolveduponhimtoevenuptheaffairalittlebeforehismothercameback.Hemustsupportthefamilyreputationforresourcefulness,butittookquiteabitofscalpirritationbeforeheaggravatedtherightideaintobeing.Assoonastheideacame,hewentinandmadeahideboundbargainwithUncleBilly,thenhewentoutintothehallandwaiteduntilEvelyncamedownwithahugearmloadofwindowcurtains.

    "Honorsarestilleven,"heremarked."Ihavejustboughtalltheediblesabouttheplace,whetherinthecellar,thehouseoranyofthesurroundingstructures,intheground,abovetheground,deadoralive,andabargain'sabargainasbetweenmanandman."

    "Cleverofyou,I'msure,"commentedMissVanKamp,reflectively.Suddenlyherlipspartedwithasmilethatrevealedadoublerowofmostbeautifulteeth.Hemeditativelywatchedthecurveofherlips.

    "Isn'tthatratheraheavyload?"hesuggested."I'dbedelightedtohelpyoumovethethings,don'tyouknow."

    "Itisquitekindofyou,andwhatthemenwouldcall'game,'Ibelieve,underthecircumstances,"sheanswered,"butreallyitwillnotbenecessary.WehavehiredMr.Tuttandthedrivertodotheheavierpartofthework,andtherestofitwillbereallyapleasantdiversion."

    "Nodoubt,"agreedRalph,withanappreciativegrin."Bytheway,youdon'thappentoknowMaudandDorothyPartridge,ofBaltimore,doyou?Stunningprettygirls,bothofthem,andnoendofswells."

    "IknowsoveryfewpeopleinBaltimore,"shemurmured,andtrippedondowntothebarn.

    Ralphwentoutontheporchandsmoked.Therewasnothingelsethathecoulddo.

    VIII

    ItwasgrowingduskwhentheelderEllsworthsreturned,almosthiddenbygreatmassesofautumnboughs.

    "Youshouldhavebeenwithus,Ralph,"enthusiasticallysaidhismother."Ineversawsuchgorgeoustintsinallmylife.Wehavebroughtnearlytheentirewoodswithus."

    "Itwasagoodidea,"saidRalph."Astunninggoodidea.Theymaycomeinhandytosleepon."

    Mrs.Ellsworthturnedcold.

    "Whatdoyoumean?"shegasped.

    "Ralph,"sternlydemandedhisfather,"youdon'tmeantotellusthatyoulettheVanKampsjockeyusoutofthoseroomsafterall?"

    "Indeed,no,"heairilyresponded."Justcomerightonupandsee."

    Heledthewayintothesuiteandstruckamatch.Onesolitarycandlehadbeenleftuponthemantelshelf.Ralphthoughtthatthishadbeenoverlooked,buthismotherafterwardssethimrightaboutthat.Mrs.VanKamphadcleverlyleftitsothattheEllsworthscouldseehowdreadfullybaretheplacewas.Onecandleinthreeroomsisdrearierthandarknessanyhow.

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    Mrs.Ellsworthtookinallthedesolation,thedismalexpanseofthenowenormousapartments,theshabbywalls,thehideousbrightspotswherepictureshadhung,thesplinteredflooring,thegreat,gauntwindowsandshegavein.Shehadmetwithsnubaftersnub,andcutaftercut,inhersocialclimb,shehadhadthecookquitinthemiddleofanimportantdinner,shehadhadeverydisconcertingthingpossiblehappentoher,butthisthiswasthelastbaleofstraw.Shesatdownonasuitcase,inthemiddleofthebiggestroom,andcried!

    Ralph,havingwaitedforthis,nowtoldaboutthefoodtransaction,andshehastilypushedthelastcomingtearbackintohereye.

    "Good!"shecried."Theywillbeupheresoon.Theywillbecompelledtocompromise,andtheymustnotfindmewithredeyes."

    Shecastahastyglancearoundtheroom,then,inasuddenpanic,seizedthecandleandexploredtheothertwo.Shewentwildlyoutintothehall,backintothelittleroomoverthekitchen,downstairs,everywhere,andreturnedinconsternation.

    "There'snotasinglemirrorleftinthehouse!"shemoaned.

    Ralphheartlesslygrinned.Hecouldappreciatethatthiswasacharacteristicwomantrick,andwonderedadmiringlywhetherEvelynorhermotherhadthoughtofit.However,thiswasatimeforaction.

    "I'llgetyousomewatertobatheyoureyes,"heoffered,andranintothelittleroomoverthekitchentogetapitcher.Acrackedshavingmugwastheonlyvesselthathadbeenleft,buthehurrieddownintotheyardwithit.Thiswasnotimeforfastidiousness.

    HehadbarelycreakedthepumphandlewhenMr.VanKamphurriedupfromthebarn.

    "Ibegyourpardon,sir,"saidMr.VanKamp,"butthiswaterbelongstous.Mydaughterboughtit,allthatisintheground,abovetheground,orthatmayfallfromtheskyuponthesepremises."

    IX

    Themutualsiegelasteduntilafterseveno'clock,butitwasratheronesided.TheVanKampscoulddrinkallthewatertheyliked,itmadethemnohungrier.IftheEllsworthsateanything,however,theygrewthirstier,and,moreover,waterwasnecessaryifanythingworthwhilewastobecooked.Theyknewallthis,andresisteduntilMrs.Ellsworthwastemptedandfell.Sheateasandwichandchoked.Itwasheartbreaking,butRalphhadtobesentdownwithaplateofsandwichesandanoffertotradethemforwater.

    HalfwaybetweenthepumpandthehousehemetEvelyncomingwithasmallpailofthepreciousfluid.Theybothstoppedstockstillthen,seeingthatitwastoolatetoretreat,bothlaughedandadvanced.

    "Whowinsnow?"banteredRalphastheymadetheexchange.

    "Itlookstomelikeamisdeal,"shegailyreplied,andwasmovingawaywhenhecalledherback.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowtheGately's,ofNewYork,doyou?"hewasquiteanxioustoknow.

    "Iamtrulysorry,butIamacquaintedwithsofewpeopleinNewYork.

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    WearefromChicago,youknow."

    "Oh,"saidheblankly,andtookthewateruptotheEllsworthsuite.

    Mrs.EllsworthcheeredupconsiderablywhensheheardthatRalphhadbeenmethalfway,buthereyessnappedwhenheconfessedthatitwasMissVanKampwhohadmethim.

    "Ihopeyouarenotgoingtocarryonaflirtationwiththatoverdressedcreature,"sheblazed.

    "Whymother,"exclaimedRalph,shockedbeyondmeasure."Whatrighthaveyoutoaccuseeitherthisyoungladyormyselfofflirting?Flirting!"

    Mrs.Ellsworthsuddenlyattackedthefirewithquiteunnecessaryenergy.

    X

    Downatthebarn,thewidethreshingfloorhadbeencoveredwithgayragrugs,andstrewnwithtables,couches,andchairsinpicturesqueprofusion.Roomyboxstallshadbeencarpeteddeepwithcleanstraw,curtainedoffwithgaudybedquilts,andconvertedintocozysleepingapartments.Themowandthestallshadbeenscreenedoffwithlacecurtainsandblazingcounterpanes,andthewholeeffectwasoneofOrientalluxuryandsplendor.Alas,itwasonlyan"effect"!Theredhotparlorstovesmokedabominably,thepipecarriedothersmokeoutthroughthehawmowwindow,onlytoletitblowbackagain.Chillcrossdraughtswhistledinfromcrackstoonumeroustobestoppedup,andthemiserableVanKampscouldonlycoughandshiver,andenvytheTuttsandthedriver,noncombatantswhohadbeenfedtwohoursbefore.

    Upinthesecondfloorsuitetherewasaroaringfireinthebigfireplace,buttherewasachillintheroomthatnomerefirecoulddriveawaythechillofabsoluteemptiness.

    Amancanoutlivehardshipsthatwouldkillawoman,butawomancanendurediscomfortsthatwoulddriveamancrazy.

    Mr.EllsworthwentouttohuntupUncleBilly,withanespecialsolaceinmind.Thelandlordwasnotinthehouse,buttheyellowgleamofalanternrevealedhispresenceinthewoodshed,andMr.Ellsworthsteppedinuponhimjustashewaspouringsomethingyellowandclearintoatumblerfromabigjugthathehadjusttakenfromundertheflooring.

    "Howmuchdoyouwantforthatjuganditscontents?"heasked,withasighofgratitudethatthissupplyhadbeenoverlooked.

    BeforeMr.Tuttcouldanswer,Mr.VanKamphurriedinatthedoor.

    "Waitamoment!"hecried."Iwanttobidonthat!"

    "Thisherejughain'tfersaleatnoprice,"UncleBillyemphaticallyannounced,nippingallnegotiationsrightinthebud."It'stoopeskyhardtosneakthisherelickerinpastMarge't,butIreckonit'smytreat,gents.Yekinhaveallyewant."

    OneminutelaterMr.VanKampandMr.Ellsworthwereseated,oneonasawbuckandtheotheronanailkeg,comfortablyeyeingeachotheracrosstheworkbench,andeachwasholdingupatumbler

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    onethirdfilledwiththegoldenyellowliquid.

    "Yourhealth,sir,"courteouslyproposedMr.Ellsworth.

    "Andtoyou,sir,"gravelyrepliedMr.VanKamp.

    XI

    RalphandEvelynhappenedtomeetatthepump,quiteaccidentally,aftertheformerhadmadehalfadozenfiveminuteaparttripsforadrink.ItwasMissVanKamp,thistime,whohadbeenstudyingonthemutualacquaintanceproblem.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowtheTylers,ofParkersburg,doyou?"sheasked.

    "TheTylers!IshouldsayIdo!"wastheunexpectedandenthusiasticreply."Why,weareonourwaynowtoMissGeorgianaTyler'sweddingtomyfriendJimmyCarston.I'mtobebestman."

    "Howdelightful!"sheexclaimed."Weareonthewaythere,too.Georgianawasmydearestchumatschool,andIamtobeher'bestgirl.'"

    "Let'sgoaroundontheporchandsitdown,"saidRalph.

    XII

    Mr.VanKamp,backinthewoodshed,lookedabouthimwithaneyeofcontent.

    "Rathercozyforawoodshed,"heobserved."Iwonderifwecouldn'tscareupalittlesessionofdollarlimit?"

    BothUncleBillyandMr.Ellsworthwerewilling.DeathandpokerlevelallAmericans.Afourthhandwasneeded,however.Thestagedriverwasinbedandasleep,andMr.Ellsworthvolunteeredtofindtheextraplayer.

    "I'llgetRalph,"hesaid."Heplaysafairlystiffgame."Hefinallyfoundhissonontheporch,apparentlyalone,andstatedhiserrand.

    "Thankyou,butIdon'tbelieveIcaretoplaythisevening,"wastheastoundingreply,andMr.Ellsworthlookedcloser.Hemadeout,then,adimfigureontheothersideofRalph.

    "Oh!Ofcoursenot!"heblundered,andwentbacktothewoodshed.

    Threehandedpokerisamiserablegame,anditseldomlastslong.Itdidnotinthiscase.AfterUncleBillyhadwontheonlyjackpotdeservingofthename,hewasallowedtogoblissfullytosleepwithhishandonthehandleofthebigjug.

    Afterpokerthereisonlyoneotheralwaysavailableamusementformen,andthatisbusiness.ThetwotravelerswerequitewellacquaintedwhenRalphputhisheadinatthedoor.

    "ThoughtI'dfindyouhere,"heexplained."Itjustoccurredtometowonderwhetheryougentlemenhaddiscovered,asyet,thatwearealltobehouseguestsattheCarstonTylerwedding."

    "Why,no!"exclaimedhisfatherinpleasedsurprise."Itisamostagreeablecoincidence.Mr.Van

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    Kamp,allowmetointroducemyson,Ralph.Mr.VanKampandmyself,Ralph,havefoundoutthatweshallbeconsiderablythrowntogetherinabusinesswayfromnowon.HehasjustpurchasedcontroloftheMetropolitanandWesternstringofinterurbans."

    "Delighted,I'msure,"murmuredRalph,shakinghands,andthenheslippedoutasquicklyaspossible.Someoneseemedtobewaitingforhim.

    Perhapsanothertwentyminuteshadpassed,whenoneofthemenhadanilluminatingideathatresulted,lateron,inpleasantrelationsforallofthem.Itwasabouttime,forMrs.Ellsworth,upinthebaresuite,andMrs.VanKamp,downinthedraughtybarn,bothwrappeduptothechinandbothstillchilly,hadaboutreachedthelimitofpatienceandendurance.

    "Whycan'twemakethingsalittlemorecomfortableforallconcerned?"suggestedMr.VanKamp."Suppose,asastarter,thatwehaveMrs.VanKampgiveashiverpartydowninthebarn?"

    "Goodidea,"agreedMr.Ellsworth."Alittlediplomacywilldoit.Eachoneofuswillhavetotellhiswifethattheotherfellowmadethefirstabjectovertures."

    Mr.VanKampgrinnedunderstandingly,andagreedtotheinfamousruse.

    "Bytheway,"continuedMr.Ellsworth,withastillhappierthought,"youmustallowMrs.EllsworthtofurnishthedinnerforMrs.VanKamp'sshiverparty."

    "Dinner!"gaspedMr.VanKamp."Byallmeans!"

    Bothmenfeltananxiousyawningintheregionoftheappetite,andayearningmoisturewettedtheirtongues.TheylookedattheslumberingUncleBillyanddecidedtoseeMrs.Tuttthemselvesaboutagood,hotdinnerforsix.

    "Lawme!"exclaimedAuntMargaretwhentheyappearedatthekitchendoor."IswanIthoughtyoufolks'u'dnevercometoyoresenses.HereI'vehadabigpoto'stewedchickenreadyonthestovefertwomortalhours.Ikingiveyethat,an'smashedtatersan'chickengravy,an'driedcorn,an'hotcornpone,an'currantjell,an'strawberrypreserves,an'myowncannin'o'peaches,an'pumpkinpiean'coffee.Willthatdoye?"Woulditdo!Woulditdo!!

    AsAuntMargarettalked,thekitchendoorswungwide,andthetwomenwerestrickenspeechlesswithastonishment.There,acrossfromeachotheratthekitchentable,sattheutterlyselfishandtraitorousyoungermembersoftherivalhousesofEllsworthandVanKamp,deepinthejoysofchicken,andmashedpotatoes,andgravy,andhotcornpone,andalltheother"fixings,"laughingandchattinggailylikechumsofyears'standing.Theyhadseeminglyjustcometoanagreementaboutsomethingorother,forEvelyn,wavingtheshorterendofabrokenwishbone,wasvivaciouslysayingtoRalph:

    "Abargain'sabargain,andIalwayssticktooneImake."

    ACALL

    ByGraceMacGowanCooke(1863)

    [FromHarper'sMagazine,August,1906.Copyright,1906,byHarper&Brothers.Republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    Aboyinanunnaturallyclean,countrylaunderedcollarwalkeddownalongwhiteroad.Hescuffed

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    thedustupwantonly,forhewishedtoveilthealltoobrilliantpolishofhiscowhideshoes.Alsothememoryofthewhitenessandslipperinessofhiscollaroppressedhim.Hewasfaintolooklikeoneaccustomedtosocialdiversions,amanhurriedfromhalltohallofpleasure,withouttimebetweentochangecollarorpolishboot.Hestoopedandrubbedacrumbofearthonhisoverfreshnecklinen.

    Thisdidnotlongsustainhisdroopingspirit.HewasmentallyadriftupontheHintsandHelpstoYoungMeninBusinessandSocialRelations,whichhadsuggestedtohimhispresententerprise,whentheappearanceofasecondyouth,tallerandbroaderthanhimself,withashockoflightcurlinghairandacropoffrecklesthatadvertisedarichsoilthrewhimalifeline.Heputhisthumbstohislipsandwhistledinapeculiarlyearsplittingway.ThetwoboyshadsatonthesamebenchatSundayschoolnotthreehoursbeforeyetwhatachangehadcomeovertheworldforoneofthemsincethen!

    "Hello!Whereyougoin',Ab?"askedthenewcomer,gruffly.

    "Callin',"repliedtheboyinthecollar,laconically,butwithcarefullyavertedgaze.

    "Onthegirls?"inquiredtheother,awestruck.InMountPisgahyousawthegirlshomefromnightchurch,socials,orpartiesyoucouldhangoverthegateandyoumightwalkwithagirlinthecemeteryofaSundayafternoonbuttoringafrontdoorbellandaskforMissHeart'sDesireonemusthavebeeninlongtrousersatleastthreeyearsandthetwoboysconfrontedinthedustyroadhadwornthesedignifyinggarmentsbarelysixmonths.

    "Girls,"saidAbner,loftily"Idon'tknowaboutgirlsI'mjustgoingtocallononegirlChampeClaiborne."HemarchedonasthoughtheconversationwasatanendbutRosshunguponhisflank.RossandChampewereneighbors,comradesinallsortsofmischiefhewasindoubtwhethertohaltAbnerandpummelhim,orproposetoenlistunderhisbanner.

    "Doyoureckonyoucould?"hedebated,trottingalongbytheirresponsiveJiltonboy.

    "Runhometoyourmother,"growledtheoriginatoroftheplan,savagely."Youain'toldenoughtocallongirlsanybodycanseethatbutIam,andI'mgoingtocallonChampeClaiborne."

    AgainthenameactedasaspuronRoss."Withyourcollarandbootsalldirty?"hejeered."Theywon'tknowyou'recallin'."

    Theboyintheroadstoppedshortinhisdustytracks.Hewasanintensecreature,andhewhitenedatthetragicinsinuation,longingforthewholesomestayandcompanionshipoffrecklefacedRoss."Iputthedirtono'purposeso'stolookkindofcareless,"hehalfwhispered,inanagonyofdoubt."S'poseI'dbettergointoyourhouseandtrytowashitoff?Reckonyourmotherwouldletme?"

    "I'vegottwocleancollars,"announcedtheotherboy,proudlygenerous."I'lllendyouone.YoucanputitonwhileI'mgettingready.I'lltellmotherthatwe'rejuststeppingouttodoalittlecallingonthegirls."

    Herewasanallyworthyofthecause.Abnerwelcomedhim,inspiteofcertainjealoustwinges.HereflectedwithsatisfactionthatthereweretwoClaibornegirls,andthoughAliciawassostiffandprimthatnoboywouldeverthinkofcallingonher,therewasstillthehopethatshemightdrawRoss'sfire,andleavehim,Abner,tomakethenumerousremarkshehadstoredupinhismindfromHintsandHelpstoYoungMeninSocialandBusinessRelationstoChampealone.

    Mrs.Pryorreceivedthemwiththeeasygoingkindnessofthemotherofoneson.Shefollowedthemintothediningroomtokissandfeedhim,withanabsent"Howdy,Abnerhow'syourmother?"

    Abner,bigwiththeimportanceoftheirmutualintention,inclinedhisheadstifflyandlookedtowardRossforexplanation.Hetrembledalittle,butitwaswithdelight,asheanticipatedtheeffectofthe

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    speechRosshadoutlined.Butitdidnotcome.

    "I'mnothungry,mother,"wastherevisededitionwhichthefrecklefacedboyofferedtothematernalear."IwearegoingovertoMr.Claiborne'soneronanerrandforAbner'sfather."

    TheblackeyedboylookedreproachastheyclatteredupthestairstoRoss'sroom,wherethecleancollarwasproducedandasmallstockofties.

    "You'dwearanecktiewouldn'tyou?"Rossasked,spreadingthemuponthebureautop.

    "Yes.Butmakeitfallcarelesslyoveryourshirtfront,"advisedthestudentofHintsandHelps."Yourcollarismilestoobigforme.Say!I'vegotawadofwhitechewinggumwouldyouflatitoutandstickitoverthecollarbutton?Maybethatwouldfillupsome.Youkickmyfootifyouseemeturningmyheadso'stoknockitoff."

    "Betterbuttonupyourvest,"cautionedRoss,laboringwiththe"careless"fallofhistie.

    "Huhuh!Iwant'thateasyairwhichpresupposesfamiliaritywithsociety'that'swhatitsaysinmybook,"objectedAbner.

    "Sure!"Rossreturnedtohismorefamiliarjeeringattitude."Loosenupallyourclothes,then.Whydon'tyouuntieyourshoes?Flopasockdownoveroneof'emthatlooks'easy'allright."

    Abnerbuttonedhisvest."Itgivesamanlotsofconfidencetoknowhe'sgoodlooking,"heremarked,takingalltheroominfrontofthemirror.

    Ross,atthewashstandsoakinghishairtogetthecurloutofit,grumbledsomeunintelligibleresponse.Thetwoboyswentdownthestairswithtremuloushearts.

    "Why,you'veputonanothercleanshirt,Rossie!"Mrs.Pryorcalledfromherchairmothers'eyescanseesofar!"Welldon'tgetintoanydirtyplayandsoilit."TheboyswalkedinsilencebutitwasapregnantsilenceforastheroofoftheClaibornehousebegantopeerabovethecrestofthehill,Rossplumpeddownonastoneandannounced,"Iain'tgoin'."

    "Comeon,"urgedtheblackeyedboy."It'llbefunandeverybodywillrespectusmore.Champewon'tthrowrocksatusinrecesstime,afterwe'vecalledonher.Shecouldn't."

    "Called!"gruntedRoss."Icouldn'tmakeacallanymorethanacow.What'dIsay?What'dIdo?Icanbehaveallrightwhenyoujustgotopeople'shousesbutacall!"

    Abnerhesitated.Shouldhegiveawayhisbrilliantinsideinformation,drawnfromtheHintsandHelpsbook,andberivalledinthegloryofhismannersandbearing?Whyshouldhenotpassonalone,perfectlycomposed,andreapthefieldofgloryunsupported?Hiskneesgavewayandhesatdownwithoutintendingit.

    "Don'tyoutellanybodyandI'llputyouontoexactlywhatgrownupgentlemensayanddowhentheygocallingonthegirls,"hebegan.

    "Fireaway,"retortedRoss,gloomily."Nobodywillfindoutfromme.Deadmentellnotales.IfI'mfoolenoughtogo,Idon'texpecttocomeoutofitalive."

    Abnerrose,whiteandshaking,andthrustingthreefingersintothebuttoningofhisvest,extendingtheotherhandlikeanorator,proceededtoinstructthefreckled,perspiringdiscipleathisfeet.

    "'Hangyourhatontherack,orgiveittoaservant.'"Rossnoddedintelligently.Hecoulddothat.

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    "'Letyourlegsbegracefullydisposed,onehandontheknee,theother'"

    Abnercametoanunhappypause."Iforgetwhatafellowdoeswiththeotherhand.Mightstickitinyourpocket,loudly,orexpectorateonthecarpet.Indulgeinlittlefrivolity.Letarichstreamofconversationflow.'"

    Rossmentallydugwithinhimselfforsourcesofrichstreamsofconversation.Hefoundadrysoil."Whatyougoin'totalkabout?"hedemanded,fretfully."Iwon'tgoastepfarthertillIknowwhatI'mgoin'tosaywhenIgetthere."

    AbnerbegantorepeatparagraphsfromHintsandHelps."'Itisbesttoremark,'"heopened,inanunnaturalvoice,"'Howwellyouarelooking!'althoughfulsomecomplimentsshouldbeavoided.Whenseatedasktheyoungladywhoherfavoritecomposeris.'"

    "What'sacomposer?"inquiredRoss,withvisionsofsoothingsyrupinhismind.

    "Amanthatmakesupmusic.Don'tbuttinthatwayyouputmeallout'composeris.Nameyours.Askherwhatpieceofmusicshelikesbest.Nameyours.Iftheladyismusical,hereaskhertoplayorsing.'"

    ThischantedrecitationseemedtohaveahypnoticeffectonthefreckledboyhisbigpupilscontractedeachtimeAbnercametotherepetend,"Nameyours."

    "I'mtiredalready,"hegrumbledbutsomespellmadehimriseandfarefarther.

    WhentheyhadenteredtheClaibornegate,theyleanedtowardeachotherlikeyoungsaplingsweakenedattherootandlockingbranchestokeepwhatshallowfootholdonearthremained.

    "You'regoin'infirst,"assertedRoss,butwithoutconviction.Itwashiscustomtotearuptothishouseadozentimesaweek,onhisfather'soldhorseorafoothewaswonttoyellforChampeasheapproached,andquarreljoyouslywithherwhileheperformedsucherrandashehadcomeuponbuthewasgaggedandhamstrungnowbythehypnotismofAbner'sscheme.

    "'Walkquietlyupthestepsringthebellandlayyourcardontheservant,'"quotedAbner,whohadneverheardofaserver.

    "'Layyourcardontheservant!'"echoedRoss."Cady'ddodge.There'saporchtocrossafteryougoupthestepsdoesitsayanythingaboutthat?"

    "Itsaysthatthecardshouldbeplacedontheservant,"Abnerreiterated,doggedly."IfCadydodges,itain'tanybusinessofmine.Therearenoporchesinmybook.Justwalkacrossitlikeanybody.We'llaskforMissChampeClaiborne."

    "Wehaven'tgotanycards,"discoveredRoss,withhope.

    "Ihave,"announcedAbner,pompously."IhadsomestruckoffinChicago.Iordered'embymail.TheygotmynamePillow,butthere'sascallopedgiltborderaroundit.Youcanwriteyournameonmycard.Gotapencil?"

    HeproducedthebitofcardboardRossfishedupachewedstumpofleadpencil,tookitincold,stifffingers,anddisfiguredthesquarewitheccentricscribblings.

    "They'llknowwhoit'smeantfor,"hesaid,apologetically,"becauseI'mhere.What'slikelytohappenafterwegetridofthecard?"

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    "Itoldyouabouthangingyourhatontherackanddisposingyourlegs."

    "Iremembernow,"sighedRoss.Theyhadbeengoingslowerandslower.Theangleofinclinationtowardeachotherbecamemoreandmorepronounced.

    "Wemuststandbyeachother,"whisperedAbner.

    "IwillifIcanstandatall,"murmuredtheotherboy,huskily.

    "Oh,Lord!"TheyhadroundedthebigclumpofevergreensandfoundAuntMissouriClaiborneplacidlyrockingonthefrontporch!Directedtomountstepsandringbell,tolaycardsupontheservant,howshouldonedealwitharosyfaced,plumpladyofuncertainyearsinarockingchair.Whatshouldacallerlayuponher?Alioninthewaycouldnothavebeenmoreterrifying.Evenretreatwascutoff.AuntMissourihadseenthem."Howdy,boyshowareyou?"shesaid,rockingpeacefully.Thetwostoodbeforeherlikedetectedcriminals.

    Then,toRoss'sdismay,Abnersankdownontheloweststepoftheporch,thewesteringsunfullinhishopelesseyes.Hesatonhiscap.Itwascharacteristicthatthefreckledboyremainedstanding.Hewouldwalkupthosestepsaccordingtoplanandagreement,ifatall.Heacceptednocompromise.Foldinghisstrawhatintoabatteredcone,hewatchedanxiouslyforthedeliveryofthecard.HewasnotsurewhatAuntMissouri'sattitudemightbeifitwerelaidonher.Hebentdowntohiscompanion."Goahead,"hewhispered."Laythecard."

    Abnerraisedappealingeyes."Inaminute.Givemetime,"hepleaded.

    "Mars'RossMars'Ross!Head'emoff!"soundedayell,andBabe,thehouseboy,camearoundtheporchinpursuitoftwohalfgrownchickens.

    "Helphim,Rossie,"promptedAuntMissouri,sharply."Youboyscanstaytosupperandhavesomeofthechickenifyouhelpcatchthem."

    HadRosstakentimetothink,hemighthavereflectedthatgentlemenmakingformalcallsseldomjoininachaseafterthemaindishofthefamilysupper.ButtheneedsofBabewereinstant.Theladflunghimselfsidewise,caughtonechickeninhishat,whileBabefellupontheotherinthemannerofafootballplayer.Rosshandedthepullettothehouseboy,fearingthathehaddonesomethingverymuchoutofcharacter,thenpulledthereluctantnegrotowardtothesteps.

    "Babe'saservant,"hewhisperedtoAbner,whohadsatrigidthroughtheentireperformance."Ihelpedhimwiththechickens,andhe'sgottostandgentlewhileyoulaythecardon."

    Confrontedbytheactitself,Abnerwassuddenlyawarethatheknewnothowtobegin.Hetookrefugeindissimulation.

    "Hush!"hewhisperedback."Don'tyouseeMr.Claiborne'scomeout?He'sgoingtoreadsomethingtous."

    Rossplumpeddownbesidehim."Nevermindthecardtell'em,"heurged.

    "Tell'emyourself."

    "Nolet'scutandrun."

    "IIthinktheworstofitisover.WhenChampeseesusshe'll"

    MentionofChampestiffenedRoss'sspine.Ifithadbeenglorioustocalluponher,howveryterribleshewouldmakeitshouldtheyattemptcalling,fail,andthefailurecometoherknowledge!Some

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    thingswereeasiertoendurethanothersheresolvedtostaytillthecallwasmade.

    Forhalfanhourtheboyssatwithdroopingheads,andtheoldgentlemanreadaloud,presumablytoAuntMissouriandthemselves.FinallytheirrestlesseyesdiscernedthetwoClaibornegirlswalkingsereneinSundaytrimunderthetreesattheedgeofthelawn.Armsentwined,theywerewhisperingtogetherandgigglingalittle.Acaller,Rossdarednotusehisvoicetoshoutnorhislegstoruntowardthem.

    "Whydon'tyougoandtalktothegirls,Rossie?"AuntMissouriasked,inthekindnessofherheart."Don'tbenoisyit'sSunday,youknowanddon'tgettoplayinganythingthat'lldirtyupyourgoodclothes."

    Rosspressedhislipshardtogetherhisheartswelledwiththerageofthemisunderstood.Hadthecardbeeninhispossession,hewould,atthatinstant,havelaiditonAuntMissouriwithoutaqualm.

    "Whatisit?"demandedtheoldgentleman,abittestily.

    "Thegirlswanttohearyouread,father,"saidAuntMissouri,shrewdlyandshegotupandtrottedonshort,fatanklestothegirlsinthearbor.Thethreereturnedtogether,Aliciacastingcuriousglancesattheuncomfortableyouths,Champethreateningtoburstintogiggleswitheverybreath.

    Abnersathardonhiscapandblushedsilently.Rosstwistedhishatintoathreecorneredwreck.

    Thetwogirlssettledthemselvesnoisilyontheupperstep.Theoldmanreadonandon.Thesunsanklower.Thehillswereredinthewestasthoughabrushfireflamedbehindtheircrests.Abnerstoleafurtiveglanceathiscompanioninmisery,andthedolorofRoss'scountenancesomewhatassuagedhisanguish.Thefrecklefacedboywasthinkingofthevillageoverthehill,acertainpleasantwhitehousesetbackinagreenyard,pastwhosegate,thetwoplanksidewalkran.Heknewlampswerebeginningtowinkinthewindowsoftheneighborsabout,asthoughthehousessaid,"OurboysareallathomebutRossPryor'souttryingtocallonthegirls,andcan'tgetanybodytounderstandit."Oh,thathewerewalkingdownthosetwoplanks,drawingastickacrossthepickets,liftinghighhappyfeetwhichcouldturninatthatgate!Hewouldn'tcarewhatthelampssaidthen.Hewouldn'tevenmindifthewholeClaibornefamilydiedlaughingathimifonlysomepowerwouldraisehimupfromthisparalyzingspotandputhimbehindthesafebarriersofhisownhome!

    Theoldman'svoicelapsedintosilencethelightwasbecomingtoodimforhisreading.AuntMissouriturnedandcalledoverhershoulderintotheshadowsofthebighall:"YouBabe!Goputtwoextraplatesonthesuppertable."

    Theboysgrewredfromthetipsoftheirears,andasfarasanyonecouldseeundertheirwiltingcollars.Abnerfeltthelumpofgumcomelooseandslipdownacoldspine.Hadtheirintentionsbutbeenknown,thisinferentialinvitationwouldhavebeenmostwelcome.Itwasbuttoriseupandthunderout,"Wecametocallontheyoungladies."

    Theydidnotrise.Theydidnotthunderoutanything.Babebroughtalampandsetitinsidethewindow,andMr.Claiborneresumedhisreading.ChampegiggledandsaidthatAliciamadeher.Alciadrewherskirtsabouther,sniffed,andlookedvirtuous,andsaidshedidn'tseeanythingfunnytolaughat.Thesupperbellrang.Thefamily,evidentlytakingitforgrantedthattheboyswouldfollow,wentin.

    Aloneforthefirsttime,Abnergaveup."Thisain'tanyuse,"hecomplained."Weain'tcallingonanybody."

    "Whydidn'tyoulayonthecard?"demandedRoss,fiercely."Whydidn'tyousay:'We'vejustdroppedintocallonMissChampe.It'sapleasantevening.Wefeelwemustbegoing,'likeyou

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    saidyouwould?Thenwecouldhaveliftedourhatsandgotawaydecently."

    Abnershowednoresentment.

    "Oh,ifit'ssoeasy,whydidn'tyoudoityourself?"hegroaned.

    "Somebody'scoming,"Rossmuttered,hoarsely."Sayitnow.Sayitquick."

    ThesomebodyprovedtobeAuntMissouri,whoadvancedonlyasfarastheendofthehallandshoutedcheerfully:"Theideaofagrowingboynotcomingtomealswhenthebellrings!Ithoughtyoutwowouldbeinthereaheadofus.Comeon."Andclingingtotheirheadcoveringsasthoughthesecontainedsomecharmwherebytheownersmightberescued,theunhappycallerswereherdedintothediningroom.Thereweremanythingsonthetablethatboyslike.Bothwerebecomingfairlycheerful,whenAuntMissouricheckedthebiscuitplatewith:"Itreatmyneighbors'childrenjustlikeI'dwantchildrenofmyowntreated.Ifyourmothersletyoueatallyouwant,sayso,andIdon'tcarebutifeitherofthemisalittlebitparticular,why,I'dstopatsix!"

    Stillreelingfromthisblow,theboysfinallyrosefromthetableandpassedoutwiththefamily,theirhatsclutchedtotheirbosoms,andclingingtogetherformutualaidandcomfort.DuringtheusualSundayeveningsingingChampelaughedtillAuntMissourithreatenedtosendhertobed.Abner'scardslippedfromhishandanddroppedfaceuponthefloor.Hefelluponitandtoreitintoinfinitesimalpieces.

    "Thatmusthavebeenaloveletter,"saidAuntMissouri,inapauseofthemusic."Youboysaregetting'mostoldenoughtothinkaboutbeginningtocallonthegirls."Hereyestwinkled.

    Rossgrowledlikeastonedcur.AbnertookasuddendiveintoHintsandHelps,andcameupwith,"Youflatterus,MissClaiborne,"whereatRosssnickeredoutlikeahumanboy.Theyallstaredathim.

    "ItsoundssofunnytocallAuntMissouri'Mis'Claiborne,'"theladofthefrecklesexplained.

    "Funny?"AuntMissourireddened."Idon'tseeanyparticularjokeinmyhavingmymaidenname."

    Abner,whoinstantlyguessedatwhatwasinRoss'smind,turnedwhiteatthethoughtofwhattheyhadescaped.SupposehehadlaidonthecardandaskedforMissClaiborne!

    "What'sthematter,Champe?"inquiredRoss,inafairlynaturaltone.TheairhehaddrawnintohislungswhenhelaughedatAbnerseemedtorelievehimfromthenumbinggentilitywhichhadboundhispowerssincehejoinedAbner'sranks.

    "Nothing.Ilaughedbecauseyoulaughed,"saidthegirl.

    Thesingingwentforwardfitfully.Servantstraipsedthroughthedarkenedyard,goinghomeforSundaynight.AuntMissouriwentoutandheldsomelowtonedparleywiththem.Champeyawnedwithinsultingenthusiasm.Presentlybothgirlsquietlydisappeared.AuntMissourineverreturnedtotheparlorevidentlythinkingthatthegirlswouldattendtothefinalamenitieswiththeircallers.TheywereleftalonewitholdMr.Claiborne.Theysatasthoughboundintheirchairs,whiletheoldmanreadinsilenceforawhile.Finallyheclosedhisbook,glancedabouthim,andobservedabsently:

    "Soyouboysweretospendthenight?"Then,ashelookedattheirstartledfaces:"I'mright,amInot?Youaretospentthenight?"

    Oh,forcouragetosay:"Thankyou,no.We'llbegoingnow.WejustcameovertocallonMissChampe."Butthoughtofhowthiswouldsoundinfaceofthefacts,thepainfulrealizationthattheydarednotsayitbecausetheyhadnotsaidit,lockedtheirlips.Theirfeetwereleadtheirtonguesstiffandtoolargefortheirmouths.Likecreaturesinanightmare,theymovedstiffly,onemighthavesaid

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    creakingly,upthestairsandreceivedeachabedroomcandle!

    "Goodnight,children,"saidtheabsentmindedoldman.Thetwogurgledoutsomesoundswhichwereintendedforwordsanddogedbehindthebedroomdoor.

    "They'veputustobed!"Abner'sblackeyesflashedfire.HisnervoushandsclutchedatthecollarRosshadlenthim."That'swhatIgetforcomingherewithyou,RossPryor!"Andtearsofhumiliationstoodinhiseyes.

    InhisturnRossshowednoresentment."WhatI'mworriedaboutismymother,"heconfessed."She'ssosharpaboutfindingoutthings.Shewouldn'tteasemeshe'djustbesorryforme.Butshe'llthinkIwenthomewithyou."

    "I'dliketoseemymothermakeafussaboutmycallingonthegirls!"growledAbner,gladtolethisragetakeasafedirection.

    "Callingonthegirls!Havewecalledonanygirls?"demandedclearheaded,honestRoss.

    "Notexactlyyet,"admittedAbner,reluctantly."Comeonlet'sgotobed.Mr.Claiborneaskedus,andhe'stheheadofthishousehold.Itisn'tanybody'sbusinesswhatwecamefor."

    "I'llslipoffmyshoesandliedowntillBabetiesupthedoginthemorning,"saidRoss."Thenwecangetawaybeforeanyofthefamilyisup."

    Oh,youthyouthyouth,withitsrashpromises!Wornoutwithmiserytheboyssleptheavily.ThefirstsoundthateitherheardinthemorningwasBabehammeringupontheirbedroomdoor.Theycrouchedguiltilyandlookedintoeachother'seyes."Letpretendweain'thereandhe'llgoaway,"breathedAbner.

    ButBabewasmadeofsternerstuff.Herattledtheknob.Heturnedit.Heputinablackfacewithagrinwhichdivideditfromeartoear."CadysayImus'calldemfoolboystobreakfus',"heannounced."Inevernamedyoualldat.Cady,shesaydat."

    "Breakfast!"echoedRoss,inadaze.

    "Yessuh,breakfus',"reassertedBabe,comingentirelyintotheroomandlookingcuriouslyabouthim."Ain'tyoualldonebeentobedatall?"wrappinghisarmsabouthisshouldersandshakingwithsilentecstasiesofmirth.Theboysthrewthemselvesuponhimandejectedhim.

    "Sentupaservanttocallustobreakfast,"snarledAbner."Ifthey'donlysenttheiroldservanttothedoorinthefirstplace,allthiswouldn't'a'happened.I'mjustthatwaywhenIgetthrownoffthetrack.YouknowhowitwaswhenItriedtorepeatthosethingstoyouIhadtogoclearbacktothebeginningwhenIgotinterrupted."

    "Doesthatmeanthatyou'restillhangingaroundheretobeginoverandmakeacall?"askedRoss,darkly."Iwon'tgodowntobreakfastifyouare."

    AbnerbrightenedalittleashesawRossbecomingwordyinhisrage."Idareyoutowalkdownstairsandsay,'WejustdroppedintocallonMissChampe'!"hesaid.

    "IohIdarnitall!theregoesthesecondbell.Wemayaswelltrotdown."

    "Don'tleaveme,Ross,"pleadedtheJiltonboy."Ican'tstayhereandIcan'tgodown."

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    Thetonewashysterical.Theboywithfrecklestookhiscompanionbythearmwithoutanotherwordandmarchedhimdownthestairs."WemaygetachanceyettocallonChampeallbyherselfoutontheporchorinthearborbeforeshegoestoschool,"hesuggested,bywayofputtingsomespineintotheblackeyedboy.

    Anemphaticbellrangwhentheywerehalfwaydownthestairs.Clutchingtheirhats,theyslunkintothediningroom.EvenMr.Claiborneseemedtonoticesomethingunusualintheirbearingastheysettledintothechairsassignedtothem,andaskedthemkindlyiftheyhadsleptwell.

    ItwasplainthatAuntMissourihadbeenpostinghimastoherunderstandingoftheintentionsoftheseyoungmen.Thestateofaffairsgaveanelectrichilaritytotheatmosphere.Babetravelledfromthesideboardtothetable,tremblinglikechocolatepudding.Cadyinsistedonbringinginthecakesherself,andgrinnedasshewhiskedherstarchedblueskirtsinandoutofthediningroom.AdimpleevenshoweditselfatthecornersofprettyAlicia'sprimlittlemouth.Champegiggled,tillRossheardCadywhisper:

    "Nowyougotonedemsnickerin'spellsagin.Yougwinebustyo'dressbuttonsoffinthebackefyoudon'tmind."

    Asthespiritsofthoseaboutthemmounted,theheartsofthetwoyouthssankifitwaslikethisamongtheClaibornes,whatwoulditbeatschoolandintheworldatlargewhentheirfailuretoconnectintentionwithresultbecamevillagetalk?Rossbitfiercelyuponanunoffendingbattercake,andresolvedtomakeacallsinglehandedbeforeheleftthehouse.

    Theywentoutofthediningroom,theirhatsaseverpressedtotheirbreasts.Withnovolitionoftheirown,theiruncertainyounglegscarriedthemtotheporch.TheClaibornefamilyandhouseholdfollowedlikesmallboysafteracircusprocession.Whenthetwoturned,atbay,yetwithnothingbetweenthemandlibertybutahypnotismoftheirownsuggestion,theysawtheblackfacesoftheservantspeeringoverthefamilyshoulders.

    Rosswastheboytohavedrawncouragefromthedesperationoftheircase,andmadesomedecentifnotgloriousending.ButatthepsychologicalmomenttherecamearoundthecornerofthehousethatmostcontemptiblefigureknowntotheSouthernplantation,ashirtboyacreaturewhomaybedescribed,forthebenefitofthosenotinformed,asapickaninnycladonlyinalong,coarsecottonshirt.Whilealleyeswerefasteneduponhimthisingloriousambassadorboltedforthhismessage:

    "Yo'masay"hiseyeswerefixeduponAbner"efyo'don'comehome,shegwinecomeafteryo'an'cutyo'intoinchpieceswidarawhidewhenshegityo'.DatjestwhatMissHortensesay."

    AsthoughsuchabookasHintsandHelpshadneverexisted,Abnershotforthegatehewasbutahobbledehoyfascinatedwiththeideaofplayinggentleman.ButinRosstherewerethemakingsofaman.Forafewhalfheartedpaces,underthefirstimpulseofhorror,hefollowedhisdesertingchief,thelaughterofthefamily,theunrestrainableguffawsofthenegroes,soundingintherear.ButwhenChampe'shigh,offensivegiggle,toppingalltheothers,insultedhisears,hestoppeddead,wheeled,andrantotheporchfasterthanhehadfledfromit.Whiteaspaper,shakingwithinexpressiblerage,hecaughtandkissedthetitteringgirl,violently,noisily,beforethemall.

    ThenegroesfledtheydarednottrusttheirfeelingsevenAliciasniggeredunobtrusivelyGrandfatherClaibornechuckled,andAuntMissourifranklycollapsedintoherrockingchair,bubblingwithmirth,cryingout:

    "Goodforyou,Ross!Seemsyoudidknowhowtocallonthegirls,afterall."

    ButRoss,payingnoattention,walkedswiftlytowardthegate.Hehadservedhisnovitiate.Hewouldneverbeafraidagain.Withcheerfulalacrityhedodgedthestonesflungafterhimwithfriendly,erratic

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    aimbythegirluponwhom,yesterdayafternoon,hehadcometomakeasocialcall.

    HOWTHEWIDOWWONTHEDEACON

    ByWilliamJamesLampton(1917)

    [FromHarper'sBazaar,April,1911copyright,1911,byHarper&Brothersrepublishedbypermission.]

    OfcoursetheWidowStimsonnevertriedtowinDeaconHawkins,noranyotherman,forthatmatter.Awidowdoesn'thavetotrytowinamanshewinswithouttrying.Still,theWidowStimsonsometimeswonderedwhythedeaconwassoblindasnottoseehowherfinefarmadjoininghisequallyfineplaceontheoutskirtsofthetownmightnotbebroughtunderonemanagementwithmutualbenefittobothpartiesatinterest.Whichonethatmanagementmightbecomewasamatteroffuturedetail.Thewidowknewhowtorunafarmsuccessfully,andalargefarmisnotmuchmoredifficulttorunthanoneofhalfthesize.Shehadalsohadonehusband,andknewsomethingmorethanrunningafarmsuccessfully.Ofallofwhichthedeaconwasperfectlywellaware,andstillhehadnotbeenmovedbythemergingspiritoftheagetoproposeconsolidation.

    ThisinterestingsituationwasupfordiscussionattheWednesdayafternoonmeetingoftheSisters'SewingSociety.

    "Formypart,"SisterSusanSpicer,wifeoftheMethodistminister,remarkedasshetookanothertuckinafourteenyearoldgirl'sskirtforatenyearold"formypart,Ican'tseewhyDeaconHawkinsandKateStimsondon'tseetheerroroftheirwaysanddepartfromthem."

    "Iratherguessshehas,"smiledSisterPoteet,thegrocer'sbetterhalf,whohadtakenanafternoonofffromthestoreinordertobepresent.

    "Oriswillingto,"addedSisterMariaCartridge,aspinsterstillpossessingfaith,hope,andcharity,notwithstandingshehadbeenonthewaitinglistalongtime.

    "Really,now,"exclaimedlittleSisterGreen,thedoctor'swife,"doyouthinkitisthedeaconwhoneedsurging?"

    "Itlooksthatwaytome,"SisterPoteetdidnothesitatetoaffirm.

    "Well,IheardSisterClarksaythatshehadheardhimcallher'Kitty'onenightwhentheywereeatingicecreamattheMiteSociety,"SisterCandish,thedruggist'swife,addedtothefundofreliableinformationonhand.

    "'Kitty,'indeed!"protestedSisterSpicer."TheideaofanybodycallingKateStimson'Kitty'!Thedeaconwilltalkthatwayto'mostanywoman,butifshelethimsayittohermorethanonce,shemustbegettingmightyanxious,Ithink."

    "Oh,"SisterCandishhastenedtoexplain,"SisterClarkdidn'tsayshehadheardhimsayittwice.'"

    "Well,Idon'tthinksheheardhimsayitonce,"SisterSpicerassertedwithconfidence.

    "Idon'tknowaboutthat,"SisterPoteetargued."FromallIcanseeandhearIthinkKateStimsonwouldn'tobjectto'mostanythingthedeaconwouldsaytoher,knowingasshedoesthatheain'tgoingtosayanythingheshouldn'tsay."

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    "Andisn'tsayingwhatheshould,"addedSisterGreen,withaslysnicker,whichwentaroundtheroomsoftly.

    "ButasIwassaying"SisterSpicerbegan,whenSisterPoteet,whoserocker,nearthewindow,commandedaviewofthefrontgate,interruptedwithawarning,"'Sh'sh."

    "Whyshouldn'tIsaywhatIwantedtowhen"SisterSpicerbegan.

    "Thereshecomesnow,"explainedSisterPoteet,"andasIlivethedeacondroveherhereinhissleigh,andhe'swaitingwhileshecomesin.Iwonderwhatnext,"andSisterPoteet,inconjunctionwiththeentiresociety,gaspedandheldtheireagerbreaths,awaitingtheentranceofthesubjectofconversation.

    SisterSpicerwenttothefrontdoortoletherin,andshewasgreetedwiththegreatestcordialitybyeverybody.

    "Wewerejusttalkingaboutyouandwonderingwhyyouweresolatecoming,"criedSisterPoteet."Nowtakeoffyourthingsandmakeupforlosttime.There'sapairofpantsovertheretobecutdowntofitthatpoorlittleSnithersboy."

    Theexcitementandcuriosityofthesocietywerealmostmorethancouldbeborne,butneverasisterletonthatsheknewthedeaconwasatthegatewaiting.Indeed,asfarasthewidowcoulddiscover,therewasnottheslightestindicationthatanybodyhadeverheardtherewassuchapersonasthedeaconinexistence.

    "Oh,"shechirruped,intheliveliestofhumors,"youwillhavetoexcusemefortoday.DeaconHawkinsovertookmeonthewayhere,andheresaidIhadsimplygottogosleighridingwithhim.He'swaitingoutatthegatenow."

    "Isthatso?"exclaimedthesocietyunanimously,andrushedtothewindowtoseeifitwerereallytrue.

    "Well,didyouever?"commentedSisterPoteet,generally.

    "Hardlyever,"laughedthewidow,goodnaturedly,"andIdon'twanttolosethechance.YouknowDeaconHawkinsisn'taskingsomebodyeverydaytogosleighingwithhim.ItoldhimI'dgoifhewouldbringmearoundheretoletyouknowwhathadbecomeofme,andsohedid.Now,goodby,andI'llbesuretobepresentatthenextmeeting.Ihavetohurrybecausehe'llgetfidgety."

    Thewidowranawaylikealivelyschoolgirl.Allthesisterswatchedhergetintothesleighwiththedeacon,andresumedthepreviousdiscussionwithgreatlyincreasedinterest.

    Butlittlereckedthewidowandlessreckedthedeacon.Hehadboughtanewhorseandhewantedthewidow'sopinionofit,fortheWidowStimsonwasacompetentjudgeoffinehorseflesh.IfDeaconHawkinshadoneinsatiableambitionitwastoownahorsewhichcouldflingitsheelsinthefaceofthebestthatSquireHopkinsdrove.Inhisearlymanhoodthedeaconwasnodeaconbyagreatdeal.Butastheyearsgatheredinbehindhimheputoffmostofthefrivolitiesofyouthandheldnowonlytotheoneofdrivingafasthorse.NoothermaninthecountydroveanythingfasterexceptSquireHopkins,andhimthedeaconhadnotbeenabletothrowthedustover.Thedeaconwouldgetgoodones,butsomehownevercouldhefindonethatthesquiredidn'tgetabetter.Thesquirehadalsointheearlydaysbeatenthedeaconintheraceforacertainprettygirlhedreamedabout.Butthegirlandthesquirehadlivedhappilyeverafterandthedeacon,beingaphilosopher,mighthaveforgottenthesquire'ssuperiorityhaditbeenmanifestedinthisoneregardonly.Butinhorses,toothatgraveledthedeacon.

    "Howmuchdidyougiveforhim?"wasthewidow'sfirstquery,aftertheyhadreachedastretchof

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    roadthatwasgoodgoingandthedeaconhadlethimoutforalengthortwo.

    "Well,whatdoyousuppose?You'reajudge."

    "MorethanIwouldgive,I'llbetacookie."

    "NotifyouwasasanxiousasIamtoshowHopkinsthathecan'tdrivebyeverythingonthepike."

    "Ithoughtyoulovedagoodhorsebecausehewasagoodhorse,"saidthewidow,ratherdisapprovingly.

    "Ido,butIcouldlovehimagooddealharderifhewouldstayinfrontofHopkins'sbest."

    "Doesheknowyou'vegotthisone?"

    "Yes,andhe'sbeenblowingroundtownthatheiswaitingtopickmeupontheroadsomedayandmakemyfivehundreddollarslooklikeapewterquarter."

    "Soyougavefivehundreddollarsforhim,didyou?"laughedthewidow.

    "Isittoomuch?"

    "Umer,"hesitatedthewidow,glancingalongthegracefullinesofthepowerfultrotter,"Isupposenotifyoucanbeatthesquire."

    "Rightyouare,"crowedthedeacon,"andI'llshowhimathingortwoingettingovertheground,"headdedwithswellingpride.

    "Well,Ihopehewon'tbeoutlookingforyoutoday,withmeinyoursleigh,"saidthewidow,almostapprehensively,"because,youknow,deacon,IhavealwayswantedyoutobeatSquireHopkins."

    Thedeaconlookedathersharply.Therewasasoftnessinhertonesthatappealedtohim,evenifshehadnotexpressedsuchagreeablesentiments.Justwhatthedeaconmighthavesaidordoneaftertheimpulsehadbeensetgoingmustremainunknown,foratthecrucialmomentasoundofmilitantbells,bellsofdefiance,jangledupbehindthem,disturbingtheirpersonalabsorption,andtheylookedaroundsimultaneously.Behindthebellswasthesquireinhissleighdrawnbyhisfasteststepper,andhewasalone,asthedeaconwasnot.Thewidowweighedonehundredandsixtypounds,netwhichisweightingahorseinaracerathermorethanthelawallows.

    Butthedeaconneverthoughtofthat.Forgettingeverythingexcepthischerishedambition,hebracedhimselfforthecontest,tookatwistholdonthelines,sentasharp,quickcalltohishorse,andlethimoutforallthatwasinhim.Thesquirefollowedsuitandthedeacon.Theroadwaswideandthesnowwasworndownsmooth.Thetrackcouldn'thavebeeninbettercondition.TheHopkinscolorswerenotfiverodsbehindtheHawkinscolorsastheygotaway.Forhalfamileitwasnipandtuck,thedeaconencouraginghishorseandthewidowencouragingthedeacon,andthenthesquirebegancreepingup.Thedeacon'shorsewasagoodone,buthewasnotaccustomedtohaulingfreightinarace.Ahalfmileofitwasasmuchashecouldstand,andheweakenedunderthestrain.

    Nothandicapped,thesquire'shorseforgedahead,andashisnosepusheduptothedashboardofthedeacon'ssleigh,thatgoodmangroanedinagonizeddisappointmentandbitternessofspirit.ThewidowwasmadalloverthatSquireHopkinsshouldtakesuchameanadvantageofhisrival.Whydidn'thewaittillanothertimewhenthedeaconwasalone,ashewas?Ifshehadherwaysheneverwould,speaktoSquireHopkinsagain,nortohiswife,either.Butherresentmentwasnothelpingthedeacon'shorsetowin.

    Slowlythesquirepulledclosertothefrontthedeacon'shorse,realizingwhatitmeanttohismaster

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    andtohim,spurtedbravely,but,struggleasgamelyashemight,theoddsweretoomanyforhim,andhedroppedtotherear.Thesquireshoutedintriumphashedrewpastthedeacon,andthedejectedHawkinsshrivelledintoaheapontheseat,withonlyhishandssufficientlyalivetoholdthelines.Hehadbeenbeatenagain,humiliatedbeforeawoman,andthat,too,withthebesthorsethathecouldhopetoputagainsttheeverconqueringsquire.Heresankhisfondesthopes,hereendedhisambition.Fromthisonhewoulddriveamuleoranautomobile.Thefruitofhisdesirehadturnedtoashesinhismouth.

    Butno.Whatofthewidow?Sherealized,ifthedeacondidnot,thatshe,notthesquire'shorse,hadbeatenthedeacon's,andshewasreadytomakewhatatonementshecould.Asthesquirepassedaheadofthedeaconshewasstirredbyanobleresolve.Adeepbedofdriftedsnowlayclosebythesideoftheroadnotfarinfront.Itwassoftandsafeandshesmiledasshelookedatitasthoughwaitingforher.Withoutahintofherpurpose,orasigntodisturbthedeaconinhisfinalthroes,sheroseasthesleighrannearitsedge,andwithaspringwhichhadmanyatimesentherlightlyfromthegroundtothebarebackofahorseinthemeadow,sheclearedtherobesandlitplumpinthedrift.Thedeacon'shorseknewbeforethedeacondidthatsomethinghadhappenedinhisfavor,andwasquicktorespond.Withhisfirstjumpofreliefthedeaconsuddenlyrevived,hishopescamefastagain,hisbloodretingled,hegatheredhimself,and,crackinghislines,heshotforward,andthreeminuteslaterhehadpassedthesquireasthoughhewerehitchedtothefence.Foraquarterofamilethesquiremadeheroiceffortstorecoverhisvanishedprestige,buteffortwasuseless,andfinallyconcludingthathewaspracticallyleftstanding,heveeredofffromthemainroaddownafarmlanetofindsomespotinwhichtohidethehumiliationofhisdefeat.Thedeacon,stillgoingataclippinggait,hadoneeyeoverhisshoulderaswarydriversalwayshaveonsuchoccasions,andwhenhesawthesquirewasoffthetrackhesloweddownandjoggedalongwiththeapparentintentionofcontinuingindefinitely.Presentlyanideastruckhim,andhelookedaroundforthewidow.Shewasnotwherehehadseenherlast.Wherewasshe?Intheenthusiasmofvictoryhehadforgottenher.Hewassodejectedatthemomentshehadleapedthathedidnotrealizewhatshehaddone,andtwominuteslaterhewassoelatedthat,shameonhim!hedidnotcare.Withher,allwaslostwithouther,allwaswon,andthedeacon'sgreatestambitionwastowin.Butnow,withvictoryperchedonhishorsecollar,successhisatlast,hethoughtofthewidow,andhedidcare.Hecaredsomuchthathealmostthrewhishorseoffhisfeetbytheabruptturnhegavehim,andbackdownthepikeheflewasifalegionofsquireswereafterhim.

    HedidnotknowwhatinjuryshemighthavesustainedShemighthavebeenseriouslyhurt,ifnotactuallykilled.Andwhy?Simplytomakeitpossibleforhimtowin.Thedeaconshiveredashethoughtofit,andurgedhishorsetogreaterspeed.Thesquire,downthelane,sawhimwhizzingalongandaccepteditprofanelyasanexhibitionforhisespecialbenefit.Thedeaconnowhadforgottenthesquireashehadonlysoshortlybeforeforgottenthewidow.Twohundredyardsfromthedriftintowhichshehadjumpedtherewasaturnintheroad,wheresometreesshutoffthesight,andthedeacon'sanxietyincreasedmomentarilyuntilhereachedthispoint.Fromherehecouldseeahead,anddownthereinthemiddleoftheroadstoodthewidowwavinghershawlasabanneroftriumph,thoughshecouldonlyguessatresults.Thedeaconcameonwitharush,andpulledupalongsideofherinaconditionofnervousnesshedidn'tthinkpossibletohim.

    "Hooray!hooray!"shoutedthewidow,tossinghershawlintotheair."Youbeathim.Iknowyoudid.Didn'tyou?Isawyoupullingaheadattheturnyonder.Whereisheandhisoldplug?"

    "Oh,bothertakehimandhishorseandtheraceandeverything.Areyouhurt?"gaspedthedeacon,jumpingout,butmindfultokeepthelinesinhishand."Areyouhurt?"herepeated,anxiously,thoughshelookedanythingbutahurtwoman.

    "IfIam,"shechirped,cheerily,"I'mnothurthalfasbadasIwouldhavebeenifthesquirehadbeatyou,deacon.Nowdon'tyouworryaboutme.Let'shurrybacktotownsothesquirewon'tgetanotherchance,withnoplaceformetojump."

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    Andthedeacon?Well,well,withthelinesinthecrookofhiselbowthedeaconheldouthisarmstothewidowand.ThesistersatthenextmeetingoftheSewingSocietywereunanimouslyoftheopinionthatanywomanwhowouldriskherlifelikethatforahusbandwasmightyanxious.

    GIDEON

    ByWellsHastings(1878)

    [FromTheCenturyMagazine,April,1914copyright,1914,byTheCenturyCo.republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    "An'denext'frawgdathoun'pupseen,hepasshimbywide."

    Thehouse,whichhadhunguponeveryword,roaredwithlaughter,andshookwithastormingvolleyofapplause.Gideonbowedtorightandtoleft,low,grinning,assuredcomedyobeisancesbutasthelaughterandapplausegrewheshookhishead,andsignaledquietlyforthedrop.Hehadansweredmanyencores,andhewasaninstinctiveartist.Itwaspartofthefuelofhisvanitythathisaudiencehadneveryethadenoughofhim.Dramaticjudgment,aswellasdramaticsenseofdelivery,wasnativetohim,qualitieswhichtheshrewdFelixStuhk,hismanagerandexultantdiscoverer,recognizedandwiselytrustedin.OffstageGideonwaswatchedoverlikeachildandadelicateinvestment,butoncebehindthefootlightshewasallowedtogohisowntriumphantgait.

    ItwassmallwonderthatStuhkdeemedhimselfoneofthecleverestmanagersinthebusinessthathisnarrow,blueshavenfacewascontinuallychiseledinsmilesofcomplacentselfcongratulation.Hewasrapidlybecomingrich,andtherewerebrightprospectsofevengreatertriumphs,withproportionatelygreaterreward.HehadmadeGideonanationalcharacter,aheadliner,astarofthefirstmagnitudeinthefirmamentofthevaudevilletheater,andallinsixshortmonths.Or,atanyrate,hehadhelpedtomakehimallthishehadbookedhimwellandgivenhimhisopportunity.Tobesure,GideonhaddonetherestStuhkwasasreadyasanyonetodocredittoGideon'sability.Still,afterall,he,Stuhk,wasthediscoverer,thetheatricalColumbuswhohadhadthecourageandthevision.

    AnowhallowedattackoftonsilitishaddrivenhimtoFlorida,wherepresentlyGideonhadbeenemployedtobeguilehisconvalescence,andguidehimovertheintricateshallowsofthatlonglagoonknownastheIndianRiverinsearchofvariousfish.OndayswhenfishhadbeenreluctantGideonhadbeenluredintoconversation,andgraduallyintonarrativeandtherelationofwhathadappearedtoGideonashumorousandentertainingandfinallyFelix,thevagueideagrowingbigwithinhim,hadonedaypersuadedhisboatmantodanceupontheboardsofalongpierwheretheyhadmadefastforlunch.There,withallthesuddengloryofcrystallization,thevagueideatookdefiniteformandbecamethegreatinspirationofStuhk'scareer.

    GideonhadgrowntobetovaudevillemuchwhatUncleRemusistoliterature:therewasvirtueinhisverysimplicity.Hisartistryitselfwasnativeandnatural.Helovedagoodstory,andhetolditfromhisownsenseofthegleefulmorseluponhistongueasnotrainingcouldhavemadehim.Healwaysenjoyedhisstoryandhimselfinthetelling.Talesneverlosttheirsavor,nomatterhowoftenrepeatedagewaspowerlesstodimthehumorofthething,andashehadshoutedandgurgledandlaughedoverthefunofthingswhenallalone,orholdingforthamongthemenandwomenandlittlechildrenofhiscolor,soheshoutedandgurgledandbrokefromsonorouschucklestomusical,falsettomirthwhenhefrontedthesweepingtiersoffacesacrosstheintoxicatingglareofthefootlights.Hehadthatrarepoweroftransmittingsomethingofhisownenjoyments.WhenGideonwasonthestage,Stuhkusedtoenjoypeepingoutattheintent,smilingfacesoftheaudience,wheremenandwomenandchildren,hardenedtheatergoersandfolkfreshfromthecountry,satwithmovinglipsandfaceslitwithan

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    eagerinterestandsympathyfortheblackmanstruttinginloosefootedvivacitybeforethem.

    "He'ssimplyunique,"heboastedtowonderinglocalmanagers"unique,andittookmetofindhim.Therehewas,alittleblackgoldmine,andallof'empassedhimbyuntilIcame.Someeye?What?Iguessyou'lladmityouhavetohanditsometoyourUncleFelix.Ifthatcoon'shealthholdsout,we'llhaveallthemoneythereisinthemint."

    ThatwasFelix'srealanxiety"Ifhishealthholdsout."Gideon'shealthwaswatchedoverasifhehadbeenanailingprince.Hisbubblingvivacitywasthefoundationuponwhichhischarmandhissuccesswerebuilt.Stuhkbecameasortofvicariousneurotic,eternallysearchingforsymptomsinhisprotgGideon'stongue,Gideon'sliver,Gideon'sheartwerematterstohimofanunfailingandanxiousinterest.AndoflateofcourseitmightbeimaginationGideonhadshownalittlephysicalfallingoff.Heateabitless,hehadbeguntomoveinarestlessway,and,worstofall,helaughedlessfrequently.

    Asamatteroffact,therewasgroundforStuhk'sapprehension.Itwasnotallamatterofmanagerialimagination:Gideonwaslesshimself.Physicallytherewasnothingthematterwithhimhecouldhavepassedhisrigidinsurancescrutinyaseasilyashehaddonemonthsbefore,whenhislifeandhealthhadbeeninsuredforasumthatmadegoodcopyforhispressagent.Hewassoundineveryorgan,buttherewassomethinglackingingeneraltone.Gideonfeltithimself,andwascertainthata"misery,"thatembracingindispositionofhisrace,wascreepinguponhim.Hehadbeenfedwell,toowellhewasgrowingrich,toorichhehadallthepraise,alltheflatterythathisenormousappetiteforapprovaldesired,andtoomuchofit.Whitemensoughthimoutandmademuchofhimwhitewomentalkedtohimabouthiscareerandwhereverhewent,womenofcolorblackgirls,browngirls,yellowgirlswrotehimoftheiradmiration,whispered,whenhewouldlisten,oftheirpassionandheroworship."Cityniggers"boweddownbeforehimthehighgallerywasalwayspackedwiththem.Muskscentednotesscrawleduponbarbaric,"hightoned"stationerypouredinuponhim.Evenafewwhitewomen,tohishorrorandembarrassment,hadwrittenhimoflove,letterswhichhestraightwaydestroyed.Hissenseofhispositionwasstronginhimhewasproudofit.Theremightbe"folksoutertheirhaids,"buthehadthesensetoremember.Formonthshehadlivedinaheavenofgratifiedvanity,butatlasthisappetitehadbeguntofalter.Hewassatedhissoullongedtowipeaspiritualmouthonthebackofaspiritualhand,andhavedone.Hisface,nowthatthecurtainwasdownandhewasleavingthestage,wasdoleful,almostsullen.

    Stuhkmethimanxiouslyinthewings,andwalkedwithhimtohisdressingroom.HefeltsuddenlyverywearyofStuhk.

    "Nothingthematter,Gideon,isthere?Notfeelingsickoranything?"

    "No,MistehStuhkno,seh.Jesdon'feelextrypert,that'sall."

    "Butwhatisitanythingbotheringyou?"

    Gideonsatgloomilybeforehismirror.

    "MistehStuhk,"hesaidatlast,"Ibeensteddyin'itoveh,andIaboutcometothedelusionthatIneedsagoodpo'kchop.Seemsfoolish,Iknow,butitdo'seemasifagoodpo'kchop,friedjesright,wouldhe'pconsid'abletodisumpatethismiseryfeelin'that'scrawlin'andcreepin'roundmysperit."

    Stuhklaughed.

    "Porkchop,eh?Isthatthebestyoucanthinkof?Iknowwhatyoumean,though.I'vethoughtforsometimethatyouweregettingalittleovertrained.Whatyouneedisletmeseeyes,anicebottleofwine.That'stheticketitwilleasethingsupandwon'tdoyouanyharm.I'llgo,withyou.Everhadanychampagne,Gideon?"

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    Gideonstruggledforpoliteness.

    "Yes,seh,I'shadchampagne,andit'sanicekindoflickehshoenoughbut,MistehStuhk,seh,Idon'wantanyofthemhightonedrinkstonight,an'efyo'don'mind,I'dratherambleoff'lone,ormebbeeatthatpo'kchopwithsomeothehculludman,efIkinfin'onethatain'oneofthemno'countCarolinaniggers.Doyous'poseyo'couldletmehavealittlemoneytonight,MistehStuhk?"

    Stuhkthoughtrapidly.Gideonhadcertainlyworkedhard,andhewasnotdissipated.Ifhewantedtoroamthetownbyhimself,therewasnoharminit.ThesullennessstillshowedintheblackfaceHeavenknewwhathemightdoifhesuddenlybegantobalk.Stuhkthoughtitwisetoconsentgracefully.

    "Good!"hesaid."Flytoit.Howmuchdoyouwant?Ahundred?"

    "Howmuchiscomingtome?"

    "Aboutathousand,Gideon."

    "Well,I'dmoughtylikefivehun'redofit,efthat's'greeabletoyo'."

    Felixwhistled.

    "Fivehundred?Porkchopsmustbecominghigh.Youdon'twanttocarryallthatmoneyaround,doyou?"

    Gideondidnotanswerhelookedverygloomy.

    Stuhkhastenedtocheerhim.

    "Ofcourseyoucanhaveanythingyouwant.Waitaminute,andIwillgetitforyou.

    "I'llbetthatcoon'sgoingtobuyhimselfaringorsomething,"hereflectedashewentinsearchofthelocalmanagerandGideon'smoney.

    ButStuhkwaswrong.Gideonhadnointentionofbuyinghimselfaring.Forthematterofthat,hehadseveralthatwereamplysatisfactory.Theyhadsizeandsparkleandluster,allthediamondbrilliancethatringsneedtohaveandfornoneofthemhadhepaidmuchoverfivedollars.Hewasamplysuppliedwithjewelryinwhichhefeltperfectsatisfaction.Hispresentwantwaspositive,ifnebuloushedesiredafortuneinhispocket,bulky,tangibleevidenceofhismiraculoussuccess.EversinceStuhkhadfoundhim,lifehadhadanunrealqualityforhim.HisMonteCristowealthwastoomuchlikeafabulous,dreamfoundtreasure,moneythatcouldnotbespentwithoutdangerofawakening.Andhehaddroppedintothehabitofstoringitabouthim,sothatinanypocketintowhichheplungedhishandhemightfindarollofcrispevidenceofreality.Helikedhisbillstobeofalldenominations,andsomesolargeasexquisitelytostaggerimagination,otherscharmingbytheirnumberandcrispnessthedignified,orangepaperofamanofassuredpositionandwealthcracklinggreenbacksthedesignofwhichtingedthewholewithactuality.HewasspeciallypartialtoengravingsofPresidentLincoln,theparticularsaviorandpatronofhisrace.Thisfivehundreddollarshewasaddingtoanunreckonedsumofabouttwothousand,merelyasextrafortificationagainstagrowingsenseofgloom.Hewishedtobracehisflaggingspiritswiththegaywineofpossession,andhewasglad,whenthemoneycame,thatitwasinanelasticboundroll,sobulkythatitwaspleasantlyuncomfortableinhispocketashelefthismanager.

    Asheturnedintothebrilliantlylightedstreetfromthesomberalleywayofthestageentrance,hepausedforamomenttoglanceathisownname,inthreefootlettersofred,beforethedoorsofthetheater.Hecouldread,andthelargeblocktypealwayspleasedhim."THISWEEK:GIDEON."That

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    wasall.Noneofthefulsomepraise,thesuperlative,necessarydefinitiongiventolesserperformers.Hehadbeen,heremembered,"GIDEON,America'sForemostNativeComedian,"atitlethatwasatonceboastandchallenge.Thatnecessitywasnowpast,forhewasanationalcharacteranyexplanatoryqualificationwouldhavebeenaninsulttothepublicintelligence.Totheworldhewasjust"Gideon"thatwasenough.Itgavehimpleasure,ashesaunteredalong,toseetheannouncementrepeatedonwindowcardsandhoardings.

    Presentlyhecametoawindowbeforewhichhepausedindelightedwonder.Itwasnotalargewindowtothecasualeyeofthepasserbytherewaslittletodrawattention.Bydayitlightedthefractionalfloorspaceofalittlestationer,whosupplementedaslimbusinessbyasubagencyforrailroadandsteamshiplinesbuttonightthiswindowseemedtheframeworkofamarvelofcoincidence.Onthebroad,dustysillinsidewereproppedtwocards:theoneontheleftwashisownredletteredannouncementfortheweektheoneattherightoh,worldofwonders!wasaphotogravureofthatexactstretchoftheinnercoastofFloridawhichGideonknewbest,whichwashome.

    Thereitwas,theIndianRiver,ripplingidlyinfullsunlight,palmettosleaningoverthewater,palmettosstandingasirregularsentriesalongthelow,reeflikeislandwhichstretchedawayoutofthepicture.Therewasthegigantic,lonelypineheknewwell,and,yeshecouldjustmakeitouttherewashisownramshacklelittlepier,whichstretchedinundulatingfashion,likealonglegged,wadingcaterpillar,fromtheabruptshorelineoferodedcoquinaintodeepwater.

    Hethoughtatfirstthatthispictureofhishomewassomenewanddelicatedeviceputforthbyhispressagent.Hisnameononesideofawindow,hisbirthplaceupontheotherwhatcouldbemoretastefullyappropriate?Therefore,ashespelledoutthereadingmatterbeneaththephotogravure,hewassharplydisappointed.Itread:

    SpendthiswinterinbalmyFlorida.CometotheLandofPerpetualSunshine.Golf,tennis,driving,shooting,boating,fishing,allofthebest.

    Therewasmore,buthehadnoheartforithewasdisappointedandpuzzled.Thispicturehad,afterall,nothingtodowithhim.Itwasachance,andyet,whatastrangechance!Ittroubledandupsethim.Hisblack,roundfeaturedfacetookondeepwrinklesofperplexity.The"misery"whichhadhungdarklyonhishorizonforweeksengulfedhimwithoutwarning.Butintheverybitternessofhismelancholyheknewatlasthisdisease.Itwasnotchampagneorrecreationthatheneeded,notevena"po'kchop,"althoughhisdesireforithadbeenasymptom,agropingforatoohomeopathicremedy:hewashomesick.

    Easy,childishtearscameintohiseyes,andranoverhisshiningcheeks.Heshiveredforlornlywithasuddensenseofcold,andabsentlyclutchedatthelapelsofhisgorgeous,furlinedulster.

    Theninabruptreactionhelaughedaloud,sothattheshrill,musicalfalsettostartledthepassersby,andinanothermomentalittlesemicircleofthecuriouswatchedspellboundasablackman,exquisitelyappareled,dancedinwild,loosegracebeforethedullbackgroundofasomewhatgrimyandapparentlyvacantwindow.Anewsboyrecognizedhim.

    Heheardhisnamebeingpassedfrommouthtomouth,andcamepartlytohissenses.Hestoppeddancing,andgrinnedatthem.

    "Say,youareGideon,ain'tyou?"hisdiscovererdemanded,withasortofreverentaudacity.

    "Yaas,seh,"saidGideon"that'sme.Yo'shugotitright."Hebrokeintoajoyouspealoflaughterthelaughterthathadmadehimfamous,andboweddeeplybeforehim."Gideonpositivelyhislas'puffawmunce."Turning,hedashedforapassingtrolley,and,stilllaughing,swungaboard.

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    Hewasnaturallyhonest.InalandofeasymoralityhisfriendshadaccountedhimsomethingofaparagonnorhadStuhkeverhadanythingbutpraiseforhim.Butnowhecrushedasidetheethicsofhisintentwithoutasingletroubledthought.Runningawayhasalwaysbeeninherentinthenegro.Hegaveoneregretfulthoughttothegorgeouswardrobehewasleavingbehindhimbuthedarednotreturnforit.Stuhkmighthavetakenitintohisheadtogobacktotheirrooms.Hemustcontenthimselfwiththereflectionthathewasatthatmomentwearinghisbest.

    Thetrolleyseemedtooslowforhim,and,asalwayshappenednowadays,hewasrecognizedheheardhisnamewhispered,andwasawareoftheadmiringglancesofthecurious.Evenpopularityhaditsdrawbacks.Hegotdowninfrontofabighotelandchoseataxicabfromthewaitingrank,exhortingthedrivertomakehisbestspeedtothestation.Leaningbackinthesoftdepthsofthecab,hesavoredhisindependence,cheeredalreadybytheswaying,lurchingspeed.Atthestationhetippedthedriverinlordlyfashion,verymuchpleasedwithhimselfandanxioustogivepleasure.Onlythesternestprudenceandanunconquerableaweofuniformhadkepthimfromtossingbillstothevarioustrafficpolicemenwhohadseemedtosmileuponhishurry.

    Nothroughtrainleftforhoursbutafterthefirstdisappointmentofmomentarycheck,hedecidedthathewasmorepleasedthanotherwise.Itwouldsaveembarrassment.HewasgoingSouth,wherehiscolorwouldbemoreconsideredthanhisreputation,andonthelittlelocalhechosetherewasa"JimCrow"carone,thatis,speciallysetasideforthoseofhisrace.Thatitprovedcrowdedandfullofsmokedidnottroublehimatall,nordidtheadmiringpleasantrieswhichthesplendorofhisapparelimmediatelycalledforth.Nooneknewhimindeed,hewasnaturallyenoughmistakenforaprosperousgambler,anotunflatteringsupposition.Intheyard,afterthetrainpulledout,hesawhisprivatecarunderaglaringarclight,andgrinnedtoseeitleftbehind.

    Hespentthenightpleasantlyinanoisygameofhighlowjack,andthenextmorningsleptmoresoundlythanhehadsleptforweeks,huncheduponawoodenbenchintheboxlikestationofaNorthCarolinajunction.TheexpresswouldhavebroughthimtoJacksonvilleintwentyfourhoursthejourney,ashetookit,boardinganylocalthathappenedtobegoingsouth,andleavingitformealsorsometimesforsleeporoftenasthewhimpossessedhim,filledfivehappydays.Therehetookanighttrain,anddozedfromJacksonvilleuntilalittlenorthofNewSmyrna.

    Heawoketofinditbroaddaylight,andthecarhalfempty.Thetrainwasonasiding,withnewsofafreightwreckahead.Gideonstretchedhimself,andlookedoutofthewindow,andemotionseizedhim.ForallhisjourneytheSouthhadseemedtowelcomehim,buthereatlastwasthecountryheknew.Hewentoutupontheplatformandthrewbackhishead,sniffingthesoftbreeze,heavywiththemysteriousthrillofunplowedacres,thewondrousexistenceofprimordialjungle,wherelifehasriotedunceasinglyaboveunceasingdecay.Itwasdrywiththefinedustofwasteplaces,andwetwiththewarmmistsofslumberingswampsitseemedtoGideontotremblewiththesongsofbirds,thedrymurmurofpalmleaves,andthealmostinaudiblewhisperofthegraymossthatfestoonedtheliveoaks.

    "Ummm,"hemurmured,apostrophizingit,"yo''stherightkindo'breeze,yo'is.Yo'all'shealthy."Stillsniffing,heclimbeddowntothedustyroadbed.

    Thenegroeswhohadriddenwithhimweresprawledabouthimonthegroundoneofthemlaysleeping,faceup,inthesunlight.Thetrainhadevidentlybeenthereforsometime,andtherewerenosignsofanimmediatedeparture.Heboughtsomeorangesofalittle,bowleggedblackboy,andsatdownonalogtoeatthemandtogiveuphismindtoenjoyment.Thesunwashotuponhim,andhisthoughtswerevagueanddrowsy.Hewasgladthathewasalive,gladtobebackoncemoreamongfamiliarscenes.DownthelengthofthetrainhesawwhitepassengersfromthePullmansrestlesslypacingupanddown,gettingintotheircarsandoutofthem,consultingwatches,attachingthemselveswithgesticulatoryexpostulationtovariousofficialsbuttheirimpatiencefoundnoechoinhisthought.Whatwasthehurry?Therewasplentyoftime.Itwassufficienttohavecometohisownlandtheactualwallsofhomecouldwait.Thedelaywaspleasant,withitsopportunityfordrowsy

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    sunning,itsrelieffromthegrimymonotonyoftravel.Heglancedattheorangecolored"JimCrow"withdistaste,andinspiration,dawningslowlyuponhim,sweptallotherthoughtbeforeitinitsgreatandgrowingglory.

    Abrakemanpassed,andGideonleapedtohisfeetandpursuedhim.

    "Misteh,howlongyo'allreckonthistraingoin'tobe?"

    "Aboutanhour."

    Thequestionhadbeenamerematterofform.Gideonhadmadeuphismind,andifhehadbeentoldthattheystartedinfiveminuteshewouldnothavechangedit.Heclimbedbackintothecarforhiscoatandhishat,andthenalmostfurtivelystoledownthestepsagainandslippedquietlyintothepalmettoscrub.

    "'Mostmadethemistakeofmalife,"hechuckled,"stickin'tothatol'trainfoheveh.'Tisn'ttherightwayat,allfohGideontocomehome."

    Theriverwasnotfaraway.Hecouldcatchthedancingblueofitfromtimetotimeinraggedvista,andforthisbeaconhesteereddirectly.Hiscoatwasheavyonhisarm,histhinpatentleathertiespinchedandburnedanddemandeddetoursaroundswampyplaces,buthewashappy.

    Ashewentalong,hisplanperfecteditself.Hewouldgetintolooseshoesagain,oldones,ifmoneycouldbuythem,andoldclothes,too.Thebullbrierssnatchingathistailoredsplendorsuggestedthat.

    HelaughedwhentheFloridapartridge,asmallquail,whirredupfromunderhisfeethepausedtoexchangeaffectionatemockerywithredsquirrelsandonce,evenwhenhewasbroughtupsuddenlytoafamiliarandominous,dryreverberation,thesmall,crispsoundoftherollingdrumsofdeath,hedidnotlookabouthimforsomeinstrumentofdestruction,asatanyothertimehewouldhavedone,butinsteadpeeredcautiouslyoverthelogbeforehim,andspokeintolerantadmonition:

    "Now,MistehRattlesnake,yo'jesmin'yo'ownbusiness.Nobody'sgoin'steponyo',nergotriflin'roun'yo'innowaywhatsomeveh.Yo'jeslaythereinthesunan'git'sfat'syo'please.Don'yo'tu'nyo'weekedli'l'eyesonGideon.He'sjesgoin''longhome,an'ain'lookin'fohnomuss."

    Hecamepresentlytothewater,and,asluckwouldhaveit,toalittlegroupofnegrocabins,wherehewasabletobuyoldclothesand,aftermuchdickering,alongandsomewhatleakyrowboatriggedoutwithatatteredlegofmuttonsail.Thisheprovisionedwithajugofwater,astarchboxfullofwhitecornmeal,andawidestripofleanrazorbackbacon.

    Ashepushedoutfromshoreandsethissailtothesmallbreezethatblewdownfromthenorth,anabsolutecontentmentpossessedhim.Theidlewatersofthelagoon,lyingwithouttideorcurrentineternalindolence,rippledandsparkledinbreezeandsunlightwithamerrysurfaceactivity,andseemedtolaptheleakylittleboatmoreswiftlyonitsway.MosquitoInletopenedbroadlybeforehim,andskirtingtheendofMerritt'sIslandhecameatlastintothatlongestlagoon,withwhichhewasmostfamiliar,theIndianRiver.Herethewinddieddowntoamerebreath,whichbarelykepthisboatinmotionbuthemadenoattempttorow.Aslongashemovedatall,hewassatisfied.Hewaslivingthefulfilmentofhisdreamsinexile,lounginginthesternintheancientclotheshehadpurchased,hisfeetstretchedcomfortablybeforehimintheirbrokenshoes,onefootuponathwart,theotherhangingoversidesolaxlythatoccasionalrippleslappedtherunoverheel.Fromtimetotimehescannedshoreandriverforfamiliarpointsofinterestsomerememberedsnagthatshowedthetipofonegnarledbranch.Orhemarkedanewlyfallenpalmetto,alreadyrottinginthewater,whichmustbeaddedtothatmapofvastdetailthathecarriedinhishead.Butforthemostparthisbroadblackfacewasturneduptothebluebrillianceabovehiminunblinkingcontemplationhiskeeneyes,brilliantdespitetheirsunmuddiedwhites,reveledintheheightsabovehim,swingingfromhorizontohorizoninthe

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    wakeofanorderlyfileoflittlebluebillducks,wingingtheirwayacrosstheriver,orbrighteningwithinterestattherarersightofapairofmallardsorredheads,liftingwiththesoaringcirclesofthegreatbaldheadedeagle,orfollowingthescatteredsquadronofheronwhiteheron,blueheron,youngandold,trailing,sunlit,brilliantpatches,clearevenagainstthebrightwhiteandblueoftheskyabovethem.

    Oftenhelaughedaloud,sendingagreatshoutofmirthacrossthewaterinfreshrelishofthosecomediesbestknownandbestenjoyed.Itwasasexcruciatinglyfunnyasithadeverbeen,whenhisboatnoseditswayintoagreatflockofducksidlinguponthewater,toseethemadpaddlinghasteofthosenearesthim,thereproachfulturnoftheirheads,or,ifhecametoonear,theirspatteringrunoutofwater,feetandwingspumpingtogetherastheyrosefromthesurface,lookingforalltheworldlikefatlittlewomen,scurryingwithclutchedskirtsacrosscitystreets.Thepelicans,too,delightedhimastheyperchedwithpedanticsolemnityuponwharfpiles,orsailedinhunchedandhuddledgravitytwentyfeetabovetheriver'ssurfaceinswift,dignifiedflight,whichalwaysendedsuddenlyinanabrupt,upendedplungethatthrewdignitytothewindsinitsgreedyhaste,anddroppedthemcrashingintothewater.

    Whendarknesscamesuddenlyatlast,hemadeintowardshore,mooringtothewarmfrettedendofafallenandforgottenlanding.Astragglingorangegrovewashere,brokenlinesofvanquishedcultivation,strugglinglittletreesswathedandchokedinthefestooninggraymoss,stillshowinghereandtherethevaliantgoldengleamoffruit.Gideonhadseenmanysuchplaces,hadseensettlerscomeandclearthemselvesaspaceinthejungle,planttheirgroves,andliveforawhileinlazyindependenceandthenforsomereasonorothertheywouldgo,andbeforetheyhadscarcelyturnedtheirbacks,thejunglehadcreptinagain,patientlyrestoringitsancientsovereignty.Theplacewaseerywiththeghostofdeadeffortbutitpleasedhim.

    Hemadeafireandcookedsupper,eatingenormouslyandwithrelish.Hisconsciencedidnottroublehimatall.Stuhkandhisowncareerseemedalreadydistanttheytooksmallplaceinhisthoughts,andservedmerelyasabackgroundforhispresentabsolutecontent.Hepickedsomeoranges,andatetheminmeditativeenjoyment.Forawhilehenodded,halfasleep,besidehisfire,watchingthedarkenedriver,wherethemullet,shimmeringwithphosphorescence,stillleapedstarklyabovethesurface,andfellinspatteringbrilliance.Midnightfoundhimsprawledasleepbesidehisfire.

    Onceheawoke.Themoonhadrisen,andalittlebreezewavedthehangingmoss,andwhisperedintheglossyfoliageoforangeandpalmettowithasoundlikefallingrain.Gideonsatupandpeeredabouthim,rollinghiseyeshitherandthitheratthemenacingleapanddanceofthejetshadows.Hisheartwasbeatingthickly,hismusclestwitched,andtheawfulterrorsofnightpulsedandshudderedoverhim.Namelessspecterspeeredathimfromeveryshadow,ingeneratefamiliarsofhiswild,forgottenblood.Hegroanedaloudinadeliciousterrorandpresently,stilltwitchingandshivering,fellasleepagain.Itwasasifsomethingmagicalhadhappenedhisfearrememberedthefearofcenturies,andyetwiththewarmdaylightwasabsolutelyforgotten.

    Hegotupalittleaftersunrise,andwentdowntotherivertobathe,divingdeepwithajoyfulsenseoffreeinghimselffromthelastaliendustoftravel.Onceashoreagain,however,hebegantopreparehisbreakfastwithsomehaste.Forthefirsttimeinhisjourneyhewasfeelingasenseoflonelinessandalongingforhiskind.Hewasstillhappy,buthislaughterbegantoseemstrangetohiminthesolitude.Hetriedthedefiantexperimentoflaughingfortheeffectofit,anexperimentwhichbroughthimtohisfeetinstartledterrorforhislaughterwasechoed.Ashestoodpeeringabouthim,thesoundcameagain,notlaughterthistime,butasuppressedgiggle.Itwashumanbeyondadoubt.Gideon'sfaceshonewithreliefandsympatheticamusementhelistenedforamoment,andthenstrodesurelyforwardtowardaclumpoflowpalms.Therehepaused,everysensealert.Hisearcaughtasoftrustle,alittlegaspoffearthesoundofafootmovedcautiously.

    "Missy,"hesaidtentatively,"Ireckonyo'all'scomejes'bout'ntimefohbreakfus.Yo'bettehhavesome.Efyo'ain'toowhitetositdownwithablackman."

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    Theleavesparted,andasmilingfaceasblackasGideon'sownregardedhiminshyamusement.

    "Whoisyo',man?"

    "ImoughtbekingofKongo,"helaughed,"butIain't.Yo'seebefo'yo'jesGideonatyo'r'steemedsehvice."Hebowedelaboratelyinthemockhumilityofassuredimportance,watchingherfaceinpleasantanticipation.

    Butneitherawenorrapturedawnedthere.Sherepeatedthename,incliningherheadcoquettishlybutitevidentlymeantnothingtoher.Shewasmerelytryingitssound."Gideon,Gideon.Idon'calltomin'anysechnameezthat.Yo'all'sf'omupNo'thlikely."Hewasbeyondthereachesoffame.

    "No,"saidGideon,hardlyknowingwhetherhewasgladorsorry"no,Ilivesouthofheah.Whatall'syo'name?"

    Thegirlgiggleddeliciously.

    "Man,"shesaid,"Ishugotthemos'reediculoustestnameyouevehdidheah.TheycallmeVashtiyo'bacon'sbu'nin'."Shesteppedout,andranpasthimtosnatchhisskilletdeftlyfromthefire.

    "Vashti"astrangeanddelightfulname.Gideonfollowedherslowly.Herromanticcomingandherromanticnamepleasedhimand,too,hethoughtherbeautiful.Shewasscarcelymorethanagirl,slimandstrongandalmostofhisownheight.Shewasbarefooted,butherbluecheckedginghamwascleanandbeltedsmartlyaboutasmallwaist.Herememberedonlyonewomanwhoranaslithelyasshedid,oneofthenumerous"divingbeauties"ofthevaudevillestage.

    Shecookedtheirbreakfast,butheservedherwithanelaborategallantry,puttingforwardallhisnewandforeigngraces,garnishinghisspeechwithimposingpolysyllables,castingabouttheirpicnicbreakfastaradiantauraofgrandeurborrowedfromtherecentdaysofhisfame.Andhesawthathepleasedher,andwithheropenadmirationessayedstillgreaterflightsofpolishedmanner.

    Hemadevagueplansfordelayinghisjourneyastheysatsmokinginpleasantconversationaleaseandwhenaninterruptioncameitvexedhim.

    "Vashty!Vashty!"awoman'svoicesoundedthinandfaraway."Vashtyy!Yo'heahme,chile?"

    Vashtirosetoherfeetwithasigh.

    "That'smyma,"shesaidregretfully.

    "Whatdoyo'care?"askedGideon."Letheryellawhile."

    Thegirlshookherhead.

    "Ma'samoughtypow'ful'oman,andshedonegotaclub'boutthesizeo'mywrist."Shemovedoffasteporso,andglancedbackathim.

    Gideonleapedtohisfeet.

    "Whenyo'comin'back?Yo'yo'ain'goin'without"Heheldouthisarmstoher,butsheonlygiggledandbegantowalkslowlyaway.Withaboundhewasafterher,onehandcatchingherlightlybytheshoulder.Hefeltsuddenlythathemustnotlosesightofher.

    "Letmego!Tu'nmeloose,yo'!"Thegirlwasstilllaughing,butevidentlytroubled.Shewrenchedherselfawaywithaneffort,onlytobecaughtagainamomentlater.Shescreamedandstruckathim

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    ashekissedherfornowshewasreallyinterror.

    TheblowcaughtGideonsquarelyinthemouth,andwithsuchforcethathestaggeredback,astonished,whilethegirltookwildlytoherheels.Hestoodforamomentirresolute,forsomethingwashappeningtohim.Formonthshehadevadedlovewithagentleembarrassmentnow,withthesavagecrashofthatblow,heknewunreasoninglythathehadfoundhiswoman.

    Heleapedafterheragain,runningashehadnotruninyears,insavage,determinedpursuit,tearingthroughbrierandscrub,tripping,falling,rising,neverlosingsightofthebluecladfigurebeforehimuntilatlastshetrippedandfell,andhestoodpantingaboveher.

    Hetookagreatbreathorso,andleanedoverandpickedherupinhisarms,whereshescreamedandstruckandscratchedathim.Helaughed,forhefeltnolongersensibletopain,and,stillchuckling,pickedhiswaycarefullybacktotheshore,wadingdeepintothewatertounmoorhisboat.Thenwithaswiftmovementhedroppedthegirlintothebow,pushedfree,andclamberedactivelyaboard.

    Thelight,earlymorningbreezehadfreshened,andhemadeoutwelltowardthemiddleoftheriver,neverevenglancingaroundatthesoundofthehallooinghenowheardfromshore.Hisexertionshadquickenedhisbreathing,buthefeltstrongandjoyful.Vashtilayahuddleofblueinthebow,crouchedinfearanddesolation,shakenandtornwithsobbingbuthemadenoefforttocomforther.Hewasuntroubledbyanysenseofwronghewassimplyandunreasoninglysatisfiedwithwhathehaddone.Despiteallhisgentle,easygoing,laughterlovingexistence,hefoundnothingincongruousorunnaturalinthissuddenactofviolence.Hewasaglowwithhappinesshewastakinghomeawife.Theblindtumultofcapturehadpassedagreattendernesspossessedhim.

    Theleakylittleboatwasplunginganddancinginswiftecstasyofmovementallaboutthemthelittlewavesranglitteringinthesunlight,plashingandslappingagainsttheboat'slowside,tossingtinycreststothefollowingwind,showingriftsofwhitehereandthere,blowinghandfulsoffoamandspray.Gideonwentsoftlyaboutthebusinessofshorteninghissmallsail,andcamequietlybacktohissteeringseatagain.Soonhewouldhavetobemakingforwhatleathewesternshoreofferedbuthewasholdingtothemiddleoftheriveraslongashecould,becausewitheverymiletheshoresweregrowingmorefamiliar,callingtohimtomakewhatspeedhecould.Vashti'ssobbinghadgrownsmallandceasedhewonderedifshehadfallenasleep.

    Presently,however,hesawherfaceraisedafacestillshiningwithtears.Shesawthathewaswatchingher,andcrouchedlowagain.Adashofsprayspatteredoverher,andshelookedupfrightened,glancingfearfullyoversidethenoncemorehereyescamebacktohim,andthistimeshegotup,stillsmallandcrouching,andmadeherwayslowlyandpainfullydownthelengthoftheboat,untilatlastGideonmovedasideforher,andshesankinthebottombesidehim,hidinghereyesinherginghamsleeve.

    Gideonstretchedoutabroadhandandtouchedherheadlightlyandwithatinygaspherfingersstoleuptohis.

    "Honey,"saidGideon"Honey,yo'ain'mad,isyo'?"

    Sheshookherhead,notlookingathim.

    "Yo'ain'grievin'fohyo'ma?"

    Againsheshookherhead.

    "Because,"saidGideon,smilingdownather,"Iain'gotnobeegclublikeshehas."

    Asoftandsmotheredgiggleansweredhim,andthistimeVashtilookedupandlaidherheadagainst

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    himwithasmallsighofcontentment.

    Gideonfeltverytender,veryimportant,atpeacewithhimselfandalltheworld.Heroundedajuttingpoint,andstretchedoutablackhand,pointing.

    EndoftheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheBestAmericanHumorousShortStories,byVarious

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