The Best American Humorous Short Stories_10947_10947

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    ProjectGutenberg'sTheBestAmericanHumorousShortStories,byVarious

    ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostnorestrictionswhatsoever.Youmaycopyit,giveitawayorreuseitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincludedwiththiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net

    Title:TheBestAmericanHumorousShortStories

    Author:Various

    ReleaseDate:February5,2004[EBook#10947]

    Language:English

    Charactersetencoding:ASCII

    ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAMERICANHUMOR***

    ProducedbyKeithM.EckrichandPGDistributedProofreaders

    THEBESTAMERICANHUMOROUSSHORTSTORIES

    _Editedby_ALEXANDERJESSUP,_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.NotonlycopyrightrestrictionsbutinameasuremyownopinionhavecombinedtoexcludeanythingbyJoelChandlerHarris_UncleRemus_fromthecollection.Harrisisprimarilyinhisbestworkahumorist,andonlysecondarilyashortstorywriter.Asahumoristheisofthefirstrank;asawriterofshortstorieshisplaceishardlysohigh.Hishumorisnotmere

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    funninessanddiversion;heisahumoristinthefundamentalandlargesense,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).InthehistoryofAmericanhumorthesenamesrankhigh;inthefieldofAmericanliteratureandtheAmericanshortstorytheydonotranksohigh.Ihavefoundnothingoftheirsthatwasfirstclassbothashumorandasshortstory.PerhapsjustbelowthesethreeshouldbementionedGeorgeHoratioDerby(18231861),authorof_Phoenixiana_(1855)andthe_SquibobPapers_(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,andtheauthorof_FablesinSlang_ischieflyasatirist,whetherinfable,playorwhatnot.

    ThisvolumemightwellhavestartedwithsomethingbyWashingtonIrving,Isupposemanycriticswouldsay.Itdoesnotseemtome,however,thatIrving'sbestshortstories,suchas_TheLegendofSleepyHollow_and_RipVanWinkle_,areessentiallyhumorousstories,althoughtheyareo'erspreadwiththegeniallightofreminiscence.Itisthearmchairgenialityoftheeighteenthcenturyessayists,aconstituentoftheauthorratherthanofhismaterialandproduct.Irving'sbesthumorouscreations,indeed,arescarcelyshortstoriesatall,butratheressaylikesketches,orsketchlikeessays.JamesLawson(17991880)inhis_TalesandSketches:byaCosmopolite_(1830),notablyin_TheDapperGentleman'sStory_,isalsoplainlyafollowerofIrving.WecometoadifferentveinintheworkofsuchwritersasWilliamTappanThompson(18121882),authoroftheamusingstoriesinletterform,_MajorJones'sCourtship_(1840);JohnsonJonesHooper(18151862),authorof_WidowRugby'sHusband,andOtherTalesofAlabama_(1851);JosephG.Baldwin(18151864),whowrote_TheFlushTimesofAlabamaandMississippi_(1853);andAugustusBaldwinLongstreet(17901870),whose_GeorgiaScenes_(1835)areasimportantin"localcolor"astheyareracyinhumor.Yetnoneofthesewritersyieldtheexcellentshortstorywhichisalsoagood

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    pieceofhumorousliterature.Buttheyopenedthewayfortheworkoflaterwriterswhodidattainthesecombinedexcellences.

    ThesentimentalveinofthemidcenturyisseenintheworkofSebaSmith(17921868),ElizaLeslie(17871858),FrancesMiriamWhitcher("WidowBedott,"18111852),MaryW.Janvrin(18301870),andAliceBradleyHavenNeal(18281863).ThewellknownworkofJosephClayNeal(18071847)issoallpervadedwithcaricatureandhumorthatitbelongswiththeworkoftheprofessionalhumoristschoolratherthanwiththeshortstorywriters.Tomentionhis_CharcoalSketches,orScenesinaMetropolis_(18371849)mustsuffice.TheworkofSebaSmithissufficientlyexpressedinhistitle,_WayDownEast,orPortraituresofYankeeLife_(1854),althoughhis_LettersofMajorJackDowning_(1833)isbetterknown.Ofhissinglestoriesmaybementioned_TheGeneralCourtandJaneAndrews'FirkinofButter_(October,1847,_Graham'sMagazine_).TheworkofFrancesMiriamWhitcher("WidowBedott")isofsomewhatfinergrain,bothashumorandinotherliteraryqualities.Herstoriesorsketches,suchas_AuntMagwire'sAccountofParsonScrantum'sDonationParty_(March,1848,_Godey'sLady'sBook_)and_AuntMagwire'sAccountoftheMissiontoMuffletegawmy_(July,1859,_Godey's_),wereafterwardscollectedin_TheWidowBedottPapers_(18555680).ThescopeoftheworkofMaryB.Havenissufficientlysuggestedbyherstory,_Mrs.Bowen'sParlorandSpareBedroom_(February,1860,_Godey's_),whilethebeststoriesofMaryW.Janvrininclude_TheForeignCount;or,HighArtinTattletown_(October,1860,_Godey's_)and_CityRelations;or,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.Oneofherbeststoriesis_TheWatkinsonEvening_(December,1846,_Godey'sLady'sBook_),includedinthepresentvolume;othersare_TheBatsonCottage_(November,1846,_Godey'sLady'sBook_)and_JulietIrwin;or,theCarriagePeople_(June,1847,_Godey'sLady'sBook_).Oneofherchiefcollectionsofstoriesis_PencilSketches_(18331837)."MissLeslie,"wroteEdgarAllanPoe,"iscelebratedforthehomelynaturalnessofherstoriesandforthebroadsatireofhercomicstyle."Shewastheeditorof_TheGift_oneofthebestannualsofthetime,andinthatpositionperhapsexertedherchiefinfluenceonAmericanliteratureWhenonehasreadthreeorfourrepresentativestoriesbythesesevenauthorsonecangraspthemall.Theirtitlesasarulestrikethekeynote.Thesewriters,except"theWidowBedott,"areperhapssentimentalistsratherthanhumoristsinintention,butreadinthelightoflaterdaystheirapparentseriousdelineationsofthefrolicsandfoiblesoftheirtimetakeonahighlyhumorousaspect.

    GeorgePopeMorris(18021864)wasoneofthefoundersof_TheNewYorkMirror_,andforatimeitseditor.Heisbestknownastheauthorofthepoem,_Woodman,SpareThatTree_,andotherpoemsandsongs._TheLittleFrenchmanandHisWaterLots_(1839),thefirststoryinthepresentvolume,isselectednotbecauseMorriswasespeciallyprominentinthefieldoftheshortstoryorhumorousprosebutbecauseofthissinglestory'srepresentativecharacter.EdgarAllanPoe(18091849)followswith_TheAngeloftheOdd_(October,1844,_ColumbianMagazine_),perhapsthebestofhishumorousstories._TheSystemofDr.TarrandProf.Fether_(November,1845,_Graham'sMagazine_)mayberatedhigher,butitisnotessentiallyahumorousstory.Ratheritisincisivesatire,withtoobitinganundercurrenttopassmusterinthecompanyofthegenialinliterature.Poe'shumorousstoriesasawholehavetendedtobelittleratherthan

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    increasehisfame,manyofthemvergingontheinane.Therearesome,however,whichareatleastexcellentfooling;fewmorethanthat.

    ProbablythisishardlytheplaceforanextendeddiscussionofPoe,sincethepresentvolumecoversneitherAmericanliteratureasawholenortheAmericanshortstoryingeneral,andPoeisnotahumoristinhismorenotableproductions.LetitbesaidthatPoeinventedorperfectedmoreexactly,perfectedhisowninventionofthemodernshortstory;thatishisgeneralandsupremeachievement.Healsostandssuperlativeforthequalityofthreevarietiesofshortstories,thoseofterror,beautyandratiocination.Inthefirstclassbelong_ADescentintotheMaelstrom_(1841),_ThePitandthePendulum_(1842),_TheBlackCat_(1843),and_TheCaskofAmontillado_(1846).Intherealmofbeautyhisnotableproductionsare_TheAssignation_(1834),_Shadow:aParable_(1835),_Ligeia_(1838),_TheFalloftheHouseofUsher_(1839),_Eleonora_(1841),and_TheMasqueoftheRedDeath_(1842).Thetalesofratiocinationwhatarenowgenerallytermeddetectivestoriesinclude_TheMurdersintheRueMorgue_(1841)anditssequel,_TheMysteryofMarieRoget_(18421843),_TheGoldBug_(1843),_TheOblongBox_(1844),_"ThouArttheMan"_(1844),and_ThePurloinedLetter_(1844).

    Then,too,Poewasamasterofstyle,oneofthegreatestinEnglishprose,possiblythegreatestsinceDeQuincey,andquitethemostremarkableamongAmericanauthors.Poe'sinfluenceontheshortstoryformhasbeentremendous.Althoughthe_effects_ofstructuremaybeastoundingintheirpowerorunexpectedness,yetthe_means_bywhichtheseeffectsarebroughtaboutarepurelymechanical.Anystudentoffictioncancomprehendthem,almostanypractitioneroffictionwithabenttowardformcanfairlymasterthem.Themeritofanyshortstoryproductiondependsonmanyotherelementsaswellthevalueofthestructuralelementtotheproductionasawholedependsfirstontheselectionoftheparticularsortofstructuralschemebestsuitedtothestoryinhand,andsecondly,onthewayinwhichthisis_combined_withthepieceofwritingtoformawellbalancedwhole.Styleismoredifficulttoimitatethanstructure,butontheotherhand_theoriginofstructuralinfluence_ismoredifficulttotracethanthatofstyle.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,bothofformandthought;heisvividandapt,intenselylyricalbutwithoutmuchrange

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    ofthought.Hehasdeepintuitionsbutnocomprehensivegraspoflife.

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

    AsPoe'sbestshortstoriesmaybementioned:_Metzengerstein_(Jan.14,1832,Philadelphia_SaturdayCourier_),_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:_Giftfor_1840),_TheConversationofEirosandCharmion_(December,1839,_Burton'sGentleman'sMagazine_),_TheMurdersintheRueMorgue_(April,1841,_Graham'sMagazine_),_ADescentintotheMaelstrom_(May,1841,_Graham'sMagazine_),_Eleonora_(1841:_Gift_for1842),_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:_Gift_for1845),_TheImpofthePerverse_(July,1845,_Graham'sMagazine_),_TheSystemofDr.TarrandProf.Fether_(November,1845,_Graham'sMagazine_),_TheFactsintheCaseofM.Valdemar_(December,1845,_AmericanWhigReview_),_TheCaskofAmontillado_(November,1846,_Godey'sLady'sBook_),and_Lander'sCottage_(June9,1849,_FlagofOurUnion_).Poe'schiefcollectionsare:_TalesoftheGrotesqueandArabesque_(1840),_Tales_(1845),and_TheWorksoftheLateEdgarAllanPoe_(185056).Thesetitleshavebeendroppedfromrecenteditionsofhisworks,however,andthestoriesbroughttogetherunderthetitle_Tales_,orundersubdivisionsfurnishedbyhiseditors,suchas_TalesofRatiocination_,etc.

    CarolineMatildaStansburyKirkland(18011864)wroteofthefrontierlifeoftheMiddleWestinthemidnineteenthcentury.Herprincipalcollectionofshortstoriesis_WesternClearings_(1845),fromwhich_TheSchoolmaster'sProgress_,firstpublishedin_TheGift_for1845(outin1844),istaken.Otherstoriesrepublishedinthatcollectionare_TheBallatThram'sHuddle_(April,1840,_KnickerbockerMagazine_),_RecollectionsoftheLandFever_(September,1840,_KnickerbockerMagazine_),and_TheBeeTree_(_TheGift_for1842;outin1841).Herdescriptionofthecountryschoolmaster,"apuppetcutoutofshingleandjerkedbyastring,"andthelocalcoloringeneralofthisandotherstoriesgiveheraleadingplaceamongthewritersofherperiodwhocombinedfidelityindelineatingfrontierlifewithsufficientfictionalinteresttomakeapleasingwholeofpermanentvalue.

    GeorgeWilliamCurtis(18241892)gainedhischieffameasanessayist,andprobablybecamebestknownfromthedepartmentwhichhe

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    conducted,from1853,as_TheEditor'sEasyChair_for_Harper'sMagazine_formanyyears.Hisvolume,_PrueandI_(1856),containsmanyfictionalelements,andastoryfromit,_Titbottom'sSpectacles_,whichfirstappearedinPutnam'sMonthlyforDecember,1854,isgiveninthisvolumebecauseitisagoodhumorousshortstoryratherthanbecauseofitsauthor'sgeneraleminenceinthisfield.Otherstoriesofhisworthnotingare_TheShroudedPortrait_(in_TheKnickerbockerGallery_,1855)and_TheMillenialClub_(November,1858,_KnickerbockerMagazine_).

    EdwardEverettHale(18221909)ischieflyknownastheauthoroftheshortstory,_TheManWithoutaCountry_(December,1863,_AtlanticMonthly_),buthisventureinthecomicvein,_MyDouble;andHowHeUndidMe_(September,1859,_AtlanticMonthly_),isequallyworthyofappreciation.Itwashisfirstpublishedstoryofimportance.Othernoteworthystoriesofhisare:_TheBrickMoon_(October,NovemberandDecember,1869,_AtlanticMonthly_),_LifeintheBrickMoon_(February,1870,_AtlanticMonthly_),and_Susan'sEscort_(May,1890,_Harper'sMagazine_).Hischiefvolumesofshortstoriesare:_TheManWithoutaCountry,andOtherTales_(1868);_TheBrickMoon,andOtherStories_(1873);_CrusoeinNewYork,andOtherTales_(1880);and_Susan'sEscort,andOthers_(1897).ThestoriesbyHalewhichhavemadehisfameallshowabilityofnomeanorder;buttheyarecharacterizedbyinventionandingenuityratherthanbysuffusingimagination.ThereisnotmuchhomogeneityaboutHale'swork.Almostanytwostoriesofhisreadasiftheymighthavebeenwrittenbydifferentauthors.Forthetimebeingperhapsthisisanadvantagehisstoriescharmbytheirnoveltyandindividuality.Inthelongrun,however,thisprovesratherahandicap.Trueindividuality,inliteratureasintheotherarts,consistsnotin"beingdifferent"ondifferentoccasionsindifferentworkssomuchasinbeing_samely_differentfromotherwriters;inbeing_consistently_one'sself,ratherthandiffusedlyvariousselves.Thisdoesnotlessenthevalueofparticularstories,ofcourse.ItmerelyinjuresHale'sfameasawhole.Perhapssomewillchieflyfeelnotsomuchthathisstoriesaredifferentamongthemselves,butthattheyarenotstronglyanythinganybody'sinparticular,thattheylackstrongpersonality.Thepathwaytofameisstrewnwithstrayexhibitionsoftalent.Apartfromhispurelyliteraryproductions,Halewasoneofthelargemoralforcesofhistime,through"uplift"bothinspeechandthewrittenword.

    OliverWendellHolmes(18091894),oneoftheleadingwitsofAmericanliterature,isnotatallwellknownasashortstorywriter,nordidhewritemanybriefpiecesoffiction.Hisfamerestschieflyonhispoemsandonthe_BreakfastTable_books(1858186018721890)._OldIronsides_,_TheLastLeaf_,_TheChamberedNautilus_and_HomesickinHeaven_aresecureofplacesintheanthologiesofthefuture,whilehislighterversehasmadehimoneoftheleadingAmericanwritersof"familiarverse."FrederickLockerLampsonintheprefacetothefirsteditionofhis_LyraElegantiarum_(1867)declaredthatHolmeswas"perhapsthebestlivingwriterofthisspeciesofverse."Histrenchantattackon_HomeopathyandItsKindredDelusions_(1842)makesuswonderwhatwouldhavebeenhisattitudetowardsomeofthebeliefsofourownday;ChristianScience,forexample.Hemighthave"exposed"itundersomesuchtitleas_TheReligioMedicalMasquerade_,orbroughtthebatteriesofhishumortobearonitinthemannerofRobertLouisStevenson'sfable,_SomethingInIt_:"Perhapsthereisnotmuchinit,asIsupposed;butthereissomethinginitafterall.Letmebethankfulforthat."InHolmes'longworksoffiction,ElsieVenner(1861),_TheGuardianAngel_(1867)and_AMortalAntipathy_(1885),themethodisstillsomewhatthatoftheessayist.IhavefoundashortpieceoffictionbyhimintheMarch,1832,numberof_TheNewEnglandMagazine_,called_TheDebut_,signedO.W.H._TheStoryofIris_in_TheProfessoratthe

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    BreakfastTable_,whichranin_TheAtlantic_throughout1859,and_AVisittotheAsylumforAgedandDecayedPunsters_(January,1861,_Atlantic_)arehisonlyotherbrieffictionsofwhichIamaware.ThelastnamedhasbeengivenplaceinthepresentselectionbecauseitischaracteristicofacertaintypeandperiodofAmericanhumor,althoughitsshortstoryqualitiesarenotparticularlystrong.

    SamuelLanghorneClemens(18351910),whoachievedfameas"MarkTwain,"isonlyincidentallyashortstorywriter,althoughhewrotemanyshortpiecesoffiction.Hishumorousquality,Imean,issopreponderant,thatonehardlythinksoftheform.Indeed,heisneververystronginfictionalconstruction,andofthemodernshortstoryartheevidentlykneworcaredlittle.Heisahumoristinthelargesense,asareRabelaisandCervantes,althoughheisalsoahumoristinvariousrestrictedapplicationsofthewordthatarewhollyAmerican._TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty_washisfirstpublicationofimportance,anditsawthelightintheNov.18,1865,numberof_TheSaturdayPress_.Itwasrepublishedinthecollection,_TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches_,in1867.Othersofhisbestpiecesofshortfictionare:_TheCanvasser'sTale_(December,1876,_AtlanticMonthly_),_TheL1,000,000BankNote_(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_),and_Eve'sDiary_(December,1905,_Harper's_).AmongTwain'schiefcollectionsofshortstoriesare:_TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches_(1867);_TheStolenWhiteElephant_(1882),_TheL1,000,000BankNote_(1893),and_TheManThatCorruptedHadleyburg,andOtherStoriesandSketches_(1900).

    HarryStillwellEdwards(1855),anativeofGeorgia,togetherwithSarahBarnwellElliott(?)andWillN.Harben(18581919)havecontinuedintheveinofthatearlierwriter,AugustusBaldwinLongstreet(17901870),authorof_GeorgiaScenes_(1835).Edwards'bestworkistobefoundinhisshortstoriesofblackandwhitelifeafterthemannerofRichardMalcolmJohnston.Hehaswrittenseveralnovels,butheisessentiallyawriterofhumannaturesketches."Heishumorousandpicturesque,"saysFredLewisPattee,"andoftenheisforamomentthemasterofpathos,buthehasaddednothingnewandnothingcommandinglydistinctive."[3]Anexceptiontothismightbemadeinfavorof_ElderBrown'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_),and_TheShadow_(December,1906,_Century_).Hischiefcollectionsare_TwoRunaways,andOtherStories_(1889)and_HisDefense,andOtherStories_(1898).

    Themostnotable,however,ofthegroupofshortstorywritersofGeorgialifeisperhapsRichardMalcolmJohnston(18221898).HestandsbetweenLongstreetandtheyoungerwritersofGeorgialife.Hisfirstbookwas_GeorgiaSketches,byanOldMan(1864)._TheGoosePondSchool_,ashortstory,hadbeenwrittenin1857;itwasnotpublished,however,tillitappearedintheNovemberandDecember,1869,numbersofaSouthernmagazine,_TheNewEclectic_,overthepseudonym"PhilemonPerch."Hisfamous_DukesboroughTales_(18711874)waslargelyarepublicationoftheearlierbook.Othernoteworthycollectionsofhisare:_Mr.AbsalomBillingsleaandOther

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    GeorgiaFolk_(1888),_Mr.Fortner'sMaritalClaims,andOtherStories_(1892),and_OldTimesinMiddleGeorgia_(1897).Amongindividualstoriesstandout:_TheOrganGrinder_(July,1870,_NewEclectic_),_Mr.NeelusPeeler'sConditions_(June,1879,_Scribner'sMonthly_),_TheBriefEmbarrassmentofMr.IversonBlount_(September,1884,_Century_);_TheHotelExperienceofMr.PinkFluker_(June,1886,_Century_),republishedinthepresentcollection;_TheWimpyAdoptions_(February,1887,_Century_),_TheExperimentsofMissSallyCash_(September,1888,_Century_),and_OurWitch_(March,1897,_Century_).JohnstonmustberankedalmostwithBretHarteasapioneerin"localcolor"work,althoughhisworkhadlittlerecognitionuntilhis_DukesboroughTales_wererepublishedbyHarper&Brothersin1883.

    BretHarte(18391902)ismentionedhereowingtothelatedateofhisstoryincludedinthisvolume,_ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff_(March,1901,_Harper's_),althoughhisworkasawholeofcoursebelongstoanearlierperiodofourliterature.Itisnowwellthumbedliteraryhistorythat_TheLuckofRoaringCamp_(August,1868,_Overland_)and_TheOutcastsofPokerFlat_(January,1869,_Overland_)broughthimapopularitythat,initssuddennessandextent,hadnoprecedentinAmericanliteraturesaveinthecaseofMrs.Stoweand_UncleTom'sCabin_.AccordingtoHarte'sownstatement,madeintheretrospectoflateryears,hesetoutdeliberatelytoaddanewprovincetoAmericanliterature.Althoughhisworkhasbeenbelittledbecausehehaschosenexceptionalandtheatrichappenings,yethisrealstrengthcamefromhiscontactwithWesternlife.

    IrvingandDickensandothermodelsservedonlytoteachhimhisart."Finally,"saysProf.Pattee,"Hartewastheparentofthemodernformoftheshortstory.ItwashewhostartedKiplingandCableandThomasNelsonPage.Fewindeedhavesurpassedhiminthemechanicsofthismostdifficultofarts.Accordingtohisownbelief,theformisanAmericanproduct...Hartehasdescribedthegenesisofhisownart.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,risesthesoft'Kerree!';again,ashisformislostinthedistance,comesbackthedeep'Kerrow!'"

    WhileHarte'sstoriesallhaveinthemacertainelementorbackgroundofhumor,yetperhapsthemajorityofthemarechieflyromanticordramaticevenmorethantheyarehumorous.

    Amongthebestofhisshortstoriesmaybementioned:_TheLuckof

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    RoaringCamp_(August,1868,_Overland_),_TheOutcastsofPokerFlat_(January,1869,_Overland_),_Tennessee'sPartner_(October,1869,_Overland_),_BrownofCalaveras_(March,1870,_Overland_),_Flip:aCaliforniaRomance_(in_Flip,andOtherStories_,1882),_LeftOutonLoneStarMountain_(January,1884,_Longman's_),_AnIngenueoftheSierras_(July,1894,_McClure's_),_TheBellRingerofAngel's_(in_TheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories_,1894),_ChuChu_(in_TheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories_,1894),_TheManandtheMountain_(in_TheAncestorsofPeterAtherly,andOtherTales_,1897),_SalomyJane'sKiss_(in_StoriesinLightandShadow_,1898),_TheYoungestMissPiper_(February,1900,_Leslie'sMonthly_),_ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff_(March,1901,_Harper's_),_AMercuryoftheFoothills_(July,1901,_Cosmopolitan_),_LantyFoster'sMistake_(December,1901,_NewEngland_),_AnAliBabaoftheSierras_(January4,1902,_SaturdayEveningPost_),and_DickBoyle'sBusinessCard_(in_Trent'sTrust,andOtherStories_,1903).Amonghisnotablecollectionsofstoriesare:_TheLuckofRoaringCamp,andOtherSketches_(1870),_Flip,andOtherStories_(1882),_OntheFrontier_(1884),_ColonelStarbottle'sClient,andSomeOtherPeople_(1892),_AProtegeofJackHamlin's,andOtherStories_(1894),_TheBellRingerofAngel's,andOtherStories_(1894),_TheAncestorsofPeterAtherly,andOtherTales_(1897),_OpeningsintheOldTrail_(1902),and_Trent'sTrust,andOtherStories_(1903).Thetitlesandmakeupofseveralofhiscollectionswerechangedwhentheycametobearrangedinthecompleteeditionofhisworks.[5]

    HenryCuylerBunner(18551896)isoneofthehumorousgeniusesofAmericanliterature.Heisequallyathomeincleververseorthebriefshortstory.Prof.FredLewisPatteehassummeduphisachievementasfollows:"Another[thanStockton]whodidmuchtoadvancetheshortstorytowardthemechanicalperfectionithadattainedtoatthecloseofthecenturywasHenryCuylerBunner,editorof_Puck_andcreatorofsomeofthemostexquisite_versdesociete_oftheperiod.Thetitleofoneofhiscollections,_MadeinFrance:FrenchTalesRetoldwithaU.S.Twist_(1893),formsanintroductiontohisfiction.Notthathewasanimitator;fewhavebeenmoreoriginalorhaveputmoreoftheirownpersonalityintotheirwork.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.Itmaybesaidwithassurancethat_ShortSixes_marksoneofthehighplaceswhichhavebeenattainedbytheAmericanshortstory."[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_(in_TheSuburbanSage_,1896).HecollaboratedwithProf.BranderMatthewsinseveralstories,notablyin_TheDocumentsintheCase_(Sept.,1879,_Scribner'sMonthly_).Hisbestcollectionsare:_ShortSixes:_StoriestobeReadWhiletheCandleBurns_(1891),

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    _MoreShortSixes_(1894),and_LoveinOldCloathes,andOtherStories_(1896).

    AfterPoeandHawthornealmostthefirstauthorinAmericatomakeavertiginousimpressionbyhisshortstorieswasBretHarte.Thewideandsuddenpopularityheattainedbythepublicationofhistwoshortstories,_TheLuckofRoaringCamp_(1868)and_TheOutcastsofPokerFlat_(1869),hasalreadybeennoted.[7]ButonestoryjustbeforeHartethatastonishedthefictionaudiencewithitspowerandartwasHarrietPrescottSpofford's(1835)_TheAmberGods_(JanuaryandFebruary,1860,Atlantic),withitsstartlingending,"Imusthavediedattenminutespastone."AfterHartethenextstorytomakeagreatsensationwasThomasBaileyAldrich's_MarjorieDaw_(April,1873,_Atlantic_),astorywithasurpriseattheend,ashadbeenhis_AStruggleforLife_(July,1867,_Atlantic_),althoughitwasonly_MarjorieDaw_thatattractedmuchattentionatthetime.ThencameGeorgeWashingtonCable's(1844)_"PossonJone',"_(April1,1876,_Appleton'sJournal_)andalittlelaterCharlesEgbertCraddock's(1850)_TheDancin'PartyatHarrison'sCove_(May,1878,_Atlantic_)and_TheStarintheValley_(November,1878,_Atlantic_).ButtheworkofCableandCraddock,thoughofsterlingworth,wonitswaygradually.EvenEdwardEverettHale's(18221909)_MyDouble;andHowHeUndidMe_(September,1859,_Atlantic_)and_TheManWithoutaCountry_(December,1863,_Atlantic_)hadfallencomparativelystillborn.Thetrulyastoundingshortstorysuccesses,afterPoeandHawthorne,then,wereSpofford,BretHarteandAldrich.NextcameFrankRichardStockton(18341902)."Theinterestcreatedbytheappearanceof_MarjorieDaw_,"saysProf.Pattee,"wasmildcomparedwiththataccordedtoFrankR.Stockton's_TheLadyortheTiger?_(1884).StocktonhadnotthetechniqueofAldrichnorhisnaturalnessandease.Certainlyhehadnothisatmosphereofthe_beaumonde_andhisgraceofstyle,butinwhimsicalityandunexpectednessandinthatsubtleartthatmakestheobviouslyimpossibleseemperfectlyplausibleandcommonplacehesurpassednotonlyhimbutEdwardEverettHaleandallothers.AfterStocktonand_TheLadyortheTiger?_itwasrealizedevenbytheuncriticalthatshortstorywritinghadbecomeasubtleartandthatthemasterofitssubtletieshadhisreaderathismercy."[8]ThepublicationofStockton'sshortstoriescoversaperiodofoverfortyyears,from_Mahala'sDrive_(November,1868,_Lippincott's_)to_TheTroubleSheCausedWhenSheKissed_(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_(in_TheChristmasWreck,andOtherStories_,1886),_AmosKilbright_(in_AmosKilbright,HisAdscititiousExperiences,withOtherStories_,1888),_Asaph_(May,1892,_Cosmopolitan_),_MyTerminalMoraine_(April26,1892,Collier's_OnceaWeekLibrary_),_TheMagicEgg_(June,1894,_Century_),_TheBullerPodingtonCompact_(August,1897,_Scribner's_),and_TheWidow'sCruise_(in_AStoryTeller'sPack_,1897).Mostofhisbestworkwasgatheredintothecollections:_TheLadyortheTiger?,andOtherStories_(1884),_TheBeeManofOrn,andOtherFancifulTales_(1887),_AmosKilbright,HisAdscititiousExperiences,withOtherStories_(1888),_TheClocksofRondaine,andOtherStories_(1892),_AChosenFew_(1895),_AStoryTeller'sPack_(1897),and_TheQueen'sMuseum,andOtherFancifulTales_(1906).

    AfterStocktonandBunnercomeO.Henry(18621910)andJackLondon(18761916),apostlesoftheburlyandvigorousinfiction.BesideorabovethemstandHenryJames(18431916)althoughhebelongstoanearlierperiodaswellEdithWharton(1862),AliceBrown(1857),

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    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).Notallarenotableforhumor;butinasmuchasanyconsiderationoftheAmericanhumorousshortstorycannotbewhollydissociatedfromaconsiderationoftheAmericanshortstoryingeneral,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.Hebeganhisshortstorycareerbycontributing_WhistlingDick'sChristmasStocking_to_McClure'sMagazine_in1899.HefolloweditwithmanystoriesdealingwithWesternandSouthandCentralAmericanlife,andlatercamemostofhisstoriesofthelifeofNewYorkCity,inwhichfieldliesmostofhisbestwork.Hecontributedmorestoriestothe_NewYorkWorld_thantoanyotheronepublicationasifthestoriesoftheauthorwholatercametobehailedas"theAmericanMaupassant"werenotgoodenoughforthe"leading"magazinesbutfitonlyforthesensationlovingpublicoftheSundaypapers!Hisfirstpublishedstorythatshoweddistinctstrengthwasperhaps_ABlackjackBargainer_(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,_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_(in_TheFourMillion_,1909),_ThePendulum_(in_TheTrimmedLamp_,1910),_BrickdustRow_(in_TheTrimmedLamp_,1910),and_TheAssessorofSuccess_(in_TheTrimmedLamp_,1910).AmongO.Henry'sbestvolumesofshortstoriesare:_TheFourMillion_(1909),_Options_(1909),_RoadsofDestiny_(1909),_TheTrimmedLamp_(1910),_StrictlyBusiness:MoreStoriesoftheFourMillion_(1910),_Whirligigs_(1910),and_SixesandSevens_(1911).

    "Nowhereisthereanythingjustlikethem.Inhisbestworkandhistalesofthegreatmetropolisarehisbestheisunique.Thesoulofhisartisunexpectedness.Humorateveryturnthereis,andsentimentandphilosophyandsurprise.Onenevermaybesureofhimself.Theendisalwaysasensation.Noforesightmaypredictit,andthesensationalwaysisgenuine.WhateverelseO.Henrywas,hewasanartist,amasterofplotanddiction,agenuinehumorist,andaphilosopher.Hisweaknesslayintheverynatureofhisart.Hewasanentertainerbentonlyonamusingandsurprisinghisreader.Everywherebrilliancy,buttoooftenitisjoinedtocheapness;art,yetartmergingswiftlyinto

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    caricature.LikeHarte,hecannotbetrusted.BothwritersonthewholemaybesaidtohaveloweredthestandardsofAmericanliterature,sincebothworkedinthesurfaceoflifewiththeatricintentandalwayswithoutmoralbackground,O.Henrymoves,butheneverlifts.Allisfortissimo;heslapsthereaderonthebackandlaughsloudlyasifhewereinabarroom.Hischaracters,withfewexceptions,areextremes,caricatures.Evenhisshopgirls,inthelimningofwhomhedidhisbestwork,arenotreallyindividuals;ratheraretheytypes,symbols.Hisworkwasliteraryvaudeville,brilliant,highlyamusing,andyetvaudeville."[9]_TheDuplicityofHargraves_,thestorybyO.Henrygiveninthisvolume,isfreefrommostofhisdefects.Ithasablendofhumorandpathosthatputsitonaplaneofuniversalappeal.

    GeorgeRandolphChester(1869)gaineddistinctionbycreatingthegenialmodernbusinessmanofAmericanliteraturewhoisnotcontentto"getrichquick"throughtheordinarychannels.NeedIsaythatIrefertothatamazingcompoundoflikeablenessandsharppractices,GetRichQuickWallingford?Thestoryofhisincludedinthisvolume,_BargainDayatTuttHouse_(June,1905,_McClure's_),wasnearlyhisfirststory;onlytwoothers,whichcameoutin_TheSaturdayEveningPost_in1903and1904,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_),and_JollyBachelors_(February,1918,_Cosmopolitan_).Hisbestcollectionsare:_GetRichQuickWallingford_(1908),_YoungWallingford_(1910),_WallingfordinHisPrime_(1913),and_WallingfordandBlackieDaw_(1913).Itisoftendifficulttofindinhisbooksshortstoriesthatonemaybelookingfor,forthereasonthatthetitlesoftheindividualstorieshavebeenremovedinordertomakethebookslooklikenovelssubdividedintochapters.

    GraceMacGowanCooke(1863)isawriterallofwhoseworkhasinterestandperdurablestuffinit,butfewaretheauthorswhoseachievementsintheAmericanshortstorystandoutasawhole.In_ACall_(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_(May4,1907,_Collier's_),and_ACleanShave_(November,1912,_Century_).Herbestshortstoriesdonotseemtohavebeencollectedinvolumesasyet,althoughshehashadseveralnotablelongworksoffictionpublished,suchas_ThePowerandtheGlory_(1910),andseveralgoodjuveniles.

    WilliamJamesLampton(?1917),whowasknowntomanyofhisadmirersasWillLamptonorasW.J.L.merely,wasoneofthemostuniqueandinterestingcharactersofliteraryandBohemianNewYorkfromabout1895tohisdeathin1917.IrememberwalkingupFifthAvenuewithhim

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    oneSundayafternoonjustafterhehadshownmealetterfromthemanwhowasthenComptrolleroftheCurrency.Theletterwassignedsoillegiblythatmycompanionwasindoubtsastothesender,sohesuggestedthatwestopatawellknownhotelatthecornerof59thStreet,andaskthemanagerwhotheComptrolleroftheCurrencythenwas,sothathemightknowwhomtheletterwasfrom.Hesaidthatthemanagerofabighotellikethat,wheremanyprominentpeoplestayed,wouldbesuretoknow.Whenthisproblemhadbeensolvedtooursatisfaction,JohnSkeltonWilliamsprovingtobetheman,Lamptonsaid,"Nowyou'vetoldmewhoheis,I'llshowyouwhoIam."Soheaskedforacopyof_TheAmericanMagazine_atanewsstandinthehotelcorridor,openedit,andshowedthemanagerafullpagepictureofhimselfcladinacostumesuggestiveofthetimeofChristopherColumbus,withhighruffsaroundhisneck,thathappenedtoappearinthemagazinethecurrentmonth.Imentionthisincidenttoillustratethelackofconventionalityandwhimsicaloriginalityoftheman,thatstoodoutnolessforciblyinhiswritingsthaninhisdailylife.Hehadlittleusefor"doingtheusualthingintheusualsortofway."Hefirstgainedprominencebyhisbookofverse,_Yawps_(1900).Hispoemswerefreefromconventionintechniqueaswellasinspirit,althoughtheirchiefinnovationwassimplythatasaruletherewasnoregularnumberofsyllablesinaline;heletthelinesbeanylengththeywantedtobe,tofitthesenseorthelengthofwhathehadtosay.Heoncesaidtomethatifanythingofhiswasrememberedhethoughtitwouldbehispoem,_Lo,theSummerGirl_.Hismuseoftentookthedirectionofsatire,butitwasalwaysgoodnaturedevenwhenithitthehardest.Hehadinhismakeupmuchofthedetachedphilosopher,likeCervantesandMarkTwain.

    Therewassomethingcosmicabouthisattitudetolife,andthisshowedinmuchthathedid.HewastheonlyAmericanwriterofhumorousverseofhisdaywhomIalwayscaredtoread,orwhoselinesIcouldremembermorethanafewweeks.Thiswasperhapsbecausehisworkwasnever_merely_humorous,butalwayshadabigsweepofbackgroundtoit,liketheruggednessoftheKentuckymountainsfromwhichhecame.ItwasColonelGeorgeHarvey,theneditorof_Harper'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,WhohavetoworksohardforbreadTheycan'tgetveryfarahead.

    WhenJamesLaneAllen'snovel,_TheReignofLaw_,cameout(1900),a

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    littlequatrainbyLamptonthatappearedin_TheBookman_(September,1900)sweptlikewildfireacrossthecountry,andwasreadbyahundredtimesasmanypeopleasthebookitself:

    "TheReignofLaw"?Well,Allen,you'relucky;It'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.

    DoIhearsomecriticsexclaimingthatthereisnothingremarkableabout_HowtheWidowWontheDeacon_,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_),and_ABrownStudy_(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_),and_Gideon_(April,1914,_Century_).Thelaststorystandsout.Itcanbecomparedwithoutdisadvantagetothebestwork,orallbuttheverybestwork,ofThomasNelsonPage,itseemstome.Andfromthereader'sstandpointithastheadvantageisthisnotalsoanauthor'sadvantage?ofamoremodernsettingandtreatment.Mr.Hastingsis,Ihavebeentold,adirectorinoveradozenlargecorporations.Letushopethathisbusinessactivitieswillnotkeephimtoomuchawayfromthe

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    productionofliteraturefortorankasapieceofliterature,somethingofpermanentliteraryvalue,_Gideon_issurelyentitled.

    ALEXANDERJESSUP.

    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION_AlexanderJessup_

    THELITTLEFRENCHMANANDHISWATERLOTS(1839)_GeorgePopeMorris_

    THEANGELOFTHEODD(1844)_EdgarAllanPoe_

    THESCHOOLMASTER'SPROGRESS(1844)_CarolineM.S.Kirkland_

    THEWATKINSONEVENING(1846)_ElizaLeslie_

    TITBOTTOM'SSPECTACLES(1854)_GeorgeWilliamCurtis_

    MYDOUBLE;ANDHOWHEUNDIDME(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_

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    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    _TheNicePeople_,byHenryCuylerBunner,isrepublishedfromhisvolume,_ShortSixes_,bypermissionofitspublishers,CharlesScribner'sSons._TheBullerPodingtonCompact_,byFrankRichardStockton,isfromhisvolume,_AfieldandAfloat_,andisrepublishedbypermissionofCharlesScribner'sSons._ColonelStarbottleforthePlaintiff_,byBretHarte,isfromthecollectionofhisstoriesentitled_OpeningsintheOldTrail_,andisrepublishedbypermissionoftheHoughtonMifflinCompany,theauthorizedpublishersofBretHarte'scompleteworks._TheDuplicityofHargraves_,byO.Henry,isfromhisvolume,_SixesandSevens_,andisrepublishedbypermissionofitspublishers,Doubleday,Page&Co.Thesestoriesarefullyprotectedbycopyright,andshouldnotberepublishedexceptbypermissionofthepublishersmentioned.ThanksaredueMrs.GraceMacGowanCookeforpermissiontouseherstory,_ACall_,republishedherefrom_Harper'sMagazine_;WellsHastings,forpermissiontoreprinthisstory,_Gideon_,from_TheCenturyMagazine_;andGeorgeRandolphChester,forpermissiontoinclude_BargainDayatTuttHouse_,from_McClure'sMagazine_.IwouldalsothanktheheirsofthelatelamentedColonelWilliamJ.Lamptonforpermissiontousehisstory,_HowtheWidowWontheDeacon_,from_Harper'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:ThisIhaveattemptedin_RepresentativeAmericanShortStories_(Allyn&Bacon:Boston,1922).]

    [Footnote2:WillD.Howe,in_TheCambridgeHistoryofAmericanLiterature_,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

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    *****

    THELITTLEFRENCHMANANDHISWATERLOTS

    BYGEORGEPOPEMORRIS(18021864)

    [From_TheLittleFrenchmanandHisWaterLots,withOtherSketchesoftheTimes_(1839),byGeorgePopeMorris.]

    Lookintothosetheycallunfortunate,And,closerview'd,you'llfindtheyareunwise._Young._

    Letwealthcomeinbycomelythrift,Andnotbyanyfoolishshift:'TishasteMakeswaste:WhogripestoohardthedryandslipperysandHoldsnoneatall,orlittle,inhishand._Herrick_.

    Letwellalone._Proverb_.

    Howmuchrealcomforteveryonemightenjoyifhewouldbecontentedwiththelotinwhichheavenhascasthim,andhowmuchtroublewouldbeavoidedifpeoplewouldonly"letwellalone."Amoderateindependence,quietlyandhonestlyprocured,iscertainlyeverywaypreferableeventoimmensepossessionsachievedbythewearandtearofmindandbodysonecessarytoprocurethem.Yetthereareveryfewindividuals,letthembedoingeversowellintheworld,whoarenotalwaysstrainingeverynervetodobetter;andthisisoneofthemanycauseswhyfailuresinbusinesssofrequentlyoccuramongus.Thepresentgenerationseemunwillingto"realize"byslowandsuredegrees;butchooserathertosettheirwholehopesuponasinglecast,whicheithermakesormarsthemforever!

    Gentlereader,doyourememberMonsieurPoopoo?HeusedtokeepasmalltoystoreinChatham,nearthecornerofPearlStreet.Youmustrecollecthim,ofcourse.Helivedthereformanyyears,andwasoneofthemostpoliteandaccommodatingofshopkeepers.Whenajuvenile,youhaveboughttopsandmarblesofhimathousandtimes.Tobesureyouhave;andseenhisvinegarvisagelightedupwithasmileasyouflunghimthecoppers;andyouhavelaughedathislittlestraightqueueandhisdimitybreeches,andalltheotherodditiesthatmadeuptheeverydayapparelofmylittleFrenchman.Ah,Iperceiveyourecollecthimnow.

    Well,then,therelivedMonsieurPoopooeversincehecamefrom"dear,delightfulParis,"ashewaswonttocallthecityofhisnativitytherehetookinthepenniesforhiskickshawstherehelaidasidefivethousanddollarsagainstarainydaytherehewasashappyasalarkandthere,inallhumanprobability,hewouldhavebeentothisveryday,arespectedandsubstantialcitizen,hadhebeenwillingto"letwellalone."ButMonsieurPoopoohadheardstrangestoriesabouttheprodigiousriseinrealestate;and,havingunderstoodthatmostofhisneighborshadbecomesuddenlyrichbyspeculatinginlots,heinstantlygrewdissatisfiedwithhisownlot,forthwithdeterminedtoshutupshop,turneverythingintocash,andsetaboutmakingmoneyinrightdownearnest.Nosoonersaidthandone;andourquondamstorekeeperafewdaysafterwardattendedanextensivesaleofrealestate,attheMerchants'Exchange.

    Therewastheauctioneer,withhisbeautifulandinvitinglithographicmapsallthelotsassmoothandsquareandenticinglylaidoutaspossibleandtherewerethespeculatorsandthere,inthemidstof

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    them,stoodMonsieurPoopoo.

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

    "Onehundredeach,"saidabystander.

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

    MonsieurPoopooprickeduphisearsatthis,andwaslostinastonishment.ThiswasamucheasierwaycertainlyofaccumulatingrichesthansellingtoysinChathamStreet,andhedeterminedtobuyandmendhisfortunewithoutdelay.

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

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

    "_Oui,monsieur_;Iwillgiveyouvonhundreddollarapiece,fordelotviddevaluarblevatareprivalege;_c'estca_."

    "Onlyonehundredapieceforthesesixtyvaluablelotsonlyonehundredgoinggoinggoinggone!"

    MonsieurPoopoowasthefortunatepossessor.Theauctioneercongratulatedhimthesaleclosedandthecompanydispersed.

    "_Pardonnezmoi,monsieur_,"saidPoopoo,astheauctioneerdescendedhispedestal,"youshall_excusezmoi_,ifIshallgoto_votrebureau_,yourcountinghouse,verquicktomakeeverytingsurewidrespectodelotviddevaluarblevatareprivalege.Vonleetlebirdindehandhevorthtwoindetree,_c'estvrai_eh?"

    "Certainly,sir."

    "Vellden,_allons_."

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

    Poopoo'sheartwasaslightasafeather,andhesnappedhisfingersintheverywantonnessofjoyasherepairedtoDelmonico's,andorderedthefirstgoodFrenchdinnerthathadgladdenedhispalate

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    sincehisarrivalinAmerica.

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

    Ourfriend,however,wasnotalittleperplexedtofindhisproperty.Everythingonthemapwasasfairandevenaspossible,whileallthegroundsabouthimwereasundulatedastheycouldwellbeimagined,andtherewasanelbowoftheEastRiverthrustingitselfquiteintotheribsoftheland,whichseemedtohavenobusinessthere.ThispuzzledtheFrenchmanexceedingly;and,beingastrangerinthoseparts,hecalledtoafarmerinanadjacentfield.

    "_Monami_,areyouacquaintviddispartofdecountryeh?"

    "Yes,Iwasbornhere,andknoweveryinchofit."

    "Ah,_c'estbien_,datvilldo,"andtheFrenchmangotoutofthegig,tiedthehorse,andproducedhislithographicmap.

    "DenmaybeyouvillhavedekindnesstoshowmedesixtylotvichIhavebought,viddevaluarblevatareprivalege?"

    Thefarmerglancedhiseyeoverthepaper.

    "Yes,sir,withpleasure;ifyouwillbegoodenoughto_getintomyboat,Iwillrowyououttothem_!"

    "Vatdatyousay,sure?"

    "Myfriend,"saidthefarmer,"thissectionofLongIslandhasrecentlybeenboughtupbythespeculatorsofNewYork,andlaidoutforagreatcity;buttheprincipalstreetisonlyvisible_atlowtide_.WhenthispartoftheEastRiverisfilledup,itwillbejustthere.Yourlots,asyouwillperceive,arebeyondit;_andarenowallunderwater_."

    AtfirsttheFrenchmanwasincredulous.Hecouldnotbelievehissenses.Asthefacts,however,graduallybrokeuponhim,heshutoneeye,squintedobliquelyattheheavenstheriverthefarmerandthenheturnedawayandsquintedatthemalloveragain!Therewashispurchasesureenough;butthenitcouldnotbeperceivedfortherewasariverflowingoverit!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."

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    "Nowhy,what'sthematter?"

    "Oh,_beaucoup_dematter.Ihavebeentoseedegranlotvotyousellmetoday."

    "Well,sir,Ihopeyoulikeyourpurchase?"

    "No,monsieur,Inolikehim."

    "I'msorryforit;butthereisnogroundforyourcomplaint."

    "No,sare;dareisno_ground_atalldegroundisallvatare!"

    "Youjoke!"

    "Inojoke.Inevarejoke;_jen'entendspaslaraillerie_,Sare,_voulezvous_havedekindnesstogivemebackdemoneyvotIpay!"

    "Certainlynot."

    "DenvillyoubesogoodastotakedeEastRiveroffdetopofmylot?"

    "That'syourbusiness,sir,notmine."

    "DenImakevon_mauvaiseaffaire_vongranmistake!"

    "Ihopenot.Idon'tthinkyouhavethrownyourmoneyawayinthe_land_."

    "No,sare;butItroitavayinde_vatare!_"

    "That'snotmyfault."

    "Yes,sare,butitisyourfault.You'revonvergranrascaltoswindlemeoutof_del'argent_."

    "Hello,oldPoopoo,yougrowpersonal;andifyoucan'tkeepaciviltongueinyourhead,youmustgooutofmycountingroom."

    "VareshallIgoto,eh?"

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

    "But,sare,Ivillnotgotodedeviltoobligeyou!"repliedtheFrenchman,waxingwarmer."YousheatmeoutofalldedollarvotImakeinShathamStreet;butIvillnotgotodedevilforalldat.Ivishyoumaygotodedevilyourselfyoudemyankeedoodell,andIvillgoanddrownmyself,_toutdesuite_,rightavay."

    "Youcouldn'tmakeabetteruseofyourwaterprivileges,oldboy!"

    "Ah,_misericorde!_Ah,_mondieu,jesuisabime_.Iamruin!Iamdoneup!Iambreakallintotensousanleetlepieces!Iamvonlameduck,andIshallvaddleacrossdegranoceanforParis,vishisdeonlyvaluarblevatareprivalegedatisleftme_apresent!_"

    PoorPoopoowasasgoodashisword.Hesailedinthenextpacket,andarrivedinParisalmostaspennilessasthedayheleftit.

    Shouldanyonefeeldisposedtodoubttheveritablecircumstanceshererecorded,lethimcrosstheEastRivertotheWallabout,andfarmerJwill_rowhimout_totheveryplacewherethepoorFrenchman'slotsstillremain_underwater_.

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    THEANGELOFTHEODD

    [From_TheColumbianMagazine_,October,1844.]

    BYEDGARALLANPOE(18091849)

    ItwasachillyNovemberafternoon.Ihadjustconsummatedanunusuallyheartydinner,ofwhichthedyspeptic_truffe_formednottheleastimportantitem,andwassittingaloneinthediningroomwithmyfeetuponthefenderandatmyelbowasmalltablewhichIhadrolleduptothefire,anduponwhichweresomeapologiesfordessert,withsomemiscellaneousbottlesofwine,spirit,and_liqueur_.InthemorningIhadbeenreadingGlover's_Leonidas_,Wilkie's_Epigoniad_,Lamartine's_Pilgrimage_,Barlow's_Columbiad_,Tuckerman's_Sicily_,andGriswold's_Curiosities_,Iamwillingtoconfess,therefore,thatInowfeltalittlestupid.ImadeefforttoarousemyselfbyfrequentaidofLafitte,andallfailing,Ibetookmyselftoastraynewspaperindespair.Havingcarefullyperusedthecolumnof"Housestolet,"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,Iconsideredthesoundasmorenearlyresemblingthatwhichproceedsfromanemptybarrelbeatenwithabigstick;and,infact,thisIshouldhaveconcludedittobe,butforthearticulationofthesyllablesandwords.Iambynomeansnaturallynervous,andtheveryfewglassesofLafittewhichIhadsippedservedtoemboldenmealittle,sothatIfeltnothingof

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    trepidation,butmerelyupliftedmyeyeswithaleisurelymovementandlookedcarefullyaroundtheroomfortheintruder.Icouldnot,however,perceiveanyoneatall.

    "Humph!"resumedthevoiceasIcontinuedmysurvey,"youmuspesodronkasdepigdenfornotzeemeasIzithereatyourzide."

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

    "Izay,"saidhe,"youmospedronkasdepig,vorzitdareandnotzeemezitere;andIzay,doo,youmospepiggervoolasdegoose,vortodispeliefvatizprintindeprint.'Tizdetroofdatitizeberyvordobit."

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

    "AsvorowIcom'dere,"repliedthefigure,"datiznoneofyourpizziness;andasvorvatIbetalkingapout,IbetalkapoutvatItinkproper;andasvorwhoIbe,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,"itiztebessvorzitstill;andnowyoushallknowwhoIpe.Lookatme!zee!Iamte_AngelovteOdd_."

    "Andoddenough,too,"Iventuredtoreply;"butIwasalwaysundertheimpressionthatanangelhadwings."

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

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

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    "Well,den,zitstillandpehabeyourself,orI'llrapyouagainmidmevist.Itizteshickenabtewing,undteowlabtewing,undteimpabtewing,undteheadteuffelabtewing.Teangelab_not_tewing,andIamte_AngelovteOdd_."

    "Andyourbusinesswithmeatpresentisis"

    "Mypizziness!"ejaculatedthething,"vyvatalowbredpuppyyoumospevortoaskagentlemanundanangelapouthispizziness!"

    ThislanguagewasrathermorethanIcouldbear,evenfromanangel;so,pluckingupcourage,Iseizedasaltcellarwhichlaywithinreach,andhurleditattheheadoftheintruder.Eitherhedodged,however,ormyaimwasinaccurate;forallIaccomplishedwasthedemolitionofthecrystalwhichprotectedthedialoftheclockuponthemantelpiece.AsfortheAngel,heevincedhissenseofmyassaultbygivingmetwoorthreehard,consecutiverapsupontheforeheadasbefore.Thesereducedmeatoncetosubmission,andIamalmostashamedtoconfessthat,eitherthroughpainorvexation,therecameafewtearsintomyeyes.

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

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

    TheconsideratekindnessoftheAngelmollifiedmeinnolittlemeasure;and,aidedbythewaterwithwhichhedilutedmyportmorethanonce,Iatlengthregainedsufficienttempertolistentohisveryextraordinarydiscourse.Icannotpretendtorecountallthathetoldme,butIgleanedfromwhathesaidthathewasageniuswhopresidedoverthe_contretemps_ofmankind,andwhosebusinessitwastobringaboutthe_oddaccidents_whicharecontinuallyastonishingtheskeptic.Onceortwice,uponmyventuringtoexpressmytotalincredulityinrespecttohispretensions,hegrewveryangryindeed,sothatatlengthIconsidereditthewiserpolicytosaynothingatall,andlethimhavehisownway.Hetalkedon,therefore,atgreatlength,whileImerelyleanedbackinmychairwithmyeyesshut,andamusedmyselfwithmunchingraisinsandfilipingthestemsabouttheroom.But,byandby,theAngelsuddenlyconstruedthisbehaviorofmineintocontempt.Hearoseinaterriblepassion,slouchedhisfunneldownoverhiseyes,sworeavastoath,utteredathreatofsomecharacter,whichIdidnotpreciselycomprehend,andfinallymademealowbowanddeparted,wishingme,inthelanguageofthearchbishopin"GilBias,"_beaucoupdebonheuretunpeuplusdebonsens_.

    Hisdepartureaffordedmerelief.The_very_fewglassesofLafittethatIhadsippedhadtheeffectofrenderingmedrowsy,andIfeltinclinedtotakeanapofsomefifteenortwentyminutes,asismycustomafterdinner.AtsixIhadanappointmentofconsequence,whichitwasquiteindispensablethatIshouldkeep.Thepolicyofinsuranceformydwellinghousehadexpiredthedaybefore;andsomedisputehavingarisenitwasagreedthat,atsix,Ishouldmeettheboardofdirectorsofthecompanyandsettlethetermsofarenewal.Glancingupwardattheclockonthemantelpiece(forIfelttoodrowsytotakeoutmywatch),IhadthepleasuretofindthatIhadstilltwentyfiveminutestospare.Itwashalfpastfive;Icouldeasilywalktotheinsuranceofficeinfiveminutes;andmyusualsiestashadneverbeenknowntoexceedfiveandtwenty.Ifeltsufficientlysafe,therefore,andcomposedmyselftomyslumbersforthwith.

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    Havingcompletedthemtomysatisfaction,Iagainlookedtowardthetimepiece,andwashalfinclinedtobelieveinthepossibilityofoddaccidentswhenIfoundthat,insteadofmyordinaryfifteenortwentyminutes,Ihadbeendozingonlythree;foritstillwantedsevenandtwentyoftheappointedhour.Ibetookmyselfagaintomynap,andatlengthasecondtimeawoke,when,tomyutteramazement,itstillwantedtwentysevenminutesofsix.Ijumpeduptoexaminetheclock,andfoundthatithadceasedrunning.Mywatchinformedmethatitwashalfpastseven;and,ofcourse,havingslepttwohours,Iwastoolateformyappointment."Itwillmakenodifference,"Isaid:"Icancallattheofficeinthemorningandapologize;inthemeantimewhatcanbethematterwiththeclock?"UponexaminingitIdiscoveredthatoneoftheraisinstemswhichIhadbeenfilipingabouttheroomduringthediscourseoftheAngeloftheOddhadflownthroughthefracturedcrystal,andlodging,singularlyenough,inthekeyhole,withanendprojectingoutward,hadthusarrestedtherevolutionoftheminutehand.

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

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

    MydreamswereterrificallydisturbedbyvisionsoftheAngeloftheOdd.Methoughthestoodatthefootofthecouch,drewasidethecurtains,andinthehollow,detestabletonesofarumpuncheon,menacedmewiththebitterestvengeanceforthecontemptwithwhichIhadtreatedhim.Heconcludedalongharanguebytakingoffhisfunnelcap,insertingthetubeintomygullet,andthusdelugingmewithanoceanofKirschenwaesser,whichhepouredinacontinuousflood,fromoneofthelongneckedbottlesthatstoodhiminsteadofanarm.Myagonywasatlengthinsufferable,andIawokejustintimetoperceivethatarathadrunoffwiththelightedcandlefromthestand,but_not_inseasontopreventhismakinghisescapewithitthroughthehole,Verysoonastrong,suffocatingodorassailedmynostrils;thehouse,Iclearlyperceived,wasonfire.Inafewminutestheblazebrokeforthwithviolence,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,wigless;sheindisdainandwrath,halfburiedinalienhair.Thusendedmyhopesofthewidow

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    byanaccidentwhichcouldnothavebeenanticipated,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),Ithrewmyselfheadlongintothecurrent;thesolewitnessofmyfatebeingasolitarycrowthathadbeenseducedintotheeatingofbrandysaturatedcorn,andsohadstaggeredawayfromhisfellows.NosoonerhadIenteredthewaterthanthisbirdtookitintohisheadtoflyawaywiththemostindispensableportionofmyapparel.Postponing,therefore,forthepresent,mysuicidaldesign,Ijustslippedmynetherextremitiesintothesleevesofmycoat,andbetookmyselftoapursuitofthefelonwithallthenimblenesswhichthecaserequiredanditscircumstanceswouldadmit.Butmyevildestinyattendedmestill.AsIranatfullspeed,withmynoseupintheatmosphere,andintentonlyuponthepurloinerofmyproperty,Isuddenlyperceivedthatmyfeetrestednolongerupon_terrafirma_;thefactis,Ihadthrownmyselfoveraprecipice,andshouldinevitablyhavebeendashedtopiecesbutformygoodfortuneingraspingtheendofalongguiderope,whichdependedfromapassingballoon.

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

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

    "Whopeyou,"heasked,"undwhatderteuffelyoupedodare?"

    Tothispieceofimpudence,cruelty,andaffectation,Icouldreplyonlybyejaculatingthemonosyllable"Help!"

    "Elp!"echoedtheruffian,"notI.Dareiztepottleelpyourself,

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    undpetam'd!"

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

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

    Imadehaste,hereupon,tonodmyheadtwiceonceinthenegative,meaningtherebythatIwouldprefernottakingtheotherbottleatpresent;andonceintheaffirmative,intendingthustoimplythatI_was_soberand_had_positivelycometomysenses.BythesemeansIsomewhatsoftenedtheAngel.

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

    Iagainnoddedmyheadinassent.

    "Undyouavepeliefin_me_,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,andamidthefragmentsofamiscellaneousdessert,intermingledwithanewspaper,somebrokenglassesandshatteredbottles,andanemptyjugoftheSchiedamKirschenwaesser.ThusrevengedhimselftheAngeloftheOdd.

    THESCHOOLMASTER'SPROGRESS

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    ByCarolineM.S.Kirkland(18011864)

    [From_TheGift_for1845,publishedlatein1844.Republishedinthevolume,_WesternClearings_(1845),byCarolineM.S.Kirkland.]

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

    Trulyhehadagravetimethatfirstwinter.Therodofpowerwasnewtohim,andhefeltithis"duty"touseitmorefrequentlythanmighthavebeenthoughtnecessarybythoseuponwhosesensetheprivilegehadpalled.Tearsandsulkyfaces,andimpotentfistsdoubledfiercelywhenhisbackwasturned,weretherewardsofhisconscientiousness;andtheboysandgirlstooweregladwhenworkingtimecameroundagain,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.Brainshe_may_haveastrongarmhe_must_have:soheprovesthemoreimportantclaimfirst.WemustthereforemakealldueallowanceforMasterHorner,whocouldnotbeexpectedtoovertophispositionsofarastodiscernatoncethephilosophyofteaching.

    Hewassadlybrowbeatenduringhisfirsttermofservicebyagreatbroadshoulderedloutofsomeeighteenyearsorso,whothoughtheneededalittlemore"schooling,"butatthesametimefeltquitecompetenttodirectthemannerandmeasureofhisattempts.

    "You'doughttobeginwithlargehand,Joshuay,"saidMasterHornertothisyouth.

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    "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,butforgetstoprovideforthecompetencyoftheexaminers;sothatfewbetterfarcesofferthanthecourseofquestionandanswerontheseoccasions.WeknownotpreciselywhatwereMasterHorner'strials;butwehaveheardofasharpdisputebetweentheinspectorswhetherangelspelt_angle_or_angel_._Angle_hadit,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,andlesserloutsofcourseobsequious;thoughthegirlstookmoreliberties,fortheyfeelevenatthatearlyage,thatinfluenceisstrongerthanstrength.

    Couldayoungschoolmasterthinkofferulingagirlwithherhairinringletsandagoldringonherfinger?Impossibleandtheimmunityextendedtoallthelittlesistersandcousins;andtherewereenoughlargegirlstoprotectallthefemininepartoftheschool.WiththeboysMasterHornerstillhadmanyabattle,andwhetherwithaviewtothis,orasaneconomicalruse,heneverworehiscoatinschool,sayingitwastoowarm.Perhapsitwasanastuteattentiontotheprejudicesofhisemployers,wholovenomanthatdoesnotearnhis

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    livingbythesweatofhisbrow.Theshirtsleevesgavetheideaofamanuallaborschoolinonesenseatleast.Itwasevidentthatthemasterworked,andthataffordedaprobabilitythatthescholarsworkedtoo.

    MasterHorner'ssuccesswasmosttriumphantthatwinter.Ayear'sgrowthhadimprovedhisoutwardmanexceedingly,fillingoutthelimbssothattheydidnotremindyousoforciblyofayoungcolt's,andsupplyingthecheekswiththefleshandbloodsonecessarywheremustacheswerenotworn.Experiencehadgivenhimadegreeofconfidence,andconfidencegavehimpower.Inshort,peoplesaidthemasterhadwakedup;andsohehad.Heactuallysetaboutreadingforimprovement;andalthoughattheendofthetermhecouldnotquitemakeoutfromhishistoricalstudieswhichsideHannibalwason,yetthisisreadilyexplainedbythefactthatheboardedround,andwasobligedtoreadgenerallybyfirelight,surroundedbyungovernedchildren.

    Afterthis,MasterHornermadehisownbargain.Whenschooltimecameroundwiththefollowingautumn,andtheteacherpresentedhimselfforathirdexamination,suchatestwaspronouncednolongernecessary;andthedistrictconsentedtoengagehimattheastoundingrateofsixteendollarsamonth,withtheunderstandingthathewastohaveafixedhome,providedhewaswillingtoallowadollaraweekforit.MasterHornerbethoughthimofthesuccessive"killingtimes,"andconsequentdoughnutsofthetwentyfamiliesinwhichhehadsojournedtheyearsbefore,andconsentedtotheexaction.

    Beholdourfriendnowashighasdistrictteachercaneverhopetobehisscholarshipestablished,hishomestationaryandnotrevolving,andthegoodbehaviorofthecommunityinsuredbythefactthathe,beingofage,hadnowafarmtoretireuponincaseofanydisgust.

    MasterHornerwasatoncethepreeminentbeauoftheneighborhood,spiteoftheprejudiceagainstlearning.Hebrushedhishairstraightupinfront,andworeaskyblueribbonforaguardtohissilverwatch,andwalkedasifthetallheelsofhisbluntbootswereeggshellsandnotleather.Yethewasfarfromneglectingthedutiesofhisplace.HewasbeauonlyonSundaysandholidays;veryschoolmastertherestofthetime.

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

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

    ThatgreatmedicinehathWithitstinctgilded

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    manyavulgarismtothesatisfactionofwiserheadsthanours.

    MissBangle'smannerbespokeforherthathighconsiderationwhichshefelttobeherdue.Yetshecondescendedtobeamusedbytherusticsandtheirawkwardattemptsatgaietyandelegance;and,tosaytruth,fewofthevillagemerrymakingsescapedher,thoughsheworealwaystheairofgreatsuperiority.

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

    Theexcitementofthissceneisequaltothataffordedbyanycityspectaclewhatever;andtowardsthecloseoftheevening,whendifficultandunusualwordsarechosentoconfoundthesmallnumberwhostillkeepthefloor,itbecomesscarcelylessthanpainful.Whenperhapsonlyoneortworemaintobepuzzled,themaster,wearyatlastofhistask,thoughafavoriteone,triesbytrickstoputdownthosewhomhecannotovercomeinfairfight.Ifamongallthecurious,useless,unheardofwordswhichmaybepickedoutofthespellingbook,hecannotfindonewhichthescholarshavenotnoticed,hegetsthelastheaddownbysomequiporcatch."Bay"willperhapsbethesound;onescholarspellsit"bey,"another,"bay,"whilethemasterallthetimemeans"ba,"whichcomeswithintherule,being_inthespellingbook_.

    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,thatMissBanglebeganto

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    lookuponhimwithrathermorerespect,andtofeelsomewhatindignantthatalittlerusticlikeEllenshouldabsorbtheentireattentionoftheonlybeau.Sheputon,therefore,hermostgraciousaspect,andmingledinthecircle;causedtheschoolmastertobepresentedtoher,anddidherbesttofascinatehimbycertainairsandgraceswhichshehadfoundsuccessfulelsewhere.Whatgameistoosmallfortheclosewovennetofacoquette?

    Mr.HornerquittednotthefairEllenuntilhehadhandedherintoherfather'ssleigh;andhethenwendedhiswayhomewards,neverthinkingthatheoughttohaveescortedMissBangletoheruncle's,thoughshecertainlywaitedalittlewhileforhisreturn.

    Wemustnotfollowintoparticularsthesubsequentintercourseofourschoolmasterwiththecivilizedyounglady.AllthatconcernsusistheresultofMissBangle'sbenevolentdesignsuponhisheart.Shetriedmostsincerelytofinditsvulnerablespot,meaningnodoubttoputMr.Homeronhisguardforthefuture;andshewasunfeignedlysurprisedtodiscoverthatherbesteffortswereofnoavail.Sheconcludedhemusthavetakenacounterpoison,andshewasnotslowinguessingitssource.ShehadobservedthepeculiarfirewhichlighteduphiseyesinthepresenceofEllenKingsbury,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,andEllenKingsburymadeoneofthemerrycompany;butthelatestletterhadnotforgottentocautionMr.Hornernottobetraytheintimacy;sothathewasinhonorboundtorestricthimselftothelanguageoftheeyeshardasitwastoforbearthesinglewhisperforwhichhewouldhavegivenhisverydictionary.So,theirmeetingpassedoffwithouttheexplanationwhichMissBanglebegantofearwouldcutshortherbenevolentamusement.

    Thecorrespondencewasresumedwithrenewedspirit,andcarriedonuntilMissBangle,thoughnotoverburdenedwithsensitiveness,begantobealittlealarmedfortheconsequencesofhermaliciouspleasantry.Sheperceivedthatsheherselfhadturnedschoolmistress,andthatMasterHorner,insteadofbeingmerelyherdupe,hadbecomeherpupiltoo;forthestyleofhisreplieshadbeenconstantly

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    improvingandtheearnestandmanlytonewhichheassumedpromisedanythingbutthequiet,sheepishpocketingofinjuryandinsult,uponwhichshehadcounted.Intruth,therewassomethingdeeperthanvanityinthefeelingswithwhichheregardedEllenKingsbury.Theencouragementwhichhesupposedhimselftohavereceived,threwdownthebarrierwhichhisextremebashfulnesswouldhaveinterposedbetweenhimselfandanyonewhopossessedcharmsenoughtoattracthim;andwemustexcusehimif,insuchacase,hedidnotcriticisethemodeofencouragement,butrathergraspedeagerlytheprofferedgoodwithoutascruple,oronewhichhewouldowntohimself,astotheproprietywithwhichitwastendered.Hewasasmuchinloveasamancanbe,andtheseriousnessofrealattachmentgavebothgraceanddignitytohisonceawkwarddiction.

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

    Thisisanaffairoftoomuchmagnitudetobefullydescribedinthesmallspaceyetremaininginwhichtobringoutourveracioushistory.Itmustbe"slubber'do'erinhaste"itsimportantpreliminarieslefttothecoldimaginationofthereaderitsfinespiritperhapsevaporatingforwantofbeingembodiedinwords.Wecanonlysaythatourmaster,whoseschoollifewastoclosewiththeterm,laboredasmanneverbeforelaboredinsuchacause,resolutetotrailacloudofgloryafterhimwhenheleftus.Notacandlesticknoracurtainthatwasattainable,eitherbycoaxingorbribery,wasleftinthevillage;eventheonlypiano,thatfrailtreasure,waswiledawayandplacedinonecornerofthericketystage.Themostsplendidofallthepiecesinthe_ColumbianOrator_,the_AmericanSpeaker_,thebutwemustnotenumerateinaword,themostastoundingandpatheticspecimensofeloquencewithinkenofeitherteacherorscholars,hadbeenselectedfortheoccasion;andseveralyoungladiesandgentlemen,whoseacademicalcoursehadbeenhappilyconcludedatanearlierperiod,eitheratourowninstitutionoratsomeother,hadconsentedtolendthemselvestotheparts,andtheirchoicestdecorationsfortheproperties,ofthedramaticportionoftheentertainment.

    AmongtheselastwasprettyEllenKingsbury,whohadagreedtopersonatetheQueenofScots,inthegardenscenefromSchiller'stragedyof_MaryStuart_;andthiscircumstanceaccidentallyaffordedMasterHornertheopportunityhehadsolongdesired,ofseeinghisfascinatingcorrespondentwithoutthepresenceofpeeringeyes.Adressrehearsaloccupiedtheafternoonbeforethedayofdays,andthepatheticexpostulationsofthelovelyMary

    MinealldothhangmylifemydestinyUponmywordsupontheforceoftears!

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

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

    Agameatcrosspurposesensued;exclamationsandexplanations,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,whoscarcelyrecollectedtheaccident;whiletoEllentheissueofthisunfortunatedrivewasasleeplessnightandsohighafeverinthemorningthatourvillagedoctorwascalledtoMr.Kingsbury'sbeforebreakfast.

    PoorMasterHorner'sdistressmayhardlybeimagined.Disappointed,bewildered,cuttothequick,yetasmuchinloveasever,hecouldonlyinbittersilenceturnoverinhisthoughtstheissueofhischerisheddream;nowpersuadinghimselfthatEllen'sdenialwastheeffectofasuddenbashfulness,nowinveighingagainsttheficklenessofthesex,asallmendowhentheyareangrywithanyonewomaninparticular.Buthisexhibitionmustgooninspiteofwretchedness;andhewentaboutmechanically,talkingofcurtainsandcandles,andmusic,andattitudes,andpauses,andemphasis,lookinglikeasomnambulistwhose"eyesareopenbuttheirsenseisshut,"andoftensurprisingthoseconcernedbytheutterunfitnessofhisanswers.

    ItwasalmosteveningwhenMr.Kingsbury,havingdiscovered,throughtheinterventionoftheDoctorandAuntSallythecauseofEllen'sdistress,madehisappearancebeforetheunhappyeyesofMasterHorner,angry,solemnanddetermined;takingtheschoolmasterapart,andrequiring,anexplanationofhistreatmentofhisdaughter.Invaindidtheperplexedloveraskfortimetoclearhimself,declarehisrespectforMissEllenandhiswillingnesstogiveeveryexplanationwhichshemightrequire;thefatherwasnottobeputoff;andthoughexcessivelyreluctant,Mr.HornerhadnoresourcebuttoshowtheletterswhichalonecouldaccountforhisstrangediscoursetoEllen.Heunlockedhisdesk,slowlyandunwillingly,whiletheoldman'simpatiencewassuchthathecouldscarcelyforbearthrustinginhisownhandtosnatchatthepaperswhichweretoexplainthisvexatiousmystery.WhatcouldequaltheutterconfusionofMasterHornerandthecontemptuousangerofthefather,whennolettersweretobefound!Mr.Kingsburywastoopassionatetolistentoreason,ortoreflectforonemomentupontheirreproachablegoodnameoftheschoolmaster.Hewentawayininexorablewrath;threateningevery

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    practicablevisitationofpublicandprivatejusticeupontheheadoftheoffender,whomheaccusedofhavingattemptedtotrickhisdaughterintoanentanglementwhichshouldresultinhisfavor.

    Adolefulexhibitionwasthislastoneofourthriceapprovedandmostworthyteacher!Sternnecessityandthepowerofhabitenabledhimtogothroughwithmostofhispart,butwherewastheproudfirewhichhadlighteduphiseyeonsimilaroccasionsbefore?HesatasoneofthreejudgesbeforewhomtheunfortunateRobertEmmetwasdraggedinhisshirtsleeves,bytwofiercelookingofficials;butthechiefjudgelookedfarmorelikeacriminalthandidtheproperrepresentative.HeoughttohavepersonatedOthello,butwasobligedtoexcusehimselffromravingfor"thehandkerchief!thehandkerchief!"ontheratheranomalouspleaofabadcold._MaryStuart_being"i'thebond,"wasanxiouslyexpectedbytheimpatientcrowd,anditwaswithdistressamountingtoagonythatthemasterwasobligedtoannounce,inperson,thenecessityofomittingthatpartoftherepresentation,onaccountoftheillnessofoneoftheyoungladies.

    Scarcelyhadthewordsbeenuttered,andthespeakerhiddenhisburningfacebehindthecurtain,whenMr.Kingsburystartedupinhisplaceamidthethrong,togiveapublicrecitalofhisgrievancenouncommonresortinthenewcountry.Hedashedatoncetothepoint;andbeforesomefriendswhosawtheutterimproprietyofhisproceedingcouldpersuadehimtodeferhisvengeance,hehadlaidbeforetheassemblysomethreehundredpeople,perhapshisownstatementofthecase.Hewasgotoutatlast,halfcoaxed,halfhustled;andthegentlepubliconlyhalfunderstandingwhathadbeensetforththusunexpectedly,madequiteaprettyrowofit.Someclamoredloudlyfortheconclusionoftheexercises;othersgaveutterancesinnoparticularlychoicetermstoavarietyofopinionsastotheschoolmaster'sproceedings,varyingthenoteoccasionallybyshouting,"Theletters!theletters!whydon'tyoubringouttheletters?"

    Atlength,bymeansofmuchrappingonthedeskbythepresidentoftheevening,whowasfortunatelya"popular"character,orderwaspartiallyrestored;andthefavoritescenefromMissMore'sdialogueofDavidandGoliathwasannouncedastheclosingpiece.ThesightoflittleDavidinawhitetunicedgedwithredtape,withacalicoscripandaveryprimitivelookingsling;andahugeGoliathdecoratedwithamilitiabeltandsword,andaspearlikeaweaver'sbeamindeed,enchainedeverybody'sattention.Eventhepeccantschoolmasterandhispretendedletterswereforgotten,whilethesapientGoliath,everytimethatheraisedthespear,intheenergyofhisdeclamation,tothumpuponthestage,pickedawayfragmentsofthelowceiling,whichfellconspicuouslyonhisgreatshockofblackhair.Atlast,withthecrowningthreat,upwentthespearforanastoundingthump,anddowncamealargepieceoftheceiling,andwithitashowerofletters.

    Theconfusionthatensuedbeggarsalldescription.Ageneralscrambletookplace,andinanothermomenttwentypairsofeyes,atleast,werefeastingonthechoicephraseslavisheduponMr.Horner.MissBanglehadsatthroughthewholepreviousscene,tremblingforherself,althoughshehad,asshesupposed,guardedcunninglyagainstexposure.ShehadneedednoprophettotellherwhatmustbetheresultofateteatetebetweenMr.HornerandEllen;andthemomentshesawthemdriveofftogether,sheinducedherimptoseizetheopportunityofabstractingthewholeparceloflettersfromMr.Horner'sdesk;whichhedidbymeansofasortofskillwhichcomesbynaturetosuchgoblins;pickingthelockbytheaidofacrookednail,asneatlyasifhehadbeenbornwithintheshadowoftheTombs.

    Butmagicianssometimessufferseverelyfromthemalicewithwhich

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    theyhavethemselvesinspiredtheirfamiliars.JoeEngleharthavingbeenaconvenienttoolthusfarthoughtitquitetimetotormentMissBanglealittle;so,havingstolenthelettersatherbidding,hehidthemonhisownaccount,andnopersuasionsofherscouldinducehimtorevealthisimportantsecret,whichhechosetoreserveasarodincasesherefusedhimsomeintercessionwithhisfather,orsomeotheraccommodation,renderednecessarybyhismischievoushabits.

    Hehadconcealedthepreciousparcelsintheunflooredloftabovetheschoolroom,aplaceaccessibleonlybymeansofasmalltrapdoorwithoutstaircaseorladder;andherehemeanttohavekeptthemwhileitsuitedhispurposes,butfortheuntimelyintrusionoftheweaver'sbeam.

    MissBanglehadsatthroughall,aswehavesaid,thinkingtheletterssafe,yetvowingvengeanceagainstherconfederatefornotallowinghertosecurethembyasatisfactoryconflagration;anditwasnotuntilsheheardherownnamewhisperedthroughthecrowd,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,madeallthereparationinhispowerforhisharshandillconsideredattackuponthemaster;andwebelievethatfunctionarydidnotshowanytraitsofimplacabilityofcharacter.Atleasthewasseen,notmanydaysafter,sittingpeaceablyatteawithMr.Kingsbury,AuntSally,andMissEllen;andhehassincegonehometobuildahouseuponhisfarm.Andpeople_do_say,thatafterafewmonthsmore,EllenwillnotneedMissBangle'sinterventionifsheshouldseefittocorrespondwiththeschoolmaster.

    THEWATKINSONEVENING

    [From_Godey'sLady'sBook_,December,1846.]

    ByElizaLeslie(17871858)

    Mrs.Morland,apolishedandaccomplishedwoman,wasthewidowofadistinguishedsenatorfromoneofthewesternstates,ofwhich,also,herhusbandhadtwicefilledtheofficeofgovernor.HerdaughterhavingcompletedhereducationatthebestboardingschoolinPhiladelphia,andhersonbeingabouttograduateatPrinceton,themotherhadplannedwithherchildrenatourtoNiagaraandthelakes,returningbywayofBoston.OnleavingPhiladelphia,Mrs.Morlandand

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    thedelightedCarolinestoppedatPrincetontobepresentattheannualcommencement,andhadthehappinessofseeingtheirbelovedEdwardreceivehisdiplomaasbachelorofarts;afterhearinghimdeliver,withgreatapplause,anorationonthebeautiesoftheAmericancharacter.Collegeyouthsareverypronetotreatonsubjectsthatimplygreatexperienceoftheworld.ButEdwardMorlandwasfullofkindfeelingforeverythingandeverybody;andhisviewsoflifehadhithertobeentintedwithaperpetualrosecolor.

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

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

    Heretheywerealsounsuccessful;theservantwhocametothedoortellingthemthattheladieswereparticularlyengagedandcouldseenocompany.Sotheylefttheirsecondletterandcardanddroveoff,continuingtheirridetilltheyreachedtheCrotonwaterworks,whichtheyquittedthecarriagetoseeandadmire.Onreturningtothehotel,withtheintentionafteranhourortwoofresttogooutagain,andwalktillneardinnertime,theyfoundwaitingthemanotefromMrs.Watkinson,expressingherregretthatshehadnotbeenabletoseethemwhentheycalled;andexplainingthatherfamilydutiesalwaysobligedhertodenyherselfthepleasureofreceivingmorningvisitors,andthatherservantshadgeneralorderstothateffect.Butsherequestedtheircompanyforthatevening(namingnineo'clockasthehour),andparticularlydesiredanimmediateanswer.

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

    Theyoungpeopleassented,sayingtheyhadnodoubtofpassingapleasantevening.

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

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

    "No"saidEdward"theycalledmeaprig."Justthenaremarkablyhandsomecarriagedroveuptotheprivatedoorofthehotel.Fromitalightedaveryelegantwoman,whoinafewmomentswasusheredintothedrawingroombytheheadwaiter,andonhisdesignatingMrs.Morland'sfamily,sheadvancedandgracefullyannouncedherselfasMrs.St.Leonard.Thiswastheladyatwhosehousetheyhadleftthefirstletterofintroduction.Sheexpressedregretatnothavingbeenathomewhentheycalled;butsaidthatonfindingtheirletter,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.Whatavexatious_contretemps_thatIshouldhavechancedtobeoutwhenyoucalled;thusmissingthepleasureofseeingyouatonce,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."

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

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

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

    AfteralittlemoreconversationMrs.St.Leonardtookherleave,repeatingherhopeofstillseeinghernewfriendsatherhousethatnight;andenjoiningthemtoletherknowassoonastheyreturnedtoNewYorkontheirwayhome.

    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."

    Themanreportedthathe_had_foundthehouse,andhaddeliveredthenoteintoMrs.Watkinson'sownhands,asshechancedtobecrossingtheentrywhenthedoorwasopened;andthatshereaditimmediately,andsaid"Verywell."

    "Areyoucertainthatyoumadenomistakeinthehouse,"saidEdward,"andthatyoureally_did_giveittoMrs.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,andIfoundfromwhattheysaidthatsheisamongthe_elite_ofthe_lite_."

    "Evenifsheis,"observedMrs.Morland,"arepolishofmannersand

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    cultivationofmindconfinedexclusivelytopersonsofthatclass?"

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

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

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

    Shethenproceededtonameagallantgeneral,withhiselegantwifeandaccomplisheddaughter;acelebratedcommanderinthenavy;twohighlydistinguishedmembersofCongress,andevenanexpresident.AlsoseveralofthemosteminentamongtheAmericanliterati,andtwofirstrateartists.

    EdwardMorlandfeltasifhecouldsay,"HadIthreeearsI'dhearthee."

    "SuchawomanasMrs.St.Leonardcanalwayscommandthebestlionsthataretobefound,"observedanotherlady.

    "Andthen,"saidathird,"Ihavebeentoldthatshehassuchexquisitetasteinlightingandembellishingheralwayselegantrooms.Andhersuppertable,whetherforsummerorwinterparties,issobeautifullyarranged;alltheviandsaresodelicious,andtheattendanceoftheservantssoperfectandMrs.St.Leonarddoesthehonorswithsomucheaseandtact."

    "Somefriendsofminethatvisither,"saidafourthlady,"describeherpartiesasabsoluteperfection.Shealwaysmanagestobringtogetherthosepersonsthatarebestfittedtoenjoyeachother'sconversation.Stillnooneisoverlookedorneglected.Theneverythingatherreunionsissowellproportionedshehasjustenoughofmusic,andjustenoughofwhateveramusementmayaddtothepleasureofherguests;andstillthereisnoappearanceofdesignormanagementonherpart."

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

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

    "Forshame,Caroline,"saidherbrother,"howcanyoutalksoofpersonsyouhaveneverseen,andtowhomyououghttofeelgratefulforthekindnessoftheirinvitation;evenifithasinterferedwithanotherparty,thatImustconfessseemstoofferunusualattractions.NowIhaveapresentimentthatweshallfindtheWatkinsonpartoftheeveningveryenjoyable."

    Assoonasteawasover,Mrs.Morlandandherdaughterrepairedtotheirtoilettes.Fortunately,fashionaswellasgoodtaste,hasdecidedthat,atasummerparty,thecostumeoftheladiesshouldnevergobeyondanelegantsimplicity.ThereforeourtwoladiesinpreparingfortheirintendedappearanceatMrs.St.Leonard's,wereenabledtoattirethemselvesinamannerthatwouldnotseemoutof

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    placeinthesmallercompanytheyexpectedtomeetattheWatkinsons.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."

    "_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,foritisnotourwaytohavecompanyinhisabsence;butmydaughterJaneoverpersuadedmetosendforyou."

    "Whatapity,"thoughtCaroline.

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

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    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.Itiswellshehasnochildren;they'dbelostsheepifbroughtupinherfold.Formypart,ma'am,"shecontinued,turningtoMrs.Morland,"Iamquitesatisfiedwiththequietjoysofahappyhome.Andnomotherhastheleastbusinesswithanyotherpleasures.Myinnocentbabesknownothingaboutplays,andballs,andparties;andtheynevershall.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.

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    "Theyarenowengagedattheirgameofastronomy,"continuedMrs.Watkinson."Theyhavealsoasortofgeographycards,andasetofmathematicalcards.Itisablesseddiscovery,theinventionoftheseeducationarygames;sothateventheplaytimeofchildrencanbeturnedtoaccount.Andyouhavenoidea,ma'am,howtheyenjoythem."

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

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

    "Youcouldnotseeme,"answeredJoseph,"forIhavenot_done_anythingverywrong.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."

    "Soyoudo,"saidJoseph,"butawhippingwillcuremebetter."

    "Icannotresolvetopunishsoconscientiousachild,"saidMrs.Watkinson.

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

    Josephturnedroundandmadeafaceathim.

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

    Theboythoughtitmostprudenttostrideoffandreturntothetable,andensconcehimselfamonghisbrothersandsisters;someofwhomwerestaringwithstupidsurprise;otherswerewhisperingandgigglinginthehopeofseeingJosephgetarealflogging.

    Mrs.WatkinsonhavingbestowedabitterlookonEdward,hastenedtoturntheattentionofhismothertosomethingelse."Mrs.Morland,"saidshe,"allowmetointroduceyoutomyyoungesthope."Shepointedtoasleepyboyaboutfiveyearsold,whowithheadthrownbackand

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    mouthwideopen,wasslumberinginhischair.

    Mrs.Watkinson'schildrenwereofthatuncomfortablespecieswhonevergotobed;atleastneverwithoutallmannerofresistance.Allherboastedauthoritywasinadequatetocompelthem;theyneverwouldconfessthemselvessleepy;alwayswantedto"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.'"

    Thelittleboylookedverymuchasiftheywere_not_,andasifmeditatinganoutbreak.

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

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

    "Onlyseehisobstinacy,"saidthesolemnJoseph."Andishetobegivenupto?"

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

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

    Mrs.Morlandnowinterfered,andbeggedthatthesleepylittleboymightbeexcused;onwhichhescreamedoutthat"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."

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    Hester(unlikeherlittlebrotherthatwouldnotspeakaspeech)steppedboldlyforward,andaddressedCarolineMorlandwith:"_ParlezvousFrancais,mademoiselle?Commentsevamadamevotremere?Aimezvouslamusique?Aimezvousladanse?Bonjourbonsoirbonrepos.Comprenezvous?_"

    Tothistirade,utteredwithgreatvolubility,MissMorlandmadenootherreplythan,"_Ouijecomprens._"

    "Verywell,Hesterverywellindeed,"saidMrs.Watkinson."Yousee,ma'am,"turningtoMrs.Morland,"howveryfluentsheisinFrench;andshehasonlybeenlearningelevenquarters."

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

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

    JaneWatkinsonsatdowntothepianoandcommencedapowerfulpieceofsixmortalpages,whichsheplayedoutoftimeandoutoftune;butwithtremendousforceofhands;notwithstandingwhich,ithad,however,thegoodeffectofputtingmostofthechildrentosleep.

    TotheMorlandstheeveninghadseemedalreadyfivehourslong.StillitwasonlyhalfpasttenwhenJanewasinthemidstofherpiece.TheguestshadalltacitlydeterminedthatitwouldbebestnottoletMrs.WatkinsonknowtheirintentiontogodirectlyfromherhousetoMrs.St.Leonard'sparty;andthearrivaloftheircarriagewouldhavebeenthesignalofdeparture,evenifJane'spiecehadnotreacheditstermination.Theystoleglancesattheclockonthemantel.Itwantedbutaquarterofeleven,whenJanerosefromthepiano,andwascongratulatedbyhermotherontheexcellenceofhermusic.Stillnocarriagewasheardtostop;nodoorbellwasheardtoring.Mrs.Morlandexpressedherfearsthatthecoachmanhadforgottentocomeforthem.

    "Hashebeenpaidforbringingyouhere?"askedMrs.Watkinson.

    "Ipaidhimwhenwecametothedoor,"saidEdward."Ithoughtperhapshemightwantthemoneyforsomepurposebeforehecameforus."

    "Thatwasverykindinyou,sir,"saidMrs.Watkinson,"butnotverywise.There'snodependenceonanycoachman;andperhapsashemaybesureofbusinessenoughthisrainynighthemaynevercomeatallbeingalreadypaidforbringingyouhere."

    Now,thetruthwasthatthecoachman_had_comeattheappointedtime,butthenoiseofJane'spianohadpreventedhisarrivalbeingheardinthebackparlor.TheIrishgirlhadgonetothedoorwhenherangthebell,andrecognizedinhimwhatshecalled"anouldfriend."Justthenaladyandgentlemanwhohadbeencaughtintheraincamerunningalong,andseeingacarriagedrawingupatadoor,thegentlemaninquiredofthedriverifhecouldnottakethemtoRutgersPlace.The

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    driverrepliedthathehadjustcomefortwoladiesandagentlemanwhomhehadbroughtfromtheAstorHouse.

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

    "Exactlyso,"saidthegentleman;andregardlessoftheproprietyoffirstsendingtoconsultthepersonswhohadengagedthecarriage,hetoldhiswifetostepin,andfollowingherinstantlyhimself,theydroveawaytoRutgersPlace.

    Reader,ifyouwereeverdetainedinastrangehousebythenonarrivalofyourcarriage,youwilleasilyunderstandtheexcessiveannoyanceoffindingthatyouarekeepingafamilyoutoftheirbedsbeyondtheirusualhour.Andinthiscase,therewasadoublegrievance;theguestsbeingallimpatiencetogetofftoabetterplace.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.Theygladlytooktheirleave;Mrs.Watkinsonrousingherselftohopetheyhadspentapleasantevening,andthattheywouldcomeandpassanotherwithherontheirreturntoNewYork.Insuchcaseshowdifficultitistoreplyevenwithwhatarecalled"wordsofcourse."

    Akitchenlampwasbroughttolightthemtothedoor,theentrylamphavinglongsincebeenextinguished.Fortunatelytherainhadceased;thestarsbegantoreappear,andtheMorlands,whentheyfoundthemselvesinthecarriageandontheirwaytoMrs.St.Leonard's,feltasiftheycouldbreatheagain.Asmaybesupposed,theyfreelydiscussedtheannoyancesoftheevening;butnowthosetroubleswereovertheyfeltratherinclinedtobemerryaboutthem.

    "Dearmother,"saidEdward,"howIpitiedyouforhavingtoendureMrs.Watkinson'sperpetual'ma'aming'and'ma'aming';forIknowyoudisliketheword."

    "Iwish,"saidCaroline,"Iwasnotsopronetobetakenwithridiculousrecollections.ButreallytonightIcouldnotgetthatold

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    foolishchild'splayoutofmyhead

    HerecomethreeknightsoutofSpainAcourtingofyourdaughterJane."

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

    TheydrovetoMrs.St.Leonard's,hopingtobeyetintimetopasshalfanhourthere;thoughitwasnowneartwelveo'clockandsummerpartiesnevercontinuetoaverylatehour.Butastheycameintothestreetinwhichshelivedtheyweremetbyanumberofcoachesontheirwayhome,andonreachingthedoorofherbrilliantlylightedmansion,theysawthelastoftheguestsdrivingoffinthelastofthecarriages,andseveralmusicianscomingdownthestepswiththeirinstrumentsintheirhands.

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

    "Soitis,"saidEdward;"butrememberthattomorrowmorningwesetoffforNiagara."

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

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

    TITBOTTOM'SSPECTACLES

    BYGEORGEWILLIAMCURTIS(18241892)

    [From_Putnam'sMonthly_,December,1854.Republishedinthevolume,_PrueandI_(1856),byGeorgeWilliamCurtis(Harper&Brothers).]

    Inmymind'seye,Horatio.

    PrueandIdonotentertainmuch;ourmeansforbidit.Intruth,otherpeopleentertainforus.Weenjoythathospitalityofwhichnoaccountismade.Weseetheshow,andhearthemusic,andsmelltheflowersofgreatfestivities,tastingasitwerethedrippingsfromrichdishes.Ourowndinnerserviceisremarkablyplain,ourdinners,evenonstateoccasions,arestrictlyinkeeping,andalmostouronlyguestisTitbottom.IbuyahandfulofrosesasIcomeupfromtheoffice,perhaps,andPruearrangesthemsoprettilyinaglassdishforthe

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    centreofthetablethatevenwhenIhavehurriedouttoseeAureliastepintohercarriagetogoouttodine,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,certainly;buttheycannotunderstandwhyanymanshouldbeinlovewithher.Asifitwereatallnecessarythattheyshould!Andherlover,likeaboywhofindsapearlinthepublicstreet,andwondersasmuchthatothersdidnotseeitasthathedid,willtrembleuntilheknowshispassionisreturned;feeling,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,Ileaninguponmyelbowsandlookingathim;he,withsidelongface,glancingoutofthewindow,asifitcommandedaboundlesslandscape,insteadofadim,dingyofficecourt,Icannotrefrainfromsaying:

    "Well!"

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

    Oneday,afterIhadbeentalkingforalongtime,andwehadputupourbooks,andwerepreparingtoleave,hestoodforsometimebythewindow,gazingwithadroopingintentness,asifhereallysawsomethingmorethanthedarkcourt,andsaidslowly:

    "Perhapsyouwouldhavedifferentimpressionsofthingsifyousawthemthroughmyspectacles."

    Therewasnochangeinhisexpression.Hestilllookedfromthewindow,andIsaid:

    "Titbottom,Ididnotknowthatyouusedglasses.Ihaveneverseenyouwearingspectacles."

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

    "Isitsogrievousafate,tosee?"inquiredI.

    "Yes;throughmyspectacles,"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,indeed;and,fromwhathesays,Ishouldberatherafraidofbeingseenbythem.Mostshortsightedpersonsareverygladtohavethehelpofglasses;butMr.Titbottomseemstofindverylittlepleasureinhis."

    "Itisbecausetheymakehimtoofarsighted,perhaps,"interruptedPruequietly,asshetookthesilversoupladlefromthesideboard.

    Wesippedourwineafterdinner,andPruetookherwork.Canamanbetoofarsighted?Ididnotaskthequestionaloud.TheverytoneinwhichPruehadspokenconvincedmethathemight.

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

    "Yetyoumusthaveseentheglassinwhichyourwifelookseverymorning,andItakeitthatglassmustbedailyenchanted."saidTitbottom,withabowofquaintrespecttomywife.

    IdonotthinkIhaveseensuchablushuponPrue'scheeksincewell,sinceagreatmanyyearsago.

    "Iwillgladlytellyouthehistoryofmyspectacles,"beganTitbottom."Itisverysimple;andIamnotatallsurethatagreatmanyotherpeoplehavenotapairofthesamekind.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,orarrivewithoutsomeotheressentialpartofhisdress;andthereisaslytraditionintheTitbottomfamilythat,havingbeeninvitedtoaballinhonorofthenewgovernoroftheisland,mygrandfatherTitbottomsaunteredintothehalltowardsmidnight,wrappedinthegorgeousflowersofhisdressinggown,andwithhishandsburiedinthepockets,asusual.Therewasgreatexcitement,andimmensedeprecationofgubernatorialire.Butithappenedthatthegovernorandmygrandfatherwereoldfriends,andtherewasno

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    offense.Butastheywereconversingtogether,oneofthedistressedmanagerscastindignantglancesatthebrilliantcostumeofmygrandfather,whosummonedhim,andaskedcourteously:

    "'Didyouinvitemeormycoat?'

    "'You,inapropercoat,'repliedthemanager.

    "Thegovernorsmiledapprovingly,andlookedatmygrandfather.

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

    "Thenextdaymygrandfatherwasseenpromenadinginfullballdressalongthestreetsofthelittletown.

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

    "Hedidnotmuchfrequentsocialfestivalsafterthisfailure,buthealwaystoldthestorywithsatisfactionandaquietsmile.

    "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.

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    "Andso,overthegleamingseawhichhehadwatchedsolong,andwhichseemedthustorewardhispatientgaze,camehisbridethatsunnymorning.

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

    "Therewereendlessfestivitiesuponoccasionofthemarriage;andmygrandfatherdidnotgotooneoftheminhisdressinggown.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.

    "TheseWestIndianyearswerethegreatdaysofthefamily,"saidTitbottom,withanairofmajesticandregalregret,pausingandmusinginourlittleparlor,likealateStuartinexile,rememberingEngland.Prueraisedhereyesfromherwork,andlookedathimwithasubduedadmiration;forIhaveobservedthat,liketherestofhersex,shehasasingularsympathywiththerepresentativeofareducedfamily.Perhapsitistheirfinerperceptionwhichleadsthesetenderheartedwomentorecognizethedivinerightofsocialsuperioritysomuchmorereadilythanwe;andyet,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,whenshe

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    arrivedhereonefinesummermorning,longago.Icannotquitetellwhether,whenyougrowolder,youwillregarditasagiftofthegreatestvalueorassomethingthatyouhadbeenhappiernevertohavepossessed.'

    "'Butgrandpapa,Iamnotshortsighted.'

    "'Myson,areyounothuman?'saidtheoldgentleman;andhowshallIeverforgetthethoughtfulsadnesswithwhich,atthesametimehehandedmethespectacles.

    "InstinctivelyIputthemon,andlookedatmygrandfather.ButIsawnograndfather,nopiazza,noflowereddressinggown:Isawonlyaluxuriantpalmtree,wavingbroadlyoveratranquillandscape.Pleasanthomesclusteredaroundit.Gardensteemingwithfruitandflowers;flocksquietlyfeeding;birdswheelingandchirping.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,throughthechancesandrubsofalonglife,hascarriedhisheartinhishand,likeapalmbranch,wavingalldiscordsintopeace,helpsourfaithinGod,inourselves,andineachother,morethanmanysermons.Ihardlyknowwhethertobegratefultomygrandfatherforthespectacles;andyetwhenIrememberthatitistothemIowethepleasantimageofhimwhichIcherish,Iseemtomyselfsadlyungrateful.

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

    Pruehadlaidherworkinherlap,andasTitbottompausedamoment,andIturnedtowardsher,Ifoundhermildeyesfasteneduponmyface,andglisteningwithhappytears.

    "Misfortunesofmanykindscameheavilyuponthefamilyaftertheheadwasgone.Thegreathousewasrelinquished.Myparentswerebothdead,andmygrandmotherhadentirechargeofme.ButfromthemomentthatIreceivedthegiftofthespectacles,Icouldnotresisttheirfascination,andIwithdrewintomyself,andbecameasolitaryboy.

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    Therewerenotmanycompanionsformeofmyownage,andtheygraduallyleftme,or,atleast,hadnotaheartysympathywithme;foriftheyteasedmeIpulledoutmyspectaclesandsurveyedthemsoseriouslythattheyacquiredakindofaweofme,andevidentlyregardedmygrandfather'sgiftasaconcealedmagicalweaponwhichmightbedangerouslydrawnuponthematanymoment.Whenever,inourgames,therewerequarrelsandhighwords,andIbegantofeelaboutmydressandtowearagravelook,theyalltookthealarm,andshouted,'LookoutforTitbottom'sspectacles,'andscatteredlikeaflockofscaredsheep.

    "NorcouldIwonderatit.For,atfirst,beforetheytookthealarm,IsawstrangesightswhenIlookedatthemthroughtheglasses.Iftwowerequarrellingaboutamarbleoraball,IhadonlytogobehindatreewhereIwasconcealedandlookatthemleisurely.Thenthescenechanged,andnolongeragreenmeadowwithboysplaying,butaspotwhichIdidnotrecognize,andformsthatmademeshudderorsmile.Itwasnotabigboybullyingalittleone,butayoungwolfwithglisteningteethandalambcoweringbeforehim;or,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,Isawittrembleandflutter;itwasthin,flat,impalpable.Iremovedmyglasses,andlookedwithmyeyesatthewife.Icouldhavesmiledtoseethehumidtendernesswithwhichsheregardedherstrange_visavis_.Islifeonlyagameofblindman'sbuff?ofdrollcrosspurposes?

    "OrIputthemonagain,andlookedatthewife.HowmanystouttreesIsaw,howmanytenderflowers,howmanyplacidpools;yes,andhowmanylittlestreamswindingoutofsight,shrinkingbeforethelarge,hard,roundeyesopposite,andslippingoffintosolitudeandshade,withalow,innersongfortheirownsolace.AndinmanyhousesIthoughttoseeangels,nymphs,oratleast,women,andcouldonlyfindbroomsticks,mops,orkettles,hurryingabout,rattling,tinkling,inastateofshrillactivity.Imadecallsuponelegantladies,andafterIhadenjoyedtheglossofsilkandthedelicacyoflace,andtheflashofjewels,Islippedonmyspectacles,andsawapeacock'sfeather,flouncedandfurbelowedandfluttering;oranironrod,thin,sharp,andhard;norcouldIpossiblymistakethemovementofthedraperyforanyflexibilityofthethingdraped,or,mysteriouslychilled,Isawastatueofperfectform,orflowingmovement,itmightbealabaster,orbronze,ormarble,butsadlyoftenitwasice;andIknewthatafterithadshonealittle,andfrozenafeweyeswithitsdespairingperfection,itcouldnotbeputawayinthenichesofpalacesforornamentandproudfamilytradition,likethealabaster,orbronze,ormarblestatues,butwouldmelt,andshrink,andfallcoldlyawayincolorlessanduselesswater,beabsorbedintheearth

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    andutterlyforgotten.

    "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,untilmyspectaclesweredimmedforthathopelesssorrow;buttherewasapangbeyondtearsforthoseicystatues.

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

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

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

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

    "Idreamedofgorgeousfleets,silkensailedandblownbyperfumed

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    winds,driftingoverthosedepthlesswatersandthroughthosespaciousskies.Igazeduponthetwilight,theinscrutablesilence,likeaGodfearingdiscovereruponanew,andvast,anddimsea,burstinguponhimthroughforestglooms,andinthefervorofwhoseimpassionedgaze,amillennialandpoeticworldarises,andmanneednolongerdietobehappy.

    "Mycompanionsnaturallydesertedme,forIhadgrownwearilygraveandabstracted:and,unabletoresisttheallurementofmyspectacles,Iwasconstantlylostinaworld,ofwhichthosecompanionswerepart,yetofwhichtheyknewnothing.Igrewcoldandhard,almostmorose;peopleseemedtomeblindandunreasonable.Theydidthewrongthing.Theycalledgreen,yellow;andblack,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.Mycompanionswhowouldpersistincallingapieceofpaintedmuslinafairandfragrantflowerhadnodifficulty;successwaitedforthemaroundeverycorner,andarrivedineveryship.Itriedtoteach,forIlovedchildren.Butifanythingexcitedmysuspicion,and,puttingonmyspectacles,IsawthatIwasfondlingasnake,orsmellingatabudwithaworminit,Isprangupinhorrorandranaway;or,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,areaccustomed

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    toariseveryearlyinthemorning,'saidhe,thrustinghisthumbsinthearmholesofhiswaistcoat,andspreadingthefingers,liketwofans,uponhisbosom.'IthinkIhaveheardsomethingofyoursecret.Youhaveapairofspectacles,Ibelieve,thatyouvalueverymuch,becauseyourgrandmotherbroughtthemasamarriageportiontoyourgrandfather.Now,ifyouthinkfittosellmethosespectacles,Iwillpayyouthelargestmarketpriceforglasses.Whatdoyousay?'

    "ItoldhimthatIhadnottheslightestideaofsellingmyspectacles.

    "'Myyoungfriendmeanstoeatthem,Isuppose,'saidhewithacontemptuoussmile.

    "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.Itwasnotpossibleformedeliberatelytodestroythem;butIawokeinthenight,andcouldalmosthavecursedmydearoldgrandfatherforhisgift.Iescapedfromtheoffice,andsatforwholedayswithPreciosa.ItoldherthestrangethingsIhadseenwithmymysticglasses.ThehourswerenotenoughforthewildromanceswhichIravedinherear.Shelistened,astonishedandappalled.Herblueeyesturneduponmewithasweetdeprecation.Sheclungtome,andthenwithdrew,andfledfearfullyfromtheroom.Butshecouldnotstayaway.Shecouldnotresistmyvoice,inwhosetonesburnedallthelovethatfilledmyheartandbrain.TheveryefforttoresistthedesireofseeingherasIsaweverybodyelse,gaveafrenzyandan

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    unnaturaltensiontomyfeelingandmymanner.Isatbyherside,lookingintohereyes,smoothingherhair,foldinghertomyheart,whichwassunkenanddeepwhynotforever?inthatdreamofpeace.Iranfromherpresence,andshouted,andleapedwithjoy,andsatthewholenightthrough,thrilledintohappinessbythethoughtofherloveandloveliness,likeawindharp,tightlystrung,andansweringtheairiestsighofthebreezewithmusic.Thencamecalmerdaystheconvictionofdeeplovesettleduponourlivesasafterthehurrying,heavingdaysofspring,comestheblandandbenignantsummer.

    "'Itisnodream,then,afterall,andwearehappy,'Isaidtoher,oneday;andtherecamenoanswer,forhappinessisspeechless.

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

    "Ifearedlestsomeinstinctshouldwarnmetobeware.Iescapedfromherarms,andranhomeandseizedtheglassesandboundedbackagaintoPreciosa.AsIenteredtheroomIwasheated,myheadwasswimmingwithconfusedapprehension,myeyesmusthaveglared.Preciosawasfrightened,andrisingfromherseat,stoodwithaninquiringglanceofsurpriseinhereyes.ButIwasbentwithfrenzyuponmypurpose.Iwasmerelyawarethatshewasintheroom.Isawnothingelse.Iheardnothing.Icaredfornothing,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.Myfinestsensedetectednoaromaofpurityandprinciple;butIsawonlyafungusthathadfattenedandspreadinanight.Theyallwenttothetheatertoseeactorsuponthestage.Iwenttoseeactorsintheboxes,soconsummatelycunning,thattheothersdidnotknowtheywereacting,

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    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.Itisclearthatnoorangeflowerwilleverbloomforher.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.He

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    hadtheeasymannerofamanoftheworld,thesensitivegraceofapoet,andthecharitablejudgmentofawidetraveller.Hewasaccountedthemostsuccessfulandmostunspoiledofmen.Handsome,brilliant,wise,tender,graceful,accomplished,rich,andfamous,Ilookedathim,withoutthespectacles,insurprise,andadmiration,andwonderedhowyourneighboroverthewayhadbeensoentirelyuntouchedbyhishomage.Iwatchedtheirintercourseinsociety,Isawhergaysmile,hercordialgreeting;Imarkedhisfrankaddress,hisloftycourtesy.Theirmannertoldnotales.Theeagerworldwasbalked,andIpulledoutmyspectacles.

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

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

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

    Pruehadlongsincelaidawayherwork,andhadheardeverywordofthestory.Isawthatthedearwomanhadyetonequestiontoask,andhadbeenearnestlyhopingtohearsomethingthatwouldspareherthenecessityofasking.ButTitbottomhadresumedhisusualtone,afterthemomentaryexcitement,andmadenofurtherallusiontohimself.Weallsatsilently;Titbottom'seyesfastenedmusinglyuponthecarpet:Pruelookingwistfullyathim,andIregardingboth.

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

    "AndPreciosa?"

    Titbottompaused.Hehadjustopenedthedoorandthemoonlightstreamedoverhimashestood,turningbacktous.

    "Ihaveseenherbutoncesince.Itwasinchurch,andshewaskneelingwithhereyesclosed,sothatshedidnotseeme.ButIrubbedtheglasseswell,andlookedather,andsawawhitelily,whosestemwasbroken,butwhichwasfresh;andluminous,andfragrant,still."

    "Thatwasamiracle,"interruptedPrue.

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

    Thedoorclosed,andhewasgone.ButasPrueputherarminmineandwewentupstairstogether,shewhisperedinmyear:

    "HowgladIamthatyoudon'twearspectacles."

    MYDOUBLE;ANDHOWHEUNDIDME

    ByEdwardEverettHale(18221909)

    [From_TheAtlanticMonthly_,September,1859.Republishedinthevolume,_TheManWithoutaCountry,andOtherTales_(1868),byEdwardEverettHale(Little,Brown&Co.).]

    ItisnotoftenthatItroublethereadersof_TheAtlanticMonthly_.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,braveyoungparishhadI;anditseemedasifwemighthaveall"thejoyofeventfulliving"toourhearts'content.

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

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    functionsbeforethecommunity,ofthecharacterofthosefulfilledbythethirdrowofsupernumerarieswhostandbehindtheSepoysinthespectacleofthe_CataractoftheGanges_.Theyweretheduties,inaword,whichoneperformsasmemberofoneoranothersocialclassorsubdivision,whollydistinctfromwhatonedoesasA.byhimselfA.Whatinvisiblepowerputthesefunctionsonme,itwouldbeveryhardtotell.Butsuchpowertherewasandis.AndIhadnotbeenatworkayearbeforeIfoundIwaslivingtwolives,onerealandonemerelyfunctionalfortwosetsofpeople,onemyparish,whomIloved,andtheotheravaguepublic,forwhomIdidnotcaretwostraws.Allthiswasinavaguenotion,whicheverybodyhadandhas,thatthissecondlifewouldeventuallybringoutsomegreatresults,unknownatpresent,tosomebodysomewhere.

    Crazedbythisdualityoflife,IfirstreadDr.Wiganonthe_DualityoftheBrain_,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).TheninfoursuccessiveafternoonsItaughthimfourspeeches.IhadfoundthesewouldbequiteenoughforthesupernumerarySepoylineoflife,anditwaswellformetheywere.

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    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.Hemadethefurnacefireandsplitthewoodbeforedaylight;thenhewenttosleepagain,andsleptlate;thencamefororders,witharedsilkbandannatiedroundhishead,withhisoverallson,andhisdresscoatandspectaclesoff.Ifwehappenedtobeinterrupted,nooneguessedthathewasFredericInghamaswellasI;and,intheneighborhood,theregrewupanimpressionthattheminister'sIrishmanworkeddaytimesinthefactoryvillageatNewCoventry.AfterIhadgivenhimhisorders,Ineversawhimtillthenextday.

    IlaunchedhimbysendinghimtoameetingoftheEnlightenmentBoard.TheEnlightenmentBoardconsistsofseventyfourmembers,ofwhomsixtysevenarenecessarytoformaquorum.OnebecomesamemberundertheregulationslaiddowninoldJudgeDudley'swill.IbecameonebybeingordainedpastorofachurchinNaguadavick.Youseeyoucannothelpyourself,ifyouwould.Atthisparticulartimewehadhadfoursuccessivemeetings,averagingfourhourseachwhollyoccupiedinwhippinginaquorum.Atthefirstonlyelevenmenwerepresent;atthenext,byforceofthreecirculars,twentyseven;atthethird,thankstotwodays'canvassingbyAuchmutyandmyself,beggingmentocome,wehadsixty.HalftheotherswereinEurope.Butwithoutaquorumwecoulddonothing.Alltherestofuswaitedgrimlyforourfourhours,andadjournedwithoutanyaction.Atthefourthmeetingwehadflagged,andonlygotfiftyninetogether.ButonthefirstappearanceofmydoublewhomIsentonthisfatalMondaytothefifthmeetinghewasthe_sixtyseventh_manwhoenteredtheroom.Hewasgreetedwithastormofapplause!Thepoorfellowhadmissedhiswayreadthestreetsignsillthroughhisspectacles(veryill,infact,withoutthem)andhadnotdaredtoinquire.HeenteredtheroomfindingthepresidentandsecretaryholdingtotheirchairstwojudgesoftheSupremeCourt,whowerealsomembers_exofficio_,andwerebeggingleavetogoaway.Onhisentranceallwaschanged._Presto_,thebylawswereamended,andtheWesternpropertywasgivenaway.Nobodystoppedtoconversewithhim.Hevoted,asIhadchargedhimtodo,ineveryinstance,withtheminority.Iwonnewlaurelsasamanofsense,thoughalittleunpunctualandDennis,_alias_Ingham,returnedtotheparsonage,astonishedtoseewithhowlittle

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    wisdomtheworldisgoverned.Hecutafewofmyparishionersinthestreet;buthehadhisglassesoff,andIamknowntobenearsighted.EventuallyherecognizedthemmorereadilythanI.

    I"sethimagain"attheexhibitionoftheNewCoventryAcademy;andhereheundertooka"speakingpart"as,inmyboyish,worldlydays,IrememberthebillsusedtosayofMlle.Celeste.WearealltrusteesoftheNewCoventryAcademy;andtherehaslatelybeen"agooddealoffeeling"becausetheSandemaniantrusteesdidnotregularlyattendtheexhibitions.Ithasbeenintimated,indeed,thattheSandemaniansareleaningtowardsFreeWill,andthatwehave,therefore,neglectedthesesemiannualexhibitions,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,"saidDennis;andthepoorchairman,abashed,supposedtheaccenthadbeenwrong.Attheendoftheday,thegentlemenpresenthadbeencalleduponforspeechestheRev.FredericInghamfirst,asithappened;uponwhichDennishadrisen,andhadsaid,"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotoccupythetime."Thegirlsweredelighted,becauseDr.Dabney,theyearbefore,hadgiventhematthisoccasionascoldingonimproprietyofbehavioratlyceumlectures.TheyalldeclaredMr.Inghamwasaloveand_so_handsome!(Dennisisgoodlooking.)Threeofthem,witharmsbehindtheothers'waists,followedhimuptothewagonherodehomein;andalittlegirlwithabluesashhadbeensenttogivehimarosebud.Afterthisdebutinspeaking,hewenttotheexhibitionfortwodaysmore,tothemutualsatisfactionofallconcerned.Indeed,Pollyreportedthathehadpronouncedthetrustees'dinnersofahighergradethanthoseoftheparsonage.Whenthenexttermbegan,IfoundsixoftheAcademygirlshadobtainedpermissiontocomeacrosstheriverandattendourchurch.Butthisarrangementdidnotlongcontinue.

    AfterthishewenttoseveralCommencementsforme,andatethedinnersprovided;hesatthroughthreeofourQuarterlyConventionsformealwaysvotingjudiciously,bythesimplerulementionedabove,ofsidingwiththeminority.AndI,meanwhile,whohadbeforebeenlosingcasteamongmyfriends,asholdingmyselfalooffromtheassociationsofthebody,begantoriseineverybody'sfavor."Ingham'sagoodfellowalwaysonhand";"nevertalksmuchbutdoestherightthingattherighttime";"isnotasunpunctualasheusedtobehecomesearly,andsitsthroughtotheend.""Hehasgotoverhisoldtalkativehabit,too.Ispoketoafriendofhisaboutitonce;andIthinkInghamtookitkindly,"etc.,etc.

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    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,hadtakenanotionatthistimethatourSandemanianchurchesneededmoreexpressionofmutualsympathy.Heinsisteduponitthatwewereremiss.Hesaid,that,iftheBishopcametopreachatNaguadavick,alltheEpiscopalclergyoftheneighborhoodwerepresent;ifDr.Pondcame,alltheCongregationalclergymenturnedouttohearhim;ifDr.Nichols,alltheUnitarians;andhethoughtweowedittoeachotherthat,whenevertherewasanoccasionalserviceataSandemanianchurch,theotherbrethrenshouldall,ifpossible,attend."Itlookedwell,"ifnothingmore.NowthisreallymeantthatIhadnotbeentohearoneofDr.Fillmore'slecturesontheEthnologyofReligion.HeforgotthathedidnothearoneofmycourseontheSandemanianismofAnselm.ButIfeltbadlywhenhesaidit;andafterwardsIalwaysmadeDennisgotohearallthebrethrenpreach,whenIwasnotpreachingmyself.Thiswaswhathetookexceptionstotheonlything,asIsaid,whichheeverdidexceptto.Nowcametheadvantageofhislongmorningnap,andofthegreenteawithwhichPollysuppliedthekitchen.Buthewouldplead,sohumbly,tobeletoff,onlyfromoneortwo!Ineverexceptedhim,however.Iknewthelectureswereofvalue,andIthoughtitbestheshouldbeabletokeeptheconnection.

    PollyismorerashthanIam,asthereaderhasobservedintheoutsetofthismemoir.SheriskedDennisonenightundertheeyesofherownsex.GovernorGorgeshadalwaysbeenverykindtous;andwhenhegavehisgreatannualpartytothetown,askedus.IconfessIhatedtogo.IwasdeepinthenewvolumeofPfeiffer's_Mystics_,whichHaliburtonhadjustsentmefromBoston."Buthowrude,"saidPolly,"nottoreturntheGovernor'scivilityandMrs.Gorges's,whentheywillbesuretoaskwhyyouareaway!"StillIdemurred,andatlastshe,withthewitofEveandofSemiramisconjoined,letmeoffbysayingthat,ifIwouldgoinwithher,andsustaintheinitialconversationswiththeGovernorandtheladiesstayingthere,shewouldriskDennisfortherestoftheevening.Andthatwasjustwhatwedid.ShetookDennisintrainingallthatafternoon,instructedhiminfashionableconversation,cautionedhimagainstthetemptationsofthesuppertableandatnineintheeveninghedroveusalldowninthecarryall.ImadethegrandstarentreewithPollyandtheprettyWaltongirls,whowerestayingwithus.WehadputDennisintoagreatroughtopcoat,withouthisglassesandthegirlsneverdreamed,inthedarkness,oflookingathim.Hesatinthecarriage,atthedoor,whileweentered.IdidtheagreeabletoMrs.Gorges,wasintroducedtoherniece.MissFernandaIcomplimentedJudgeJeffriesonhisdecisioninthegreatcaseofD'Aulnay_vs._LaconiaMiningCo.Isteppedintothedressingroomforamomentsteppedoutforanotherwalkedhome,afteranodwithDennis,andtyingthehorseto

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    apumpandwhileIwalkedhome,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."_QuoenesithistoriaReformationisinUngaria?_"quothHaliburton,aftersomethought.Andhis_confrere_repliedgallantly,"_Inseculodecimotertio,_"etc.,etc.,etc.;andfrom_decimotertio_[Whichmeans,"Inthethirteenthcentury,"mydearlittlebellandcoralreader.Youhaverightlyguessedthatthequestionmeans,"WhatisthehistoryoftheReformationinHungary?"]tothenineteenthcenturyandahalflastedtilltheoysterscame.SowasitthatbeforeDr.Ochterlongcametothe"success,"ornearit,GovernorGorgescametoDennisandaskedhimtohandMrs.Jeffriesdowntosupper,arequestwhichheheardwithgreatjoy.

    Pollywasskippingroundtheroom,Iguess,gayasalark.Auchmutycametoher"inpityforpoorIngham,"whowassoboredbythestupidpunditandAuchmutycouldnotunderstandwhyIstooditsolong.ButwhenDennistookMrs.Jeffriesdown,Pollycouldnotresiststandingnearthem.Hewasalittleflustered,tillthesightoftheeatablesanddrinkablesgavehimthesameMerciancouragewhichitgaveDiggory.Alittleexcitedthen,heattemptedoneortwoofhisspeechestotheJudge'slady.Butlittleheknewhowharditwastogetinevena_promptu_thereedgewise."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'msuremyhusbandreturnsthecompliment;healwaysagreeswithyouthoughwedoworshipwiththeMethodistsbutyouknow,Mr.Ingham,"etc.,etc.,etc.,tillthemovewasmadeupstairs;andasDennisledherthroughthehall,hewasscarcelyunderstoodbyanybutPolly,ashesaid,"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotoccupythetime."

    Hisgreatresourcetherestoftheeveningwasstandinginthelibrary,carryingonanimatedconversationswithoneandanotherin

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    muchthesameway.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'am;sheisveryrearasonwewahwewob,"inlowerandlowertones.AndMrs.Throckmorton,whoforgotthesubjectofwhichshespoke,assoonassheaskedthequestion,isquitesatisfied.Denniscouldseeintothecardroom,andcametoPollytoaskifhemightnotgoandplayallfours.But,ofcourse,shesternlyrefused.Atmidnighttheycamehomedelightedly:Polly,asIsaid,wildtotellmethestoryofvictory;onlyboththeprettyWaltongirlssaid:"CousinFrederic,youdidnotcomenearmealltheevening."

    WealwayscalledhimDennisathome,forconvenience,thoughhisrealnamewasFredericIngham,asIhaveexplained.Whentheelectiondaycameround,however,IfoundthatbysomeaccidenttherewasonlyoneFredericIngham'snameonthevotinglist;and,asIwasquitebusythatdayinwritingsomeforeignletterstoHalle,IthoughtIwouldforegomyprivilegeofsuffrage,andstayquietlyathome,tellingDennisthathemightusetherecordonthevotinglistandvote.Igavehimaticket,whichItoldhimhemightuse,ifhelikedto.ThatwasthatverysharpelectioninMainewhichthereadersof_TheAtlantic_sowellremember,andithadbeenintimatedinpublicthattheministerswoulddowellnottoappearatthepolls.Ofcourse,afterthat,wehadtoappearbyselforproxy.Still,Naguadavickwasnotthenacity,andthisstandinginadoublequeueattownmeetingseveralhourstovotewasaboreofthefirstwater;andso,whenIfoundthattherewasbutoneFredericInghamonthelist,andthatoneofusmustgiveup,Istayedathomeandfinishedtheletters(which,indeed,procuredforFothergillhiscovetedappointmentofProfessorofAstronomyatLeavenworth),andIgaveDennis,aswecalledhim,thechance.SomethinginthemattergaveagooddealofpopularitytotheFredericInghamname;andattheadjournedelection,nextweek,FredericInghamwaschosentothelegislature.WhetherthiswasIorDennis,Ineverreallyknew.MyfriendsseemedtothinkitwasI;butIfelt,that,asDennishaddonethepopularthing,hewasentitledtothehonor;soIsenthimtoAugustawhenthetimecame,andhetooktheoaths.Andaveryvaluablememberhemade.TheyappointedhimontheCommitteeonParishes;butIwrotealetterforhim,resigning,onthegroundthathetookaninterestinourclaimtothestumpageintheminister'ssixteenthsofGoreA,nextNo.7,inthe10thRange.Henevermadeanyspeeches,andalwaysvotedwiththeminority,whichwaswhathewassenttodo.Hemademeandhimselfagreatmanygoodfriends,someofwhomIdidnotafterwardsrecognizeasquicklyasDennisdidmyparishioners.Ononeortwooccasions,whentherewaswoodtosawathome,Ikepthimathome;butItookthoseoccasionstogotoAugustamyself.Findingmyselfofteninhisvacantseatatthesetimes,Iwatchedtheproceedingswithagooddealofcare;andoncewassomuchexcitedthatIdeliveredmysomewhatcelebratedspeechontheCentralSchoolDistrictquestion,aspeechofwhichtheStateofMaineprintedsomeextracopies.Ibelievethereisnoformalrulepermittingstrangerstospeak;butnooneobjected.

    Dennishimself,asIsaid,neverspokeatall.Butourexperiencethissessionledmetothink,thatif,bysomesuch"generalunderstanding"asthereportsspeakofinlegislationdaily,everymemberofCongressmightleaveadoubletositthroughthosedeadlysessionsandanswertorollcallsanddothelegitimatepartyvoting,whichappears

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    stereotypedintheregularlistofAshe,Bocock,Black,etc.,weshouldgaindecidedlyinworkingpower.Asthingsstand,thesaddeststateprisonIevervisitisthatRepresentatives'ChamberinWashington.Ifamanleavesforanhour,twenty"correspondents"maybehowling,"WherewasMr.PrendergastwhentheOregonbillpassed?"AndifpoorPrendergaststaysthere!Certainly,theworstuseyoucanmakeofamanistoputhiminprison!

    Iknow,indeed,thatpublicmenofthehighestrankhaveresortedtothisexpedientlongago.Dumas'snovelof_TheIronMask_turnsonthebrutalimprisonmentofLouistheFourteenth'sdouble.Thereseemslittledoubt,inourownhistory,thatitwastherealGeneralPiercewhoshedtearswhenthedelegatefromLawrenceexplainedtohimthesufferingsofthepeoplethereandonlyGeneralPierce'sdoublewhohadgiventheordersfortheassaultonthattown,whichwasinvadedthenextday.Mycharmingfriend,GeorgeWithers,has,Iamalmostsure,adouble,whopreacheshisafternoonsermonsforhim.Thisisthereasonthatthetheologyoftenvariessofromthatoftheforenoon.Butthatdoubleisalmostascharmingastheoriginal.Someofthemostwelldefinedmen,whostandoutmostprominentlyonthebackgroundofhistory,areinthiswaystereoscopicmen;whoowetheirdistinctrelieftotheslightdifferencesbetweenthedoubles.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!howlittleIhaddonewiththemwhileIattendedtomy_public_duties!Mycallsonmyparishionersbecamethefriendly,frequent,homelikesociabilitiestheyweremeanttobe,insteadofthehardworkofamangoadedtodesperationbythesightofhislistsofarrears.Andpreaching!whataluxurypreachingwaswhenIhadonSundaythewholeresultofanindividual,personalweek,fromwhichtospeaktoapeoplewhomallthatweekIhadbeenmeetingashandtohandfriend!InevertiredonSunday,andwasinconditiontoleavethesermonathome,ifIchose,andpreachitextempore,asallmenshoulddoalways.Indeed,Iwonder,whenIthinkthatasensiblepeoplelikeoursreallymoreattachedtotheirclergythantheywereinthelostdays,whentheMathersandNortonswerenoblemenshouldchoosetoneutralizesomuchoftheirministers'lives,anddestroysomuchoftheirearlytraining,bythisundefinedpassionforseeingtheminpublic.Itspringsfromourbalancingofsects.IfaspiritedEpiscopaliantakesaninterestinthealmshouse,andisputonthePoorBoard,everyotherdenominationmusthaveaministerthere,lestthepoorhousebechangedintoSt.Paul'sCathedral.IfaSandemanianischosenpresidentoftheYoungMen'sLibrary,theremustbeaMethodistvicepresidentandaBaptistsecretary.Andifa

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    UniversalistSundaySchoolConventioncollectsfivehundreddelegates,thenextCongregationalistSabbathSchoolConferencemustbeaslarge,"lest'they'whoever_they_maybeshouldthink'we'whoever_we_maybearegoingdown."

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

    Itwasthusithappened.ThereisanexcellentfellowonceaministerIwillcallhimIsaacswhodeserveswelloftheworldtillhedies,andafterbecauseheonce,inarealexigency,didtherightthing,intherightway,attherighttime,asnoothermancoulddoit.Intheworld'sgreatfootballmatch,theballbychancefoundhimloiteringontheoutsideofthefield;heclosedwithit,"camped"it,charged,ithomeyes,rightthroughtheothersidenotdisturbed,notfrightenedbyhisownsuccessandbreathlessfoundhimselfagreatmanastheGreatDeltarangapplause.Buthedidnotfindhimselfarichman;andthefootballhasnevercomeinhiswayagain.Fromthatmomenttothismomenthehasbeenofnouse,thatonecansee,atall.Still,forthatgreatactwespeakofIsaacsgratefullyandrememberhimkindly;andheforgeson,hopingtomeetthefootballsomewhereagain.Inthatvaguehope,hehadarrangeda"movement"forageneralorganizationofthehumanfamilyintoDebatingClubs,CountySocieties,StateUnions,etc.,etc.,withaviewofinducingallchildrentotakeholdofthehandlesoftheirknivesandforks,insteadofthemetal.Childrenhavebadhabitsinthatway.Themovement,ofcourse,wasabsurd;butwealldidourbesttoforward,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,heneednotsayoneword;butitwillshowwellinthepaperitwillshowthattheSandemanianstakeasmuchinterestinthemovementastheArmeniansortheMesopotamians,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.Hecameindirectfromthe

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    trainatlast,reallyignorantoftheobjectofthemeeting.Heopeneditinthefewestpossiblewords,andsaidothergentlemenwerepresentwhowouldentertainthembetterthanhe.Theaudienceweredisappointed,butwaited.TheGovernor,promptedbyIsaacs,said,"TheHonorableMr.Delafieldwilladdressyou."Delafieldhadforgottentheknivesandforks,andwasplayingtheRuyLopezopeningatthechessclub."TheRev.Mr.Auchmutywilladdressyou."Auchmutyhadpromisedtospeaklate,andwasattheschoolcommittee."IseeDr.Stearnsinthehall;perhapshewillsayaword."Dr.Stearnssaidhehadcometolistenandnottospeak.TheGovernorandIsaacswhispered.TheGovernorlookedatDennis,whowasresplendentontheplatform;butIsaacs,togivehimhisdue,shookhishead.Butthelookwasenough.Amiserablelad,illbred,whohadoncebeeninBoston,thoughtitwouldsoundwelltocallforme,andpeepedout,"Ingham!"Afewmorewretchescried,"Ingham!Ingham!"StillIsaacswasfirm;buttheGovernor,anxious,indeed,topreventarow,knewIwouldsaysomething,andsaid,"OurfriendMr.Inghamisalwayspreparedandthoughwehadnotrelieduponhim,hewillsayaword,perhaps."Applausefollowed,whichturnedDennis'shead.Herose,flattered,andtriedNo.3:"Therehasbeensomuchsaid,and,onthewhole,sowellsaid,thatIwillnotlongeroccupythetime!"andsatdown,lookingforhishat;forthingsseemedsqually.Butthepeoplecried,"Goon!goon!"andsomeapplauded.Dennis,stillconfused,butflatteredbytheapplause,towhichneitherhenorIareused,roseagain,andthistimetriedNo.2:"Iamverygladyoulikedit!"inasonorous,cleardelivery.Mybestfriendsstared.Allthepeoplewhodidnotknowmepersonallyyelledwithdelightattheaspectoftheevening;theGovernorwasbesidehimself,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,thankyou;andyou?"

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

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

    No!Mydoublehasundoneme.

    Welefttownatseventhenextmorning.IcametoNo.9,intheThirdRange,andsettledontheMinister'sLot,InthenewtownsinMaine,thefirstsettledministerhasagiftofahundredacresofland.IamthefirstsettledministerinNo.9.MywifeandlittlePaulinaaremyparish.Weraisecornenoughtoliveoninsummer.Wekillbear'smeat

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    enoughtocarbonizeitinwinter.Iworkonsteadilyonmy_TracesofSandemanianismintheSixthandSeventhCenturies_,whichIhopetopersuadePhillips,Sampson&Co.topublishnextyear.Weareveryhappy,buttheworldthinksweareundone.

    AVISITTOTHEASYLUMFORAGEDANDDECAYEDPUNSTERS

    ByOliverWendellHolmes(18091894)

    [From_TheAtlanticMonthly_,January,1861.Republishedin_SoundingsfromtheAtlantic_(1864),byOliverWendellHolmes,whoseauthorizedpublishersaretheHoughtonMifflinCompany.]

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

    TheCharterprovidesforthesupportof"OnehundredagedanddecayedGentlemenPunsters."Oninquiryiftherewaynoprovisionfor_females_,myfriendcalledmyattentiontothisremarkablepsychologicalfact,namely:

    THEREISNOSUCHTHINGASAFEMALEPUNSTER.

    Thisremarkstruckmeforcibly,andonreflectionIfoundthat_Ineverknewnorheardofone_,thoughIhaveonceortwiceheardawomanmakea_singledetached_pun,asIhaveknownahentocrow.

    OnarrivingatthesouthgateoftheAsylumgrounds,Iwasabouttoring,butmyfriendheldmyarmandbeggedmetorapwithmystick,whichIdid.Anoldmanwithaverycomicalfacepresentlyopenedthegateandputouthishead.

    "Soyouprefer_Cane_to_Abell_,doyou?"hesaidandbeganchucklingandcoughingatagreatrate.

    Myfriendwinkedatme.

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

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

    Hethenthrewopenthedoublegatesforustoridethrough.

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

    "Why,howisthat,OldJoe?"saidmyfriend.

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    "Don'tyousee?"heanswered;"there'sthe_Easthinges_ontheonesideofthegate,andthere'sthe_Westhinges_ont'othersidehaw!haw!haw!"

    Wehadnosoonergotintotheyardthanafeeblelittlegentleman,witharemarkablybrighteye,cameuptous,lookingveryserious,asifsomethinghadhappened.

    "ThetownhasenteredacomplaintagainsttheAsylumasagamblingestablishment,"hesaidtomyfriend,theDirector.

    "Whatdoyoumean?"saidmyfriend.

    "Why,theycomplainthatthere'sa_loto'rye_onthepremises,"heanswered,pointingtoafieldofthatgrainandhobbledaway,hisshouldersshakingwithlaughter,ashewent.

    Onenteringthemainbuilding,wesawtheRulesandRegulationsfortheAsylumconspicuouslypostedup.Imadeafewextractswhichmaybeinteresting:

    SECT.I.OFVERBALEXERCISES.

    5.EachInmateshallbepermittedtomakePunsfreelyfromeightinthemorninguntiltenatnight,exceptduringServiceintheChapelandGracebeforeMeals.

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

    9.InmateswhohavelosttheirfacultiesandcannotanylongermakePunsshallbepermittedtorepeatsuchasmaybeselectedforthembytheChaplainoutoftheworkof_Mr.JosephMiller_.

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

    SECT.III.OFDEPORTMENTATMEALS.

    4.NoInmateshallmakeanyPun,orattemptatthesame,untiltheBlessinghasbeenaskedandthecompanyaredecentlyseated.

    7.CertainPunshavingbeenplacedonthe_IndexExpurgatorius_oftheInstitution,noInmateshallbeallowedtoutterthem,onpainofbeingdebarredtheperusalof_Punch_and_VanityFair_,and,ifrepeated,deprivedofhis_JosephMiller_.

    Amongthesearethefollowing:

    Allusionsto_Atticsalt_,whenaskedtopassthesaltcellar.

    RemarksontheInmatesbeing_mustered_,etc.,etc.

    Associatingbakedbeanswiththe_bene_factorsoftheInstitution.

    Sayingthatbeefeatingis_befitting_,etc.,etc.

    Thefollowingarealsoprohibited,exceptingtosuchInmatesasmayhavelosttheirfacultiesandcannotanylongermakePunsoftheirown:

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    "yourown_hair_orawig";"itwillbe_longenough_,"etc.,etc.;"littleofitsage,"etc.,etc.;also,playinguponthefollowingwords:_hos_pital;_mayor_;_pun_;_pitied_;_bread_;_sauce_,etc.,etc.,etc._See_INDEXEXPURGATORIUS,_printedforuseofInmates_.

    ThesubjoinedConundrumisnotallowed:WhyisHastyPuddinglikethePrince?Becauseitcomesattendedbyits_sweet_;northisvariationtoit,_towit_:Becausethe_'lassesrunsafterit_.

    TheSuperintendent,whowentroundwithus,hadbeenanotedpunsterinhistime,andwellknowninthebusinessworld,butlosthiscustomersbymakingtoofreewiththeirnamesasinthefamousstoryhesetafloatin'29_offourJerries_attachingtothenamesofanotedJudge,aneminentLawyer,theSecretaryoftheBoardofForeignMissions,andthewellknownLandlordatSpringfield.Oneofthe_fourJerries_,headded,wasofgiganticmagnitude.TheplayonwordswasbroughtoutbyanaccidentalremarkofSolomons,thewellknownBanker."_Capitalpunishment_!"theJewwasoverheardsaying,withreferencetotheguiltyparties.Hewasunderstood,assaying,_Acapitalpunismeant_,whichledtoaninvestigationandthereliefofthegreatlyexcitedpublicmind.

    TheSuperintendentshowedsomeofhisoldtendencies,ashewentroundwithus.

    "Doyouknow"hebrokeoutallatonce"whytheydon'ttakesteppesinTartaryforestablishingInsaneHospitals?"

    Webothconfessedignorance.

    "Becausethereare_nomad_peopletobefoundthere,"hesaid,withadignifiedsmile.

    HeproceededtointroduceustodifferentInmates.Thefirstwasamiddleaged,scholarlyman,whowasseatedatatablewitha_Webster'sDictionary_andasheetofpaperbeforehim.

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

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

    Weallnodded.

    "Don'tyouseeWebster_ers_inthewordscent_er_andtheat_er_?

    "Ifhespellsleather_lether_,andfeather_fether_,isn'ttheredangerthathe'llgiveusa_badspellofweather_?

    "Besides,Websterisaresurrectionist;hedoesnotallow_u_torestquietlyinthe_mould_.

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

    "Whyishiswayofspellinglikethefloorofanoven?Becauseitis_underbread_."

    "Mowzer!"saidtheSuperintendent,"thatwordisontheIndex!"

    "Iforgot,"saidMr.Mowzer;"pleasedon'tdeprivemeof_VanityFair_thisonetime,sir."

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    "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:WhethertheEditorof_TheTribune_was_H.G.really_?Ifthecomplexionofhispoliticswerenotaccountedforbyhisbeing_aneager_personhimself?WhetherWendell_Fillips_werenotareducedcopyofJohn_Knocks_?WhetheraNewYork_Feuilletoniste_isnotthesamethingasa_FellowdownEast_?

    Atthistimeaplausiblelooking,baldheadedmanjoinedus,evidentlywaitingtotakeapartintheconversation.

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

    "Ihaven'tlookedatthecattle,"heanswered,dryly.

    "Cattle?Whycattle?"

    "Why,toseeifthere'sany_cornunder'em_!"hesaid;andimmediatelyasked,"WhyisDouglasliketheearth?"

    Wetried,butcouldn'tguess.

    "Becausehewas_flattenedoutatthepolls_!"saidMr.Riggles.

    "Afamouspolitician,formerly,"saidtheSuperintendent."Hisgrandfatherwasa_seizeHessianist_intheRevolutionaryWar.Bytheway,Ihearthe_freezeoil_doctrinesdon'tgodownatNewBedford."

    ThenextInmatelookedasifhemighthavebeenasailorformerly.

    "Askhimwhathiscallingwas,"saidtheSuperintendent.

    "Followedthesea,"herepliedtothequestionputbyoneofus."Wentasmateinafishingschooner."

    "Whydidyougiveitup?"

    "BecauseIdidn'tlikeworkingfor_twomasters_,"hereplied.

    Presentlywecameuponagroupofelderlypersons,gatheredaboutavenerablegentlemanwithflowinglocks,whowaspropoundingquestionstoarowofInmates.

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    "CananyInmategivemeamottoforM.Berger?"hesaid.

    Nobodyrespondedfortwoorthreeminutes.Atlastoneoldman,whomIatoncerecognizedasaGraduateofourUniversity(Anno1800)helduphishand.

    "Rem_acue_tetigit."

    "Gototheheadoftheclass,Josselyn,"saidthevenerablepatriarch.

    ThesuccessfulInmatedidashewastold,butinaveryroughway,pushingagainsttwoorthreeoftheClass.

    "Howisthis?"saidthePatriarch.

    "Youtoldmetogoup_jostlin'_,"hereplied.

    Theoldgentlemenwhohadbeenshovedaboutenjoyedthepuntoomuchtobeangry.

    PresentlythePatriarchaskedagain:

    "WhywasM.BergerauthorizedtogotothedancesgiventothePrince?"

    TheClasshadtogiveupthis,andheansweredithimself:

    "Becauseeveryoneofhiscarromswasa_tickit_totheball."

    "WhocollectsthemoneytodefraytheexpensesofthelastcampaigninItaly?"askedthePatriarch.

    HereagaintheClassfailed.

    "Thewarcloud'srolling_Dun_,"heanswered.

    "Andwhatismulledwinemadewith?"

    Threeorfourvoicesexclaimedatonce:

    "_Sizzley_Madeira!"

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

    "ThereisonethingIhaveforgottentoshowyou,"saidtheSuperintendent,"thecellfortheconfinementofviolentandunmanageablePunsters."

    Wewereverycurioustoseeit,particularlywithreferencetotheallegedabsenceofeveryobjectuponwhichaplayofwordscouldpossiblybemade.

    TheSuperintendentledusupsomedarkstairstoacorridor,thenalonganarrowpassage,thendownabroadflightofstepsintoanotherpassageway,andopenedalargedoorwhichlookedoutonthemainentrance.

    "Wehavenotseenthecellfortheconfinementof'violentandunmanageable'Punsters,"webothexclaimed.

    "Thisisthe_sell_!"heexclaimed,pointingtotheoutsideprospect.

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    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.

    "OnehundredandsevenlastChristmas,"saidtheDirector."OflateyearsheputshiswholeConundrumsinblankbuttheypleasehimjustaswell."

    Wetookourdeparture,muchgratifiedandinstructedbyourvisit,hopingtohavesomefutureopportunityofinspectingtheRecordsofthisexcellentCharityandmakingextractsforthebenefitofourReaders.

    THECELEBRATEDJUMPINGFROGOFCALAVERASCOUNTY

    ByMarkTwain(18351910)

    [From_TheSaturdayPress_,Nov.18,1865.Republishedin_TheCelebratedJumpingFrogofCalaverasCounty,andOtherSketches_(1867),byMarkTwain,allofwhoseworksarepublishedbyHarper&Brothers.]

    Incompliancewiththerequestofafriendofmine,whowrotemefromtheEast,Icalledongoodnatured,garrulousoldSimonWheeler,andinquiredaftermyfriend'sfriend,LeonidasW.Smiley,asrequestedtodo,andIhereuntoappendtheresult.Ihavealurkingsuspicionthat_LeonidasW_.Smileyisamyth;andthatmyfriendneverknewsuchapersonage;andthatheonlyconjecturedthatifIaskedoldWheelerabouthim,itwouldremindhimofhisinfamous_JimSmiley_,andhewouldgotoworkandboremetodeathwithsomeexasperatingreminiscenceofhimaslongandastediousasitshouldbeuselesstome.Ifthatwasthedesign,itsucceeded.

    IfoundSimonWheelerdozingcomfortablybythebarroomstoveofthedilapidatedtaverninthedecayedminingcampofAngel's,andInoticedthathewasfatandbaldheaded,andhadanexpressionofwinninggentlenessandsimplicityuponhistranquilcountenance.Herousedup,andgavemegoodday.Itoldhimafriendhadcommissionedmetomakesomeinquiriesaboutacherishedcompanionofhisboyhoodnamed_LeonidasW_.Smiley_Rev.LeonidasW._Smiley,ayoungministeroftheGospel,whohehadheardwasatonetimearesidentof

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    Angel'sCamp.IaddedthatifMr.WheelercouldtellmeanythingaboutthisRev.LeonidasW.Smiley,Iwouldfeelundermanyobligationstohim.

    SimonWheelerbackedmeintoacornerandblockadedmetherewithhischair,andthensatdownandreeledoffthemonotonousnarrativewhichfollowsthisparagraph.Heneversmiled,heneverfrowned,heneverchangedhisvoicefromthegentleflowingkeytowhichhetunedhisinitialsentence,heneverbetrayedtheslightestsuspicionofenthusiasm;butallthroughtheinterminablenarrativethereranaveinofimpressiveearnestnessandsincerity,whichshowedmeplainlythat,sofarfromhisimaginingthattherewasanythingridiculousorfunnyabouthisstory,heregardeditasareallyimportantmatter,andadmireditstwoheroesasmenoftranscendentgeniusin_finesse_.Ilethimgooninhisownway,andneverinterruptedhimonce.

    "Rev.LeonidasW.H'm,ReverendLewell,therewasafellerhereoncebythenameof_Jim_Smiley,inthewinterof'49ormaybeitwasthespringof'50Idon'trecollectexactly,somehow,thoughwhatmakesmethinkitwasoneortheotherisbecauseIrememberthebigflumewarn'tfinishedwhenhefirstcametothecamp;butanyway,hewasthecuriousestmanaboutalwaysbettingonanythingthatturnedupyoueversee,ifhecouldgetanybodytobetontheotherside;andifhecouldn'the'dchangesides.Anywaythatsuitedtheothermanwouldsuit_him_anywayjustso'shegotabet,_he_wassatisfied.Butstillhewaslucky,uncommonlucky;hemostalwayscomeoutwinner.Hewasalwaysreadyandlayingforachance;therecouldn'tbenosolit'rythingmentionedbutthatfeller'doffertobetonit,andtakeanysideyouplease,asIwasjusttellingyou.Iftherewasahorserace,you'dfindhimflushoryou'dfindhimbustedattheendofit;iftherewasadogfight,he'dbetonit;iftherewasacatfight,he'dbetonit;iftherewasachickenfight,he'dbetonit;why,iftherewastwobirdssettingonafence,hewouldbetyouwhichonewouldflyfirst;oriftherewasacampmeeting,hewouldbetherereg'lartobetonParsonWalker,whichhejudgedtobethebestexhorterabouthere,andhewas,too,andagoodman.Ifheevenseeastraddlebugstarttogoanywheres,hewouldbetyouhowlongitwouldtakehimtogettotowhereverhe_was_goingto,andifyoutookhimup,hewouldfollerthatstraddlebugtoMexicobutwhathewouldfindoutwherehewasboundforandhowlonghewasontheroad.LotsoftheboysherehasseenthatSmileyandcantellyouabouthim.Why,itnevermadenodifferenceto_him_he'dbeton_any_thingthedangestfeller.ParsonWalker'swifelaidverysickonce,foragoodwhile,anditseemedasiftheywarn'tgoingtosaveher;butonemorninghecomein,andSmileyupandaskedhimhowshewas,andhesaidshewasconsiderablebetterthanktheLordforhisinf'nit'mercyandcomingonsosmartthatwiththeblessingofProv'denceshe'dgetwellyet;andSmiley,beforehethought,says,'Well,I'llrisktwoandahalfshedon'tanyway.'"

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

    Andhehadalittlesmallbullpup,thattolookathimyou'dthinkhe

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    warn'tworthacentbuttosetaroundandlookorneryandlayforachancetostealsomething.Butassoonasmoneywasuponhimhewasadifferentdog;hisunderjaw'dbegintostickoutlikethefo'castleofasteamboat,andhisteethwoulduncoverandshinelikethefurnaces.Andadogmighttacklehimandbullyraghim,andbitehim,andthrowhimoverhisshouldertwoorthreetimes,andAndrewJacksonwhichwasthenameofthepupAndrewJacksonwouldneverletonbutwhat_he_wassatisfied,andhadn'texpectednothingelseandthebetsbeingdoubledanddoubledontheothersideallthetime,tillthemoneywasallup;andthenallofasuddenhewouldgrabthatotherdogjestbythej'intofhishindlegandfreezetoitnotchaw,youunderstand,butonlyjustgripandhangontilltheythrowedupthesponge,ifitwasayear.Smileyalwayscomeoutwinneronthatpup,tillheharnessedadogoncethatdidn'thavenohindlegs,becausethey'dbeensawedoffinacircularsaw,andwhenthethinghadgonealongfarenough,andthemoneywasallup,andhecometomakeasnatchforhispetholt,heseeinaminutehowhe'dbeenimposedon,andhowtheotherdoghadhiminthedoor,sotospeak,andhe'pearedsurprised,andthenhelookedsorterdiscouragedlike,anddidn'ttrynomoretowinthefight,andsohegotshuckedoutbad.HegaveSmileyalook,asmuchastosayhisheartwasbroke,anditwas_his_fault,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'latedtoeducatehim;andsoheneverdonenothingforthreemonthsbutsetinhisbackyardandlearnthatfrogtojump.Andyoubetyouhe_did_learnhim,too.He'dgivehimalittlepunchbehind,andthenextminuteyou'dseethatfrogwhirlingintheairlikeadoughnutseehimturnonesummerset,ormaybeacouple,ifhegotagoodstart,andcomedownflatfootedandallright,likeacat.Hegothimupsointhematterofketchingflies,andkep'himinpracticesoconstant,thathe'dnailaflyeverytimeasfurashecouldseehim.Smileysaidallafrogwantedwaseducation,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,youunderstand;andwhenitcometothat,Smileywouldanteupmoneyonhimaslongashehadared.Smileywasmonstrousproudofhisfrog,andwellhemightbe,forfellersthathadtraveledandbeeneverywheres,allsaidhelaidoveranyfrogthatever_they_see.

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

    "Whatmightbethatyou'vegotinthebox?"

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

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

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

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

    "Maybeyoudon't,"Smileysays."Maybeyouunderstandfrogsandmaybeyoudon'tunderstand'em;maybeyou'vehadexperience,andmaybeyouain'tonlyaamature,asitwere.Anyways,I'vegot_my_opinionandI'llriskfortydollarsthathecanoutjumpanyfroginCalaverasCounty."

    Andthefellerstudiedaminute,andthensays,kindersadlike,"Well,I'monlyastrangerhere,andIain'tgotnofrog;butifIhadafrog,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,"Onetwothree_git_!"andhimandthefellertouchedupthefrogsfrombehind,andthenewfroghoppedofflively,butDan'lgiveaheave,andhysteduphisshoulderssolikeaFrenchman,butitwarn'tnousehecouldn'tbudge;hewasplantedassolidasachurch,andhecouldn'tnomorestirthanifhewasanchoredout.Smileywasagooddealsurprised,andhewasdisgustedtoo,buthedidn'thavenoideawhatthematterwas,ofcourse.

    Thefellertookthemoneyandstartedaway;andwhenhewasgoingoutatthedoor,hesorterjerkedhisthumboverhisshouldersoatDan'l,andsaysagain,verydeliberate,"Well,"hesays,"_I_don'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,he

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    said:"Justsetwhereyouare,stranger,andresteasyIain'tgoingtobegoneasecond."

    But,byyourleave,Ididnotthinkthatacontinuationofthehistoryoftheenterprisingvagabond_Jim_SmileywouldbelikelytoaffordmemuchinformationconcerningtheRev._LeonidasW._Smiley,andsoIstartedaway.

    AtthedoorImetthesociableWheelerreturning,andhebuttonholedmeandrecommenced:

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

    However,lackingbothtimeandinclination,Ididnotwaittohearabouttheafflictedcow,buttookmyleave.

    ELDERBROWN'SBACKSLIDE

    ByHarryStillwellEdwards(1855)

    [From_Harper'sMagazine_,August,1885;copyright,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.Thebeasthebestroderespondedwitharapidwhiskingofitstailandagreatshowofeffort,asitambledoffdownthesandyroad,therider'slonglegsseemingnowandthentotouchtheground.

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

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    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,andtheoldmanexpandedwithit;forwhileavigorousleaderinhischurch,theelderathomewas,itmustbeadmitted,anuncomplainingslave.Totheintenseastonishmentofthebeastherode,therecamenewvigorintothewhackswhichfelluponhisflanks;andthebeastallowedastonishmenttosurprisehimintoreallifeanddecidedmotion.Somewhereintheelder'sexpandingsoulatunehadbeguntoring.Possiblyhetookupthefar,fainttunethatcamefromthestragglinggangofnegroesawayoffinthefield,astheyslowlychoppedamidthethreadlikerowsofcottonplantswhichlinedthelevelground,forthemelodyhehummedsoftlyandthensangstrongly,inthequavering,catchytonesofagoodoldcountrychurchman,was"I'mgladsalvation'sfree."

    ItwasduringthesingingofthishymnthatElderBrown'sregularmotioninspiringstrokeswereforthefirsttimevaried.Hebegantoholdhishickoryupatcertainpausesinthemelody,andbeatthechangesuponthesidesofhisastonishedsteed.Thechorusunderthisarrangementwas:

    I'm_glad_salvation's_free_,I'm_glad_salvation's_free_,I'm_glad_salvation's_free_for_all_,I'm_glad_salvation's_free_.

    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.Thesuddenappearanceofthisunlookedforapparitionactedstronglyuponthedonkey.Withonesupremeefforthecollectedhimselfintoamotionlessmassofmatter,

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    bracinghisfrontlegswideapart;thatistosay,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.

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

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

    "Well,sir,whatcanIdoforyou?"

    Theelderwasnotinthebestofhumorwhenhearrived,andhisstateofmindhadnotimproved.Hewaitedfullaminuteashesurveyedthemanofbusiness.

    "IthoughtImoutbeabletomakesomearrangementswithyoutogitsomemoney,butIreckonIwasmistaken."Thewarehousemancamenearer.

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

    "No;mywifeusually'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'trightnow;willfixitforyoulateron."

    "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!"

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    Hehadsuddenlyrememberedhavingplacedhismemorandainthathat,andashestudieditsemptydepthshismindpicturedtheimportantscrapflutteringalongthesandysceneofhisearlymorningtumble.Itwasthisthatcausedhimtograzeanoathwithlessmarginthathehadallowedhimselfintwentyyears.Whatwouldtheoldladysay?

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

    Toturnbackandsearchforthelostpaperwouldhavebeenworsethanuseless.Onlyonecoursewasopentohim,andatitwenttheleaderofhispeople.Hecalledatthegrocery;heinvadedtherecessesofthedrygoodsestablishments;heransackedthehardwarestores;andwhereverhewenthemadelifeaburdenfortheclerks,overhaulingshowcasesandpullingdownwholeshelvesofstock.Occasionallyanitemofhismemorandawouldcometolight,andthrustinghishandintohiscapaciouspocket,wherelaytheproceedsofhischeck,hewouldpayforituponthespot,andinsistuponhavingitrolledup.Tothesuggestionoftheslavewhomhehadinchargeforthetimebeingthatthearticlesbelaidasideuntilhehadfinished,hewouldnotlisten.

    "Nowyoulookhere,sonny,"hesaid,inthedrygoodsstore,"I'mconductingthisrevival,an'Idon'tneednohelpinmyline.Justyoutiethemstockin'supan'lemmehave'em.ThenI_know_I've_got_'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."

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    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.Ifirmlybelievethatwhenhehadfinishedhistrading,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.Hewouldforestallblameanddisarmangerwithkindnesshewouldpurchase

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    Hannahabonnet.

    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,sir;allwell,thankyou.SomethingIcandoforyou?"

    Theaffablemerchantwastryingtorecallhiscustomer'sname.

    "Notnow,notnow,thankee.IfyoupleasetoletmybundlesstayuntellIcomeback"

    "Can'tIshowyousomething?Hat,coat"

    "Notnow.Bebackbimeby."

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

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

    "Whiskeyishigher'nusedtobe,"saidElderBrown;butthebartenderwastakinganotherorder,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,rattleddownabout

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    him.

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

    "Letmehelpyou,sir,"shesaid,comingfrombehindthecounter,uponseeingElderBrownbeginningtoadjusthisspectaclesforasearch.Hewavedherbackmajestically."No,mydear,no;can'tallowit.Youmoutsilethempurtyfingers.No,ma'am.Nogen'l'man'll'lowerladytodosuchathing."Theelderwasgentlyforcingthegirlbacktoherplace."Leaveittome.I'vepickedupbiggerthings'nthem.Pickedmyselfupthismornin'.Balaamyoudon'tknowBalaam;he'smydonkeyhetumbledmeoverhisheadinthesandthismornin'."AndElderBrownhadtoresumeanuprightpositionuntilhisparoxysmoflaughterhadpassed."Youseethisoldhat?"extendingit,halffullofpackages;"Ifellclearinterit;jes'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,mydear;mebbeIoughtn't."

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

    "Well,you'rewhistlin'now,birdie;that'smyintention;set'emallout."Againtheelder'sfaceshonewithdelight."An'Idon'twantnoonehossbonnetneither."

    "Ofcoursenot.Nowhereisone;pinksilk,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'sred;likegoeswithlike,an'birdsofafeatherflocktogether."Theoldmanlaugheduntilhischeekswerewet.

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

    ElderBrown'sstepbegantoloseitsbuoyancy.Hefoundhimself

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    utterlyunabletowalkstraight.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

    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,"youforgityussef;shuknowwareI'veben'swell'sIdo.Bentotown,wife,an'seeyerwatI'vebroughtthefines'hat,olewoman,Icouldgit.Look'tthecolor.Likegoes'ithlike;it'sredan'you'rered,an'it'sadeadmatch.Whatyermean?Hey!holeon!olewoman!you!Hannah!you."Sheliterallyshookhimintosilence.

    "Youmiserablewretch!youlowdowndrunkensot!whatdoyoumeanbycominghomeandinsultingyourwife?"Hannahceasedshakinghimfrom

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    pureexhaustion.

    "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.Reallyatthatmomentshedidthinkhismindwasgone;buttheleerupontheoldman'sfaceenragedherbeyondendurance.

    "Youdid,didyou?Well,now,Ireckonyou'lllaughforsomecause,youwill.Backyougo,sirstraightback;an'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.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.

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    When,soreandweary,theelderenteredthecity,theelectriclightsshoneaboveitlikejewelsinacrown.Thecityslept;thatis,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.Oneyoungstermadeapoliticalspeechfromthetopofthetable;anotherimpersonatedHamlet;andfinallyElderBrownwasliftedintoachair,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.

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

    V

    HannahBrowndidnotsleepthatnight.Sleepwouldnotcome.Hourafterhourpassed,andherwrathrefusedtobequelled.Shetriedeveryconceivablemethod,buttimehungheavily.Itwasnotquitepeepofday,however,whenshelaidherwellwornfamilyBibleaside.Ithadbeenhermother's,andamidalltheanxietiesandtribulationsincidenttothelifeofawomanwhohadfreenegroesandamiserable

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    husbandtomanage,ithadbeenhermainstayandcomfort.Shehadfrequentlyreaditinanger,pageafterpage,withoutknowingwhatwascontainedinthelines.Buteventuallythewordsbecameintelligibleandtookmeaning.Shewrestedconsolationfromitbymereforceofwill.

    Andsoonthisoccasionwhensheclosedthebookthefierceangerwasgone.

    Shewasnotahardwomannaturally.Fatehadbroughtherconditionswhichcoveredupthewomanheartwithinher,butthoughitlaydeep,itwastherestill.Asshesatwithfoldedhandshereyesfelluponwhat?

    Thepinkbonnetwiththeblueplume!

    Itmayappearstrangetothosewhodonotunderstandsuchnatures,buttomehernextactionwasperfectlynatural.Sheburstintoaconvulsivelaugh;then,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,shedisappeareddownthelane;andwhen,afewminuteslater,HannahBrownandherhusbandenteredthroughthelightthatstreamedoutoftheopendoorherarmswerearoundhim,andherfaceupturnedtohis.

    THEHOTELEXPERIENCEOFMR.PINKFLUKER

    BYRICHARDMALCOLMJOHNSTON(18221898)

    [From_TheCenturyMagazine_,June,1886;copyright,1886,byTheCenturyCo.;republishedinthevolume,_Mr.AbsalomBillingslea,andOtherGeorgiaFolk_(1888),byRichardMalcolmJohnston(Harper&Brothers).]

    I

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    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,marchintotown,planthimselfupontheruinsofJacobSpouter,andbeginhisupwardsoar.

    NowMr.Flukerhadmanyandmanyatimeacknowledgedthathehadambition;soonenighthesaidtohiswife:

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    "Youseehowitishere,Nervy.Farmin'somehowdon'tsuitmytalons.Ineedtobeflungmore'mongpeopletofetchoutwhat'sinme.Thenthar'sMarann,whichisgittin'tobenighontoagrowdupwoman;an'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.

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

    InwordsandotherencouragementMr.Pikewaspronounced.Hecouldcommendhonestly,andhedidsocordially.

    "Thethingtodo,Pink,istohaveyourpricesreg'lar,andmakepeoplepayupreg'lar.Tendollarsforeatin',jes'so;eleb'nforeatin'_an_'sleepin';halfadollarfordinner,jes'so;quarterapieceforbreakfast,supper,andbed,iswhatIcallreason'blebo'd.Asforme,Isca'celyknowhowtorig'late,because,youknow,I'ma'officernow,an'incourseInatchel_has_tobeawaysometimesan'onexpensesat'totherplaces,an'itseemlikesome'lowanceoughtbygoodrightstobemadeforthat;don'tyouthinkso?"

    "Why,mattero'course,Matt;whatyouthink?Iain'tsopowerfulgoodatfiggers.Nervyis.S'posenyouspeaktoher'boutit."

    "Oh,that'sperfec'unuseless,Pink.I'ma'officero'thelaw,Pink,an'thelawconsiderwomenwell,Imaysaythelaw,_she_deal'ith_men_,notwomen,an'sheexpectherofficerstounderstan'figgers,an'ifIhadn'to'understoodfiggersMr.Sankswouldn'tordarsnt'to

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    'p'intmehisdep'ty.Me'n'youcanfixthemterms.Nowseehere,reg'larbo'deatin'bo'd,Imeanistendollars,an'sleepin'andsinguilmealsis'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,Pink;Iknowedyou'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,asneatlyandalmostastastefullyasanyofherschoolmates;while,astostudy,deportment,andgeneralprogress,therewasnotagirlin

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    thewholeschooltobeather,Idon'tcarewhoshewas.

    II

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

    Nowastothatpatronandchiefboarder.TheneedofextendinghisacquaintanceseemedtopressuponMr.Pikewitheverincreasingweight.Hewashereandthere,alloverthecounty;atthecountyseat,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.

    Nobodyknewhowitcameabout;butwhentheFlukershadbeenintownsomewherebetweentwoandthreemonths,SimMarchman,who(tousehis

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    ownwords)hadneverbotheredheragreatdealwithhisvisits,begantosuspectthatwhatfewhemadewerereceivedbyMarannlatelywithlesscordialitythanbefore;andsooneday,knowingnobetter,inhisawkward,straightforwardcountrymanners,hewantedtoknowthereasonwhy.ThenMaranngrewdistant,andaskedSimthefollowingquestion:

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

    Nowthefactwas,andsheknewit,thatMarannFlukerhadneverbefore,notsinceshewasborn,addressedthatboyas_Mister_.

    Thevisitor'sfacereddenedandreddened.

    "No,"hefalteredinanswer;"nono_ma'am_,Ishouldsay.IIdon'tknowwhereMr.Pike'sgone."

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

    Mrs.FlukerlikedalltheMarchmans,andshewastroubledsomewhatwhensheheardofthequicknessandmannerofSim'sdeparture;forhehadbeenfullyexpectedbyhertostaytodinner.

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

    "Notoneblessedthing,ma;onlyhewantedtoknowwhyIwasn'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'tknowexactlywhatthebargainwere;forI'veaskedhim,andhealwaysbeginswithamultiplyin'ofwordsandneveranswersme."

    OnhisnextreturnfromhistravelsMr.PikenoticedacoldnessinMrs.Fluker'smanner,andthisenhancedhispraiseofthehouse.Thelastweekofthethirdmonthcame.Mr.Pikewasoftennoticed,beforeandaftermeals,standingatthedeskinthehoteloffice(calledinthosetimesthebarroom)engagedinmakingcalculations.ThedaybeforethecontractexpiredMrs.Fluker,whohadnotindulgedherselfwithasingleholidaysincetheyhadbeenintown,leftMarannin

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    chargeofthehouse,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.Fluker;hewastheonlymanintownwhocoulddothat.HewinkedatMarannasheputquestionstoSim,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,a_very_fa'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,hegottogo;infackhegotto_goth_,astheScripturesay,ain'tthatso?"

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

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    Mr.Flukerfeltthathewasbecomingalittleconfused.

    "Jes'so.Now,Pink,Iweretohavecredicsformyabsentees'cordin'totransionan'singlemealbo'dersan'sleepers;ain'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'Isay_half_,Pink,becauseyou'memberonenightwhenthemA'gustylawyersgothere'boutmidnightontheirwaytoco't,rather'nhaveyoutoobadcramped,Iristomakewayfortwoof'em;yitasIhadonegoodnap,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.Flukercommencedperspiringatthefirstitem,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'business;Iwon'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.But_I_owedyoumyselfforyourtalkin''boutand

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    yourlyin''boutme,andnowI'vepaidyou;an'efyouonlyknowedit,I'vesavedyoufromagigwhippin'.Nowyoumaygitup."

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

    Thevanquished,notdaringtorefuse,pocketedthecoin,andslunkawayamidthejeersofascoreofvillagerswhohadbeendrawntothescene.

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

    Asforthedeputy,findingthatifhedidnotleaveitvoluntarilyhewouldbedrummedoutofthevillage,hedeparted,whitherIdonotrememberifanybodyeverknew.

    THENICEPEOPLE

    ByHenryCuylerBunner(18551896)

    [From_Puck_,July30,1890.Republishedinthevolume,_ShortSixes:StoriestoBeReadWhiletheCandleBurns_(1891),byHenryCuylerBunner;copyright,1890,byAliceLarnedBunner;reprintedbypermissionofthepublishers,CharlesScribner'aSons.]

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

    "_Two_children,"correctedmywife.

    "Three,hetoldme."

    "Mydear,shesaidtherewere_two_."

    "Hesaidthree."

    "You'vesimplyforgotten.I'm_sure_shetoldmetheyhadonlytwoaboyandagirl."

    "Well,Ididn'tenterintoparticulars."

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

    "Allright,"Isaid;butIdidnotthinkitwasallright.Asanearsightedmanlearnsbyenforcedobservationtorecognizepersonsatadistancewhenthefaceisnotvisibletothenormaleye,sothemanwithabadmemorylearns,almostunconsciously,tolistencarefullyandreportaccurately.Mymemoryisbad;butIhadnothadtimetoforgetthatMr.BrewsterBredehadtoldmethatafternoonthathehadthreechildren,atpresentleftinthecareofhismotherinlaw,whileheandMrs.Bredetooktheirsummervacation.

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    "Twochildren,"repeatedmywife;"andtheyarestayingwithhisauntJenny."

    "Hetoldmewithhismotherinlaw,"Iputin.Mywifelookedatmewithaseriousexpression.Menmaynotremembermuchofwhattheyaretoldaboutchildren;butanymanknowsthedifferencebetweenanauntandamotherinlaw.

    "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.Shemighthavebeentwentyfive;youguessedthatshewasprettierthanshewasattwenty,andthatshewouldbeprettierstillatforty.

    AndnicepeoplewereallwewantedtomakeushappyinMr.Jacobus'ssummerboardinghouseontopofOrangeMountain.Foraweekwehadcomedowntobreakfasteachmorning,wonderingwhywewastedthepreciousdaysofidlenesswiththecompanygatheredaroundtheJacobusboard.WhatjoyofhumancompanionshipwastobehadoutofMrs.TabbandMissHoogencamp,thetwomiddleagedgossipsfromScranton,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'sveranda;butwebothfeltthattheBredeswouldnotprofanethatsacredscene.Westrolledslowlyacrossthefields,passedthroughthelittlebeltofwoodsand,asIheardMrs.Brede'slittlecryofstartledrapture,ImotionedtoBredetolookup.

    "ByJove!"hecried,"heavenly!"

    Welookedofffromthebrowofthemountainoverfifteenmilesofbillowinggreen,towhere,faracrossafarstretchofpalebluelayadimpurplelinethatweknewwasStatenIsland.Townsandvillageslaybeforeusandunderus;therewereridgesandhills,uplandsandlowlands,woodsandplains,allmassedandmingledinthatgreat

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    silentseaofsunlitgreen.Forsilentitwastous,standinginthesilenceofahighplacesilentwithaSundaystillnessthatmadeuslisten,withouttakingthought,forthesoundofbellscomingupfromthespiresthatroseabovethetreetopsthetreetopsthatlayasfarbeneathusasthelightcloudswereaboveusthatdroppedgreatshadowsuponourheadsandfaintspecksofshadeuponthebroadsweepoflandatthemountain'sfoot.

    "Andsothatis_your_view?"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.

    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!"

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    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.Butdoye_know_them?"

    "Why,certainlynot,"Ireplied.

    "WellthatwasallIwuzaskin'ye.Yesee,when_he_comeheretotaketheroomsyouwasn'therethenhetoldmywifethathelivedatnumberthirtyfourinhisstreet.An'yistiddy_she_toldherthattheylivedatnumberthirtyfive.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,"andseeifhecangivesomeaccountofhimself."

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

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

    "Pleasedon'tbestupid,"saidmywife."Imeant_their_children."

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

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

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    "Idon'tknowhowwellheknowshisownbusiness,Major,"IsaidasIstartedagainforBrede'sendoftheveranda.ButIwastroublednonetheless.TheMajorcouldnothaveinfluencedthesaleofoneshareofstockintheCapitolineCompany.Butthatstockwasagreatinvestment;ararechanceforapurchaserwithafewthousanddollars.PerhapsitwasnomoreremarkablethatBredeshouldnotinvestthanthatIshouldnotandyet,itseemedtoaddonecircumstancemoretotheothersuspiciouscircumstances.

    *****

    WhenIwentupstairsthatevening,IfoundmywifeputtingherhairtobedIdon'tknowhowIcanbetterdescribeanoperationfamiliartoeverymarriedman.Iwaiteduntilthelasttresswascoiledup,andthenIspoke:

    "I'vetalkedwithBrede,"Isaid,"andIdidn'thavetocatechizehim.Heseemedtofeelthatsomesortofexplanationwaslookedfor,andhewasveryoutspoken.Youwererightaboutthechildrenthatis,Imusthavemisunderstoodhim.Thereareonlytwo.ButtheMatterhornepisodewassimpleenough.Hedidn'trealizehowdangerousitwasuntilhehadgotsofarintoitthathecouldn'tbackout;andhedidn'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.Tabbsaidthat_she_didn'tknowhowmanylumpsofsugarhetookinhiscoffee.Nowthatseemsqueer,doesn'tit?"

    Itdid.Itwasasmallthing.Butitlookedqueer,Veryqueer.

    *****

    Thenextmorning,itwasclearthatwarwasdeclaredagainsttheBredes.Theycamedowntobreakfastsomewhatlate,and,assoonastheyarrived,theBigglesesswoopedupthelastfragmentsthatremainedontheirplates,andmadeastatelymarchoutofthediningroom,ThenMissHoogencamparoseanddeparted,leavingawholefishballonherplate.EvenasAtalantamighthavedroppedanapplebehindhertotemptherpursuertocheckhisspeed,soMissHoogencampleftthatfishballbehindher,andbetweenhermaidenselfandcontamination.

    Wehadfinishedourbreakfast,mywifeandI,beforetheBredesappeared.Wetalkeditover,andagreedthatweweregladthatwehadnotbeenobligedtotakesidesuponsuchinsufficienttestimony.

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

    "Idon'twant,"weheardMr.Jacobussay,"toenterinnoman's

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    _pry_vacy;butIdowanttoknowwhoitmaybe,like,thatIhevinmyhouse.NowwhatIaskof_you_,andIdon'twantyoutotakeitasinnoways_personal_,ishevyouyourmerridgelicensewithyou?"

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

    Ithinkitwasachanceshot;butittoldallthesame.TheMajor(hewasawidower)andMr.BiggleandIlookedateachother;andMr.Jacobus,ontheothersideofthegrapetrellis,lookedatIdon'tknowwhatandwasassilentaswewere.

    Whereis_your_marriagelicense,marriedreader?Doyouknow?Fourmen,notincludingMr.Brede,stoodorsatononesideortheotherofthatgrapetrellis,andnotoneofthemknewwherehismarriagelicensewas.EachofushadhadonetheMajorhadhadthree.Butwherewerethey?Whereis_yours?_Tuckedinyourbestman'spocket;depositedinhisdeskorwashedtoapulpinhiswhitewaistcoat(ifwhitewaistcoatsbethefashionofthehour),washedoutofexistencecanyoutellwhereitis?Canyouunlessyouareoneofthosepeoplewhoframethatinterestingdocumentandhangitupontheirdrawingroomwalls?

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

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

    "Ihain'tsaidIwantedtohevyeleave"beganMr.Jacobus;butBredecuthimshort.

    "Bringmeyourbill."

    "But,"remonstratedJacobus,"efyeain't"

    "Bringmeyourbill!"saidMr.Brede.

    *****

    MywifeandIwentoutforourmorning'swalk.Butitseemedtous,whenwelookedat"ourview,"asifwecouldonlyseethoseinvisiblevillagesofwhichBredehadtoldusthatothersideoftheridgesandrisesofwhichwecatchnoglimpsefromloftyhillsorfromtheheightsofhumanselfesteem.WemeanttostayoutuntiltheBredeshadtakentheirdeparture;butwereturnedjustintimetoseePete,theJacobusdarkey,theblackerofboots,thebrasherofcoats,thegeneralhandymanofthehouse,loadingtheBredetrunksontheJacobuswagon.

    And,aswesteppedupontheverandah,downcameMrs.Brede,leaningonMr.Brede'sarm,asthoughshewereill;anditwasclearthatshehadbeencrying.Therewereheavyringsaboutherprettyblackeyes.

    Mywifetookasteptowardher.

    "Lookatthatdress,dear,"shewhispered;"sheneverthoughtanythinglikethiswasgoingtohappenwhensheput_that_on."

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

    "She'shadanewdressontwiceaday,"saidmywife,"butthat'sthe

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    prettiestyet.Oh,somehowI'm_awfully_sorrythey'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,"why_didn't_youtellus?"

    "WWWWedidn'twanttobetttakenforabbbbbridalcouple,"sobbedMrs.Brede;"andwedddidn't_dream_whatawfullieswe'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)

    [From_Scribner'sMagazine_,August,1897.Republishedin_AfieldandAfloat_,byFrankRichardStockton;copyright,1900,byCharlesScribner'sSons.Reprintedbypermissionofthepublishers.]

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

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

    RemarkssimilartothesehadbeenmadebyThomasBullerandWilliamPodingtonatleastonceayearforsomefiveyears.Theywereoldfriends;theyhadbeenschoolboystogetherandhadbeenassociatedinbusinesssincetheywereyoungmen.Theyhadnowreachedavigorousmiddleage;theywereeachmarried,andeachhadahouseinthecountryinwhichheresidedforapartoftheyear.Theywerewarmly

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    attachedtoeachother,andeachwasthebestfriendwhichtheotherhadinthisworld.Butduringalltheseyearsneitherofthemhadvisitedtheotherinhiscountryhome.

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

    ToreceivehisgoodfriendBullerathisownhouseinthebeautifuluplandregioninwhichhelivedwouldhavebeenagreatjoytoMr.Podington;butBullercouldnotbeinducedtovisithim.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.Butheopenedhiseyesandlookedbravelyoutofthewindow;itwastimetoconquerallthis;itwasindeedgrowingridiculous.Bullerhadbeensailingmanyyearsandhadneverbeenupset.

    "Yes,"saidhe;"Iwilldoit;Iamreadyanytimeyouname."

    Mr.Bullerroseandstretchedouthishand.

    "Good!"saidhe;"itisacompact!"

    Bullerwasthefirsttomakethepromisedcountryvisit.Hehadnot

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

    WhenthegoodblackhorsehadjoggedalongapleasantroadforhalfanhourMr.Bullerbegantofeelthat,perhaps,foralltheseyearshehadbeenlaboringunderamisconception.Itseemedtobepossiblethatthereweresomehorsestowhichsurroundingcircumstancesintheshapeofsightsandsoundsweresoirrelevantthattheyweretoacertaindegreeentirelysafe,evenwhenguidedandcontrolledbyanamateurhand.Astheypassedsomemeadowland,somebodybehindahedgefiredagun;Mr.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,andthereflectionsofthetreesovertheremakeacharmingpicture;youcan'tgetthatattheseaside,youknow."

    Mr.Podingtonwasdelighted;hisfaceglowed;hewasrejoicedatthepleasureofhisfriend."Itellyou,Thomas,"saidhe,"that"

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

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

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

    "Yes,"saidPodington,"butitcan'thurtus,forourroadgoesunder

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    thebridge;weareperfectlysafe;thereisnoriskofaccident."

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

    "Do?"saidPodington;"he'lldowhatheisdoingnow;hedoesn'tmindtrains."

    "Butlookhere,William,"exclaimedBuller,"itwillgettherejustaswedo;nohorsecouldstandaroaringupintheairlikethat!"

    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.See;alittletotheright,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,untilthe

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    wholeequipagewasinthewaterandthewagonwasafloat.

    Thisvehiclewasaroadwagon,withoutatop,andthejointsofitsboxbodyweretightenoughtopreventthewaterfromimmediatelyenteringit;so,somewhatdeeplysunken,itresteduponthewater.Therewasacurrentinthispartofthepondanditturnedthewagondownstream.Thehorsewasnowentirelyimmersedinthewater,withtheexceptionofhisheadandtheupperpartofhisneck,and,unabletoreachthebottomwithhisfeet,hemadevigorouseffortstoswim.

    Mr.Podington,thereinsandwhipinhishands,sathorrifiedandpale;theaccidentwassosudden,hewassostartledandsofrightenedthat,foramoment,hecouldnotspeakaword.Mr.Buller,ontheotherhand,wasnowlivelyandalert.Thewagonhadnosoonerfloatedawayfromtheshorethanhefelthimselfathome.Hewasuponhisfavoriteelement;waterhadnofearsforhim.Hesawthathisfriendwasnearlyfrightenedoutofhiswits,andthat,figurativelyspeaking,hemuststeptothehelmandtakechargeofthevessel.Hestoodupandgazedabouthim.

    "Putheracrossstream!"heshouted;"shecan'tmakeheadwayagainstthiscurrent.Headhertothatclumpoftreesontheotherside;thebankislowerthere,andwecanbeachher.Movealittletheotherway,wemusttrimboat.Nowthen,pullonyourstarboardrein."

    Podingtonobeyed,andthehorseslightlychangedhisdirection.

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

    Mr.Podingtonsaidnotaword;heexpectedeverymomenttoseethehorsesinkintoawaterygrave.

    "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.Thepoormanwasdreadfullyfrightened;hehadneverevenimagineditpossiblethatheshouldbedrownedinhisownwagon.

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

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    Butitdidnotgodownveryfar.Thedeepestpartofthechannelofthestreamhadbeenpassed,andwithabumpthewheelsstruckthebottom.

    "Heavens!"exclaimedBuller,"weareaground."

    "Aground!"exclaimedPodington,"Heavenbepraised!"

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

    "William,"saidhiscompanion,"youmustsitdown;ifyoudon't,you'lltumbleoverboardandbedrowned.Thereisnothingforyoutoholdto."

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

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

    AtthefirststepofthehorseMr.Podingtonbegantototter.InstinctivelyheclutchedBuller.

    "Sitdown!"criedthelatter,"oryou'llhaveusbothoverboard."Therewasnohelpforit;downsatMr.Podington;and,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'tanox;butperhapsIcanstophim."Andwithasmuchvoiceashecouldsummon,hecalledout:"Whoa!"andthehorsestopped.

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

    "Ihavedroppedthattoo,"saidPodington;"thereitfloats."

    "Oh,dear,"saidBuller,"IguessI'llhavetodiveforthem;ifheweretorunaway,weshouldbeinanawfulfix."

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

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    "Asthat'sunderwater,"saidBuller,"itwillbethesamethingasdiving;butit'sgottobedone,andI'lltryit.Don'tyoumovenow;Iammoreusedtowaterthanyouare."

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

    InafewsecondstheupperpartofMr.Bullerrosefromthewater.Hewasdrippingandpuffing,andMr.Podingtoncouldnotbutthinkwhatadifferenceitmadeintheappearanceofhisfriendtohavehishairplasteredclosetohishead.

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

    "Wasitthickandwide?"askedPodington.

    "Yes,"wastheanswer;"itdidseemso."

    "Oh,thatwasatrace,"saidPodington;"Idon'twantthat;thereinsarethinnerandlighter."

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

    AgainMr.Bullerleanedoverthedashboard,andthistimeheremaineddownlonger,andwhenhecameuphepuffedandsputteredmorethanbefore.

    "Isthisit?"saidhe,holdingupastripofwetleather.

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

    "Well,takethem,andsteer.Iwouldhavefoundthemsoonerifhistailhadnotgotintomyeyes.Thatlongtail'sfloatingdownthereandspreadingitselfoutlikeafan;ittangleditselfallaroundmyhead.Itwouldhavebeenmucheasierifhehadbeenabobtailedhorse."

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

    Mr.Bullerputonhishat,whichwastheonlydrythingabouthim,andthenervousPodingtonstartedthehorsesosuddenlythateventhesealegsofBullerweresurprised,andhecameveryneargoingbackwardintothewater;butrecoveringhimself,hesatdown.

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

    Encouragedbyhismaster'svoice,andbythefeelingofthefamiliarhanduponhisbit,thehorsemovedbravelyon.

    Butthebottomwasveryroughanduneven.Sometimesthewheelsstruckalargestone,terrifyingMr.Buller,whothoughttheyweregoingtoupset;andsometimestheysankintosoftmud,horrifyingMr.Podington,whothoughttheyweregoingtodrown.

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

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    nothingwasvisibleabovethewaterbuttheheadandneckofahorseandtheheadsandshouldersoftwomen.

    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,pulledadrippingwagoncontainingtwowellsoakedmenuponashelvingshore.

    "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,"whatyououghttodo;youshouldnevergooutdrivingwithoutalifepreserverandapairofoars;Ialwaystakethem.Itwouldmakeyoufeelsafer."

    Mr.Bullerwenthomethenextday,becauseMr.Podington'sclothesdidnotfithim,andhisownoutdoorsuitwassoshrunkenastobe

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    uncomfortable.Besides,therewasanotherreason,connectedwiththedesireofhorsestoreachtheirhomes,whichpromptedhisreturn.Buthehadnotforgottenhiscompactwithhisfriend,andinthecourseofaweekhewrotetoPodington,invitinghimtospendsomedayswithhim.Mr.Podingtonwasamanofhonor,andinspiteofhisrecentunfortunatewaterexperiencehewouldnotbreakhisword.HewenttoMr.Buller'sseasidehomeatthetimeappointed.

    Earlyonthemorningafterhisarrival,beforethefamilywereup,Mr.Podingtonwentoutandstrolleddowntotheedgeofthebay.HewenttolookatBuller'sboat.Hewaswellawarethathewouldbeaskedtotakeasail,andasBullerhaddrivenwithhim,itwouldbeimpossibleforhimtodeclinesailingwithBuller;buthemustseetheboat.Therewasatrainforhishomeataquarterpastseven;ifhewerenotonthepremiseshecouldnotbeaskedtosail.IfBuller'sboatwerealittle,flimsything,hewouldtakethattrainbuthewouldwaitandsee.

    Therewasonlyonesmallboatanchorednearthebeach,andamanapparentlyafishermaninformedMr.PodingtonthatitbelongedtoMr.Buller.Podingtonlookedatiteagerly;itwasnotverysmallandnotflimsy.

    "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,andwecanwalkupthereandgobythecanaltothelake;itisonlyaboutthreemiles."

    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,

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    butImighttripandfalloverboard,andIcan'tswim."

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

    ButMr.Bullerfoundthatthecanalboatswouldnotstartattheirusualtime;theloadingofoneofthemwasnotfinished,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.Icouldhavealongpairofropelinesanddrivehimmyself;thenwhentheroadswereroughandbadthecanalwouldalwaysbesmooth."

    "Thisisallverynice,"repliedMr.Buller,whosatbythetillertokeeptheboatawayfromthebank,"andIamgladtoseeyouinaboatunderanycircumstances.Doyouknow,William,thatalthoughIdidnotplanit,therecouldnothavebeenabetterwaytobeginyoursailingeducation.Hereweglidealong,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'tthinkIamweakening;youdrovewithme,andIwillsailwithyou."

    ThethoughtcameintoBuller'smindthathehaddonebothofthesethingswithPodington,buthedidnotwishtocallupunpleasant

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    memories,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,"heisrunningawaywithus;weshallbedashedtopieces!Can'tyougetforwardandcastoffthatline?"

    "Whatdoyoumean?"criedPodington,astheboomgaveagreatjerkasifitwouldbreakitsfasteningsanddraghimoverboard.

    "Imeanuntiethetowline.We'llbesmashedifyoudon't!Ican'tleavethistiller.Don'ttrytostandup;holdontotheboomandcreepforward.Steadynow,oryou'llbeoverboard!"

    Mr.Podingtonstumbledtothebowoftheboat,hiseffortsgreatlyimpededbythebigcorklifepreservertiedunderhisarms,andthemotionoftheboatwassoviolentanderraticthathewasobligedtoholdontothemastwithonearmandtotrytoloosentheknotwiththeother;buttherewasagreatstrainontherope,andhecoulddonothingwithonehand.

    "Cutit!Cutit!"criedMr.Buller.

    "Ihaven'taknife,"repliedPodington.

    Mr.Bullerwasterriblyfrightened;hisboatwascuttingthroughthewaterasnevervesselofherclasshadspedsincesailboatswereinvented,andbumpingagainstthebankasifshewereabilliardballreboundingfromtheedgeofatable.Heforgothewasinaboat;heonlyknewthatforthefirsttimeinhislifehewasinarunaway.Heletgothetiller.Itwasofnousetohim.

    "William,"hecried,"letusjumpoutthenexttimewearenearenoughtoshore!"

    "Don'tdothat!Don'tdothat!"repliedPodington."Don'tjumpoutinarunaway;thatisthewaytogethurt.Sticktoyourseat,myboy;hecan'tkeepthisupmuchlonger.He'lllosehiswind!"

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

    "IfhewerehitchedupshorterandIhadasnafflebitandastoutpairofreins,"thoughthe,"Icouldsoonbringhimup."

    ButMr.Bullerwasrapidlylosinghiswits.Thehorseseemedtobegoingfasterthanever.Theboatbumpedharderagainstthebank,and

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    atonetimeBullerthoughttheycouldturnover.

    Suddenlyathoughtstruckhim.

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

    Mr.Podingtonlookedabouthim,and,almostunderhisfeet,sawtheanchor.HedidnotinstantlycomprehendwhyBullerwanteditthrownoverboard,butthiswasnotatimetoaskquestions.Thedifficultiesimposedbythelifepreserver,andthenecessityofholdingonwithonehand,interferedverymuchwithhisgettingattheanchorandthrowingitovertheside,butatlasthesucceeded,andjustastheboatthrewupherbowasifshewereabouttojumponshore,theanchorwentoutanditslineshotafterit.Therewasanirregulartremblingoftheboatastheanchorstruggledalongthebottomofthecanal;thentherewasagreatshock;theboatranintothebankandstopped;thetowlinewastightenedlikeaguitarstring,andthehorse,jerkedbackwithgreatviolence,cametumblinginaheapupontheground.

    InstantlyMr.Podingtonwasontheshoreandrunningatthetopofhisspeedtowardthehorse.TheastoundedanimalhadscarcelybeguntostruggletohisfeetwhenPodingtonrusheduponhim,pressedhisheadbacktotheground,andsatuponit.

    "Hurrah!"hecried,wavinghishatabovehishead."Getout,Buller;heisallrightnow!"

    PresentlyMr.Bullerapproached,verymuchshakenup.

    "Allright?"hesaid."Idon'tcallahorseflatinaroadwithamanonhisheadallright;butholdhimdowntillwegethimloosefrommyboat.Thatisthethingtodo.William,casthimloosefromtheboatbeforeyoulethimup!Whatwillhedowhenhegetsup?"

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

    Whenthehorsewasonhisfeet,andallconnectionbetweentheanimalandtheboathadbeensevered,Mr.Podingtonlookedathisfriend.

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

    "Ihave,"repliedtheother;"IwrestledwiththattillerandIwonderitdidn'tthrowmeout."

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

    "No,"criedMr.Buller;"Iwantnomoresailingafterahorse,and,besides,wecan'tgoonthelakewiththatboat;shehasbeenbatteredaboutsomuchthatshemusthaveopenedadozenseams.Thebestthingwecandoistowalkhome."

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

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    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'llneversomuchasmentionit;soyoucancomealongwithoutathoughtofit.Andsinceyouhavealludedtothesubject,William,"hecontinued,"I'dlikeverymuchtocomeandseeyouagain;youknowmyvisitwasaveryshortonethisyear.Thatisabeautifulcountryyoulivein.Suchavarietyofscenery,suchanopportunityforwalksandrambles!But,William,ifyoucouldonlymakeupyourmindnotto"

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

    "Andhere'smine!"saidMr.Buller.

    Andtheyshookhandsoveranewcompact.

    COLONELSTARBOTTLEFORTHEPLAINTIFF

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    ByBretHarte(18391902)

    [From_Harper'sMagazine_,March,1901.Republishedinthevolume,_OpeningsintheOldTrail_(1902),byBretHarte;copyright,1902,byHoughtonMifflinCompany,theauthorizedpublishersofBretHarte'scompleteworks;reprintedbytheirpermission.]

    IthadbeenadayoftriumphforColonelStarbottle.First,forhispersonality,asitwouldhavebeendifficulttoseparatetheColonel'sachievementsfromhisindividuality;second,forhisoratoricalabilitiesasasympatheticpleader;andthird,forhisfunctionsastheleadingcounselfortheEurekaDitchCompany_versus_theStateofCalifornia.OnhisstrictlylegalperformancesinthisissueIprefernottospeak;therewerethosewhodeniedthem,althoughthejuryhadacceptedtheminthefaceoftherulingofthehalfamused,halfcynicalJudgehimself.ForanhourtheyhadlaughedwiththeColonel,weptwithhim,beenstirredtopersonalindignationorpatrioticexaltationbyhispassionateandloftyperiodswhatelsecouldtheydothangivehimtheirverdict?IfitwasallegedbysomethattheAmericaneagle,ThomasJefferson,andtheResolutionsof'98hadnothingwhatevertodowiththecontestofaditchcompanyoveradoubtfullywordedlegislativedocument;thatwholesaleabuseoftheStateAttorneyandhispoliticalmotiveshadnottheslightestconnectionwiththelegalquestionraiseditwas,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,onopeningthedoorofhisprivateofficetofindhisvisitoralreadythere;hewasstillmorestartledtofindhersomewhatpastmiddleageandplainlyattired.ButtheColonelwasbroughtupinaschoolofSouthernpoliteness,alreadyantiqueintherepublic,andhisbowofcourtesybelongedtotheepochofhisshirtfrillandstrappedtrousers.Noonecouldhavedetectedhisdisappointmentinhismanner,albeithissentenceswereshortandincomplete.ButtheColonel'scolloquialspeechwasapttobefragmentaryincoherenciesofhislargeroratoricalutterances.

    "Athousandpardonsforerhavingkeptaladywaitinger!Butercongratulationsoffriendsandercourtesyduetothemerinterferedwiththoughperhapsonlyheightenedby

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    procrastinationpleasureofha!"AndtheColonelcompletedhissentencewithagallantwaveofhisfatbutwhiteandwellkepthand.

    "Yes!Icametoseeyoualongo'thatspeechofyours.Iwasincourt.WhenIheardyougettin'itoffonthatjury,Isaystomyselfthat'sthekindo'lawyer_I_want.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.Hischivalrywasoutraged;hissenseofhumorwassmallandinthecourseofhiscareerhehadlostoneortwoimportantcasesthroughanunexpecteddevelopmentofthisqualityinajury.

    Thewomanhadevidentlynoticedhishesitation,butmistookitscause."Itain'tmebutmydarter."

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

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

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

    Hewasquitesincere;indeed,hissmallblackeyesshonewiththatfirewhichaprettywomanoran"affairofhonor"couldalonekindle.Thevisitorstaredvacantlyathim,andsaid,slowly:

    "Andwhatgoodisthatgoin'todo_us_?"

    "Compelhimtoerperformhispromise,"saidtheColonel,leaningbackinhischair.

    "Ketchhimdoin'it!"saidthewoman,scornfully."Nothatain'twotwe'reafter.Wemustmakehim_pay_!Damagesandnothin'shorto'_that_."

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

    "Nonaryaletter!Yesee,that'sjestitandthat'swhere_you_

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    comein.You'vegottoconvincethatjuryyourself.You'vegottoshowwhatitistellthewholestoryyourownway.Lord!toamanlikeyouthat'snothin'."

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

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

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

    TheColoneldidnothesitate;hiscuriositywaspiqued."Icertainlycan.Ihavenodoubtyourdaughterwillputmeinpossessionofsufficientfactsanddetailstoconstitutewhatwecallerabrief."

    "Shekinbebriefenoughorlongenoughforthematterofthat,"saidthewoman,rising.TheColonelacceptedthisimpliedwitticismwithasmile.

    "AndwhenmayIhavethepleasureofseeingher?"heasked,politely.

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

    Shewalkedtothedoor.TheastoundedColonelneverthelessgallantlyaccompaniedherasshesteppedoutintothestreetandcalled,shrilly,"YouZaidee!"

    Ayounggirlhereapparentlydetachedherselffromatreeandtheostentatiousperusalofanoldelectionposter,andsauntereddowntowardstheofficedoor.Likehermother,shewasplainlydressed;unlikeher,shehadapale,ratherrefinedface,withademuremouthanddowncasteyes.ThiswasalltheColonelsawashebowedprofoundlyandledthewayintohisoffice,forsheacceptedhissalutationswithoutliftingherhead.Hehelpedhergallantlytoachair,onwhichsheseatedherselfsideways,somewhatceremoniously,withhereyesfollowingthepointofherparasolasshetracedapatternonthecarpet.Asecondchairofferedtothemotherthatlady,however,declined."IreckontoleaveyouandZaideetogethertotalkitout,"shesaid;turningtoherdaughter,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,

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    prayermeetings,andsuch.Andathomeoutsideerintheroad."

    "IsitthisgentlemanMr.AdoniramK.Hotchkisswhoerpromisedmarriage?"stammeredtheColonel.

    "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."

    "And_damages_,"saidtheyounggirl,readdressingherparasol,asifshehadneverlookedup.

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

    "Which?"saidhisfairclient,softly.

    "Ifyoustilllovehim?"explainedtheColonel,actuallyblushing.

    Zaideeagainlookedup;againtakingtheColonel'sbreathawaywitheyesthatexpressednotonlythefullestperceptionofwhathehad_said_,butofwhathethoughtandhadnotsaid,andwithanaddedsubtlesuggestionofwhathemighthavethought."That'stellin',"shesaid,droppingherlonglashesagain.TheColonellaughedvacantly.Thenfeelinghimselfgrowingimbecile,heforcedanequallyweakgravity."PardonmeIunderstandtherearenoletters;mayIknowthewayinwhichheformulatedhisdeclarationandpromises?"

    "Hymnbooks,"saidthegirl,briefly.

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    "Ibegyourpardon,"saidthemystifiedlawyer.

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

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

    "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.Atleastas_she_gaveit.Withhisremembranceofthegrimdeaconhehaddoubtsastothemelodiousnessof_his_utterance.Hegravelymadeherrepeatit.

    "Andafterthatsignal?"headded,suggestively.

    "He'dpasson,"saidthegirl.

    TheColonelcoughedslightly,andtappedhisdeskwithhispenholder.

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

    "No;hewasnotwhatyou'dcall'fond,'"returnedthegirl.

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

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

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    disengagedherparasolfromthecarpetpatternandstoodup.

    "Ireckonthat'saboutall,"shesaid.

    "Eryesbutonemoment,"saidtheColonel,vaguely.Hewouldhavelikedtokeepherlonger,butwithherstrangepremonitionofhimhefeltpowerlesstodetainher,orexplainhisreasonfordoingso.Heinstinctivelyknewshehadtoldhimall;hisprofessionaljudgmenttoldhimthatamorehopelesscasehadnevercometohisknowledge.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.Theyledasecludedlife;thegirlbeinglittleknowninthetown,andherbeautyandfascinationapparentlynotyetbeingarecognizedfact.TheColonelfeltapleasurablereliefatthis,andageneralsatisfactionhecouldnotaccountfor.HisfewinquiriesconcerningMr.Hotchkissonlyconfirmedhisownimpressionsoftheallegedloveraseriousminded,practicallyabstractedmanabstentiveofyouthfulsociety,andthelastmanapparentlycapableoflevityoftheaffectionsorseriousflirtation.TheColonelwasmystifiedbutdeterminedofpurposewhateverthatpurposemighthavebeen.

    Thenextdayhewasathisofficeatthesamehour.HewasaloneasusualtheColonel'sofficereallybeinghisprivatelodgings,disposedinconnectingrooms,asingleapartmentreservedforconsultation.Hehadnoclerk;hispapersandbriefsbeingtakenbyhisfaithfulbodyservantandexslave"Jim"toanotherfirmwhodidhisofficeworksincethedeathofMajorStrykertheColonel'sonlylawpartner,whofellinaduelsomeyearsprevious.WithafineconstancytheColonelstillretainedhispartner'snameonhisdoorplateand,itwasallegedbythesuperstitious,keptacertaininvincibilityalsothroughthe_manes_ofthatlamentedandsomewhatfearedman.

    TheColonelconsultedhiswatch,whoseheavygoldcasestillshowedthemarksofaprovidentialinterferencewithabulletdestinedforitsowner,andreplaceditwithsomedifficultyandshortnessofbreathinhisfob.Atthesamemomentheheardastepinthepassage,andthedooropenedtoAdoniramK.Hotchkiss.TheColonelwasimpressed;hehadaduellist'srespectforpunctuality.

    Themanenteredwithanodandtheexpectant,inquiringlookofabusyman.AshisfeetcrossedthatsacredthresholdtheColonelbecameallcourtesy;heplacedachairforhisvisitor,andtookhishatfromhishalfreluctanthand.Hethenopenedacupboardandbroughtoutabottleofwhiskeyandtwoglasses.

    "Aerslightrefreshment,Mr.Hotchkiss,"hesuggested,politely."Ineverdrink,"repliedHotchkiss,withthesevereattitudeofatotalabstainer."Ahernotthefinestbourbonwhiskey,selectedbya

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    Kentuckyfriend?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.'ThenIreckonshootin'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,concernsasubjectwhichImaysayisereratpresent_not_ofapublicorbusinessnaturealthough_later_itmightbecomeererboth.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.Ihavenotexhaustedhalfadozenwordswiththepersonyounamehaveneverwrittenheralinenorevencalledather

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    house."Herosewithanassumptionofease,pulleddownhiswaistcoat,buttonedhiscoat,andtookuphishat.TheColoneldidnotmove."IbelieveIhavealreadyindicatedmymeaninginwhatIhavecalled'yourattentions,'"saidtheColonel,blandly,"andgivenyoumy'concern'forspeakingaserermutualfriend.Asto_your_statementofyourrelationswithMissHooker,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:

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

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

    "Havingwon_your_case,sir,"saidtheColonel,coolly,"theerusagesofadvocacydonotpreventmefromespousingthecauseoftheweakandunprotected."

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

    "Permitmetoseeyouout,"interruptedtheColonel,risingpolitely.

    "willbereadytoresisttheattacksofblackmail,"continuedHotchkiss,retreatingalongthepassage.

    "Andthenyouwillbeabletorepeatyourremarkstome_inthestreet_,"continuedtheColonel,bowing,ashepersistedinfollowinghisvisitortothedoor.

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

    Hooker_versus_Hotchkiss.

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

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    ThishesealedanddespatchedbyhistrustedservantJim,andthendevotedafewmomentstoreflection.ItwasthecustomoftheColoneltoactfirst,andjustifytheactionbyreasonafterwards.

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

    Perhapstherewassomethingelse,duepossiblytothelady'swonderfuleyes,ofwhichhehadthoughtmuch.Yetitwasnothersimplicitythataffectedhimsolely;onthecontrary,itwasherapparentintelligentreadingofthecharacterofherrecreantloverandofhisown!OfalltheColonel'sprevious"light"or"serious"lovesnonehadeverbeforeflatteredhiminthatway.Anditwasthis,combinedwiththerespectwhichhehadheldfortheirprofessionalrelations,thatprecludedhishavingamorefamiliarknowledgeofhisclient,throughseriousquestioning,orplayfulgallantry.Iamnotsureitwasnotpartofthecharmtohavearustic_femmeincomprise_asaclient.

    Nothingcouldexceedtherespectwithwhichhegreetedherassheenteredhisofficethenextday.Heevenaffectednottonoticethatshehadputonherbestclothes,andhemadenodoubtappearedaswhenshehadfirstattractedthematureyetfaithlessattentionsofDeaconHotchkissatchurch.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.Hefelthersoftyoungfingerseven

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    throughthelislethreadglovesthatencasedthemandthewarmmoistureofherlipsuponhisskin.Hefelthimselfflushingbutwasunabletobreakthesilenceorchangehisposition.Thenextmomentshehadscuttledbackwithherchairtoheroldposition.

    "Iercertainlyshalldomybest,"stammeredtheColonel,inanattempttorecoverhisdignityandcomposure.

    "That'senough!You'll_do_it,"saidthegirl,enthusiastically."Lordy!Justyoutalkfor_me_asyedidfor_his_oldDitchCompany,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.

    "Imustaskyoutoerdirectyourmemorytoeranotherpoint;thebreakingoffoftheerererengagement.Didheergiveanyreasonforit?Orshowanycause?"

    "No;heneversaidanything,"returnedthegirl.

    "Notinhisusualway?ernoreproachesoutofthehymnbook?orthesacredwritings?"

    "No;hejust_quit_."

    "Erceasedhisattentions,"saidtheColonel,gravely."Andnaturallyyouerwerenotconsciousofanycauseforhisdoingso."ThegirlraisedherwonderfuleyessosuddenlyandsopenetratinglywithoutreplyinanyotherwaythattheColonelcouldonlyhurriedlysay:"Isee!None,ofcourse!"

    Atwhichsherose,theColonelrisingalso."Weshallbeginproceedingsatonce.Imust,however,cautionyoutoanswernoquestionsnorsayanythingaboutthiscasetoanyoneuntilyouareincourt."

    Sheansweredhisrequestwithanotherintelligentlookandanod.Heaccompaniedhertothedoor.Ashetookherprofferedhandheraisedthelislethreadfingerstohislipswitholdfashionedgallantry.Asifthatacthadcondonedforhisfirstomissionsandawkwardness,hebecamehisoldfashionedselfagain,buttonedhiscoat,pulledouthisshirtfrill,andstruttedbacktohisdesk.

    AdayortwolateritwasknownthroughoutthetownthatZaideeHookerhadsuedAdoniramHotchkissforbreachofpromise,andthatthe

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    damageswerelaidatfivethousanddollars.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'swhattheycall_religious_."

    Itwasthereforenotremarkablethatthecourthousethreeweekslaterwascrowdedwithanexcitedmultitudeofthecuriousandsympathizing.Thefairplaintiff,withhermother,wasearlyinattendance,andundertheColonel'sadviceappearedinthesamemodestgarbinwhichshehadfirstvisitedhisoffice.Thisandherdowncastmodestdemeanorwereperhapsatfirstdisappointingtothecrowd,whohadevidentlyexpectedaparagonoflovelinessastheCirceofthegrimasceticdefendant,whosatbesidehiscounsel.ButpresentlyalleyeswerefixedontheColonel,whocertainlymadeupin_his_appearanceanydeficiencyofhisfairclient.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,placedwithequalpolitenesstheremainingcopiesbeforethejury,theoppositecounselsprangtohisfeet.

    "IwanttodirecttheattentionoftheCourttothisunprecedentedtamperingwiththejury,bythisgratuitousexhibitionofmatterimpertinentandirrelevanttotheissue."

    TheJudgecastaninquiringlookatColonelStarbottle.

    "MayitpleasetheCourt,"returnedColonelStarbottlewithdignity,ignoringthecounsel,"thedefendant'scounselwillobservethatheis

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    alreadyfurnishedwiththematterwhichIregrettosayhehastreatedinthepresenceoftheCourtandofhisclient,adeaconofthechurchwithergreatsuperciliousness.WhenIstatetoyourHonorthatthebooksinquestionarehymnbooksandcopiesofthe_HolyScriptures_,andthattheyarefortheinstructionofthejury,towhomIshallhavetorefertheminthecourseofmyopening,IbelieveIamwithinmyrights."

    "Theactiscertainlyunprecedented,"saidtheJudge,dryly,"butunlessthecounselfortheplaintiffexpectsthejuryto_sing_fromthesehymnbooks,theirintroductionisnotimproper,andIcannotadmittheobjection.Asdefendant'scounselarefurnishedwithcopiesalso,theycannotplead'surprise,'asintheintroductionofnewmatter,andasplaintiff'scounselreliesevidentlyuponthejury'sattentiontohisopening,hewouldnotbethefirstpersontodistractit."Afterapauseheadded,addressingtheColonel,whoremainedstanding,"TheCourtiswithyou,sir;proceed."

    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.Itwasveryhot;thecourtwascrowdedtosuffocation;eventheopenwindowsrevealedacrowdoffacesoutsidethebuilding,eagerlyfollowingtheColonel'swords.

    Hewouldremindthejurythatonlyafewweeksagohestoodthereastheadvocateofapowerfulcompany,thenrepresentedbythepresentdefendant.Hespokethenasthechampionofstrictjusticeagainstlegaloppression;nolessshouldhetodaychampionthecauseoftheunprotectedandthecomparativelydefenselesssaveforthatparamountpowerwhichsurroundsbeautyandinnocenceeventhoughtheplaintiffofyesterdaywasthedefendantoftoday.Asheapproachedthecourtamomentagohehadraisedhiseyesandbeheldthestarryflagflyingfromitsdomeandheknewthatgloriousbannerwasasymboloftheperfectequality,undertheConstitution,oftherichandthepoor,thestrongandtheweakanequalitywhichmadethesimplecitizentakenfromtheploughintheveld,thepickinthegulch,orfrombehindthecounterintheminingtown,whoservedonthatjury,theequalarbitersofjusticewiththathighestlegalluminarywhomtheywereproudtowelcomeonthebenchtoday.TheColonelpaused,withastatelybowtotheimpassiveJudge.Itwasthis,hecontinued,whichliftedhisheartasheapproachedthebuilding.Andyethehadentereditwithanuncertainhemightalmostsayatimidstep.Andwhy?Heknew,gentlemen,hewasabouttoconfrontaprofoundaye!asacredresponsibility!Thosehymnbooksandholywritingshandedtothejurywere_not_,ashisHonorsurmised,forthepurposeof

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    enablingthejurytoindulgeinerpreliminarychoralexercise!Hemight,indeed,say"alasnot!"Theywerethedamning,incontrovertibleproofsoftheperfidyofthedefendant.AndtheywouldproveasterribleawarningtohimasthefatalcharactersuponBelshazzar'swall.Therewasastrongsensation.Hotchkissturnedasallowgreen.Hislawyersassumedacarelesssmile.

    Itwashisdutytotellthemthatthiswasnotoneofthoseordinary"breachofpromise"caseswhichweretoooftentheoccasionofruthlessmirthandindecentlevityinthecourtroom.Thejurywouldfindnothingofthathere,Therewerenoloveletterswiththeepithetsofendearment,northosemysticcrossesandcipherswhich,hehadbeencrediblyinformed,chastelyhidtheexchangeofthosemutualcaressesknownas"kisses."Therewasnocrueltearingoftheveilfromthosesacredprivaciesofthehumanaffectiontherewasnoforensicshoutingoutofthosefondconfidencesmeantonlyfor_one_.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,normementoesofaffectionsuchasloversdelighttohangupontheshrineoftheiraffections;hersisnottheglorywithwhichSolomondecoratedtheQueenofSheba,thoughthedefendant,asIshallshowlater,clothedherinthelessexpensiveflowersoftheking'spoetry.No!gentlemen!Thedefendantexhibitedinthisaffaira

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    certainfrugalityoferpecuniaryinvestment,whichIamwillingtoadmitmaybecommendableinhisclass.Hisonlygiftwascharacteristicalikeofhismethodsandhiseconomy.Thereis,Iunderstand,acertainnotunimportantfeatureofreligiousexerciseknownas'takingacollection.'Thedefendant,onthisoccasion,bythemutepresentationofatipplatecoveredwithbaize,solicitedthepecuniarycontributionsofthefaithful.Onapproachingtheplaintiff,however,hehimselfslippedalovetokenupontheplateandpushedittowardsher.Thatlovetokenwasalozengeasmalldisk,Ihavereasontobelieve,concoctedofpeppermintandsugar,bearinguponitsreversesurfacethesimplewords,'Iloveyou!'Ihavesinceascertainedthatthesedisksmaybeboughtforfivecentsadozenoratconsiderablylessthanonehalfcentforthesinglelozenge.Yes,gentlemen,thewords'Iloveyou!'theoldestlegendofall;therefrain,'whenthemorningstarssangtogether'werepresentedtotheplaintiffbyamediumsoinsignificantthatthereis,happily,nocoinintherepubliclowenoughtorepresentitsvalue.

    "Ishallprovetoyou,gentlemenofthejury,"saidtheColonel,solemnly,drawinga_Bible_fromhiscoattailpocket,"thatthedefendant,forthelasttwelvemonths,conductedanamatorycorrespondencewiththeplaintiffbymeansofunderlinedwordsofsacredwritandchurchpsalmody,suchas'beloved,''precious,'and'dearest,'occasionallyappropriatingwholepassageswhichseemedappositetohistenderpassion.Ishallcallyourattentiontooneofthem.Thedefendant,whileprofessingtobeatotalabstaineramanwho,inmyownknowledge,hasrefusedspirituousrefreshmentasaninordinateweaknessoftheflesh,withshamelesshypocrisyunderscoreswithhispencilthefollowingpassageandpresentsittotheplaintiff.Thegentlemenofthejurywillfinditinthe_SongofSolomon_,page548,chapterII,verse5."Afterapause,inwhichtherapidrustlingofleaveswasheardinthejurybox,ColonelStarbottledeclaimedinapleading,stentorianvoice,"'Staymewither_flagons_,comfortmewitherapplesforIamersickoflove.'Yes,gentlemen!yes,youmaywellturnfromthoseaccusingpagesandlookatthedoublefaceddefendant.Hedesirestoerbe'stayedwithflagons'!Iamnotaware,atpresent,whatkindofliquorishabituallydispensedatthesemeetings,andforwhichthedefendantsourgentlyclamored;butitwillbemydutybeforethistrialisovertodiscoverit,ifIhavetosummoneverybarkeeperinthisdistrict.Forthemoment,Iwillsimplycallyourattentiontothe_quantity_.Itisnotasingledrinkthatthedefendantasksfornotaglassoflightandgenerouswine,tobesharedwithhisinamoratabutanumberofflagonsorvessels,eachpossiblyholdingapintmeasure_forhimself_!"

    Thesmileoftheaudiencehadbecomealaugh.TheJudgelookedupwarningly,whenhiseyecaughtthefactthattheColonelhadagainwincedatthismirth.Heregardedhimseriously.Mr.Hotchkiss'scounselhadjoinedinthelaughaffectedly,butHotchkisshimselfwasashypale.Therewasalsoacommotioninthejurybox,ahurriedturningoverofleaves,andanexciteddiscussion.

    "Thegentlemenofthejury,"saidtheJudge,withofficialgravity,"willpleasekeeporderandattendonlytothespeechesofcounsel.Anydiscussion_here_isirregularandprematureandmustbereservedforthejuryroomaftertheyhaveretired."

    Theforemanofthejurystruggledtohisfeet.Hewasapowerfulman,withagoodhumoredface,and,inspiteofhisunfelicitousnicknameof"TheBoneBreaker,"hadakindly,simple,butsomewhatemotionalnature.Nevertheless,itappearedasifhewerelaboringundersomepowerfulindignation.

    "Canweaskaquestion,Judge?"hesaid,respectfully,althoughhis

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    voicehadtheunmistakableWesternAmericanringinit,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.

    "OftheChurch!"

    "Weain'taskin'anyquestionso'_you_andweain'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,itwilldependupon_you_tosaywhatareandwhatarenotarticulateexpressionsoflove.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!'Instantly

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    thenightbecameresonantwiththeimpassionedreply"(theColonelhereliftedhisvoiceinstentoriantones),"'Kerrow.'Again,ashepasses,risesthesoft'Kerree';again,ashisformislostinthedistance,comesbackthedeep'Kerrow.'"

    Aburstoflaughter,long,loud,andirrepressible,struckthewholecourtroom,andbeforetheJudgecouldlifthishalfcomposedfaceandtakehishandkerchieffromhismouth,afaint"Kerree"fromsomeunrecognizedobscurityofthecourtroomwasfollowedbyaloud"Kerrow"fromsomeoppositelocality."Thesheriffwillclearthecourt,"saidtheJudge,sternly;butalas,astheembarrassedandchokingofficialsrushedhitherandthither,asoft"Kerree"fromthespectatorsatthewindow,_outside_thecourthouse,wasansweredbyaloudchorusof"Kerrows"fromtheoppositewindows,filledwithonlookers.Againthelaughteraroseeverywhereeventhefairplaintiffherselfsatconvulsedbehindherhandkerchief.

    ThefigureofColonelStarbottlealoneremainederectwhiteandrigid.AndthentheJudge,lookingup,sawwhatnooneelseinthecourthadseenthattheColonelwassincereandinearnest;thatwhathehadconceivedtobethepleader'smostperfectacting,andmostelaborateirony,werethedeep,serious,mirthless_convictions_ofamanwithouttheleastsenseofhumor.TherewasatouchofthisrespectintheJudge'svoiceashesaidtohim,gently,"Youmayproceed,ColonelStarbottle."

    "IthankyourHonor,"saidtheColonel,slowly,"forrecognizinganddoingallinyourpowertopreventaninterruptionthat,duringmythirtyyears'experienceatthebar,Ihaveneveryetbeensubjectedtowithouttheprivilegeofholdingtheinstigatorsthereofresponsible_personally_responsible.ItispossiblymyfaultthatIhavefailed,oratorically,toconveytothegentlemenofthejurythefullforceandsignificanceofthedefendant'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."

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    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,Hiram;apow'fulmanliketheColonelknowseverythingandI'veseenitinhiseye.'Lordy!"shecontinued,withalaugh,leaningforwardoverherparasol,ashereyesagainsoughttheColonel's,"don'tyourememberwhenyouaskedmeifIlovedthatoldHotchkiss,andItoldyou'That'stellin','andyoulookedatme,Lordy!Iknew_then_yoususpectedtherewasaHiram_somewhere_asgoodasifI'dtoldyou.Now,you,jestgetup,Hiram,andgivetheColonelagoodhandshake.Forifitwasn'tfor_him_and_his_searchin'ways,and_his_awfulpoweroflanguage,Iwouldn'thevgotthatfourthousanddollarsouto'thatflirtyfoolHotchkissenoughtobuyafarm,soasyouandmecouldgetmarried!That'swhatyouoweto_him_.Don'tstandtherelikeastuckfoolstarin'athim.Hewon'teatyouthoughhe'skilledmanyabetterman.Come,have_I_gottodo_all_thekissin'!"

    ItisofrecordthattheColonelbowedsocourteouslyandsoprofoundlythathemanagednotmerelytoevadetheprofferedhandoftheshyHiram,buttoonlylightlytouchthefrankerandmoreimpulsivefingertipsofthegentleZaidee."IeroffermysincerestcongratulationsthoughIthinkyoueroverestimatemyerpowersofpenetration.Unfortunately,apressingengagement,whichmayobligemealsotoleavetowntonight,forbidsmysayingmore.Ihaveerlefttheerbusinesssettlementofthisercaseinthehandsofthelawyerswhodomyofficework,andwhowillshowyoueveryattention.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!"

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    THEDUPLICITYOFHARGRAVES

    ByO.Henry(18621910)

    [From_TheJuniorMunsey_,February,1902.Republishedinthevolume,_SixesandSevens_(1911),byO.Henry;copyright,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.HismindlivedinthatperiodbeforetheCivilWarwhentheTalbotsownedthousandsofacresoffinecottonlandandtheslavestotillthem;whenthefamilymansionwasthesceneofprincelyhospitality,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.Duringhistalkshewouldquotefreelyfromthe_AnecdotesandReminiscences_.Buttheywereverycarefulnottolethimseetheirdesigns,forinspiteofhissixtyeightyearshecouldmaketheboldestofthemuncomfortableunderthesteadyregardofhispiercinggrayeyes.

    MissLydiawasaplump,littleoldmaidofthirtyfive,withsmoothlydrawn,tightlytwistedhairthatmadeherlookstillolder.Oldfashioned,too,shewas;butantebellumglorydidnotradiatefromherasitdidfromtheMajor.Shepossessedathriftycommonsense,anditwasshewhohandledthefinancesofthefamily,andmetallcomerswhentherewerebillstopay.TheMajorregardedboardbillsandwashbillsascontemptiblenuisances.Theykeptcominginsopersistentlyandsooften.Why,theMajorwantedtoknow,couldtheynotbefiledandpaidinalumpsumatsomeconvenientperiodsaywhenthe_AnecdotesandReminiscences_hadbeenpublishedandpaidfor?MissLydiawouldcalmlygoonwithhersewingandsay,"We'llpayaswegoaslongasthemoneylasts,andthenperhapsthey'llhaveto

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    lumpit."

    MostofMrs.Vardeman'sboarderswereawayduringtheday,beingnearlyalldepartmentclerksandbusinessmen;buttherewasoneofthemwhowasaboutthehouseagreatdealfrommorningtonight.ThiswasayoungmannamedHenryHopkinsHargraveseveryoneinthehouseaddressedhimbyhisfullnamewhowasengagedatoneofthepopularvaudevilletheaters.Vaudevillehasrisentosucharespectableplaneinthelastfewyears,andMr.Hargraveswassuchamodestandwellmanneredperson,thatMrs.Vardemancouldfindnoobjectiontoenrollinghimuponherlistofboarders.

    AtthetheaterHargraveswasknownasanallrounddialectcomedian,havingalargerepertoireofGerman,Irish,Swede,andblackfacespecialties.ButMr.Hargraveswasambitious,andoftenspokeofhisgreatdesiretosucceedinlegitimatecomedy.

    ThisyoungmanappearedtoconceiveastrongfancyforMajorTalbot.WheneverthatgentlemanwouldbeginhisSouthernreminiscences,orrepeatsomeoftheliveliestoftheanecdotes,Hargravescouldalwaysbefound,themostattentiveamonghislisteners.

    ForatimetheMajorshowedaninclinationtodiscouragetheadvancesofthe"playactor,"asheprivatelytermedhim;butsoontheyoungman'sagreeablemannerandindubitableappreciationoftheoldgentleman'sstoriescompletelywonhimover.

    Itwasnotlongbeforethetwowerelikeoldchums.TheMajorsetaparteachafternoontoreadtohimthemanuscriptofhisbook.DuringtheanecdotesHargravesneverfailedtolaughatexactlytherightpoint.TheMajorwasmovedtodeclaretoMissLydiaonedaythatyoungHargravespossessedremarkableperceptionandagratifyingrespectfortheoldregime.AndwhenitcametotalkingofthoseolddaysifMajorTalbotlikedtotalk,Mr.Hargraveswasentrancedtolisten.

    Likealmostalloldpeoplewhotalkofthepast,theMajorlovedtolingeroverdetails.Indescribingthesplendid,almostroyal,daysoftheoldplanters,hewouldhesitateuntilhehadrecalledthenameofthenegrowhoheldhishorse,ortheexactdateofcertainminorhappenings,orthenumberofbalesofcottonraisedinsuchayear;butHargravesnevergrewimpatientorlostinterest.Onthecontrary,hewouldadvancequestionsonavarietyofsubjectsconnectedwiththelifeofthattime,andheneverfailedtoextractreadyreplies.

    Thefoxhunts,the'possumsuppers,thehoedownsandjubileesinthenegroquarters,thebanquetsintheplantationhousehall,wheninvitationswentforfiftymilesaround;theoccasionalfeudswiththeneighboringgentry;theMajor'sduelwithRathboneCulbertsonaboutKittyChalmers,whoafterwardmarriedaThwaiteofSouthCarolina;andprivateyachtracesforfabuloussumsonMobileBay;thequaintbeliefs,improvidenthabits,andloyalvirtuesoftheoldslavesalltheseweresubjectsthatheldboththeMajorandHargravesabsorbedforhoursatatime.

    Sometimes,atnight,whentheyoungmanwouldbecomingupstairstohisroomafterhisturnatthetheaterwasover,theMajorwouldappearatthedoorofhisstudyandbeckonarchlytohim.Goingin,Hargraveswouldfindalittletablesetwithadecanter,sugarbowl,fruit,andabigbunchoffreshgreenmint.

    "Itoccurredtome,"theMajorwouldbeginhewasalwaysceremonious"thatperhapsyoumighthavefoundyourdutiesattheatyourplaceofoccupationsufficientlyarduoustoenableyou,Mr.Hargraves,toappreciatewhatthepoetmightwellhavehadinhismindwhenhewrote,'tiredNature'ssweetrestorer'oneofourSouthern

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    juleps."

    ItwasafascinationtoHargravestowatchhimmakeit.Hetookrankamongartistswhenhebegan,andhenevervariedtheprocess.Withwhatdelicacyhebruisedthemint;withwhatexquisitenicetyheestimatedtheingredients;withwhatsolicitouscarehecappedthecompoundwiththescarletfruitglowingagainstthedarkgreenfringe!Andthenthehospitalityandgracewithwhichheofferedit,aftertheselectedoatstrawshadbeenplungedintoitstinklingdepths!

    AfteraboutfourmonthsinWashington,MissLydiadiscoveredonemorningthattheywerealmostwithoutmoney.The_AnecdotesandReminiscences_wascompleted,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,withhisextraordinary

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    coatshowingonlywhereitwascloselybuttoned,andhiswhitehairsmoothlyroached,lookedreallyfineanddistinguished.Thecurtainwentuponthefirstactof_AMagnoliaFlower_,revealingatypicalSouthernplantationscene.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,ramblingcharactermonologuesofamousin_AMagnoliaFlower_,atthesametimethathedeftlymakesjulepsfortheparty.

    MajorTalbot,sittingquietly,butwhitewithindignation,heardhisbeststoriesretold,hispettheoriesandhobbiesadvancedandexpanded,andthedreamofthe_AnecdotesandReminiscences_served,exaggeratedandgarbled.HisfavoritenarrativethatofhisduelwithRathboneCulbertsonwasnotomitted,anditwasdeliveredwithmorefire,egotism,andgustothantheMajorhimselfputintoit.

    Themonologueconcludedwithaquaint,delicious,wittylittlelectureontheartofconcoctingajulep,illustratedbytheact.HereMajorTalbot'sdelicatebutshowysciencewasreproducedtoahair'sbreadthfromhisdaintyhandlingofthefragrantweed"the

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    onethousandthpartofagraintoomuchpressure,gentlemen,andyouextractthebitterness,insteadofthearoma,ofthisheavenbestowedplant"tohissolicitousselectionoftheoatenstraws.

    Atthecloseofthescenetheaudienceraisedatumultuousroarofappreciation.Theportrayalofthetypewassoexact,sosureandthorough,thattheleadingcharactersintheplaywereforgotten.Afterrepeatedcalls,Hargravescamebeforethecurtainandbowed,hisratherboyishfacebrightandflushedwiththeknowledgeofsuccess.

    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'swhat_ThePost_says:

    "'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.

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    "Iamtrulysorryyoutookoffense,"hesaidregretfully."Upherewedon'tlookatthingsjustasyoupeopledo.Iknowmenwhowouldbuyouthalfthehousetohavetheirpersonalityputonthestagesothepublicwouldrecognizeit."

    "TheyarenotfromAlabama,sir,"saidtheMajorhaughtily.

    "Perhapsnot.Ihaveaprettygoodmemory,Major;letmequoteafewlinesfromyourbook.InresponsetoatoastatabanquetgiveninMilledgeville,Ibelieveyouuttered,andintendtohaveprinted,thesewords:

    "'TheNorthernmanisutterlywithoutsentimentorwarmthexceptinsofarasthefeelingsmaybeturnedtohisowncommercialprofit.Hewillsufferwithoutresentmentanyimputationcastuponthehonorofhimselforhislovedonesthatdoesnotbearwithittheconsequenceofpecuniaryloss.Inhischarity,hegiveswithaliberalhand;butitmustbeheraldedwiththetrumpetandchronicledinbrass.'

    "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.UndernocircumstanceswouldIacceptaloanfromacasualacquaintance;andastoyou,sir,IwouldstarvebeforeIwouldconsideryourinsultingofferofafinancialadjustmentofthecircumstanceswehavediscussed.Ibegtorepeatmyrequestrelativetoyourquittingtheapartment."

    Hargravestookhisdeparturewithoutanotherword.Healsoleftthehousethesameday,moving,asMrs.Vardemanexplainedatthesuppertable,nearerthevicinityofthedowntowntheater,where_AMagnoliaFlower_wasbookedforaweek'srun.

    CriticalwasthesituationwithMajorTalbotandMissLydia.TherewasnooneinWashingtontowhomtheMajor'sscruplesallowedhimtoapplyforaloan.MissLydiawrotealettertoUncleRalph,butitwasdoubtfulwhetherthatrelative'sconstrictedaffairswouldpermithimtofurnishhelp.TheMajorwasforcedtomakeanapologeticaddresstoMrs.Vardemanregardingthedelayedpaymentforboard,referringto"delinquentrentals"and"delayedremittances"inaratherconfusedstrain.

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    Deliverancecamefromanentirelyunexpectedsource.

    LateoneafternoonthedoormaidcameupandannouncedanoldcoloredmanwhowantedtoseeMajorTalbot.TheMajoraskedthathebesentuptohisstudy.Soonanolddarkeyappearedinthedoorway,withhishatinhand,bowing,andscrapingwithoneclumsyfoot.Hewasquitedecentlydressedinabaggysuitofblack.Hisbig,coarseshoesshonewithametalliclustersuggestiveofstovepolish.Hisbushywoolwasgrayalmostwhite.Aftermiddlelife,itisdifficulttoestimatetheageofanegro.ThisonemighthaveseenasmanyyearsashadMajorTalbot.

    "Ibeboundyoudon'tknowme,Mars'Pendleton,"werehisfirstwords.

    TheMajorroseandcameforwardattheold,familiarstyleofaddress.Itwasoneoftheoldplantationdarkeyswithoutadoubt;buttheyhadbeenwidelyscattered,andhecouldnotrecallthevoiceorface.

    "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.

    "Yessir;oflateIdonemoutyfamous.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?"

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    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,deysentmealong."

    "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,aswellasatokenoftheloyaltyanddevotionoftheoldregime.Lydia,mydear,takethemoney.YouarebetterfittedthanItomanageitsexpenditure."

    "Takeit,honey,"saidUncleMose."Hitbelongstoyou.Hit'sTalbotmoney."

    AfterUncleMosehadgone,MissLydiahadagoodcryforjoy;andtheMajorturnedhisfacetoacorner,andsmokedhisclaypipevolcanically.

    ThesucceedingdayssawtheTalbotsrestoredtopeaceandease.MissLydia'sfacelostitsworriedlook.Themajorappearedinanewfrock

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    coat,inwhichhelookedlikeawaxfigurepersonifyingthememoryofhisgoldenage.Anotherpublisherwhoreadthemanuscriptofthe_AnecdotesandReminiscences_thoughtthat,withalittleretouchingandtoningdownofthehighlights,hecouldmakeareallybrightandsalablevolumeofit.Altogether,thesituationwascomfortable,andnotwithoutthetouchofhopethatisoftensweeterthanarrivedblessings.

    Oneday,aboutaweekaftertheirpieceofgoodluck,amaidbroughtaletterforMissLydiatoherroom.ThepostmarkshowedthatitwasfromNewYork.Notknowinganyonethere,MissLydia,inamildflutterofwonder,satdownbyhertableandopenedtheletterwithherscissors.Thiswaswhatsheread:

    DEARMISSTALBOT:

    Ithoughtyoumightbegladtolearnofmygoodfortune.IhavereceivedandacceptedanofferoftwohundreddollarsperweekbyaNewYorkstockcompanytoplayColonelCalhounin_AMagnoliaFlower_.

    ThereissomethingelseIwantedyoutoknow.Iguessyou'dbetternottellMajorTalbot.Iwasanxioustomakehimsomeamendsforthegreathelphewastomeinstudyingthepart,andforthebadhumorhewasinaboutit.Herefusedtoletme,soIdiditanyhow.Icouldeasilysparethethreehundred.

    Sincerelyyours,H.HOPKINSHARGRAVES.

    P.S.HowdidIplayUncleMose?

    MajorTalbot,passingthroughthehall,sawMissLydia'sdooropenandstopped.

    "Anymailforusthismorning,Lydia,dear?"heasked.

    MissLydiaslidtheletterbeneathafoldofherdress.

    "_TheMobileChronicle_came,"shesaidpromptly."It'sonthetableinyourstudy."

    BARGAINDAYATTUTTHOUSE

    ByGeorgeRandolphChester(1869)

    [FromMcClure'sMagazine,June,1905;copyright,1905,bytheS.S.McClureCo.;republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    I

    Justasthestagerumbledoverthericketyoldbridge,creakingandgroaning,thesuncamefrombehindthecloudsthathadfrownedalltheway,andthepassengerscheeredupabit.Thetworichlydressedmatronswhohadbeensoutterlyandunnecessarilyoblivioustothepresenceofeachothernowsuspendedhostilitiesforthemomentbymutualandunspokenconsent,andviewedwithreliefthelittle,goldentintedvalleyandthetreecladroadjustbeyond.Therespectivehusbandsofthesetwoladiesexchangedamereglance,nomore,ofcomfort.They,too,wererelieved,thoughmorebythemomentarytrucethanbyanythingelse.Theyregrettedverymuchtobecompelledtohateeachother,foreachhadreckoneduphisvisavisasaratherpropersortoffellow,probablyamanofsomeachievement,usedtogoodlivingandgoodcompany.

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    Extremeicinesswasunavoidablebetweenthem,however.Whenonestrangerhasasplendidlypreservedblondewifeandtheotherasplendidlypreservedbrunettewife,bothofwhomhavewonsocialprominencebyyearsofhardfightingandaloofness,thereremainsnothingforthetwomenbuttofollowthelead,especiallywhendirectlyundertheeyesoftheleaders.

    Thesonoftheblondematronsmiledcheerfullyasthewelcomelightfloodedthecoach.

    Hewasanicelookingyoungman,ofabouttwentytwo,onemightjudge,andhedidhissmiling,thoughinaperfectlyimpersonalandcorrectsortofmanner,attheprettydaughterofthebrunettematron.Theprettydaughteralsosmiled,buthersmilewasdemurelydirectedatthetreesoutside,cladastheywereinalltheflaminggloryoftheirautumntints,glisteningwiththerecentrainanddrippingwithgemsthatsparkledandflashedinthenoondaysunastheyfell.

    Itismarveloushowmuchonecanseeoutofthecorneroftheeye,whileseemingtoviewmerescenery.

    Thedriverlookeddown,ashedrovesafelyoffthebridge,andshookhisheadattheswirlofwaterthatrushedandeddied,darkandmuddy,closeupundertherottenplanking;thenhecrackedhiswhip,andthehorsessturdilyattackedthelittlehill.

    Thick,overhangingtreesoneithersidenowdimmedthelightagain,andthetwoplumpmatronsoncemoreglaredpasttheoppositeshoulders,profoundlyunawareofeachother.Thehusbandstookonthepolitelysurlylookrequiredofthem.Theblondeson'seyesstillsoughtthebrunettedaughter,butitwasfurtivelydoneandquiteunsuccessfully,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."

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    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'ithadorttobestonedry.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.Informerdaysthestagehad

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    alwaysstoppedattheTuttHouseforthenoondaymeal.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,whiletheothermatronhadtheineffablesatisfactionofbeing_keptwaiting_,atlastbeingenabledtosay,sweetlyandwiththemostpoliteconsideration:

    "Willyoukindlyallowmetopass?"

    Theblondematronraisedupandsweptherskirtsbackperfectlyflat.Shewaspalebutcollected.Herhusbandwaspinkbutcollected.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,Theothermanwas

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    gettingoutofthecoach.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'_JonesvilleBanner_an'th'_UtickyClarion_alongwithye."

    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.

    IV

    TheEllsworthswereholdingafamilyindignationmeetingonthebroadporchwhentheVanRampscamecontentedlydownforawalk,andbrushedbythemwithunseeingeyes.

    "Itmakesaperfectlyfascinatingsuite,"observedMrs.VanKamp,inapleasantlyconversationaltonethatcouldbeeasilyoverheardbyanyoneimpoliteenoughtolisten."Thatdelightfuloldfashionedfireplaceinthemiddleapartmentmakesitanidealsittingroom,andthebedsaresoroomyandcomfortable."

    "Ijustknewitwouldbelikethis!"chirrupedMissEvelyn."Iremarkedaswepassedtheplace,ifyouwillremember,howcharmingitwouldbetostopinthisdear,quaintoldinnovernight.Allmywishesseemtocometruethisyear."

    Thesesimpleand,ofcourse,entirelyunpremeditatedremarkswereas

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    vinegarandwormwoodtoMrs.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."Ireckona_ho_telman'sgotarighttorenthishullhousearyminute."

    "Ofcoursehehas.Howmuchdoyouwant?"

    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."

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    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,whentheunwittingmaidlookedcarefullydownandsawatangleofrootsatherveryfeet.Shewassounfortunate,asecondlater,astoslipherfootinthisverytangleandgiveherankleeversoslightatwist.

    "Oh!"criedMissVanKamp,andRalphEllsworthflewtotherescue.Hehadnotbeennoticingheratall,andyethehadstartedtohersidebeforeshehadevencriedout,whichwasstrange.Shehadaveryattractivevoice.

    "MayIbeofassistance?"heanxiouslyinquired.

    "Ithinknot,thankyou,"shereplied,compressingherlipstokeepbacktheintolerablepain,andhalfclosinghereyestoshowthefinelashes.Decliningtheprofferedhelp,sheextricatedherfoot,picked

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    upherautumnbranches,andturnedaway.Shewasintenselyaversetoanythingthatcouldbeconstruedasaflirtation,evenofthemildest,hecouldcertainlyseethat.Shetookastep,swayedslightly,droppedtheleaves,andclutchedoutherhandtohim.

    "Itisnothing,"sheassuredhiminamoment,withdrawingthehandafterhehadhelditquitelongenough."Nothingwhatever.Igavemyfootaslightwrench,andturnedtheleastbitfaintforamoment."

    "Youmustpermitmetowalkback,atleasttotheroad,withyou,"heinsisted,gatheringupherarmloadofbranches."Icouldn'tthinkofleavingyouherealone."

    Ashestoopedtoraisethegaywoodlandtreasureshesmiledtohimself,eversoslightly.Thiswasnot_his_firstseasonout,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,"headmittedwiththekeenappreciationofonestillquiteclosetocollegedays.

    "Ofcourse,thematerisfurious,butIratherlookonitasalark."

    ShethawedlikeanAprilicicle.

    "It'sperfectlyjolly,"shelaughedwithhim."Awfullyselfishofus,too,Iknow,butsuchloadsoffun."

    TheywereclosetotheTuttHousenow,andherlimp,thathadentirelydisappearedastheyemergedfromthewoods,nowbecamequiteperceptible.Theremightbepeoplelookingoutofthewindows,though

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    itishardtoseewhythatshouldaffectalimp.

    Ralphwasdelightedtofindthatathawhadsetin,andhemadeonemoreattempttoestablishatleastaproxyacquaintance.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowPeysonKingsley,ofPhiladelphia,doyou?"

    "I'mafraidIdon't,"shereplied."IknowsofewPhiladelphiapeople,yousee."Shewasratherregretfulaboutitthistime.Hereallywasacleversortofafellow,inspiteofthatsmile.

    ThecenterwindowinthesecondflooroftheTuttHouseswungopen,itslittlesquaresofglassflashingjubilantlyinthesunlight.Mrs.Ellsworthleanedoutoverthesill,fromthequaintoldsittingroomofthe_VanKampapartments_!

    "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,

    Yoursrespectfully,EDWARDEASTMANELLSWORTH.

    Mr.VanKamppassedthenotetohiswifeandsatdownoralargechair.Hewasgladthatthechairwascomfortableandroomy.Evelynpickedupthebillsandtuckedthemintoherwaist.Sheneveroverlookedanyofherperquisites.Mrs.VanKampreadthenote,andthetipofhernosebecamewhite.Shealsosatdown,butshewasthefirsttofindhervoice.

    "Atrocious!"sheexclaimed."Atrocious!Simplyatrocious,Belmont.Thisisahouseofpublicentertainment.They_can't_turnusoutinthishighmindedmanner!Isn'ttherealaworsomethingtothat

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    effect?"

    "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.

    "Nothingwassaidaboutthefurniture,wasthere?"suavelyinquiredVanKamp.

    UncleBillyleanedblanklybackinhischair.Littlebylittlethelightdawnedontheexhorsetrader.Thecrow'sfeetreappearedabout

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    hiseyes,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."

    Therewerereasonswhythispoisonedarrowfailedtorankle,buttheVanKampsdidnottroubletoexplain.TheywerewaitingforRalphtocomeoutandjoinhisparents.Ralph,itseemed,however,haddecidednottotakeawalk.Hehadalreadyfatiguedhimself,hehadexplained,andhismotherhadfavoredhimwithasignificantlook.Shecould

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    readilybelievehim,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.

    Ralphscratchedhisheadinamusedperplexity.Itdevolveduponhimtoevenuptheaffairalittlebeforehismothercameback.Hemustsupportthefamilyreputationforresourcefulness,butittookquiteabitofscalpirritationbeforeheaggravatedtherightideaintobeing.Assoonastheideacame,hewentinandmadeahideboundbargainwithUncleBilly,thenhewentoutintothehallandwaited

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    untilEvelyncamedownwithahugearmloadofwindowcurtains.

    "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.

    Mrs.Ellsworthtookinallthedesolation,thedismalexpanseofthenowenormousapartments,theshabbywalls,thehideousbrightspotswherepictureshadhung,thesplinteredflooring,thegreat,gauntwindowsandshegavein.Shehadmetwithsnubaftersnub,andcut

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    aftercut,inhersocialclimb,shehadhadthecookquitinthemiddleofanimportantdinner,shehadhadeverydisconcertingthingpossiblehappentoher,butthisthiswasthelast_bale_ofstraw.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.Theybothstoppedstockstill;then,seeingthatitwastoolatetoretreat,bothlaughedandadvanced.

    "Whowinsnow?"banteredRalphastheymadetheexchange.

    "Itlookstomelikeamisdeal,"shegailyreplied,andwasmovingawaywhenhecalledherback.

    "Youdon'thappentoknowtheGately's,ofNewYork,doyou?"hewasquiteanxioustoknow.

    "Iamtrulysorry,butIamacquaintedwithsofewpeopleinNewYork.WearefromChicago,youknow."

    "Oh,"saidheblankly,andtookthewateruptotheEllsworthsuite.

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    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,andeachwasholdingupatumbleronethirdfilledwiththegoldenyellowliquid.

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    "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."Itisamost

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    agreeablecoincidence.Mr.VanKamp,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?"Wouldit_do_!_Would_itdo!!

    AsAuntMargarettalked,thekitchendoorswungwide,andthetwomenwerestrickenspeechlesswithastonishment.There,acrossfromeachotheratthekitchentable,sattheutterlyselfishandtraitorousyoungermembersoftherivalhousesofEllsworthandVanKamp,deepinthejoysofchicken,andmashedpotatoes,andgravy,andhotcornpone,andalltheother"fixings,"laughingandchattinggailylikechumsofyears'standing.Theyhadseeminglyjustcometoanagreementaboutsomethingorother,forEvelyn,wavingtheshorterendofabrokenwishbone,wasvivaciouslysayingtoRalph:

    "Abargain'sabargain,andIalwayssticktooneImake."

    ACALL

    ByGraceMacGowanCooke(1863)

    [From_Harper'sMagazine_,August,1906.Copyright,1906,byHarper&

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    Brothers.Republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    Aboyinanunnaturallyclean,countrylaunderedcollarwalkeddownalongwhiteroad.Hescuffedthedustupwantonly,forhewishedtoveilthealltoobrilliantpolishofhiscowhideshoes.Alsothememoryofthewhitenessandslipperinessofhiscollaroppressedhim.Hewasfaintolooklikeoneaccustomedtosocialdiversions,amanhurriedfromhalltohallofpleasure,withouttimebetweentochangecollarorpolishboot.Hestoopedandrubbedacrumbofearthonhisoverfreshnecklinen.

    Thisdidnotlongsustainhisdroopingspirit.Hewasmentallyadriftuponthe_HintsandHelpstoYoungMeninBusinessandSocialRelations_,whichhadsuggestedtohimhispresententerprise,whentheappearanceofasecondyouth,tallerandbroaderthanhimself,withashockoflightcurlinghairandacropoffrecklesthatadvertisedarichsoilthrewhimalifeline.Heputhisthumbstohislipsandwhistledinapeculiarlyearsplittingway.ThetwoboyshadsatonthesamebenchatSundayschoolnotthreehoursbefore;yetwhatachangehadcomeovertheworldforoneofthemsincethen!

    "Hello!Whereyougoin',Ab?"askedthenewcomer,gruffly.

    "Callin',"repliedtheboyinthecollar,laconically,butwithcarefullyavertedgaze.

    "Onthegirls?"inquiredtheother,awestruck.InMountPisgahyousawthegirlshomefromnightchurch,socials,orparties;youcouldhangoverthegate;andyoumightwalkwithagirlinthecemeteryofaSundayafternoon;buttoringafrontdoorbellandaskforMissHeart'sDesireonemusthavebeeninlongtrousersatleastthreeyearsandthetwoboysconfrontedinthedustyroadhadwornthesedignifyinggarmentsbarelysixmonths.

    "Girls,"saidAbner,loftily;"Idon'tknowaboutgirlsI'mjustgoingtocallononegirlChampeClaiborne."Hemarchedonasthoughtheconversationwasatanend;butRosshunguponhisflank.RossandChampewereneighbors,comradesinallsortsofmischief;hewasindoubtwhethertohaltAbnerandpummelhim,orproposetoenlistunderhisbanner.

    "Doyoureckonyoucould?"hedebated,trottingalongbytheirresponsiveJiltonboy.

    "Runhometoyourmother,"growledtheoriginatoroftheplan,savagely."Youain'toldenoughtocallongirls;anybodycanseethat;butIam,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.Hereflectedwithsatisfactionthatthere

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    weretwoClaibornegirls,andthoughAliciawassostiffandprimthatnoboywouldeverthinkofcallingonher,therewasstillthehopethatshemightdrawRoss'sfire,andleavehim,Abner,tomakethenumerousremarkshehadstoredupinhismindfrom_HintsandHelpstoYoungMeninSocialandBusinessRelations_toChampealone.

    Mrs.Pryorreceivedthemwiththeeasygoingkindnessofthemotherofoneson.Shefollowedthemintothediningroomtokissandfeedhim,withanabsent"Howdy,Abner;how'syourmother?"

    Abner,bigwiththeimportanceoftheirmutualintention,inclinedhisheadstifflyandlookedtowardRossforexplanation.Hetrembledalittle,butitwaswithdelight,asheanticipatedtheeffectofthespeechRosshadoutlined.Butitdidnotcome.

    "I'mnothungry,mother,"wastherevisededitionwhichthefrecklefacedboyofferedtothematernalear."IwearegoingovertoMr.Claiborne'soneronanerrandforAbner'sfather."

    TheblackeyedboylookedreproachastheyclatteredupthestairstoRoss'sroom,wherethecleancollarwasproducedandasmallstockofties.

    "You'dwearanecktiewouldn'tyou?"Rossasked,spreadingthemuponthebureautop.

    "Yes.Butmakeitfallcarelesslyoveryourshirtfront,"advisedthestudentof_HintsandHelps_."Yourcollarismilestoobigforme.Say!I'vegotawadofwhitechewinggum;wouldyouflatitoutandstickitoverthecollarbutton?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."Theboyswalkedinsilencebutitwasapregnantsilence;forastheroofoftheClaibornehousebegantopeerabovethecrestofthehill,Rossplumpeddownonastoneandannounced,"Iain'tgoin'."

    "Comeon,"urgedtheblackeyedboy."It'llbefunandeverybodywillrespectusmore.Champewon'tthrowrocksatusinrecesstime,afterwe'vecalledonher.Shecouldn't."

    "Called!"gruntedRoss."Icouldn'tmakeacallanymorethanacow.What'dIsay?What'dIdo?Icanbehaveallrightwhenyoujustgotopeople'shousesbutacall!"

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    Abnerhesitated.Shouldhegiveawayhisbrilliantinsideinformation,drawnfromthe_HintsandHelps_book,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.

    "'Letyourlegsbegracefullydisposed,onehandontheknee,theother'"

    Abnercametoanunhappypause."Iforgetwhatafellowdoeswiththeotherhand.Mightstickitinyourpocket,loudly,orexpectorateonthecarpet.Indulgeinlittlefrivolity.Letarichstreamofconversationflow.'"

    Rossmentallydugwithinhimselfforsourcesofrichstreamsofconversation.Hefoundadrysoil."Whatyougoin'totalkabout?"hedemanded,fretfully."Iwon'tgoastepfarthertillIknowwhatI'mgoin'tosaywhenIgetthere."

    Abnerbegantorepeatparagraphsfrom_HintsandHelps_."'Itisbesttoremark,'"heopened,inanunnaturalvoice,"'Howwellyouarelooking!'althoughfulsomecomplimentsshouldbeavoided.Whenseatedasktheyoungladywhoherfavoritecomposeris.'"

    "What'sacomposer?"inquiredRoss,withvisionsofsoothingsyrupinhismind.

    "Amanthatmakesupmusic.Don'tbuttinthatway;youputmeallout'composeris.Nameyours.Askherwhatpieceofmusicshelikesbest.Nameyours.Iftheladyismusical,hereaskhertoplayorsing.'"

    Thischantedrecitationseemedtohaveahypnoticeffectonthefreckledboy;hisbigpupilscontractedeachtimeAbnercametotherepetend,"Nameyours."

    "I'mtiredalready,"hegrumbled;butsomespellmadehimriseandfarefarther.

    WhentheyhadenteredtheClaibornegate,theyleanedtowardeachotherlikeyoungsaplingsweakenedattherootandlockingbranchestokeepwhatshallowfootholdonearthremained.

    "You'regoin'infirst,"assertedRoss,butwithoutconviction.Itwashiscustomtotearuptothishouseadozentimesaweek,onhisfather'soldhorseorafoot;hewaswonttoyellforChampeasheapproached,andquarreljoyouslywithherwhileheperformedsucherrandashehadcomeupon;buthewasgaggedandhamstrungnowbythehypnotismofAbner'sscheme.

    "'Walkquietlyupthesteps;ringthebellandlayyourcardonthe

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    servant,'"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?"

    Heproducedthebitofcardboard;Rossfishedupachewedstumpofleadpencil,tookitincold,stifffingers,anddisfiguredthesquarewitheccentricscribblings.

    "They'llknowwhoit'smeantfor,"hesaid,apologetically,"becauseI'mhere.What'slikelytohappenafterwegetridofthecard?"

    "Itoldyouabouthangingyourhatontherackanddisposingyourlegs."

    "Iremembernow,"sighedRoss.Theyhadbeengoingslowerandslower.Theangleofinclinationtowardeachotherbecamemoreandmorepronounced.

    "Wemuststandbyeachother,"whisperedAbner.

    "IwillifIcanstandatall,"murmuredtheotherboy,huskily.

    "Oh,Lord!"TheyhadroundedthebigclumpofevergreensandfoundAuntMissouriClaiborneplacidlyrockingonthefrontporch!Directedtomountstepsandringbell,tolaycardsupontheservant,howshouldonedealwitharosyfaced,plumpladyofuncertainyearsinarockingchair.Whatshouldacallerlayuponher?Alioninthewaycouldnothavebeenmoreterrifying.Evenretreatwascutoff.AuntMissourihadseenthem."Howdy,boys;howareyou?"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,hemighthavereflectedthatgentlemenmakingformalcallsseldomjoininachaseafterthemaindishofthe

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    familysupper.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."Nevermindthecard;tell'em,"heurged.

    "Tell'emyourself."

    "Nolet'scutandrun."

    "IIthinktheworstofitisover.WhenChampeseesusshe'll"

    MentionofChampestiffenedRoss'sspine.Ifithadbeenglorioustocalluponher,howveryterribleshewouldmakeitshouldtheyattemptcalling,fail,andthefailurecometoherknowledge!Somethingswereeasiertoendurethanothers;heresolvedtostaytillthecallwasmade.

    Forhalfanhourtheboyssatwithdroopingheads,andtheoldgentlemanreadaloud,presumablytoAuntMissouriandthemselves.FinallytheirrestlesseyesdiscernedthetwoClaibornegirlswalkingsereneinSundaytrimunderthetreesattheedgeofthelawn.Armsentwined,theywerewhisperingtogetherandgigglingalittle.Acaller,Rossdarednotusehisvoicetoshoutnorhislegstoruntowardthem.

    "Whydon'tyougoandtalktothegirls,Rossie?"AuntMissouriasked,inthekindnessofherheart."Don'tbenoisyit'sSunday,youknowanddon'tgettoplayinganythingthat'lldirtyupyourgoodclothes."

    Rosspressedhislipshardtogether;hisheartswelledwiththerageofthemisunderstood.Hadthecardbeeninhispossession,hewould,atthatinstant,havelaiditonAuntMissouriwithoutaqualm.

    "Whatisit?"demandedtheoldgentleman,abittestily.

    "Thegirlswanttohearyouread,father,"saidAuntMissouri,shrewdly;andshegotupandtrottedonshort,fatanklestothegirlsinthearbor.Thethreereturnedtogether,Aliciacastingcuriousglancesattheuncomfortableyouths,Champethreateningtoburstintogiggleswitheverybreath.

    Abnersathardonhiscapandblushedsilently.Rosstwistedhishatintoathreecorneredwreck.

    Thetwogirlssettledthemselvesnoisilyontheupperstep.Theoldmanreadonandon.Thesunsanklower.Thehillswereredinthewestasthoughabrushfireflamedbehindtheircrests.Abnerstoleafurtiveglanceathiscompanioninmisery,andthedolorofRoss'scountenancesomewhatassuagedhisanguish.Thefrecklefacedboywasthinkingofthevillageoverthehill,acertainpleasantwhitehouse

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    setbackinagreenyard,pastwhosegate,thetwoplanksidewalkran.Heknewlampswerebeginningtowinkinthewindowsoftheneighborsabout,asthoughthehousessaid,"OurboysareallathomebutRossPryor'souttryingtocallonthegirls,andcan'tgetanybodytounderstandit."Oh,thathewerewalkingdownthosetwoplanks,drawingastickacrossthepickets,liftinghighhappyfeetwhichcouldturninatthatgate!Hewouldn'tcarewhatthelampssaidthen.Hewouldn'tevenmindifthewholeClaibornefamilydiedlaughingathimifonlysomepowerwouldraisehimupfromthisparalyzingspotandputhimbehindthesafebarriersofhisownhome!

    Theoldman'svoicelapsedintosilence;thelightwasbecomingtoodimforhisreading.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,'likeyousaidyouwould?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'tcare;butifeitherofthemisalittlebitparticular,why,I'dstopatsix!"

    Stillreelingfromthisblow,theboysfinallyrosefromthetableandpassedoutwiththefamily,theirhatsclutchedtotheirbosoms,andclingingtogetherformutualaidandcomfort.DuringtheusualSundayeveningsingingChampelaughedtillAuntMissourithreatenedtosendhertobed.Abner'scardslippedfromhishandanddroppedfaceuponthefloor.Hefelluponitandtoreitintoinfinitesimalpieces.

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    "Thatmusthavebeenaloveletter,"saidAuntMissouri,inapauseofthemusic."Youboysaregetting'mostoldenoughtothinkaboutbeginningtocallonthegirls."Hereyestwinkled.

    Rossgrowledlikeastonedcur.Abnertookasuddendiveinto_HintsandHelps_,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,thepainfulrealizationthattheydarednotsayitbecausethey_had_notsaidit,lockedtheirlips.Theirfeetwerelead;theirtonguesstiffandtoolargefortheirmouths.Likecreaturesinanightmare,theymovedstiffly,onemighthavesaidcreakingly,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.

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    "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."

    Thetonewashysterical.Theboywithfrecklestookhiscompanionbythearmwithoutanotherwordandmarchedhimdownthestairs."WemaygetachanceyettocallonChampeallbyherselfoutontheporchorinthearborbeforeshegoestoschool,"hesuggested,bywayofputtingsomespineintotheblackeyedboy.

    Anemphaticbellrangwhentheywerehalfwaydownthestairs.Clutchingtheirhats,theyslunkintothediningroom.EvenMr.Claiborneseemedtonoticesomethingunusualintheirbearingastheysettledintothechairsassignedtothem,andaskedthemkindlyiftheyhadsleptwell.

    ItwasplainthatAuntMissourihadbeenpostinghimastoherunderstandingoftheintentionsoftheseyoungmen.Thestateofaffairsgaveanelectrichilaritytotheatmosphere.Babetravelledfromthesideboardtothetable,tremblinglikechocolatepudding.Cadyinsistedonbringinginthecakesherself,andgrinnedasshe

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    whiskedherstarchedblueskirtsinandoutofthediningroom.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."

    Asthoughsuchabookas_HintsandHelps_hadneverexisted,Abnershotforthegatehewasbutahobbledehoyfascinatedwiththeideaofplayinggentleman.ButinRosstherewerethemakingsofaman.Forafewhalfheartedpaces,underthefirstimpulseofhorror,hefollowedhisdesertingchief,thelaughterofthefamily,theunrestrainableguffawsofthenegroes,soundingintherear.ButwhenChampe'shigh,offensivegiggle,toppingalltheothers,insultedhisears,hestoppeddead,wheeled,andrantotheporchfasterthanhehadfledfromit.Whiteaspaper,shakingwithinexpressiblerage,hecaughtandkissedthetitteringgirl,violently,noisily,beforethemall.

    Thenegroesfledtheydarednottrusttheirfeelings;evenAliciasniggeredunobtrusively;GrandfatherClaibornechuckled,andAuntMissourifranklycollapsedintoherrockingchair,bubblingwithmirth,cryingout:

    "Goodforyou,Ross!Seemsyoudidknowhowtocallonthegirls,afterall."

    ButRoss,payingnoattention,walkedswiftlytowardthegate.Hehadservedhisnovitiate.Hewouldneverbeafraidagain.Withcheerfulalacrityhedodgedthestonesflungafterhimwithfriendly,erraticaimbythegirluponwhom,yesterdayafternoon,hehadcometomakeasocialcall.

    HOWTHEWIDOWWONTHEDEACON

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    ByWilliamJamesLampton(1917)

    [FromHarper'sBazaar,April,1911;copyright,1911,byHarper&Brothers;republishedbypermission.]

    OfcoursetheWidowStimsonnevertriedtowinDeaconHawkins,noranyotherman,forthatmatter.Awidowdoesn'thavetotrytowinaman;shewinswithouttrying.Still,theWidowStimsonsometimeswonderedwhythedeaconwassoblindasnottoseehowherfinefarmadjoininghisequallyfineplaceontheoutskirtsofthetownmightnotbebroughtunderonemanagementwithmutualbenefittobothpartiesatinterest.Whichonethatmanagementmightbecomewasamatteroffuturedetail.Thewidowknewhowtorunafarmsuccessfully,andalargefarmisnotmuchmoredifficulttorunthanoneofhalfthesize.Shehadalsohadonehusband,andknewsomethingmorethanrunningafarmsuccessfully.Ofallofwhichthedeaconwasperfectlywellaware,andstillhehadnotbeenmovedbythemergingspiritoftheagetoproposeconsolidation.

    ThisinterestingsituationwasupfordiscussionattheWednesdayafternoonmeetingoftheSisters'SewingSociety.

    "Formypart,"SisterSusanSpicer,wifeoftheMethodistminister,remarkedasshetookanothertuckinafourteenyearoldgirl'sskirtforatenyearold"formypart,Ican'tseewhyDeaconHawkinsandKateStimsondon'tseetheerroroftheirwaysanddepartfromthem."

    "Iratherguess_she_has,"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."

    "Andisn'tsayingwhatheshould,"addedSisterGreen,withaslysnicker,whichwentaroundtheroomsoftly.

    "ButasIwassaying"SisterSpicerbegan,whenSisterPoteet,whose

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    rocker,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,after

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    theyhadreachedastretchofroadthatwasgoodgoingandthedeaconhadlethimoutforalengthortwo.

    "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.ThewidowwasmadalloverthatSquireHopkinsshouldtakesuchameanadvantage

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    ofhisrival.Whydidn'thewaittillanothertimewhenthedeaconwasalone,ashewas?Ifshehadherwaysheneverwould,speaktoSquireHopkinsagain,nortohiswife,either.Butherresentmentwasnothelpingthedeacon'shorsetowin.

    Slowlythesquirepulledclosertothefront;thedeacon'shorse,realizingwhatitmeanttohismasterandtohim,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,allwaslost;withouther,allwaswon,andthedeacon'sgreatestambitionwastowin.Butnow,withvictoryperchedonhishorsecollar,successhisatlast,hethoughtofthewidow,andhedidcare.Hecaredsomuchthathealmostthrewhishorseoffhisfeetbytheabruptturnhegavehim,andbackdownthepikeheflewasifalegionofsquireswereafterhim.

    Hedidnotknowwhatinjuryshemighthavesustained;Shemighthavebeenseriouslyhurt,ifnotactuallykilled.Andwhy?Simplytomakeitpossibleforhimtowin.Thedeaconshiveredashethoughtofit,andurgedhishorsetogreaterspeed.Thesquire,downthelane,sawhimwhizzingalongandaccepteditprofanelyasanexhibitionforhisespecialbenefit.Thedeaconnowhadforgottenthesquireashehadonlysoshortlybeforeforgottenthewidow.Twohundredyardsfromthedriftintowhichshehadjumpedtherewasaturnintheroad,wheresometreesshutoffthesight,andthedeacon'sanxietyincreasedmomentarilyuntilhereachedthispoint.Fromherehecouldseeahead,anddownthereinthemiddleoftheroadstoodthewidowwavinghershawlasabanneroftriumph,thoughshecouldonlyguessatresults.

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    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."

    Andthedeacon?Well,well,withthelinesinthecrookofhiselbowthedeaconheldouthisarmstothewidowand.ThesistersatthenextmeetingoftheSewingSocietywereunanimouslyoftheopinionthatanywomanwhowouldriskherlifelikethatforahusbandwasmightyanxious.

    GIDEON

    ByWellsHastings(1878)

    [From_TheCenturyMagazine_,April,1914;copyright,1914,byTheCenturyCo.;republishedbytheauthor'spermission.]

    "An'denext'frawgdathoun'pupseen,hepasshimbywide."

    Thehouse,whichhadhunguponeveryword,roaredwithlaughter,andshookwithastormingvolleyofapplause.Gideonbowedtorightandtoleft,low,grinning,assuredcomedyobeisances;butasthelaughterandapplausegrewheshookhishead,andsignaledquietlyforthedrop.Hehadansweredmanyencores,andhewasaninstinctiveartist.Itwaspartofthefuelofhisvanitythathisaudiencehadneveryethadenoughofhim.Dramaticjudgment,aswellasdramaticsenseofdelivery,wasnativetohim,qualitieswhichtheshrewdFelixStuhk,hismanagerandexultantdiscoverer,recognizedandwiselytrustedin.OffstageGideonwaswatchedoverlikeachildandadelicateinvestment,butoncebehindthefootlightshewasallowedtogohisowntriumphantgait.

    ItwassmallwonderthatStuhkdeemedhimselfoneofthecleverestmanagersinthebusiness;thathisnarrow,blueshavenfacewascontinuallychiseledinsmilesofcomplacentselfcongratulation.Hewasrapidlybecomingrich,andtherewerebrightprospectsofevengreatertriumphs,withproportionatelygreaterreward.HehadmadeGideonanationalcharacter,aheadliner,astarofthefirstmagnitudeinthefirmamentofthevaudevilletheater,andallinsixshortmonths.Or,atanyrate,hehadhelpedtomakehimallthis;hehadbookedhimwellandgivenhimhisopportunity.Tobesure,Gideonhaddonetherest;StuhkwasasreadyasanyonetodocredittoGideon'sability.Still,afterall,he,Stuhk,wasthediscoverer,thetheatricalColumbuswhohadhadthecourageandthevision.

    AnowhallowedattackoftonsilitishaddrivenhimtoFlorida,wherepresentlyGideonhadbeenemployedtobeguilehisconvalescence,andguidehimovertheintricateshallowsofthatlonglagoonknownastheIndianRiverinsearchofvariousfish.OndayswhenfishhadbeenreluctantGideonhadbeenluredintoconversation,andgraduallyinto

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    narrativeandtherelationofwhathadappearedtoGideonashumorousandentertaining;andfinallyFelix,thevagueideagrowingbigwithinhim,hadonedaypersuadedhisboatmantodanceupontheboardsofalongpierwheretheyhadmadefastforlunch.There,withallthesuddengloryofcrystallization,thevagueideatookdefiniteformandbecamethegreatinspirationofStuhk'scareer.

    Gideonhadgrowntobetovaudevillemuchwhat_UncleRemus_istoliterature:therewasvirtueinhisverysimplicity.Hisartistryitselfwasnativeandnatural.Helovedagoodstory,andhetolditfromhisownsenseofthegleefulmorseluponhistongueasnotrainingcouldhavemadehim.Healwaysenjoyedhisstoryandhimselfinthetelling.Talesneverlosttheirsavor,nomatterhowoftenrepeated;agewaspowerlesstodimthehumorofthething,andashehadshoutedandgurgledandlaughedoverthefunofthingswhenallalone,orholdingforthamongthemenandwomenandlittlechildrenofhiscolor,soheshoutedandgurgledandbrokefromsonorouschucklestomusical,falsettomirthwhenhefrontedthesweepingtiersoffacesacrosstheintoxicatingglareofthefootlights.Hehadthatrarepoweroftransmittingsomethingofhisownenjoyments.WhenGideonwasonthestage,Stuhkusedtoenjoypeepingoutattheintent,smilingfacesoftheaudience,wheremenandwomenandchildren,hardenedtheatergoersandfolkfreshfromthecountry,satwithmovinglipsandfaceslitwithaneagerinterestandsympathyfortheblackmanstruttinginloosefootedvivacitybeforethem.

    "He'ssimplyunique,"heboastedtowonderinglocalmanagers"unique,andittookmetofindhim.Therehewas,alittleblackgoldmine,andallof'empassedhimbyuntilIcame.Someeye?What?Iguessyou'lladmityouhavetohanditsometoyourUncleFelix.Ifthatcoon'shealthholdsout,we'llhaveallthemoneythereisinthemint."

    ThatwasFelix'srealanxiety"Ifhishealthholdsout."Gideon'shealthwaswatchedoverasifhehadbeenanailingprince.Hisbubblingvivacitywasthefoundationuponwhichhischarmandhissuccesswerebuilt.Stuhkbecameasortofvicariousneurotic,eternallysearchingforsymptomsinhisprotege;Gideon'stongue,Gideon'sliver,Gideon'sheartwerematterstohimofanunfailingandanxiousinterest.AndoflateofcourseitmightbeimaginationGideonhadshownalittlephysicalfallingoff.Heateabitless,hehadbeguntomoveinarestlessway,and,worstofall,helaughedlessfrequently.

    Asamatteroffact,therewasgroundforStuhk'sapprehension.Itwasnotallamatterofmanagerialimagination:Gideonwaslesshimself.Physicallytherewasnothingthematterwithhim;hecouldhavepassedhisrigidinsurancescrutinyaseasilyashehaddonemonthsbefore,whenhislifeandhealthhadbeeninsuredforasumthatmadegoodcopyforhispressagent.Hewassoundineveryorgan,buttherewassomethinglackingingeneraltone.Gideonfeltithimself,andwascertainthata"misery,"thatembracingindispositionofhisrace,wascreepinguponhim.Hehadbeenfedwell,toowell;hewasgrowingrich,toorich;hehadallthepraise,alltheflatterythathisenormousappetiteforapprovaldesired,andtoomuchofit.Whitemensoughthimoutandmademuchofhim;whitewomentalkedtohimabouthiscareer;andwhereverhewent,womenofcolorblackgirls,browngirls,yellowgirlswrotehimoftheiradmiration,whispered,whenhewouldlisten,oftheirpassionandheroworship."Cityniggers"boweddownbeforehim;thehighgallerywasalwayspackedwiththem.Muskscentednotesscrawleduponbarbaric,"hightoned"stationerypouredinuponhim.Evenafewwhitewomen,tohishorrorandembarrassment,hadwrittenhimoflove,letterswhichhestraightwaydestroyed.Hissenseofhispositionwasstronginhim;hewasproudofit.Theremightbe"folksoutertheirhaids,"buthehadthesense

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    toremember.Formonthshehadlivedinaheavenofgratifiedvanity,butatlasthisappetitehadbeguntofalter.Hewassated;hissoullongedtowipeaspiritualmouthonthebackofaspiritualhand,andhavedone.Hisface,nowthatthecurtainwasdownandhewasleavingthestage,wasdoleful,almostsullen.

    Stuhkmethimanxiouslyinthewings,andwalkedwithhimtohisdressingroom.HefeltsuddenlyverywearyofStuhk.

    "Nothingthematter,Gideon,isthere?Notfeelingsickoranything?"

    "No,MistehStuhk;no,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'stheticket;itwilleasethingsupandwon'tdoyouanyharm.I'llgo,withyou.Everhadanychampagne,Gideon?"

    Gideonstruggledforpoliteness.

    "Yes,seh,I'shadchampagne,andit'sanicekindoflickehshoenough;but,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.Thesullennessstillshowedintheblackface;Heavenknewwhathemightdoifhesuddenlybegantobalk.Stuhkthoughtitwisetoconsentgracefully.

    "Good!"hesaid."Flytoit.Howmuchdoyouwant?Ahundred?"

    "Howmuchiscomingtome?"

    "Aboutathousand,Gideon."

    "Well,I'dmoughtylikefivehun'redofit,efthat's'greeabletoyo'."

    Felixwhistled.

    "Fivehundred?Porkchopsmustbecominghigh.Youdon'twanttocarryallthatmoneyaround,doyou?"

    Gideondidnotanswer;helookedverygloomy.

    Stuhkhastenedtocheerhim.

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    "Ofcourseyoucanhaveanythingyouwant.Waitaminute,andIwillgetitforyou.

    "I'llbetthatcoon'sgoingtobuyhimselfaringorsomething,"hereflectedashewentinsearchofthelocalmanagerandGideon'smoney.

    ButStuhkwaswrong.Gideonhadnointentionofbuyinghimselfaring.Forthematterofthat,hehadseveralthatwereamplysatisfactory.Theyhadsizeandsparkleandluster,allthediamondbrilliancethatringsneedtohave;andfornoneofthemhadhepaidmuchoverfivedollars.Hewasamplysuppliedwithjewelryinwhichhefeltperfectsatisfaction.Hispresentwantwaspositive,ifnebulous;hedesiredafortuneinhispocket,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."Thatwasall.Noneofthefulsomepraise,thesuperlative,necessarydefinitiongiventolesserperformers.Hehadbeen,heremembered,"GIDEON,America'sForemostNativeComedian,"atitlethatwasatonceboastandchallenge.Thatnecessitywasnowpast,forhewasanationalcharacter;anyexplanatoryqualificationwouldhavebeenaninsulttothepublicintelligence.Totheworldhewasjust"Gideon";thatwasenough.Itgavehimpleasure,ashesaunteredalong,toseetheannouncementrepeatedonwindowcardsandhoardings.

    Presentlyhecametoawindowbeforewhichhepausedindelightedwonder.Itwasnotalargewindow;tothecasualeyeofthepasserbytherewaslittletodrawattention.Bydayitlightedthefractionalfloorspaceofalittlestationer,whosupplementedaslimbusinessbyasubagencyforrailroadandsteamshiplines;buttonightthiswindowseemedtheframeworkofamarvelofcoincidence.Onthebroad,dustysillinsidewereproppedtwocards:theoneontheleftwashisownredletteredannouncementfortheweek;theoneattherightoh,worldofwonders!wasaphotogravureofthatexactstretchoftheinnercoastofFloridawhichGideonknewbest,whichwashome.

    Thereitwas,theIndianRiver,ripplingidlyinfullsunlight,palmettosleaningoverthewater,palmettosstandingasirregularsentriesalongthelow,reeflikeislandwhichstretchedawayoutofthepicture.Therewasthegigantic,lonelypineheknewwell,and,yeshecouldjustmakeitouttherewashisownramshacklelittlepier,whichstretchedinundulatingfashion,likealonglegged,wadingcaterpillar,fromtheabruptshorelineoferodedcoquinainto

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    deepwater.

    Hethoughtatfirstthatthispictureofhishomewassomenewanddelicatedeviceputforthbyhispressagent.Hisnameononesideofawindow,hisbirthplaceupontheotherwhatcouldbemoretastefullyappropriate?Therefore,ashespelledoutthereadingmatterbeneaththephotogravure,hewassharplydisappointed.Itread:

    SpendthiswinterinbalmyFlorida.CometotheLandofPerpetualSunshine.Golf,tennis,driving,shooting,boating,fishing,allofthebest.

    Therewasmore,buthehadnoheartforit;hewasdisappointedandpuzzled.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."Gideonposi_tive_lyhislas'puffawmunce."Turning,hedashedforapassingtrolley,and,stilllaughing,swungaboard.

    Hewasnaturallyhonest.Inalandofeasymoralityhisfriendshadaccountedhimsomethingofaparagon;norhadStuhkeverhadanythingbutpraiseforhim.Butnowhecrushedasidetheethicsofhisintentwithoutasingletroubledthought.Runningawayhasalwaysbeeninherentinthenegro.Hegaveoneregretfulthoughttothegorgeouswardrobehewasleavingbehindhim;buthedarednotreturnforit.Stuhkmighthavetakenitintohisheadtogobacktotheirrooms.Hemustcontenthimselfwiththereflectionthathewasatthatmomentwearinghisbest.

    Thetrolleyseemedtooslowforhim,and,asalwayshappenednowadays,hewasrecognized;heheardhisnamewhispered,andwasawareoftheadmiringglancesofthecurious.Evenpopularityhaditsdrawbacks.Hegotdowninfrontofabighotelandchoseataxicabfromthewaitingrank,exhortingthedrivertomakehisbestspeedtothestation.Leaningbackinthesoftdepthsofthecab,hesavoredhisindependence,cheeredalreadybytheswaying,lurchingspeed.Atthestationhetippedthedriverinlordlyfashion,verymuchpleasedwithhimselfandanxioustogivepleasure.Onlythesternestprudenceandanunconquerableaweofuniformhadkepthimfromtossingbillstothe

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    varioustrafficpolicemenwhohadseemedtosmileuponhishurry.

    Nothroughtrainleftforhours;butafterthefirstdisappointmentofmomentarycheck,hedecidedthathewasmorepleasedthanotherwise.Itwouldsaveembarrassment.HewasgoingSouth,wherehiscolorwouldbemoreconsideredthanhisreputation,andonthelittlelocalhechosetherewasa"JimCrow"carone,thatis,speciallysetasideforthoseofhisrace.Thatitprovedcrowdedandfullofsmokedidnottroublehimatall,nordidtheadmiringpleasantrieswhichthesplendorofhisapparelimmediatelycalledforth.Nooneknewhim;indeed,hewasnaturallyenoughmistakenforaprosperousgambler,anotunflatteringsupposition.Intheyard,afterthetrainpulledout,hesawhisprivatecarunderaglaringarclight,andgrinnedtoseeitleftbehind.

    Hespentthenightpleasantlyinanoisygameofhighlowjack,andthenextmorningsleptmoresoundlythanhehadsleptforweeks,huncheduponawoodenbenchintheboxlikestationofaNorthCarolinajunction.TheexpresswouldhavebroughthimtoJacksonvilleintwentyfourhours;thejourney,ashetookit,boardinganylocalthathappenedtobegoingsouth,andleavingitformealsorsometimesforsleeporoftenasthewhimpossessedhim,filledfivehappydays.Therehetookanighttrain,anddozedfromJacksonvilleuntilalittlenorthofNewSmyrna.

    Heawoketofinditbroaddaylight,andthecarhalfempty.Thetrainwasonasiding,withnewsofafreightwreckahead.Gideonstretchedhimself,andlookedoutofthewindow,andemotionseizedhim.ForallhisjourneytheSouthhadseemedtowelcomehim,buthereatlastwasthecountryheknew.Hewentoutupontheplatformandthrewbackhishead,sniffingthesoftbreeze,heavywiththemysteriousthrillofunplowedacres,thewondrousexistenceofprimordialjungle,wherelifehasriotedunceasinglyaboveunceasingdecay.Itwasdrywiththefinedustofwasteplaces,andwetwiththewarmmistsofslumberingswamps;itseemedtoGideontotremblewiththesongsofbirds,thedrymurmurofpalmleaves,andthealmostinaudiblewhisperofthegraymossthatfestoonedtheliveoaks.

    "Ummm,"hemurmured,apostrophizingit,"yo''stherightkindo'breeze,yo'is.Yo'all'shealthy."Stillsniffing,heclimbeddowntothedustyroadbed.

    Thenegroeswhohadriddenwithhimweresprawledabouthimontheground;oneofthemlaysleeping,faceup,inthesunlight.Thetrainhadevidentlybeenthereforsometime,andtherewerenosignsofanimmediatedeparture.Heboughtsomeorangesofalittle,bowleggedblackboy,andsatdownonalogtoeatthemandtogiveuphismindtoenjoyment.Thesunwashotuponhim,andhisthoughtswerevagueanddrowsy.Hewasgladthathewasalive,gladtobebackoncemoreamongfamiliarscenes.DownthelengthofthetrainhesawwhitepassengersfromthePullmansrestlesslypacingupanddown,gettingintotheircarsandoutofthem,consultingwatches,attachingthemselveswithgesticulatoryexpostulationtovariousofficials;buttheirimpatiencefoundnoechoinhisthought.Whatwasthehurry?Therewasplentyoftime.Itwassufficienttohavecometohisownland;theactualwallsofhomecouldwait.Thedelaywaspleasant,withitsopportunityfordrowsysunning,itsrelieffromthegrimymonotonyoftravel.Heglancedattheorangecolored"JimCrow"withdistaste,andinspiration,dawningslowlyuponhim,sweptallotherthoughtbeforeitinitsgreatandgrowingglory.

    Abrakemanpassed,andGideonleapedtohisfeetandpursuedhim.

    "Misteh,howlongyo'allreckonthistraingoin'tobe?"

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    "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,whirredupfromunderhisfeet;hepausedtoexchangeaffectionatemockerywithredsquirrels;andonce,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,whichbarelykepthisboatinmotion;buthemadenoattempttorow.Aslongashemovedatall,hewassatisfied.Hewaslivingthefulfilmentofhisdreamsinexile,lounginginthesternintheancientclotheshehadpurchased,hisfeetstretchedcomfortablybeforehimintheirbrokenshoes,onefootuponathwart,theotherhangingoversidesolaxlythatoccasionalrippleslappedtherunoverheel.Fromtimetotimehescannedshoreandriverforfamiliarpointsofinterestsomerememberedsnagthatshowedthetipofonegnarledbranch.Orhemarkedanewlyfallenpalmetto,alreadyrottinginthewater,whichmustbeaddedtothatmapofvastdetailthathecarriedinhishead.Butforthemostparthisbroadblackfacewasturneduptothebluebrillianceabovehiminunblinkingcontemplation;hiskeeneyes,brilliantdespitetheirsunmuddiedwhites,reveledinthe

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    heightsabovehim,swingingfromhorizontohorizoninthewakeofanorderlyfileoflittlebluebillducks,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,andliveforawhileinlazyindependence;andthenforsomereasonorothertheywouldgo,andbeforetheyhadscarcelyturnedtheirbacks,thejunglehadcreptinagain,patientlyrestoringitsancientsovereignty.Theplacewaseerywiththeghostofdeadeffort;butitpleasedhim.

    Hemadeafireandcookedsupper,eatingenormouslyandwithrelish.Hisconsciencedidnottroublehimatall.Stuhkandhisowncareerseemedalreadydistant;theytooksmallplaceinhisthoughts,andservedmerelyasabackgroundforhispresentabsolutecontent.Hepickedsomeoranges,andatetheminmeditativeenjoyment.Forawhilehenodded,halfasleep,besidehisfire,watchingthedarkenedriver,wherethemullet,shimmeringwithphosphorescence,stillleapedstarklyabovethesurface,andfellinspatteringbrilliance.Midnightfoundhimsprawledasleepbesidehisfire.

    Onceheawoke.Themoonhadrisen,andalittlebreezewavedthehangingmoss,andwhisperedintheglossyfoliageoforangeandpalmettowithasoundlikefallingrain.Gideonsatupandpeeredabouthim,rollinghiseyeshitherandthitheratthemenacingleapanddanceofthejetshadows.Hisheartwasbeatingthickly,hismusclestwitched,andtheawfulterrorsofnightpulsedandshudderedoverhim.Namelessspecterspeeredathimfromeveryshadow,ingeneratefamiliarsofhiswild,forgottenblood.Hegroanedaloudinadeliciousterror;andpresently,stilltwitchingandshivering,fellasleepagain.Itwasasifsomethingmagicalhadhappened;hisfearrememberedthefearofcenturies,andyetwiththewarmdaylightwasabsolutelyforgotten.

    Hegotupalittleaftersunrise,andwentdowntotherivertobathe,divingdeepwithajoyfulsenseoffreeinghimselffromthelastaliendustoftravel.Onceashoreagain,however,hebegantopreparehisbreakfastwithsomehaste.Forthefirsttimeinhisjourneyhewasfeelingasenseoflonelinessandalongingforhiskind.Hewasstillhappy,buthislaughterbegantoseemstrangetohiminthesolitude.

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    Hetriedthedefiantexperimentoflaughingfortheeffectofit,anexperimentwhichbroughthimtohisfeetinstartledterror;forhislaughterwasechoed.Ashestoodpeeringabouthim,thesoundcameagain,notlaughterthistime,butasuppressedgiggle.Itwashumanbeyondadoubt.Gideon'sfaceshonewithreliefandsympatheticamusement;helistenedforamoment,andthenstrodesurelyforwardtowardaclumpoflowpalms.Therehepaused,everysensealert.Hisearcaughtasoftrustle,alittlegaspoffear;thesoundofafootmovedcautiously.

    "Missy,"hesaidtentatively,"Ireckonyo'all'scomejes'bout'ntimefohbreakfus.Yo'bettehhavesome.Efyo'ain'toowhitetositdownwithablackman."

    Theleavesparted,andasmilingfaceasblackasGideon'sownregardedhiminshyamusement.

    "Whoisyo',man?"

    "ImoughtbekingofKongo,"helaughed,"butIain't.Yo'seebefo'yo'jesGideonatyo'r'steemedsehvice."Hebowedelaboratelyinthemockhumilityofassuredimportance,watchingherfaceinpleasantanticipation.

    Butneitherawenorrapturedawnedthere.Sherepeatedthename,incliningherheadcoquettishly;butitevidentlymeantnothingtoher.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.Herromanticcomingandherromanticnamepleasedhim;and,too,hethoughtherbeautiful.Shewasscarcelymorethanagirl,slimandstrongandalmostofhisownheight.Shewasbarefooted,butherbluecheckedginghamwascleanandbeltedsmartlyaboutasmallwaist.Herememberedonlyonewomanwhoranaslithelyasshedid,oneofthenumerous"divingbeauties"ofthevaudevillestage.

    Shecookedtheirbreakfast,butheservedherwithanelaborategallantry,puttingforwardallhisnewandforeigngraces,garnishinghisspeechwithimposingpolysyllables,castingabouttheirpicnicbreakfastaradiantauraofgrandeurborrowedfromtherecentdaysofhisfame.Andhesawthathepleasedher,andwithheropenadmirationessayedstillgreaterflightsofpolishedmanner.

    Hemadevagueplansfordelayinghisjourneyastheysatsmokinginpleasantconversationalease;andwhenaninterruptioncameitvexedhim.

    "Vashty!Vashty!"awoman'svoicesoundedthinandfaraway."Vashtyy!Yo'heahme,chile?"

    Vashtirosetoherfeetwithasigh.

    "That'smyma,"shesaidregretfully.

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    "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.Shescreamedandstruckathimashekissedher;fornowshewasreallyinterror.

    TheblowcaughtGideonsquarelyinthemouth,andwithsuchforcethathestaggeredback,astonished,whilethegirltookwildlytoherheels.Hestoodforamomentirresolute,forsomethingwashappeningtohim.Formonthshehadevadedlovewithagentleembarrassment;now,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,shakenandtornwithsobbing;buthemadenoefforttocomforther.Hewasuntroubledbyanysenseofwrong;hewassimplyandunreasoninglysatisfiedwithwhathehaddone.Despiteallhisgentle,easygoing,laughterlovingexistence,hefoundnothingincongruousorunnaturalinthissuddenactofviolence.Hewasaglowwithhappiness;hewastakinghomeawife.Theblindtumultofcapturehadpassed;agreattendernesspossessedhim.

    Theleakylittleboatwasplunginganddancinginswiftecstasyofmovement;allaboutthemthelittlewavesranglitteringinthesunlight,plashingandslappingagainsttheboat'slowside,tossingtinycreststothefollowingwind,showingriftsofwhitehereandthere,blowinghandfulsoffoamandspray.Gideonwentsoftlyaboutthebusinessofshorteninghissmallsail,andcamequietlybacktohissteeringseatagain.Soonhewouldhavetobemakingforwhatleathewesternshoreoffered;buthewasholdingtothemiddleoftheriveraslongashecould,becausewitheverymiletheshoresweregrowingmorefamiliar,callingtohimtomakewhatspeedhecould.Vashti'ssobbinghadgrownsmallandceased;hewonderedifshehadfallenasleep.

    Presently,however,hesawherfaceraisedafacestillshiningwith

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    tears.Shesawthathewaswatchingher,andcrouchedlowagain.Adashofsprayspatteredoverher,andshelookedupfrightened,glancingfearfullyoverside;thenoncemorehereyescamebacktohim,andthistimeshegotup,stillsmallandcrouching,andmadeherwayslowlyandpainfullydownthelengthoftheboat,untilatlastGideonmovedasideforher,andshesankinthebottombesidehim,hidinghereyesinherginghamsleeve.

    Gideonstretchedoutabroadhandandtouchedherheadlightly;andwithatinygaspherfingersstoleuptohis.

    "Honey,"saidGideon"Honey,yo'ain'mad,isyo'?"

    Sheshookherhead,notlookingathim.

    "Yo'ain'grievin'fohyo'ma?"

    Againsheshookherhead.

    "Because,"saidGideon,smilingdownather,"Iain'gotnobeegclublikeshehas."

    Asoftandsmotheredgiggleansweredhim,andthistimeVashtilookedupandlaidherheadagainsthimwithasmallsighofcontentment.

    Gideonfeltverytender,veryimportant,atpeacewithhimselfandalltheworld.Heroundedajuttingpoint,andstretchedoutablackhand,pointing.

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