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Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 14) Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-230-31280747v14 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 14) Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. C. Scribner's sons, New York : 1906-18. 18 v. : ill., (part col.) col. plates, ports., maps (part folded) ; 20 cm. Coleman I. In ole Virginia ; II. The burial of the guns ; III. On Newfound River ; IV-V. Red Rock; a chronicle of reconstruction ; VI-VII. Gordon Keith ; VIII. The old gentleman of the black stock. Santa Claus's partner ; IX. Bred in the bone ; X. Pastime stories. Poems ; XI. Two little Confederates. Among the camps. Two prisoners ; XII. The old South; essays social and political ; XIII. The Old Dominion, her making and her manners ; XIV. Under the crust. Tommy Trot's visit to Santa Claus ; XV-XVI. John Marvel, assistant ; XVII-XVIII. Robert E. Lee, man and soldier. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 3 microfilm reels ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04803-4805 KUK) Printing Master B92-230. Reel 4803 (v. 1-6) ; reel 4804 (v. 7-12) ; reel 4805 (v. 13-18) IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. PLANTATION EDITION VOLUME XIV The last patient was a fashionably dressed and very handsome woman. b THE NOVELS, STORIES, SKETCHES AND POEMS OF THOMAS NELSON PAGE UNDER THE CRUST TOMMY TROT'S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS NEW YORK Al A A . 1909 i I i i i UNDER THE CRUST Copyright, 1907, by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS TOMMY TROT'S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS Copyright, 1908, by CHARLS SCRIBNERS SONS Copyright, 1909, by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS AU Rights Reserved CONTENTS PAGE UNDER THE CRUST: MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE.... . . . . 3 THE NEW AGENT . .... . . . . . . . . 37 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES ... . ...... 89 A GOTH ..... . .. .. . . . . . . . 123 LEANDER'S LIGHT.... . . . . . . . . . 153 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR ... . . . .. . 185 THE HOSTAGE .... . . . . . . . . . . 225 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS ... . . 273 This page in the original text is blank. ILLUSTRATIONS THE LAST PATIENT WAS A FASHIONABLY DRESSED AND VERY HANDSOME 'WOMAN . . . . . . Fronispiee FACING PAGE "I DON'T PLAY WITH CHILDREN,- HE SAID SCORN- FULLY ... ............ . . 148 THEY FLEW ON, OVER FIELDS OF WHITE SNOW . . . . 300 This page in the original text is blank. MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE This page in the original text is blank. MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE I W HEN my cousin Hortensia asked me one evening in the middle of winter to go with her the following week to look at a " summer place " for her on the Maine coast, it crossed my mind for a moment that she was slightly mad; but the glance that I gave her as she sat in her rocking- chair, just out of the tempered light of the reading- lamp, with her dainty gray skirts spread about her and the firelight flickering on her calm features and white hands as she plied her needlework, showed nothing to warrant my suspicion. Only the time was midwinter, the hour was nine o'clock in the evening, and even the tight windows and the heavy silken curtains drawn close could not shut out the sound of the driving sleet that had been falling all the evening. I knew my cousin well; knew that notwithstand- ing her Quaker blood and quiet ways she was, as an old neighbor had long since aptly said of her, a UNDER THE CRUST "a woman of her own head," and that she had during her married life enjoyed the full confidence of her husband, her senior by some years, and one of the strong members of the bar, and had always borne with notable success her full share of the exactions of a large establishment and a distin- guished position. I knew further, that since her husband's death she had ably carried on his char- itable work and maintained her position as one of the leaders, not of society, but of everything else that was good and lofty and dignified. So I put aside the thought that first sprang into my mind and declared my readiness to go with her anywhere and at any time that she might wish. "But why on earth do you select that particular spot and this particular time to look at a country place" I demanded. The question evidently appeared apt to her, and she gave one of her little chuckles of pleasure which had just enough of the silvery sound to hall-mark it a laugh. Folding her hands for a moment in a way which she had either inherited from the por- trait of her Quakeress grandmother, on her dining- room wall, or which she had learned by practice to make so perfect that it was the exact representa- tion of that somewhat supercilious but elegant old dame's easy attitude, she said: 4 MISS GOD WIN'S INHERITANCE "For the best reason in the world, my dear John! Simply-because." This ended it for the moment, but a little later, having, as I suppose, enjoyed my mystification sufficiently, she began to give her reasons. In the first place, she was "completely worn out" with the exactions of the social life which she had found gathering about her more and more closely. "I feel so tired all the time-so dissatisfied," she said, with a certain lassitude quite unusual with her. "I cannot stand the drain of this life any longer. My heart--" "Your heart! Well, your heart is all right- that I will swear," I interjected. "Don't be frivolous. My heart is my trouble at present." She gave a nod of mock severity. "I consulted a doctor and he told me to go to some European watering place ending in 'heim'; but I know better than that. It is 'heim' that I want, but it is an American 'heim,' and I am going to find it on this side the water. Like that Shunam- itish woman, 'I dwell among mine own people."' "She was ever one of my favorites," I ventured; "but what is the matter with this 'heim'" I gazed about the luxurious apartment where Taste had been handmaid to Wealth in every appoint- ment. '; UNDER THE CRUST She shook her head wearily. "I am so tired of this strenuous life that I feel that if I do not get out of it and go back to some- thing that is calm and natural I shall die. It is all so hollow and unreal. Why, we are all trying to do the same thing and all trying to think the same thing, or, at least, say the same thing. We do not think at all. Scores of women come pouring into my house on my 'days' and pour out again, con- tent only to say they have left cards on my table, and then if I do not leave cards on their tables they all think I am rude and put on airs because I live in a big house. Forty women called here to-day, and thirty-nine of them said precisely the same thing. I must get out of it." "What was it" "Nothing." Her face lit up with the smile which always made her look so charming, and of which some one had once said: "Mrs. Davison is not precisely a pretty woman, but her smile is an enchantment." "And what did you say to them" "I gave them the exact equivalent-nothing. I must get out. My husband once said that the most dreadful thing on earth was a worldly old woman." "You are neither worldly nor old," I protested. 6 MISS GOD WIN'S INHERITANCE She gazed at me calmly. "I am getting to be both. I am past forty, and when a woman is past forty she is dependent on two things-her goodness and her intellect. I have lost the one and am in danger of losing the other. I want to go where I can preserve the few remnants I have left. And now," she added, with a sudden return of her vivacity, which was always like a flash of April sunlight even when the clouds were lowest, "I have sent for you this evening to show you the highest proof of my confidence. I wish to ask your advice, and I want you to give the best you have. But I do not want you to think I am going to take it, for I am not." "Well, that is frank at any rate," I said. "We shall, at least, start fair and not be by the way of being deceived." "Yes, I want it; it will help me to clarify my ideas-to arrive at my own conclusions. I shall know better what I do not want." She gazed at me serenely from under her long eyelashes. "Flattering, at least! How many houses do you suppose I build on those terms And now one question before I agree. Why do you want to take a place which is, so to speak, nowhere-that is, as you tell me, several miles from anywhere" 7 UNDER THE CRUST "Just for that reason-I want to get oack to first principles, and I understand that the place I have in mind was one of the most beautiful old homes in all New England. It has trees on it that were celebrated a century ago, and a garden that is historical. Family-trees can be made easy enough; but only Omnipotence can make a real tree, and the first work of the Creator was to plant a garden." "Oh! well, then, I give in. If there is a garden." For my cousin's love for flowers was a pas- sion. Her name, Hortensia, was an inspiration or a prophecy. She could have made Aaron's rod bud. "There is one other reason that I have not told you," she added, after a pause. "There always is," I observed, half cynically; for I was not so pleased as I pretended with her flatly notifying me that my advice went for nothing. She nodded. "My grandfather and the owner of the old place used to be great friends, and my grandfather always said it was one of the loveliest spots on earth: 'A pleasant seat,' he called it. I think he had a little love affair there once with the daughter of the house. My grandmother was always rather scornful about it." 8 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE II A week later we landed about mid-day at the little station just outside of the village where my cousin, with her usual prevision, had arranged to have a two-horse sleigh meet us. Unfortunately, the day before, a snow of two feet had added to the two feet which already lay on the ground and the track outside of town had not been broken. The day, however, was one of those perfect winter days which come from time to time in northern lati- tudes when the atmosphere has been cleared; the winds, having done their work have been laid, and Nature, having arrayed herself in immaculate garb, seems well content to rest and survey her work. The sunshine was like a jewel. The white earth sparkled with a myriad myriads of dia- monds. The man to whom my cousin had written, Mr. Silas Freeman, was on the platform to meet us. A tall, lank person with a quiet face, a keen nose, and an indifferent manner. Bundled in a buffalo- robe coat, he stood on the platform and gazed at us in a reposeful manner as we descended from the train. We passed him twice without his speaking to us, though his eyes were on us with mild and 91 UNDER THE CRUST somewhat humorous curiosity. When, in response to my inquiries, the station agent had pointed him out, I walked up and asked if he were Mr. Freeman, he answered briefly: "I be. That's my name." I introduced Mrs. Davison, and he extended his hand in its large fur glove indifferently, while a glance suddenly shot from his quiet eyes, keen, curious, and inspective. She instantly took up the running, and did so with such knowledge of the conditions, such clearness and resolution, and withal with such tact, that Mr. Freeman's calm face changed from granite to something rather softer, and his eyes began to light up with an expression quite like interest. "No, he hadn't brought the sleigh, 's he didn't know 's she'd come, seein' 's the weather w'z so unlikely." "But didn't I write you I was coming" de- manded Mrs. Davison. "Waal, yes. But you city folks sometimes writes more t'n you come." Mrs. Davison cast her eye in my direction. "You see there!--he knows them." She turned back to Freeman. "But I am not one of the 'city folks.' I was brought up in the country." Mr. Freeman blinked with something between incredulity and mild interest. 10 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE "Well, you'll know better next time," continued my cousin. "Now remember, the next time I write, I am coming-if I do not, you look in the papers and see what I died of." Whether it was the words or the laugh that went with them and changed them from a com- plaint to a jest, Mr. Freeman's solemnity relaxed, and he drawled, "All ri-ight." "And now, can't we get the sleigh right away" demanded Mrs. Davison. "Guess so. But th' road beyond th' village ain't broken." "Well, can't we break it" "Guess so." "Well, let's try. I'nm game for it." "All ri-ight," with a little snap in his eye. If, however, Mr. Silas Freeman did not show any curiosity as to our movements, he was one of the few persons we saw who did not. The object of our coming was evidently known to the population at large, or to such portion of it as we saw. They peered at us from the porches of the white houses under the big elms, or from the stoops of the stores, where they stood bundled up in rough furs and comforters, and, turning as we passed, discussed us as if we were freaks ol Nature. As we drove along, plunging and creeping 11 UNDER THE CRUST through the snow-drifts, Mr. Freeman began to unbend. "This road ain't broke, but somebody's been along here. Guess it's Miss Hewitt." "Who is Miss Hewitt" "She's one o' Doct' Hewitt's girls-she's one of the good women-looks after them 's ain't got anybody else to look after 'em." "I hope I shall know her some day," observed my cousin. "She's a good one to know," remarked Mr. Silas Freeman. We crept around the hill toward the river. "Ah! 'twas Miss Hewitt," observed the driver to himself. "She's been to dig out F'lissy." He was gazing down across the white field at a small "shackelty" old cabin which lay half buried in snow, with a few scraggy apple-trees about it. When at length, after a somewhat strenuous struggle through snow-drifts up to our horses' backs, we stood on the portico of the old mansion, though the snow was four feet deep I could not but admit that the original owner knew a "pleasant seat" when he saw it. Colonel Hamilton, when he established himself on that point overlooking the winding river and facing the south, plainly knew his business. 12 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE The remains of a terraced lawn sloped in gra- cious curves around the hill in front, where still stood some of the grand elms which, even a century before, had awakened the enthusiasm of the own- er's Southern visitor. Beyond, on one side, came down to the river's margin a forest of pines which some good fortune, in shape of a life-long litigation, had spared from the lumberman's axe, and which stood like an army guarding the old mansion and its demesnes, and screening them from the en- croachments of modern, pushing life. On the other side, the hill ran down again to the water's edge, the slope covered with apple-trees which now stood waist deep in snow. Behind, huddled close to the house, were a num- ber of out-buildings in a state of advanced dilap- idation, and yet behind these the hill rose nobly a straight slant of nearly half a mile, its crest, where once the avenue had wound, crowned with a fine row of elms and maples, a buttress and defence against the double storm of the north wind and the casual tourist. Moreover, the original architect had known his business, or, at least, had known enough to give the owner excellent ideas, for the house was a perfect example of the Colonial architecture which seems to have blown across the country a century and a 13 UNDER THE CRUST half ago like the breath of a classical spring, leav- ing in its path the traces of a classical genius which had its inspiration on the historic shores of the AEgean and the Mediterranean. From founda- tion to peaked roof with its balustrade, in form and proportion, through every detail of pillar and moulding and cornice, it was altogether charming and perfect. I became suddenly aware that my cousin's eyes had been on my face for some time. She had been enjoying my surprise and delight. "Well, what do you think of it" "It is charming-altogether charming." "I thought you would like it." "Like it! Why, it is a work of genius. That architect, whoever he was-" "Helped to clarify the ideas of the owner." "Helped to clarify! This is the work of a man of genius, I say." "His name was Hamilton. He built it and owned it." As we came out of the house and plunged around to the long-closed front door to take another look at the beautiful facade, my cousin gave an ex- clamation. "Why, here is a rose, all wrapped up and pro- tected." She was bending over it as if it had been 14 MISS GODWINS INHERITANCE a baby in its cradle, a new tone in her voice. "It is the only sign of care about the whole place. I wonder what kind it is" "I guess that's F'lissy God'in's rose-bush," said Mr. Freeman, who had followed us in our tour of inspection, now with an inscrutable look of reserve, now with one of humorous indulgence. "Who is F'lissy Godwin" asked Mrs. Davison, still bending over the twist of straw. "She's one of 'em-she's the one as lives down the road a piece in that little old house under the hill you saw." "Does any one live in that house!" "Waal, if you call it livin'. She stays there any- way. She wouldn't go to the New Home-pre- ferred to stay right here, and comes up and potters around-I al'ays heard she had a rose-bush." "Oh! She has a new home Why on earth doesn't she go there" questioned Mrs. Davison. The driver's eyes blinked. "Guess she didn't like the comp'ny. That's what th' call the poor- house." His eyes blinked again, this time with satisfaction at my cousin's ignorance. "They might's well ha' let her stay on up here. She wa'nt flighty enough to do any harm, and she'd ha' taken as good care of the house as any one. But they wouldn't." His tone expressed such 15 UNDER THE CRUST entire acquiescence that Mrs. Davison asked, "Who would not" "Oh, them others. They had the right, and they wouldn't; so she's lived down there ever since I knew her. All the others 're dead now- she's sort o' 'the last leaf on the tree."' The quotation seemed suddenly to lift him up to a new level. My cousin's face had grown softer and softer while he was speaking. "Poor old thing! Could I help her" "Waal, I guess you could if you wanted to." "I do. Couldn't you give her something for me" " I guess I could, but you'd better get somebody else to do it. She'd want to know where it come from, and I d'n' know 's she'd take it if she knew it come from you as is buyin' the place." " Oh! I see. But you need not tell her it came from me. You might give it to her as from your- self " It was the one mistake she made. His face hardened. "Waal, no, I couldn't do that." My cousin saw her error and apologized. He said nothing, but he softened. "Miss Hewitt might do it. She's the one as hunts 'em up and helps 'em." 16 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE "Well, then I will get her to do it for me. She will know how." "She knows how to do a good many things," observed Mr. Freeman quietly. I[I After this I knew that nothing would keep my cousin from buying the place if she could get it, and so in truth it turned out. After some nego- tiating, in which every edge was made to cut by the sellers, the deal was closed and the Hamilton place with all its "improvements, easements, ap- purtenances and hereditaments," became hers and her heirs' forever. No child with a new toy was ever more de- lighted. I received one evening an imperative message: "Pray come immediately," and on my arrival I knew at once that my cousin had gotten the place. Her eyes were dancing and all of her old spirit appeared to have come back. The flush of youth was on her cheeks. I found the big library table covered with photographs of the place and the house, inside and out, and if there was a spot on the table not covered by a photograph it held a book on gardening. 17 UNDER THE CRUST "Well, I have it." "Or them," I observed quietly. "Them" with a puzzled look. "Never mind! I know it's an insult, though I do not know just how. Well, I have sent for you. I want-" "My advice" "-You to carry out my ideas." "How do you know I will" "Come, do not talk nonsense. Of course you will." She did not even take the trouble to smile. She began to sketch her views rapidly and clearly in a way that showed a complete comprehension of the case. "The house is to be done just this way. And the grounds are to be restored as they were. All these old buildings are to be removed." She was speaking with a photograph in her hand showing the decrepit stables-" these-which are recent ex- crescences, pulled down; this moved back to its old site under the hill down there-and here is to be the garden just where it was-and as it was. See, here is the description." She took from the table a small volume bound in red leather, and opened it. "Here is an old letter written by my grand- father a hundred years ago, giving his impressions of the place when he visited it." 18 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE "'Here I am in the Province of Maine, where I arrived a few days ago, expecting to find myself in a foreign land. Imagine my surprise when I dis- covered that the place and the people are more like those among whom I was brought up in my youth than in any other part of New England which I have visited. Of course, I am speaking of its ap- pearance in the summer, for this is July, and it might be early June. . .' "You don't want all this-hc gives simply a description of the distinction in classes which he was surprised to find here-'many of the families having their coats of arms and other relics of the gentry-class.' Ah! here it is. Here is the de- scription: "' I was invited to Colonel H.'s and he sent down for me his barge manned by a half dozen sturdy fellows, just as might have been sent from Shirley or Rosewell or Brandon; and on my arrival I found the Colonel awaiting me on the great rock which dispenses with any need for a pier, except a float and a few wooden steps. "'He has one of the pleasantest seats which I have found in all my travels-a house which, though not large, would. have done justice to any place in Maryland or Virginia, and which possesses every mark of good taste and refinement. It 19 UNDER THE CRUST fronts to the south and is bathed in sunlight the whole day long. "'The garden immediately caught my attention, and I think I might say I never saw more beautiful flowers, which surprised me, for I had an idea that this region produced little besides rocks and Puri- tanical narrowness: of which more anon. The garden lies at the back of the house, beginning on a level, with formal borders and grass-walks where the turf is kept as beautiful as any that I ever saw in England, and where there is every variety of flower which Adam and Eve could have known in their garden. In the first place, roses-roses- roses! Then all the rest: Rush-leaved daffodils, the jonquilles-"narcissi," the Colonel's sister calls them; phlox of every hue; hollyhocks, peonies, gillies-almost all that you have. Then the shrub- bery!-lilacs, syringas, meadowsweet, spiraa, and I do not know how many more. I could not get over the feeling that they had all been brought from home. Indeed, I saw a fat robin sitting in a lilac bush that I am sure I saw at home two months ago, and when I bowed to him he nodded to me, so I know he is the same. On the land-side the gar- den slopes away suddenly into an untilled stretch of field where the wild flowers grow in unrivalled profusion. This the Colonel's sister calls her 20 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE "wild garden." A field of daisies looked as if it were covered with snow.. An old fellow with a face wrinkled and very like a winter apple, told me that one "Sir William Pepperil brought them over, and that is the reason you don't find 'em anywhere else but here." I did not tell him of my friend the robin. "'By the way, the Colonel's sister is a very charming young lady-dark hair, gray eyes with black lashes, a mouth which I think her best feature, and a demure air. She is so fond of her garden that I call her Ho:ttensia."' "What's that" My cousin broke into a silvery laugh. "You know now where I got my name. But I don't think my grandmother ever quite forgave her." She closed the book. "Now, you see what I want-to restore it exactly as it was, and only to add what will carry out this idea." "Are you going to have a gardener" "'Of course-" "A landscape gardener" "Yes, of course! And a man to furnish the house by contract-and another to select my pict- ures for me!" Her nose was turned up, and she was chopping out her words at me. 21 UNDER THE CRUST "Well, you need not be so insulted." "I told you I wanted to restore it." "I only wanted to know how much in earnest you are." "Well, you put one new thing in that house, not in keeping with the idea I have, and you will know." IV With the first opening of Spring my cousin was at work on her "restoration." She had the good sense to select as her head workman-for she would have no contractor either in or out of the house-a local carpenter-an excellent man. But even with this foresight it must be said that her effort at restoration was not received with entire approbation by her new neighbors. The gossip that was brought to her-and there was no little of it-informed her that they considered her in- coming as an intrusion, and regarded her with some suspicion and a little disdain. Some of them set out evidently to make it very clear to her that they did not propose to let her interfere in any way with their habits and customs. They were "as good as she was," and they meant her to know it. In time, however, as she pushed on with her work, always good-natured and always deter- 22 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE mined, she began to make her way with them. Silas Freeman stood her in good stead, for he be- came her fast friend. "She is rather citified," he agreed, "but she can't help that, and she ain't a bit airified." I was present on an occasion when one of the first evidences of her gradual breaking into the charmed circle came. The work on the house was progressing rapidly. Rotted pediments, broken window frames, unsound cornices, lost spindles, being replaced by their exact counterparts; each bit that needed renewal or repair being restored with absolute fidelity under her keen eyes. And all the time she was rummaging around through the country picking up old furniture and articles that dated back and belonged to the time when her grandfather had visited the place. No child ever enjoyed fitting up a baby-house more keenly than she enjoyed fitting up this old mansion. It was really beginning to show the effect of her tact and zeal. She had -actually gotten two or three rooms finished and furnished, and had moved in, "'the better to see, my dear,"' she said to me. "Besides, I know very well that the only way to get workmen out of a house is to live them out. I mean to spend this summer here." Outside, too, the work was progressing favor- 23 UNDER THE CRUST ably, though the frost was scarcely out of the ground. The rickety buildings were all removed from her cherished ground "where once the garden smiled" and she was only awaiting a favorable season to lay out her garden and put in her seeds and slips, which were already being gotten ready. It was one of those Sunday afternoons in April when Spring announces that she has come to pay you a visit, and leaves her visiting card in blue- birds and dandelions. The bluebirds had been glancing about the lawn all day, making dashes of vivid color against the spruces, and even a few robins had been flitting around, surveying the land and spying out choice places. Dandelions were beginning to gleam in favored spots, and a few green tufts were peeping up where jonquils had, through all discouragements, lived to shake their golden trumpets in sheltered places. My cousin had enjoyed it all unspeakably. She had moved all day like one in a trance, with sof- tened eyes and gentle voice. Before going to church she had, with her own hands, unwrapped the rose-bush she had observed on her first visit, and I heard her bemoaning its poor, starved condi- tion. "Poor thing-you are the only real old occupant," I heard her murmur. "You shall have new soil and I hope you will live." 24 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE Vr The afternoon had been perfect and the sun had just stolen over toward the top of the western hill and was sending his light across the yard, tinging the twigs of the apple-trees with a faint flush of pink, and we were watching the lengthening shad- ows when I became aware that there was someone standing in the old disused road just outside the yard. She was an old woman, and there was some- thing so calm about her that she seemed herself almost like one of the shadows. She was dressed in the plainest way: an old black dress, now faded to a dim brown, a coat of antique design and ap- pearance, in which a faint green under the arms alone showed that it, too, had once been black, a little old bonnet over her thin gray hair, which was smoothed down over her ears in a style of forty years before. "There is someone," I said in a low tone. "Isn't she quaint " My cousin, seeing that she was a poor woman, moved down the slope toward her. "Good afternoon," she said gently. "Afternoon"-w th a little shift of her position which reminded me of a courtesy. "Air you Miss Davison " 25 UNDER THE CRUST "Yes, I am Mrs. Davison." "The one 't bought the place" "Yes, I am that one. Can I do anything for you" The tone of her voice was so kind that the old woman seemed to gain a little courage. "Well, I thought I'd come up and see you a moment this Sabbath afternoon." "Won't you come up and see the sunset" "Well, thank you-perhaps I will, if it will not discompose you." My cousin smiled at her quaint speech. As the visitor came up the slope I saw her small, sunken eyes sweep the grounds before her and then rest on the rose-bush which my cousin had unwrapped that day. "It is so beautiful from this terrace," pursued my cousin. "Yes, it is," said the visitor. She stood and gazed at the sky a moment, then glanced half furtively at the house and about the grounds, and again her eyes rested on the rose-bush. Her faded weather-beaten face had grown soft. "I have seen it very often from this spot. I used to live here." " You did! Well, won't you walk into the house and take a cup of tea I have just ordered tea for my cousin and myself." 26 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE The visitor gave me a somewhat searching look. " Well, perhaps, I will, thank you." As she fol- lowed my cousin in, she crossed over to the side of the walk where the rose-bush was, and her wrin- kled and knotted old hand casually touched it as she passed. My cousin went off to see about the tea, and I was left with our visitor. She was pitifully shabby and worn-looking as she sat there, with shrunken shoulders and wrinkled face beaten by every storm of adversity, and yet there was something still in the gray eyes and thin, close-shut lips of the un- conquerable courage with which she had faced de- feat. She was too dazed to say much, but her eyes wandered in a vague way from one point to another, taking in every detail of the repair and restoration. The only thing she said was, "My!- My!" under her breath. When my cousin returned and took her seat at the little tea-table with its silver service, the old lady simply sat passive and dazed, and to the polite questions of the former she answered rather at random. Yes, she was a girl when she lived there. Her grandfather had left her the right to use one of the upstairs rooms, but "they' would not let her have 27 UNDER THE CRUST it. "They did not like her to come on the place, so she didn't come much." My! wasn't the tea good-" so sweet and warm- in'" Every now and then she became distraite and vague. She appeared to have something on her mind or to be embarrassed by my presence, so I rose and strolled across to a window, and from there over toward the door. As I passed I heard her state timidly the object of her visit. "I heard as you were a-goin' to dig up every- thing and set out fresh ones, so I came to ask you, if you had no particular use for it and were goin' to dig it up anyway, if you wouldn't let me have that old rose-bush by the walk. I'd like to take it up and carry it up to the graveyard-" "Of course, you may have it." "You see, that's the only thing I ever owned!" pursued the visitor. I saw my cousin give a deep and sudden catch- ing of her breath, and turn her head away, and after a grab at her skirt her hand went up to her face. The old woman continued quietly: "I thought I'd write to you, and ask you about it; but then I didn't. It wasn't-just convenient." "Of course, you-m-" My cousin could not get out the words. There was a second of 28 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE silence and then with shameless and futile men- dacity she began to mutter something about hav- ing "such a bad cold." She rose and dashed out of the room, saying to me with a wave of her hand as she passed: "Tell her, Yes." When she returned to the room she had a fresh handkerchief in her hand. and her eyes were still moist. Before the old woman left, it was all arranged. The rose-bush was to be moved whenever Miss Godwin wished it; but meantime, as the best season for moving it had not come, my cousin was to take care of it for Miss Godwin, and Miss God- win herself was to come up and look after it whenever she wished, and was certainly to come once a week. "Well, I am sure I anm very much obliged to you," said the old woman., who suddenly appeared much inspirited. "I never would have ventured to do it if I hadn't heard you were going to dig up everything anyhow, and I wouldn't have asked them in any case, not if they had lived till Judg- ment Day." When Miss Godwin rose to go, my cousin sug- gested that we should walk down to her home with her, and as we started out she handed me several 291 UNDER THE CRUST parcels and I saw that she herself had as many more. At the door of her dark little habitation Miss Godwin showed some signs of nervousness. I think she was slightly alarmed lest we might insist on coming in. My cousin, however, relieved her. "Here are a few little things-tea and coffee and sugar and-just a few little things. I thought they might taste a little better coming out of the old house, you know." She was speaking at the rate of two hundred words a minute. "Well " When we were out of earshot I waited for her to begin, but she walked on in silence with her hand- kerchief doubled in her hand. "Your cold seems pretty bad!" I said. "Oh, don't!" she cried with a wail. "That poor little half-starved rose-bush!" she sobbed. "The only thing she ever owned! And she didn't even have a stamp to write and ask me not to throw it away! I wish I could give her the house." "What would she do with it" "Make 'them' feel badly!" she cried with sud- den vehemence. 30 MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE VI All that spring and suMmer my duties in the way of helping my cousin to "clarify her ideas" took me from time to time to Hamilton Place, and every week Miss Godwin used to come to look after her "estate," as the rose-bush was now dubbed. Under the careful treatment of my cousin's gar- dener, and watched over by my cousin's hawk eyes, the rose-bush appeared to have gotten a new lease of life, as under the belated sunshine of my cousin's friendliness and sympathy the faded mis- tress also quite blossomed out. Every week she came in to tea, and my cousin, with her tact, drew her on to sit at the tea-table and pour tea. The crowning event of her life was the house- warming that my cousin gave to the neighbors. They were all there, and possibly among them were some whom, as my cousin had said, she would have liked to make feel badly. Whatever the motive, my cousin invited Miss Godwin to pour tea, and to her mind, not Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like her, in her new black dress with "a real breast-pin." For some time she had been coming every day to 31 UNDER TIHE CRUST help about things, but much of her time was spent in pothering about the rose-bush, watching two buds that were really beginning to give promise of becoming roses. "They all knew now" that the rose-bush was hers, and she wanted "them to see that it had roses on it." They had said "it weren't of no account." The day of the event she came early. The sum- mer night had been kind. The buds were real roses. She spent much of the day looking at them. No matter what she was doing she went out every few minutes to gaze at them, and each time my cousin watched her secretly with delight. Suddenly, toward afternoon, just when the guests were expected, I heard my cousin give a cry of anguish: "She is crazy! She is cutting them!" She rushed to the door to stop her. On the threshold she met Miss Godwin. She was pale, but firm and a trifle triumphant. "Oh! What have you done" cried my cousin. Miss Godwin became a little shy. "They are the only things I have, and I would have liked you to wear them if you had not been in black; so I thought I would put them in a vase for you." MISS GODWIN'S INHERITANCE "I will wear one and you shall wear the other," said my cousin, "and then I will press mine and keep it." I shall never forget the expression on Miss God- win's face. "Me-My!-" with a deep intaking of her breath. "Why I haven't worn a rose in fif- forty years! " I have reason to think she understated it. My cousin took one of the roses-the prettier of the two-and without, a word pinned it on her. When the guests arrived it was interesting to watch Miss Godwin. At first she was all a-flutter. Her face was pale even through the weather-beaten tint of her faded cheek, and her eyes followed Mrs. Davison with mute appeal. But in a little space she recovered her self-possession; her head rose; her pallor gave way to something that was almost color, and she helped my cousin with what was quite an air. My cousin could not have done a cleverer thing than place her at the tea-table. Silas Freeman expressed the general judgment. When he was bidding her good-by he said, with a kindly light in his eyes, "Wedll, I guess 33 UNDER THE CRUST you was about right in that thing you said that time." "What was that" "That you wa'n't altogether city folks," 34 THE NEW AGENT This page in the original text is blank. THE NEW AGENT I JOE'S first recollection of Elizabeth was as far back as the time when his mother took him, the year after his father died, to see Mrs. Fostyn, who had been her school-mnate. Joe never forgot the wonders of that visit. The fine old house with its carved mantels and wainscoting, amid the maples and elms on Fostyn Hill, outside of Leba- non, always remained in his mind as the grandest he had ever seen. The silver on the sideboard was enough, it seemed to him, to have served all Lebanon, and there were horses in the stable which were only ridden and did no work. It must, he thought, be a great thing; to be a member of Congress. He always remembered the shock of hearing old man Grantham, who kept the store two or three miles below, say of Mr. Fostyn that "a fool and his money were soon parted." It was the first time he was conscious of disliking a man because he had small eyes set close together and 37 UNDER THE CRUST wore a beard under his chin. Elizabeth, a tangle- headed tot with saucy eyes and a face where dimples played hide-and-seek, seized on him as her slave and made him do her utmost bidding. When next he saw Elizabeth she was a half- opened rosebud. The brown hair that used to blow about her face was plaited and tucked up on the nape of a shapely little neck. Her eyes were saucier than ever. She was then a school-girl, on a visit to Mr. Sewall, the superintendent of the railway, who had been a friend of Joe's father. Joe, meeting her, assumed the position of an old friend, and got soundly snubbed. "Miss Elizabeth, if you please," with a courtesy and an uptilt of the bewitching little nose. Joe laughed, though he was discomfited. But being bold, six feet tall, and good-looking, and having just left school and gone to work for him- self, he tried to carry it off and play the man. In a moment of daring, there being no one by but a fat robin in a lilac-bush, he caught and tried to kiss her. He nearly got his head slapped from his shoulders. She was like lightning, and her rage was that of a tigress. Her eyes actually darted fire. His apology only appeared to make her more furious. She listened to him till he was through, and then, when he held out his hand in 38 THE NEW AGENT friendship, she stepped forward, as he thought, to take it, and, with her white teeth set deep in her lower lip, boxed him again with all her might. Then Joe was angry! He caught and kissed her twice and set her down crumpled and half scared. It had been fire against fire. But when Joe cooled down he was in love with the little spitfire. After that he saw her in every apple-blossom, every rose, every violet, and that she was as cruel to him as a young ogress did not save him. It was, there- fore, with alacrity that, a few months after Mr. Fostyn's death, Joe accepted of the superintendent the offer of the agency at Lebanon. "Miss Elizabeth, if you please," had just ac- cepted the position of teacher of the little Sewalls -and Joe felt somehow as though his being on the railway were a link between them. "I guess you'il do well enough if you just stick," said the superintendent, glancing appreciatively at Joe's steady eyes, high cheek-bones and strong chin. "I'll stick." Joe thought of Elizabeth Fostyn. "Well, that's what I want you to do, and that's what I think you will do, too, or I would not bother to send you there. It ain't any easy load to carry. There is a might of work to do. The other man I sent there said. he would stick, too, 39 UNDER THE CRUST but old Grantham worked him out-skeered him- done somethin' to him-run him out, anyway." "I'll stick," said Joe again, firmly, his gray eyes set steadily on the superintendent's granite face. "All right," said the superintendent, with the air of a man who had had an unpleasant duty to perform and was glad he had gotten through with it. He fell to a more congenial theme, and then began to curse Grantham again. II When the Deacon turned the widow Fostyn and her daughter out of their old home on the southern slope of Fostyn Hill and put the key in his pocket, he thought he had done a very smart thing. He prided himself on doing smart things. He had gotten possession for half its value of a piece of property which he had long coveted, and finally, by his smartness, had choused her out of three hundred dollars, or, to be more accurate, three hundred and six dollars and twenty-three cents. This last, perhaps, gave him more satisfaction than any of the other things, for although the Deacon was not insensible to the seduction of power or the honeyed sweetness of revenge, the sweetest thing in this world to him was Money-the possession of 40 THE NEW AGENT money. He loved it. THe had always loved it since, as a little boy, he used to warm his chapped hands on the pennies in his pocket, and though position and authority were not without their allurement, and he never let anything pass him that he could hold on to, they had their drawback in that they cost some morey. Not a great deal in the Deacon's case; but still some. "But Money," as he used to say, "don't cost anything; it breeds money." It was not because of his being hard- hearted that he was hard on the widow, but be- cause of his avarice. He could weep, or make a fairly watery counterfeit of it, if the case came home to him, and-it did not cost him anything. But if it promised to cost even a cent his face became rock. It grieved him-that is, it almost grieved him-to turn the widow and her daughter -such a pretty girl, too--from the home where the Fostyns had lived so long; but when John Fostyn made the last payment on the mortgage that he had put on the place he had gotten no receipt for it from the Deacon, and when he died suddenly the Deacon could not bring himself to mention the fact that it had been paid. He con- sidered that Providence was in some sort responsi- ble for it. It worried him a good deal when the widow, after being turned out, instead of going 41 UNDER THE CRUST away, as he had supposed she would-to some- where in Delaware, where she came from-had taken a small house right on the road he had to travel when he went to the station, where she took in "fine sewing"; as if, thought the Deacon, any- body was fool enough to pay more for "fine sew- ing" than for any other kind. He felt aggrieved that she should have done so unkind a thing. It looked almost malicious in her to sit down where every time he passed along he was reminded of the three hundred and six dollars and twenty-three cents. And he had once thought so well of her, too! It grieved him yet more when Elizabeth Fostyn, who was, altogether, the prettiest girl in the town, or, for that matter, in the county, cut his son, Jim, dead on the road. Jim was the one thing near to that stony organ which the Deacon called his heart. In time, however, the Deacon quite forgot his worry over the three hundred and six dollars and twenty-three cents, and he wondered at his dis- quietude over the announcement of the appoint- ment of a new railway agent at Lebanon by the name of Shannon. Was it that in some way he had heard his name connected with that of the Fostyns What was it It was very vague. 42 THE NEW AGENT Someone-oh, yes, it was Jim who had said that "if it were not for that d--ned Joe Shannon" he might stand some chance. So, one day, the Deacon drove up to Lebanon and stopped at Squire London's store. The Squire was the only man in Lebanon he envied and hated. He envied him for his wealth and hated him for his liberality and popularity. His store, under the big elms, was the general rendezvous of the town, and here all the news could be learned. What the Deacon heard that morning was not reassuring. He discovered that in the four or five days the new agent had been at Lebanon he had already made friends. Several of the loungers spoke of him as if he were quite out of the ordinary; and Squire London plainly liked him. "Waal, so long-I just come by to see how you folks were." And the Deacon strode on up to the station to "look him over," and, maybe, to "take a fall out of " the new agent. III In those few days Joe had found his new place much pleasanter than he had expected. The hours were long: from five A. M., when the first train passed, to nine P. M., when No. 13, the last one he 43 UNDER THE CRUST had to report, came by. He had to act as station agent, telegraph operator and depot hand; han- dling all the baggage and loading and unloading the freight-which was growing rapidly; but he was young and strong and he was making his own living. Besides, though the girl with saucy eyes, the memory of whom had brought him there, was away from home, teaching school, she would, he knew, be back at Thanksgiving, and now and then a letter came to him, which, though cool as a dewy leaf, lasted him for two good weeks. Lebanon, too, was a pleasant place, with its white houses lying under its great elms, with the hills sloping away in the sunshine; and the people, if reserved, were kind and, when once reached, re- sponsive. Old Solon London, the principal man in town, a deacon in the white church, trustee of the new library, director in the brick bank and general adviser of all Lebanon, had been kind to him; had given him much sound advice: not to put too much trust in what certain people said- he named them frankly; to attend to his own business; not to smoke cigars-which 'cost more money than a young man should pay"; not to play cards for money with men he did not know, and not to marry a fool. Among the men he named was Deacon Grantham. 44 THE NEW AGENT "When he gits confidential, watch him." Joe, sitting at his desk next day, was just think- ing of the Squire's advice when the Deacon walked in. He had a noiseless step. He did not greet Joe; he plunged straight into business. This was always his way, he said. "Where's the agent" he demanded. "Right here," Joe spoke shortly, for the Dea- con's tone was raspy. Fe looked up quickly enough to catch a pair of shrewd eyes fastened on him with so piercing a glance from under the gray brows that he was instantly alert. The next second the glance was withdrawn, and Joe en- countered a face of stone, with a pair of small, deep eyes set back under bushy eyebrows which half hid them; a nose like E sickle; where his lips should have been, a line; a heavy, grizzled beard under the chin, cut as sharply as wheat is cut by a cradle, and a big Adam's-apple which worked up and down in his long neck. Joe knew instantly that this was Deacon Gran- tham. He knew further that he had come for war -he felt it by an instinct, and his blood ran warm: he girded himself for the fray. "Where's Millard" "Somewhere in Minnesota." "Gone away" 45 UNDER THE CRUST This gave Joe the advantage. The Deacon knew that he had gone, and Joe knew that he did so. He therefore simply nodded and got him- self together. "Who are you" "The agent." Joe looked at his silver watch- partly to see the time and partly to appear uncon- cerned. "Is there anything here for Deacon Gran- tham " "I don't know; I'll see." Joe took his freight- book and began to scan its pages. He took his time doing it. "You don't appear to know too much about your business, young man," observed the Deacon. "No, not too much. No, I don't see anything billed to Deacon Grantham. Is that his name" "His name Don't you know what a 'deacon' is Where did you come from, young man Who ever heard of 'Deacon' bein' a name" He spoke with rising scorn, and Joe waited. "I have. I know a whole family of 'Deacons,"' he said dryly. When the Deacon drove away from the station he knew that he had a long fight on his hands. Joe knew it, too. The Deacon's last words as he gathered up the reins over his thin horse were: 46 THE NEW AGENT "Waal, young man, I hope next time you'll know Deacon Grantham." "I'll not forget you," said Joe briefly. IV The hours were long at Lebanon, and, as the superintendent had said, the work was hard, but Joe did not mind that. He was as strong as an ox and could sleep like a log. What he did mind was the talk that now and then reached him that Deacon Grantham's son was still "settin' up" to Elizabeth Fostyn, and, as some said, was "kind o' winnin' her over." "All those farms were bound to count for something," said the village gossips. "And then there was the old Fostyn place. It was natural she'd like to get back there." This disturbed Joe a good deal; but whenever he got a little note, worded as carefully as a copy-book, he used to feel that it was impos- sible. She would not have given him so much good advice if she had not been interested in him. "And she simply could not marry that Jim Grantham." In six months Joe knew all the people in Leb- anon. The station became quite a rendezvous for the young people, especially for the young girls. 47 UNDER THE CRUST It was remarkable how often they walked down to meet friends who did riot come on the trains. The boys used to gather at his room sometimes for a quiet little game of cards, and in time he found it was being talked about. Squire London gave him a hint about it. "The Deacon says you're ruinin' the morals of the young and inner- cent, Joe, and you'd better stop. Don't let him git a line on you." So, Joe determined to stop. But one night Jim Grantham was in town and he insisted on having a game in Joe's room, and Joe yielded. He would not let Jim Grantham bluff him. It was not his duty, but it was his custom, to go down to look at the switch at night before going to bed, for a freight train came by late at night and did not stop, except on signal. This night the game was so close, with Jim Grantham losing, that Joe failed to go until he heard the train pass. The next moment came a bumping and a crash, which he knew meant that the train had run into the switch. In a twinkling he was on the spot. No one was hurt and no serious damage was done, for the train had been going slowly. Only one box-car had been jammed and broken, and in an hour or two the train, with the injured car cut out, was on its way again; but Joe felt that his days at Lebanon were numbered. 4S THE NEW AGENT Curiously, the first thing he thought of was old Deacon Grantham-how he would gloat! The next person was Elizabeth Fostyn. Jim Grantham was unusually sympathetic. "I swan! that's too bad. What're you goin' to report" "The truth." "I want to know!" said Jim, blinking incredu- lously. "Why don't you tell 'em you had just been down I ain't goin' to give you away." "Because I had not. I am not going to lie about it." The next morning he sat down and wrote to Mr. Sewall, the superintendent, telling him the facts. He also wrote to Miss Elizabeth Fostyn. He told her he would undoubtedly be removed, and he thought he would go to the far West. He hoped that the superintendent would write and scold him, and that Miss Elizabeth would write and beg him not to go. Neither did what he hoped for. Miss Elizabeth wrote and scolded him, but said not a word about his not going West. In fact, she rather encouraged the idea. "The West was such a fine field for a young man, if he did not play cards too much." She mentioned, casually, that she had already heard of the accident from "Mr. Grantham." 49 UNDER THE CRUST The very next day after the accident Deacon Grantham drove up. Joe's jaw squared and his lips tightened as he heard his voice. "Waal, young man, I hear you've had an acci- dent. Guess you'll be joining Millard out in Min- nesoty" said the Deacon, warming his hands at the stove. "Well, if I do it won't be because anybody here sent me there," flashed Joe over his shoulder. "Nor-guess it'll be the railroad company'll do thet. Blessin' warn't nobody hurt." Joe was so exasperated that he forgot him- self. "There's nothing here for Deacon Grantham," he said pointedly. The next second he regretted it for the Deacon's eyes blinked with a gratified light in them. "So you remember me" "Yes, I remember you." Joe was growing cool again. "Waal, young man, let me give you a piece of advice." "Don't waste it." The Deacon shot a wicked glance at him. "Next time you set up all night gamblin' see thet your switch is locked." "How did you know it was unlocked" de- 50 THE NEW AGENT manded Joe, facing the Deacon suddenly with so level a glance that the latter almost jumped. "I don't know nothin' about it, but thet's what I heard," he said, blinking uneasily. "But you needn't be gettin' so hot about it, young man." "I'll make it hot for thle scoundrel who undid that lock if I ever find hirrL." "Who says the lock was tampered with" "I do." "Any suspicions who done it" The Deacon's voice had grown confidential. " No. If I had I'd send him to the penitentiary." The Deacon's face took on a look of relief. "Young man, it's an awful thing to bring a charge like that against a community," he began severely. "This is a law-abidin' community, and it ain't wise for a young man like you to lay sich an accusation against it." "I am not bringing any accusation against the community. I am bringing it against the scoun- drel-- " The Deacon turned his eyes up slightly. The superintendent was sitting in his office the evening after he received foe's letter when there was a faint tap on the door, and Elizabeth Fostyn 51 UNDER THE CRUST walked in. She looked somewhat nervous-in- deed, even agitated, a thing so rare with her that the superintendent observed it. "She has had trouble," he thought to himself; "I wonder if it is one of the children, or if she wants money" So he was somewhat guarded when he spoke. "Well" he began doubtfully. She walked up and stood opposite him on the other side of the table, on which she rested the knuckles of her hands. "I hear you have had an accident up at Leba- non " "Oh-yes. We have had an accident there. That young man left the switch open." "Did he leave it open You are sure it was he" "Well, it was left open. Same thing. He didn't see that it was shut. Cost us money. And might have killed the men." There was a pause. Then she said: "Are you going to discharge him" " Why-ah-" began the superintendent slowly. As he glanced up his eyes fell on her face and her color suddenly deepened. "Because I do not think it will happen again." She had evidently supposed he was asking her a question. 52 THE NEWX AGENT "Is he anything to you" demanded the super- intendent, wondering if Joe were her cousin. He was surprised to see the rich color flush her face and brow, and even warm her round throat. "He is an old friend of-of ours." Her eyes were steady, and the superintendent, grizzled and battered by work, was suddenly aware of their depth and beauty. He looked down and shuffled his papers. "I do not believe he left the switch open, and I believe if you are lenient with him he will justify it," pursued Elizabeth; and the superintendent, whose eyes were on her hands, suddenly observed that the knuckles resting against the table were white with the pressure. "I do not expect to discharge him, but I will make him pay for the damage," he said briefly. Elizabeth had moved around the table and was standing close to him as he ended. She suddenly bent over and, throwing her arms about his neck, kissed him warmly. The next second she turned and dashed from the room. The superintendent sat for some moments in a reverie of pleased surprise. "That girl has heart, after all," he said; "I thought she had only intellect." It did not occur to him until later to wonder if 53 UNDER THE CRUST she had a deeper interest in Joe than the somewhat reserved allowance of formal friendship with which she treated all young men. And when he sug- gested the idea to Mrs. Sewall, that clear-sighted woman rejected it with what was very near to scorn. V A few days later, as the train came in, the superintendent swung himself down from it. Joe's eyes fell on him before he had touched the plat- form. He knew his time had come. He deter- mined to meet his fate like a man. So he attended to his duties, and when the train had gone on and he had despatched his report, he went out and met the superintendent. His face was grim enough and he was suspiciously polite. "Well, you had a bad accident here the other night " "Yes, sir. I'm glad it was no worse." "How did it happen" "Just as I wrote you-I neglected to look at the switch before going to bed, and it was unlocked." "M-hm! Think someone tampered with it" "I don't know about that-looks so; but I don't lay it to that. If I had gone there, as I always had before, it wouldn't have happened." 54 THE NEW AGENT "M-hm! Well, let's go down and look at it." They walked down the track in silence, and when they reached the spot Joe explained how everything occurred. As they strode back in silence, Joe said: "I suppose you have come to turn me off-so I have got everything straight-my books are all ready-and-everything. But I want to say that if you are afraid I'll ever do that again you need not turn me off. If you leave me here I may make mistakes, but I'll never make that mistake again as long as I live." He did not see the gleamr of amusement in the superintendent's eyes, or the fleeting twitch of his lip. "Well, I suppose you are ready to pay the repair bill on that car and cowcatcher" said the other dryly. "I am; I think that's just." The superintendent shot a side glance at him out of the tail of his eye and walked on in silence. He was a big, broad-shouldered man, with grizzled hair, a wholesome face and keen eyes. When they got to the station he said: "I will send you the bill. If I make you pay it you may be of some account some day. I'm going to give you another trial, But if you can't 50 UNDER THE CRUST play cards and lock your switch, too, give up cards." "I will. Thank you, sir. I will justify your kindness." He thought of Deacon Grantham and then of Elizabeth. What the superintendent was thinking was, "I wonder if that girl wrote him to say that. Those were the very words she used when she came to ask me not to turn him off." Joe found his life in Lebanon riot so pleasant as it had been at first. The Deacon had spread around a story that he not only was leading the young men astray, but that he had charged the community with a crime, and his popularity some- what waned. Squire London and some others still stood by him, but many looked at him askance. Another aggravation was that Miss Elizabeth Fostyn was not coming home for her holiday. She was going to Portsmouth, and Joe had learned that Jim Grantham was going to Portsmouth, too. "By George! they'd better lock their switches," said Joe to one of his friends. But this ebullition gave him little comfort. In fact, the world held little comfort for him that autumn and, if it had not been that to leave the field would have been taken as an admission of defeat by the Granthams, Joe would have pulled out and have gone West, 56 THE NEW AGENT whither the cords of adventure were drawing him. Joe heard that the Deacon had said that he was going to run him out of town. And this made him stick. VI That year the cold weather set in suddenly and with unknown severity. After a beautiful autumn there came a long raw spell, with the skies as dull as lead. Every one said "Snow." But it did not snow. For days the snow simply piled up in the skies. Then one morning iti began to fall, at first in small, feathery flakes, softly, slowly; then rap- idly; and then about mid-day the wind whipped around to the north-east, and it changed to fine, swift-falling particles that filled the air. When evening came it turned to a dense, driving storm. The temperature ran down like a clock and the wind blew in every direction. Minute particles, driven by the wind, stung like shot and drove through every chink and cranny. The term "blizzard " was not yet known, but the storm was. It was born that night. About dark Joe telegraphed down the line and learned that the passenger train which had started would not come through, but would be stopped at a little town some ten or more miles below Leba- 57 UNDER THE CRUST non. So, as the office grew cold and the storm was raging outside, driving the fine snow in at every crack, Joe filled his stove cand went supperless to bed in his little room next, to the office. With- out, the snow was climbing steadily up the wall, and even within, it lay in little downlike rifts along the floor. Joe had hardly gotten to sleep when he began to dream that he was being called, but as he knew it was a dream he did not stir; he only snuggled closer under his blankets and was glad he knew a dream when it came. Then the call began to worry him: "Leb.-Leb.-Leb." He waked, and it was not a dream at all. There was a switch at the foot of his bed, and the instru- ment was click-clicking "Leb.-Leb.-Leb." as hard as it could rattle. Haldf asleep still he scram- bled out of bed, and catching the key asked who it was that wanted him and what in the thunder he wanted. The reply waked him wide enough. An engine and a plough were wanted at once from Upton, six miles beyond Lebanon, and Upton could not be awakened: the wires were probably down. The evening train was stuck fast in a snowdrift near Pike River Bridge, eight miles below Lebanon and three miles from the nearest station; the fires were out, and unless succor could be gotten to them some of the passengers might THE NEM AGENT perish. The train was full of women and children. Word must be got to Upton at once. "I'll get word there as soon as possible," said Joe. In six minutes Joe was in his clothes and heavy boots, and in two more he had prepared himself as well as he could for what he knew would be a bitter ride. Tying his overcoat collar around his neck over his muffler with a handkerchief, and his cap down over his ears with another; knotting his sleeves tightly at the wri ts, as he did when he went sliding, he pulled on this gloves. He knew it was to be a hard ride; but when he opened the door and stepped out into the night he knew it was to be a fight for life. The storm seemed to have increased tenfold since he went to bed, and the air was filled with fury. The snow stung his face as if it had been shot. He plunged through the drifts for a couple of hundred vards to the livery stable and began hammering on the door. It was some minutes before he could make any one hear; but, presently, a man half dressed and half asleep opened the door a little way and with an oath let him in. When he saw Joe and learned his errand the oath changed to sheer and undisguised blasphemy. IHe would be eternally 59 UNDER THE CRUST destroyed before any horse of his should leave his stable that night. "No man nor beast can make that ride to-night," he declared. "One man is going to make it," said Joe, "and if I can't get a horse I will make it on foot; but I want a horse. There are women and children in that train, man, and the fire is out." After much hesitation and some bargaining, together with considerable advice and repeated assurances that if his horse were hart he would look both to the railroad company and to Joe for two hundred dollars, the man saddled and brought out what Joe knew to be the stoutest horse in his stable. He was a short-coupled, broad-backed sorrel, with a strong, sinewy neck, flat bones, a deep chest and muscles of steel. His chestnut coat, his broad brow, and his wide, clear eyes be- spoke the Morgan strain that had made the horses of the region famous; and Joe, who had been reared among horses, and had a farmer's eye for a good one, felt himself kindle as he recognized the horse. He had driven him once when he went to see Elizabeth Fostyn, and the horse was always associated in his mind with a perfect summer day, amid beeches and maples, with the grass dappled beneath them by the sifted sunlight. He remem- bered that she kissed the horse, and how he envied 60 THE NEW AGENT him. He felt it was a good augury to have this horse walk out of the stable for him, and he drew near and patted him as Bragdall tightened the girths and adjusted the stirrups. "He's a good horse; I know him." "Guess everybody knows him," said Bragdall; "he used to belong to John Fostyn, and you know he had the best-wouldnt have no other kind; he'll take you there if any horse will, but I wouldn't try it to-night for every horse in this stable." "No more would I," said Joe, "but I'll go all the same." "If he gets in a drift let him have his head; he'll plunge out; and if he should stick just get off him and give him a loose rein. He can break a track better than most men. Got a mite more sense.") "I'll do it-I know about it." "Don't you want a gocd dram I've got a bottle-you'd better take it along-" Joe shook his head. "No, I want my wits to-night." "That's so. Well, I've got a pot of coffee-by the stove-I take it of a morning." "I'll take that, thank you." Joe lifted the pot, and, on the owner's invitation to take as much as he wanted, drained it. 61 UNDER THE CRUST "That ought to keep you awake till Judgment Day," said Bragdall as Joe mounted. "Here, take this and wrap it around you under your knees -so.' He threw a heavy horse-blanket across the horse in front of the saddle and tucked it under Joe's knees. "If I lose that horse the railroad's got to pay me for him." Joe was settling himself into the saddle. "You ain't going to lose him; but if you do, it won't make much difference to me what you get." "Guess that's so. Now for it! Let him take his time." He opened the door. The blast nearly swept Joe from his saddle, but the next moment, with body bent and head ducked low, he was out in its full sweep. VII The snow was nearly up to the girths on the level, and in drifts was up to the saddle-skirts, and the road lying to the north-eastward made the ride, for the most part, in the teeth of the storm. The horse, as if knowing what was before him, after the first balk when the storm struck him, buckled down to his work, and with ears laid back, and 62 THE NEW AGENT head firmly set a little sidewise, struck straight for the upper end of town. After the first chill the work seemed to warm up both horse and rider, and wherever the snow had blown from the road Joe pushed to a trot. By the time he got into the open country he found the snow deeper, and he was glad to be able to keep steadily ahead, even at a walk. Soon all trace of the track was lost in the swirl, and he guided his horse by the tops of the trees, which he could dimly see on each side of the road, through the blinding sheet that enveloped him and the splinters of ice that drove across his face and beat down his eyelids. As the time passed the warmth died out in his body and he began to grow deadly cold. Some- times the snow would lie in drifts as high as his horse's back; but, as the stableman had said, he knew how to plunge out of it. Twice he stuck and stood helplessly still, and Joe got off him and helped him to free himself;, but the last time he dismounted he was so stiff and found so much diffi- culty in remounting that he determined not to get off again. He could scarcely pull the blanket over him. How far off the treetops were! Then a new trouble beset him: he began to get sleepy. He knew that he must keep awake at every cost, so he began to think of the poor, freezing people in 63 UNDER THE CRUST the train. He pictured Elizabeth as being among them. From this he drifted to the days he had spent with her-few and precious as gold, among the summer woods. How happy he was then! How warm! He almost fancied himself back among the trees, with the sunshine sifting through, dappling the ground and falling on her hair and face. This, too, made him drowsy, and he awoke with a start to find his horse standing still, with his tail to the storm. For a second he thought the storm had lulled; then a horror seized him and shook him wide awake. Had his horse turned around If so he was lost, and with him all the women and children in the car. Slipping from the saddle, in an agony of fear, he stopped to see if there were any sign of the track he had made. Yes, thank God! at last, there was the track, beyond doubt-there was the blanket he had dropped, already nearly covered by the snow. He seized it and, throwing it over the horse, man- aged to scramble up again, and turning, headed once more in the face of the storm. Fear now kept him awake, for his horse appeared to be giv- ing out. He began to pray, and, like most men in such a case, to make resolutions and pledges. Once more, however, the drowsiness began to steal over him in spite of all he could do, and it took 64 THE NEW AGENT all his resolutions and prayers to keep awake. He felt sure that he would never reach his destination, and it seemed useless to try. But the thought of how it would please Deacon Grantham stimulated him. Just then the trees by which he was guiding seemed to grow denser on one side and to be all of one height, and the next moment something like a dim light appeared among them. At first he thought he was dreaming, and then it came to him that this was a house. He was in Upton. With a rush came consciousness and a clear apprehension that he must hold out a little longer. A few mo- ments later he had reached the office, and tum- bling from his horse he began to feel for the door. He tried to call, but the sound died at his lips. Twice he thought he hal it, but each time he was at fault-then he felt a plank and began to thump it with his numb hands and to push against it in a dazed way. It suddenly gave way before him, and he fell full length on the floor. "Joe Shannon! How did you get here" "My horse-train stunk-engine-plough-'t once," and with this Joe rolled over. "He's dead," said the agent. Dead he might have been if the man had not known what to do; but after a vigorous rubbing 65 UNDER THE CRUST with snow to restore the circulation he poured a stimulant down his throat, and presently dragged him to the stove and began to rub and chafe him all over, and so brought him to. When the relief engine and plough were ready to start, Joe, rolled in blankets, was being lifted into the agent's bed. He unexpectedly rose up. "Where am I" "You're all right," said his friend. He was put- ting on his overcoat. Joe sat up. " It's true. I was afraid it was a dream- where's my horse" "All right-in the stable. You go to sleep and rest." "The train Where are ycu going" "We are just starting " "I'm going, too." Joe sprang from the bed, dragging all the blankets with him. His friend thought he was a little daft, or, pos- sibly, tight with what he had taken. " Well, what are you going to do with my blankets" he asked indulgently. "Take 'em with me. I'll never stir another step as long as I live without taking all the blankets in sight. I'd be in Kingdom-come but for that bracer and blankets. And that car is 66 THE NEW AGENT full of women freezing to death. Get all the wraps you can." "I guess you can come,' said his friend. It was a slow run, if that can be called a run which is never more than a creep, and often con- sisted only of repeated butti ngs and bumpings into the white drifts piled high in the cuts. At last there was a cry. Faintly glimmering through the sheet that wrapped everything in its icy folds was a light. They were almost against the engine before they were seen. The engineer and fireman were down in the cab sheltering themselves from the sweep of the storm. By the time they halted, Joe, seizing his blankets, sprang down and, plung- ing forward, made his way to the passenger-car. As he pushed open the door the scene within stag- gered him. Half the people in the car were huddled together, three or four in a seat, while the others were rush- ing up and down the aisle, apparently playing a game under the direction of a young woman who was standing on a seat and ever shouting to them, "Faster! Faster!" while she slapped her hands and encouraged them. Joe's first idea was that trey had all gone crazy. His next was that he was crazy himself, to think 67 UNDER THE CRUST that the girl standing on the seat, with her back to him, drilling the crowd with her waving arms, could be Elizabeth Fostyn. At his words, "Relief engine! " pandemonium broke loose. A sudden life was thrown into every vein. Men and women crowded around him, asking a hundred questions at once, and telling him how they had been kept alive by a girl. Joe tried to get a glimpse of her, but she had disappeared. As Joe pushed his way through the throng, Elizabeth Fostyn arose from a seat. " Oh, Joe!" A little child was in her arms, wrapped in her cape. Joe jerked off his overcoat, and against her pro- test folded her in it. "I thought, perhaps, you would come," she said. It was not much, but it sent the blood singing through Joe's veins. He said truly that he was "warm enough." VIII After this Joe was popular enough in Lebanon not to mind the Deacon's flings and fleers. But his real reward was Elizabeth's smiles. Life appeared 68 THE NEW AGENT to Joe to have opened up again, and though Eliza- beth, after the first glimpse into her soul, which had flooded him with light and given him a glimpse into the inner Heaven, shut- to the doors again and left him in semi-darkness., it was no longer the outer darkness in which he had groped, but only a sort of twilight, and on the far horizon was the glimmer of a new hope. She might be capricious, even perverse; but he knew now that she was not going to marry that hatchet-faced Grantharn. He almost forgot to hate old Grantham, though not quite. He would never forget that so long as the Deacon held on to Elizabeth's home. Besides, the Deacon did what he could to keep himself in mind. Joe heard of many evil things he said of him. He knew now that it was through the Deacon that the superintendent had first heard of the accident at the switch, as Elizabeth had learned it from Jim Grantham. How had he known it so early This was what Joe was working on. When Deacon Grantharm saw Joe next after his rescue of the train, his greeting was char- acteristic. "Guess you felt you owed the railroad company for that little accident last year" Joe shook his head. "You'll have to guess again." 69 UNDER THE CRUST "Bragdall says that horse was about the best horse he ever had in his stable 'n' that ride clean ruined him. Guess the railroad company'll make it up to Bragdall" "I know nothing about it." "You don't 'pear to know much about anything, young man." "I know enough to attend to my own business," snapped Joe. The Deacon turned away with a snarl. His eyes had an evil glint in them; and Joe soon heard of new threats that he had made against him. "You and the Deacon don't appear to be hitch- ing horses together much these days" said the Squire to him. "He says this place is too small for the two of ye, and I 'low he ain't thinkin' of emigratin' himself and leavin' all them farms he's got. You got to watch him." "I am watching him," said Joe. Joe worked harder than ever that spring. He wanted to "get off " for a day or two and go to see Elizabeth, and the only way to get a holiday was to earn it. One Saturday he had the hardest day of his life. Two consignments of flour had come and he had to unload them alone. He nearly gave out, but 70 THE NEW AGENT not quite. He unloaded the last ten barrels by sheer nerve. His back had long since given out. There were one hundred barrels for Squire London and ten for Deacon Grantham. It was the latter that Joe unloaded last and found so heavy. With every barrel he cursed Deacon Grantham. He sent notice of the freight's arrival to the Deacon that very day, with the grim hope that the latter would come for his flour while he was away and would have to load it himself. That Sunday was a pleasant one for Joe. In the words of an old hymn he had been taught as a boy, it was "like a little Heaven below." Elizabeth Fostyn made it. She was, as has been stated, teaching the superintendent's children, and the superintendent was very cordial to Joe. He even hinted at an advancement. But Elizabeth gave Joe the advancement he enjoyed most. She really let him wait on her. He envied the little smug- faced Sunday-school scholars in the stiff pews, who had her care. He sat and adored her all through church, and walked home with her feeling more religious than he had ever done in his life, and quite as if he had an angel under his charge: an angel with beautiful feathers on a big hat instead of on her wings. When Joe returned to his office on the following 71 UNDER THE CRUST morning he was not quite sure whether he were still on earth. The words of the superintendent had partly opened the door of the future; but it was Elizabeth Fostyn who had flung it wide. He was, however, soon brought down to earth. He was following down the delivery-line of his freight- book. "I see old Grantham's got his flour," he said to his substitute, who was about to take the morning train. "Hope he had to load it himself" "He did," said the other, "and he made a big row about it, too. He came just at train-time, and when I got through he had it all loaded. He says he's going to make it hot for you for getting off and leaving the office." Joe chuckled. The day before he had decided to give up swearing. For some unaccountable reason Joe rose from his seat and went into the freight-house, where he counted all the barrels that remained. Then he counted them again, and with a puzzled look counted them the third time, more carefully than he had done before. Then he went back and ex- amined his books. "I see Squire London's got two of his barrels. You didn't set it down." His friend shook his head. 72 THE NEW AGENT "No, that's all. Ain't been anybody here to get flour, but just your friend." "Then he has two barrels that don't belong to him." Joe's hope still was that Squire London might have sent and gotten two barrels; but at dinner- time this hope disappeared. Squire London had not gotten any part of his flour. It was plain, then, that Deacon Grantham had taken twelve barrels instead of ten. Joe sat down and wrote him a letter, asking if thiis were not the fact. Then, on further consideration, he determined to go personally and see him about it. So that after- noon, having gotten a friend to take his place for a few hours, he walked down to Deacon Gran- tham's. If he should have to pay for two barrels of flour he could not afford to drive, and, after all, eight miles was no such great matter for a long- legged boy of twenty-two. It was nearly sunset when he reached the Dea- con's, and as he came to the Deacon's farm he thought he had rarely witnessed a more pastoral scene. The Deacon's store was at the corner, fifty yards below his house; but the dwelling stood back a little from the road, with a well-kept yard in front, and with outbuildings strung off to one 73 UNDER THE CRUST side, ending in a big, yellow barn. In the farm- yard the Deacon was feeding his sheep, and as the pink light of the setting sun fell upon his long white beard, Joe was seized with a sudden shrink- ing; he felt that it would be almost sacrilege even to suggest that the Deacon could have made a mistake. His voice was somewhat quavering when he spoke. The surprise of seeing him appeared, for a second, to startle the Deacon; but as Joe modestly stated his errand the Deacon's blank face hardened. "Young man," he said, "I have not made any mistake. I don't make mistakes. I only got the flour that I was entitled to. If you had stayed at home and attended to your business you wouldn't have lost this flour, if, as you say, it's disappeared. Knowing that you weren't attend- ing to your business I went myself to bring my flour, and, what is more, I had to load it myself: and you haven't heard the last of it, either." Joe returned home in deep gloom. He had evi- dently made a mistake, and what was more, he would have to pay for the missing flour, and if old Grantham could bring it about he would lose his place. The road was twice as long to him going back as it had been when he went down. 74 THE NEW AGENT All that week Joe spent investigating: but there was no trace of the flour. Friday morning, however, an acquaintance dropped in. He had a grievance against Deacon Grantham, and he found a sympathetic listener in Joe. Every time he cursed the Deacon, Joe felt as if he had done him a favor. "They say since he robbed the widow Fostyn of her place he's afraid to meet her in the road, and every time she comes to town he thinks she's come to see Lawyer Stuart to bring suit against him and get it back. Ain't no love lost between Lawyer Stuart and the Deacon. I heard Lawyer Stuart say last week that the Deacon ought to be in- dicted for overloadin' his horses. Says he seen him with a load of flour on Saturday week couldn't no two horses in the county pull up Fostyn's Hill, and he was beatin' 'em unmerciful and talkin' mighty unbecomin' a Deacon, too." "Did you hear him say how many barrels he had on his wagon" Joe asked casually. "No; didn't hear him say how many he had; jist heard him say he had an ungodly load for two horses to pull up that hill." When his visitor left, Joe sat for some time pon- dering. That afternoon he struck out down the road which Deacon Grantham always took. He 75 UNDER THE CRUST stopped at a store on the roadside and asked for a drink of water. Casually he inquired, also, if they wanted any flour, and if any one had been hauling flour by there within the last two weeks. No one had but Deacon Grantham. No one had observed how many barrels he had. Joe decided to push on. At the first house beyond Fostyn's Hill he stopped again to ask for water, and he made the same inquiry. "I guess you can't sell much flour this way," said the kindly woman who came to the door. "Deacon Grantham sold some below here last week, I know, 'cause the Deacon, I heard, sold it to lighten his load. I heard as how he had a balky horse and he couldn't get up the hill with all he had, so he parted with a lot of it down to Jesse Roache's." "Do you know how much he had" Joe asked. "Well, I didn't count it," said the old woman; "but my granddaughter did. Mary, come here! How many barrels of flour did you say Deacon Grantham had on his wagon t'other day when he went by here with such a load" "Twelve," said Mary, with the color coming to her face, being much more interested in the young man, with his broad shoulders and keen eyes, than in any question relating to flour. - 76 THE NEW AGENT "Yes, that's it," said the grandmother; "I re- member now, I counted with Mary, 'Two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve,' and said as how it was a pretty big load to come up that hill with them horses." "Yes," said Mary, "he just could make it, and Tom Putnam and I had a talk as to whether a round dozen barrels of flour weren't too much for one load. Tom said as how if the Deacon weren't too stingy to feed his horses they could pull a dozen barrels easy enough; but ten barrels was too much for any two horses that the Deacon feeds." Joe, with his heart beating, thanked his friends and kept on to Roache's store. Here he inquired guilefully if he wanted to buy any flour; but Mr. Roache replied that he had all he wanted at present. "What is flour worth" he asked. Joe gave him a price-a high one. The storekeeper's face brightened at the thought that he had made a bargain. "You ask too high for it, young man. Deacon Grantham didn't ask that much for it, and you know the Deacon knows how to charge." "Well, maybe, his flour was not as good as mine," said Joe. 77 UNDER THE CRUST "Yes, it is good flour, too; I have got a couple of barrels here now." "Will you let me see it" "Walk in." The storekeeper led Joe back to his store- room, and there were the two barrels of flour, with the "Haxall and Crenshaw" brand-the very barrels which had disappeared from Joe's freight-room. "I hear he had a mighty heavy load on that day," said Joe. "Yes, he had," replied the storekeeper; "that's the only reason he let me have it at that price." Joe found the road back to Lebanon short enough that evening. The next afternoon Joe hired a buggy, and, in- viting Squire London to go with him, drove down to the Deacon's. When he drove up, the Deacon, as before, was feeding his cattle, and, as before, the rays of the evening sun gave him a peculiarly benignant appearance. Joe, leaving Squire London in his buggy in the road, passed through the gate and into the barn- yard, as he had done the week before, and in the same voice, and almost in the same words, he ex- plained the object of his visit. 78 THE NEW AGENT "I think you must have made a mistake, Dea- con," he said, almost tremblingly. "Anyway, my shipment is out two barrels, and I'll have to pay for them unless you have nade a mistake." The Deacon turned on him with unexpected severity. "Young man, I have told you twice that I have made no mistake; that I only got the flour that belonged to me; and it would serve you right if you did have to pay for them. And, young man, you would get off very easy by only havin' to pay for them. You don't attend to your business, even if you know it. And now I want you to get off my place, and don't you ever put your foot here again." Joe put his hands in his pockets. An unex- pected sparkle shot into his eyes. "No," he said, "I ain't going to get off your place until I am ready. 'But I am going pretty soon." His voice was perfectly calm, arid his eyes were level with the Deacon's eyes. "I thought, maybe, you might have taken the flour by mistake; but I am satisfied now that you stole it, and stole it to injure me, and I have come here to tell you that I have got full proof that you did. I know where you sold it, what you got for it, and know where it is at this minute. Now, you come up and see me. I make my report Monday." 79 UNDER THE CRUST He wheeled and walked quietly out of the barn- yard, and, getting in his buggy, turned and drove home. "He looks real benevolent, don't he" said the Squire. "Looks like he was ready to git milk for new-born babes. But you got to watch him." "I have," said Joe. That night Joe paid a visit to Lawyer Stuart. Ix The following Monday morning Joe was at his desk, humming a tune, and every now and then chuckling to himself, when there was a step behind him. Turning, he faced Deacon Grantham. The Deacon was dressed in his Sunday clothes. "Well," said Joe, "you have come. Sit down." The Deacon drew up a chair. His face was pale, and his eyes showed that he was much disturbed. When he spoke he had the confidential tone which Squire London had mentioned to Joe. "Yes, I have come to see you to explain things. I did make a mistake." "Yes" said Joe. "Well" "You haven't made your report yet" "I haven't sent in my report yet," said Joe; "it goes to-night." 80 THE NEW AGENT "Well, that is all right," said the Deacon; "I want to pay you for the flour." He glanced around over his shoulder to see that no one was within ear-shot; then slowly put his hand into his pocket. "I got six dollars a barrel for it, and, of course, if I pay for it you won't say anything about it to anybody, and I will make it up to you. Suppose we call it fourteen dollars for the two" Joe waited until he had gotten his money out, and then shook his head slowly. "Well, say fifteen" said. the Deacon, and put- ting his hand into another pocket he drew out another dollar, which, evidently, had been placed there to meet this contingency. "No," said Joe, "I think not." He turned around to his desk and, taking up a pen, began to write. The Deacon was a spectacle. For a moment he appeared to be lost in doubt and indecision. Then he drew nearer. "Well, what will you settle it for" he asked. Joe reflected a moment, and then, rising slowly, turned and faced him. "I don't know that I ought to settle it at all, but I will settle it for one thing." "What is that" 81 UNDER THE CRUST "For a full deed of conveyance to Mrs. Fostyn of the place you robbed her of, upon the payment to you of the exact amount you paid for it, without one cent of interest; the interest being offset by whatever you may have gotten from it, whether it be much or little; that deed to be executed and delivered to me to-day." He had the words by heart. The Deacon flung up his hands and burst out laughing. He was sincerely amused. " Well, that is a good one! You think I am !" But Joe had turned and reseated himself, and began to write quietly. "A deed for the best place within ten miles of Lebanon for two barrels of flour! Well, I like your brass! What do you take me for" The Deacon's laugh had an unwonted merriment. Joe wrote on. "You think yourself pretty smart, young man, don't you" Joe's pen went on quietly. "I have brought you the amount I got for those barrels I took by mistake, just as you said yourself, and that is all you will get, young man." Joe began to fold a suspicious, formal-looking paper, and the Deacon's eyes fell on it. 82 THE NEW AGENT "What is that you've got there" he asked quickly. "My report," said Joe quietly, "charging you with stealing two barrels of flour." He was ad- dressing the envelope. "What are you going to (1o with it" "'Mail it." The Deacon's countenance fell, and he drew a step nearer. "Wait a minute. Now, you be reasonable," he said. "You know everybody is liable to make mis- takes. I am sorry I did it, and I came here to make a liberal settlement with you." For answer Joe began to put the paper in the envelope. "We'll call it five dollars for you, and you not to say anything more about i:" added the Deacon. He took out a fat pocket-book. Joe lighted a candle, and Taking a piece of sealing wax began to heat it in the flame. "Young man, you don't want to injure me" The Deacon's voice had a rew tone in it. Joe sealed the letter with slow deliberation, and, rising, reached for his hat. "Where are you going" demanded the Deacon falteringly. "To get this letter off," said Joe. 83 UNDER THE CRUST His eyes met the Deacon's, and the latter saw in them that which froze his blood and turned the marrow in his bones to water. "Wait," he said. "Not a minute; I am done." "What is it you want Make it ten dollars." Joe moved toward the door. The Deacon seized him. "Call it twenty-five dollars; I have got it here in my pocket." He opened his pocket-book with surprising swiftness. "Go," said Joe sternly, motioning him toward the door; "I want to lock up this office." "Wait a minute-give me that report." Joe still pointed toward the door. "Go on!" Relentlessness spoke in his eyes. The Deacon burst into tears. "Young man, you are robbing me and my chil- dren. You don't want to rob my poor wife and son." Joe turned and faced him. "You know who is the robber." Something withheld Joe from saying more, but the scorn in his face said it all. At the end of five minutes of expostulation and entreaties the Deacon brokenly asked: "Who will pay for the deed" 84 THE NEW AGENT "It is written and paid for," said Joe. "Come along." "I will sign it," sobbed the Deacon. A half-hour later Deacon Grantham signed the deed to the old Fostyn place, and the lawyer, with appreciation in every line of his face, handed it to Joe, who drew from his pocket and paid over to the Deacon the full amount that was due him on a close calculation. As the Deacon left the office he turned to Joe: "You swear you'll never say a word about that flour " Once more Joe's glance withered him. He flung the deed on the table between them. "If I ever hear of your saying a word against the widow Fostyn, or any one named Fostyn, I tell." "I ain't goin' to say a word against her as long as I live," said the Deacon. Joe slowly took up the deed again. The man that drove home that afternoon in the Deacon's wagon was ten years older than the man that had driven up to town in the morning. That night Joe wrote a letter to Elizabeth. The deed went with it. "And now I am going to the West," he said in closing. 85 UNDER THE CRUST The following afternoon he was sitting at his desk when he heard the door open softly and then softly close behind him. Turning, he faced Eliza- beth. And the heavens opened. "Oh, Joe!" She buried her face in her hands. Joe never knew how it happened. In a second he was at her side and his arms were around her. The windows were wide open, but Joe forgot it. An hour later they were standing together under the trees in the old Fostyn yard, when a wagon passed along the highway below them. As Deacon Grantham looked that way the setting sun, slant- ing across the grass, bathed them in its soft light. The Deacon almost reeled on his seat. Thirty years rolled back and for a moment he thought it was John Fostyn and his young wife as he had seen them there. As he drove on his face was as white as the flour that had lost him the place. But Joe and Elizabeth saw only each other's eyes. 86 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES This page in the original text is blank. A BROTHER TO DIOGENES A FTER a hard autumn's work, in which the strife had been more severe than I ever re- membered it before, I found myself, as my doctor expressed it, "Not sick, but somewhat out of health." It had come to a pass when the ups and downs of the market meant a great deal to me. I wanted to be rich, and riches always meant more and more. Following the advice of my friends and clients, I had begun to take little "flyers," acting, of course, always on "sure things." I read three papers at the breakfast table, studied the financial pages of another, and bolted in to look at the ticker in the office of the first hotel on my way downtown. I had been quite successful, and the more money I made, the poorer I ap- peared to myself. I was not quite envious, but I could not bear to have others richer than I, and others were so rich. It was just then that I begdan to push cabs and cars along and to feel a little sensation in my fore- head which, after an unexpected flurry in the 89 UNDER THE CRUST street that ran my holdings up and down for the space of a week or two and left them decidedly down, became a sort of band-like feeling. When things had settled, several of my clients had gone to the wall, and one of my friends, whom I saw every day at lunch, had gone to bed and forgot to turn off the gas. For a month or more I tried to bully myself into the idea that nothing was the matter; but after many nights in which I seemed hardly to lose consciousness, I consulted my friend, Dr. John. He looked at me in the quizzical way he had. "You say you are rich" "No, not rich; but moderately well off." "Well off!" he repeated with his half-cynical smile. "I call you pretty badly off. You won't live long-unless," he added, after a pause which seemed interminable, "you knock off right now and go away." "How long do you give me" "How much did you say you slept last night" "I didn't sleep at all." "You slept the night before" "Yes, some." "All right; you will leave here the day after to-morrow and go either to the Riviera or to the South-west. I give you your choice. And you 90 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES will give me your word that you will not leave your address with anybody but me, or write a business letter, and will not come back without my consent." "And if I don't" "Then you will go to pieces." He tapped his forehead. Two days after that I took the train for the South-west, and on the morning of the fifth day, after a dusty climb over the Divide and a run through the Mohave Desert, with its scrub and sand, we suddenly came out into the land of flowers and green trees, lemon groves and crystal air. That afternoon I spent knocking about in the quaint old town on Santa Barbara Bay, which still held some of its Spanish quaintness and charm, though the modern tourist arid the modern caterer to the tourist were rapidly sweeping it away. It was the first time in several years that I had ever been conscious of any other pleasure in the out- side world than that of mere physical comfort. But the quietude began to act like a balm. I had discovered, howeve-r, that I was really "out of health," and the talk of "stocks and bonds" and "money" and "'markets," which I could not escape even at my meals, began to be an 91 UNDER THE CRUST exasperation. I wanted to get well. To escape these inflictions I began to ride about the country. It was upon one of these rides that I came upon the "Brother to Diogenes." I was walking my horse slowly along a trail across one of the foot-hills of the Santa Ynez range, which towers like a rampart of light be- tween the sea and the desert, when, turning an abrupt corner, I came upon the "Brother to Di- ogenes. " An old man, sun-tanned, travel-stained, and weather-beaten, with a shaggy beard, who at first glance looked almost like a tramp, was seated on a grassy bank, his back propped up against a boulder, basking in the sun which streamed down on him, while a few yards below him, contentedly grazing on the fresh greensward, was a small and evidently very old, sunburned "pinto" horse. His pack was undone and lying, half opened up, on the ground. I possibly might have passed on with a casual salutation had I not observed that in the old man's lap rested a small, worn leather-bound volume, which he had evidently laid down when he filled the pipe which he was now contentedly smoking. "Good-afternoon," I said. "Good-evening, sir," he said in reply. 92 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES The pleasant voice and the old-fashioned use of the word "evening" made me look at him more closely, and I noted that his features were un- usually good, his eyes clear and keen, his face expressive of benignity, and that, while his outer clothes were shabby and worn, his linen, though plain and coarse, curiously enough was unusually clean. "You have selected a good point," I said. "Yes, sir; it is one of my coignes of vantage of which I am particularly fond. I often come with an old friend to enjoy it." Here he laid his hand on his book as one touches a friend's arm. "I think it must have been from just such a point that 'stout Cortez' gazed on the Pacific, 'silent upon a peak in Darien'!" With his pipe in his hand he made a gesture toward the south, where the green hills lay in fold above fold, as though Spring had cast her robe about her and left it to lie along the ocean's marge in countless undulations. "May I enjoy it with you a few moments" I found myself recognizing his claim to it. "Certainly, sir. Take a seat and make your- self at home. 'The world is wide enough for thee and me."' By this time I had dismounted. 93 UNDER THE CRUST "From town, son" he demanded indifferently, with a slow turn of his eyes from my direction to where, far below us, the brown houses and reddish roofs of Santa Barbara lay speckled among the green palms and pepper-trees of the quiet valley, with the old mission at the head of the valley, a mere dab looking over the town to the blue bay with the bluer islands ranged along on the other side. I nodded. "Like it" He was a man of few words until interested. I replied at some length, "I liked it very much." It was so "different from the East," where I had come from: "so much quieter; the life so much more natural," etc. He appeared to lose interest as I went on, so presently I paused. "Why did you come so far" This was after quite a wait. "Well, I was a little out of health; worked too hard." I thought he referred to my coming West, but he did not. He gave a grunt. "I know. I mean why'd you come so far from town Fond of country" "Wel-1, I don't know- Ye-es, I suppose so." "Humph!" He sucked quietly at his pipe. And after a listless minute he picked up his book 94 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES and began slowly to read. It was plain that I had fallen in his good graces. I meant to recover my lost place, if possible. " I expect I am fonder than I know," I began. "I have lived in town so much that I had almost forgotten what the country was like." He laid his book down very slowly, and presently, without condescending to look at me, said: "Why'd you do that" "I was working." "Humph! Got a family!" This was not a question. "No. Nobody but myself. But I wanted to succeed." "Why" This was after a perceptible pause. "Oh, I don't know. Because I was a fool, I suppose." "You were." This was his first positive asser- tion. "Well, did you" he vouchsafed to inquire after a pause. "Why, yes; measurably. I made a good deal of money." " You call that success " His eyes were resting on my face. "Yes. Don't you" Ile did not vouchsafe to reply to this. He only pulled at his pipe. 95 UNDER THE CRUST "What'd you do with it" He was getting interested. " Oh! Invested it-put it in bank and in stocks -gilt-edged securities." "What for " "To keep." I was not used to this Socratic method. His weather-beaten face relaxed and his blue eyes twinkled. "That's right funny," he drawled. "A man works himself to death to get money to lock up and keep in a bank." "Not at all," I fired up. "I want power; the respect of-of people." I had started to say "of friends," but I was glad I did not, for he said quietly: "Must be poor kind of people respect you for your money. What'd you think if I were to tell you I had more money than any man in the country " I knew well what I would think, but I did not wish to appear rude. I had become interested in the old fellow lounging there in his rags, so I simply said: "Have you Tell me about it. Where is it I suppose it is a mine I see you are a pros- pector." 96 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES He nodded without removing his pipe from his mouth. Then, after a few puffs, he took it out. "Yes, it's one of the richest, I think the richest I ever saw." "Well, where is it" I determined to humor him. He looked at me with a shrewd glint in his deep- blue eyes. "It is where you are not likely to find it unless- Do you know the shores of Bohemia " "No, I do not. It's been some time since I studied geography." "I thought so. Well, Ill only tell you that I've got it." He chuckled in a half-childish way which satisfied me that mv first conjecture was right, and that he was a little mad. "Well, tell me about it," 3 said. "How did you come to get it " " Oh, I don't mind doing that, son. I just stumbled on it-just stumbled on it, you may say, after hunting my heart out like many another fool." He was talking to himself rather than to me. To break the reverie into which he had drifted I asked: "May I inquire where you came from" He turned his eyes on me with a little twinkle in them. 97 UNDER THE CRUST "Well, I've seen the time and place when a question like that wasn't considered altogether polite. Th' wasn't but one man given to asking that particular question: the marshal, and he had to have his gun handy." "I did not mean any offence."" "Oh, no. It happens that I know no reason why I should not tell you. I am from the East. You know the wise men came from the East." 'A long time ago. find your na-" I checked myself just in time. "That question, too, I've seen make a man carrion. But I don't mind telling you. I am a brother to Diogenes." "And you have been rich" I began to see how it was. "I am rich," he replied gravely. "Richer than Crcesus, richer than Solomon ever was, and he 'made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones.' "When the war closed I found myself flat down on the ground, for everything was gone except the ground; even the fences had disappeared, and I've often wondered since I came West what would have happened to us poor fellows if we had found wire fences when we camped at night, instead of those good dry rails that we used to burn against orders. I had just enough to get away and take 98 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES my younger brother with me. We went to New York, where I knew some people, and he secured a position in a railway office, while I found a place in an office-a mining bureau they called it. We were ambitious to succeed-at least, he was. I had rather got mine knocked out of me. A year at Point Lookout and those five years down there trying to keep the old place from going into Jim Crow's pocket had a little (lulled my energy, and I was fond of books. But Ken was ambitious. He meant to succeed. And work! You never saw a boy work so. Why, it was day and night with him. He worked himself to the bone. He was thinner than I was when I came out of Point Lookout, and I was thin! Week-days and Sun- days he was at it-late at night I'd sit up and wait for him sometimes, and sometimes I'd just turn the lamp down and go to sleep, it was so late. And sometimes when he came in he was so tired he couldn't sleep. I tried to get him to let up; but he said he couldn't. The work was there, and he had to do it or fall out. "One morning-it was Sunday, a bright spring morning-I was going into the country to see the peach blossoms and wanted him to come along, but he said he couldn't; he was due back at the office. As he was dressing I saw him stagger. He 99 UNDER THE CRUST sort of sank down on the bed, and I saw his lips were red. I had seen men bleed from the mouth when a bullet went through 'em. "'Let 'em know at the office I couldn't come,' he said, 'and I'll be down to-morrow.' "The doctor I got just took up his hand and then laid it down again and looked at me. He had been an old soldier too. I had told him what he had been doing. "He knew what I asked him, though I didn't say a word, and he just shook his head. "'What brought it on' I asked. "'Worked to death-that's what they do. I've seen many of them.' "Ken rallied, and I thought he was going to pull through; but that night it came on again, and before I could get the doctor he was gone. I did not grieve for him at first much, I was so glad he could rest. "'Who's the head man down there' I asked the doctor, 'and where does he live' "'Well, I don't know who is the superintendent; but the real head man, of course, is the president. He owns the road. He is one of the richest men in New York. He lives in that big house up on the Avenue. I saw him this morning going to church.' "I suddenly felt myself go cold and then hot. 100 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES "'Does he go to his office every day' "'Guess he does, except when he's off on his yacht, or in Europe, or at Long Branch.' "'Thank you, doctor. That's all,' I said. 'You did all you could or anybody could.' "Next day a letter came for Ken from the office, mailed the evening before. It was a formal notice to call and get ten dollars due to him. He was discharged for not coming down the day before. I took the letter and, locking the door with Ken lying there, went down to the railroad office. It was one of those big buildings, full of floors, and all the floors full of pens where men sweat over long tables, with the head men in corner rooms, wainscoted with mahogany, and with big desks and great arm-chairs. "I went right in and up to the president's door through the whole line of offices and pens and desks where the men were shut in like prisoners. Two or three of them tried to stop me, but I passed right by them, and when they saw me keep straight they thought I had an appointment. I walked right in. The president was seated at his desk, with his stenographer at his desk. He was a big stout man with keen eyes, flabby cheeks, and a hard mouth. He had built himself a palace on the Avenue without a tree or a flower or even a 101 UNDER THE CRUST spear of grass about it-just stone. The sten- ographer was a thin young fellow with a sallow face and thin, bloodless lips and restless eyes like a grub-staker used to watching for signs. They both looked surprised and the president was really as- tonished. He was too much astonished even to ask what I wanted; but it didn't take long to tell him. "'You are the president of this railroad com- pany' "'I am.' "'I have a letter here.' I opened the letter to Ken and laid it on the desk before him. He glanced at it. "' Well' "'I am his brother.' "''Well' "'He's dead!' "'Well, I'm very sorry; but I don't see what I have to do with it.' "I suddenly grew hot and cold again. " i ( you! Don't you say that to me. You killed him, and if you say that to me I'll kill you right where you sit.' "He sank back in his chair, and his face was whiter than the stenographer's. "'Don't get excited,' he said, and reached his hand out to touch a bell, but I cut him short. 102 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES "'Don't touch that bell. If I am excited, my brother is quiet enough. I left him on the bed where he died and you write to him that he is turned off because he didn't come Sunday when he was dying. You went to church that day, I reckon, and when the preacher said, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," prayed God to write it in your heart.' "'My dear sir,' he began, but I stopped him. "'Don't you "dear sir" me either. You are nearer to death this minute than you ever were in your life. Here is your ac'quittance in full.' I laid his receipt on his desk. I had written it in full and made it out, 'For murdering Ken.' "Well, I kept on working for a while; but I didn't have much heart left for it. I found that it was grind or rob. Half of them were robbing, or trying to rob, the other hall and those who suc- ceeded were called the successful ones and the rest just ground themselves away like an old pick. "Even those who were called successful did not get any real good out of it. They got no enjoy- ment out of it except that which the miser has of hoarding up gold. The more they had, the more they wanted. Joy, health, peace of mind, happi- ness, all went through the sluice. And if they got more money they didn't know how to spend it. 103 UNDER THE CRUST They built big houses and stored their barns or their bank boxes full and called on their souls to enjoy it, and about then God required their so- called souls of them. About the time it came they had to go hunting for health. That railroad presi- dent dropped dead in his office one day, quarrel- ling with another railroad president over an extra million or so. "I had studied geology and metallurgy, and had gradually become the one the firm relied on to ex- amine and pass upon the mines that were offered them. So they got in the way of sending me out West to look at the mines. I was glad to go, for I had a holiday from the office and liked the free West. I used to find men there-rough, tough men, often full of lice and all uncleanness, but still men. But though I toiled for 'em and made 'em money, they did not offer to raise my salary. "I told them one day that I wanted a holi- day. "'Well,' said the senior member, 'we can't spare you just now. We've got the biggest thing on we've ever had and we need you to go and inspect it.' He always talked as if he were saying, 'Let there be light,' and there had to be light. "'That's a pity,' I said, 'for I'm going to take a holiday.' 104 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES "'I guess you can't take a holiday without I say so,' he said, frowning at me. "'I guess I can, and to show you, I'll start right now.' I put on my hat. 'Good-day.' "'I'll discharge you,' he said, very red. I turned and laughed at him. "'Oh! You can't do that.' " 'Why ' "' Because I've already discharged you. I'll never work another minute for you as long as you live.' "When he saw I was going he tried to make up. He called me back-asked nme to wait, and began to smear me with a lot of soft soap. He would double my salary, and all that. But I knew him and knew what it was worth, and told him, 'No.' That he knew I was worth more before, and was worth more than double my salary, and that if he had not increased it before, I did not want it now. "Well, he almost begged me to stay, but I would not. "So I came West. "At first I thought I could set up as an expert and assayer; but I fell into the way of going out and prospecting and liked it; so I held on to it. It took me out into the country-the desert or the mountains, and it brought back the times when I 105 UNDER THE CRUST used to follow old Jack and sleep out under the stars. I had 'most forgotten what they looked like. You know you never see them in New York, or the moon either." He suddenly lifted a warning finger. " Sh-h-h! " I saw he was listening to something with pleasure, for a pleasant light had come over his tanned face. I strained my ears in vain to catch the sound of a horse's feet or the far-off noise of a train, the smoke of which I could see between the hills two or three miles away. Suddenly I saw him peering eagerly into a chaparral thicket just below us, and became aware that a mocking-bird was singing lustily in his dusky retreat. "Did you ever hear anything to beat that That's what I've been waiting for. There are only a few of them up here, and they, like myself, prefer the quiet places to the noisy lowland down there. They carry me back-" He drifted off into a sort of a reverie. "Have you ever been to Italy" he inquired presently. "Yes, once." I had galloped through once, giving one day to Venice, one to Florence, two to Rome, and one to Naples and Pompeii. I was in rather a hurry. 106 A BROTHER TO, DIOGENES "Did you hear the nightingale I have always thought that I would go dtown to Mexico some time to see if I could not find one of those Maxi- milian brought there." "No, I never did. I was there only a short time." "I'd like to hear the self-same song 'that found a path through the sad heart of Ruth when, sick for home, she stood in tears amid the alien corn."' I brought him back with a question as to how he had got on in the West. "Better than in the East,'" he said. "I kept on until I had tried pretty muc'h every gold and silver field that opened up in the West. But somehow the more I saw of that sort of thing the less I liked it, the more I saw it was akin to what I had left in the East and hoped I had shaken forever. Men trampling each other down, cutting each other's throats, for a bit of mountain-side or desert that would not yield as much as would plug a good- sized hole in a tooth. They were so busy scuffling to get gold that they did not have time to nurse the sick or bury the dead. [r was in with 'em, too, broiling in the sun and freezing in the cold. All day in the gulch, and all night in the gambling- hell. Till one day it came to me just like a flash of lightning what fools they were and what a blind 107 UNDER THE CRUST fool I was to bunk with such a lousy bunch of locoed jackasses. I had got together quite a good stake and was about to come out with it when a couple of scoundrels stole it from me. They said they came from Kansas, but I think they came from New York. Well, they sickened me, and I cut the business-sold out to the first man that made me an offer and struck out for myself. It was then that I got old Pinto, there. He was young then and tolerably mean, and tihe man's had him said he was locoed, but he guessed he wasn't locoed any worse than I. Well, I thought I knew who was locoed. So I got him, and together we cinched my kit on him, and I tra-laed 'em and lit out. Look at him now! He's got more sense than the whole camp I left that morning. Knows just what he wants and when he's had enough, and don't go on trying to pile it up to keep." He nodded his head with pride over to where the horse stood dozing and lazily whipping off a fly from time to time with his sun-burned tail, a pict- ure of content. "Even then, do you know, I wasn't satisfied I had the disease. For some time I kept on grub- staking; just travelling up and down till I got sort of bent double, looking at the ground for gold, like Mammon. I know the hot plains where the only 108 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES vegetation is sage-brush, and the only breaks are the flat-topped buttes and the crooked mesas that frizzle in the blistering sun, and the only inhabit- ants are the lizards and the ants, and I know the big mountain-tops where a man can hear God writing his eternal laws as Moses did. So I went over most of the Rockies and Sierras, but, little by little, as I wandered up and down, I began to feel how good it was to be up there, even if I didn't strike gold, but just found the air clear and clean as dew, and the earth quiet and undisturbed and carpeted with flowers, with the creatures God made-just as He made 'em, neither better nor worse. And at last I got to striking deeper and deeper in, so as to get away from folks and to have it all to myself and the other wild ani- mals." His eyes began to wander over the landscape, spread out at our feet like la map of Eden, and his face grew so ruminative that I saw he had lost in- terest in his story and I began to fear that I should not hear the rest of it. At length I made so bold as to ask him a question. "How did you happen to find it at last" He came out of his reverie as out of a cloud. "Find what" "The gold. Your mine." 109 UNDER THE CRUST "Oh! I was telling you about it, wasn't I Well, it was fool luck-just fool luck. You know it doesn't take sense to get gold. Some of the biggest fools I ever saw made the most money. "One day I had got up pretty high on the range and had turned my horse out, to enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world, when I struck it-just fool luck. "I had about given up all idea of ever hitting anything richer than the dirt to bury me in when I stumbled on it. That's a curious thing about life. We work ourselves out trying to make a strike, and when we are about dead we stump our toe and there it is at our feet. "I felt sure it was where no man had ever been before and where I came mighty near not going; for nature or God, after putting it there, fortified it with a more impenetrable abatis than any engineer could ever have designed if lie spent his life trying. He hid it among inaccessible mountains and spread before it a desert where the sun dries the marrow in men's bones and an atmosphere which is like a blast from hell. I had a dim idea that there was a region over that way that no man's eyes had ever seen, and so I took an old friend or two along and struck for it, to see what it was like. Not that men had never tried it before, but no one had ever 110 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES set his face that way and come back; and those who followed them found only borax beds and their sun-dried bodies tanned by a sun that fried all the fat out of a man's body in a day. "I tried a different way--in fact, I was a little crazy then, I think. They say God protects chil- dren and idiots. Anyhow, I went in over the peaks, my old Pinto and I. I didn't have much idea that I'd ever get in, and I had less that if I got in I'd ever get out again. But I loaded old Pinto down with enough to last me a good four months, and in I went. It was steep climbing most of the way and heavy work all the way. But I liked it because I felt as if I were Adam and owned the earth. "'Did you ever go where you could feel like Adam" he asked suddenly. I could truthfully say, "No." "Then you don't know how a man can feel. "That is a curious thought-after you get used to it. At first it is too big. It makes the head swim. I go up sometimes into the mountains and see the rim of the earth turn up or down as it slips from over the sun or steals over it. Or I go out into the desert to feel the vastness of it and see the shadow of the globe on the sky and know that in all that circle there is not a soul but myself-just 111 UNDER THE CRUST myself and the wild creatures who follow the law of nature. "I had been in there some months when it came to me that I'd better be taking my bearings so as to get some more grub and tobacco before winter. But when I started on the back trail I found there were places I had come up which I couldn't go down-not without losing Pinto, and I would not do that. So I just struck on to cross the whole range. This, too, was more than I had laid off, and for the first time in my life, since I left New York, I found I was lost. This didn't trouble me much, however, for it is appointed for man once to die, and it might as well be like Moses on a moun- tain-top as like a pig in a pen. I might have turned back, but every now and then I found nuggets that hadn't grown there and that I knew had been washed down from somewhere up ahead, or I got views that beat anything I ever dreamed of. So I kept on with old Pinto, climbing and climbing, until one morning we came to what I took to be the top of the range. But when I got there it was but a step up like the rest; and there they were, range after range, stretching beyond me in blue waves of mountains, billow on billow, up to snow-capped peaks that held up the sky. And what I had taken to be a table-land was really 112 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES only the level edge of the crater of an old volcano. But my soul! it was a vision! It reminded me of that saying, 'And the Lord. God planted a garden eastward in Eden.' There was a river that ran down from the snow above and divided into four streams, one of which ran into a lake and all about it were trees and flowers. 'Pinto, however, did not seem to be as interested as I was, and he began at once to snuff his way down to the water, with me at his heels, under a bower of lilacs of every hue. I had been so busy looking around at the flowers and thinking how like the Garden of Eden it was, and how peaceful it was, that I had not looked at the rocks, but when I sat down it was on a great bulge in the ledge that the volcano had once thrown up, and after a while I began to examine it. As soon as I saw it I knew what it was. It was gold. A great vein of gold, richer than any I ever saw, that that volcano had pushed up there, and there it lay, a great stratum with one end bulging out and the other resting--in hell, I reckon. "Well, for a while I couldn't think. Then my first thought was-if Ken had only lived-and then the others. Next I thought how I'd do when I got out. I'd go to New York and make those swine root at my feet for the gold I'd throw in their mire. I thought how I'd insult that railroad 11-L UNDER THE CRUST murderer, and I followed my fancy till I got sort of crazy to get there. Then it came to me that I might as well follow the lead and see how far it ran, so as to get an idea of how rich I was, for I allowed it would run 200,000 to the ton. I got on my feet and began to climb over it, and I must have gone a mile before it began to dip. I was right at the top of the rim and there was a little clump of pines and joshuas there, and as I looked under the shade of one I saw two piles that looked like ant- hills, except that they were rather too regular. I pushed up to them-and if they weren't gold! Two piles of gold as high as my shoulder that had been dug and piled there. My teeth began to chatter and before I knew it I had jerked out my gun to kill any one who would dispute my claim. "The next minute, though, my breath stopped. On the other side of the clump lay two skeletons, and through the breast of one and through the ribs of the other were knives that told the story. A little farther off, where I found them later, were the skeletons of their horses and their kits and things. These two men had been chums for years -you might say like brothers-and together had come all that way, faced all the dangers and en- dured all the hardships that I had known, and then, in the hour of their triumph, when they were 114 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES standing in sight of enough gold to buy a kingdom, they had killed each other over some petty differ- ence arising out of their division. And the buz- zards had picked their bones. "I knew it all then, but it was not until that night that it came home to me in its full signifi- cance. I knew what it meant if I should return to the East with my new wealth, and all that night I rolled and tossed as I had not done since I left the city. And the next morning the pillilooeets came and gibed and shrilled their 'Pee-ahs' at me with their noses, and the buzzards circled and watched and cocked their eyes down at me as they had done at thousands who have died for gold. "I fought it out all that day, but that night when the darkness fell again, rolling down from the gray mountain-tops above me, and the stars came out and blinked down at me like the eyes of angels, waiting to know my decision, I reached it. I made up my mind to cut it and all that went along with it. I was free. Why should I go into slavery again At the thought my soul revolted. The reek and the stench of the cities came back to me and turned my stomach. It all became clear to me that night under the silent stars. It seemed sort of to get in my blood. And presently I began to think of all that I had lost-of the comrades I 15r UNDER THE CRUST used to have when I was tramping up and down in Virginia with no more than one frying-pan for a mess and a ragged blanket for two of us, fighting for something else than gold. I thought of those who had died for it. And then of little Ken, as he withered there in New York in that cursed Death- Valley atmosphere. And presently I began to feel that I had gotten along pretty well as it was, and I began to count up what I would lose if I went back to that hell where I used to see men frying in their own fat. All the camps I loved up in the keen air on the mountain-tops came back to me, the desert with its wide warm places and silence and the deep gloom of the redwood forests where the light is tempered to the cool green like the depths of the sea; and at last I decided I'd just keep that gold there until I wanted it, and in the meantime I'd live as God meant me to live, and see the country God had made. "To prove my gratitude to my two friends who had helped me to my decision I took their bones and buried them each in a pile of the gold that had caused their death; and as I did not know which was which, I drew lots to see which should have which. And there they lie now, each under a pile of gold that would have made Midas mad. I picked up enough gold to last me until I went back. 116 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES It was a long and tedious trip, but after weeks of work I found my way out-and here I am, the richest man in all America if not in the worl(l." I glanced at him to see if he were not joking, but his face was profoundly serious, and I became quite satisfied that he was mad. "What do you call your mine" "I call it the Cain and Abel," he said, "after the two brothers who first found it. You see I con- sider them my sleeping partners and they have all the gold they want now." He mused for a little while, but he soon began again. "Yes, now I reckon I'm about the richest man in the world. I've ranches so big that it takes me months to get over them. My wheat fields stretch from the mountains all the way to the coast and my gardens bloom from one year's end to another. I have my art galleries, too, with such pictures as no artist but one ever painted, and they are all taken care of for me. The colors are from Him who made the heavens blue and stained these hills green, who paints the sunrise and sunset and spangled the sky with stars." To get him off this subject I asked him how he managed in cold weather. 117 UNDER THE CRUST "Oh, I never get cold," he said, "I'm a nomad like my ancestors. When I wish it I travel with the summer, but sometimes I love the keen, frosty air of the mountain ledges; it hardens me. I am like the water-ouzel; I love the storms and the waterfalls. And up there I make friends with God's creatures-from the big, lazy, amiable bears to the little scolding pillilooects, who live on pine nuts and fresco the trees with their little claws." "Do you ever kill them" I asked. " Me No! Am I God to kill and to make alive " "I see you carry a pistol." "Only for men. They are the only animals that prey on their own kind even when they are not hungry. Other animals kill in self-defence or for meat." "But have you never thought that you might get ill" "Oh, yes. But I do not worry about it. It is appointed to man once to die. I shall not antici- pate it. Whenever Death finds me I shall try to meet him pleasantly." "No, but I mean if you fall ill" "Oh, most illness is the fruit of the life fools live. Over there in the old mission I have a cupboard if I ever want to shut myself up, and up the canyon 118 A BROTHER TO DIOGENES I have a friend or two who understand me and let me roam about without attempting to hobble me or weary me with futilities. And in various places I have ranches where they would be glad to give me a corner, for the sake of the little, dirty, sun- burned children who know me. But when I die I want to die under the open sky. No peering fools to treat me with contempt; rather let the buz- zards have me. I'm going down now to see my orchards in the Santa Clara Valley: miles of white bloom. Have you ever seen them" I told him, "No," but that I had heard of them, and then to test him and partly to humor him, I asked, "Are all those yours" "Yes," he answered. "I let others work them and I just enjoy them. That's reasonable, ain't it" It seemed to me so at the moment. But when I had said good-by, and was coming back to town, after asking him to let me take him some tobacco the next day, I began to be a little befogged about him. When I returned next day, to my disappoint- ment he was not there; but in a cleft in the rock against which he had leaned was a small package with a note addressed to me on the card I had given him; and in the package were a handful of specimens of almost pure gold, which he said he 119 UNDER THE CRUST had left because I seemed "rather poor." I took the specimens and showed them to a scientific man whom I had met in the town and who did some assaying there. " Where did you get them " he asked in wonder. "An old fellow gave them to me." "So you have seen him" "Yes. Who is he" "No one knows. He calls himself 'a brother to Diogenes.' Some think him mad, and, perhaps, he is. I don't know." "What is that" " Gold." "How pure" " Almost pure. It has a little sulphur mixed with it. He evidently knows where there is a gold mine. Probably he gets it and puts it through a crude smelting process. See, this has been in the fire." "He says it came from a volcano." "I don't know. No one does. Attempts have been made to follow him, but he is too keen for that; he has had great offers, which he laughs at. Some think he is in league with the devil." "He seemed to be a harmless old lunatic." "Yes. But he talks reasonably enough. You were in great luck to get any of his nuggets. He usually gives only to the poor. He must be muad," 120 A GOTH This page in the original text is blank. A GOTH I HAD known him when he first came to town from the backwoods, a strapping, big, raw, long-haired, shaggy country boy, so green that it is a wonder the cows had not eaten him, and with- out a cent in his pocket. And now he was in the papers of two continents, spoken of by some with that respect which the possession of mysterious millions usually exacts, as "a power in the finan- cial world"; assailed by others with bitterness as a "pirate" or "highwayman" who lived but to upset values, destroy markets, and batten on the fortunes of the investors he had wrecked. Which- ever he was, he had become in the twenty years that had passed since I had last seen him one of the most interesting, if disreputable, figures in commercial life, and had thus verified a brazen prediction which he had made when he first ap- peared in our little boarding-house company with his red head, worn clothes, and patched shoes. Long-limbed, big-jointed, a-ad bony, with his clothes too tight and too short where he had out- 123 UNDER THE CRUST grown them, he became at first a sort of butt in the boarding-house. His cheek-bones were high, his mouth and nose big; his eyes, deep blue, had an expression of singular candor in them like that of a boy's, and when his bull-dog chin was set you might as well have tried to move the bow of Ulysses. These were his weapons of offence and defence. He quickly put an end to any tendency to ridicule on the part of his fellow boarders; for he was as choleric as a poodle and as nervy as a game-cock and within a week he had "called down" the two best men in the company. He was never cast down, never confounded, and he was, in a sort, liked by most of us, for he was polite when he was treated civilly, and he was universally respectful to women. He had one besetting sin. He was a born gam- bler, and when he came to grief I helped him out, and it was my loan-offered, not asked for--that pulled him out of a trouble more serious than I had dreamed of. He told me afterward that he would have killed himself if he had not been afraid of hell, and if he had not been unwilling to leave the girl he was in love with-two curiously different motives. And he showed me her picture, a photograph of an apple-cheeked country girl without a trace of dis- tinction. He declared her to be the most beautiful 124 A GOTH creature in the world, and vowed that some day he would dress her in "black silk and diamonds." It was this episode, perhaps, which made Dor- man remember me now when, after twenty years, our eyes met in the Cafe La Belle, that gay ren- dezvous of the gay life of Nice. A movement in the brilliant parterre of hats before me opened a vista, and there, at the end. of it, seated at table with several ladies who, though for the most part fashionably coifed and gorgeously dressed, ap- peared rather out of place, was my old friend and former prot6ge. I knew him at once. After two seconds of puzzled reminiscence, due, he told me frankly, to his astonishment; at seeing me in Nice, he knew me too, and without a word he pushed back his chair and came striding toward me with open mouth and outstretched hands, shouting his welcome. There was no doubt of his sincerity, and people turned and looked at him with his great bulk surmounted by his fine head with its tawny mane. He was evidently not unknown, at least to the men; for a number of them spoke to their companions, who thereupon put up their lorgnons and gazed at him with renewed curiosity. I was unfeignedly glad to see him. He was the first compatriot I had seen since my arrival the evening before on the Sud Express, except, indeed, 125 UNDER THE CRUST one whom I could scarcely reckon as such, so com- pletely was he disguised in foreign manners, imita- tions, and affectations. This young man was the son of a man of great wealth, known in the world for his money, who, on his part, was the son of a man of great ability, who had made the wealth. The grandfather had founded huge enterprises and amassed thereby a large fortune; the father car- ried on the enterprises and increased the fortune largely; and now the son, who had been pampered and spoiled from his golden cradle up, was spend- ing the money by every method which occurred to the idle brain of a youth of some little intellect, extraordinary knowledge of gay life for a man of his years, and as much folly as could well be packed into one frame somewhat burdened by rather un- usual good looks. I had known of the grand- father, old Sam Newman, when he was at the zenith of his power. It was he who had recog- nized the capabilities of my friend when he had left our little circle for the wider field of the com- mercial metropolis, and had utilized his forces there, giving him his start. I had known the father when he was considered the exponent of wealth and its capabilities, and I had casually met the young man, Sellaby Newman, when he was be- ginning to be known as a candidate for the honor 126 A GOTH of being esteemed the wildest example of a wild and dissipated set. Since then he had more than fulfilled his early promise, and had achieved what his own set of young fools were said to envy him: an almost international reputation for reckless de- bauchery. I might not have known him now had not his name been prominently before the public of late as the quasi-hero of a. somewhat unsavory scandal connected with the name of a danseuse of much vaunted beauty and unusual recklessness. I had seen her a week before in Paris, carrying an audience by storm; and now when she came sailing into the cafe with all the gorgeousness of a bird of rarest plumage and with the beauty which was un- deniably hers she attracted the attention of the entire company. At her side, handing her along with a certain insolence of air and a trick of the eyes and shoulders which he had caught in his wanderings, was the young spendthrift, Sellaby Newman, and I think I should have known him even had not his name been muttered from half a dozen tables near me. The tone was far from friendly and the term "Atrnicain" was used a number of times as an epithet. After he had taken his seat he glanced my way with an air of studied unconcern and his eyes, or rather, the one which was not obscured by a 127 UNDER THE CRUST monocle, fell into mine; but evidently my face re- called no recollection-at least, none which he was willing to harbor. He half turned to his com- panion and muttered some observation at which her carmined lips barely parted. It was at that minute that I first saw my old friend, Dorman, across the room, and he came striding between the tables toward me. I was, I confess, a trifle embarrassed at such a public declaration of my virtues as he gave; but he was as oblivious of everything else as though he had been in a desert. Nothing would satisfy hirn but I must come to his table and dine with him. My declaration that I had ordered my dinner had no effect. I must dine again. "Come along. I will show you a real dinner. You don't know what a dinner is. This isn't the old boarding-house. Mme. M. has the best chef in Nice and he knows me well. Don't he, Joseph" This to the sleek head-waiter who had followed him across the room and who now stoo(l smiling obsequiously at his elbow. So, I was taken across and introduced to his wife, a plain but pleasant looking little woman with gentle eyes and as destitute of waist as the Con- tinent of Africa; overloaded with diamonds worth a king's ransom, even when kings were rated high. 128 A GOTH "Mary," he said, as he called my name, "this is my old friend, Tom, of whom you have heard me talk so often." Mary's kind eyes betrayed an ex- pression of vague anxiety. She was "very pleased to meet" me; as were the others to whom I was presented in turn. " Are you a broker " she inquired, evidently try- ing to place me. "A broker! No," burst in her husband; "this is the man who, when I was broke that time-the first time-down in the country-gave me the money to square up and gave me that good advice about gambling that I've never forgotten." This to me, looking me full in the face, who had read, within two months, of one of the greatest gambling deals that Wall Street had known in years, put through by the sheer nerve of the man before me. Mary, however, took it as he meant her to take it. Her eyes softened. "Oh, yes," she knew now, and was "mightily obliged" to me, she was sure. But for me William might never have gotten up. He had profited by my advice. He had often told her so. He laid all his good fortune to having fol- lowed it. William's blue eyes were on me blandly. "No, not all, Mary," he said with sincerity. "I must give you credit for some." And again his 129 UNDER THE CRUST eyes met mine with that candor which was like a boy's and which had cost so many men so much. The other ladies at the table were his sister-in- law and his "Cousin Jane," the last very like him, but with a certain refinement which the rest lacked, and with a twitch of humor about her wide, strong mouth which showed that William Dorman had not deceived her. The dinner was all that he had promised, and before we were through, Mime. M. came in in her quaint costume, tightly laced over her buxom figure, touched off with jewels, and beamed on us out of her handsome eyes which had once, so re- port said, ensnared one of the most celebrated men of France; and Dorman drank her health in "the best bottle of wine in Europe," as he declared. As we dined he told me something of his history -of the struggle he had made, the difficulties he had encountered, and the reverses he had suffered; in all of which, he said, Mary had stood by him, like the trump she was. And as he talked and ate and drank-enormously-he recounted his expe- riences with the same zest with which he drained his champagne. He certainly was not modest. His boasting, however, was relieved by his grim humor. In the midst of his relation of some coup which had cost 130 A GOTH him or someone else a million or more, he would burst out into real laughter over the recollection of the ridiculous figure he used to cut in the boarding- house in his short breeches and his patched coat. "By Jove! they were worth a good pile to me, too!" he declared. "I played them in New York against some of those slick fellows till they were more threadbare than they ever were in the old boarding-house. I used to look dull and talk like a countryman until they tumbled to it and began to shy off when I put on my country-boy air."' He had been office boy, telegraph operator, bookkeeper, confidential clerk, general factotum: "pretty much everything, in fact," he said, "from head man to little dog under the wagon. "I didn't keep a place long," he laughed; "I was just learnin'. I learnt telegraphin' so 's I could send my own ciphers and take theirs; bookkeepin' so 's I could tell where I stood and how they stood; but I could carry a whole set of books in my head then. I took a private-secretaryship so as to get a good gauge of a man I wanted to gauge-and I got it." He chuckled at a reminiscence and then broke out: "I'll tell you about it. I had got in with the old man." He named the grandfather of the 131 UNDER THE CRUST young spendthrift at the table across the room with the danseuse. "He liked me because I was smart and could look dull, and because I could do twice as much work as most men. He knew I was smart and he thought he could use me and fool me too-that was his way. Oh, he was a keen one. There was where I got my real start." He threw back his head and laughed. " You see I had learnt all his ciphers and I could read 'em almost at sight, and he didn't know that I could even telegraph. So that gave me considerable advantage. Then, when I threw up the secretaryship, he wanted to know what I was going to do. Told him I'd let him know soon. I'd already done it. I staked every dollar on the ace-and won." His wife turned and laid her hand on his arm. "Now, William, you are talking about those cards again." " Oh, no! I'm not. I'm only talking about those I used to play." This seemed to satisfy her, for she turned to me with a pleasant smile. "You know he used to play cards right smart; but "But now I've seen the error of my ways," he said quickly, with a candid look at me, and then added, "The man that would deceive as good a woman as that ought to be damned-I'll be d-d if he oughtn't!" 132 A GOTHI Without giving me time to reflect on this bit of casuistry he swept on, giving me a glimpse of his career and methods which was certainly startling and at times astounding. He had often been hard pushed, sometimes to the very wall, at times much worse than insolvent. "But I always knew I'd win out," he declared vehemently. "You see, I always paid in the end, with interest; so that, at last, I could always get staked. I was often de- stroyed, but never cast down, and they never knew it. And that little woman there-" He looked at his wife, with a nod and smile of real affection, and she blushed like a delighted girl-"she stood by me like a brick. When l was up, she wore my diamonds, and when I was down, she gave me hers." "And why not" she said simply. Her husband smiled and went on: "Till at last we began to be really somebody. By the time they had me stretched out and nailed to the floor with a stake through my body some five or six dozen times, they began to find I was really alive, and then they began to come around. Oh, I know 'em, the snivelling hounds! they fawn on you when you are up and fall on you and try to tear you to pieces when you are down. But no one ever heard me whine when I was hit or knew me to hector when I was up. It is when I am down that I bluster. You 133 UNDER THE CRUST know that," he said, with a glint of a smile in his blue eyes; "and I have bluffed many a one. "But my biggest bluff was my Wheat Deal. I'll tell you about it. I was young then, but it made me old. And it came mighty near settling my hash." He cast his eye just half-way toward his wife, and I asked him how it was. "You mean you went broke" "Oh, no!" he laughed; "I was broke, but that wa'n't anything. I was generally broke those days. But by pawning everything we had and brazening it out, and knowing where every bushel of wheat was on the earth-every bushel, mind you -and just how long it would take to get it to market, I pulled it off. But, by Heaven! it made me old. Any fool can make a corner, but it takes a strong head to get out of it yourself." "Well, you had good luck. Very few men have tried that and come out safe." "She saved me." He nodded over toward his wife. "And it cost me a cool million dollars, too." "How was that" "Why, the gang who had been trying for weeks to skin me waked up one day to find that judgment day had come. I had closed out every bushel and had gone home to go to sleep, which I needed 134 A GOTH mightily, when they began to roll in. She, there, had known something big was up by the way I acted: figgerin' and cussin' and fumin' and drinkin' coffee and not sleepin' a wink sometimes all night, and she hadn't liked it any too much while it was goin' on. But when I came home and told her it was all right and I had got out safe, she said: 'Thank God! Well now, William, I don't want you to do that sort of thing any more, no, not for three millions.'-I had told her I had made three millions.-But she thought three millions was a good, comfortable sum, too. Her father had made three hundred and fifty dollars once on his wheat crop, and whenever I made anything on wheat, which I had done several times, a few hundred thousand or so, she had always brought up those three hundred and fifty, and I never could make her feel that mine was so much more till I put on a few hundreds and sixty or seventy odd besides. She understood it all right, but she couldn't feel it. In fact, she hasn't much confidence in any arith- metic that she can't do on her fingers; but, by Jove! she can do the addition with those fingers- they just fly. "Well, as I say, I hadn't more than got home when they began to come in, pleadin' the baby-act, with white faces and shakin' chins, to tell me they 135 UNDER THE CRUST was busted-the whole d-d gang-cleaned up, as though I didn't know it. They had looked into the pit of hell expecting to see me sizzling there and found out 'twas themselves. I knew 'em, and knew what every one of 'em was worth, an' what they were, too, down in the bottom of their souls. Some of 'em were good fellows, too; but they didn't know how to play the game. Others knew how to play it, but got caught and come to tell me so, like men-not to whine. Well, I never had it in me to be hard on a man when he was down. I never hit a man real hard but once-I mean since I was a boy, when I had to fight pretty hard now and then-that was when a fellow, one day, knocked another one down and then began to kick him. Well, I reached over, and got a grab of his neck, and when I let him go, he kind of flopped down by the other in a lump-he didn't know whether he had a rib left stickin' to his backbone or not. So now, when they came rollin' in that away" (he always said "that away"), "'I began to size 'em up and ask 'em how much they were worth. Well, so much. And how much 'd it take 'em to begin on again; would so much do it 'Yes, indeed.' 'Well, I'll leave you that and I'll take the rest,' I'd say; and you ought to have seen 'em pearten up. It really was a big thing for 'em; 136 A GOTFH for it saved 'em from liquidatin'. I got so in the way of doing it that, when two or three of 'em come in who I knew had been layin' for me, I took the high horse and let 'em off easy in the same way. One of 'em broke down and blubbered-said I was a white man after all, and he'd never say another word against me 's long as he lived. I came near tellin' him what a white-livered hound I knew he was, but I was feelin' kind o' good, and it was only when they'd all gone that I began to think, maybe, I'd been a blazed-faced fool to let 'em off that away. However, I was feelin' pretty virtuous and was thinkin' what a good, kind sort of fellow I was, when the door opened and .n walked Mary. As soon as she come in, I knew there was something up, by the way she began. She just plumped her- self right in front of me and opened up: "'Why, Will-iam!' When she calls me 'Will- iam!' I have to look out. She generally calls me 'Popper' or 'Popsy' or 'Deary' or 'Billy.' But 'William' means business, and 'Will-iam!' means hell to pay. This time she says, 'Why, Will-iam, I am surprised! Is it possible!' Well, I was so stuck on myself that for a minute when she said she'd been listening and was surprised, I thought she must be put out at my bein' so generous. But 'twarn't but a minute; for, in a second, she 137 UNDER THE CRUST was just goin' it: head up, cheeks flamin', eyes blazin', body straight and stiff as a poplar, and words acomin' about five hundred to the minute. 'Why, William,' she says, 'you've been gamblin'- gamblin'! and you told me, and I was foolish enough to believe you, 't you'd been "buyin' wheat." Well, for a while I thought I'd brazen it out, but no good. 'What if they were "tryin' to do you" What if they were "in a clique to rob you" Is that any reason why you should rob them I know you are smarter than they. I knew you were smarter than anybody else when I married you, but I also thought you were honester, too! Because a thief is layin' for you to rob you, is that any reason why you should lay for him and rob him You know what that makes you I am ashamed to hear you use such a-a-dishonest argument.' "Well, sir, I tried to recoup by pretending to be mad, but it didn't work-no sir, she had the call on that, and she played it well, I tell you. 'I am an honest woman,' she says, 'and my father was an honest man and-' 'Oh, yes!' I says, 'I know, and he made three hundred and fifty dollars on his wheat-crop one year!' I says, 'and here I've made three millions on wheat and you are abusing me like a pickpocket.' 'Yes,' she says, cutting in and 138 A GOTH getting sort of high and mighty, 'and that's what you are-by your own confession-a pickpocket- justified to yourself because you've picked the pockets of other pickpockets. No use of your sneerin' at my father!' she says. 'He was an hon- est man and he wouldn't have made a dollar dis- honestly, not for three millions, and I thought when I married you that I was marrying an hon- est man.' "'Well, so I am,' I says. "'I thought so till to-night,' she says. 'But now-' I waited for her to finish; but she just steadied herself and looked at me straight and clear; 'I am an honest woman; I have tried to live so and I mean to die so, and a s God is in Heaven, I will take my children and go back home and live down there with them.' "'Now, look ahere, Mary; be reasonable,' I says; for I saw she meant it. When she gets that way she always says 'my children,' she don't allow me a hair of 'em. 'I will,' she says, 'as God is my Maker. I don't mean them to be brought up by a gambler.' "'Mary,' I says "'And I will take them away and try to bring them up honest, at least-however poor they may be-unless you'll pay every one of those men who 139 UNDER THE CRUST came here to-night what you've won from 'em and give me your word of honor that you won't ever again as long as you live ,amble in wheat.' "'How long will you give me' I says. "'Just till I can get this ring off my hand,' she says. And by -! you know, she began to tug at my wedding-ring. "'I promise,' I says, and I said it d-d quick, too; for I saw my finish right there. "' Your word of honor as a gentleman' she says, looking right through me. "'Yes, my word of honor as a gentleman, I'll never gamble in wheat again.' And I've kept it, too, for I never gave my word of honor to any one and broke it. I was glad to get off so easy, too; for the cold sweat was breakin' out on me when I saw her tuggin' at that ring. I was glad she was fat that night." The dinner was about over, and I must say it had been one of the best I ever ate. He showed a surprising knowledge not only of the cookery, but of the cooks themselves. At one time he had every high official in the caf6 at the back of his chair, and was telling them just how he wanted a certain dish cooked. He suddenly branched off. "Have you ever seen Nice" 140 A GOTH I said I had seen something of it when I spent a winter there. "Oh! I don't mean that," he said, with a touch of his old arrogance. "You saw only the streets and the cafes where boys go- 2s "Well, not altogether," I interrupted; but he swept on. "I mean the real Nice, the Nice of men and-of fools," he added. "You come with me, and I'll show you." "My dear," he said, turning to his wife, "my old friend wants me to show him a little of Nice, so I am going out with him for a little while. Don't be disturbed about me if I should be out late." "Well, I'll try not; but don't be out too late, dear," she said, with a look of idolatry at him and of some misgiving at me. It was just then that young Newman, in pearl shirt-studs, monocle and frizzled mustache, passed us with his beautiful companion, all glittering in pearls and diamonds. As I stood face to face with him, I bowed and he barely lowered his eyelids; but he bowed to my friend, and I thought half- paused to bow to his wife. But if he had this idea, he thought better of it; for 'Dorman looked him straight in the eye, with a sudden contraction of his own that made him look dangerous. His re- 141 UNDER THE CRUST turn to Newman's " Bon soir, m'sieur," was a grunt that sounded as though it might burst into a roar. The other passed on and a good deal of his haughty assumption seemed to have fallen under our table. "Who is that" asked Mrs. Dorman. "Oh! just a damned little fool who ought to be in an idiot asylum," said her husband easily. A half hour later, having dropped his wife and cousin at their hotel, his carriage stopped at a fine establishment in the Place de Messina, and a min- ute later we climbed the great marble stairway, and, having left our coats in the hands of an attend- ant whom my friend called "Emil," he ushered me into the great apartments of the club, a miracle of gilding and marble and frescoes, resembling an old Venetian palace. His entrance created what might without exag- geration be called a sensation. Perhaps, two hun- dred or more men and nearly as many women were present, seated or standing about the tables where the regular game was going on. At the mention of my friend's name, however, there was a stir all through the room, and nearly every eye was turned on him, while a good many of the habitues greeted him, and gathered around him. He was evidently a man of consequence among them, and to my sur- 142 A GOTH prise he spoke French, if not wvell, at least with great fluency, never hesitating a moment or staggering at any rule of grammar. Even the stony faces of the croupiers changed and took on something of a human expression as he greeted them in hearty, if execrable French: "Eh! bien-braves gargons; comment va 'ga c'longtemps Tres bien Ah! bien." Then in English to me, over his shoulder, "I'll show these Frenchmen a thing or two in a few minutes. You watch. I'll rattle 'em, till they look like old Step. Hopkins's signature to the Declaration of Independence." And, without fur- ther ado, he made his way to the big baccarat table, and after a few minutes, took the banker's seat. He pulled out a wad of thousand-franc notes, which showed that his promise to Mary had been given a liberal construction and that he had come prepared for a big game. The stolid face of the croupier opposite actually looked interested. From the start, the luck wvas against him, but the loser only grew the cheerier, and began to jolly his opponents to raise the bets. They soon became so large and his losses were so constant, that many who had at first held back, began to edge into the game, betting on one side or the other, and soon the other tables were deserted. 143 UNDER THE CRUST I confess, that as he sat thire with his solid bulk, his ruddy face and his cheerful air, his hat on the back of his round head, a big black cigar in his mouth, I could not but feel that he was at least a full-blooded man; and as the thousands passed from his hands, I was aghast. His credit, how- ever, seemed better than hi) luck; for, as often as he nodded to the money-c aanger in his cage for more cash, the checks were furnished-so far as I could see without the least reckoning, though, of course, a strict account was ikept. He seemed to be making every one rich, when luck, with its usual inconsistency, shifted. A few of the most noted high players in France had come into the game. Bets that would have staggered Mary's confidence were being made on the turn of a card, and soon my friend was recouping himself from the most re- doubted gamesters in Nice. As he had borne him- self gallantly in his reverses, so now he began ac- tually to be modest. He became more polite than I had ever seen him, his serene blue eyes softened and his manner grew almo st polished. One of his opponents, a well-known plunger, Baron - after a persistent run of bad luck, pushed back his chair and bowed to him grandly; my friend scrib- bled something on a card, bnd, with a bow which I would not have given him credit for, handed it to 141 A GOTHI the banker at his back. Five minutes later, the Baron, with a nod and smile to him, resumed his seat and the deal began again, to end in the same way. Dorman had scribbled him a friendly note, asking permission to act as his banker for two hun- dred thousand francs. It was just then that young, Newman entered the apartment, and with a word 'to his gay companion, came up to the table. I saw my friend's face change, and, following his glance, knew the cause. The young man made his way to the table, with a slow, affected saunter, and insinuated his approach through the crowd, his monocle in his eye, a set simper on his face, exchanging bows with his ac- quaintances, who stared at him with half-amuse- ment. As he approached the table, he made some observation over his shoulder to his companion, which caused a titter among those nearest him. I did not hear, or at least, I did not understand, but William's face hardened just a trifle, and when Newman spoke to him, he barely nodded. It seemed that he had said to the girl that if she would wait he would keep his word and show her that the great banker was nct so terrible after all, and all that was needed was a man to stand up to him to back him dcown. In a moment he took a seat at the table, yielded 145 UNDER THE CRUST him by an unlucky player, and asked for checks. My friend glanced at him. "I don't play with boys." The other flushed. "I am not a boy-I will show you as I have shown some others," he added in French. "Oh, well, of course," said my friend, and in a few moments they were really the only two playing in the room; the rest were mere spectators. It was a duel indeed. Newman was a high player, but fortune, like his companion, smiled on him only to betray him. At first the luck was with him, and there were many ti-ters at Dorman's ex- pense, as the pile of checks grew larger and larger before the younger man. B it suddenly the wind of fortune veered. My friend's perfect coolness exasperated the other, ane he soon began to plunge. Dorman, with inscrutable eyes, dealt the cards like clockwork, and the broad, swordlike paddles lifted the winnings a nd deftly distributed them about the table, sweeping the major part into the pile in the middle, till the banker's net win- nings were up in the hur dreds of thousands. Suddenly the younger man threw his head back and said "Banco." A gasp ran around the table and every other player drew his money back across the line. It meant that Newman would 146 A GOTHI play for the entire stake on the table. Dorman glanced at him with a curious light in his eyes, and then as Newman met his gaze he dealt the cards. Newman hesitated, and Dorman's lips opened. "Withdraw." Newman's reply was to examine his cards arid, just as Dorman offered him a third card, lay a trey and a five on the table. Dorman, of course, had to keep the card himself. He ex- posed his hand and had a nine. The last card was an ace. Newman almost reeled in his seat. His hand shook as he took the glass of fine champagne which he had asked for. Stimulated by the cognac, he called for another bank. After a moment of re- flection, my friend took him up and again won- the biggest stake ever played in the club. By this time every one was crowded around, some on chairs, peering over the shoulders of those in front, the danseuse paling, even through her delicate rouge, and standing frigidly at Newman's back. Newman, by this time perfectly wild, insisted upon again doubling the bet. My friend looked at him with a warning light in his blue eyes, and I won- dered what he would (1o. Then he shook his head, put a fresh cigar in his mouth, and rose slowly from his chair. The younger man turned as white as death, and began to bluster. Miy friend watched him with amusement, while thie croupier, at a nod, 147 UNDER THE CRUST filled his silk hat with the checks. Then deliber- ately taking a handful of long checks from the piled-up hat and with a nod of thanks chucking them over to the croupier opposite him, Dorman picked up his hat carefully and pushed back his arm-chair, suddenly turned, and leaning over the end of the table, threw the whole hatful into the younger man's face. "I don't play with children," he said scornfully, "or if I do, I do not take their father's money." He turned off unconcernedly and slowly made his way through the crowd. As I followed through the throng of excited, gesticulating, chat- tering, shouting Latins, in the wake of the broad- shouldered, slow-moving, full-blooded, masterful man who had so astonished them, and who now passed through them as sermne and unconcerned as though he were alone in one of the forests of his native hills, all sorts of expressions came to my ears. He was "extraorclinair," "prodigieux," "epouvantable," etc. One of these struck me and stuck to me afterward. A smallish, dark man, with sharp black eyes and ILeaked nose, a curled and tightly waxed mustache over thin, bloodless lips, piped in a shrill, fifelike voice, " Mais, il est un Goth! " And he was right. On the instant stood revealed, as though he had blown down the ages, a 148 'I don't pliy withl chilidren,"' he shit scornfully. This page in the original text is blank. A GOTH pure Goth, unchanged in any essential since his fathers had left their forests, arid through all ob- staeles, even through ranks of Roman legionaries, sword in hand, had hewn their wnay straight to the goal of their desires. He was a Goth in all his ap- petites and habits, a Goth unchanged, unfettered. True to his instincts, true to his tiraditions, fearing nothing, loving only his own, loving and hating with all his heart-a Goth. As he tramped heavily down the broad marble steps with the attendants bowing before him, I said, " Well ' Ile took it as a question. "D d slow after the Stock Exchange!" Then, after a moment's reflection: "That fool! no, not fool-he doesn't rise to the dignity of a fool- the d -d jackass! He is a disgrace to his family and his country. Ile an American! He ain't even a foreigner. He's a counterfeit-an empty-headed sham, dam', expatriated jackass! If he had dared to speak to my wife with that-that woman on his arm-I'd have broke his neck, and he knew it. It's that sort of Americans that make me sick!" He spat out his disgust. Next morning Newman sent a lriend to see him. I happened to call at the same time, and heard the 149 UNDER THE CRUST challenge given. Dorman's -eply was: "I neither play with children nor fight them. Tell him for ine that it will be time enough for me to think about killing him when he pilys me what he owes me.1" As the second left the rcom, he repeated the phrase I had caught the nigh, before: "Mais, il est un Goth! " 150 LEANDER'S LIGHT This page in the original text is blank. LEANDER'S LIGHT I W HEN I first knew Rock Ledge Harbor it was merely a little fishiing village of gray, weather-beaten houses, occuspied by weather- beaten people, apparently almost as much stranded as the old barnacle-plated wreck which lwy in the small, circular harbor against the foundation of a long-since rotted pier. There were two ways of reaching it, one by the black, broad-beamed coaster which put in at odd times for cord-wood or lumber, and sometimes carried a few gallons of a liquid proscribed by the State laws, but much en- joyed by certain of the citizens; and the other by the ancient and rickety two-l-orse stage, a much decayed, dust-colored survivor of the old coaches which once ran on down-East through Portland, and bore the weekly news of the outside world. I chose the latter conveyance, and thus found my- self one summer evening, aft er a stately drive across the hills, deposited, bag and baggage, at the front steps of the one hotel, in appearance much 153 UNDER THE CRUST like an ancient fort, crowning the rocky point which guarded the narrow mouth of the glassy river, and overlooking the placid harbor sleeping in a deep nook under the fading rose of a sunset sky. I soon discovered that, `ar from the madding crowd, with a climate which in summer was un- equalled, "The Harbor" was one of Nature's health-resorts. The air hall the pungency of the pines, the freshness of the sea, and she balminess of the meadows. I reached there too late for the apple blossoms; but the lilacs about the little white, gray, and yellow .ottages were still in bloom, and the grass was ill the greener for the lateness of the snow which had blanketed it until "the frost was out the ground," far on in April. The "natives," as they (alled themselves, were a self-contained race. Thev had been settled there since Sir Ferdinando Gorg .s planted the colony, within a generation of the tirme that the "President of Virginia and Admiral of New England," Captain John Smith, coasting the sLores of North Virginia, gave his name to the rocky islands a few miles out. They felt that they owned(I the place, and they loved it; and they regarded the outer world with indifference, and new-comlers like myself with proper scorn. 154 LEANDER'S LIGHT The "stage road" ran only to the Harbor from the "Village," a mile inland. Beyond the Harbor the only road was the grassy lane to the "North Farm," half a mile away. Gn this lane, in a little cove between the rocks, was a single house, a little "piggin" house, the homestead of old "Simmy" Goodman. It had been the home of the Goodmans for at least seven generations, as the inscriptions on the tombstones in the little square graveyard testified. Once the narrow peninsula, together with some of the cleared, cultivated fields lying beyond, had all belonged to one family; but when the division came, two generations back, other children had drawn the meadows and the " cleared " fields-cleared of rocks--and Simmy and his sis- teir, who had taken their shares together, had drawn only the "rock pasture" overlooking the sea, and the little homestead nestled in the small strip of cleared land above the cove. "Always 'peared like pretty hard luck," said my informant, "Cap'n Spile," a stout old weather- beaten seaman who in his you! la had been a whaler and sailed the Arctic seas, leaning lazily against the rail of the pier, with his blue eyes on the lines of a sail-boat slowly making her way up the quiet harbor. "Th' others got all the good land, and Simmy and Abby got nothin' but rocks and view; 155 UNDER THE CRUST for the old house ain't much for these days. Not that anybody ever heared 'em say much about it. Abby al'ays liked view, anc Simmy set a heap o' store by the house. But 't lid look hard when the others had all the hay-land, and they marryin' and changin' their names, and Simmy and Abby, the only ones with the name, tc have only the rocks." It did look hard even to a new-comer. According to Captain Spile, however, there were some people of late who ac ually wanted to come and buy some of Simmy's r.o)cks, and his land was getting to be almost as valuable as a good field. " But Simmy ain't much of a hand for sellin' land," the Captain added. And this I found later to be quite true. All this was twenty years and more ago, and in this time the little village-, with its dower of sun- shine and sea air, had been discovered by others, and had changed from a straggling strip of small houses huddled under the Xlms about the harbor to a watering-place of some renown and expen- siveness. Old Simmy himself, however, changed not a hair. Grizzled, taciturn, and stolid, he used to be always somewhere about his premises, "consortin' with" his big oxen, which he rather resembled in his slow, rurmiinant habits; sitting 156 LEANDER'S LIGHT with the immobility of a sphinx in the door of his old barn; or standing by his stone wall, looking out over the sea in the afternoon-as the phrase went, "watching for Leandcr." Leander, so I learned, was a brother who had sailed away sixty years before, and had never been heard of again. " But he ain't quite give him up yet," said Captain Spile. "I heared him say my- self, comin' now forty-six year this June, that be looked for him every day, a nd aluz kept a light burnin' for him. You go Lby the cliff-way any night, you'll find a light up-stairs in the window o' the sou'east room; 'tis what we call 'Leander's Light.' You can set a coursc by it comin' around Western Point, just as sure aLS you can by Boon- Light or the Nubble. I've seen it burnin' there many a night when he and Abby'd put out their own light soon 's the supper things were washed up. Abby's a right smart trial to him sometimes, I guess. She don't hold awith it at all. Says Leander's been dead and in--wherever he's goin' to stay everlastingly--for many a year. But though Simmy gives in to her in most things, he never would in that; an' so, I s'pose, God pre- ventin', that light '11 burn as long as his own does." I had made the acquaintance of Miss Abby, a little, bent, sharp-featured, crippled woman, who 157 UNDER THE CRUST sat most of the time in a roughly made wheel-chair of her brother's manufacture. Her tongue was as keen as her eyes, and they were like tacks. Ac- cording to report, she was often as sharp to Simmy as to others; but, by Captain Spile's account, he never appeared to mind it any more than a large Newfoundland dog minds the barking of a fife- voiced fice. "'Twould drive most folks crazy," said the Captain; "but Simmy he don't even hear it. 'Tis a right singular thing how a man can get used to a woman's tongue. Now, Job's wife would 'a' worn most men out-but Job and Simmy." I myself had sometimes wondered if Simmy's stolidity were not assumed as a mask to guard him against his sister's penetrating shafts. At bottom she idolized him, as I found when Mr. Slagg, the new millionaire, tried to get hold of the Goodman place. PI It is the belief of some that the true serpent en- tered into Eden when Eve began to dress up; and certain it is, that the idea of conforming to fashion has destroyed many a pleasant place since that time, and would go far toward destroying Paradise itself. This to early summer visitants to Rock 158 LEANDER'S LIGHT Ledge like myself was the curse of the Harbor. Through the changes that took place among the summerites, after the railroad came, the natives pursued their even course unchanged. They grew fat, many of them, on the pickings of the new sum- mer visitors, and their houses put on new paint and what Miss Abby called "fancified verandas." But the people themselves remained unchanged, unvarnished, and natural. They looked on the summer visitors as "useful nuisances" and rather amusing barbarians. What services they rendered these visitors they charged well for; what pay they received they rendered good service for, and there it ended. When Captain Spile's sister, Mrs. Rowe, who laundered the clothes of a summer visitor, was approached with a complaint about too much "bluing," she told her: '-I'll wash you and iron you, but I ain't goin' to take your sass; so you'd better get someone kelse to do it." When Miss Bowles, who answered to the name of "Frances," waited on the "mealers" at her cousin Mrs. Steep's boarding-house, and one of them called her "Fanny," she observed quietly, as she handed her the potatoes, "I don't care to be called pet names by the boarders." In fact, they belonged to the soil, and were American to the backbone; a sterling people, like 159 UNDER THE CRUST the lichens on their rocks, without much color till one looked close, but then full of it. Ensnared by the charm of the region, which captures most of those who set foot there during the witching season of summer, I had myself, soon after my discovery of the place, bought a modest piece of old Simmy's rock pasture, though it was only after a long negotiation and at a high figure that I secured it, not to mention certain conditions which I was fain to accept or give up hope of get- ting the land. His father, it appeared, had some- times driven his cart down for kelp to a little shingle-covered cove on the piece I wished, and Simmy insisted that I must allow him to keep a right-of-way. I explained that while the road had been of service when he used the land for farming purposes, his land was now building-lots, and he no longer needed it. It was to no purpose. I had to yield to get the land at all, and, counselled by Captain Spile, I yielded. After weeks of negotiation, all the conditions were agreed upon; I suggested that we should draw up a contract to stand until the deed could be prepared and executed. This set the old man to ruminating. "Why, we understand it, don't we" he asked. "You ain't goin' to back out, be ye" 160 LEANDER'S LIGHT When the deed was finally prepared, I asked him how he wanted his money. He pondered fully five minutes before he spoke. "Well, money's good enough, I guess." "All right; I can pay you in cash. I will get it at the bank. What denominations of notes do you want" "What what" "What denom-what sized notes" Again he pondered. "Well, ones and twos will (x.o." So, I had to hand over more than 2,000 in one- and two-dollar bills, and count them out for him on his table. It required over an hour. He handled and examined carefully through his old silver- rimmed spectacles each note as I counted it out, and then recounted and examined them all again. This was before "the new Philistines" came, as Captain Spile called them. The chief of these, whon the Captain later termed "Goliar," was a summer visitor by the name of Slagg, who bought of the Long estate the fine hill which rose behind old Simmy's homestead and overlooked his modest house, as it faced the sea. We "cottagers" had heard in the city that spring that something remarkable was going on at the Harbor, but when the olk visitors returned in 161 UNDER THE CRUST the summer, they found that a mansion, portentous in size and bearing, crowned the lofty knoll back from the sea, and that the Slagg place was stretch- ing its massive stone walls like Briarean arms in every direction. According to some reports, it was the intention of the niew-comer to change the Harbor once for all, an(d bring it fully abreast of the most fashionable uN atering-place on the coast. It was even said that Mr. Slagg, the new cot- tager, had offered Simmy a fabulous price for his homestead, which lay betw en him and the sea, using the magic name of syndicate, and that the offer had been refused. I inquired of Simmy as to this, and he corroborated it in his qu et way. "Well, somebody did sty sump'n' about it, but I told them that I di(ln't keer to sell any more." I had heard from Captain Spile at the pier that Simmy had said he didn't care about syndicates: they were " too much like a ( uttle-fish "; also that Slagg had said he'd get the place yet. However this was, the preparations of the new magnate went on amazingly. It was rumored that he was going to spend a great sum on his new place, and the outward and visible signs betokened that at least his expenditures would be lavish. Ex- 162 LEANDER'S LIGHT tensive purchases of land were made. The solid rock was blasted out for gardens and courts, and everything proposed was on a scale of magnificence hitherto undreamed of in that quiet region. There was even talk of his building a great sea-wall, so as to have a harbor for his yacht and for boats that usually seek the companionship of such craft. His stables were on an equally elaborate scale. He was credibly reported to have forty horses. Large trees were transplanted and put in spots that cut off the view, and the curious thing was that the stable was located in quite as prominent a position as the mansion. A protest from neigh- bors, that the stable was offensively near their houses and interfered with their view, met with the undeniable statement t hat it was no more prominent from their houses than fromn his, and that he did not object to it. To no one was the change more disturbing than to the occupants of tLe little piggin house just under the front wall o' the grounds of the new cottage. The heavy hauling upon the roads had destroyed the pathway the teams stood in the road and broke old Simmy's fence. But the real worry lay deeper than this. The new build- ings overlooking them not only destroyed their privacy, but cut off their view of the rising hills 163 UNDER THE CRUST to the westward with the flaming sunset-skies above them. I observed on my return that summer that old Simmy had shifted his seat from the big chopping- block in the afternoon sun, where he had always been used to sit, and sat around the corner of his house; and that Miss Abby now had him roll her chair out on the front veranda, instead of basking in the sunny angle to the westward, where she used to mend old Simmy's clothes. I never heard them explain the change, but once having heard from Captain Spile that "Abby was takin' on mightily about cuttin' off her view," [ stopped on my way up the lane and asked her what she thought of the new mansion. "'Pears to me," she said, 'like they were takin' one of God's landscapes and makin' a painted picture of it. But it's none of my business. I suppose he's tryin' to forge something up there." She went on sewing with a surer stick of the needle. Mr. Slagg, report said, hal begun at an anvil, and by keeping on hammering had amassed a large fortune. His hammering, however, had of late years consisted of hammering the market, and his latest deal, by which he had "realized" -so the phrase went-millions of dollars, was 164 LEANDER'S LIGHT regarded by many well-informed men as some- thing rather close to robbery. In fact, a rumor had somehow gotten abroad that bogus reports had been issued. So, Miss Abby's innuendo had a double edge. III Whatever the fact was as to this, Slagg was one of the newly rich city-men who had sprung up like weeds from the ruin they had helped to make, and as he had only one aim--money-so now he thought that money would a -complish anything. He looked like one of his iron pigs, a stout, round- ish, oblong, heavy body on short legs; a rough, rather uncouth face in which glinted small, keen eyes; a big nose; and a coarse mouth above a strong chin. He was not lac'ling in humor or in good temper, but he lacked most things that they usually accompany. He boldly announced that he purposed to have everything that money could buy, and his conviction that "money would buy anything and everything." The first shock to this v ew came from old Simmy. When Slagg first bought and laid out his place, lie tried to buy old ,Simmy's little home- stead, which any one who had been to Rock Ledge 165 UNDER THE CRUST a summer well knew old Simmy would not sell, and in his first interview with the old man he sealed his fate, even if he might otherwise have had a chance. After the agent he had sent to sound the old fellow had failed, he himself went to him, and when the high price he offered failed to move him, he tried to scare him with a threat of having his taxes raised. It was a threat that he had often worked successfully in his career, but this time he did not know his man. The old fellow shut up like one of the brown sea-urchins on the rocks below his house. Still, feeling sure of his method, Slagg went on building, confident that he would in time be able, as he said, "to squeeze the old man out," and he took rLo pains to conceal his plan. Since the first moment he stood on his imposing front porch, he knew he must get rid of his un- wished-for neighbor, or lose much of that for which he had striven. His front view commanded, in- stead of the blue sea with the surf breaking on the rocks and curving on the beach below, only old Simmy's little piggin house and bare chicken- yard. He once more made an offer, which he felt sure would be accepted, to captain Spile, who ex- pressed his doubts whether the old man would consider it. Slagg swore. 166 LEANDER'S LIGHT "Why, he'll jump at it like a dog-all that money, and he a Yankee." "He don't want money," said the Captain, lean- ing over the rail of the pier. "Don't he! Everybody wants money." "Well, most folks do; but old Simmy's got more now than he knows what to Jo with. He don't want any more." "There ain't a man in the world 't don't want more," asserted Slagg, with conviction. "I know 'em. Ain't a man in New Yoik won't sell his soul for money. I know 'em. I wish you'd go and see him for me." "Wa-al, I'm pretty busy," drawled the Captain. "Busy! I don't see that you (1o anything." "I'm busy watchin' the river. Takes up all my time, pretty much, watchin' it fill and empty. It just fills up to empty again, like some folks; but some folks don't even know when they're full." Slagg did not quite take in the old seaman's apothegm, but he went off growling about "getting his way yet." He had not got far when he turned back and asked me to dine with him, an invitation which I declined. As he walked away the old Cap- tain followed him with his deep, clear eyes. "What does he want to pay that money for He owns the world now, don't he" 167 UNDER TIlE CRUST And as I followed his glance, I could but acknowledge the fact. "You city folks 've got a comical way of swap- ping victuals," he observed. I nodded my acquiescence. "Now, if I don't like a man, I don't like him; and if I don't like him, I ain't goin' to ask him to eat with me, and I surely ain't goin' to eat with him." I agreed with him that there were a good many points of difference between him and the people he mentioned, and when he casually observed that his wife had a "fresh balin' of doughnuts" that day, I was duly appreciative of the compliment, and accepted his invitation. Slagg did not know old Simmy. And when his offers of more and more for the little place were met with the same stolid reply, "Don't keer to sell," he felt satisfied from his knowledge of men that this was only a clever ruse to "rob him," as he expressed it. He therefere sought an interview with old Simmy at which I happened to be present. Slag(g was shrewd, plausible, and persistent. Old Simmy was dull, calm, and sphinx-like. He met every proposition with silence or the simple state- ment: "Don't believe I Keer to sell." "Well, I guess you'll sell if you get a big enough 168( LEANDER'S LIGHT offer" said Slagg. "I'd sell anything I've got if a man _1 "Mebbe you would," said Simmy slowly. "Yes, and so would you.l' And then Slagg, either to try him, or in earinest, offered him an exchange which was obviously to Simmy's pecun- iary advantage. "Don't believe I keer to change." "Well, I will build you a new house, and make it look like something instead of that old rattle- trap." The old fellow turned and gazed silently at his bare, little house, and Slagg brightened. "Why, it's a blot on the place." Old Simmy, with his eyes half-vacantly on the house, wiped his horny hand across his rough face and kept silence. "You won't do that!" exclaimed Slagg. Simmy gave no further sign, and Slagg's patience suddenly gave out. "Well, I'm done with you; I've come here and doubled the value of your property, and offered you fpound;ve times what it's worth, and you won't do anything. I tell you now, I'll never make you another offer." "That's go-od," said Simmy, quietly. "You think it's 'good,' do you Well, you haven't done with me yet. Withy, you block the 169 UNDER THE CRUST way of progress in this whole town-you block Civilization! " "Be you Civilization" asked the old man so quietly that for a moment Slagg was nonplussed. Then he went off growling and threatening; but that evening old Simmy's reply was known about the pier. IV It was the next spring, after Slagg's new house was finished, that old Simmy's sister, Abby, died. I did not learn of it until I got back in the sum- mer and fell in with Captain Spile at the pier. It was like picking up a newspaper-file after a long absence. "Mr. Slagg he's back, too," he said, "in his Chromo Castle." "Still wants Simmy's plaoe, I suppose" "Oh, yes, he wants it-bad-and he'll keep on wantin' it." "But now old Miss Abby's dead " "He'll never git it now. I told him long ago he'd never git it, anyhow; but he thought he knew better. Abby sort o' mistrusted Simmy might git lonesome and git out; but-!" The Captain's eyes blinked with deep satisfaction. "What was the matter with her" 170 LEANDERWS LIGHT "Worry, Simmy says--havin' her view cut off- an' her chickens, an' all. You see, she'd always been feeble, and I think she didn't like the idea. But she went kind o' unlooked-for when she did go-'t wa'n't even the time of tide for her to go. She had lasted all winter, and had kept the house, and when spring come, Simmy thought 't would do her good to git her out-doors; so he wrapped her up and set her in the sun, and I think she took cold. But he says 't was Slagg's house, and worry for fear he'd sell her out: an' she told him she was cold, that Slagg would soon own everything and force 'em out like he said; and, mebbe, after she was gone and buried, he would be like Naboth- an' wouldn't be able to hold out against him. And next mornin' she was (lead." "Well-Simmy-I'll go an' see him. What did he say" The Captain was slowly whittling the pier rail beside him; so he replied with deliberation: "Well, Simmy, you know, is a right religious man now-he's tolerable old--over eighty; though he wa'n't as much older than Abby as she said by ten years-but when he was young he used to be a pretty hard blasphemer, an' fighter, too, I remem- ber; an' I judge he'll hold out; that Slagg won't git that house, not in Simmy's time. Naboth's a 171 UNDER THE CRUST pretty good hand at standia' Ahab off when he wants to. "Money's a curious thing, ain't it" he pro- ceeded. "Looks like some folks a n't strong enough to stand the strain-they git, warped like green timber in a boat when you jay her up, now don't they Now, our friend Slagg, 'thout his money, he wouldn't be much more account than a chip in the porrich, an' he ain't so very much account with it." Next time I talked with Simmy, the old man gave me a sudden insight into his heart. "He wa-ants me to sell my haouse," he drawled in his deep bass; "says he'd sell anything he has. Wa-al, mebbe, he would. Tha-at haouse was built so long ago they ain't hardly a plank of the old haouse left-nothin' but the framin' and chimney, an' not too much o' that. My gran'mother-I mean my father's gran'mother-was in that haouse by herself the las' time the Ii-juns come down here. 'Twas at night, an' 't wa'n't a soul with her 'cept her baby and the dog. Her husband hed gone away to get the men together to drive 'em back, because they had heard they was comin'; an' they come that night before they was lookin' for 'em, an' my gran'mother she heard 'em, an' she 172 LEANDER'S LIGlHT banked her fire, and tied 1:.er garter raound the (log's maouth to keep him From barkin', and set there in the dark, and suckled her baby to keep him quiet, while the Injuns praowled all raound the haouse and pressed their noses to the winders, lookin' in to see if anybody was there; an' then when they had gone, she slipped aout an' run down 'long that wall to L'ander Dunnell's block- haouse an' give the alarm, with her baby in her arms. I've heared my gran'father tell abaout it be- cause he was the baby, an' he said if 't hedn't been for her the Injuns would 'a' massacreed 'em all." He pondered for a little space, and then turned to rie. "I don't think they'd ought to try to drive me aout, do you I ain't troublin' them, be I" My reply was, I fear, not wholly printable, but it appeared to reassure him. "An' I ain't a-goin' to sell out," he added calmly. "That haouse was here before he come, an' I guess 't will be here after he goes."' It was after this that a new course was adopted -I will not say by Slagg, but by some of his people, and I think he could have stopped it had he been so minded. Old Simmy found that the enmity of his neigh- bor was reflected in sundry annoying ways. Slagg, 173 UNDER THE CRUST as he had threatened, first set to work to have his taxes raised, and the appraisement was raised, as was really proper, from almost nothing-the old valuation as agricultural lard to a valuation still far below its actual value. Next Slagg tried to get the high-road changed so as to make it run through old Simmy's yard, where a road had, no doubt, been in old times. In this he failed, though he offered to grade it at his owin expense, and build a schoolhouse for the village-an attractive proposal in this age. What, however, worried old Simmy more than anything else waas that, when his chick- ens strayed across the road to Slagg's property, they were killed by the latter's dogs and, Simmy said, by his men. The old man spoke of it with a deeper light burn- ing under his shaggy brows than I had ever seen there before. "Them was Abby's chickens, and I don't think he had ought to kill 'em that way. He knowed that I would 'a' paid him dollar for dollar for every grain or spire o' grass or--weed they'd destroyed, because I tolt him so; leastways, sent him word I would." "What did he say." "rSaid, 'Let him keep his d-d chickens aout of my graounds'; 't he'd treated me like a gentle- 174 LEANDER'S LIGHT man, an' I wouldn't be treated so. I s'pose that's what he calls 'treatin' like a gentleman.'" He lapsed back into his habitual apathy; but after a moment added: "Looks like God must think mighty poorly o' riches by the folks he gives 'em to--don't you think so" I told him that Dean Swft had thought so. "He's a stranger o' mine," he said. V Old Simmy's opportunity came sooner than he had expected. The nearest way to the beach from Slagg's place was across Simmny's grounds. There was no regu- lar path there, but neighbors frequently cut across the grass by his chicken-yard. to reach the "fisher- man's walk" on the shore. Slagg's men began to make a regular path across tLt:ere, and when Simmy put up a notice for strangers to "keep off," it was pulled down-as Simmy Delieved, by Slagg's people. It happened that one afternoon, as I was crossing Simmy's grounds, Slagg himself caine along with a dog, and either supposing that Simmy, who was standing by his wall, gazing out over the sea, "lookin' for Leander," would not observe him, or, 175 UNDER THE CRUST if he should, would be indifferent to his presence, he walked across Simmy's yard. Unfortunately, when he was about half-way across, the dog caught sight of Simmy's chickens, and there was immedi- ate trouble. In an instant the old man was upon him; but he was too late to save the chicken. He then turned upon the dog's owner and denounced him for set- ting his dog upon his fowls. This Slagg stoutly denied, and said that he had called the dog off. He offered to pay fifty cents for the chicken, which he said was twice as much as it was worth. Sim- my, however, refused it with scorn, and ordered him to turn and go back off his place by the way he had come. This angered Slagg, and in a rage he began to curse the old man, declaring that he was glad of the chance to tell him what he thought of him as "an offensive old fool, who stood in everybody's way." "I am goin' to stand in your way this time, an' keep you from crossin' my yard an' killin' Abby's chickens," said Simmy. "Now go back where you come from." He reached out his long arm and pointed down the hill. "I will go off your place, but I will not go back," said Slagg. "Now get out cf my way." 176 LEANDER'S LIGHT "Yes, you will, too," drawled Simmy. "You will go back." And he squared himself before the younger man. In a sudden rage, Slagg caught him by his coat and jerked him out of the way. The next second he was sprawling flat on his back on the grass. I had no idea that the old man could be so quick or could strike such a blow. He appeared sud- denly transformed. Taking a step forward, he stood over his prostrate antagonist and looked down on him. "Are you hurt" he asked. "Yes, of course, I am hurt," growled the other. "What did you hit me for that way" "Becuz you killed Abby's chickens an' tore my coat. Now git up an' go back the way you come, like I told you." Slagg rose slowly to his feet, scowling at the old man standing stolidly before him, and, turning, went back down the path, growling his threats of vengeance. At the trial afterward the testimony was con- flicting. Old Simmy still believed and testified that Slagg set the dog on the chicken that he killed. Slagg still stoutly denied this, and swore that he had called the dog off, and offered to 177 UNDER THE CRUST pay for the fowl more than it was worth. The suit, however, was not for the chicken, but for something more. Old Simmy, tall, heavy, and dull-eyed, was the accused, and Slagg, with a black eye and bruised nose, was the prose- cutor. Old Simmy partly admitted the charge of as- sault, but pleaded provocation. The Court wisely let him tell his story in his own way, and all the facts came out, including the trouble about his property. He admitted that he had accused Slagg of killing his chickens, and lhe still accused him; also that he had told him that he should not pass through his place, and stated that Slagg had cursed him. "And what did you do then" he was asked. "I didn't do nothin' right then," the old man drawled. "I just stood in his way an' told him he mus' go back." "And then" "Then Then he took hold of me and tore my old coat." He looked down at it. "Was that the same coat you have on now" asked Slagg's lawyer. "Yes." The lawyer approached him and examined the coat closely. 178 LEANDER'S LIGHT "Wasn't it a very old coat" "Yes, a mite old." "How old" "Wa-all, I don't know rightly just haow old. If Abby was livin', she could tell you. She made it." The lawyer edged off the dangerous ground. "Well, how did you feel when he put his hands on you-as you say Didn't you feel very angry" Old Simmy pondered. "No, I couldn't say as I did. I just felt sort o' warm." "What! You knock a man down and don't feel angry" "No; just sort of tingly all over, as I hadn't felt in over fifty years." His deep eyes gave a sudden glint of enjoyment, and he straightened perceptibly, as the crowd laughed. "But you knocked him down" "I hit him." "And what did he do then" "Fell down-flat." " And what did you do" "I told him to get up an' go back where he had come from, like I told him to do." "And that was all that occurred" 179 UNDER THE CRUST "No; he got up and went." The manifest enjoyment of the crowd that packed the little court-room was a proof of the popular feeling, and the law was clearly on old Simmy's side. Thus, the judgment was a just one. Slagg, with his bulldog chin and his belief in the power of money, held on for some time. "He can't live always," he said, "and I'll have it yet. His heirs will have more sense than that old fool." He was right about the old man. He did not hold on long. When we returned the following summer, one of the first things Captain Spile said to me down on the pier w:as, "Well, Leander's Light's out." "Yes, I heard old Simmy was dead." "Yes, he died trying to tight it. The way we knew he was gone, Jesse Moulton's son was comin' in roun' Western Point one night an' noticed the light was out and give the Llarm, and we found him settin' in his big chair, speechless, with the lamp-chimney broke on the floor by him. He must have dropped it when he had the stroke." "I suppose 'Ahab' will get the place now" I hazarded. 180 LEANDER'S LIGHT The captain's face wore a pleased look as he shook his head. "No; Simmy's left it to the town-to keep." When Slagg heard that old Simmv had died he moved at once. But, as Captain Spile stated, the old fellow had left his homestead and property to the town for a hospital or a school, and provided that it should belong to the town so lon, as his old house, or one as near like it a s possible, should be kept standing. Thus, as Simmy prophesied, while Slagg has moved on to other pastures, the old house still stands. And thus, "Leander's Light" burns on. 181 This page in the original text is blank. MY FRIEND THET DOCTOR This page in the original text is blank. MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR M Y first visit to Rock Ledge, dozing under its big elms by the gray Atlantic, and my ac- quaintance with "Mrs. Dow's Jane" were due to John Graeme: "The Doctor," as we used to call him at college. I had received a telegram one (lay saying, "Come with me for a loaf on the Maine Coast," and I had "shut up shop " and joined him. The Doctor was in some respects the queerest man of our time at college. He was, perhaps, not exactly the first man there, but he was easily the first man of our set. Other "Meds" were called Doctor; but whenever "MThe Doctor" was men- tioned it was always understood that it was John Graeme. He was not especially brilliant, but he had a divine enthusiasm, absolute courage, and eyes never to be forgotten. An old doctor who knew him said of him once, " That young man will either be a quack or a leading physician." "The two are often the same," said John Graeme. So, it was no surprise to us to find him now, ten years later, already one of the big doctors, and still 185 UNDER TI [E CRUST with a fiery scorn for the fashionable element. Hle had the marks of inde -endence: a broad brow, a wide, well-formed mouth, a big nose and a firm jaw. Added to these was a voice always clear, and, when tender, as swe(et as a harp, and a man- ner which was simple, !rank, and, without the least formality, with something of distinction in it. But more than these, I think the chief ground of John Graerne's positilo.i at college was that he thought for himself, whic 1 few of us did then, or, perhaps, do now, and, s( thinking, he presented everything just as he saw it. Moreover, he felt with every living creature. Whilst the rest of us stu tdied as a task, crammed for examination and learned like parrots, "The Doctor" studied as he liked, read for his own interest the text-books which his fellow students tried to cram, and before he left college, whether he was discussing a dog-fl ht, a love affair, or the processes of a bone, we at and listened to him because he threw light on it. In his last year he moved out of college an(d lived in "Dingy Bot- tom," one of the worst sections of the town, in the worst street of that se ction, in a room over a dog-fancier's. It was set down merely to his idiosyncrasy, and his paper on "The Digestion of Young Puppies" was held by the faculty to be 18'; MY FRIEND THIE DOCTOR frivolous. He said he wrote of that because he had been raising puppies all his life and knew more about them than about babies. One of the faculty said he'd better become a "Vet," as his taste evi- dently lay that way, but the Doctor replied that he was going to practise on children, not on professors. Doctor John has said sinee that this year among the puppies and babies of ' Dingy Bottom" was, with one other experience, worth all the rest of his college course. The other experience was this: "The Doctor" disappeared from public viewr for several days; he was not to be found at his room, and when he re- appeared, his head wao shaved as close as a prize- fighter's. Some said he h-d been on a spree; some said he had shaved his head as Demosthenes shaved his. "The Doctor" flushed a little, grinned and showed his big, white teeth. It turned out afterward that diphtheria of a malignant type had broken out in his suburb, and he had been nursing a family of poor children. When the Professor de- clared in class a few days later that a member of the class had been discovered to have been expos- ing himself to a virulent disease in a very reckless and foolhardy manner, there was a rustle all down the benches, and all eyes were turned on "The Doctor." John Graeme rose all his long length. 187 UNDER TI [E CRUST "Am I the person referred to" he asked, his face at first white, then red, his voice trembling a little. " Small-pox!" it was xNhispered, and we edged away. "You are," declared the stout Professor coldly. "You had no right to go into a contagious case, and come back among the other students. You might have broken up th-, college." "You have been misinformed." The Professor frowned. "What do you say" "You have been misinformed; I have not ex- posed myself recklessly. I have attended a few diphtheria cases, but I hetve taken every precau- tion against exposing any one else. I refer you to Dr. -, whom I consult ed." le mentioned the name of the biggest doc ;or in the city, and sat down. It was known that evening that John Graeme had not only attended Ihe cases, but had per- formed an operation in Ihe middle of the night, which, the Doctor stated alone saved the child's life. From that time Docte r John was the leading man in the Med. Class. When wee left college, the rest of us settled in small places, or in the cities in which we lived. 183 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR Such of us as were ambitiois began to crawl up with fear and trembling; those who were not dropped out of the race. Doctor John went straight to the biggest city to which his money would take him, and settled in one of the pur- licus, where he lived on bread and cheese, when- as he said-he could get cheese. In a little while he got an .-appointment in a Chil- clren's Hospital, and the next thing we heard, it was rumored that he was performing difficult opera- tions, and was writing papers for the medical journals which were attracting attention. It was in one of these papers, the one on " Bland Doctors," I believe, that he charged that, while the investiga- tion of Medical Science had advanced it patholog- ically, it had scarcely advanced it therapeutically at all, and that many of the practitioners were worthy disciples of Dr. San Crado; that they were as much slaves of fashion as women were. This paper naturally attracted attention-indeed, so much attention that he test his place in the Children's Hospital. But when, a little later, an epidemic of typhus fever broke out in one of the most crowded tenement-house districts of the East Side, he vol- unteered first man to do the hospital work, a newspaper took up his cause, and he got back his 189 UNDER T HE CRUST position. Soon afterward he wrote his work on "The Treatment of Children," and laid the foun- dation of his fame and fortune. Practice shortly began to pour in on him. Of Fortune he was as scornful as of Fashion; for just as he was achieving both he suddenly turned over his office and his practice to a friend and left for Europe, where he spent several years in the Continental hospitals. Some said he was mad; others that he had followed across seas a young widow whose fortune was as well known as her beauty; one of the belles in the ultra-fashionable set of the city. When he returned he was already famous. For he had written another work that had become a standard authority. All this by way of pref ace and to show what sort of man it was that dragged me away from my ac- customed summer haunts to the little sun-steeped fishing village on the Maine coast, and plumped me down in Mrs. Dow's little gray cottage under the apple-trees where "Jane" lived, with "Miss Hazel." I had not seen the Doctor since we left college until I drifted into his vraiting-room one morning in the spring, and not then until I had waited for at 19O MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR least a dozen others to see him. Most of these had children with them, and I o)bserved that all ap- peared somewhat cheered up when they left his office. The last patient was a falihionably dressed and very handsome woman who had driven up to the door just before me in a brotugham with a fine pair of horses and with two men in showy livery on the box. I had seen her as she swept across the side- walk, and in the waiting-rooms I had a good chance to observe her. She had undeniable beauty. and her appointments were flawl ass; almost too much so, if possible. A tall, statuesque creature, well fed, richly dressed and manifestly fully conscious of her attractions. About Ler breathed "the un- conscious insolence of conscious wealth." At this moment she wore a cdark cloth morning-suit with sables, which always give an air of sumptuousness to a handsome woman. Her presence caused some excitement on the part of one or two of the ladies who were present. She was evidently known to them, and indeed she must have been known to thousands, for she was one in a thousand. As E he waited her self- consciousness increased. After a time her turn came and she was ushered into the office. I heard her greeting, half rallying: 191 UNDER T HE CRUST "Well, as you would not come to me, I have had to pocket my pride and come to you." If the Doctor made any reply I did not hear it, and I think he made none, for his face, which I saw plainly, was serious, almost to sadness, and I was struck by his gravity. Ten minutes later the door opened again and he showed the lady out of his office as gravely as he had admitted her. Her air of self-complacency had vanished; her confident tone had changed. I caught the last words cif his reply to her parting speech, as she lingered at the door which he held for her. "I have told you the only thing that will help her-and the alternative. You must take her where I directed and you must go with her." Ile spoke as if he knew that his command carried weight. She paused for a moment, evidently considering, while he waited impassive. Then she said with an acc-nt, part disappointment, part resignation, "Well, I suppose if I must, I must; but it is most inconvenient. You will come and see her before we go" He bowed and closed -he door, and then came over to me. "Come in. So glad to see you." He led the way into his office. 11;2 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR As he closed the door h1 broke out: "These fashionable women! They are not fit to have children. 'Inconvenient' when her child's whole life is at stake!" "Who was she" I asked. "Her name is Mrs. Durer. These women who have not time to look after their children!" Ile turned off with a growl. I know that I must have shown surprise, for she was one of the reigning belles of the clay, and her beauty was a part of the property of the whole country. Moreover, I had heard her name con- nected with his, when he had gone abroad some years before. "She is one of the hand'somest women I ever saw," I observed, tentatively. "Yes, she has looks enough," said the Doctor, dryly, and changed the subject. It was not long after this visit to the Doctor that I received one morning, the telegram I have mentioned, inviting me to join him in a holiday on the Maine coast, an invitation which I promptly accepted; for the old ties that bound us held firmly. The place which he had selected was a little vil- lage of white or gray cottages, clustered under great elms, on a rocky slope facing south, above a 193 UNDER THE CRUST pretty little land-locked harbor, just big enough to hold the white-sailed sloop 3 which, after bobbing up and down outside, came in to sleep like white- winged water-fowl on its placid surface; but hap- pily, too small for the big yachts that slipped by outside the Ledge which gave its name to the place. Thus, the life had been kept in a simpler key than at the very fashionable resorts further along the coast. "The natives," as they called themselves, were self-contained and content with their superior knowledge, and the summer visitors were as yet simple in their tastes, as they had need to be in that primal comm-nity, where, at that day, though now a change has come, the ocean was regarded by hotel ke pers as supplanting lesser bath-tubs. The place where we lande:1 from the dusty and somewhat rickety stage, in -he shank of a placid summer afternoon, was not the fort-like one hotel, frowning on the Point, but Mrs. Dow's gray cot- tage, amid a cluster of big apple-trees, where, for his own reasons, Doctor John had chosen to en- sconce himself. He said it was because he liked the portrait of Captain Dow, a wonderful crayon which might have been mad a into a graven image without sin, which hung in the little parlor. Here Mrs. Dow, a determined woman of past middle 194 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR age, aquiline nose and temper, ample figure and firm voice, dispensed a well-ordered and measured hospitality. For Mrs. Dow measured everything. Through her gold spectacles set firmly on her high nose, a pair of keen eyes measured the world with infallible accuracy. Though my friend declared that he selected this place to get away from silly women and finish his book, I quickly found out why he had really chosen this quiet corner of Rock Ledge, and avoided the hotel with its commanding position and long piazzas where, through the warm mornings, the summer boarders travelled back and forth in their yellow rockers and "cultivated their minds" or their acquaintances; and where it was said, ladies of literary tendency hung placards on their chairs, reading: "Please do not speak to me." The only other boarder in Mrs. Dow's cottage was a little high-shouldered girl with a pinched face, glorified by a pair of wide and startlingly blue eyes that gazed at everything with singular in- tensity. She was a patient of the Doctor's and had come there by his orders. No one was with her except her governess, a spare and angular woman of middle age, with kind eyes and a minor note in her voice, who was conscientious to a de- gree and appeared to have the "fear of Madame" 195 UNDER THE'd CRUST always before her eyes. Sche had not been with her little charge long, hasving, as appeared, been engaged by- Madame just b fore the child was sent to the country for her he. Ith by the direction of "a big doctor in town." This I learned from Mrs. Dow in the first conversation I had with that well-informed person. The governess was almost as lonely as the little girl. This I learned fromn herself in the first con- versation I had with her. We had corme on her, the Doctor and I, the morning after our arrival, as we strolled, at his suggestions down by the curving bit of beach, where the tide was licking the yellow sand with the placid motion of a tigress licking her flanks. It was, however, as I quickly saw, not the sea that my friend came to watch, but the children. A score or more of them Mv ere working like beavers in the sand, digging trernches, building forts, or running up and down, toiling almost as much at their amusements as if they had been grown people, while their nurses md governesses gossiped or screamed after them like so many gulls. But apart from the ruddy children sat a little sickly-looking girl, in all Ihe panoply of stiff white muslin and lace, with hen nurse by her side. As we came on her we saw her nurse turn and shake EG6 MY FRIEND TII E DOCTOR her up as a child shakes a liirmp doll to make her sit up straight. And for a few seconds the doll sat tip. But the little weak back wou Id bend, and the child sank down again with a look of utter weariness and despair which struck even me. Doctor John gave a deep growl like a huge mastiff, out of which I got something about "the fools who were al- lowed to live." And the nest moment he ,was in front of the nurse, bending over the child and talk- ing to her soothingly, asking her about her mamma and her dolls, the puppy he had given her, and many other things besides. The governess ap- peared to be a trifle suspicious at first of this new old friend, but the Doctor quickly disposed of her. HIe announced that he was the child's doctor and had come down to see her. This was the fact. Havinrg learned that Mrs. Durer had taken the child down to the seaside as he had ordered, but had not remained with her, he had run (lown to see her hinmeclf. In a few minutes he had the little girl up in h'Is arms showing her a ship just coming in, and when he put her down it was to take her off with him on a hunt for shells. Meantime he had felt the little twisted back and knew just how she stood. "WVhy don't you let her p)lay in the sand" he demanded of the nurse when lie brought her back. 197 UNDER THIfl CRUST "She don't care to play much these days, and she gets her dress so soilec.." The Doctor growled. "I thought so." When he came home it was to hold a conference with Mrs. Dow in a speck-less kitchen, and that evening I heard that stern 4md unbending guardian of her own rights singing his praises to one of her serious-faced neighbors in terms of eulogy which would have surprised the ( eparted Captain, whose name in the household vras "Lishy Dow," and who, by report of Captain Spile, the local historian of Rock Ledge, had not always received unstinted praise from his spouse during his lifetime, though, as the Captain remarked, he "guessed he got all he deserved, for Lishy was or e of 'em." "He's dead, is he" I in quired. "Well, I didn't see hin laid out," drawled the Captain; "but I know hc's buried all right, for I helped to bury him." But whatever he had been during his life, "Lishy Dow" always received the due meed of respect from Mrs. Dow, now that he was dead. Morning after morning sle would tear the brown paper from the chops or leg of mutton which Josiah Martin, the young man from Gill Carver's, the meat man, brought, and shove the meat back into 193 MY FRIEND THE IDOCTOR his hands with the same phrase: "'You take that back to Gill Carver, and tell him I say he needn't think he can sell such meat as, that to Lishy Dow's widow just because Lishy Dow's dead and gone." And morning after morning, as Josiah started off with the meat, she would call him back and say, "Well, just wait a minute--I guess you might's well leave it to-day, as I'm obliged to have some- thing for my folks to eat, but you tell Gill Carver he ought to be ashamed of himself to try to sell such meat as that to Lishv Dow's widow, just because Lishy Dow's dead and gone." A circumstance which I did not know of till later had contributed to the Doel-or's popularity. As the Doctor was in the back-yard talking to Mrs. Dow about his patient, he had seen a little half- crippled girl in a chair under an apple-tree playing with some scraps of stuff oiut of which she was making clothes for an old doll. Mrs. Dow caught the expression on his face and answered his in- articulate question. "That's Jane." "Is she yours" "Yes-my Milly's. She stays here mostly. Likes to stay with me, because I spoil her, I guess. Least, that's what Milly says. But she's so hap- less, I don't see as no harmn'll come of a little 199 UNDER THE CRUST spoilin'. She can't play like other children, an' all she wants is to set still and sew. You'd ought to see how she can sew. Speak to the gentleman, Jane." For the Doctor was now at Jane's side on his knees examining he- handiwork and inciden- tally the little bent figu. e among the old cushions. "She can copy anything," pursued the grand- mother with subdued r ride, "and since she seen the fine fixins that little thing in the front room has, nothin' will appea ie her but she must copy 'em for her doll." When Mrs. Dow, havi ig allowed me a measure of reflected friendship, tolI me about it, she described how, all of a sudden, she had seen that the Doctor had lost all interest in her; and from the time he caught sight of Jane hac not heard a word she said to him. "But I was really ashamed to let him see her so untidy. However, as I say, you can't raise children and chickens without dirt, and you know he said 'that's so.' Ard now, would you believe it, in five minutes there was Jane up in his lap, talkin' to him the samn as if she had known him all her life, and she never one to say a word to nobody-not to my knowin'. I was that ashamed of his seein' that old broken doll, b'cause she's got a better one, but Milly won't let her play with it, 200 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR and 't appears she likes that broken one best any- ways. She calls her 'Miss Hazel,' because she says, she looks like 'Miss Hazel.' An' when I explained it to him, he said he liked it best, too, that he and Jane together 'd mend it. Oh! I say! that man beats me! And he says he swants me to give him Jane for a little while, and he says he can make her like other children, most. But I mustn't say a word about it to a soul. So I won't-not even to Milly. But won't that be grand Do you think he can do it Jane Why, she ain't got anythin' to build on. But. i'll say this: if anybody can, he can. I wish Lishv Dow had seen him- just handlin' her like a mother does her first baby, as if he was afraid she'd break in two, and yet just as easy! If anybody can, I believe lhe can." I agreed to this. After this there was quite a change in the estab- lishment. The Doctor appeared to be so much taken up with the two children that he left me to my devices while he went off with them to play at keeping house with "Miss Hazel," in a sunny nook between the rocks, where he had with his own hands helped them to fashion and fit up a little house out of old boards and other odds and ends. His first piece of surgery -was the repair of the broken doll, which he first put in stays and after- 201 UNDER ri"HE CRUST ward, to the great delight of the two children, in a little plaster jacket. I soon learned of this; Jane showed her to me, white little Carolyn looked on, and no trained nurses ever got more pleasure out of exhibiting an improving patient. But I did not know until afterward ti at the Doctor was treating Jane in the same way, and that whenever he paid a professional visit to t .e doll he also paid one to the little mistress, ha ving secured her consent through his services to the doll. The treatment of the little visitor he had found more difficulty in, as the governess stood in terror of Madame; and Madc me had left strict injunc- tions that she was to pl iy with no child whom she herself did not know. "Madame was very par- ticular." "Well, I have a playmate for her," said the Doctor, and he mentioned Jane. "Oh! sir, I couldn't lIt her play with her," pro- tested the nurse. "It would be as much as my position is worth if I should let her play with vulgar children. Madame gave me positive or- ders " "Vulgar children, indeed!" snapped the Doctor. "There are no vulgar children. Vulgarity is a mark of a more advanced age. Madame is a fool, I know, but she is not such a fool as to object tQ 202 MY FRIEND TH.E DOCTOR what I prescribe. Between you, you are killing that child, and you will not keep your place a week after you have killed her." Whatever the means were, the woman's scruples appeared to have been overcome; for in a few days the two little girls were, as I have related, in- separable companions, and even I could see the improvement in the little visitor's appearance. After this I was privileged as a friend of the Doctor's to attend one or two of the "parties" given in "Miss Hazel's house," as the little place which the Doctor had fitted up for them between the rocks was called; and : got an idea of the Doctor's skill in the handling of children. There was a great deal of formality where "Miss Hazel" was concerned, and that ancient and battered lady had to answer a good many questions about her health and that of her friends-as to whether the plaster jacket hurt her, and how long she could remain strapped on her board without too much pain, etc. "Miss Hazel" had in some way been promoted through the medium of a husband lost at sea and known among the trio as "The Late Lamented," and was, under the Doctor's skilful necromancy, a devoted invalid aunt, whose only joy in life were her two nieces, two young ladieswho had unhappily 203 UNDER -HE CRUST inherited the Hazel ba(k. This was the Doctor's invention, as it was his care to attend the entire Hazel family. And it wx As amusing to see this long- limbed, broad-shoulderd man, sitting day after day, carrying on convei sations with the span-long doll about her two nieces and their future, while the wan-faced little creatures listened with their eager eyes dancing at tle pictures he conjured up of their future gaieties a nd triumphs. When they came hom le in the afternoon, grimy and happy, with faint traces of color in their wan cheeks, Mrs. Dow unber t and gave us her best pre- serves in sheer happiness. Even the nurse ad- mitted that her charge ate more, slept more soundly, and was better than she had ever seen her. They not only played in the present; but planned for great entertainments when Mrs. Durer should come down-a cate to which her little girl was always looking forward and leading Jane to look forward to also. ",nd sometimes they played that "the beautiful lady," as they called her, had come, and Carolyn would pretend that she herself was her Mamma and a -t her part as a lady boun- tiful. I never saw the Doctor in such spirits. He en- tered into the game vith as much zest as the children, and grew ruddy in the sea air. 204 MY FRIEND TIHE DOCTOR "Pies are the real things!" he used to say. "These Yankees know their business. And of all pies-mud-pies are the best, Mrs. Dow is right; chickens and children must have dirt--clean, hon- est dirt--to play in to be healthy. If that woman will keep away long enough, I'll give that child a chance for her life." "You do not appear to hold the lady in quite the esteem the world gives you credit for" I hazarded. He gave a grunt, and a grim expression settled about his mouth. After a rmoment of reflection lie added: "Oh! she's well enough in a way-as good as most of those about her, I fancy. But it's tile system-the life. It's all wrong-all wrong! Why, the womanliness-the motherhood is all squeezed out of them. I don't suppose she ever put that child to sleep in her arms in her life. I have seen women weep and -vvail and almost die of heart-hunger because they have no children, and there are she and her like trifing away their life in what they call their d- d society, while their babies perish or grow up to be like them. Why, I would not give that angular, hard-featured old Mrs. Dow, with her sharp tcngue and true heart, for the whole race of them. She is real." "She is rather crusty," I hazarded 205 UNDER THE CRUST "Yes, but deep dowl under the crust she has a heart, and a woman without a heart is a mon- ster." "She must have a h( art. She could not look as she does," I protested. I was still thinking of Mrs. Durer. "She has no more h-art than one of my instru- ments," "'She is so beautiful. I cannot quite accept your diagnosis. And the c 'ild appears to adore her." "Yes, she does," he said grimly. "And that is the worst thing I know about her; that she does not feel it. I'll vow! the Chinese way of destroy- ing them at birth is preferable. It is at least swifter and more pair-less than casting them out as some women do." "I think where children are concerned you may be prejudiced," I urged. The speech sent him off into a reverie, from which he came with a long- drawn breath. "I trust so. I had a little sister once," he said slowly, "who one day Ahen I was playing with her fell and hurt herself. My mother gave her life trying to save her. If we had had a doctor who knew more than a child she would have got well. Even if she had been let alone she might have done so. She went tarough tortures inflicted on 206 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR her by a pedantic ignoramus, and died. Boy as I was, I thought it then and told him so. I know it now. I made up my mind then that no other child who came within my rcach should ever suffer as she had done; and that I would fight an un- ending battle against pedantry and pretence. And when I see a mother sacrificing her child to her pleasures I know just where to place her." This ended the conversation. His face forbade further discussion. And when I saw him next time with his little patients, carefully examining first Miss Hazel and then Jane and the little boarder with a touch as deft as a nother's, I knew the secret of his success, and I slipped quietly away. My summer holiday ended before the Doctor felt inclined to leave his patients, and I left him there "keeping house" with Miss Hazel and the two young ladies, and waiting, as both the little Durer girl and Jane informed me, "to see how Miss Hazel's spine was coming on." I learned afterward from cne of my friends, who was summering at Rock Ledge, that Mrs. Durer, toward September, about the end of the season at the fashionable summer rescrt, where she had her cottage, had run down to see her child and been wonderfully surprised and delighted at her im- 207 UNDER THE CRUST provement. "It's my opinion," said the lady who told me this, "that she was much more interested in that very good-looking and serious-minded doctor-friend of yours than she was in her little girl. She was always after him, and he didn't care a button about her. In fact, he left as soon as she came down." I learned also that an unfortunate misunder- standing had arisen with Mrs. Dow, and Mrs. Durer had taken the little girl back to town. It seems that Mrs. Durer, however much pleased with the improvement in her child's appearance, had very fixed views as to her social position and as to the children she should be permitted to play with. When she diswovered that her child had been playing with Mrs Dow's Jane, she threatened the governess with instant dismissal if it should ever occur again. The result was natural. Both children wept bit- terly and "Elishy Dow's widow" entered the lists. Mrs. Dow was calm to outward appearance; but the fire within burned deep. The grief of the chil- dren went to that rnember which she carefully guarded from public scrutiny; but which could be easily touched if one but knew the way to penetrate beneath the crust. And she nursed her smoulder- ing wrath till Mrs. Durer crossed her path. 208 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR That lady drove up to the door the afternoon be- fore she had arranged to return to her home, to explain that she would take her child away next day, and to raise some question about Mrs. Dow's account. She was dressed impressively, but it did not impress Mrs. Dow. Mrs. Durer always de- clared afterward that the woman insulted her because she would not permit her to rob her. She as little knew how exact that careful and scrupu- lous housewife was as she knew the real cause of her sudden onslaught on her. A lioness whose den had been invaded and young injured would have been less ferocious. Mrs. Durer began about the account that had been sent her; but the score Mrs. Dow had to settle was unwritten. She was simpiy distant and coldly hostile until Mrs. Durer, from her car- riage, referred to her as "My good woman." A flash from behind Mrs. Dow's glasses might have warned her; but when she failed to heed it and asked after her "daughter--the unfortunate one- Joan, isn't that her name ' the lioness that had been crouching, sprang. "I have no daughter of that name," said Mrs. Dow with a lift of her head, "and if I had, I don't know as it would matter to you whether she was unfortunate or not, seein' as you have one that 209 UNDER THE CRUST appears a mite unfortunate herself, as you don't look after any too carefully." Mrs. Durer was ndiscreet enough to show temper and to reply in kind, and before the en- gagement was ended, Elishy Dow's widow and Jane's grandmother had told her some home- truths about herself which the lady had never dreamed any one would have been bold enough to hint at. She knew fr em that authoritative source that she was a cold-blooded, unnatural woman, who left her sickly I abe to a foreign woman to care for, and that a strange doctor had had to come and look after the child, and that when she herself had come, it was not to see the child, but the doctor. And all this was told with a direct- ness that had the pie, cing quality of cold steel. How Mrs. Dow htd come by this knowledge Mrs. Durer had no i ea. She denied every part of it vehemently an(d furiously; but she knew, nevertheless, that it was true, and that her enemy had the advantage oi knowing it was the truth, and further, of knowing how to use that deadly weapon. So what cculd she do but take it out on the governess and Oven on the little girl Mrs. Dow's comment on the matter was that, "Folks as ride in carriages don't hear the truth about themselves any too often, but if they come 210 MY FRIEND TJ IE DOCTOR around Elishy Dow's widow puttin' on their airs, they'll get it unslacked." When next day the little Durer girl, with tearful eyes, turned up dressed 'or the journey, with "Miss Hazel" clasped to her breast as the pledge of Jane's undying affection, Mrs. Durer, notwith- standing the child's tears, insisted on the doll being immediately sent back, asserting angrily that it was "nothing but a horrid, old, broken doll anyhow," and she would have nothing about her that reminded her of that outrageous creature. "But, oh! it's Miss hLzel," wept the little girl, "and her spine hasn't gotten straight yet, and I wanted to take her to the Doctor." "Carolyn, don't be so silly. I will not have any more nonsense." So the governess was sent back into the house to return Miss Hazel, while Mrs. Durer by turns scolded the child and promised her a fine, new doll. And this was the end of the little gir's dream. It was the following winter. One snowy night the Doctor was coming down his steps to take his carriage, when he ran into a woman hurrying up the steps. "Oh! Doctor," she panted, "come at once-she is so bad." 211 UNDER THE CRUST "Who is Whomr are you talking about" "Your little girl--my poor little angel." "What is the matter with her How long has she been sick Who has been attending her Where is her mother" were all asked at once, for the Doctor now recognized Mrs. Durer's governess. "I don't know, sir, what's the matter. She was taken just after Madame went out to-night. She hasn't been quite w(el for some time. A doctor came once, but there hasn't bhen any doctor called in since, because Madame didn't think there was much the matter. You see she hasn't seen much of her lately-she's been so busy going out--but she always runs up every evening before she goes out to ask if she wants anything." (The Doctor grunted.) "But thi,. evening she was going out to dinner and afterward to the opera and then she was going on to a ball somewhere. And she got in so late she just had time to dress and didn't have time to come tp to the nursery. And the little girl, who was ail'ng a bit, was so disappointed she didn't go to sleep very quickly. But presently she went to sleep pretending that she had 'Miss Hazel' in her arms-that's the old doll you mended for 'em last summer-the other little girl gave it to her when \qadame took her away and she always loved it best of all, and played that she 212 MIY FRIEND TIHE DOCTOR still had her. Then after she had been asleep a little while she waked and asked for her Mamnma, and when I went to her she had a burning fever, and was out of her head. And I thought of you at once, because you kncw her so well. But William--he's the butler, he said as it wasn't etiquette to send for you, and Madame would be home before long." "Etiquette be -!" growled the Doctor, and opening his carriage he handed the nurse in and sprang in after her. "I was sure you'd come," panted the nurse, "so I thought I'd come and see you anyway; so I just put on my bonnet and came right away." A few minutes later the Doctor was at the child's bedside, bending over her, examining her with a grave face, while a half-dozen sympathetic ser- vants, awestruck at the sudlen illness, stood just within or just without the doors. "Where's Mrs. Durer" he asked, as he raised up. "She must be at the ball by this time," said the butler. "She was going to a ball from the opera." "Send for her at once," he said quietly, and im- mediately turned all his attention again to the little girl who was muttering in her delirium. 213 UNDER THE CRUST An hour later there was a rush up the stairs, a murmur without, find Mrs. Durer hastily entered the room. She blazed with jewels. "Oh! my angel! My poor little darling. What is it Are you ill" She paused as she approached the bed, and then stood still, while a ook of horror came into her face and remained stamped there, as though she had turned to stone. "Oh! Doctor! W hat it is Is she dying" "She is very sick," said the Doctor, without taking his eyes from the child's face. The woman threw herself on her knees beside the bed. "My darling-don't you know me Don't you know Mamma" she asked. The deep sunken eyes rested on her a second, but there was no recognition. They turned away, and the child went on muttering: "Where is Jane! Tell Jane when my beautiful Mamma comes she will play with us." The Doctor's face hardened at the words. He had heard them ofter during the past summer, and he knew the sad ending of that dream. The woman at the bedside crouched lower. "Don't you know Mlamma, darling" "No. Where is Miss Hazel When she gets well and strong we vill all play together." 214 MY FRIEND TILE DOCTOR Mechanically the woman at the bedside began to strip off her jewels and they rolled down on the floor without any one heeding them. "I will get her for you," she said humbly. A fleeting look of recognition dawned in the little face. "Is she well May I play with her when I get well" " Yes-soon." "And Jane-My Mamma won't let me play any more." Mrs. Durer winced. "Doctor, what is the matter with her" "Starved," said the Doctor. She sprang to her feet andi turned on the nurse like a tigress. "You! You wretch! HowO dare you!" "It was not she." The Doctor's voice was low, but vibrant, and his deep eves burned. "What-Who then I told her to give her the best-to spare nothing.' "She obeyed you, but she could not give her the best." " What How could she b:e starved" "It was her heart. It starved." "You mean-" Her voice died in her throat as the Doctor suddenly bent low over the child and put his hand on her softly, as after a sigh the toss- 215 UNDER THE CRUST ing ceased and her hLad sank on the pillow. Mrs. Durer bent forward with horror in her eyes. "Doctor! What--is-it" The Doctor ma(le I oreply. He folded the little hands and smoothed the soft hair on the little face which had suddenly Fown placid. Then he bent over and kissed the white, calm brow. And when he raised up, his eyes as he glanced at Mrs. Durer, had softened. I learned of the deatth of the little girl through a letter from the Doctor which showed real grief and some bitterness. I I new therefore that the story which came to me of his attention to MIrs. Durer was as unfounded as Fever. And when, some years later, I again visited Rock Ledge, now grown to a watering place of the degree which the press calls 'some importance," I was interested to learn something of the lad y's later history. It seems that for years she returned no more to Rock Ledge, but went abroad annually, returning just in time each season to display at one of the most fashionable sumi-mer resorts on the Coast the creations of the first Iressmakers of the Rue de la Paix, reinforced gradually more and more by the efforts of other artihts. All of which was duly chronicled by those sheets which cater to the 216 MY FRIEND T:IE DOCTOR millinery tastes of the public which are particu- larly interested in such important matters. Then after a period in which younger rivals came to supplant her in the eye of that public, she reap- peared at Rock Ledge. She was still handsome- some said, handsomer than ever; but my friend who spoke to me of her said she was the most dis- contented woman she ever saw. " She wanted nothing that she had and wanted everything else. The fact is," she said, "she always wanted the moon-she wanted to marry that big, good-looking doctor who attended her child, and who performed such a wonderful cure in the case of old Mrs. Dow's crippled granddaughter-you know about that " I replied that I had heard of it. But she went on to tell me all the details quite as if I had not said it. "'You know she did not have any spine at all." "No, I did not know that," I interjected. "-Not a particle of one--oh! not the least bit, and your friend took her and just made one for her, and now-" "How on earth did he perform that miracle" "I don't know-you go and see old Mrs. Dow, in the old cottage down under the big apple-trees, with the lilac busies by the side door, and the peonies and hollyhocks-and she'll tell you. He 217 UNDEJR THE CRUST actually made her one-strapped her to a board for years-and put h tr in a plaster jacket for I don't know how lon,", and now-what do you think! " She pause(I for breath and in the interval I said, "I did not knew what to think." "-She is a trained nurse-a strapping, strong woman-a trained nurse!" This was news, indeed, and my memory of old times and of my first visit to Rock Ledge having been revived by the c nversation, I strolled down that afternoon to see Elishy Dow's widow and the old cottage under the big apple-trees. I found her, like her apple-trees, a good deal aged since I had been one of her early boarders that summer; but with her keen eyes still glinting shrewdly through hei spectacles, on which gold rims had replaced the old silver rims-"given her by Jane," as she mentioned with grandmotherly pride. She still cherished the memory of Elishy Dow, and apparently cheris ied some other memories as well. She referred again and again to that summer that I had spent bene'Lth her roof, and showed me a photograph of the Doctor, hung in her front room in a place quite as coispicuous as the memorable portrait of Elishy I)Dw. It also was the gift of Jane, as she explained. 218 MY FRIEND THE DOCTOR "Oh! I say, you don't know how much Jane thinks of that man-she don't allow there's any- body in the whole world just exactly like him. WAhy, she thinks as much of him as if she was his widder. You know she's il his hospital now" "Ah! I am sorry to hear that.." "Oh! bless you! not that away-why, Jane's as well and strong and peart ncw as anybody. I say, you just 'd ought to see her. Why! the Doctor!- Well, you just 'd ought to see her! You'd hardly believe it." And then the details came out quite as my friend had said they would. Also there came another part of the story. One summer, not long before-"just about dusk -well, good dusk," as Mrs. Dow explained, with the precision natural to her, a knock had come on the door-the side door that the neighbors used- and when she had put down the basket she had in her hand with the hood in it which she was "knitting for Jane," she went to the door-and there was-" Who do you suppose" I started to hazard "Jane","' but it was plainly not she, nor could it be Elishy Dow, for, according to Captain Spile, he was well buried. So I gave it up as someone I could not imagine. Mrs. Dow looked triumphant. 219 UNDER THE CRUST "That woman!" Her face became reflective. "Well, I-!" she began, and then her expression softened. "I don't k'iow as Iever felt so sorry for any woman in my life. I never expected to feel sorry for her; but I did. And do you know I took and showed her this hull house and everything that poor little thing had used. And she cried like her heart would freak. And she asked me to take her down to where the Doctor made the play- house for 'em that summer, and asked me if I thought she could buiy that place. I never ex- pected to be sorry ft r that woman; but I was. She was so lonesome, She said she didn't have a soul in the worl' as ( ared for her-just cared for the money she had. "And as I was showin' her the room that little thing had had, and the bureau, and pulled open a drawer, there was the old doll the Doctor mended for Jane that first summer he came here, when he wanted Jane to let hi t mend her. Jane had given it to that little girl the day that worn-the day she went away, and her mother wouldn't let her keep it, though she cried so--and there it lay just where Jane put it, with the little plaster jacket on it the Doctor 'd made and all, and when that wom-when she saw it she grabbed it up and first thing I knew she fell down flat on the floor 220 MY FRIEND THIE DOCTOR with it in her arms kissin' it like 'twas her own child. "Well, I will say my floor is clean. One thing Elishy Dow al'ays would have was a clean floor. "And when she got up, she asked me if I would sell her the doll. I told her 'No,' I couldn't sell her-'t she was Jane's. Then she asked if I thought Jane would sell her; 't she'd give anything for her, 'anything in reason."' As she paused I venture I to ask her what her reply was. "I told her, 'No-I didn't think Jane would; but I thought Jane would want me to give it to her.' She was so lonesome," 221 This page in the original text is blank. THE HOSTAGE This page in the original text is blank. THE HOS'TAGE OR, ALONG THE] POTOMIAC A ONE-ACT PLAY DRAMATIS :P:RSON2E LIEUT.-COL. WINTHROP BARTLETT, U.S.A., about 25, wounded and convalescing at Kent Manor, an old Colonial miansion, on the niorth banik of the Potomac. MAJ. LINDSAY GR.AIIAM, C.S.A. An old classmate of Colonel B.'s; a prisoner of war in Kent prison under sen- tence of death as a hostage. LIEUT. JOSEPH CREW, Superintendent of Kent prison. MISS ROSAMOIND BARTLETT. Sister of Colonel Bartlett; about 20; slim, piqumatt and pretty. MAIMMY CAROLINE. Major Graham's old colored mamnmy, who, having come on to nurnse her yowng master and not being allowed to see him, has bsen engaged temnporarily as a servant by Miss Bartlett. ZEKE. M1 ammy Caroline's sont, pompous, self-important and lazy, in service of Colonel Bartlett. GUARDS AND COURIERS. 225 UNDER T LIE CRUST PL XCE Kent Manor, an old Colon al mansion, in a fine park on north bank of Potomac, frot uwhich the family have refu- geed, occupied temporarily as headquarters by Colonel Bart- lett during his convalescence. TI \IE The very close of the Ci'sil War. SCI NE Open court at rear oi Kerl, ,l1anor, partly paved; with Colonial arcade on, either side, and offices riqht and left. In court, flowers and shrubs. rwo doors and an alcove L. Over an alcove hangs a larg( U. S. flag as a portiere. At back a Urick wall, ivty-covered about six feet high, broken in, one place, with shrubbery ievergreens) beyond. A hiyh batten-door R. enrd. In bod glround: a rolling parko with trees in distance, through wbi h runs a road; with a glimpse of Potomac River winding bf lond. Tru nks and boxes are sta ding under arcade, several of them open. There are lo'nn ling-chairs under an awning and a bench against the rea- wall. Paraphernalia of an officer's headquarters is lying about. CURTAI i RISES MAMMY CAROLINE. [i'scovered packing trunk. She sighs and stops.] Oh! Master! ef dis war wuz jest over! To think of m-r young master-my chile -shet up in dat prison yonder and dat nigger- trader up dyah won't : et a soul see him! He always hated my chile. I wonder ef dat Zeke 2 '6 THlE HOSTAGE ain't never comin' back. [PS'he steps ulp on bench and peeps over wall. A voice i.' heard outside singing.] "Ole master run, ha-h.b! De darkies stay, ho-ho! It mus' be now dat &e kingdom am comin' In de vear of Jubelo" MAMMY. Dat's dat worthless Zeke of mine now! [She jumps down and turns lo door R.] I'll mek him sing de wrong side of his mouf ef he didn't find out what I send him to find out. [Enter, at batten- door, Zeke dressed in an old uniform. Addresses Zeke eagerly.] Did you see him ZEKE [Looking around]. 3Don't hurry me! Don't jump at me dat way. MAMNMY [shaking him imnatientlyl. I'll jump at you wuss dan dat ef you don't tell me. Did you see him ZEKE [coolly admiring bimsel/.] See who MAMMY [slapping him]. Your young master yonder in dat prison. ZEKE. I ain't got no young master. I'se free. De 'mancipation proclamation is done set us all free, Colonel Crew say, an' Ise jist as good as he is. MAMNIMY [slapping him in earnest]. Don't fool wid me, boy! Ef you does I'll show you whether you free or not. You know who I mean. Did you git in to see him 227 UNDER T IE CRUST ZEKE. Yes, I seen him last night-[becomes serious] for de last time. MA.MM1Y [sharply]. Whiat's dat Is he sick ZEKE [sadly]. No. VYuss den dat. MAMM11Y. What's wuc s than dat-He ain't dea- ZEKE. Not yit, but dey's gwine to shoot him. MA.M.MY [dazed. FalliTg back]. Dey's gwine to what ZEKE. Shoot him for a hosstage. MAMMY [dazed]. Showo him for what ZEKE. For a hosstarre MAIMMY. What's a hossitage ZEKE. Hit's somet'n --lo do wid stealin' hosses. Dey's gwine to shoot hin for de hoss of a Yankee Colonel what de Rebs is done steal t'other side of de river-down dyah whE r you call yo' home. MAMMY. WVhat's he got to do wid it ZEKE. Nuttin'. But ley's gwine to shoot him all de same. Joe Crew's g )t he clamps on him, and you know when hle gits his clamps on any body he's gone. Dey drawed lots 'or 'em two days ago to see which one was to be shot. [He takes a letter from. the lining of his poclet and holds it up pom- pously.] Look at dis paper. MAMMY. What's dat 223 THE HOSTAGE ZEKE. Hit's a letter Colonel Crew, de superin- tendent, gin me to i' our overseer, Jake Slow. lie's a big man now. He gin me dis uniform to carry it. [Straightens up aiid salutes pompously.] Ile's gwine to meek me a Cap'n. MIAMMY [eying letter susiciously]. Dat nigger- trader gin it to you GNwine to meek you a fool-- ef you wa'n't dat already. What's in it ZEKE [pompously]. Ne'm mind. Dat's for me to know and you to find out. MAMMY [snatching the lstter from im]. Boy, don't you fool wid me. [She tears the letter open and gazes at it]. I wonder what he done put in it ZEKE [trying to take it from, her]. Gin it to me and I'll tell you. MAMMY. How you gwine tell me You can't read. ZEKE. Yes, I can. Le' me show you. MAMMY [scornfully]. Well, le' me heah you. [She holds one end of the Taper while he holds the other and looks at it.] ZEKE [hesitatingly]. "Dealr Jake:" [To M1amnmy.] Dat's his name, you know Jake Slow [Pa tses.] MAIAMMY. I know lie name, boy. Well, go on. ZEKE. "I takes my pen in handc to write you dese few lines-" Dat's lat line. [Pauses and points to letter.] 229 UNDER THE CRUST MAMMY [watching clos ly]. Well, go on. ZEKE [scratching his head]. "I takes my pen in hand to write -" MIA-1MMY. You done said dat once. He ain't put his pen (lown yet. ZEKE [pretending to recd]. Don't hurry me. Oh, yes! "I sends dis by a good man, Cap'n Ezekiel Jackson--one o' my I es' frien's--a very fine gent'man. Pay him w dl. You can trust him intirelv." MAMIMY [snatching the letter from him]. Go on 'bout your business, boy. I know he ain't said dat. IHe knows vou too well. I'm gwine to find out what's in dis letter. [She turns to door L. U. E. as a voice is heard outside Winging: "Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are march' ng."] Miss Rose. [Enter Miss Bartlett L. U. E. dressed in morning costume.] Oh, Afiss Rose! ROSE. Why, Mammy,, what is the matter Why are you so agitated MAMMY [handing her letter]. Oh, Miss Rose! Dey's gwine to shoot my young master; my chile what I rocked in dese arm is. Will you please read dis ROSE. Shoot your you ng master! Impossible! What for Where is he [Opening letter and read- ing.] "Dear Jake:. THE HOSTAGE ZEKE [from behind]. Set clyah! Dat's what I said. Who say I can't real MAMMY [looking around and scowling at him]. Shet up, boy! Please go on, Miss Rose. ROSE [reading slowly]. "'At last I have my re- venge. Your young Major Graham who used to be so scornful of me and you as a nigger-trader and an overseer is just where I want him-in my power under sentence of death as a hostage and will be shot to-morrow. Revenge is sweet. I wish you could be here to see it." MAMMY[wringinglherhands]. Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord! RosE [pausing]. Major Graham! WAlhy that must be my brother's o0l classmate and friend that lie is so much intereste(1 in! [To M1larnmy.] What is his name MAMMY. Lindsay, ma'am-Lindsay Graham, (le son of my ol' master and mistis-what I hilt in (lose arms when he wva'n't un hour ole-what I'se rocked to sleep on my breas' so often! Miy little Marse Lindsay-my chile! ROSE. Yes, that was h'.s name. MAy brother said he was in some grave danger andl he has gone to telegraph to Washington about him to try to save himn. MAMMIY. Yes, X2'-yes nm'-I pray he may help him. 231 UNDER THE CRUST ROSE. Oh! he will--he will, I know. [Read- ing.] "He drew a blank at first, but like a fool gave it to another rnr n who had a family, and then drew in his place the death number." [To Mamm.y.] Oh, think of that! What a noble, unselfish thing! MAMMY. Oh, Lord! Dat was just like him. What did he do dat foi ROSE [reading]. "I shall to-morrow square all our accounts and we will see hovz he appears when he looks down the baTrels of my firing squad." [To Mammy.] The wr'vtch! MANfIY fiercely]. j he nigger-trader! He al- ways hated my chile be; us he abused him once for sellin' niggers down couf. Oh, my po' young master! ZEKE. He's gone! Didn't I tell you so ROSE [reading]. "I have one more enemy here to deal with: a Colonel on our side. Carries his head too high, but I'mtt working, and hope he'll lose it before long." ROSE. Who can that be [Reading.] "He has a sister I want, and rme-Ln to get." MIAMMY. Dat's you. ROSE [reading]. "I lave told the bearer that vou would reward him." ZEKE. See dyah! V/hat did I tell you '232 THE HO1'TAGE ROSE [reading]. "Return him to his master as a runaway nigger and get a reward for him." ZEKE. What's (lat! MAMMY. Lord! I knowed it. An' dat fool boy meckin' out he ken read! [To Zcke.] I tolt you so. I hope now you satisfied, Cap'n Ezekiel Jackson! Go, boy, and find de Cun'l, maybe he can save him. Hurry for your life, you heah! Hurry! [She drives Zeke oit R. U. E.] Oh, ef de Cun'l was just here he'd try to save him, 'cause he's a good man ef he is a Yankee. ROSE. "If he is a Yanke,o7," indeed! Well, let me tell you that he has gone to telegraph to Washing- ton to try to save Major Graham, if he is a Rebel. MAMMY [excitedly]. Oh! Thank de Lord for dat! When will he be back [She climbs up on bench and looks over wall.] ROSE [mounting bench and looking over wall]. He ought to be back now. He was in a great hurry. Perhaps he got the reprieve and took it straight to the prison. [They both look.] MAMMIY. Pray de good Lord he did. Ain't dat him Nor dat's a bush. You jist well git down, Miss Rose-"A watched pot never biles." [Con- tinues to gaze eagerly.] ROSE [shading her eyes]. There is a man com- ing; but-he is not my brother. 233 UNDER THE CRUST MAMMY [peering]. V/here Where Oh! Dat's de mar up yonder at tie prison. I know dat man. I's seen him many a time, drivin' a drove o' black folks like dey was cattle-whole wagon-loads of 'em-to sell 'em down Souf. He used to be a ni-ger-trader down ho lne befo' de war and runned away when de war corie an' jined de Yankees. [A voice outside R. U. E. calling Zeke! Zeke!] ROSE [eagerly]. The re is my brother now! [She jumps down.] He mu,-t have come the other way. I will see if he got the reprieve. He must have it. MAM.MY. Oh! Thank de Lord! [They turn to R. U. E. Enter Coloe el Bartlett R. U. E. Rose runs aforward to meet I im, followed by Mammy.] ROSE. Brother, were you successful COLONEL BARTLETI [wearily shaking his head]. No. Failed.. [Sinks .nto chair.] ROSE [horrified]. What! Your telegram has not been answered COLONEL BARTLETT [despondently; taking off his sword]. Yes. But--ailversely. The influence was too strong. There is io hope. MAMMI-IY. Oh, Lord! My young master! My chile! My chile! I g:ot to go pray now. I ain't got no hope but in Gord! [She throws apron over her head and rocks from side to side. Exit lfammy slowly, L. U. E.] 234 THE HOSTAGE ROSE. It is terrible! To think of them shoot- ing an innocent man. It is monstrous! COLONEL BARTLETT [grav ely]. It is one of the 3aws of war. One of our men was shot, or is re- ported to have been. He is a hostage and suffers for another. RosE. Did you know that he had drawn a blank and given it to a brother officer who had a family COLONEL BARTLETT, Oh, yes! I told them that. I even put in my telegram that he had once saved my life. Of course, I could not tell how when I had shot at him he fired in the air, but I stated the fact and I asked his life as a personal favor. ROSE. And the reply was adverse What did it say COLONEL BARTLETT [taking out a dispatch]. "Im- possible." [Hands dispatch to her.] That fellow Crew has blocked me. He s an incredible ruffian, skulking around a prison instead of being in the army! ROSE [reading]. "Impossible. Superintendent of prison reports your story untrue. Major Graham was properly selected for execution." Signed, "Secretary of W\ar." [In horror.] That creature Crew! To take his word! He is a murderer! 235 UND)EP THE CRUST COLONEL BARTLEYT [soothingly]. Oh! The laws of war ROSE. Were rnwad for justice, not cruelty, and should not be made 4he excuse for murder. COLONEL BARTLETT [speakinyg moodily]. To think of old Lindsay Graham, the life of our class, being shot to dleath against a prison wall by a turncoat dog like 41hat Crew! Heigh-ho! It's bitter! ROSE. Why did you not try the President He has a great, kind heart, "with malice toward none and charity for all." COLONEL BARTLE-T [wearily]. I could go no further than the Sc cretary of War. He is my superior. ROSE. But the President is the superior of every one. Does the poor man know that your efforts have been in vain COLONEL BARTLETT. NO. I tried to get a per- mit to see him, but in vain. That fellow Crew was in a rage over an escape that took place last night and had left ward to let no one see him. ROSE. An escape of prisoners! Oh! Brother, I am afraid. They must be desperate men. I am afraid they might c(me here. COLONEL BARTLETT. Oh! They will not come where an officer has his headquarters. 236 THE HOSTAGE ROSE. Oh! If that poor fellow had only gotten away! COLONEL BARTLETT [shaking his head]. It would have done him no good. They are certain to be recaptured. Crew is scouring the country, and they cannot get across the river. Every boat is locked. Well, I must go and give orders to have a sharp lookout kept. And then I must complete my arrangements to leave this afternoon to join my regiment. [Rises and tries to walk. Staggers and catches at table.] Oh! ROSE [springing to his side and supporting him solicitously]. Oh! Brothcr, how pale you are! You are still far too ill to go back to the front. [Helps him to a chair.] COLONEL BARTLETT [recovering]. No! I am all right. I must go! The war is almost over. Rich- mond has fallen. Lee has abandoned Petersburg an(l, with his veterans worn to a mere remnant, is trying to reach Johnston; and when the last battle is fought I must be with mn men. [He takes up his sword and tries to put it on. ] ROSE [helping himt buckle onl sword]. Oh! I feel as though I had Just gotten you back from the dead. You have been father, mother, everything to me. And to have you, after all the fatigue and danger, go again seems so dreadful. Suppose after 237 UNDER THE CRUST all you have escaped you should fall at the last in the very moment oi victory. Oh! I could not bear it! [Brushes away a tear.] COLONEL BARTLETT pound;fondly patting her]. To die in the moment of victo-y is a soldier's glory. Why, is this the little girl who four years ago helped me buckle on my sword arAd bade me go and help save the Union Don't you know that the only danger for a soldier is being left behind ROSE [wipes her eyes]. Yes--yes, I know-of course, you must go. But oh! If they were only conquered and the war were over! COLONEL BARTLETT. What we want is not con- quest, but peace and the Union. ROSE [warmly]. No. I want peace, but I want them conquered too; conquered! COLONEL BARTLETT [laughing and patting her]. We are not fighting for conquest. As soon as they lay down their arms they will be our brothers again. ROSE [vehemently]. Not mine! Never mine! I wish their fate were in my hands. Oh! What wouldn't I give! COLONEL BARTLETT [laughing]. My! What a fire-eater! You are almost as bad as "Colonel" Crew, who wants to haag them all. ROSE [smiling]. Not as bad as that. 238 THE HOSTAGE COLONEL BARTLETT [walks over and reaches up to take down theflag]. But th is flag is broad enough to protect them. Even against their will it will pro- tect them. Here, you will have to take this down. I cannot. [Supports him.';elf against wall or table.] ROSE [moving over and mounting chair to take down flag]. "If any man pulls down tie flag shoot him on the spot!" [Enter Zeke R. U. E. announc- ing a visitor.] ZEKE. Mister Crew. [Enter Crew in gaudy uni- form.] CREW [to Zeke pomnpously]. Colonel Crew, sir. [Salutes Colonel Bartlett.] Good morning, Colonel Bartlett. A fine day to get rid of rebels, ell [Bowing low to Rose.] Good morning, Miss Rose. You are looking unusually-ah-I hope you are very well. [Colonel Bartl'ett returns salute stiffly. Rose bows coldly. Passes over to her brother. Speaks to him in undertone.] ROSE. I don't wonder the prisoners try to es- cape from him. I shall escape. [Starts to retire L. U. E.] CREW [eagerly]. Don't (o away, I beg you, Miss Rose. You will be interested in what I have to say. ROSE [coldly]. I hardly think so. [Walks over to trunk and busies herrelf with packing while listening.] 239 UNDER THE CRUST CREW [addresses Colonel Bartlett]. You have heard of the escape Lhst night I understand you have been up to my place COLONEL BARTLETT. Yes. I heard, and I rode up to what you call Dour place to see the prisoner in whose fate I info med you I was interested: Major Graham. CREW [somewhat at xiously]. Did you see him What did you learn thiere COLONEL BARTLETT. I learned that I could not see him because-[Pc, uses]. CREW [very anxiously]. Because-- COLONEL BARTLE- T [coldly]. You had left orders that no onc was to have access to him. CREW [recovering hiinself]. Yes, yes. A prisoner under sentence of death-a just sentence, too. Those are the orders from headquarters. You are very much interested in him COLONEL BARTLETT. Yes, I am interested in every gallant young mian whose unfortunate fate it is to come under the unhappy law of reprisals, and particularly in one who was my classmate and to whom I once owed my life. ROSE [sighing]. Only a brute would not be in- tesrested. [She glances toward the park]. What was that I thought I heard someone. 240 THE HOSTAGE CREW [looking at Rose si7nificantly]. You were unsuccessful in your efforts to secure his pardon COLONEL BARTLETT. How do you know that CREW [pownpoasly]. I know many things, Colo- nel Bartlett-and I have come to demand your aid in apprehending the prisoner who escaped last night. COLONEL BARTLETT [coldly]. Demand It is my duty to dlo whatever an officer and a gentleman should properly (1o, and I shall do it irrespective of any demand by you. CREW. Ah! And in particular to demand-I mean-ah-to request that a close watch be kept about this house here. COLONEL BARTLETT. That shall be do ie, too, but it is not likely that esca ped prisoners will come where a Union officer has his headquarters. CREW. uiumph! I don't know. I do not be- lieve in allowing such a hotbed of treason as this place to remain as it is. It ought to be burnt to the ground. COLONEL BARTLETT [turning on him]. Lieuten- ant Crew, the orders are that this place is not to be interfered with in any way.L beyond what is req- uisite for the proper use and benefit of our troops, and I mean to see that these orders are carried out. 241 UNDEL, THE CRUST CREW [aside]. You are damned squeamish about the property of rebels! [To Colonel Bartlett.] There is no use in Lecoming excited. I suppose you are not aware that at least two of the servants in your employ are Spies for the rebels and have been trying to get ir to communication with pris- oners under my very nose COLONEL BARTLEIT. I am aware that an old negro woman who is employed here, temporarily, was the nurse of MI'jor Grabam, and came here hoping to see him--which you prevented; but whatever she may have wanted she has had no opportunity to injure any one. CREW. NO Oppoi tunity! Suppose I should state to you that she and her son-I mean she had aided-I mean had a ded prisoners to escape COLONEL BARTLET' [coldly]. I should question that statement. CREW. And that--ah-the prisoner who es- caped has been tra .ed to this house-in this direction COLONEL BARTLET'. If you said to this house, I should say that it was false; if in this direction, I should say that he wvould be caught. RosE [coming forwi rd and looking at her brother anxiously]. Coming in this direction The es- caped prisoner! 242 THE HIOS!TAGE COLONEL BARTLETT. Naturally he would make for the river and try to get across to the other side, But if he comes this way he will be recaptured. My people are on tire lookout for him. CREW. Oh! I-He cannot escape unless someone helps him, for he is wounded. I have offered a reward for him dead or alive. We shall have him before dark. ROSE [solicitoUsly]. Oh! Is he badly wounded CREW. Not as badly as I would like or as he will be if I can get a chance at him. [Handles his pistol.] ROSE. Oh! I hope they will capture him alive. CREW. You need waste no sympathy on him. I am not sure I would not rather have him dead. Ile is a desperate fellow. ROSE [clasping her han;ds and looking at her brother]. Oh! Is he desperate COLONEL BARTLETT. Poor devils! desperate enough, I fancy! [Showin g Crew the door.] Lieu- tenant Crew, I will join you outside. CREW. Lieutenant Colh nel Crew, if you please. COLONEL BARTLETT. Well, Lieutenant Colonel Crew, be so good as to wait for me outside. [Exit Crew Rt. U. E., reluctantly; looking over his shoulder at Rose. Colonel Bartlett takes up pistol and turns to door.] What a blackguard that fellow is! I 243 UNDER THE CRUST could stand being shot, but not being his prisoner. He adds another terror to war. Rose, I will never be taken prisoner. ROSE. Would it not be terrible Do you think he will catch the prisoner COLONEL BARTLETT [thoughtfully]. Oh, yes. There is no fear of h s not catching him. He must have a nose like a hound. Ile has had too much experience chasing unaway slaves. [Lays pistol down on table and tmrn s to door.] ROSE. Oh! please take your pistol. Suppose he should shoot yo i. He must be a desperate man. Wait for me. [She takes up pistol timidly.] COLONEL BARTLE TT [smiling]. What are you going to do with that Protect me ROSE. Yes. I a n going with you. You are wounded, and if he should meet you he might- [handles pistol] shoot you. COLONEL BARTLETT [dodging]. Look out! I am more afraid of yo-i than of him. A woman is a dangerous creature anyhow, but with a pistol I ROSE. Pshaw! Men are such cowards. [She lays pistol down on tllle, with relief.] Wait for me. I am afraid for you. COLONEL BARTLET P [laughing]. You stay here and catch him if he comes here. I will be back after a little. [Exit Colonel Bartlett R. U. E.] 244 TIHE I-OsrTAGE ROSE [talting to herself wath her eye on the door]. I trust they will catch him. ITe migh0t be the very one to shoot nmy brother. Oh! I know it's un- c(hristian, but I wish he hadl not escaped. [She thrn's to pack trntzk. Saddnlc:y orer the rcar wall, whlere top of bttshes show, spri.nigs a yoiting mnan miuch dolwhereled and with armn in a slimog, loses lis balance andflals, rises quickly, catches sight of the pistol on the table, seizes it, turns, and f)aces Rose, who is much startled.] Oh! [Adranecing upon Youtng MIan.] Who are you What are you What do you want here YOUNG MAN. 'Who are you Who is here Thev are after me out ther(! RosE [imperiously]. Who Tell me who you .are. What do you want What are you doing here YOUING MAN [rapidly]. I am a Confederate officer who escaped from prison last night, trying to make my way across the river to get back into our lines. And they are hot; on my tracks. RosE [starting back]. Oh! You are the-! An escaped prisoner! YOUNG MAN. Yes. I beard we had friends here who would help us. WV-ho lives here ROSE. Colonel Bartlett has his headquarters here. 245 UNDER, THE CRUST YOUNG MAN [starn ing]. What Colonel Bartlett [Catches sight of flat over alcove.] You mean a Yankee Colonel WMhere is he' [Inspects pistol.] ROSE [advancing]. Give me that pistol. YOUNG MAN [sriling]. No. I have no other arms. I will not hart you. You need not be afraid. No matter who is here, you must conceal me. ROsE. Give me the pistol. The place is sur- rounded by guards. YOUNG MAN. I K now it. They are all about here. I have lain in the bushes outside that wall since daybreak waltching them. If you can con- ceal me until dusk I can get across the river. ROSE [reflecting]. No, you cannot. Hlow can you escape Do yo l not know that the river is watched and that every boat is ticketed and locked YOUNG MAN. I Bxill get there somehow; but I cannot get to the rl-er unless you help me. If my arm were not so bad I could swim it. But I got it broke last night in escaping and it is so helpless. ROSE [advancing]. Does it pain you very much How can I help you What do you want YOUNG MA-N. Well, first, I want some soap and water and a decent Quit of clothes. 246 THE HOSTANGE [Crew heard outside R. U. EF. calling.] You men keep a close watch all around the grounds. He c(-an't be far off. If you see him shoot him down. ROSE [exclaiming]. Oh! Trhey are comning back. [She locks door B. U. E., seizes and wraps in a bun- dle a clean shirt, a uniform coat and a pair of lfmi- form trousers. Young Mlatn listens and cocks pistol.. Rose turns to him.] Promise me you will not use that pistol. YOUNG MAN. Not unless it is necessary. But I will not go back to that prison. I will not be taken alive. I would rather be shot down than go back to that prison to die like a dog. ROSE. Why should you die in prison YOUNG MAN. I was to have been shot to-day as a hostage. ROSE [astonished and agit(;ttcd]. Oh! You are Major Graham! I understand now. If you will promise not to use that pistol I will conceal you. MAJOR GRAHAM. I promise. [Lays pistol on table near her.] Theret A woman's wit is better than a pistol. But both should be handy. So, I shall count on your presence. Where shall I go ROSE [steps past and lifts flag]. Here! Take these! Under this! 247 UNDER TIlE CRUST AIAJOR GRAHAM. That uniform! Under that flag! Never! [Lays down coat. Folds arms and looks at her. Knoci:ing heard at door R. U. E.] ROSE [vehementfly]. Take these, I say. Get under that instantli Even against your wvill, it xvill protect you. [She seizes him and pushes him underflagyforcibly, t/ten tuins back towvard ft. U. E.] Who is there [S be unlocks door. Enter Crew R. U. E.] CREW. Ah! AMh s Rose, vou still here and alone! Fortune is I:incd to me. I have been seek- ing this opportunit. ROSE. I am still here-as you see. [She ap- pears very busy patking.] Have you caught the prisoner CREW. We have not got the scoundrel yet, but I will have him in t n minutes. Ile cannot escape me now. We know, his biding-place. ROSE [starting an / glancing at flag]. You know his hiding-place Ah! Where is it CREW. In this I ouse. ROSE. What n this house Who says so LLooks behind her.] CREW [advancing] He was seen to spring over the wall here. ROSE [laughing in a forced wvay]. Nonsense! I have been here ever since you left. Ile could not 248 THE iiOSTrAGE heave done it without my seeing him. [She mnores up between Crew and flaqy.] CREW. Ah! well. Ile cannot escape. TIe is run to earth. And meantime I have another im- p)ortant matter. [Turns bailk to door and calls to men outside.] Guards, stand outside as I told you. Watchl down the road. Beat the shrubbery, and shoot him on sight. [Closes adoor and, turning, crosses over toward Rose.] Miss Rose, you are going away to-night ROSE. Yes. [Busies herself pack-ing.] Imme- diately. As soon as my brother returns. Like a brave man he wishes to be at the front, and not spend his life skulkiivg at the rear. CREW. I once wrote a. letter telling you how much I admired you. Yo-u slid not receive it. ROSE [coldly]. Yes. I received it and-re- turned it. CREW. It was an insult to me. ROSE. I had no desire to insult you; but I have still less to associate wvith you. CREW. Because I am un.nown, you and your brother think I am not youLr equal, but I will be rich and powerful some day, and then- RosE [coldly]. Whether you are known or un- known does not concern me. I returned Sour letter because I did not wish to hold any communication 249 UNDE' THE CRUST with you. Did ( yu see my brother outside [Starts toward R. U E., then hastily turns back to former position bcjoi e alcove.] CREW. Ile has gone off-to send another mes- sage to save a rebel who deserves to be hanged and who would shoot h' m on sight. But it is you I want to talk of. [ ldvances to her.] You are in love with some one i Ise ROSE [haughtily]. Whether I am or not is no concern of yours, Li' lutenant. Crew. I will bid you good afternoon. [Turns toward L. U. E. Glances at flag, which is moving, and turns back again, facing Crew.] Oh! [Addressing Crew.] You say the prisoner was se(tn to come into this house CiuEw. Yes, but as you have been here all the time it must have b( en some other part of the wall -the garden-wall, perhaps ROSE [hastily]. Yes. There is a garden-wall- there is an unused iN ing with some empty rooms in it. You might search that. Let me show you the way. Come this waC-y. [She leads him out R. E. 2. Ere lter Major Graho&a from under flag as door closes. His beard is trimnned and he is dressed in clean linen and wears a pair (If uniform trousers.] MAkJOR GRAHAM. That scoundrel! To dare even to speak to t lat angel, much less pay his addresses to her! If ever I get hold of him I'll- 250 THE HOSTAGE [A step is heard outside R. E. 2. Major Grahamn springs to table and picks up pistol. Turns to flag. Ilesitates to lift it. Addresspsflag.] Well, I never expected to be under your protection again, but- [Knob of door R. E. 2 turns]-here goes. [Steps beh 'nd flag. Enter Rose P. E. 2. Crosses over rapidly.] RosE [calling in undertone]. Quick! Major Graham, you must go. AMijor Graham! AMAJOR GRAHAM [lifts Jifyg and steps out]. Did You call ROSE. Yes. Quick! [S'hows surprise at his changed appearance. Aside.] How improved he is ! [To Major Graham.] You must get away from here instantly. He will be back directly. ALJOR GRAHAM [coolly]. Where is he RosE. I left him searcl:ing the vracant wing. [Points over her shoulder.] I think I heard the lock spring as I came out, but he w, ill be released as soon as he can make anyone hear him, and you must go. MAJOR GRAHAM. At leasi, let me thank you for my life and tell me to whomn I owe it. [Knocking heard in distancs and Crew's voice call- ing.] Open this door. Open it, I say. ROSE [listening]. There I:e is now. MAJOR GRAHAM. Let him stay there. Who is the officer whom he asked you about 251 UNDE 1 THE CRUST ROSE. He is inm- Never mind who he is. You must go. MAJOR GRAHIA.M. Is he the handsome fellow I have seen at a distance Tall, with good shoul- ders and his arm in a sling ROSE. Yes. New you rust go. It will not do for him to see you. He will be back here im- mediately. MAJOR GRAHAM. I hope I shall not meet him. Do you like him Ile said you did. ROSE. Yes. I Ilve him better than-- [She seizes pistol in ctj( r Graham's hand and takes it from him.] You promised me not to use this. [Picks up uniform ctiot.] Here is a coat. It has a Major's straps on it. It will just fit you. MAJOR GRAHAM [Aolds coat at arm's length and looks at it smiling]. Do you call that a decent suit ROSE [firing zup]. Yes, I do. Put it on at once. MAJOR GRAHAM. I am afraid if I saw myself in it I might shoot mys elf. [Sounds of door breaking outsid-:e.] ROSE. Quick! I hear him coming. [She helps him into coat.] Go n there and lock the door as you go in. I will entertain him. MAJOR GRAHAM [.,rniling]. Let ine lock him in and you entertain rre. 252 THE H10ST.AGE ROSE. Go on! flurry! Here! [Takcs key froin pocket and hands it to himn.l This is the key to the lock of our boat. You must slip out of the door beyond the dressing-ro im. Go down the box walk. Let yourself through the gate at the cor- ner of the garden, and from there to where the boat. lies chained to the root of a great sycamore tree is only twenty steps. You can lie concealed among the willows till night and then cross the river. MAJOR GRAHAM. I owe you my life, but before I go I beg you-- ROSE. Go. I beseech you. They are coming. IMAJOR GRAHAM. I will go, but not until you tell me your name. To wiLoiom do I owe my life ROSE. Why do you wish to know MAJOR GRAHAM. That I.: may remember it in mv orisons. ROSE. My name is Rosamond. But you will forget it. MAJOR GRAHAM. The Rose of the World. For- get it! I will never forget it or you as long as I live. You are an angel, and some day, if I live, I will find you and prove it to you. [Ile kisses her hand.] ROSE [turning away and then turning backl. Where are you going 253 UNDER TN 3 CRUST MAJOR GRAHAM. Back home. To the South. I have you to thank that instead of being shot like a dog I shall have a chanice to strike one more blow for the South. If [ die then I shall die happy. ROSE [in alarm]. Oh! You are going back to fight MAJOR GRAHAM. Yes. There must be one more fight. And once rnzre I shall ride at the head of my men. I have Ihis to thank you for. ROSE [drawing back. Oh! Just what my brother said. Suppose you should meet him! Promise me if you meet him you will not shoot him. MAJOR GRAHAM. Of co)urse I promise that. [Colonel Bartlett's voice heard without, calling.] Zeke, come and take my horse. ROSE. Go. I must stop him. Good-by. MAJOR GRAHAM. No. Not good-by. Some day again, when the flag of f reedom flies, I will see you. ROSE [lifting the flag (nd drawing it partially about her.] Go. This is my flag of freedom. I am what you call a Yankee. I am a Northerner. MAJOR GRAHAM [stoopirg and lifting her hand to his lips]. What! You are an angel, and angels have no latitude. Good.-by. [He kisses her hand. Exit under flag. Enter R U. E. Colonel Bartlett.] 25t THE HIOSTAGE COLONEL BARTLETT. We ll little Sis, how are you getting on packing We must be off in an hour, or I shall miss the boat. ROSE [stammering]. Did you catch him COLONEL BARTLETT [takiny off his sword]. The President Don't know yet. I sent a message as you Suggested. ROSE. No. I mean the escaped prisoner. COLONEL BARTLETT [layb)g his solord down on chair]. No. Did you ROSE. Yes. I mean-I don't know. I mean --Nho. COLONEL BARTLETT [turn'ing as if to enter alcove]. What are you talking about" ROSE [steps in front of him and laughs 'nervozs31y]. Nothing. I don't know wh-at I was saying Where are you going COLONEL BARTLETT. Into my dressing-roomi if you will let me by. I must see about my old uniform. With the Major's straps taken off it will be the very thing to wear in the field. [He tries to put her aside.] RosE [catching him by coa']. No, you must not go in there. You look so tired. You must sit right down here and rest. [S5he draws him over and makes him sit in chair on top of sword and other articles.] There, now be co ufortable. 233 UNDER THE CRUST COLONEL BARTLETT. : am not comfortable. [He rises impatiently and faces her.] Rose, what is going on here There s something mysterious I cannot make out. ROSE. Nothing. There is nothing mysterious. Men are so suspicious. COLONEL BARTLETT. Why cannot I go into my own dressing-room ROSE. Because I have a surprise for you. COLONEL BARTLETT. What What has hap- pened You look quite p ale. ROSE. Nothing. Oh! Such a surprise! [She pinches her cheeks.] Pale! Nothing of the kind. 1 am just as rosy. Besid .s, I was afraid- COLONEL BARTLETT. "I know. Afraid I would get hurt. ROSE [nodding]. M-hic-hm. And that poor, poor fellow in that prison blonder. Isn't it dreadful! COLONEL BARTLETT. Nell, you need have no apprehension. Let's tat e down the flag now. We must be off at once. I am expecting a dis- patch every minute. ROSE. Oh! No! Leaive it until the last thing. [She strikes an attitude amd laughs a forced laugh.] "If any man touches the flag shoot him on the spot." Brother, cannot you get rid of that creat- ure, Crew I cannot beaLr him in my sight. THE IIS'L'AGE COLONEL BARTLETT. Ile is not in your sight now. RosE. But I mean in the house. The very thought of him makes my flesh creep. [She looks0 toward dressing-room door arnd shtdders.] COLONEL BARTLETT. Is lie in there It would be just like his cursed impudence. Searching my house! [He steps toward door. Rose catches him quickly.] ROSE. Oh! No! IHe is in the other end of the house. COLONEL BARTLETT [turning]. Well, I will get r'd of him in short, order. I will order him out. As if a rebel could be harbored in this house un(ler the very flag! It is ridiculous! RosE [stammering]. Yes, think of it! Under the very flag! Ha! Ha! Ha! [Exit Colonel Bart- lett hastily R. E. 2. Enter M31ajor Graham smilbg.] MAJOR GRAHAM. W11'ell done. I did not think you were such an actress. ROSE [agitated]. Oh! I cannot do it! Oh! I ought not to have (leceived. himl! He trusts me. How wicked in me. I must undeceive him. [She starts to go after Colonel Bartlett. Stops and faces Mlajor Grahamn.] MAJOR GRAHAIM [seating himself antd half smnil- iiig]. All right, I am your prisoner. 257 UNDER THE CRUST ROSE. Oh! I don't know what to do. Why did you come here MAJOR GRAHAM. Because God had put an angel here to help me. ROSE. Do you not know that as a Yankee I hate you MAJOR GRAHAM. But as my captor you must pity me. ROSE [listening L. El]. Some one is coming. Go. [She lifts flag and glitnces in; drops flag over door.] Oh! It is Crew. You. are too late. Here. [She hastily takes off her apron end wraps it around him. Takes up uniform coat anr throws it over his arm.] [Enter Crew L. E.] CREW. Damn him! Where is he [To Rose.] You have made a fool of me. ROSE. Oh, no, I have -:iot. [To Major Graham in tone of authority.] Go take this coat and do as I told you. MAJOR GRAHAM. Yes, Madam. [Glances at pistol and hesitates.] Shall I take this ROSE [hesitatingly]. Ye-s-. I wonder if my brother- No, leave it there. MAJOR GRAHAM [bowino]. Yes, Madam. [Exit L. U. E.] CREW [to Rose]. Who is that Where have I seen that man before I know that voice. 2r 8 THE HOSTAGE ROSE [warmly]. On my word, Sir! I think your inquisition has gone far enough. Where is my brother CREW [sarcastically]. He has gone to get another dispatch, I suppose. Trying to save the enemy of his Country. I wish to finish what I have to say to you. ROSE [haughtily]. Well, Sir. What is it CREW. You refuse me because of some one else ROSE. I do not. I refuse you because of your- self, and I refuse to discuss anything further with you. Now go. [Points to ft. U. E.] CREW [insolently]. I will not go. Your brother is ordered off and I am in con-imand here now, as I propose to show you and himi, and if I catch that scoundrel he shall hang this evening. ROSE. You'd better try to catch him. Listen! [Points outside L. U. E. So and of shots and shouts heard.] CREW [backing away alarmed]. My God! What's that ROSE. Gracious Heavens! [She runs to door. Opens it and cries out.] Do not shoot him. Ile is unarmed. [Exit L. U. E.] CREW following her and looking in at door cau- tiously]. Shoot him! Damn you! Shoot him, I say. [Jerks out pistol.] Let me shoot him. 259 UNDER LIHE CRUST RoSE [springing out at door, catching his pistol and struggling with him]. You shall not shoot him. Don't you see he is unarmed and already wounded CREW [unable to g ,t pistol free. Shouting]. Handcuff him. Tie hima. Tie him tight. That's right. [To Rose.] It makes no difference. He ill be shot. this afternoon, or better still, hanged for being in that uniform. ROSE. Oh! Hange I That uniform! What have I done! CREW [triumphantly]. Yes, hanged! Ha! ha! You thought you had outwitted me. See what has come of it. Ah! This is fine! To catch him in our uniform and hang him as a spy! That is a good one! ROSE [half dazed]. Hanged! Oh! Impossible. You could not be so wi -ked. You know that he is not a spy, that he has just put it on to escape in. CREW. Do I I now the laws of war-I know the sweetness of revenge. RoSE. Then revenS e yourself on me. I gave it to him because-becau se- CREW. I know. I know well the reason you gave it. I will reverge myself on you in good time--and on your brother, too. Oh! this is better than I ever hoped for. I will make you cringe. 260 THE HOSTAGE ROSE. I beg of You CREW. Ah! that is sweet! You beg- You -beg of me! ROSE. Yes-I beg-it was my fault. My brother is wholly innocent. Ie did not know he was here. What do you say CREW. Wait an(I see. You think he is better than me. Well, wait and see hin on the gallows an(1 your brother arrested for helping a rebel prisoner to escape. ROSE. Yes, even on the gallows he would be your superior-as superior as righteousness is to wickedness; courage to cowardice; nobility to meanness. And as to my brother I fear nothing. Hle is above your power to in jure. CREW Vfuriously]. Oh! ire shall hang as high as Haman and at once. [Eonter L. U. E. Ma jor Graham, bound with rope a.id brought in by two guards; a bandage on his heal and his arm tied zip. To Major Graham.] Ahi, my y Dung man, I have you. MAJOR GRAHAM [bows siltntly to Rose and then turns to Crew]. Yes. It is not much to catch an unarmed man an(l a wounded one at that. If I had had a pistol-[Staggers and leans against table.] ROSE. Oh! What have I done! [She brings him a chair.] Sit down and rest. [In an under- tone.] Forgive me. 261 UNDER THE CRUST MIAJOR GRAHA-M. ThF re is nothing to forgive, It was not your fault. 'tou did all in your power. It was my misfortune. CREW [sneeringly]. You were cleverly trapped. You thought you were so fe under the protection of this patriotic young lady, but I knew where you were all along. She gave you up. ROSE. Oh! What a falsehood! [To Mfajor Graham.] You do not )elieve that MAJOR. GRAHAMI. Net a word of it. I know him of old. A liar and a coward. CREW. You will kno n me better in an hour or two when you are mounting the gallows. ROSE [shuddering]. Oh! [To Crew, fiercely.] You shall not insult him. MIAJOR GRAHAM [quicily]. He cannot insult me. CREW. But I can hlmng you. MAJOR GRAHAM. Anil I can hang and still defy you. Do you think than when death is what every soldier faces every day is an incident, of his duty that I should fear it [To Rose.] Do not disturb yourself. It is the fate of war. ROSE [to Crew]. If rmy brother were here you would not dare (lo this. CREW [sCornfdlly]. Your brother is not here and I am in command now and I order you to leave instantly or I will arrest you. [To Guard.] Take '62 THE HOSTAGE this young woman to her room and if she attempts to return arrest her. Lock her up. MAJOR GRAHAM [1rising]. You hound! ROSE [to Guard]. Do not touch me. I will go. [To Major Graham.] My brother will soon return. Do not despair. CREW. Your brother and you will have enough to do answering charges of treason for harboring rebels-the enemies of your country. ROSE. WVe the enemies of our country ! It is you and your like who are the enemies of our country and its (iisgrace. MAJOR GRAHAMI [to Rose]. Bravo! Well said! I will never despair while I: have your compas- sion. [Exit Rose under guard L. U. E. To Crew.] You blackguard! If I we re only free for one moment! CREW. Ha, ha, ha! The wheel has turned and the negro-trader whom you used to despise is-- MAJOR GRAHAM. A negro-trader and a black- guard still, just as you always were, whom I still despise; a disgrace to the uniform which thousands of gallant gentlemen have worn with honor. CREW [jerks out pistolfuriously]. Damn you! I will kill you. MAJOR GRAHAM [facing haim calmly]. I dare you! Shoot. 263 UNDER: THE CRUST CREW [pausing and putting up pistol]. No; that would please you too much. I will wait and hang you. [Enter L. U. E. M11ammy Caroline dressed in shawl and bonnct. She sees M-ajor Graham, rushes oiver and embraces him, crying.] MAMMY. Oh! my CThile! my Chile! What is dey doin' to you while I been 'way! MAJOR GRAHAMI. WVhy, Mammy! Dear old Mammy! I'm all right. CREW [catching hold of Mammy Caroline]. Get away from him. MAMNMY [wheeling on him]. Don't you tetch me! Don't you lay yo' han I 'pon me. If you does I'll tyah you limb from limb. [She brandishes a large pair of scissors.] CRE w [backing awtl]. You black harridan! I'll have you shot. [Loul knocking outside R. U. E.] Who is that [Enter Guard hastily. To Guard.] Arrest this woman. Lock her up. MAM-MY. Yes, you can 'rest me, but don't you tetch me or I'll meek you think every nigger you ever sold is on yo' )a lk. GUARD [handing Cyvew a dispatch]. A courier just brought this for (colonel Bartlett. Says it is urgent. CREW. Colonel lI., rtlett is away. I will take it. [Opens it.] IIe]ll! [Glances at Guard and 264 THE HOSTAGE changes tone.] Oh! That's all right! Where is the messenger Tell him to wait. GUARD. All right! But I think he has gone. [To Mfammy.1 Come on, old woman. MAiAMMY. All right. I'm gwine. [To Crewv.] You wait till de Cun'l comies. He'll settle you. [Slhe lays scissors on tabre. Exit Guard with M1ammy R. U. E.] CREW [calling]. Guard! Guard! Hell! I must see him. I will have him shot instantly. [Stuffs dispatch in pocket and looks a Major Graham.] You are safe enough, I guess, till I get my squad. Guard! [Exit Crew hastily R. U. E.] MAJOR GRAHAM [solilo9Iizing]. WV ell, it is all over. If it had only been in battle at the head of my men! It is hard to go this way, but after it is all over it is quite the same, I suppose. This rope cuts cruelly. [Eater Rose softly L. U. E. Gazes around and passes over to Mlajor Gra- hamn.] RosE. Can you forgive me If I had dreamed of this! I thought you might meet my brother and I feared you might shoo t him. MAJOR GRAHAM [startled]. Oh, it is you! There is nothing to forgive. You (lid all you could and I shall thank you all my life--all the little span left to me. [He groans.] 265 UNDER rTHE CRUTST ROSE. Oh! (1o not c-ay that. I must save you. You are in pain. MAJOR GRAHAM. It is nothing-only the rope cuts into my wounde(1 arm. RosE. I can cut it. Wait! Where is a knife Oh! these will do. [SI e gets the scissors, locks door and then cuts rope.] There, you are free. Take this and make a dash for liberty [hands him a pistoll-and-forget m -. MAJOR GRAHAM. I will never forget you. You have saved my life twi -e. Good-by. But before I go, will you give me that rose [Indicates rose which she wears.] Rose [lifting hand to rose]. Why MAJOR GRAHAM. ThLat I may remember you. ROSE [quickly]. ThAt you may remember me You just said that you would never forget. MAJOR GRAHAM [stammering]. No! You know I will never forget yo-1. But give it to me as a token of the divine compassion of-of an enemy. ROSE [unpinning a mall flag from her dress and holding it out to him Faith the rose]. Here, I will give you this to remind you of the flag I love. MAJOR GRAHAM [tai;ing a step back]. No, not that! [Stepping forward as she continues to hold it out.] Yes, I will! Even though I fight for the same principles under another flag. I will take it 266 THE HOSTAGE for what it has been in the l)aSt, when it was the flag of my fathers. ROSE [handing it to him]. For what it has been, for what it is, and for what it shall be in the future --the flag of the Union-the flag of Freedom. MAJOR GRAHAM [putting the flag in his breast pocket]. Good-by! ROSE. Good-by! [Gives Major Graham her hand which he kisses.] Good-by. Go! [She moves over to L. U. E. an] exits slowly. Major Graham moves to R. U. E. looking over shoulder at Rose. Enter Colonel Bartlel't R. U. E. They run into each other.] MAJOR GRAHAM [raisino pistol presents it to Colonel Bartlett's breast]. Kalt! Out of the way, or you are a dead man. COLONEL BARTLETT [coolly]. What is all this Lindsay Graham! MAJOR GRAHAM [lowering pistol slowly]. My God! Winthrop Bartlett! That was a close call. I thought you were Crew. I came near-[Lays pistol on table.] I am a prisoner, under sentence as a hostage, and having escaped last night came here by mistake, thinking I had friends here. [Re-enter Rose who pauses inside L. U. E.] COLONEL BARTLETT. So you have, old fellow. You are not a prisoner at all. I have good news- 267 UNDER THE CRUST [Takes out a dispatch. Enter Crew R. U. E. He pulls out a pistol.] CREW. What is th s Don't stir or I will shoot. [Calls.] Guards, gua lls. COLONEL BARTLETI [stepping in front of him and putting him aside angrily]. Put that up. [Enter guards.] CREW. Arrest all these people-every one. I have won out. Color el Bartlett, I have a dispatch from the Provost Mar shal of this District authoriz- ing me to make suc arrests as I deem proper. Consider yourself unf(er arrest. COLONEL BARTLET'". I have an order from the Secretary of War pla ing me in command of this District. CREW astounded. You have-what COLONEL BARTLEIT [to Major Graham]. My first duty is to annou ace to you that you are free. A courier has come with a dispatch from the President saying that the officer for whom you were held has been seat through the lines. [Enter Mammy.] You have been exchanged and are free. MA-MMY. Oh! Thank de Lord for all his mussies! rTo Crew. I's free, too-Does you see me COLONEL BARTLETP [tO Crew]. My next duty is to arrest you. Guards, arrest that man. [Guards 268 THE HOS!TAGE advance and arrest Crew.] I will trouble you for my dispatch which you suppressed. CREW. What dispatch This is an outrage. I have no dispatch. I give you my word of honor. MAMMY. He's got it right in he pocket. I seed him put it dyah. CREW [handing dispatch to Colonel Bartlett]. Damn him! Why didn't I shoot him before [He fails back toward door and (xits scowling.] ROSE. Exchanged! Free! Oh, brother! [She throws herself in Colonel Bartlett's arms.] COLONEL BARTLETT. There, there, little Sis. Don't cry! [To Alajor Grcham.] This is my sis- ter. She has been much interested in your fate. ROSE [wiping her eyes]. I am so glad you are free. I felt like a murderess. MAJOR GRAHAM [taking her hand]. My fate is still in your hands. COLONEL BARTLETT [smiiing]. She is a terrible fire-eater. Worse almost than- RosE [putting her hand over his mouth]. Hush. COLONEL BARTLETT. She is for conquest. ROSE. Brother-please hush. COLONEL BARTLETT. I have other news. Lee has surrendered. ROSE [delighted]. Lee surrendered Oh, thank God! The war is over. 269 UNDIER ) THE CRUST MAJOR GRAIHAM, [agitated]. Lee surrendered Impossible! [Cheer.e ng up.] Oh, you mean one of the younger Lees. I know Marse Robert has not surrendered. MAMMY. Nor; dat he ain't. COLONEL BARTLE VT. Yes, he has. [Takes dis- patch from pocket.] General Lee surrendered his army to General Ortnt at Appomattox this morn- ing. MAJOR GRAHAM [ urning and sinking into a chair beside table]. My GIod, it is over! The cause is lost. We have no fag now. ROSE [1-lfting flae, and throwing it partly over him]. Yes, we all have on e flag now anal thank God for it !-The flag, of you ir fathers and of ours. MAJOR GRAHAM [kisses her hand and buries his head in his armns o0 the table.] [Curtain.] 270 TOMMY TROT'S -VISIT TO SANTA ( CLAUS rc, THE GREATEST LOV-1R OF CHILDREN THE AUTHOR HAS EVER KNOWN AND TO THE CHILL REN SHE LOVES BEST IN ALL THE WORLD TOMMY TROT'S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS I T HE little boy whose story is told here lived in the beautiful country of "Once upon a Time." His name, as I heard it, was Tommy Trot; but I think that, maybe, this was only a nickname. When he wa 3 about your age he had, on Christmas Eve, the wonderful adventure of seeing Santa Claus in his own country, where he lives and makes all the beautiful things that boys and girls get at Christmas. In fact, he not only went to see him in his own wonderful city away up toward the North Pole, where the snow never melts and the Aurora lightens up the sky, but he and his friend, Jchnny Stout, went with dogs and guns to hunt the great polar bear whose skin afterward always lay in front of the big library fireplace in Tomn,,y's home. This is the way it all happened. Tommy lived in a big house on top of quite a high hill, not far from a town which could be seen 27F!3 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT clearly from the front -ortico and windows. Around the house was a la.ge lawn with trees and shrubbery in it, and at th( back was a big lot, in one corner of which stood the stables and barns, while on the other side slc ped down a long steep hill to a little stream bor'ered with willows and maples and with a tract of woodland beyond. This lot was known as the "cow-pasture," and the woodland was known as the " wood-lot," while yet beyond was a field wi ich Peake, the farmer, always spoke of as the " bilr field." On the other side of the cow-lot, where i he stables stood, was a road which ran down the hill and across the stream and beyond the woods, aild on the other side of this road near the bottom )f the hill was the little house in which lived Johnin y Stout an(1 his mother. They had no fields or lots, but only a back-yard in which there were chickens mnd pigeons and, in the fall, just before Tommy's X isit to Santa Claus, two white goats, named "Billy" and "Carry," which Johnny had broken and used to drive to a little rough wagon which he hac made himself out of a box set on four wheels. Tommy had no broth' rs or sisters, and the only cousins he had in town were little girls younger than himself, to whom he had to "give up" when any one was around, so he was not as 274 TO SANTA CLAUS fond of them as hle should have been; and Sate, his dog, a terrier of temper and humors, was about his only real playmate. He used to play by him- self and he was often very lonely, though he had more toys than any other lfoy he knew. In fact, he had so many toys that L e was unable to enjoy any one of them very long, and, after having thenm a little while, he usually broke them up. IHe used to enjoy the stories which his father read to him out of Mother Goose and the fairv-books and the tales he told him of travellers and hunters who had shot lions and bears t.Lnd Bengal tigers; but. when he grew tired of this, he often wished he could go out in the street, and play all the time like Johnny Stout and some of the other boys. Several times he slipped out into the road beyond the cow-lot to try to get a chance to play with Johnny who was only about. a year older than he, but could do so many things which Tommy could not do that he quite envied him.. It was one of the proudest days of his life when Johnny let himi come over and drive his goats, and when he went home that evening, althoughl he was quite cold, he was so full of having driven them that he could not think or talk of anything else, and when Christ- mas drew near, one of the first things he wrote to ask Santa Claus for, when he put the letter in the 275 TOMMY TR WT'S VISIT library fire, was a wagon and a pair of goats. Even his father's staternieit that he feared he was too small yet for Santa Claus to bring him such things did not wholly dar ipen his hope. Ile even began to dreari of being able to go out some time and join the bigger boys in coasting down the long hill on the other side from Johnny Stout's, for though his fat ier and mother thought he was still rather small t' do this, his father had promised that he might do it sometime, and Tommy thought "sometime" would be after his next birthday. When the heavy snow fell just before Christmas he began to be sorry that he had broken up the sled Santa Claus had given him the Christmas before. In la t, Tommy had never wanted a sled so much as he did the afternoon two days before Christmas, when he persuaded his father to take him out ag tin to the coasting hill to see the boys coasting. There were all sorts of sleds: short sleds and lorg sleds, bob-sleds and flexible fliers. They held one, two, three, and sometimes even half a dozen boys and girls- for there were girls, too--.1d shouting and laugh- ing as they went flying dc wn the hill, some sit- ting and some lying dow i, but all flying and shouting, and none takin gr the least notice of Tommy. Sate made thenr take notice of him; 276 TO SANTA (CILAUS for he would rush out af i:er the sleds, bark- inlg just as if they had been cats, and several times he got bowled over-once, indeed, lie got tangled up in the string of a sled and was dragTgedl squealing with fright clown the hill. Suddenly, however, Tommy gave a jump. Anion, the sledls flying by, most of them painted red, and very fine looking, was a plain, unpainteel one, and lying full length upon it, on his stomach, Nith his heels high in the air. was Johnny Stout, with a redl comforter around his neck, acnd a big cap pulled down over his ears. Tommn- knew hiim at once. "Look, father, look!" he cried, pointing; but Johnny's sled was far down the hill before his father could see him. AN f ew mninutes later he came trllging up the bill again and, seeing Tommy, ran across and asked him if he would like to have a riide. Tomnmy's heart bounded, but sank within him again when his father said, " I am afraid he is rather little." "Oh! I'll take care of him, sir," said Johnnv, whose cheeks were glowing. Tommy began to jump up and down. "Please, father, please," hLe urged. His father only smiled. "Why, you are not so very big yourself," he said to Johnny. 277 TOMIMIY TIAOT'S VISIT 'Big enough to takc (are of him," said Johnny. "Why, father, he's awful bihr," chimed in Tommy. "Do you think so" laughed his father. He turned to Johnny. "W'hat is your name" "Johnny, sir. I live lown below your house." He pointed across towar 1 his own home. "I know him," said Tommy proudly. "He has got goats arnd he let nmLe drive them." "Yes, he can drive," said Johnny, condescend- ingly, with a nod, and r"olnmy was proud of his praise. Htis father looke cd at him. "Is your sled strong'" he asked. "Yes, sir. I made it. myself," said Johnny, and he gave the sled a good kick to show how strong it, was. "All right," said Tommy's father. They fol- lowed Johnny to the top of the slide, and Tommy got on in front and his father tucked his coat in. "Hold on and don't b afraid," he said. "Afraid!" said Tomr y contemptuously. Just then Johnny, with a w loop and a push which almost upset Tommy, fungg himself on behind and away they went down 'he hill, as Johnny said, "just ski-uting." Tommy had had slecld: ng in his own yard, but he had never before ha il any real coasting like 2' TO SANTA CLAUSI this, and he had never (ireamed before of anything like the thrill of dlashing down that long hill, flying like the wind, with Johnny on behind, yell- ing ''Look out!" to every one, and guiding so th-art the sled tore in and out among the others, and at the foot of the hill actually, turned around the curve and went far on down the road. "You're all riglht,." said Tohnny, and Tommy had never felt prouder. His only regret was th at tfhe hill did not tilt up the other way so that they could coast back instead of Laving to trudge back on foot. When they got back again to the top of the hill, Tommy's father wanteJ to know if they had had enough, but Tominy tol-l him he never could have enough. So they coasted (lown again and again, until at length his fattier thought they had better be going horne. and Johnny said he had to go home, too, "to help his miother." " How do you help" asked Tommy's father, as they started off. "Oh, just little ways," said Johnny. "I get wood-and split it up-and go to Mr. Bucket's and get her thinos for her-draw water and feed the cow, when we had a cow-we ain't got a cow now since our cow died--and-: h-just a few little things like that." 279 TOMMY T I-OT'S VISIT Tommy's father mace no reply, and Tommy, himself, was divided between wonder that Johnny could call all that work "just a few little things," and shame that he should say, "ain't got," which he, himself, had been t( ld he must never say. His father, however, presently asked, "Who is Mr. Bucket" "Don't you know Mx1 Bucket" said Johnny. "He keeps that grocery on Hill Street. He gave me the box I made this old thing out of." "Oh," said Tommy'; father, and turned and looked the sled over agtin. "What was the ma t er with your cow" asked Tommy. "Broke her leg-right here," and Johnny pulled lip his trousers and shox-ed just where the leg was broken below the kne(. "The doctor said she must be killed, and so she was; but, Mr. Bucket said he could have save( her if the 'Siety would've let him. He'd 'a just svung her up until she got well." "How " asked Tomiiy, much interested. "What Society" asked his father. Johnny answered the last question first. "' Per- vention of Cruelty,"' h( said, shortly. "Oh," said Tommy's father. "I know how she brnke her leg," said Johnny. ':'8s TO SANTA CILAUS "How did she break her leg'" inquired Tommy. "A boy done it. I knows him and I know he done it, and some day I'm go.ng to catch him when he ain't looking for me." "You have not had a row since" inquired Tommy's father. "Then you do not have to go and drive her up and milk her when the weather is cold" "Oh, I would not mind that," said Johnny cheerily. "I'd drive her up if the weather was as cold as Greenland, and milk her, too, so I had her. I used to love to feed her and I didn't mind carrvin' milk around; for I used to get money for it for my mother to buy things with; but now, since that boy broke her leg and the 'Siety killed her--" He did not say what there was since; he just stopped talking, and presently Tommy's father said1: "You do not have so much money since" "No, sir!" said Johnny, "and my mother has to work a heap harder, you see." "And you work, too" "Some," said Johnny. "T' sell papers and clean off the sidewalk when there is snow to clean off, and run errands for Mr. Bucket, and do a few things. Well, I've got to go along," he added, "I've got some things to do now. I was just trying this old sled over on the hill to see how she 281 TOMMY I ROT'S VISIT would go. I've got some work to do now"; and he trotted off, whistlin q and dragging his sled be- hind him. As Tommy and his father turned into their grounds, his father asked, "Where did he say he lived " "Wait, I'll show youl," said Tommy, proud of his knowledge. "DowNr there [pointing]. See that little house down in the bottom, away over beyond the cow-pasture " "How do you know lie lives there" "Because I've been there. I-e's got goats," said Tommy, "and he let me drive them. I wish I had some goats. I wish Santa Claus would bring me two goats like Johnny's." "Which would you rather have Goats or a cow" asked his father. "Goats," said Tornmiy, promptly. "I wonder if Johhnny would!" laughed his father. "Father, where is creenland" said Tommy, presently. "A country away up at the North-away up in that direction." His father pointed far across the cow-pasture, which L y shining in the evening light. "I must show t to you on the map." "Is it very cold there" asked Tommy. 282 TO SANTA CLAUS "Very cold in winter." "Colder than this" "Oh, yes, because it is sce far north that the sun never gets up in winter to warm it, and away up there the winter is just one long night and the summer one long day." "Why, that's where San[a Claus comes from," said Tommy. "Do people live up there" "People called Eskiimnos," said his father, "who live by fishing and hunting," "Tell me about them," said Tommy. "What do they hunt" "Bears," said his father, "polar bears--and walrus--and seals-and -" "Oh, tell ine about them,' said Tommy, eagerly. So, as they walked along, his father told him of the strange little, flat-faced people, who lived all winter in houses made of ice and snow and hunted on the ice-floes for polar bears and seals and walrus, and in the summer got in their little kiaks and pal(ldled aroun(l, hunting for seals and ws alrus with their arrows and harpoons, on the "'pans" or smooth ice, where every flamily of "harps" or seals have their own private door, gnawed down through the ice with their teeth. "I wish I could go there," said Tommy, his eyes gazing across the long, white glistening fields 283 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT with the dark border )f the woodland beyond and the rich saffron of the winter sky above the tree- tops stretching across in a border below the steely white of the tupper heavens. "What would you do" asked his father. "Hunt polar bear;.," said Tommy promptly. "I'd get one most as iig as the library, so mother could give you the skin; because I heard her say she would like to have one in front of the library fire, and the only way she could get one would be to give it to you for Christmas." His father laughed. "All right, get a big one." "You will have to give me a gun. A real gun that will shoot. A. ig one-so big." Tommy measured with his arms out straight. "Bigger than that. And I tell you what I would do. I woul(l get Johnny any we would hitch his goats to the sled and drive all the way up there and hunt polar bears, and I'd li int for sealskins. too, so you could give mother a coat. I heard her say she wanted you to give her one. Wouldn't it be fine if I could get a great big bearskin and a sealskin, too! I wish I had Jo linny's goats!" "You must have cogs up there to draw your sled," said his father. "All right! After I got there I would get 284 TO SANTA CLAUS Santa Claus to give me some," said Tommy. "But you give me the gun," His father laughed again. "Well, maybe- some day," said he. "'Some day' is too far away," said Tommy. "I want to go now." "Not so far away when you are my age," said his father smiling. "Ah, there is where the North Star is," he said, pointing. "You cannot see it yet. I will show it to you later, so you can steer by it." "That is the way Santa Claus comes," said Tommy, his eyes on the Northern sky. "I am going to wait for him to-morrow night." "You know he does not bring things to boys who keep awake!" "I know; but I won't let him see me." As they trudged along Tommy suddenly asked, "Don't you wish, father, Santa Claus would bring Johnny a cow for his mother" "'Why, yes," said his father. "Like Cowslip or Rose or even old Crumpled Horn " "Like our cows! ' echoed his father, absently. "Why, yes. " "Because they are all fine cows, you know. Peake says so, and Peake knows a good cow," 285 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT said Tommy, prou(l of his intimacy with the farmer. "I tell you what I am going to do when I get home," he declared. "I am going to write another letter to Santa Claus andl put it in the chimney and ask hia to send Johnny a whole lot of things: a cow and a gun and all sorts of things. Do you think it's too late for him to get it now" " I don't know. It is pretty late," said his father. "Why didn't you ask him to send these things to Johnny when you wrote your other letter" "I did not think of it," said Tommy, frankly. "I forgot him." "Do you ask only for yourself" "No. For little '-is and Mother and Peake and one other, but I'n not going to tell you who he is." His father smiled. "Not Johnny" "No," said Tommy. "I forgot him." "I am afraid I did, too," said his father slowly. "Well, write another and try. You can never tell. Trying is better than crying." This was two days before Christmas. And the next afternoon Tommy went again with his father to the coasting-hill to see the boys and once more take a coast with Joanny. But no Johnny was 286 TO SANTA CLLAUS there and no other boy asked Tommy if he wanted a ride. So, they returned home much disap- pointed, his father telling [iim more about the Eskimos and the polar bears. But, just as they were turning the corner bef )re reaching the gate which led into their grounds, they came on Johnny struggling along through the sllow, under the stuin aln( th og hn fO weight of a big basket full of bundles. At sight of them he swung the basket down in the snow with a loud, "Whew, that's heavy! I tell you." Tommy ran forward to meet him. "We have been looking for you," he said. "I could not go to-day," explained Johnny. "I had to work. I am w( irking for MIr. Bucket to-day to make some morey to buy Christmas things." "How much do you make" asked Tommy's father. "Half a dollar to-day, if I work late. I gen- erally make ten cents, sometimes fifteen." "That is a pretty heavy load--in the snow," said Tommy's father, as Johnny stooped and swung his basket up on his hip. "Oh, I can manage it," said the boy, cheerfully. "A boy stole my sled last night, or I would carry it on that." "Stole your sled!" cried Tommy. 287 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT "Yes, I left it outside the door when I was getting my load to put on, and when I came out it was gone. I wish I could catch him." " I am going to watch for him, too," said Tommy. "If I had a box ] could make another one," said Johnny. "May)e Mr. Bucket will give me one after Christmas. He said maybe he would. Then I will give youl another ride." He called over his shoulder to them, as he trudged off, " Well, good-by. I hope you will have a merry Christmas, and that Santa Claus will bring you lots of things," and away he trudged. They wished him a merry Christmas, too, and then turned into their grounds. "Father," said Tommy, suddenly, "let's give Johnny a sled." "Yes," said his father, "you might give him yours-the one you got last Christmas." " I haven't got it now. It's gone," said Tommy. "Did some one taLe it-like Johnny's" "No, I broke it," said Tommy, crestfallen. "You might mend it" suggested his father. "I broke it all up," said Tommy, sadly. "Ah, that is a pity," said his father. Tommy was still thinking. "Father, why can't I give him a box " he said. "The basement and the woodshed are full of big boxes." 288 TO SANTA CLTUS "Why not give him the one I gave you a few dlays ago" "I broke it up, too," said Tommy shamne- facedly. 'Oh," said his father. "That's a pity. Johnny could have made a sled out of it." Tommy felt very troubled, and he began to think what he might do. "If you will give me another, I will give it to Johnny," he said presently. ''Why, I'll tell vol what I will do," said his father. "I will furnish the box if you will carry it over to Johnny's homne." "All right. I will do it," said Tommy- promptly. So as soon as they reached home Tommy dived down into the basement and soon came out, puffing and blowing, dragging along with hiim a big box as high as his head. "I am afraid that is too big for you to carry," sugeste(l his father. "Oh, I will make Richard carry it." "Richard is my servant, not yours," sai(l his father. "Besides, you wejie to earry it yourself." "It is too big for me. The snow is too deep." "Now, if you had not broken up your sled you might carry it on that," said his father. "Yes," said Tommy sadly. 'I wish I had not 28t' TOMMY T ROT'S VISIT broken it up. I'll be b( und that I don't break up the next one I get." "That's a good beginning," said his father. "But wishing alone will never do anything, not even if you had the magical wishing-cap I read you about. You must not only wish; you must help yourself. Now, Johnny would make a sled out of that box." "I wish I could," said Tommy. "I would try if I had some tools. I wish I had some tools." "What tools would you need" Tommy thought a minute. "Why, a hammer and some nails." "A hammer and nails would hardly make a sled by themselves." "Why, no. I wish I l.ad a saw, too." "I thought Santa Claus brought you all these tools last Christmas" suggested his father. "He (lid; but I lost them," said Tormmy. "Did you ever hunt for them" "Some. I have hunt' d for the hammer." "'WTell, suppose you bunt again. Look every- where. If you find any I might lend you the others. You might loo in my lumber room." Tommy ran off and soon returned with a hammer and some nails which he had found, and a few minutes later his father brought a saw and a 2'0 TO SANTA CLAUS hatchet, an(l they selected a good box-, which Tommy could dirag out, and put it in the back hall. ''Now," said Tommry, " wl wat shall w e (lo next " "That is for you to stay," said his father. "Johnny does not ask that question. IIe thinks for himself.'' "Well, we must knock this box to pieces," said Tommy. "I think so, too," assented his father. "Very carefully, so as not to split the boards." "Yes, very carefully," said Tommy, and he began to hammer. The nails, however, were in very tight and there was a strip of iron along each of the edges, through which they were driven, so it was hard work; but whe-a Tommy really tried and could iot get the boards off, his father helped him, and soon the strips we re off and the boards quickly followed. "Now what shall we do" asked his father. "Why, we must make the sled." " Yes-but how " "Why, we must have runners and then the top to sit on. That's all." "Very well. Go ahead,' said his father. So Tommy picked up two boards and looked at them. But they were square at the ends. "We must make the runners," he said sadly. 291 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT "That's so," said his father. "Will you saw theM for me" asked Tommy. "Yes, if you will show me where to saw." Tommy pondered. "Wait," he said, a-id he ran off, and in a mo- ment came back with a picture of a sled in a magazine. "Now irn tke it this way," he said, showing his father h xw he should saw the edges. Ile was surprised to see how well his father could do this, and his admiration for him increased as he found that he could handle the tools quite as well as Peake, the farmer; and soon the sled began to look like a rmal sled with runners, sawed true, and with cross-j ieces for the feet to rest on, and even with a strip if iron, taken from the edges of the boxes, carefully nailed on the bottom of the runners. Suddenly Tommy cried, "Father, why not give Johnny this sled" "The very thing!" exclaimed his father with a smile. And Tommy felt quite proud of having suggested it. "1 wish it had a p ace to hitch on the goats," said Tommy, though fully. "Let's make one,' said his father; and in a few minutes two hole s were bored in the front of the runners. 292 TO SANTA (LAUS It was now about dusk, and Tommy said he would like to take the sled down to Johnny's house and leave it at his door where hie could find it when he came home from work, ancd, maybe, he might think Santa Claus had brought it. So he and his father went togeth r, Tommy dragging the sled, and, while his father waited at the gate, Tommy took the sled and put it in the yard at the little side-door of Johnny's home. As they were going along he said, pointing to a small shed-like out-building at the end of the little yard, "That's the cow-house. He keeps his goats there, too. Don't you wish Sant a Claus would bring his mother a cow I don't see howl he could get down that small chimney!" he said, gazing at the little flue which came out of the roof. 'I wonder if lie does " "I wondier if he does"' said his father to him- self. When Tommy slipped ba(t again and found his father waiting for him at the gate, lie thou.ghlt he ha d never had so fine a time in all his life. He determined to make a sled for somebody every Christmas. 293 TOM11IMY TROT'S VISIT II When they reached home Tommy, after warm- ing his hands and telling his mother about the sled, set to work to v-rite a letter to Santa Claus on behalf of Johnny, , nd as he wrote, a number of things came to him th it he thought Johnny would like to have. He rermembered that he had no gloves and that his h lnds were very red; that his cap wvas very old ancl too small for himi; that a real flexible flier would be a fine thing for him. Then, as he had asked for a gun for himself to hunt polar bears with and a fur coat to go out with in the snow, he added these in Johnny's letter also; in fact, he asked for Jol nny just the things hle had asked for himself, exc( pt the goats, and, as Johnny had two goats, it w,- s not necessary to ask for them for him. Instoead of goats, however, he asked that Santa Claus might give Johnny's mother a cow, as goo I as one of their cows. As he was not a very rapid writer it took him some time to write this letter, especially as lie did not know how to spell a ,()od many words, and had to ask his mother how t-) spell them, for his father had gone out soon afler their return from taking the sled to Johnny, an L immediately after showing 294 TO SANTA CLAP S him the picture of the pola:- bear and the map of the North-pole region. Then when the letter was all done, signed and sealed, Tommy carefully dropped it in the fire in the library, and watched it as it first twisted up, then burst into a blaze, and finally disappeared in flame and smoke up the big chimney, hoping that it would blow away like the wind to Santa Claus to catch him before he started out that night on his round Df Visits. By this time his supper was ready and he found that he was very hungry. He had no sooner finished it than he drew up in a big chair by the warm fire, and began to wonder whether Santa Claus would get his letter in time, and, if so, what he would bring Johnny. The fire was warm and his eves soon bean "to draw straws," but he did not wish to go to bed quite yet and, indteed, had a lingering hope that when his father returned he might coax him into letting him go out again and slide with Johnny and thin, perhaps, stand a chance of seeing Santa Claus come up the long hill, with his reindeer flying like the wind over the snowv and taking the roofs of the houses with a single bound. So he moved over to the sofa where he could see better, anrd where it would not be likely his sleepiness would be observed. The last thing he recalled in the sitting-room 293 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT was when he partedl the heavy curtains at the foot of the sofa and lo( ked out at the snow stretch- ing awav dlown the sill toward the woods and shining in the light of the great round moon which had just come up ove the si(ie of the yard to the eastward. Then he c irled up in the corner of the sofa as wide awake s a boy could be who had made up his mind tD keep awake until midnight. The next thing he rer iembered was Sate jumping up and snuggling by him, and the next was his father coming in an 1 telling him Johnny was waiting outside with his sled and the two goats hitched to it to take a long ride, and his wrapping him up carefully in his heavy overcoat. In a second he was out in t le yard and made a dash for the cow-lot, and ther ,, sure enough, was Johnny waiting for him at the gate in the cow-pasture with a curious little peaked cap on his head and his coat collar turned up around his chin and tied with a great red comforter, so) that only his eyes and nose peeped over it. As Tommy had never seen Johnny with that cap on before, he asked him where he had got it, iicn he said he had swapped caps with a little old man he had met driving a cow in the road as he came home. He could not keep this cap on his head, so Johnny had given him his in place of it, as it fitted him very well. 296 TO SANTA CLAUS And there were the two goats hitched to the very sled Tommy had made. In a minute they were on the sled, Tommy in front with the reins and Johnny sitting behind. Jus; as they were about to start, to Tommy's horror, out came Sate, and do as they might, Sate would not go back, but jumped up on the sled a-id settled down at Tommy's feet, and as Johnny said he did not mind and that Sate would keep Tommyfs feet warm, they let him stay, which proved in the end to be a very fortunate thing. Just after they had fixed themselves comfortably, Johnny said, "' Are you ready" "Ready!" said Tommy, and gathered tup the reins, and the next moment the goats started off, at first at a walk and then at a little trot, while Tommy was telling Johnny what his father had told him about the ni!giht in Santa Claus's country being so long that semetimes the sun did not rise above the horizon for several months. "If it's as long as that," said Johnny, "we might go and see the old fellow and get back before midnight. I wish we could go." "So do I," said Tommy, "but I'm afraid we might not find our way." He remembered just then that all one had to do was to steer by the North Star, and at that moment he caught sight of the star right over the goats' heads, 297 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT The coast was clear Lnd the snow was up to the top of the fences. ThiA moon made it as light as day and never again would there be such a chance. It came to him, too, that on the map all the lines ran together at the Nc rth Pole, so that one could hardly miss his way, and if he should, there were Eskimos to guide hirm. So when Johnny said, "Let's go and try," he agreed, for if they once got there, Santa Claus, himself, might bring them back with him. For a moment they went along as though they were coasting down a hill, with the little North Star shining directly in front of them as they glided along. Just then Tommy s-aid, "I wish the goats were reindeer. Let's pretend they are." "So do I," said Joh-my. At this instant something happened; the goats gave a jump which sent a cloud of fine snow up into the boys' faces; the sled gave a great leap, and on a sudden they begaa to tear along like the wind. The snow-fields flew bj them, and the trees, stand- ing up to their knees in snow, simply tore along to the rear. "They are running away!" said Tommy, as soon as he could catch his breath. "All right. Tet thcm run," said Johnny. "But steer by the North Snter." And so they did. 298 TO SANTA CILAUS When the cloud of snow in their faces cleared away, Tommy could scarcely believ-e his eyes. "Look, Johnny!" he cried. "They are real reindeer. Real live ones. Look at their aint- lers." "I know," said Johnny. "That little man said he wanted to swap with me.' So they flew on, up hill and down dale, over fields of white snow where the fences and rocks were buried and the cuts were filled up level; down frozen streams, winding through great forests where the pines were manrtled with white; in between great walls of black rock towering above them, with the stars shining down like fires; out again across the vast stretchies of snow with the IPole Star ever twisting and turning and coming before them again, until the sky seemed lit up with wonderful colors, and great bands of light were shooting up and sinking down only to shoot up again with a crackling like packs of pop- crackers in the distance. The wind sang in their ears, nipped their noses, and made Tommy drowsy land presently he must have fallen asleep; for just as he was conscious that Johnny had taken the reins, and, with one arm on either side of him was holding him on his shoulder, there was a great jolt and a sort of crash 299 TOMM1Y TR)T'S VISIT as of breaking throughl. He would have fallen off the sled if Johnnv had not held him tight. When he opened his (yes they seemed to be passing through a sort of silvery haze, as though the moonlight were shining through a fine mist of silvery drops which shed the softest radiance over everything. And suddenly through this en- chanting light they came to a beautiful city, with walls around it of crystal, all rimmed with gold, like the clouds at sunset. Before them was a great gate through which shone a wonderful light, and inside they saw a wide st reet all lit up. As they reached the gate there was a sort of peal, as of bells, and out poured a guard of little men in uniform with little swords at their sides and guns in their hands, who saluted, while their officer, who had a letter in his hand, halted them with a challenge. "Who goes there" "Friends," said Tomm, standing up and salut- ing, as he had seen soldiers do at the fort. "Advance, friends, anl give the countersign." Tommy thought they Wvere lost and his heart sank. But Johnny said, "'Good-will."' "All right," said the captain and stepped back. "Who gave you that sled" he asked, 3(0 They flew on, over fields of white snow. This page in the original text is blank. TO SANTA CALAUS "Tommy," said Johnny. "This little boy here made it anr( gave it to me." "This is the one," said the captain to a guard, looking at a letter in his hand. "Let them by." They drove in at the gate and found themselves in a broad street filled with enchanting things more beautiful than Tommy had ever dreamed of. The trees which lined it wers Christmas trees, and the lights on them maide th e street as bright as noon(day. Here the reindeer slackened their pace, and as they turnedl down the g'reat street they could see throuhl the windows rooms brilliantly lighted, in which were hosts of people bustling about as busy as bees, working at Christmas things of all sorts and descriptions. They suddenly came to the gate of a great palace-like place, which the rein- deer appeared to know, for they turned in at the gate just as Tommy's father's horses always turned in at their gate at home, and as they drove up to the door, with a shout of, "Here they are!" out poured a number of thc same little people- like those they had already seen at the gate. Some helped them out, some stood like a guard, and some took their reindeer to drive them to the stable. 301 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT "You are just in time," said the captain of this party, as he stepped forward and saluted them. "The old Gentleman hls been waiting for you, sending out to the gate to watch for you all evenino." Tommy was about to ask, "How did he know we were coming" but before he could get the words out, the little man said, "Oh, he knows all that boys do, especially about Christmas time. That's his business." "My!" thought Tommy, "I shall have to mind what I even think up hiere. He answers just as if I had said it. I hope he knows what I want for Christmas." "Wait and see," said the little man; and Tommy, though he was glad to hear it, deter- mined not to think any more just then, but he was sorry he had not thought to wish for more things while he was w ishing. "Oh, don't worry ahlout that," said the guard. "Santa Claus doesn't care much what you ask for for yourself. Even if he gives those things, you soon get tired of tlem or lose them or break them up. It is the things one asks for for others that he gives pleasure with. That's the reason he has such a good time himself, because he gives all the things to other,." 302 TO SANTA CLAUS Tommy tried to think what he had ever given to any one. He had giver. pieces of candy and cake when he had plenty, but the sled was the only thing he had ever really given. Ile was about to mention this when the guarm mentioned it for him. "Oh, that sled was all right," he said, with a little nod. "Come in," and the great ice-doors opened before them, and in they walked. They passed through a great hall, a1 ice, as transparent as glass, though curiously it was warm and dry and filled ,with every kind of Christmas "things "--everything tha L Tommy had' ever seen, and a myriad more that he had never dreamed of. They were packed and stacked on either side, and a lot of little people, like those he had already seen, were working among them, tossing them about and shouting to each other with glee to " Look out," just as the boys did when coasting on the hill. "I tell you," said one, " the Governor will have a busy time to-night. It ')eats last Christmas." And he made a run and a ju rlp, and lit on a big pile of bundles which suddenly toppled over with him and nearly buried hirn aS he sprawled on the slippery floor. This seemed a huge joke to all the others and they screamed with laughter at "Old Smartie," as they called him, and poured more 303 TOMMY T ROT'S VISIT bundles down on himt, just as though they were having a pillow-fight. Then when Old Smartie had at last gotten on his feet, they had a great game of tag among the piles and over them, and the first thing Tommy, znew he and Johnny were at it as hard as anybody. He was very proud because Johnny could jump over piles as high as the best of them. T )mmy, himself, however, could not jump; for the y led him to a pile so high that he could not see over it; and on top were the fragments of all the things he had ever had and had broken up. Hle co ild not help crying a little; but just then in dashed a number of little men and, gathering them i p, rushed out with them. Tommy was wondering what they were going to do with them, when his friend, the guard, said: "We mend some of thm; and some we keep to remind you with. Now try again." Tommy tried and (lid very well, onliT his left foot had gone to sleep in the sled and had not quite waked up. "That was because Sate went to sleep on it," said his friend, the guard, and Tommy wondered how he knew Sate's name. "Why," said the guard, "we have to know dogs' names to keep tihem from barking at us and waking everybody up. Let me lend you these boots," and with that he kicked off his boots. 304 TO SANTA CLAUS "Now, jump," and Toimmy gave a jump and lit in them, as he sometimes did in his father's shoes. No sooner had Tommy put them on than hie found that he could jump over the highest p)ile in the room. "Look, look!" cried several of the others. "The captain has lent that little boy his 'Seven Leaguers."' "I know where he is going," said one; " to jump over the North Pole." "No," laughed another. "IHe is going to catch the cow that 'jumped over the moon' for Johnny Stout's mother." Just then a message came that "Old Santa," as they called him, was waiting to see the two boys who had come in the new Liox-sled, as he wanted to know how their mothers were and what they wished for Christmas. So there was a great scur- rying to get their heads brushed before the bell rang again, and Tommy got oap in his eyes wet tingD the brush to make his hbiir lie smooth, while Johnny's left shoe came off and dropped in a hole in the floor. Smartie, howe ver, told hinm that that was for the "Old Woman who lived in a shoe' to feed her cow in, and this was (considered a great joke. The next minute the door opened and they entered a great apartment, filled with the softest 305 TOMM1IY T ROT'S VISIT light from a blazing firc, and Tommy was sure it was his father's back before him at the fireplace; but when the man turnc d it was Santa Claus, only he did not have on his whiskers, and looked ever so much younger than in his pictures. At first he did not even look it them, he was so busy receiving mail that cami fluttering down the chim- ney in a perfect snowstorm. As the letters came he gathered them up aid handed them to a lady who was seated on the f oor, saying, "Put that in," to which the lady always answered, "Just the thing," in a voice so like his mother's that Tommy felt quite at home. IL' was just wondering when "Sometime " would (ome, when Santa Claus picked up a letter, whi':h had been thrown on the floor, and tossed it to the lady, saying " Here's that letter from that little boy, Tommy Trot. Put some of those things ir so he can break them up. He asked only for himself and much joy he will get out of them." Tommy shrank back behind Johnny. Ile wanted o say that he had written another letter to ask fi)r things for others, but he had lost his tongue. Just then, however, Santa Claus put up his hand and pulled out another letter. "Now," he said, as he glanced at it, "this is more like it. He is irnmroving. I see he has asked 306 TO SANTA CLAUS for a lot of things for a friend of his named Johnny. Johnny Stout-who is he'. It seems to me I ha-frdly remember him or where he lives." "Yes," said Johnny, stepping up. ''That's me, lie gave me a sled, too, and he made it himself." Santa Claus turned and looked at hinm cnd his ex- pression turned to a smile; it' fact, Tommy thought he really winked at Johnny. "Oh, I know that sled. It was a pretty good sled, too," he said. This gave Tommy courage, and he stepped for- wvard and said, "He lives in a little bit of a house near our place-just that w,,sv--" Ie turned and pointed. "I'll show it to you when you come." "Good," said Santa Claus. "I'll show it to you and you show it to me. We are apt to overlook those little houses. So you are Tommy Trot" hie said. "Glad to see you," and he turned and held out his hand to Tommy. " I sent mny reindeer to fetch you and I am glad you made that sled, for it is only a sled made for others that can get up here. You see, everything here, except the North Pole, is made for somne one else. and that's the reason we have such a good time up here. If you like, I'll take you around and show you and Johnny our shops." This was exactly what Tommy wanted, so he thanked him politely. 30 7 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT "I'll be back in a lit- le while," said Santa Claus to the lady, "for as socn as the boys are all asleep I must set out. I have a great many stockings to fill this year. See that everything is ready. Come along, boys," and next minute they were going through room after r om and shop after shop, filled with so many thi igs that Tommy could not keep them straight in his mind. He wondered how any one could havc thought of so many things, except his mother, of cm)urse; she always thought of everything for every one. Some of them he wished for, but every time he thought of wanting a thing for himself the lights got dim, so that he stopped thinking about himself at all, and turned to speak to Johnny, bi t he was gone. Presently Santa Claus sai(l: "These are just my stores. Now we will go and see where some of these things are made. ' He gave a whistle, and the next second up dashed a sled with a team of reindeer in it, and who was there holding the reins but Johnny, with his li tle cap perched on the top of his head! At Tommy's surprise Santa Claus gave a laugh that ma le him shake all over like a bowl full of jelly, quite as Tommy had read lie did in a poem he had le; Lrned the Christmas before, called "The Night Be2fore Christmas, when all through the house." 308 TO SANTA CLAUS "That comes of knowing [how to drive goats," said Santa Claus. "Johnny knows a lot and I am going to give him a job, because he works so hard," and with that Tommy's boots suddenly jumped him into the sled, an[ Santa Claus stepped in behind him and pulled up a big robe over them. "Here goes," he said, and at the word they turned the corner, and there was a gate of ice that looked like the mirrored doors in Tommy-'s mother's room, which opened before them, and they (lashed along between great piles of tliings, throwing them on both sides like snow from a sled-runner, and before Tommy knew it they were gliding along a road, which Tonamy felt he had seen somewhere before, though lie could not re- member where. The houses on the roadside did not seem to have any front walls at all, and every- where the people within were working like beavers; some sewing, some cutting oat, sone sawing and hammering, all making something, all laughing or smiling. They were mostly (Lressecd like grown-up people, but when they turne d their faces they atll looked young. Tonimyri was wondering why this was, when Santa Claus said that was because they were "Working for others. They grow young every Christmas, This is Christmas Land and 309 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT Kindness Town." They turned another corner and were whisking by a little house, inside of which was some one Hewing for dear life on a jacket. Tommy knew the place by the little back-yard. "Stop, stop!" he cried, pointing. "That's Johnny's home and th-t's Johnny's mother sew- ing. She's laughing. I expect she's making that for Johnny." "Where" asked Santa Claus, turning. Tommy pointed back, "There, there!" but they had whisked around a corn' r. "I was so busy looking at that big house that I did not see it," said SLnta Claus. "That's our house," said Tommy. "I tell you what," he said presently, "if I get anything-I'll give him some." SantA Claus smiled. So they dashed along, making all sorts of turns and curves, through streets lined with shops full of Christmas things anc thronged with people hur- rying along with their arms full of bundles; out again into the open; by little houses half buried in snow, with a light shining dimly through their upper windows; on through forests of Christmas trees, hung with toys and not yet lighted, and presently in a wink wsere again at Santa Claus's home, in a great hall. All along the sides were 310 TO SANTA CLAUS cases filled with all sorts of toys, guns, uniforms, sleds, skates, snow-shoes, far gloves, fur coats, books, toy-dogs, ponies, goats, cows, everything. III Tommy was just thinking how he would love to carry his mother a polar bearskin for his father, and his father a sealskin coat for his mother, when Santa Claus came up behind him and tweaked his ear. "Ah! " he said, "so you want something-some- thing you can't get" "Not for myself," said Tommy, shamefacedly. "So," said Santa Claus, with a look much like Tommy's father when he was pleased. "I know that. They don't have them exactly about here. The teddy-bears drove them out. You have to go away off to find them." He waved his hand to show how far off it was. "I should like to hunt them, if I only had a gun!" said Tommy-"and onae for Johnny, too," he added quickly. Santa Claus winked again. "Well," he said slowly, just as Tommy's father always did when Tommy asked for something and he was consider- ing-"well, I'll think about it." He walked up 311 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT and touched a spring, and the glass door flew open. "Try these guns," he said; and Tommy tipped up and took one out. It, however, seemed a little light to shoot polar bears with and he put it back and took another. That, however, was rather heavy. "Try this," said Srnta Claus, handing him one, and it was the very thing. "Load right; aim right; and shoot righit," said he, "and you'll get your prize every tfine. And, above all, stand your ground." "'Now, if I only had some dogs!" thought Tommy, looking amr ind at a case full of all sorts of animals: ponies and cows; and (logs and cats; some big, some little and some middle-sized. "I wish those were real dogs." "Where's Sate" asked Santa Claus. "Sate can't pull a sled," said Tommy. "He's too little. Besides, he ain't an Eskimo dog-I mean he isn't," he corrected quickly, seeing Santa Claus look at him. "But he's awful bad after cats." Just then, to his horror, he saw Sate in the show-case with hais eye on a big, white cat. Ile could hardly kep from crying out; but he called to him very quietly, "Comne here, come here, Sate. Don't you hear me, sir Come here." 312 TO SANTA CLAUS Ile was just about to go up and seize him when Santa Claus said: "He's ,lI right. He's just getting acquainted." "My! how much he talks like Peake," thought Tommy. "I wonder if he is his uncle." Just then Sate began to nose among some little brownish-gray dogs, and so Tommy called, "Here --come here-come along," and out walked not only Sate, but six other dogs, and stood in a line just as though they were hitcied to a sled, the six finest Eskinmo dogs Tommy had ever seen. "Aren't they beauties!" said Santa Claus. "I never saw a finer lot; big-boned, broad-backed, husky fellows. They'll scale an ice-mountain like my reindeer. And if they ever get in sight of a bear!" He made a gesture as much as to say, "Let him look out." "What are their names' said Tommy, who always wanted to know every one's name. "Buster and Muster and Fluster, and Joe and Rob and Mac." "Ain't one of them named Towser" asked Tommy. "I thought one was always named Towser." "No, that's a book-name," said Santa Claus so scornfully that Tommy was sorry he had asked him, especially as he added, "Isn't, not ain't." 313 TOMMAY TROT'S VISIT "But they haint any harness," said Tommy, using the word Peak- always used-"I mean, hisn't any-no, I mean haven't any harness. I wish I had some harness for them." "Pooh! wishing doesn't do anything by itself," said Santa Claus. "Oh! I tell you. IEve a lot of string that came off some Christmas things my mother got for some poor people. I put it in my pocket to give it to Johnny to mend his go tt harness with, and I never thought of it when I saw him last night." "So," said Santa Claus. "That's better. Let's see it." Tommy felt in his pocket, and at first he could not find it. "I've lost it," he said sorrowfully. "Try again," said Santa Claus. Tommy felt again in a careless sort of way. "No, I've lost it," he said. "It must have dropped out." "You're always losing something," said Santa Claus. "Now, Johnny would have used that. You are sure you had it" Tommy nodded. ' Sure; I put it right in this pocket." "Then you've got it now. Feel in your other pockets." "I've felt there two times," said Tommy. 314 TO SANTA CLAUS "Then feel again," said Santa Claus. And Tommy felt again, and sure enough, there it was. He pulled it out, and as it mame it turned to har- ness-six sets of wonderful dog harness, made of curious leather thongs, and on every breast-strap was the name of the dog. As Tommy made a dive for it and began to put the harness on the dogs, SanLta Claus said, "String on bundles bought for others sometimes comes in quite handy." Even then Tommy did no t know how to put the harness on the dogs. As fast as he got it on one, Sate would begin to play with him and he would gIet all tangled up in it. To,-nmmy could have cried with shame, but he remembered what his father had told him about "Trying instead of crying," so he kept on, and the first thing he knew they were all harnessed. Just then he heard a noise behind him and there was Johnny with another team of dogs just like his, hitched to his box-sled, on which they had come, and on it a great pile of things tied, and in his hand a list of what he had- food of all kinds in little cans; bread and butter, and even cake, like that he had given away; dried beef; pemmican; coffee and tea, all put up in little cases, cooking utensils; a fry)ing-pan and a coffee- pot and a few other things-tin-cups and so forth; 315 TOMMY T ROT'S VISIT knives and everything that he had read that boys had when they went camping, matches, and a flint-stone in a box witI tinder, in case the miatches gave out or got wet; hatchets and saws and tools to make ice-houses or tf- mend their sleds with, in fact, everything that Tommy's father had ever told him men used when they went into the woods. And on top of all, in (ases, was the ammunition they would need. "Now, if we had a tent," said Johnny. But Santa Claus said, "You don't need tents up there." "I know," said Tonmmy. "You sleep in bags made of skin or in houses made of snow." Santa Claus gave Johnny a wink. "That boy is improving," he said. "'He knows some things"; and with that he took olt of the case and gave both Tommy and Johnny ILig heavy coats of whitish fur and two bags made of skin. "And now," he said, "you will have to be off if you want to get back here before I leave, for though the night is very long, I must b getting away soon," and all of a sudden the doo- opened and there was the North Star straight ah-ad, and at a whistle from Santa Claus away went the dogs, one sled right behind the other, and Sate, galloping for life and barking with joy, alon-side. 316 TO SANTA CLAIJTS The last thing Tommy heard Santa Claus say was, "Load right, aim right and shoot right; and stand your ground." In a short time they were out of the light of the buildings and on a great treeless waste of snow and ice, much rougher than anything Tommy had ever seen; where it was almost. dark an(d the ice seemed to turn up on edge. They had to work their way along slowly between jagged ice-peaks, and sometimes they came to places which it seemed they could never get over, but by dint of pushing and hauling and pulling, they always got over in the end. The first. meal they took was only a bite, because they did not want to waste time, and they were soon on their sleds again, dashing along, and Tommy was glad when, after some hours of hard work, Johnny said he thought they had better turn in, a, in a few hours they ought to be where Santa Chius had told them they could find polar bears, and they ought to be fresh when they struck their tracks. They set to work, unhitched the dogs, untied the packs, and got out their camp-outfit, and haviaig dug a great hole in the snow behind an ice-pea k, where the wind did not blow so hard, and having gathered some dry wood, which seemed to have been caught in the ice as if on purpose for them, they lit a fire, and 317 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT getting out their frying pan they stuck two chops on sticks and toasted tihem, and had the best sup- per Tommy had ever eaten. The bones they gave to the dogs. Johnny suggested tying up the dogs, but Tommy was so sleeq y he said: "Oh, no, they won't go away. Besid -s, suppose a bear should come while we are aslee9." They took their guns so as to be ready in case a polar bear should come nosing around, and eachi one crawled into his bag and was soon fast aslee, Sate having crawled into Tommy's bag with him and snuggled up close to keep him warm. It seemed to Tommy only a minute before he heard Johnny calling, and he crawled out to find him looking around in dismay. Every dog had disappeared except Sat,,. "We are lost!" said Johnny. "We must try to get back or we shall freeze to death." He climbed up on top of an ice-peak and looked around in every direction, but not a dog was in sight. "We must hurry up, " he said "and go back after them. Why didn't we tie them last night! We must take something to eat with us." So they set to work and got out of th( bag all they could carry, and, with their guns and ammunition, were about to start back. "\We must hide the re t of the things in a cache," . 18 TO SAINTA CLAUS said Tommy, "so that if we ever come back we may find them." "What's a cache" said Johnny. Tommy was proud thal; he knew something Johnny did not know. i-e explained that a "cache" was a hiding-place. So they put the things back in the bag and covered them up with snow, and Tommny, taking up his gun and pack, gave X whistle to Sate, who was nosing around. Sud&inly the snow around began to move, and out from under the snow appeared first the head of one do, and then of another, until every one-Buster and Muster and Fluster and the rest-had come up and stood shaking himself to get the snow out of his coat. Then Tommy remembered that his father had told him that that was the way the Eskimo dogs often kept themselves warrm when they slept, by boring down deep in the srnow. Never were two boys more delighted. In a jiffy they had un- covered the sled, eaten breakfast, fed the dogs and hitched them up again, and were once more on their way. They had not gone far, though it seemed to Tommy a long, long way, when the ice in the distance seemed to Tommy to turn to great mountain-like icebergs. "That's where they are," said Tommy. "They are always on icebergs in 319 TOMMY 11OT'S VISIT the pictures." Feeling sure that they must be near them, they tied tieir dogs to the biggest blocks of ice they could find, and even tied Sate, and taking each his gun and a bag of extra ammu- nition, they started forwa rd on foot. As Tommy's ammunition was very heavy, he was glad when Johnny offered to carry i; for him. Even so, they had not gone very far, though it seemed far enough to Tommy, when he proposed turning back and getting something to eat. As they turned they lost the North Star, and when they looked for it again they could not tell which it was. Johnny thought it was one, Tornmy was sure it was an- other. So they tried first one and then the other, and finally gave thenm sAlves up as lost. They went supperless to bed 1hat night or rather that time, and Tommy never wished himself in bed at home so much, or said his prayers harder, or prayed for the poor more earnestly. They were soon up again and were working along through the ice-pekLls, growing hung 'ier and hungrier, when, going over a rise of ice, they saw not far off a little black dot on the snow which they thought might be bear or seal. With gun in hand they crept along slowly and watch ully, and soon they got close enough to see that vhere was a little man, an Eskimo, armed with a sl ear and bow and arrows, 3 20 TO SANTA CLAUS and with four or five dogs and a rough little sled, something like Johnny's sled, but with runners made of frozen salmon. At first he appeared rather afraid of them, but they soon made signs to him that they were friends and were lost and very hungry. With a grin which showed his white teeth he pointed to his runners, and borrowing Tommy's knife, he clipped a piece off of them for each of them and handed it back with the knife; Tommy knew that he ought not to eat with his knife, but he was so hungry that he thought it would be overlooked. Having breakfasted on frozen runner, they were fortunate enough to make the Eskimo underst:Lnd that they wanted to find a polar bear. He made signs to them to follow him and he would guide them where they would find one. "Can you shoot" he asked, making a sign with his bow and arrow. "Can we shoot!" laughed both Tommy and Johnny. "Watch us. See that big green piece of ice there" They pointed at an ice-peak near by. "Well, watch us!" And first Johnny :in then Tommy blazed away at it, and the way the icicles came clattering down satisfied them. They wished all that trip that the ice-peak had been a bear. So they followed him, and a great gluide he was. Ile showed them how to avoid the rough 321 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT places in the ice-fields, and, in fact, seemed quite as much at home in tht waste of ice and snow as Johnny was back in town. He always kept near the coast, he said, as he could find both bear and seal there. They had reached a very rough place, when, as they were going along, he stopped suddenly and pointed far off across the ice. Neither Tommy nor Johnny could see anything except ice and snow, try as they might. But they undcr tood from his excitement that somewhere in the distance was a seal or pos- sibly even a polar bear, and, gun in hand, with beating hearts, they followed him as he stole care- fully through the ice-peaks, working his way along, and every now and then cautioning them to stoop so as not to be seen. So they crept along until they reached the foot of a high ridge of ice :11i A up below a long ledge of black rock which sex med to rise out of the frozen sea. Up this fiuey worked their way, stooping low, the guide in front, clutching his bow and arrow, Johnny nexi, clutching his gun, and Tommy behind, clutchin, his, each treading in the other's tracks. Suddenly, as he neared the top, the guide dropped flat o 1 the snow. Johnny fol- lowed his example, anld Tommy did the same. They knew that they must be close to the bear and 322 TO SANTA CLAUS they held their breath; for the guide, having ex- amined his bow and arrows carefully, began to wriggle along on his stomach. Johnny aend Tommy wriggled along behind him; clutching their guns. Just at the top o!' the ledge the gulide quietly slipped an arrow out of his quiver and held it in his hand, as hle slow]y raised his head and peeped over. Johnny and Tommy, guns in hand, crept up beside him to peep also. At that instant, however, before Tommy could see anything, the guide sprang to his feet. "Whiz," by Tommly's ear went an arrow at a great white object towering above them at the entrance of what seemed a sort of cave, and two more arrows followed it, whizzinTg by his ear so quickly that they were all three stick- ing in deep before Tommy took in that the object was a great white polar bear, with his head turned from them, in the act of going in the eave. As the arrows struck him, he twisted himself and bit savagely at them, breaking off all but one, which was lod(ged back of his shoulder. As lie feared up on his hind legs and tried to get at this arrow, he seemed to Tommy as high as the great wardrobe at home. Tommy, however, had no timhe to do much thinking, for in twisting around the bear caught sight of them. As he turned toward them, the guide with a yell that sounded like " Look out!" 323 TOM-AMY TEOT'S VISIT dodged behind, but bo .h Tommy and Johnny threw up their runs and iulled the trigger. What was their horror to find that they both had for- gotten to load their gun, after showing the guide how they could shoot. The next second, with jaws wide open, the )ba' made a dash for them. Tommy's heart leapt int( his throat. I-le glanced around to see if he coul1 run and climb a tree, for he knew that grizzlcs ould not climb, and he hoped that polar bears could not climb either, while Tommy prided himself on climbing and had often climbed the apple-tree in the pasture at home; but there was not a tree or a shrub in sight, and 11 he saw was the little guide running for life an(l disappearing behind an ice-peak. "Run, Johnny!" cried Tommy, and "Run, Tommy!" cried Johnny- at the same moment. But they had no time Ilo run, for the next second the bear was upon them, his eyes glaring, his great teeth gleaming, his hug; jaws wide open, from which came a growl that shook the ice under their feet. As the bear sprag for them Johnny was more directly in his wawy, but, happily, his foot slipped from under him a id he fell flat on his back just as the bear lit, or he ,vould have been crushed instantly. Even as it NN as, he was stunned and 3': 4 TO SANTA CLAUS lay quite still under the bear, which for the mo- ment seemed to be dazed. Either he could not tell what had become of JoEhnny, or else he could not make up his mind wheither to eat Johnny up at once or to leave him and catch Tommy first and then eat them both together. Ie seemed to de- cide on the latter, for, standing up, he fixed his eyes on Tommy, and took a step across Johnny's prostrate body, with his m uth open wider than before, his eyes glaring more fiercely, and with a roar and a growl that. nade the ice-peaks shed a show17er of icicles. Then [t was that Tommy seeme(I to have become a different boy. In fact, I1o sooner had Johnny gone down than Tommy for- got all about himself and his own safety, and thought only of Johnny al:Ld how he could save hini. And, oh, how sorry he was that he had let Johnny carry all the amimunition, even though it was heavy! For his gun was empty and Johnny had every cartridge. Tomnrny was never so scared in all his life. He tried to cry out, but his throat was parched, so he began to say his prayers, and remembering what Santa (Claurs had said about boys who asked only for themselves, le tried to pray for Johnny. At this moment happened what appeared almost a miracle. 13y Tominy dashed a little hairy ball 325 TOIMMY TROT'S VISIT and flew at the bear like a tiger; and there was Sate, a part of his rope stil, about his neck, clinging to the bear for life. The l ear deliberately stopped and looked around as if he were too surprised to move; but Sate's teeth wire in him, and then the efforts of the bear to catch him were really funny. Hle snapped and snarled and snarled and snapped; but Sate was artful enough to dodge him, and the bear's huge paws simply teat the air and knocked up the snow. Do what he might, he could not touch Sate. Finally the bear did what bears al- ways do when bees settle on them when they are robbing their hives-he began to roll over and over, and the more he rolled the more he tied himself up in the rope are und Sate. As he rolled away from Johnny, Tom ny dashed forward and picked up Johnny's gun, coolly loaded it, loading it right, too, and, springing forward, raised the gun to his shoulder. The bear, however, rolled so rapidly that Tommy w3Is afraid he might shoot Sate, and before he could fire, the bear, with Sate still clinging to him, rollecr inside the mouth of the cave. Tommy wnas in despair. At this moment, however, he heard a soun(l, and there was Johnny just getting on his feet. He had never been so glad to see any one. "'Where is the bear" asked Johnny, looking .0.2 ) TO SANTA CLAUS around, still a little dazed. Tommy pointed to the cave. "In there, with Sate tied to him." "We must save him," said Johnny. Carefully dividing the ammunition now, both boys loaded their guns, and l urrying down the icy slope, carefully approached the mouth of the cave, guns in hand, in case the bear should appear. Inside it was so dark that they could at first see nothing, but they could hear the sound of the struggle going on between Sate and the bear. Suddenly Sate changed his note and gave a little cry as of pain. At the sound of his distress Tommy forgot himself. "Follow me!" he cried. "He is choking,!" and not waiting even to look behind to see whether Johnny was with hin, he dashed forward into the cave, gun in hand, thinking only to save Sate. Stumbling and slipping, he kept on, and turning a corner there right in front of him were the two eyes of the bear, glaring in the darkness like coals of fire. Pushing bIoldly up andl aiming straight between the two eves, Tom- my pulled the trigger. With a growl williich mingled with the sound of the gun, the bear mrade a spring for him and fell right at his feet, rolled up in a great ball. Happily for Sate, he lit just on top of the ball. 327 TOIMMY T11OT'S VISIT Tommy whipped out his knife and cut the cord from about Sate's throal, and had him in his arms when Johnny came up. The next thing was to skin the bear, and this the boys expected to find as hard work as ever even Johnny had( done; but, fortunately, the bear had been so surprised at Tommy's courage and skill in aiming that when the bullet hit him he had almost jumped out of his skin. So, after they had worked a little while, the skin came off quite easily. What surprised Johnny was that it was all tanned, but Tommy had always ra ther thought that bears wore their skin tanned o a the inside and lined, too. The next thing was to have a dinner of bear-mneat, for, as Tommy well rem embered, all bear-hunters ate bear-steaks. They were about to go down to the shore to hunt along for driftwood when, their eyes becoming accustomed to the darkness, they found a pile of wood iii the corner of the cave, which satisfied them the t at some time in the past this cave had been used icy robbers or pirates, who probably had been driv n away by this great bear, or possibly might even h wlve been eaten up by him. At first they had some little difficulty in making a fire, as their matches, W arranted water-proof, had all got damp when Tommy fell into the water-an incident I forgot to men tion; but after trying and 328 TO SANTA CLAUS trying, the tinder caught from the flint, and they quickly had a fine fire cracklirg in a corner of the cave, and here they cooked betxr-stcak and had the finest dinner they had had since they camle into the Arctic regions. They were just thinking of going after the dogs and the sleds, when up came the dogs dragging the sleds behind them, and without a word, pitched in to make a hearty meal of bear- meat themselves. It seemed as if they had got a whiff of the fresh steak and pulled the sleds loose from the ice points to which they were fastened. They were not, however, allowed to eat in any peace until thley had all recognized that Sate was the hero of this bear fight, for hle gave himself as many airs as though lie had not only got the bear, but had shot and skinned it. It was at this moment thai; the Eskimo guide came back, jabbering with delight, and with his white teeth shining, just as if he had been as brave as Sate. At first Tommy and Johnny were in- clined to be very cold to him and pointed their fingers at him as a coward; b lt when he said he had only one arrow left and ha-d wanted that to get a sealskin coat for Tommy's mother, and, as he had the sealskin coat, they could not contradict him, but graciously gave him, in exchange for the coat, the bear-meat which the clogs had not eaten. 329 TOMMY TROT'S VISIT Having packed everything on the sled carefully, with the sealskin coat on top of the pack and the bear's fur on top of that, and having bid their Eskimo friend good-by, they turned their backs on the North Pole and struck out for home. They had hardly started, however, when the sound of sleigh-bells reached them, coming from far over the snow, and before they could tell where it was, who should appear, sailing along over the ice-peaks, but Santa Claus himself, in his own sleigh, all packed with Christmas things, his eight reindeer shining in the moonlight and his bells jingling merrily. Such a shout as he gave when he found that they had actually got the bear and had the robe to show foi it! It did them good, and both Tommy and Johnny vied with each other in telling what the other had done. Santa Claus was so pleased that he made them both get in his sleigh to tell him about it. He let Sate get in, too, and snuggle down right at their feet. Johnny's box-sled he hitched on behind. The dogs were turned loose. At first Tcmmy feared they might get lost, but Santa Claus said they would soon find their way home. "In fact," he said with a wink, "you have not been so far away as you think. Now tell me all about it," he said. So Tommy began to tell him, 33j) TO SANTA CLAUS beginning at the very begin ning when Johnny took him on his sled. But he had only got as far as the sofa, when he fell asleep, and he never knew how he got back home. When he waked up hle was in bed. He never could recall exactlv what happened. Afterward he recalled Santa Claus saying to him "You must show me where Johnny lives, for I'm afraid I forgot him last Christmas." Then he remembered that once he heard Santa Claus call- ing to him in a whisper, "Tommy Trot, Tommy Trot," and though he was very sleepy he raised himself up to find Santa Claus standing up in the sled in Johnny's back-yard, with Johnny fast asleep in his arms, and that Santa Claus said to him, "I want to put Johnny in bed without waking him up, and I want you to follow me, and put these things which I have piled up here on the sled you made for him in his stocking by the fire." He remembered that at a whistle to the deer they sprang with a bound to the roof, the sled sailing behind them; but how he got clown he never could recall, and lie never knew how he got back home. When he waked next morning there was the polar bearskin which lie and Johnny had brought back with them, not to mention the sealskin coat, 331 TOMMY rROTHS VISIT and though Johnny, when he next saw him, was too much excited at first by his new sled and the fine fresh cow which his mother had found in her cow-house that morning to talk about anything else, yet, when he and his mother came over after breakfast to see Torni ly's father and thank him for something, they said that Santa Claus had paid them a visit such as he never had pai(l before, and they brought with the m Johnny's goats, which they insisted on givinri Tommy as a Christmas present. So Tommy Trot knew that Santa Claus had got his letter. 2 3 2