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Copyright, 1892, 





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WESTWARD from the Mississippi, between the 
thirty-sixth and fortieth parallels of latitude, in 
the very heart of the greatest nation of the earth, 
lie two empires. Not empires, indeed, in the com 
mon significance of man s imperial sway, with the 
gay gildings and trappings of the court, and the 
autocratic rule of royalty, but empires of nature, 
glorious in the results of a few brief years of 
experiment, more glorious in the incalculable possi 
bilities of development awaiting the homeseeker. 
Wherever the traveler goes in these great empires, 
in wagon, boat or railway car, he sees the monarch 
of the realm, turn where he may. Far to the north 
and east, on through the south and west, this jolly 
monarch keeps at the side of the flying train, to the 
end of his dominions, where the roads begin to 
lead to the clouds and the cool air rushes down 
from the mountains. No traveler asks who this 
jolly monarch is. No man forgets his allegiance 
to powerful, affluent, smiling old King Corn. 

If Corn is king, then Sunflower is the queen, for 
hand in hand they go over the wide rolling prairies 
in their dress of golden yellow, the one typifying 


the spirit of industry, the other content with its 
lofty bearing and its regal beauty. A worthy 
queen is the stately Sunflower to old King Corn. 

And, in the main, very happy and contented are 
the favored subjects of this prosperous monarch. 
For twenty-five, fifty and seventy years of experi 
ence have shown them that he is steady and reli 
able, faithful to those who call upon him, and 
never failing those who cultivate him. So these 
subjects, with such deviation as national and 
political exigency has prescribed, have gone their 
ways, content with present abundance and careless 
of outside comment ; have lived their lives in their 
own manner, sung their songs, and cherished their 
traditions until modern progress came to the fail- 
dominion and knocked at the gate; That was the 
beginning of the new Missouri and the new 
Kansas. Whether it destroyed the charm of the 
older life, or by its benefits atoned for the inva 
sion, they may say who will. But is it not true 
that the literature, the poetry, the romance of a 
country turns to humanity in its simple, original 
type, and finds its material where the rushing 
spirit of the century has produced the least efface- 
ment ? 

A man who has traveled much through this 
land of King Corn, and whose business has brought 
him into close contact with the inner life of the 
people, once waggishly remarked that Missouri 

The Old Crank. 11 

and Kansas are inhabited by two classes of human 
beings, Missourians and Kansans. It might have 
been replied, with Horatio, that " there needs no 
ghost come from the grave to tell us this," but the 
jocose gentleman spoke with a deeper significance 
than the mere words might convey. The fact that 
underlies the statement, and the fact that im 
pressed itself upon him, is that the Missourian 
and the Kansan, each in his way, have far more 
than the ordinary amount of State pride. The 
Missourian is unaggressive, quiet, but not a whit 
less proud than the Kansan. He knows perfectly 
well the ridicule that has been heaped upon his 
State. He has heard all the songs, all the railroad 
and circus jokes at the expense of the "Pikers," 
and, for that matter, he repeats them with a good 
deal of relish. For he realizes the remarkable re 
sources of his State, its rank in the Union, its 
illimitable possibilities, its steady and sure growth, 
and its exemption from the afflictions that have 
disturbed other less favored commonwealths. He 
knows that the " Piker " is rapidly passing away, 
and that, in a few years, " Joe Bowers " will be a 
myth, and his descendants will repudiate him. 
Perhaps, even now, the Missourian, as he shrugs 
his shoulders at the last joke perpetrated by the 
untraveled Eastern man, thinks to himself that 
the two jocular bears on the State seal might be 

12 TJte Old Crank. 

credited with the appropriate remark, "He laughs 
best who laughs last. " 

The Kansan is a natural fighter. His State 
had its baptism in blood, and its children have 
grown up in the atmosphere of battle. It is 
true of humanity that we always think the most 
of those things that have cost us the greatest 
trouble. It is possible that a tendency to exag 
geration springs from this same cause. The old- 
time Kansan is attached to the State he fought 
for and bled for. There is sincerity even in his 
exaggeration, and drought, hot winds and grass 
hoppers, one after the other, cannot silence his 
tongue or shake his conviction that he lives in 
God s own country and in the particular locality 
that the Creator would select for his terrestrial 
residence. Ko reasoning, no logic can confound 
the Kansan. Figuratively speaking, you may 
knock him down, but you cannot knock him out. 
As an instance in point, it is related that one day, 
after a seemingly endless stretch of the most hor 
rible weather, the sun came out. The air was soft 
and balmy, the sky took on the deep summer blue, 
and all the conditions were as perfect as the most 
exacting could demand. The Kansas man was 
equal to the occasion, and began to descant on the 
beauties of the Kansas climate. "Now, this," he 
said, "is a typical Kansas day." 

"But how about yesterday, and the day before, 

The Old Crank. 1:5 

and the day before that, aiid last week, and the 
week before ?" asked the stranger within the gates. 

"Oh," answered the Kansan, perfectly una 
bashed, "that is the kind of - - weather we used 
to have back in Indiana." 

What can be said to an exuberance, a loyalty 
and a confidence like that ? Why can -the world 
wonder that a State peopled by such enthusiasts, 
and advertised with such devotion and pride, has 
grown beyond the limit of precedent. 

Every school history of the present day tells 
under what stormy and peculiar conditions Kansas 
began to shape itself forty years ago. From the 
outset it was a Mecca for the eccentric people now 
commonly known as cranks, and from that day to 
this not an ism has presented itself to the sister 
hood of States that Kansas has not felt its full 
force. How far these strange people have left 
their impress on the State, and to what extent they 
have bequeathed to their descendants an inherit 
ance of whims and fads and fleeting popular fan 
cies, let those answer who can. This tale has only 
to do with the result of a certain chain of circum 
stances, the product of peculiar conditions. De 
pend upon it the hero will stand on his record 
and consent to be judged at the final day by his 

The people who knew him, and had looked him 
over in all his important bearings and ramifica- 

14 TJie Old ( rani . 

tions, agreed that he was just a plain, old-fash 
ioned, evcry-day Kansas crank. 

From this it must not be inferred that every 
body who happens to live in Kansas is a crank, 
and it is not to be contended that everybody who 
happens to be a crank lives in Kansas. In fact, 
it is not altogether assured that the Kansas crank 
is more dangerous or uncomfortable that the Mas 
sachusetts crank, or the Mississippi crank, the 
crank who infests the prairies of Illinois, or the 
crank who lives in the sage-brush and alkali regions 
of Nevada. There may be more of him, his ideas 
may be a little more generally distributed, and he 
may be more interesting as a panorama of eccen 
tricities, but doubtless he is a very lovable and 
amusing person, is this Kansas crank, when you 
do not chance to rub up against his pet theories 
and regulations of life. 

It does not follow that the old Kansas crank was 
born a crank. In all probability he passed a mod 
erately happy and uneventful childhood in Ohio 
or Indiana, and came to Kansas in the fifties 
suppose we say 57. Those were wild times on 
the border, and it is worth the trouble and the 
money to entice an old crank across the prohibi 
tion line, and fill him full of good red liquor to 
loosen his tongue, that he may "shoulder his 
crutch" and talk about the past ; how he "fit with 
old John," and how many Democrats he sent to 

The Old Crank. 15 

the judgment bar. All these things are peculiar 
to the old crank, but they concern us not at this 
particular point. 

When the war broke out the crank started to the 
front. He was not much of a crank in 1861, but 
he was a Union man and a fighter from the top of 
his bristling hair to the soles of his heavy boots, 
and the crankier he became the harder he fought, 
which may be explained on the simple principles 
of indigestion. He was not one of your sixty or 
ninety-day fighters. He enlisted for the war, took 
in every important skirmish that came his way, 
and went with Sherman to the sea. There is a story 
to the effect that when he reached the sea the old 
crank was consumed with regret, and would fain 
have marched the entire distance back on the 
same gentle and philanthropic mission. 

At the close of the war he returned to Kansas, 
and, incident to a peaceful agricultural life, was 
elected to the legislature on an anti-monopoly 
platform. No man that is, no Kansan can 
be said to have achieved a modicum of worldly dis 
tinction and delight until he has been elected to 
the legislature. The crank was true to his prin 
ciples : he was chosen as an anti-monopolist, and he 
walked to Topeka. That was the discharge of the 
first public duty of the crank. 

One day the crank was in Emporia. He was 
getting along in years, and his lot was lonely. 

1G The Old Crank. 

Political honor had not crowded upon him, and he 
yearned, or thought he yearned, for the rest and 
quiet of domestic life. As chance would have it, 
or, rather, as fate invariably directs it in this modest 
town of Emporia, he was persuaded to attend a 
" social " at the State normal school. Now there are 
various kinds of amusement in this carnal world, 
but the decision is, from the examination of such 
data as can be collected, that a " normal social " is, 
of all diversions, the most unoffending and innocu 
ous. It is related of a certain eminent Methodist 
divine, who is now with John Wesley in the man 
sions, that, gazing upon the deep solemnity of one 
of these "socials," he paraphrased Scripture in 
saying : " Behold festivities indeed in which there 
is no guile." 

As the crank entered upon the scene of splendor 
the grand march was in progress, and the happy- 
company, two by two, paraded the hall, singing the 
Kansas national hymn: "John Brown s body lies 
a-mouid rin in the grave." The heart of the 
crank was stirred. The old war spirit came back, 
and in the "Glory, glory, hallelujah," he let out 
his voice with a boom that shook the rafters. 
And the crank was further attracted by the fine 
figure of a woman who seemed to be one of the 
leading spirits of the entertainment. She was, per 
haps, thirty years of age, tall, willowy, sharp-feat 
ured, with a high forehead, and the unmistakable 

The Old Crank. 17 

air of a school-ma am. Her attire was severely 
chaste. She was dressed in dove-colored alpaca, 
high-fitting at the neck, with plain Avalst and full 
skirt. Her only ornaments were a pair of mussel- 
shell ear-rings, and a striking cameo pin at her 
throat. In her hair, which fell over her temples 
and curved down and gracefully behind her ears, 
she had placed a modest wild verbena with shoe 
string foliage. 

In the opinion of the crank to see her was to 
love her. To her mind, there never was a more 
striking illustration of a proper man. Their court 
ship was brief and fervent. The lady, with the 
austere simplicity of advanced maidenhood, re 
hearsed the minute details of her arduous life, and 
the crank went over and over again the great and 
irrepressible conflict of the rebellion, wherein he 
had played a bloody and conspicuous part. And 
the bride elect looked on her hero with kindling 
eyes, and, perchance, wished, with Desdemona, 
that "heaven had made her such a man." And 
so, in the fall, when the golden tint was on the 
Kansas forests, they were married, and extended 
their bridal tour to the State Fair at Topeka, 
where, hand in hand, "they looked at the fat stock, 
and carefully noted the agricultural products and 
the latest dairy improvements. 

Well, the old crank and his wife went back to the 
farm, and a pretty middling sort of farm it was, 

18 The Old Crank. 

with its acres of grain, its pleasant orchard and 
the little brown frame house near the road. This 
house was originally disposed to be whitish, but 
the old crank slapped on a coat of brown paint ; 
something, he said, to be a perpetual reminder of 
old John. It was plainly furnished, it is true, 
but peace and contentment abode therein, save 
when the old crank went on a rural "high," 
which he occasionally did in those unregenerate 
days. And the school-ma am, out of the prompt 
ings of an artistic nature, procured a Ilamlin cab 
inet organ, from which, after much internal remon 
strance and apparently piteous protest, she evolved 
"The Storm," and "Lincoln s Funeral March," 
and various gems from a collection of war songs, 
which besought the boys to " rally round the flag" 
and to "hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree," 
with reminiscences of coming home to die, dear 
mother, and of sitting in a prison cell, and of 
" marchin through Georgy. " And when the neigh 
bors came in and began to air their accomplish 
ments, the old crank would turn to the good wife 
and say : " Marthy, touch us up Gen ral Persifer 
F. Smith s march." And at the conclusion of 
this spirited number he would look at the humili 
ated braggarts with a quiet gleam in his eye, as 
one who would say: "What do you think o 
that ? " 
And they had a little library, too. But the old 

The Old Crank. 19 

crank "allowed" he didn t go much on cheap, 
popular literature,, while he could get the Kansas 
agricultural reports, with an occasional invoice of 
Congressional Records. Wilder s Annals lay 
conspicuously on the table, and a very well-thumbed 
and dirty page was that which announced the old 
crank s election to the legislature. And there 
were also lives of famous Union generals, and the 
Kansas herd-book, and later on the great campaign 
record of Elaine and Logan. And there were 
certain treatises of a spiritual nature from a Wes- 
leyan standpoint, for, as was the custom of the 
country, the old crank was a stanch Methodist, a 
class-leader and an exhorter, and, when engaged in 
fervent spiritual work, his voice could be heard 
over the bending corn a third of a mile away, 
heaving wrath and dispensing salvation. 

As time went on, the good wife encouraged the 
old crank to dabble a little in pictures and decora 
tive art. Their first venture was a popular 
chromo of old Osawatomie. To this was added a 
stirring picture of General Grant erecting a log- 
cabin. Then followed a framed certificate of life 
membership in the Bible society; and then, in 
quick succession, a series of religious scenes and 
devotional allegories : John Wesley s Death-bed, the 
three Christian Graces, and Faith clinging to the 
cross. And one day the good wife brought home 
"Fruits and Flowers," which she had acquired at 

20 The Old Crank. 

an auction, and the gallery was pronounced com 
plete. But in her deft feminine way she went 
methodically about further to beautify the home ; 
and when the old crank sent out the parlor furni 
ture, tastefully upholstered with horse hair, she 
worked tidies crocheted in wondrous tints of yel 
low and green ; and one merry Christmas morn 
the old crank rolled out of bed to stare at " God 
Bless Our Home 1 delicately wrought in crewel. 
Beautiful wax flowers carefully covered with a 
glass globe rested on a marble- top table, and a 
dish of luscious wax fruits looked down from the 

To those who gained the full confidence of the 
old crank he showed his secret treasures, his pre 
cious relics of old John. There was the deadly pike 
with which John Brown went forth to battle for 
the Lord, and there was the scarf or tippet which 
he had dropped in a sudden flight. And there 
were twenty other mementoes, each with its appro 
priate story. But last, and most precious of all, 
was a hideous human skull, taken from the loath 
some remains of a Plattc County Democrat, whom 
old John had cut off in the flower of his iniquity. 
And the old crank would roll that skull about in 
his great horny hands and cry : " His enemies shall 
lick the dust ; his name shall endure forever !" 

The old crank was a Granger. It came right 
along in line with his principles. And very con- 

The Old CranL 21 

sistont he was, and little found its way into the 
premises that did not come straight from the 
Grange store. And he knew a thing about labor- 
saving machinery, and experimented with wind 
mills and rakes and harrows and pumps and clothes- 
wringers, and devices for setting hens, and ingen 
ious contrivances for destroying potato-bugs, while 
little by little they accumulated until they occu 
pied a separate shed. And when the grasshoppers 
came and made a clean sweep of vegetation, the 
old crank went out to gaze at the ruin, and he 
turned and looked at the shed, and said, ruefully : 
"Marthy, we ve got them darned things yet. 
Even the "hoppers wouldn t touch em." 

The Greenback wave swept over the land, and 
the old crank was the first to send in his allegiance. 
Mighty were the speeches he made at the local 
political gatherings, and powerful and irrefutable 
were his arguments, in the opinion of his admir 
ing neighbors. And in the councils of the Grand 
Army of the Republic he was the acknowledged 
chief, and no camp-fire blazed without his presence, 
and not a pot of beans was cooked that did not feel 
his practiced touch. 

But if there was one subject to which the old 
crank s soul went unrestrainedly out, it was pen 
sions. He believed in pensions, for he enjoyed one 
himself. He had proved beyond cavil that he had 
lost two-seventeenths of one eye. They gave him 

22 The Old drank. 

8 a month. Then he found that he \vas minus 
three-eighths of the lobe of a lung. They made it 
$12. Then he discovered that he was subject to 
four-elevenths of dysentery. They raised it to $20. 
Then he stumbled across rheumatism ; then his 
hearing became impaired, the result of the burst 
ing of a shell at Corinth,, and at the time of his 
death he was engaged in proving that he was 
the victim of chronic catarrh contracted in the 

Throughout the State of Kansas there was no 
more ardent Prohibitionist (in theory) than the 
old crank. He believed in prohibition because it- 
was "suthin new and progressive/ and because 
the Democrats didn t believe in it. The old crank 
hated a Democrat with all the fervor of his strong 
nature. He hated Missouri because it was gov 
erned by the Democratic party. "When he went 
"back east," as he occasionally did, he pulled down 
the shutters of his window in the car at Kansas 
City, and neither stirred out nor looked out until 
the Illinois line was reached. And once, when the 
train was delayed twelve hours by a wreck, he 
refused to leave the car to procure refreshment, 
for, as he subsequently explained to his constit 
uents, he "didn t believe in encouragin rebel 

Capital punishment was another phase of human 
industry in which the old crank did not believe. 

The Old Crank. 23 

That is, he did not believe in official executions. 
But when a couple of frisky fellows made too free 
with the horses of his immediate neighborhood, 
the old crank turned out with the boys and hanged 
them to a cottonwood, explaining that he had 
every reason to believe "they re Democrats, any 
how." And female suffrage was another of his 
hobbies. He registered every woman on the place, 
and on the morning of election he gathered them 
together and said : " To register and vote is the 
sacred duty of every man and woman in Kansas, 
free, glorious Kansas. So we ll now go up and 
vote for old Bill for mayor." And they did. The 
old crank saw that they did. 

In a national election the old crank s fidelity to 
the Republican party never waned. Crank though 
he was, there was no mugwumpishness mixed with 
his politics. He was red-hot for the nominee every 
time. When Blaine was nominated the old crank 
went stark, staring mad. He organized a Blaine 
club. He went to all the rallies. He made war 
speeches. He paraded with the boys and spilled 
coal oil down his back with nightly regularity. 
In short, he went in to save the country. But 
when the news came that Blaine was defeated it 
nearly broke the old crank s heart. "Marthy," 
he said, " I ve seen the hoppers come an nigh eat 
us out o house an home. I ve fought the drought 
an potato-bugs. I ve been down with the malarv, 

^4 The Old Crank. 

an felt hard times press on us, an I ve uercr com 
plained. But now I cry out with Job: The earth 
is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth 
the faces of the judges thereof. Oh, that I had 
given up the ghost and no eye had seen me. " 

And on the day of Cleveland s inauguration the 
old crank dressed up in his blue uniform, and took 
down his army musket, and went into the parlor, 
and sat under the picture of old John, and told 
Martha to call him " when the boys march by on 
their way to the front." And the good wife 
hustled the children off to school, and told the 
neighbors not to mind him, for the old man was 
getting sort of childish. 

Not many weeks thereafter the summons came. 

The old crank was taken down with bronchitis 

true to his principles he called it brown-chitis 

serious complications followed, and it was evident 
that the end was near. It was a glorious June day 
in Kansas, and a June day in Kansas is one of 
the glories of this fleeting life. The old crank 
lay on the bed where he had rested for twenty 
years. His faithful wife sat by and held his hand, 
and the pious Methodist parson whispered words 
of encouragement. A light sparkled in the old 
crank s eye. Did he catch that glimpse of the 
celestial beauties which is said to be granted to the 
departing faithful ? 

The Old Crank. 25 

"Is everything bright aiul beautiful, James ?" 
said the good wife. 

"Tollable," replied the dying Christian, with a 
faint suggestion of disappointment in his tone, 
"not as bright as sunny Kansas, but tollable." 

Then the old crank sat up in bed. " I see him, 
Marthy," he cried, "I see him. I d know him 
among a million. It s old John, just as we ve 
seen him in the pictur in the Historical Society 
rooms at Topeky, with a halo of glory around his 
head an a lot o little nigger children implorin his 
blessin . He s standin at the pearly gates, an 
seems to be giviir gen ral directions, sort o passin 
on the papers of candidates. An I see lots o Kan- 
sans climbin up the golden stairs, an imps o 
darkness dartin out to worry an molest em. I 
know em. They re Democrats." 

"Ad astra per aspera," said the minister, 

"Amen," replied the weeping wife. 

"And I think old John knows me," cried the old 
crank, exultingly, "for he has said somethin to 
the sentry, an now he smiles an stretches out his 
arms, an the Democrats have fled away. Sing me 
one o the old war songs, Marthy, Tramp, tramp, 
tramp. " 

The good wife, her voice broken by her tears, 
hummed the familiar refrain, and the old crank 
fell back upon the bed. 

26 The Old Crank. 

"Tell the boys," he whispered, "that I ve seen 
him. I ve seen old John. His body lies a- 
mould rin in the grave, but his soul goes marchin 
on/ " 

The old crank s lamp went out. 


No doubt existed in the minds of the community 
that Pikeville had a good deal to be proud of. For 
was it not recognized as one of the oldest and most 
eminently respectable town^ in the fine old com 
monwealth of Missouri, enjoying," as the mayor 
said in his welcoming address to a visiting delega 
tion of Boston capitalists, "all the culture and 
refinement of a long-established Southern aristoc 
racy, quickened and vitalized by Eastern immigra 
tion "? Pikeville "pointed with pride " to those 
splendid old families, the Camdens, the Crawfords, 
the Dallases, the Lawrences and the Mercers, who, 
in turn, " viewed with alarm " the inroads of a 
vulgar "boom," which, however, had left Pikeville 
the center of a prosperous railway system and with 
the advantages and improvements of a modern 

Yet if the question had been put point blank to 
Pikeville : " On what do you base your hope of 
greatest renown and well-being ?" Pikeville would 
have risen as one man and replied : " Our Lit 

Now, this "literary" was not a plant of rapid 

30 \\liat Broke Up the Literary. 

and immature growth. It was rather the result of 
a slowly-developed and well-matured decision. It 
came along partly as the sequence of the boom and 
the stirring influence of Eastern immigration, and 
partly through reason of the increased feminine 
literary activity that was epidemic in the country 
at large. The immediate cause was the arrival of 
Miss Sophronia Merrick, of Massachusetts, who 
had come to Missouri for scholastic missionary 
work, and had been induced to establish a school 
in Pikeville, thereunto moved by the charm of the 
town, the excellence of the water and the courtly 
hospitality of the people. Miss Merrick was 
abundantly qualified to lead in literary endeavor, 
as she had taken a thorough collegiate and post 
graduate course ; had been an active member of the 
learned Browning, Goethe, Dante and Ibsen socie 
ties of Boston, and could show papers of honorary 
membership in many of the best organizations for 
the promotion of human thought. While not a 
particularly engaging person from a cursory mas 
culine point of view, Miss Sophronia was much 
esteemed for her mental qualifications, and as she 
minded her own business, and minded it very well, 
the generous old families of Pikeville soon came to 
overlook her unhappy accident of birth in Massa 

Miss Sophronia s intimate friend was Miss Alinira 
Putney, formerly of Vermont. Ezra Putney had 

What Broke Up the Literary. 31 

moved to Missouri a few years before to go into 
the fancy stock business, and to exchange a bron 
chial affection for regular and well-defined touches 
of malaria. Miss Almira did not possess in the 
full degree the ripened intellectual charms of Miss 
Sophronia, but her atmosphere had always been 
good, and in sundry contributions to the local 
paper she had manifested an agreeable acquaint 
ance with much that is praiseworthy in literature. 
Miss Almira had, moreover, not a little of the 
sturdy independence of the old stock, and in her 
pursuit of knowledge had imbibed much of the 
classic and modern thought, which, however con 
formable to the requirements of a person of 
wide reading, is not recognized and approved by 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which the 
greater part of Pikeville owed its allegiance. 

The association, then, of two such spirits as Miss 
Sophronia and Miss Almira could not fail to bring 
about results most felicitous to the general wel 
fare. Miss Sophronia had looked over the literary 
condition of the town and had pronounced the 
trend favorable. She had even delivered a lecture 
to the ladies on the life, character, writings and 
influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, prepar 
atory to the formation of a Goethe club ; but Miss 
Sophronia s enthusiasm for the cwig weiUiclic and 
for ponderous and complex Teutonic philosophy 
Jed her into such deep channels that the ladies 

32 WJttff /Jrukr ( /> I lie Literary. 

were soon over their heads. Moreover, Mrs. Dallas 
confided to the younger ladies that Goethe was a 
u nasty man," and this idea soon prevailed to the 
verge of a panic. But the lecture was not alto 
gether a failure, for it stimulated the ladies to the 
point of doing something. Several meetings were 
held, and numerous plans discussed. An organi 
zation was speedily effected, officers were elected, 
and a constitution and by-laws adopted. Light 
refreshments were voted, and, all the preliminaries 
having been settled, the club took up the ques 
tion of work. 

In view of the inroads made upon previous femi 
nine literary progress in Pikeville by the seduction 
of progressive euchre, dancing, parties and picnics, 
to say nothing of the sterner and oft-recurring 
duties of revivals and protracted meetings, Miss 
Sophronia and Almira suggested the study of 
American literature. Posie Mercer, who had just 
returned from the East, where she had pursued 
special courses of psychology and china painting, 
was anxious to take up Tolstoi. Virgie Cooper 
declared a preference for Ibsen, if he could be 
obtained in an expurgated and fumigated edition. 
Sadie Boone, who was thought to be engaged to a 
young man who traveled for a St. Louis hat house, 
believed she could give her days and nights to the 
study of Emerson alone. Winnie Schuyler, fresh 
from a iinisliiiia: school, where thev called for butter 

What Broke Up the Literary. 33 

in three languages, spoke for the literature of 
France; and Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Dallas, who 
were sisters, and whose maternal grandfather had 
lived in Yorkshire, were equally clamorous for an 
English course, not to ante-date Chaucer, whose 
spelling and grammar were notoriously poor. 

The dispute was settled by a very interesting 
occurrence. Joanna Brown, whose family had re 
cently come to Pikcville from Kansas, was convers 
ing with Sadie Booue and Daisy Camden when the 
subject of the Declaration of Independence came 
up. Miss Daisy chanced to remark casually that 
the Declaration was promulgated at Guttenberg. 
Miss Sadie thought Miss Daisy must be mistaken. 
Miss Daisy was sure she was not mistaken, for she 
had heard her brother talking about Guttenberg 
the night before. Miss Sadie was willing to admit 
that it was something that sounded like Guttenberg, 
but she thought it was Gettysburg. Miss Joanna 
was quite positive it was not Gettysburg, as her 
father had talked about Gettysburg for the past 
twenty years, and had never mentioned the Decla 
ration of Independence. Just at this point Miss 
Sophronia, approaching, was horrified. " If this is 
the extent of your knowledge of your country," 
she said, severely, "I think we may as well drop 
all other subjects and take up American history." 
The girls were too abashed to remonstrate, and 

34 WJntt Broke Up the Literary. 

the motion was put and carried without an objecting 

The decision of the class was most cordially 
indorsed by the best thought of the community. 
The editor of the Pikevillo Guard complimented 
the ladies in an editorial of unusual felicity of 
expression, and called them the daughters of Clio, 
incidentally remarking that no other town in 
Missouri could present such an aggregation of cult 
ure, beauty and true womanliness. To this the 
Midland Banner retorted with cutting sarcasm, 
which involved both newspapers in a long and 
acrimonious discussion, from which Pikcvillc and 
the Guard emerged with added distinction and 
renewed pride. 

In the meantime the class was progressing fa 
mously, and so skillful was the leadership of Miss 
Sophronia, and so helpful the suggestions of her 
experience, that tho young men of the town were 
in a constant condition of mental depression and 
becoming sense of inferiority. The essays were 
not infrequently published in the Guard, and 
although the Banner, by the sneaking and repre 
hensible employment of parallel columns, sought 
to prove that they wore copied literally from ency 
clopaedias and histories, the Guard repelled the 
accusation with such denunciatory vehemence that 
the society voted the editor thereof a special reso 
lution of thanks, and in turn was honored by the 

What Broke Up tlic Literary. 35 

publication of an original complimentary poem, 
containing many flowers of rhetoric and pearls of 

And so matters ran along smoothly. The 
attendance was large, the ladies were enthusiastic, 
the tea was delicious, and the beaten biscuits and 
the macaroons transcended criticism. One day 
Miss Almira Putney rose to read an essay on the 
Pilgrim Fathers. As was perfectly natural and 
commendable, Miss Almira eulogized these gentle 
men, long deceased, spoke of their troubles and 
persecutions, of their strike for freedom of religious 
conviction, of their heroism, their steadfastness of 
religious integrity, and of the great impress they 
left upon the country. When Miss Almira had 
finished and the matter was before the society for 
discussion,, Miss Daisy Camden observed that 
while, of course, she could not speak from actual 
knowledge, she had always understood that the 
Pilgrims were a common job-lot sort of people. 
Miss Almira, with rising color, desired to know 
where she had procured such valuable information. 
Miss Daisy promptly replied that she had been so 
informed by her father, Judge Camden ; where 
upon Miss Almira said " Oh ! " with a peculiar and 
significant intonation. Miss Daisy requested the 
privilege of informing Almira Putney that her 
father belonged to the F. F. V. s, the first fam 
ilies of Virginia. Miss Putney blandly asked per- 

36 \Yha1 ttrokc Up the Li/cntry. 

mission to enlighten Daisy Camdcn ; that she also 
belonged to the F. F. V. s, the iirst families of 
Vermont. Miss Daisy laughed a very unnatural 
and unpleasant laugh, and her dearest friend, Miss 
Virgie Cooper, tittered. At this point Miss 
Sophronia interfered, and warned the young ladies 
that personalities would not be permitted. Miss 
Daisy explained that personally she had the warm 
est regard for Almira, and Miss Almira admitted 
that she was devoted to Daisy. The matter then 

At the next meeting of the society Miss Evie 
Dallas read a thoughtful essay on the depressing 
influence of Salem witchcraft. Miss Dallas s 
parents, as South Carolinians, had transmitted 
to Miss Evie in natural inheritance a somewhat 
one-sided view of Puritan character, and the 
young lady, in the course of literary preparation, 
interpolated many spicy personal opinions touch 
ing the ignorant superstition of the Puritans, 
particularly exemplified by Cotton Mather. 

Miss Tosie Adair was astonished. She could 
not conceive how anybody could have obtained such 
opinions of Doctor Mather. 

Miss Evie replied that she had consulted her 
father, the junior member of the firm of Camden 
& Dallas, and he had told her that Cotton 
Mather was a crack-brained old fanatic, but that 

What Broke Up the Literary. 37 

she had decided to mitigate this opinion as unlady 

Miss Tosie, with blazing eyes, presumed that 
Miss Evie did not know that she was descended 
from Doctor Mather through her mother,, whose 
maternal grandmother belonged to the Mathers of 

Miss Evie reddened, and said that unfortunately 
she did not, but since the matter had been brought 
up she felt compelled to stand by the truths of 

To this Miss Tosie replied, with a sneer, that 
since " history " was invoked she would admit that 
the good people of Salem had been a little hasty ; 
but at least they had acted conscientiously, think 
ing they were pleasing God, and not from malig- 
nance, which had led certain people in other parts 
of the country to torture and kill poor, unoffend 
ing black men. 

At this there was a great sensation, and several 
of the ladies said, " Oh I Oh ! " Miss Sophronia 
called Miss Tosie to order and gently rebuked her. 

Miss Tosie apologized to the ladies of the class 
for anything that might appear unparliamentary, 
but, as for herself and her family, they did not 
wish association with anybody who maligned their 
ancestors. The emphasis on "family" made Miss 
Evie redden more deeply, and caused the ladies to 
turn awav their heads and smile, for the preference 

38 What Broke Up the Literary. 

for Miss Tosie s brother exhibited bv Miss Evie 
had been town gossip for mouths. 

When the perplexing and demoralizing sub 
ject of the Puritans had been overcome by the 
happy arrival of the eighteenth century, amicable 
relations were completely restored. Miss Daisy 
staid all night with Miss Almira, and Miss Evie, in 
that deft, winning, woman s way, smoothed things 
over with Miss Tosie s brother, and declared that 
a visit to Connecticut was the dream of her lii e. 
And so the even current ran along through the 
French and Indian war, on and past the stirring- 
scenes of the Ee volution and the troublous times 
of 1812. It might be supposed that the various 
political distinctions of the United States govern 
ment would have troubled the ladies. Kot a bit 
of it. Each member of the class had her particu 
lar essay, and, recognizing the former disasters, the 
audience always preserved a respectful demeanor, 
and asked no questions. It was feared that Miss 
Virgie Cooper s position on the Missouri Compro 
mise might excite a little hostility, but as she 
refrained from all personal opinions and adhered 
closely to the text of the authorities, the danger 
was averted. 

In fact the ladies were felicitating themselves 
that they had now progressed beyond all possible 
collisions and outbreaks, and were sure of their 
tempers and good humor. Moreover, such was 

What Broke Up flic Literary. 39 

Miss Sophronia s tact, and so firm and adroit was 
her administration, that every tendency toward 
personalities was quickly repressed. But it chanced 
that Miss Sophronia was invited to go to Midland 
to address the young ladies of the Methodist 
college on the centripetal quality of the Ego, and 
in her absence the duties of the chair devolved 
upon the vice-president, Miss Sadie Boone. Miss 
Sadie entered upon the task with no little trepida 
tion, for, while she was very pretty and popular 
withal, she knew as little of parliamentary usage 
as the sacred cow knows about the music of the 

Unluckily, that day Miss Winnie Schuyler had 
prepared an essay on the missionary work of John 
Brown in Kansas. Miss Winnie warmed to her 
subject, and described the fearful odds against 
which this heroic man contended in his glorious 
struggle for freedom. She followed him to Vir 
ginia, to Harper s Ferry, and, after he had been 
executed with due solemnity, she invested him 
with a martyr s crown and a halo of surpassing 

In the discussion that followed Mrs. Crawford 
remarked that she supposed that everybody nowa 
days knew that John Brown was a law-breaker and 
a thief, and properly suffered a felon s death. 

Miss Winnie replied that under the terms of the 

40 What Broke Up the Literary. 

Missouri Compromise the extension of slavery had 
been strictly prohibited. 

Miss Daisy Camden thought that the extension 
of slaver.y had nothing to do with the case ; that 
John Brown was an old freebooter who pillaged 
and murdered just for the love of excitement. 

Miss Tosie Adair believed that Miss Daisy was 
unduly influenced by the thought that she must 
stick up for Virginia. 

Miss Daisy emphatically responded that she was 
not moved by any such consideration ; that she 
merely repeated an opinion which she had heard 
her father give. And she presumed that the ladies 
would admit that her father was perfectly compe 
tent to give an opinion worth respecting. 

Miss Joanna Brown spoke with great agitation 
and ill-concealed wrath. She gave the ladies to 
understand that her father had known and fought 
under Captain Brown in Kansas, and that she had 
been named in honor of that good man. As a 
babe she had been held in his arms, and she would 
allow nobody to asperse his memory while she had 
a tongue to defend him. 

Miss Virgie Cooper jocularly answered that 
nobody ever doubted that Joanna had a tongue, 
and Miss Evie Dallas slyly remarked that as John 
Brown had departed this life thirty years ago, 
Joanna s remembrance could not be disputed by 

What Broke Up the Literary. 41 

the ladies present. This keen feminine thrust 
caused Miss Joanna to wince with pain. 

Miss Almira Putney took the* floor. She 
said that in the absence of Miss Sophronia 
she had endeavored to keep quiet, but that 
the outcropping of old rebel sentiment was be 
coming offensive to an unbearable degree. In 
view of the heated condition of the ladies, she 
would move an adjournment, but she gave no 
tice that at the next meeting she would throw 
aside all reserve and produce authorities to place 
the onus of the civil war on the rebels, where it 
properly belonged. 

In seconding the motion to adjourn, Mrs. Craw 
ford protested against the use of the word 
"rebels," and promised, on her side, to be present 
with a counterblast of authorities. And so Miss 
Sadie Boone, being on the verge of insanity, or 
at least of tears, declared the meeting adjourned. 

When the news of the rupture in the " literary " 
spread about town, as it quickly did, all Pikeville 
was in a nutter. Ten years before it would have 
been impossible to start a discussion of this nature, 
but immigration had wrought many changes, and 
Pikeville had even enjoyed the novelty of a Repub 
lican mayor. Still the old Southern element 
strongly prevailed, and in this circle Miss So- 
phronia was heartily condemned. " Of co se," said 
Judge Camden, magnanimously, "the repo ts that 

42 What liruke Vp tJic Literar//. 

my daughter brings me may be exaggerated, but I 
reckon the Yankee school-teacher is a mischief- 
maker." This candid declaration from the Judge 
was regarded as particularly significant, for his 
attentions to Miss Sophronia had been noted by all 
the ladies as presaging a change in his domestic 

Miss Sophronia was much distressed by the 
unfortunate turn of events, and repaired to the 
Presbyterian minister for advice. The worthy 
man counseled her to address the throne of grace, 
but., as she had already done that two or three times 
without visible results, she despaired of active 
Providential interference. At last she decided to 
appeal to the ladies in open session, and trust to 
their good nature and good sense. In the mean 
time the most awful condition of affairs prevailed. 
Miss Tosie Adair had so ingeniously poisoned the 
mind of her brother that he had broken an engage 
ment to take Miss Evie Dallas to the mite sociable, 
whereat Miss Evie had spent the nig-ht in tears. 
Miss Daisy Camden cut Miss Almira Putney dead 
on the street, and Miss Almira, in return, told 
Miss Daisy s best young man that she now believed 
that Daisy was descended from Poeahontas because 
she looked it. Miss Posie Mercer was found to be 
authority for the story that Miss Winnie Schuyler s 
grandfather was a common shoemaker in New 
Hampshire, and Miss Winnie gave it out that a 

What Broke Vp the Literary. 43 

young man from Boston, who had summered in 
Pikeville, had mittened Miss Posie and gone home 
in disgust because she spelled " "buggy " with one g. 
To add to the general perturbation the Midland 
Banner came into possession of .the facts, and 
printed the most atrocious doggerel, satirizing the 
ladies, and vulgarly calling upon the young men to 
resort to arms, a specimen of low wit which the 
editor of the Guard promptly and crushingly 

When Tuesday afternoon came around, and the 
society met at the residence of Mrs. Crawford, the 
ladies appeared, their arms loaded with books. 
Miss Sophronia saw with uneasiness that the Con 
federates were ranged on one side of the room, and 
the Union cohorts on the other. She also noticed 
a number of little brothers on the sidewalk, and 
gathered from their high juvenile voices and 
occasional cries of "Eats "and "Come off," that 
preliminary skirmishing had begun. The authori 
ties were piled on the table and sofa. Here was 
Kedpath s Life of John Brown, and here Sheahan s 
Life of Douglas. Here Horace Greeley s Con 
federate States, and Alex. Stephens^ War Be 
tween the Slates, and Jeff Davis s Rise and Fall 
of the Southern Confederacy, and Pollard s Lost 
Cause, and Hill s War on the Border, and Sneed s 
Fight for Missouri, and Johnston s Narrative of 
Military Operations, and liord s War Memories, 

44 }\ haf Broke Vp the Literary. 

and a dozen other volumes of less note. And last 
of all came Miss Almira Putney, panting and 
blowing, and bearing huge books of the Records 
of the Rebellion, looking very wicked and very 

Miss Sophronia sighed, and the look of trouble 
deepened on her countenance. She gave an 
appealing glance to Miss Almira, who had dropped 
the Records on the carpet with a defiant bang, and 
cleared her voice and said : 

" Ladies, it has been assigned to me to prepare an 
essay on the causes leading up to the attack on 
Fort Sumter in our late deplorable civil war. 1 
have not done so, for reasons that will appeal 1 per 
fectly proper to you. The war, ladies, closed 
twenty-five years ago. I think I may say, without 
giving offense, that Miss Brown and myself are the 
only ones present who can recall the slightest 
phase of that terrible conflict. You, my dear 
Daisy, were not born, nor you, Virgie, nor you, 
Sadie, nor you, Winnie, Tosie and Almira, How 
absurd, then, is it that now in this reunited 
country AVC should be governed by the simulation 
of passions that we have never felt, to the disrup 
tion of our pleasant intercourse and the disband- 
ment of our society." 

"Almira Putney had no right to call us rebels," 
said Miss Posie Mercer. 

"Excuse me, but I had the right; and here" 

What Broke Up ilic Literary. 45 

(tapping the Records significantly) "it is," replied 
Miss Almira. 

"And here," broke in Miss Yirgie Cooper, "is 
Mr. Davis s testimony that you are all wrong." 

" Bah ! " cried Miss Winnie Schuylcr ; " how 
absurd to take the biggest traitor in the pack as an 
authority on loyalty." 

"Winnie Schuyler," said Miss Daisy Camden, 
passionately, "how dare you call Mr. Davis a 
traitor ? Did you ever see Mr. Davis ? " 
"No, and I never wanted to." 
"Well, I have, and he s no traitor, but a real 
nice, polite old gentleman. I ve got his picture, 
and his autograph, too. " 
" Well, you can keep them. " 
" Thank you, I mean to, and pretty well hidden 
when there is anybody from Connecticut in the 

" If the ladies will remember that they are ladies, 
and not lose their tempers," said MissEvie Dallas, 
with emphasis, "I should like to read a chapter 
from Pollard s Lost Cause." 

" Let s see ; Pollard was another rebel, wasn t 
he ?" queried Miss Brown. 

"No, he wasn t a rebel," retorted Miss Evie, 
angrily; "he sympathized with the Confederate 

" With the what kind of government ? " asked 
Miss Brown, tauntingly. " With the Confederate 

1f; \\lml llrnkc I p the Literary. 

government ? Wasn t that the government that 
supported Quantrell and Anderson ?" 

"At Jill events/ replied MissEvie, with tears in 
her eyes, "it didn t support Red Legs, who came 
over from Kansas and murdered my uncle John, 
whom I never saw. - 

" Well, if you never saw him, what are you crying 
for ? " put in Miss Almira. " I don t believe he ever 
wasted a thought on his posthumous relations." 
" Ladies, ladies ! " said Miss Sophronia, 
Miss Yirgie Cooper rose with great and impress 
ive dignity. "I am not ashamed to say that I am 
descended from rebels, or whatever you choose to 
call them, Almira Putney. My grandmother 
hung a Confederate flag out of her window in the 
full sight of the Yankee troops, and my father 
chased a Yankee ten miles into the next county. 
I am not chasing Yankees myself, but I am not 
bound to associate with them. Come, Daisy." 

Miss Tosie Ad air took the iloor. " I am going 
myself," she said, "and Winnie is going with me. 
I have often heard about plantation manners, and 
have been anxious for an exhibition. My curiosity 
is satisfied." 

"In handing in my resignation," spoke up Miss 
Evie Dallas, "I wish to say that I am perfectly 
shocked by the display of brutality on the part of 
Northern women. I am glad that my experience 
begins and ends here." 

What Broke Up flic Literary. 47 

"So am I," snapped Miss Almira Putney. Miss 
Almiru had a peppery tongue. 

One by one the ladies picked up their books, 
put on their gloves, bowed stiffly to the president 
and the hostess, and left the room. And then 
Miss Sophronia, the erudite, the profound, the 
honorary member of the great Browning, Goethe, 
Dante and Ibsen societies of the country, the cor 
responding secretary of the Emersonian Daughters 
of the Southwest, the founder of the Missouri 
branch of the Society for the Centripetency of the 
Ego, walked over to Mrs. Crawford, put her head 
on her shoulder, and wept. 

The most disastrous results followed the dis- 
bandment of the society. Although the Guard, 
ever alert to the interests of Pikeville, carefully 
excluded all reports of the calamity from its 
columns, the local feeling, was intense, and showed 
itself in the high social circles. The young man 
who traveled for a St. Louis hat house was invited 
by Miss Sadie Boone to thrash Miss Joanna 
Brown s brother. Having performed this valorous 
feat, he boasted of it in a billiard room, and was in 
turn soundly trounced by young Mr. Adair. 
Hearing of the disgraceful proceeding, Deacon 
Dallas sent word to young Mr. Adair that as he 
frequented billiard halls he should come to his 
house "no moV This sentence of proscription 
sent Miss Evie to her bed for three days. Judge 

48 What Broke Up the Literary. 

Camclen and ex-Mayor Schuyler came to blows in 
front of the Methodist church, and the Coopers 
and the Putiicys, who had occupied adjoining 
pews for five years, declined to mingle as of yore in 
the consolations of religion. 

So things ran on from bad to worse for three 
months. One evening Judge Oamden, whose fifty 
years sat lightly on him, and who was esteemed 
the likeliest widower in the country round about, 
was walking jauntily to the post-office when he 
encountered Miss Sophronia. 

"Good evening, Miss Sophronya," said the 
Judge, gallantly ; "a charming evening." 

Miss Sophronia blushed a little, as an elderly 
maiden should, and admitted that the evening was 
indeed unexceptionable. 

"Miss Sophronya," went on the jurist, "doyo 
know, madam, that I feel that in some way yo and 
I are responsible for the present strained relations 
in this community ?" 

The lady was more agitated than ever. The 
Judge was a personable gentleman, and in every 
way qualified to impress a maidenly heart not too 
young. Moreover, she had been warned to look 
out for the Judge. 

" Feeling, as I said befo , that we are responsible 
for this state of affairs, what do yo ? say, madam, 
to a sacrifice on yo part to reconcile the North and 
the South ? Will yo accept me, madam, as a 

What Broke Up the Literary. 49 

hostage ? Shall it be Virginia and Massachusetts, 
now and forever, one and inseparable ? " 

Miss Sophronia was overcome. She did the 
best thing possible under the circumstances, sat 
down on a convenient gate step and gasped out: 
" Why, Judge ! " 

When it became known that Judge Camden and 
Miss Sophronia were engaged, all Pikeville weaved 
and tottered. Miss Daisy flew out to the Putneys, 
fell on Miss Almira s neck and wept tears of sor 
row and joy, and forgiveness, and remorse. Dea 
con Dallas cordially invited young Mr. Adair to 
supper, and Miss Evie was at her best. The Put 
neys and the Coopers occupied the same pew at 
prayer-meeting, and the representative of the hat 
firm presented to Mr. Brown one of his very best 
samples as a token of perfect reconciliation. 

"This country," said the Judge, "is all right. 
What it needs is one or two statesmen to keep 
things smooth and level, and by mutual conces 
sions to hold the ship of state to its co se." 

But when the Judge stood up in the crowded 
church, and saw the smiling faces of his old rebel 
and Yankee friends, and heard the parson s solemn 
question : "Do you take this woman to be your 
wedded wife ? " he answered : 

" I do," - and with a droll emphasis that set the 
^congregation tittering, "but no mo literaries," 

Placed with Thomas. 


THE boys had gathered in John Kingman s 
grocery. It wasn t much of a grocery, but, for 
that matter, Elk Grove wasn t much of a town ; so 
accounts balanced. Why Elk Grove was called 
Elk Grove is a question as hard to answer as the 
fair Juliet s impatient query, "Wherefore art thou 
Romeo ?" Some people ask foolish questions with 
no expectation of a satisfactory answer. The few 
houses that composed the town were dumped out 
on a wide and cheerless prairie in Western Kansas, 
and, while it is possible that in bygone ages an 
elk may have passed along on his way to a more 
congenial stamping-ground, there never was any 
scientific reason for supposing that a grove could 
by any chance have been a feature of the place. 
One argument was that the town originally was 
Elk Grave, so called from the discovery of bones 
supposed to belong to the cervine family, and that 
when the Santa Ee road put up a little station and 
made out a new time-table a typographical error 
changed the Grave to Grove, an indignity which 
the haughty and autocratic magnates refused to 
rectify. This explanation may be taken for what 


54 He Played with Thomas. 

it is worth,, but it is cited merely to show how the 
railroad power in Kansas has ridden arbitrarily 
over the intentions and desires of the people. 

Evidently the road favored not only offering a 
slight, but rubbing it in as well, for it persisted 
in treating Elk Grove as a whistling-station, and 
trains seldom stopped save to put off a tramp or 
repair the engine. Indeed, it began to be whispered 
about that the conductors saved up their tramps 
for Elk Grove, and it was noticed that when the 
engineer pulled out he wore a grin hideous in its 
malignant cunning. Several indignation meet 
ings were called, and it was resolved to carry the 
matter to Topeka, but the subsequent reflection 
that the railroad owned the legislature and the 
entire machinery from Governor down to janitor 
put an end to that scheme. So the boys soothed 
their feelings by rallying at John Kingman s gro 
cery and drinking success to prohibition and con 
fusion to tramps and railroad conductors. 

On the night sacred to the incidents of this tale 
the rally was a little larger than usual. The 
Hanks boys were there, and the Blilers ; Bill 
Cook and his cousin Tom ; Sam Chesney, the 
toughest man in the district; Joe Ardway, with 
a record of three men ; Captain Matthews, the 
marshal, and two cowboys, visiting the town and 
always agreeable to anything that promised exer 
cise and relaxation. John Kingman was in good 

He Played with Thomas. 55 

spirits, and as he shoved the dried apples behind 
the counter and put a few more boards on the 
cracker boxes, lie intimated that the liquor was 

As might have been expected from so sprightly 
and jovial an assemblage, the conversation turned 
humorously on the attitude of the railroad toward 
Elk Grove^ and the still more perplexing attitude 
of the town toward tramps. Joe Ardway contended 
that Captain Matthews, as town marshal, was 
derelict in his duty in failing to take extreme 
measures against the output of through travel. 
The marshal replied that his duties were circum 
scribed; that he regretted to say that tramps as a 
rule had been perfectly peaceable, and that he 
would not be justified under the statutes and his 
oath of office in shooting a man whose only offense 
was breathing. 

To this position one of the visiting cow gentle 
men, in a perfectly calm and dignified tone, took 
exception. He pointed out that a tramp without 
home and money was necessarily a wretched being, 
whom it would be a kindness to put out of his 
misery. He believed it was the duty of mankind 
to alleviate pain and suffering, and he knew of no 
medicine so quick and sure -in action as a bullet 
administered with a steady hand and an unerring 


This opinion excited a general discussion. It 

56 lie Played with Thomas. 

was cordially indorsed by Sam Chesney and the 
Blilers, and gently criticised by Bill Cook. Mr. 
Cook believed that it was the sense of the com 
munity to breathe a spirit of toleration, lie 
admitted that tramps were no good, and deserved a 
little touching up, but he couldn t countenance 
anything worse for a first offense than hanging 
not hanging to death, of course, but just long 
enough to give a good choking and a scare. And 
he quoted from the beatitudes: "Blessed are the 
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." For Mr. 
Cook was quite a scholar, in his way, and, rumor 
said, had taught in Sunday-school back east. 

The calm judicial manner and scriptural quota 
tion were not without a quieting effect on the 
audience, already slightly inflamed by the potency 
of Mr. Kingman s hospitality, and the convention 
had settled down to the discussion of the minor 
penalties of mob law, when three sharp whistles 
signaled the approach of the night express from 
the west. Bill Cook shrugged his shoulders, the 
Bliler boys laughed, and Joe Ardway looked signifi 
cantly at Captain Matthews and grunted : 
" Tramps ! " 

Mr. Kingman was equal to the emergency. He 
lighted the lantern and passed it to the marshal, 
who took it and walked out without a word, the 
boys falling in in single file. AVhen fifty yards 
from the station, they saw the conductor on the 

Ho Played with Thomas. 57 

platform raise his foot, give it a careless, easy 
swing, and a dark object shot from the train and 
rolled over into the ditch. Somebody called out, 
" Go ahead ; " a sardonic laugh floated back from 
the cab ; the bell rang, and the express puffed off to 
the east. 

The night was dark, and the marshal flashed his 
lantern vigorously before the dark object was seen 
wiggling up the sides of the ditch like a copper 
head in a cactus. " I ve got him," said Sam Ches- 
ney. " Come up to the hotel, young feller, and 
join in the festivities you ve interrupted." 

So back to the grocery the party went, the 
shivering tramp surrounded by his captors, who 
regaled him with fragmentary discourse touching 
the last public execution in Elk Grove. And 
when Kingman had lighted another lamp in honor 
of the occasion, they shoved him into the middle 
of the room for general examination. 

He was not a young fellow after all, but a middle- 
aged man, the picture of woe and degradation. 
lie was emaciated, ragged and dirty beyond the 
usual limitations of the tramp. His clothes were 
marvelous in their infinite variety. Hunger and 
disease showed in his sunken eyes and cheeks, and 
he tenderly passed a trembling hand over the con 
tusions produced by his fall and the conductor s 

" Well," said Joe Ardway, " what do you want ? " 

58 Ho Played with Thomas. 

" It occurs to me, gentlemen," replied the tramp, 
"that it is not what I want, but what you want. 
However, since you are so kind as to put it that 
way, I will say, without delay, that I would like a 

The boys were immediately impressed with the 
reasonableness and good sense of this request, and 
Kingman poured out a grown man s supply, which 
the tramp seized eagerly and gulped down to the 
last drop. 

"Now," said Mr. Ardway, winking at the boys, 
" p Yaps you don t know that there is a law ag in 
tramps in this town ? " 

The tramp smiled in a sickly manner that might 
have been a confession either of ignorance or 

"Well, there is, a very good and just law. It 
passed this house ten minutes before your train 
got in, and it means death." 

Still the tramp sat silent and unmoved. After 
a moment he spoke, with a sort of weary despond 
ency of tone : 

" I don t suppose it would make any difference 
to me or anybody else how soon death comes to me. 
I haven t long to live at the most, and a few days 
more or less don t matter." 

Mr. Ardway gave the boys another wink. "I m 
glad to see you resigned, and we ll make it as easy 
for you as we ran. There ain t no particular hurry, 

He Played with Thomas. 50 

and if there s anythhr you d like to say or do spe 
cial before we begin, you can go ahead." 

The tramp looked listlessly about him. On the 
shelf behind the counter, just over George Biiler s 
head, was a violin. It belonged to Kingmairs 
oldest boy, who played for his father s customers 
whenever they were musically inclined. A flash 
of joy came into the tramp s eyes, and he said, in 
a tone that was almost tender : 

"I see a violin up there. It has been many 
months since I have held one in my hands. I 
think I should like to play again to-night." 

" Oh, come off," said Mr. Chesney ; " this ain t no 
musical conservatory." 

" That s all right, Sam," interposed Mr. Ardway ; 
" if he wants to give a concert it ain t gentlemanly to 
object." Then to the tramp: "We didn t know 
when we saw you get tin oft at our humble depot 
that you was a concert artist." 

"I played the violin for many years," said the 
tramp, "when I was with Thomas." 

" Oh, see here, what are you givin us ? There 
wasn t no violin-playing in the army, and you 
don t look as if you d ever had spunk enough to 
fight a rabbit." 

The boys looked at Tom Hanks approvingly. 
Tom had a war record, and knew every division 
and brigade commander by name and history. 

"I didn t say I ever was in the army," said the 

60 He Played with Thomas. 

tramp, humbly. "I meant that I played with 
Thomas, the orchestra leader, you know." 

"Oh, that s different," grunted Mr. Hanks, and 
he looked at the boys as if to intimate that he 
was on personal terms with the Thomases of all 

" I was a happy fellow in those days, gentlemen," 
went 011 the tramp, almost caressing the fiddle that 
George handed to him. "It was back in New 
York, and I was young and ambitious. Perhaps 
you don t care for music. At all events, you ve 
probably never played in a great orchestra with 
your blood tingling and a crash of harmony all 
around you." 

"I m sorry to say," put in Mr. Ardway, dryly, 
"as how most of us gave up our music when we 
were young, although we are reckoned right lively 
connysuers. " 

" It was glorious," said the tramp, without seem 
ing to notice the apology. " Here stood Thomas, 
waving the baton, and here I sat at his left, in the 
first row of the violins. Down below me, and 
stretching back and to the right and to the left, is 
the brilliant audience, with eyes fastened on us, 
and not a rustle to disturb the music. We open 
with the overture to Rienzi." 

The tramp had been tuning the instrument as 
lie talked. Then he squared bark and fiddled 

Ho Played with 61 

away with such rapidity and vehemence that the 
boys looked on astonished. 

"Your tekneek seems to be all right/ said Bill 
Cook, who had acquired a musical education at 
concerts in Dodge City, " but I ain t much stuck 
on that tune." 

The criticism appeared to bring the tramp back 
to a realization of his position. He laid down the 
fiddle and sighed. " I don t know why it is, but 
when the fit strikes me I feel like playing a whole 
programme. But what s the use ? If you don t 
have the brass and the reeds and the great volume 
behind you, how can you convey the grand inspira 
tion of Wagner ? " 

"Sure," said Mr. Cook, who felt that his reputa 
tion demanded that he should say something. 

"This may be very choice," broke in Mr. Ches- 
ney, impatiently, "but if you had such a soft snap 
why didn t you freeze to it ? " 

"That s just it," bitterly replied the tramp. 
" What did it ? Why, whisky, of course. I don t 
preach any temperance sermon, but whisky cost 
me my place and reputation, set me adrift, brought 
me West, subjected me to hunger and cold and 
exposure, and brought on the disease that s about 
finished me. I was trying to get back home when 
the brakeman caught me. It was a chance any 
body might take. The longing to go home was 
too strong to resist, and I thought if I could reach 

62 He Played with Thomas. 

Topeka I might find friends to help me. But 
perhaps it doesn t make any difference, for I can t 
last long, anyway." 

If anybody had looked in Mr. Cook s face he 
would have seen a sort of twitching around the 
corners of Mr. Cook s mouth and a pitying expres 
sion in Mr. Cook s eyes. Mr. Ardway, too, had a 
much gentler tone when he said : 

"It s the opinion of this meeting that your 
tunes are out of date. You ain t up to the times, 
and you ain t no credit to Kansas. It wouldn t be 
right to send you back without some signs of 
progress. Can t you play the Washerwoman s 
Dance or a heel and toe, or something with music 
in it ? " 

The tramp struck up a lively air, and the boys 
grinned and kept time with their feet on King- 
man s barrels. Then the music came slower and 
slower, and the boot accompaniments stopped. 
The tramp s eyes were closed,, and his mind had 
wandered again. It was a simple melody he 
played, but it touched the boys, and no city 
audience could have listened with more profound 
attention to the orchestra of which the tramp had 
been a part. Twice lie played it with increasing 
fervor, and then he changed the theme and 
played, one after another, the airs that are popular 
in all sections of the country, and that, somehow, 
are alwavs associated with home and childhood 

Ho Played with Thomas. 63 

and better days. And old John Kingman listened 
in amazement. He could not believe that the 
beautiful tones he heard came from his boy s old 
fiddle. Still the tramp played on, until Captain 
Matthews, who sat near him, swore that he saw 
two tears come from his closed eyes and roll down 
his cheeks. 

Sam Chesney drew a long breath. " That s the 
sort," said Mr. Chesney. Mr. Ardway held a hur 
ried consultation with the Blilers and the Hanks 
boys and Bill Cook. Then he said, with great 
gravity : 

"Stranger, it s the vote of this meeting that 
you ve had a run of uncommon hard luck, and 
been imposed on by circumstances. If a man 
wants to go home and die/there ain t no kick com 
ing to Elk Grove. So we ve decided to make a 
pool and buy a ticket to Topeka, and start you off 
in style. Kingman s got a store-room back here, 
where there ain t nothing portable, and you can 
get a shakedown to-night and a square meal in the 
morning. You ll be expected to turn up after 
breakfast and fiddle us a few of them good old 
tunes, and we ll have the ladies down to hear you. 
Then we ll fix you out and flag the train and start 
you off." 

If there was any doubt about the tears in the 
tramp s eyes when Cap. Matthews watched him, 
there was none now. " Believe me, gentlemen," 

04 He Flayed with Thomas. 

lie said, " I am not entirely unworthy of your kind- 
ness, even if I never repay you. I wasn t always 
what I am now, and what I am you can see I shall 
not be very long." 

Mr. Chesney escorted the tramp to his lodging 
in the rear of the grocery, and Mr. Kingman and 
Mr. Ardway brought in a quilt and a pile of empty 
sacks, with an old army coat for a pillow. After 
the others had gone out Mr. Chesney lingered. 

"I say, stranger," he said ; "what was that tune 
you played just after the jig ? " 

The tramp pondered a moment. His face 
brightened. "That was the Ave Maria." 

" What s the Avvy Mareea ? " asked the puzzled 
Mr. Chesney. 

"The Ave Maria," replied the tramp, "is a 
prayer to the Mother. I played it a hundred 
times when I was with Thomas." 

Mr. Chesney helped old John lock up that 
night. Then the two men took the lantern and 
went around and looked in at the window. The 
tramp was lying on the quilts, and a peaceful look 
was on his thin face. Once he stirred and smiled 
in his sleep. "He thinks he s playing the Avvy 
Mareea," said Mr. Chesney. 

And they tiptoed away, lest their presence 
might alarm the Mother, 

of Ransas. 


EVERYBODY knew Tubbs. Along the line of 
the Santa Fe, from the old historic city of Law 
rence, with its prim Puritan air, and its college 
atmosphere, far beyond Dodge City, where the 
playful cowboy " rounds up the tenderfoot," and 
disturbs the night with the joyous crack of the 
revolver, his name was a household word, and his 
deeds were a family lesson. 

Tubbs was not a founder. He came from a long- 
line of distinguished Tubbses, every one of them a 
Republican and every one a Methodist, "for which 
God in Ilis infinite wisdom and mercy be praised," 
said Tubbs, with great unction. 

More than thirty years ago Tubbs went to the 
first political convention at Topeka, and never 
thereafter missed a rally of the cohorts. " Forty 
years a voter, and, thank God, never a vote for a 
Democrat," said Tubbs. And a heavenly smile 
lighted up his face, and a sweet expression of rest 
gave evidence of the tranquil spirit within. The 
quality of Tubbs s Republicanism was not strained. 
At each succeeding political contest the old man 

08 Tubh* of Kansas. 

enunciated his principles : " I m for the nominee 
an ag in the Democratic party." 

" What do you think about tariff reform ? " 
anxiously asked a doubting neighbor. 

"Is it in the platform ?" queried Tubbs. 


" Then I m ag in it. When you ve lived in Kan 
sas as long as I have, young man, and voted the 
straight Republican ticket as many years, you ll 
stand by the platform just as we used to stand by 
free soil in the dark days." 

AVhereat the party leaders would smile and say : 
" Yfis, we can bank on Tubbs. " 

Tubbs lived in one of the outlying counties, a 
man of property and influence. He raised stock 
enough for his own uses, and his vast acres of corn 
and wheat smiled in every direction. By way of 
innocuous diversion he looked after the spiritual 
welfare of his neighbors at the periodic Methodist 
awakenings. And he read, as he had read for 
years, straight Republican literature, and was not 
quite positive in his own mind that the war was 
over, and that the rebels had been reduced to a 
proper state of subjection. 

For social gayeties, in the general sense of the 
word, Tubbs cared little or nothing. "Dancing 
and such like frivolities," he was wont to say, "are 
ag in the perfect letter of the law, and contrary to 
the teaching of the spirit." But Tubbs had 

Tubb* of Kansas. 60 

married a woman who knew a thing or two about 
domestic discipline and was not disinclined to 
resent too close application of the doctrine of per 
fect holiness when it interfered with her worldly 
ambitions. For, although the country was new 
and society was in its formative stage, she already 
had aspirations to be recognized as the society 
leader of the county. So, when the new house 
was built, and the furniture had come from the 
city, she determined to give a ball that should 
settle the local leadership then and there. That 
ball is still the talk of the country roundabout, for 
Mrs. Tubbs, with a keen appreciation of the crisis, 
"laid herself out," as the local papers had it, and 
"accomplished a triumph worthy the best efforts 
of Lucullus." But at nine o clock, as the festivi 
ties were beginning to alarm the wondering live 
stock, the mysterious absence of Tubbs was noted 
and whispered about. Search was instituted, and 
lantern parties organized, and the old man w T as at 
last discovered in the barn, fast asleep in the hay 
mow. For, as he subsequently explained, "a 
working man has no business turning night into 
day, and cavorting about on pleasure after nine 
o clock." This mark of disapproval did in no way 
interfere with the pleasure of the merrymakers, 
but it vastly increased Tubbs s standing and power 
in the councils of the church. 

One day the arch-tempter, who had been hang- 

70 Tubb* of Kansas. 

ing around for years trying to get a good whack at 
Tubbs, came to him in the form of a neighbor, a 
late arrival, of Mugwumpish tendencies, and a 
Baptist, two reasons why Tubbs regarded him with 
suspicion and distrust. "You re all off on this 
tariff question, Tubbs," said the evil one. Tuhbs 
smiled a little haughtily, but with certain Christ 
ian toleration, as prescribed by Wesleyan discipline. 

" Of course," went on this wily tempter, " I don t 
mean to argue the matter with you, because I can t 
cope with you in argument, but if you don t mind, 
I ll just leave these papers and pamphlets with yon 
and let you skin em over for yourself." 

"If them are Democratic papers," said Tubbs, 
suspiciously, "you can take em along. I ain t 
goin to have the folks on this farm pizened by 
that kind of truck." 

But later in the day Tubbs picked them up, " jest 
to see," he said, apologetically, to himself, "what 
the blamed fools have to say, anyhow." And from 
glancing he fell to reading, arid from reading lie 
went to thinking, and the result was that he sought 
his bed that night in great anguish of spirit. 

From that fateful hour Tubbs felt that he was a 
changed man. And none was quicker to see it 
than the wily neighbor, who never talked politics, 
but who pursued his advantage by dexterously 
throwing tariff reform documents in Tubbs s way, 
and scattering Democratic and Mugwump papers 

Tnbbs of Kansas. 71 

over the farm where Tubbs could run across them 
without compromising his standing as an old 
John Brown. Republican. And Tubbs read and 
thought, and read again, and his perplexity in 
creased, and the dark shadow rested on his soul. 

"It ain t right, Tilly," he said to his wife. 
"It s speshis, but it troubles me. It ain t good 
Methodist doctrine for Kansas, and it s ag in all 
the glorious and blessed results of the war, but, 
dang me, if it doesn t seem like common sense." 

"All this comes of trying to think for yourself," 
answered the wife, severely. "A man who helped 
put down the rebellion and gave one hundred 
dollars to build the first Methodist church in the 
county ain t got no business foolin around with 
rebel newspapers." 

"You re right, Tilly," said Tubbs, meekly, "but 
I can t quite make it out. If Plumb was here he 
could straighten me in ten minutes, and Barney 
Kelly could put me back in the fold, but my feet 
were almost gone and my steps had well nigh 

Time passed. Tubbs kept his own counsel and 
prayed, with all the fervor of his strong nature, to 
be delivered from the snares of the tempter. He 
felt that he wasn t true to Kansas ; that he was 
" goin ag in the platform ; " that he was violating 
one of the cardinal principles of his life and polit 
ical training, to vote the ticket and ask no ques^- 

72 Tubbs of Kansas. 

tions. To add to his perplexity and unrest he was 
made chairman of the county delegation to Topeka, 
and he watched, with anguish, his wife as she laid 
out upon the bed his Prince Albert coat and black 
striped trousers, and carefully brushed his high hat 
of many years service. 

When Tubbs reached Topeka his first act A\^as to 
call around at the Santa Fe general offices to pay 
his respects, in accordance with the unwritten law 
of delegates to the State convention. .And, as he 
shook hands with the high officers of state, and 
heard their kind and affectionate inquiries as to 
himself and family, and received instructions for 
the approaching contest, he thought of his doubts 
and his hours of unbelief ; of the heretical doctrine 
that he had devoured on the farm ; and the still, 
small voice of conscience seemed to say: "Tubbs, 
you ain t true to your trainin ; you ain t true to 
Kansas. " 

In the cool of the evening Tubbs strolled about 
the town, uneasy and full of^ remorse. It seemed 
to him that every man on the street pointed a fin 
ger at him and cried : "There goes a traitor who 
thinks for himself ! " Even the evolutions of the 
flambeau club and the stirring and beautiful songs 
of the Cyclones and Coyotes brought no diversion 
to his troubled spirit. And at nine o clock he with 
drew from the noisy throng and sought a little 
room on a back street, wherein he went hastily to 

Tubbs of Kansas. 73 

bed and dreamed that he was the Benedict Arnold 
of the century and was delivering the country over 
to the English free-traders, to the great indigna 
tion of a highly protected ram, which was mak 
ing for him with terrifying speed. And when he 
awoke in a great state of fear and perspiration it 
was four o clock. And he arose and dressed, " for, " 
says Tubbs, "I can t lay in the mo-ruin ." 

So Tubbs went down to the tavern, where he 
found the other members of the delegation sitting 
up against the office wall, waiting for the roosters 
to herald the advance of the king of day, and 
discussing a modification of the prohibition law to 
suit emergencies. To them, with evil and malicious 
intent, came a godless young man from a lost city 
in Missouri, and said : " Boys, I ve got a prime 
article down in my grip." And with one accord 
those statesmen arose and shouted, u Where ?" 

When Tubbs had taken a long and steady pull 
he felt better. And after breakfast two or three of 
the leading railroad magnates and statesmen of 
Kansas dropped around and talked to him pleas 
antly and convincingly. Unburdening himself, 
he told of his troubles and his doubts. Then con 
versation became general, and Tubbs went up 
stairs and took another longer and steadier pull, 
and declared that he was ready for the conflict. 

Looking at Tubbs in the convention hall it 
would have been difficult to recognize the sad, 

74 Tiibb* of Kansas. 

troubled old man who left his farm perplexed 
by free-trade pamphlets and tariff reform here 
sies. Tubbs was in his element. The old Kansas 
spirit was on him. 

"Again Afarengo s Held was won, 
And Jena s bloody battle." 

Again he was ready to fight for John Brown, 
or sheep, or tin plates, or cotton ties, or anything 
else that might be suggested. Again he was sur 
rounded by congenial spirits, and again the 
watchword was " Hooray ! " 

Tubbs fairly bubbled over with excitement. 
And when it seemed that his enthusiasm must 
have reached its height, the Coyotes, the sweet 
singers of that glorious day and generation, came 
forth and delivered themselves of a beautiful 
patriotic melody, of which the concluding deli 
cately sentimental lines ran as follows: 

" When old Cleveland lays him do\vn to die, 
And sees this grand army in the sky, 

He ll have nothing to do but roast and fry 

Keep in the middle of the road." 

"Hooray!" shouted Tubbs. "Glory, hallelu 
jah ! " 

The burst of enthusiasm excited by this fine bit 
of typical Kansas poetry having subsided, Tubbs 
arose and called upon that grand statesman and 
powerful advocate, Mr. llamfat, to "address the 
meetinV Mr. Ham fat came forward with alacrity. 
lie had made the question of the tariff a life-long 

Tubbs of Kansas. 75 

study, and was prepared to demolish all unfriendly 

"When," said Mr. Hamfat, "the hour of twelve 
has come, the American workingman uncovers his 
d inner-pail protected dinner-pail and takes 
out a slice of fresh, white American bread pro 
tected bread." 

" Hooray ! " shouted Tubbs. 

"Then he brings out a nice roll of fresh country 
American butter protected butter." 

"Hooray!" yelled Tubbs. 

" Then he draws forth a fine large slice of Ameri 
can beef protected beef." 

" Hooray ! hooray ! " gasped Tubbs. 

"Ha! what have we here?" exclaimed Mr. 
Hamfat, peering theatrically into space, and 
clutching the air as if the dinner pail danced 
before him. " Pie ! " 

Tubbs tumbled in a fit, and the convention 
went wild. Whoever has not seen a Kansas polit 
ical gathering in a moment of enthusiasm can have 
little idea of the excitement of that climax. Ban 
ners and handkerchiefs were waved in every part 
of the hall, the band played "Rally Round the 
Flag," and the delegates stood on their chairs and 
cheered, and sang, and whooped, and shed tears, 
and behaved altogether in a highly boisterous and 
indecorous manner. Tariff reform, agitation of 

?fi Tubbs of Kanxax. 

months, was upset by that one word "pie." Mr. 
Hamfat s logic had wrought its perfect work. 
What mattered the trifling formality of platform 
or ticket to those statesmen who were cheering for 
"pie"? Mr. llamfat descended with the lofty 
assurance of a man who has driven the last nail in 
the coffin of argument. 

And that was the last of Tubbs as a rational being. 
From that moment he sang, and danced, and 
whooped, and indorsed everybody and everything. 
lie heard the firing on Sumter for the nineteenth 
time. He railed at the Democratic party, and he 
drew such frightful pictures of Bacchanalian orgies 
at the White House under a Democratic admin 
istration that even the experienced superintendent 
of the State insane asylum came over and watched 
him with professional curiosity and solicitude. 
And he moved that every candidate be nominated 
by acclamation, and that the platform be adopted 
without reading, and fell on Brother Kelly s neck 
and wept, and said : " I was as a sheep gone astray, 
but I have returned to the fold, and have conse 
crated my life anew." 

But they put Tubbs on a way freight and sent 
him home, where he was received by Tilly with 
feminine sniffs of suspicion and certain forcible 
expressions of disapproval. And some hours later, 
when in a measure he had calmed down, Tubbs 
remarked, apologetically : 

/WV/AS of A ((n*(t*. 77 

"Tilly, it does a feller ti powerful heap o good 
to go up to Topeky and hear the perlitical issues 
ably discussed." 

the fcord Remembered 


IT was three o clock in the afternoon,, and there 
was a small commotion in Star Alley. The new 
boy had come around to get his papers. True, in 
the general cut and fit of the new boy s clothes 
there was nothing iconoclastic. His trousers were 
decidedly in the nature of the prevailing style of 
the young men of his class, being much too short 
in the legs and considerably too spacious in the 
seat and at the knees. His shoes bore the aspect 
of having been married, not mated, and the toe- 
ends thereof seemed to threaten a general erup 
tion. His shirt was unpretentious enough to 
disarm Arabian hostility,, and the coat that loosely 
covered it could not in any way be accepted as a 
reflection on the taste of his companions. In fact, 
on the principle that a well-dressed boy is the boy 
whose dress excites no comment, the new-comer 
was, in the judgment of the alley, a well-dressed 

But when Micky Finn, who was the acknowledged 
leader .of "de gang," called attention to the new 
boy s hair, there was a general murmur of disap 
probation. Indeed., this hair was quite a revela- 

82 Ifow the Lord Remembered Curly. 

tion in its way. It was fair and soft and hung in 
curls down to his shoulders, each curl standing 
out as if a mother had lovingly twisted it in her 
fingers. And it was this hair that gave great 
often se to the motley company waiting for the first 
edition, and caused such rude exclamations and 
personal interrogations as " Ketch on to de freak ! " 
"Look at mamma s pet !" "It s one of de seven 
Sutherland sisters ! " " Why don t it go to de 
musyum ?" accompanied by certain swaggering 
motions of a threatening nature. 

The new boy was not in the least abashed or 
intimidated by this outcry, but stood blinking 
lazily at the crowd with a look on his face that 
was construed by Micky Finn as far-away, and, 
therefore, insulting to an eminent degree. Micky 
bristled up. 

" Who curled your hair ? " he asked. 

"My mother," answered the new boy, calmly. 

It was a respectful answer, but Micky didn t 
like it. He came a little nearer and said, threat 
eningly : 

"You ll have to cut it." 

"I sha n t," said the new boy. 

A gasp went through the crowd. It was the 
first open rebuke the leader of the gang had 
received since he laid Tommy Timmins low. 
Micky himself was a little dazed at the bold 
impertinence. He stepped up briskly and slapped 

How flic Lord Remembered Curly. 83 

the new boy in the face. For a minute there was 
a confusion of legs and arms and boots and curls, 
and from the dust arose wails from Micky, who 
was receiving in all parts of his small anatomy 
painful punches from the vigorous fists of " mam 
ma s pet." And when one of the pressmen ran out 
and pulled off the new boy the Finn dynasty had 
perished. The king was dead. Long live the 

It is only just to the new boy to say that he 
bore his honors with becoming humility, and 
accepted the crown and the succession with no 
trace of undue exhilaration. lie told the com 
mittee of notification, Patsy Haley and Reddy 
Dobbs, that his mother called him Jamie, and he 
admitted, very frankly, that he didn t like the 
name. But the boys had already dubbed him 
Curly, and Curly he shall be to the end of this 

As the days went by Curly grew in the confi 
dence and esteem of the gang. Even Micky was 
his stanch lieutenant. And one night when the 
leader of the opposition crowd offered to wipe 
Curly off the face of the earth, Micky then and 
there threw himself into the breach as a vicarious 
sacrifice. But Curly refused to be deprived of his 
prerogatives, and with great ardor and almost 
unseemly haste he thrashed his incautious dial- 

84 How the Lord Remembered CuTly. 

lenger, and transferred the cliampionsliip to "dc 
West Side." 

In all projects for mental recreation and improve 
ment Curly was the leading spirit. After the 
papers were off and sold he would put himself at 
the head of the gang and pilot the way to the 
Varieties, where Mile. Spaghetti, the charming 
queen of song, was a stellar attraction of the first 
magnitude. And there lie and his companions 
would sit through the performance, munching pea 
nuts and other nutritious luxuries, listening crit 
ically to the musical numbers and commenting in 
the hearty, unbiased way of the juvenile connois 
seur. And after the show they would repair to 
their favorite chop-house, which they designated 
by the somewhat misleading title "declub," and 
partake of such viands as only a boy s stomach can 
successfully withstand. 

There was great excitement in Star Alley when 
the play-bills announced that, in consequence of an 
imperative demand for her presence in the East, 
prior to her return to Paris, Mile. Spaghetti would 
take a positively final farewell benefit. The man 
ager begged leave to announce that for this occa 
sion, by superhuman efforts and at fabulous 
expense, he had engaged the services of Mile. 
Natalie, the world s greatest skirt-dancer. JIc 
also desired to add, incidentally, that with a reck 
less, almost fatal, disregard of the terrible financial 

How the Lord Remembered Curly. 85 
risk involved, he had stipulated for the appearance 
of Zuleika, the peerless Mistress of the Air, who 
would leap from a .Hying trapeze and turn three 
distinct somersaults before alighting in the net. 
Other startling attractions would be offered in 
addition to the great charm of the beneficiary her 
self, who would not only sing her wonderful 
creation, "La Palonia," but would appear inner 
most dazzling protean specialties. 

In the interval between the sale of the first 
edition and the appearance of the second, Curly 
called a meeting of the gang and announced that 
the fraternity would be expected to honor the great 
Spaghetti in a body, lie argued with great earnest 
ness that the gang had always encouraged true and 
conscientious art, and he submitted that the efforts 
of the manager in catering broadly and liberally to 
an advanced popular taste merited marked and 
substantial recognition. These remarks, which are 
generalized with only the faintest suggestion of 
Curly s eloquence, were greeted with great enthu 
siasm and indorsed by a full bench. 

It was, therefore, with the utmost surprise that 
on the afternoon preceding the only Spaghetti s 
farewell triumph the boys in the alley noted the 
absence of Curly. The last edition, and then the 
postscript, came out on the street, and still the 
leading patron of art was missing. At a quarter 
before eight there was a call of the roll at the 

86 How the Lord Remembered Curly. 

usual rendezvous, and all responded save one. 
That one was Curly. With heavy hearts the gang 
filed into the theater, and took its elevated position 
of honor. But the entertainment had been robbed 
of its chief glory. In vain the erstwhile Queen of 
Song warbled her most bewitching lyrics. In vain 
the peerless Natalie shook her skirts and disported 
to the pleasing strains of the augmented orchestra. 
Gloom reigned in the critics corner, and, finally, 
when the lithe Zuleika swung gracefully from the 
trapeze, the disgusted Patsy Haley stood up and 
bade her, in tones of wrathful scorn, "come off de 
perch." That was exactly what she intended to 
do, but so disconcerted was the Mistress of the Air 
by the shrill, piping command that she came off 
too soon, and instead of turning three distinct 
somersaults, as per three-sheets, she landed a con 
fused, disheveled and disgraced mass in the out 
stretched net, and the boys, with many cutting 
expressions of ribaldry and wrath, went over to the 
club and banqueted in solemn silence. And the 
consensus of opinion gathered then and there was 
that the benefit had been a failure, and that the 
beautiful Spaghetti was an "old stiff." 

Another day passed, and Curly had neither ap 
peared nor sent word of comfort. The gang was 
becoming demoralized, and there were indications 
of an onslaught from the Philistines of the East 
side. Micky Finn rose up to meet the emergency. 

How the Lord Remembered Curly. 87 
He admitted that Curly might be wrestling with 
diphtheria or even contending against scarlet 
fever, but something had to be done right away. 
So, having disposed of his papers at a slaughter 
sale, he summoned Patsy Haley and Reddy Dobbs 
and organized a committee of investigation. 

Curly and his widowed mother occupied unpre 
tentious apartments in a well-filled tenement-house 
at a convenient distance from the madding crowd. 
For purposes of ventilation and other reasons, hy 
gienic and economic, these apartments were at a 
considerable distance above the telegraph wires, and 
commanded a fine view of the packing-house dis 
trict and the bend of the Missouri River where it 
travels away from Kansas at a regular speed of four 
miles an hour. The boys knew little of Curly s 
mother beyond the fact that she was a sewing- 
woman with strong religious tendencies which, 
thus far, had not been transmitted to her son. 
However, so great was the awe inspired by the very 
thought of a person with authority over Curly that 
they had no sooner climbed the three narrow nights 
leading to Curly s suite than their courage failed 
them. They paused at the end of the long, gloomy 
hall and emitted those peculiar sounds by which a 
boy signifies to another boy that he is wanted. 

Great was the satisfaction of the gang when the 
door opened and Curly s head protruded. Then 
Curly s body followed, and directly Curly s legs car- 

Hoic the Lord Remembered Curly. 

rierl him down the hall to his lieutenants, by whom 
he was received with fitting demonstration of affec 

" Wot s de matter, Curly ? " asked Micky. 

"Mother s sick." 

"Well, ain t yer had no doc ?" 


"Why ain t yer had no doc?" demanded Patsy 
Haley, sternly. 

"Because," answered Curly, desperately, "I 
ain t had no money. First it was de rent, and 
den it was t ings to rat, and we got broke before 
we knowed it. " 

A faint voice called from the chamber, and Curl v 
disappeared with more rapidity than he had come. 
The boys looked at one another, and Micky blurted 

" How much yer got, Patsy ? " 

" T irty-t ree cents." 

" How much yer got, Reddy ? " 

"Twenty-four cents." 

"And I ve got forty-one cents. Dat makes 
ninety-eight cents tor pay for a doc fer Curly s 
mudder. We owe it to him, anyhow. When my 
dog was took up Curly paid ter git him out. \Vhen 
you got stuck on der extry papes, Recldy, Curlv 
took em off yer hands. When Patsy lost all his 
money on craps Curly paid for his supper and took 
him to der te-ayter. So we ll hire de doc." 

How the Lord Remembered (Jvrly. 89 

"But no doc ain t goiii to come for no ninety- 
eight cents/ scornfully said Reddy. 

" Wot s de reason he ain t ? " replied Micky. " l)e 
boom is off, and docs is liable tercomcfer wotcley 
can get. An I knows one dat ll come anyhow. 
It s Doc Streator. I seed him out at de ball game 
Sunday afternoon, an he s de right stuff." 

Doctor Streator sat in his office discussing Presi 
dential possibilities with a friend. It had been a 
prosperous day with .the doctor, and he felt con 
vivial and friendly. And when he said " Come in," 
and three small and not over-prepossessing boys 
entered, he was more cordial than might have been 

" Well, what do you want ? " 

" We want yer to come and see a sick woman," 
said Micky. 

" How much money have you got ? " 

Ninety-eight cents." 

"You don t suppose Fm going down into the 
footpad district for ninety-eight cents, do you?" 

Micky grinned. "Yer said yer d go any time I 
asked yer." 

" I did, eh ? When did I say that ? " 

"Out at de ball game one Sunday afternoon." 

The doctor s friend leaned back and laughed. 
"So you patronize Sunday ball games,- do you, 
Streator ? Tell us about it, kid." 

" It was de great game between Minneapolis and 

00 Ilo w the Lord Rein on be red Curly. 

Kansas City fer tie championship," said Mickey. 
" Me an Curly an licddy here an* Patsy had made 
a sneak over de fence when de cops wasn t lookin . 
De grand-stand an bleachers was all full, an de 
people was pourin down inter de field. We stood 
near de doc an two or free udder swells in de 
nint iimin when Minneapolis was two runs 

"Yes, I remember that inning," said the doctor. 

"Gunny came ter de bat," resumed Micky, "an 
made a hit. Den Swartzell, what can t hit a bal 
loon mostly, knocked one over de second bag. 
An Holland hit a slow one inter de infield, an de 
muckers was so excited datcley tumbled all over it, 
an Gunny come home. Den little Xic sent anud- 
der easy one, an he an Holland got put out on de 
double play. About did time Round-de-AYorld 
Jimmy he gits foxy an waits, an gits a base on 
balls. An everybody was so excited dat dey breaks 
inter de diamon an hollers an yells, an Elmer 
Smith a-standin at de plate, swingin his but an 
waitiii fer a good one. An I seed de doc a-wavin 
his hat an hollerin with de rest of em. De Min 
neapolis pitcher got rattled, an it was ten minutes 
before de cops could get de doc an dc rest back 
interline, while dey kep on hollerin : Hit er 
out, Elmer ! An fin ly Elmer got one just where 
he wanted it, an hit er out fer free bags, way ter 
de center-field fence, an Swartzell an Jimmy come 

How the Lord Remembered Curly. 91 

streakiii in, an we knowed de game was won. An 
we all broke inter de diamon ag in an turned flip- 
flaps an hollered. An de doc was jumpin around 
an flingin his arms, an he hit me chug in de eye. 
An den he gave me ten cents an told me dat if I 
ever wanted him I should call on him an say : 
Minneapolis." 1 

The doctor threw himself back and chuckled at 
the reminiscence, and his friend opened his mouth 
and showed such a wide expanse of palate, and 
laughed so uproariously, that the three boys fell 
back in evident alarm. The doctor was the first 
to recover. 

"As a man of my word," said he, "I must see 
this thing through. Come on, boys ; we ll go and 
take a look at the <mudder." : 

"And I ll go along, too," said his friend. "Per 
haps here is an opportunity for genuine philan 
thropy. Don t you worry about the bill, boys," 
he added, kindly ; "I ll look after that myself." 

" Dat s de room ; de t ird one to de left," whis 
pered Micky, as the party stopped to breathe on 
the third landing. And as the two gentlemen 
knocked on the door, he drew the other boys aside 
and said, decisively : 

"Yer heered de doc s friend say dat Curly s 
mudder ought to have some delic cies. Wot s de 
matter wid our gittin em ? " 

The proposition struck the boys favorably, for 

92 lion 1 ! the Lnrd Remembered Curly. 

the idea that a gentleman could in any way rise to 
an appreciation of delicacies,. as the poorer classes 
understood them, was altogether too absurd to be 
encouraged or entertained. 

The doctor was saying, " Merely a case of debility 
and low fever, brought on by over-work and insuf 
ficient and improper nourishment," when the three 
boys entered the room, bearing burdens of tribute. 

"What s that?" he asked, sharply. 

"Dem s delic cies," answered Micky, with pride 
and confidence. 

"For the Lord s sake, look here, Streator ! " said 
his friend. And he drew forth first a cold pig s- 
foot, then a tin saucepan of beans with a huge 
chunk of pork in the middle, half a jelly-cake, 
three or four greasy crullers, a Vienna sausage, 
liberally sprinkled with horse-radish, and a lemon 
pie. Curly was visibly affected by these unmis 
takable evidences of affection, and his eyes rested 
lovingly on the pie. 

"For a low fever," said the doctor, thoughtfully, 
" I cannot conscientiously recommend this sort of 
diet." And as the boys faces fell, he added : "A 
little quiet celebration in the hall in the way of a 
supper for this young man here doesn t seem to be 
out of the way." 

80 the boys took Curly into the passageway 
and stuffed him full of beans and pigs -l eet and 
jelly-cake and lemon pie, and told him of the dis- 

J/ow tlic Lord Remembered Curb]. 93 

grace that had overtaken the Mistress of the Air,, 
and related the thousand and one things that had 
upset the alley since his departure, and unfolded 
a sinister plot to do up the other gang as soon as 
he was able to assume the command. 

And the doctor talked cheerily to the mother,, 
and promised to have her up and out in three 
days. And his friend left a five-dollar bill on the 
bible, and intimated that other tokens of a friendly 
interest would be speedily forthcoming. And the 
poor mother, being a very weak and foolish 
woman, could only cry softly and mumble a few 
inarticulate words about the blessing of Heaven, 
which the two gentlemen did not, or pretended 
they did not, hear. 

But when the whole party had gone off down 
the stairs the mother called Curly to her, and ran 
her lingers through his tangled hair, and said : 
"I told you, Jamie, that the Lord would remem 
ber those who trust in Him. You will not forget 
to thank Him and bless His name." 

Curly went to the window. Far down in the 
street three sturdy little figures were trudging 
along, the happiness in their big hearts banishing 
the remembrance of their empty pockets. And 
he turned to the sick mother and said, simply : 

" An 7 de gang, mother, de gang ! " 



NEAJRLY forty years ago, when Thomas Beuton, 
in a spirit of prophecy and a premonition of 
brilliant futurity, had pointed to the Pacific Ocean 
and exclaimed : " There is the east, there is 
India ! " the restless fortune-seekers had begun to 
drift into Kansas. Some passed on to the mount 
ains, others to the far-away gold-fields of Cali 
fornia, while the more prudent and conservative 
remained Avheie the well-watered and fertile val 
leys promised fields of golden cereals more attrac 
tive and less illusive than the precious metal of the 
new El Dorado. Many of these people are living 
to-day, less adventurous, less hazard-loving than 
when they first crossed the Missouri River, but full 
of that same spirit and impulse that made a Kansas 
possible. If they have lost their youth they have 
not lost their pride in the memory of their youth, 
and the tales they relate and the incidents they 
recall are full of the quaint humor that adds 
delight to the recital. 

There were cranks in those days, the wildest, 
maddest, most hopeless cranks; cranks of every 
shade and every tendency ; cranks in religious 

7 97 

98 Tic Involuntary Murriayr. 

belief and in social customs ; cranks that criticised 
the Lord and detied the devil ; cranks in politics 
and in art ; cranks in manner and in dress. And 
they all seemed to come together by a common 
impulse and to move into Kansas. 

That one crank should tolerate another was the 
very essence of the true spirit of liberty. It was a 
sort of chivalrous idea of freedom entirely con 
sistent with the American spirit of progress, and 
was founded on the conviction that time would 
make the test and prove all things. Tim Murphy 
exemplified this spirit. Tim had drifted into 
Kansas in search of adventure,, and, in one way and 
another, had found it until he settled down in the 
reposeful dignity of a saloon-keeper. His tremen 
dous strength and his fighting qualities added 
greatly to his reputation, and, as he had thrashed 
every pretender in the neighborhood, lie was much * 
admired and respected. One day, while helplessly 
intoxicated, he insulted a little Irishman, who 
took advantage of his condition and knocked him 
down between two whisky barrels. As often as 
Tim would essay to rise, his small opponent would 
hit him on the nose and tumble him back. At 
last the bystanders interfered and held the little 
man, whereupon Tim exclaimed, with maudlin 
dignity : " Lave him be ; lave him be, and let him 
sweat himself to death knockin me down." 

This anecdote illustrates the tolerant spirit of 

The Involuntary Marriage. 99 

the Kansan toward his associates, granted, perhaps, 
in every instance save the one never-forgotten and 
never-forgiven sin, slavery and pro-slavery senti 

Into this strange jumble of social conditions 
came Daniel Eastmann and his wife forty years 
ago. A queer old couple, with much of the stern 
ness of the Puritan and the vigor and aggressive 
ness of the modern Yankee in their composition. 
Unhappily, however, a little of the recognized 
austere morality of the Puritan character was 
lacking, as duly appeared. The Eastmanns were 
not at the age when people look about for new 
homes to be acquired only by ceaseless toil and 
with threatening ills. But the old man was 
strong and active, and capable of immense labors, 
and his wife stood up under her share of the 
responsibilities with no betrayal of weakness or dis 
appointment. They had pushed on to the westward 
in their search for an abiding-place, and, finding 
nothing that promised contentment, had returned 
to Kansas and settled down to the ordinary details of 
pioneer life in one of the best and most prosperous of 
the Kansas settlements. They were good-natured, 
easy-going folk, and as they minded their own busi 
ness in a strictly legitimate way, they were looked 
upon as no undesirable additions to the commu 
nity. For it was one of the privileges of the time 
that the people in the main were too busv with 

100 The Involuntary Marriage. 

their own affairs to waste the hours gossiping 
about their neighbors. 

Little by little, however, the rumor went around 
that, notwithstanding the decorous behavior of old 
man Eastmann and his partner, and despite the 
undisputed nature of their relations, the couple 
had never been married. The women were the 
first to discover this delicate social question, and 
to express their regret that in the hurry to get 
along in life the old people had overlooked this 
trifling formality. The men shrugged their shoul 
ders and remarked that that was " Eastmann s busi 
ness," and if Mrs. Eastmann was satisfied it was not 
necessary to put too fine a point on the amicable 
domestic arrangement. Moreover, they had no 
children ; therefore, no damage could be done 
except in the way of example, and as long as the 
example was merely tolerated, not indorsed, it 
would, doubtless, end right there. 

For this magnanimous sentiment the old gentle 
man did not evince any surprising amount of grat 
itude. When he learned that his "arrangement" 
had been subjected to discussion and, in instances, 
to criticism, he boldly acknowledged the state of 
affairs. lie called attention to the agitated con 
dition of American society, to the numerous crazes 
that were affecting the people, and intimated that 
he had as much right to his whim as other people 
had to theirs. Furthermore, with him it was 

The Involuntary Marriage. 101 

strictly a matter of conscience, and he flattered 
himself that he had at last come to a part of the 
country where individual conscience counted for 
a great deal. 

This compliment to Kansas pleased the com 
munity immensely. Moreover, it was not to be 
denied that the delicate reminder as to "other 
people s whims" smacked of a truth that was 
irrefutable. So the little peculiarity was passed 
over as an innocuous fancy, and the Eastmanns 
were firmly established as a part of the social 
fabric. Occasionally the old man would partake 
too freely of the popular liquor of the day, and at 
such times would discourse eloquently on the 
iniquitous marriage laws of the United States, but 
these orations merely amused the neighbors, and 
did not in the least detract from his standing or 
debar him from the privileges of social gayeties. 

One night the Perkinses gave an entertainment 
of unusual brilliancy, and as Perkins was some 
what of a crank himself he made it a special point 
that all the other cranks should be present. Inas 
much as the cranks, of one kind or another, com 
posed four-fifths of the population, it is easy to 
imagine that the hospitable home of the Perkinses 
was the theater of a large and brilliant collection 
of human freaks. The Eastmanns were conspicuous 
among the guests, not only through reason of their 
entertaining social qualities, but on account of the 

102 The Involuntary Marriar/e. 

exhilarating amount of liquor which the old man 
carried where he felt it would do him the most good. 
He was in an argumentative mood also, and the 
marriage laws of the country were shown to be 
unjust and inhuman in every corner of Perkins s 

The Rev. Mr. Duncan looked upon Eastman n 
with sorrow stamped on his benevolent face. Mr. 
Duncan was a holy man. He endeavored, by his 
godly life as well as by his spiritual exhortation, to 
bring his people into the strait and narrow path 
and keep them there. The peculiar relation of the 
Eastmanns had always been to this worthy man the 
source of sincere grief and perplexing thought. 
How to influence them to a realization of their 
offense against Christian morality and the enlight 
ened spirit of the age was the problem that con 
sumed many of his moments. Eastmann, fond as 
he was of argument and of defending his theories, 
could never be brought to face Parson Duncan. If 
they met on the street, the old man hurried on 
with a half-respectful nod. If the preacher halted 
before his gate, Eastmann slipped out of the back 
door. To outsiders it appeared that the old man 
was afraid of the parson, but Eastmann excused him 
self on the ground that preachers had no sense and 
weren t worth talking to. So matters had run 
along for months, and apparently Parson Duncan 

The Involuntary Marriage. 103 

was as far away from all hope of practical good as 

When the parson looked around the Perkinses 
rooms and saw the Eastmanns, something told him 
that the hour had come. A social gathering is not 
exactly the place for earnest missionary work, but 
Parson Duncan went on the theory that he must 
do his Master s bidding at any time or place, 
according as it is written : " Whatsoever thy hand 
fincleth to do, do it with thy might." In this 
cheerful and godly resolution he was favored by 
circumstances. Eastmann stood in the corner of 
the room with a dozen grinning friends around 
him. He discoursed on his favorite theme : liberty 
of action and liberty of conscience ; and what he 
lacked in argument he made up in declamation and 
gesture. The parson quietly edged his way into 
the circle, adjusted his spectacles, and listened. 
And when the parson looked over his spectacles, it 
was a trying and a critical moment for the devil 
and the instruments of his mischief. 

The old man scowled. Plainly, he was annoyed 
by the parson s presence. Truly, the goodness that 
shone round about that righteous man was a con 
stant menace to even the smallest impropriety, and a 
perpetual rebuke. But there was no dodging the 
issue. He must go ahead or strike his colors, and 
to a man of Eastmann s pride and doggedness sur 
render was out of the question. Indeed, after the 

104 The Involuntary Marriage. 

first surprise, he was gratified to note that he was 
more fluent than usual, and with his renewal of 
courage came a wealth of sarcasm and a fund of 
wit that delighted his hearers and provoked many 
outbursts of laughter. Mrs. Eastmann, standing 
near, took no part in the conversation,, but her 
smiles showed her appreciation of the old man s 
argument and her sympathy with his opinions. 

Parson Duncan was not a joker. Perhaps he 
never willingly made a jest in his life, and as for 
sarcasm, his gentle nature abhorred it. But he 
was simple, and earnest, and straightforward, and 
he never shrank from any contest that might seem 
to lie within his duty. So when old Eastmann had 
finished he took up the subject in his thoughtful, 
considerate way, and argued the responsibility of 
the individual to society, and the necessity of uni 
formity in a perfect moral system. Furthermore, 
he quoted freely from the Scriptures, instanced 
the divine blessing on the marriage tie, and dwelt 
on the solemnity and beauty of the marriage cere 
mony with such fervor that Mrs. Eastmann cast 
down her eyes, and others standing around were 
visibly affected. 

The news that Parson Duncan and old East 
mann had at last locked horns spread with great 
rapidity, and in a moment the guests had crowded 
into the room where the discussion was at heat. 
Kastmann s perversity and obstinacy increased 

The Involuntary Marriage. 105 

with the size of his audience. He held the 
good parson s words up to ridicule in a manner 
that reflected great credit on his powers at repar 
tee, but to the disadvantage of his standing as a 
respecter of the cloth. The parson s troubled face 
showed that he was pained by Eastmann s levity, 
and when he spoke again his tone was more deci 
sive, and boded no good for the enemy of the altar. 

"It is really strange, very strange," said Parson 
Duncan. "I cannot, even from your argument, 
understand your aversion to the marriage cere 
mony, as sanctioned by your country. You tell 
me that you love this woman with whom you are 

"I don t deny that," answered old Eastmann, 
with a grin. 

"And you tell me further that you expect to 
live with her as long as you are on earth, as every 
husband is expected to do." 

" That has always been my intention, and I guess 
I ll stick to it." 

The parson stood- a .minute, absorbed in thought. 
"Remarkable, very remarkable," he muttered. 
Then, turning abruptly to the woman, and speak 
ing gently to her for the first time, he asked : 

" Can it be true that you love this man who has 
done you a wrong, or at least has encouraged you 
in a false and unworthy belief ? " 

The woman showed her confusion, and lowered 

106 The Involuntary Marriage. 

her eyes. Recovering herself, she looked at the 
parson steadily, and said : 

U I have always loved him, sir." 

" And do you, in the face of this error,, hope and 
expect to live with him all your life ? " 

"Oh, yes, sir." 

"Then," exclaimed the holy man, with a ring 
of triumph in his voice and a heightened color on 
his face, " by virtue of my office, and in accord 
ance with the laws that govern this Territory, I 
pronounce you man and wife. Kiss your bride, 
sir ! " 



DISPUTE it who may, contradict it who will, the 
fact remains that the Ancient and Honorable Order 
of Colonels has been for many years the pride and 
glory of the people of the land of Corn. How and 
where this order originated has never been 
explained to the entire satisfaction of the Colonels 
themselves. Some historians and archaeologists 
have claimed that it was introduced into Missouri 
by Colonel Daniel Boone when he left Kentucky 
in a huff in 1795, and that Colonel Boone had 
formed the parent chapter in Kentucky three 
years before. Others assert that the modern Colo 
nel did not exist, either by right of heritage or of 
knighthood, until after Missouri had been incor 
porated as a State. A third faction contends that 
the order sprang into existence shortly after the 
Mexican War, but achieved no prominence as a 
political or social factor until the close of the 
operations in 1860-05. Be all this as it may, the 
order has attained a remarkable growth, and now 
numbers thousands of members in Missouri and 
Kansas, to say nothing of the branches in other 
States and Territories. Perhaps next to the Louis- 

110 Colonel Bollinger. 

villo chapter, the Kansas City chapter is the most 
famous, both for its aggregation of wealth, culture 
and courtliness, and for the display of those shin 
ing social qualities which differentiate the true 
Colonel from his fellow-man. 

To guard against all possible misapprehension it 
must be said that Doctor Webster s definition of 
"Colonel" is very misleading. The Colonel, as 
understood in the Missouri interpretation of the 
word, is not the leader of a regiment or of a 
column, and, in fact, has no martial pretensions 
whatever. ISTor is the word used in the old 
English sense and in the vulgar manner described 
by Samuel Butler in Hudibras. The Missouri 
Colonel is indeed a leader, but a leader of men 
and measures in a purely civil or social way. A 
clearer idea of this distinction may be gained from 
a queer little pamphlet which was discovered in 
one of the old slave counties of central Missouri 
some years ago. This pamphlet purported to give 
the constitution and by-laws of the Order of 
Colonels, and, although it has never been officially 
acknowledged, it cannot be denied that it is 
wonderfully faithful to appearances. Herein it is 
alleged that the order is a social, not a business 
organization, and that business meetings are 
strictly prohibited save in moments of rare emer 
gency. The restrictions bearing on membership 
are thus set down : 

Colonel Bollinycr. Ill 

"Article I. Section 1. Once a Colonel, always 
a Colonel. 

" Section 2. Ko person who has participated in 
military service shall be eligible to membership. 

" Section 8. In time of war the Colonel shall 
prepare for peace. 

"Section 4. The pen is mightier than the 
sword, and the priming-hook has distinct advan 
tages over the spear. 

" Section 5. Drink no longer water, but use a 
little stimulant for thy stomach s sake." 

Colonel Bellinger had been a Colonel for so many 
years that it was popularly believed that he was 
born that way. Indeed, Colonel Bollinger himself 
smiled amiably and mysteriously whenever the 
question was introduced in his presence. He 
lived on a handsome estate near the city, and rode 
a fine dapple-gray mule into town whenever affairs 
of state were pressing. For the Colonel was quite 
an oracle in his way, and his opinions were widely 
sought, not only by his fellow-Colonels, but by 
people of all conditions in life, more especially 
political life. And while, as a lawyer, Colonel 
Bollinger might have acquired great wealth by the 
sale of his opinions, such was his overflowing good 
nature that he would sit all day in front of a popu 
lar caravansary, dispensing advice to all comers, 
free as salvation, and pausing only for a few 
moments on motion to adjourn to an excellent 

1 1 2 Colonel Bollinger. 

place of refreshment in high favor with the 
Colonels. And at night, well pleased with a day 
profitably spent, and a trifle top-heavy from 
excessive good cheer, he would mount the dapple- 
gray mule and jog leisurely homeward, distribut 
ing pleasant greetings and delivering appropriate 
orations by the way. 

Colonel Bellinger found great delight in the 
society of Colonel Dunklin, with whom lie had 
daily many convivial bouts and justs at knightly 
repartee. Colonel Bellinger was much more im 
pressive than Colonel Dunklin, being of full habit, 
with great abdominal capacity, and with a voice 
that on occasion could roar as fiercely as the Gac- 
tulian lion or "as gently as the sucking dove." 
Colonel Dunklin, on the other hand, had all the 
mild outer characteristics of the typical Missouri 
Colonel. He was tall and willowy. His hair was 
rather long, and his eyes were full of pathos, He 
wore the black slouch hat of the brigadier, the 
long black coat, the shiny trousers with the broad* 
flares that covered the tight-fitting boots, the vest 
open down to the last button, the high collar and 
the shoe-string necktie. Without he was the pic 
ture of melancholy and humility, but inwardly, it 
was whispered among the Colonels, he was full of 
dead men s bones. 

One fine day, as was their wont on all days, 
regardless of meteorological conditions. Colonel 

Bollinger. 113 

Bellinger and Colonel Dunklin were proceeding 
arm in arm down the street with a certain little 
back room as the definite object in view. Colonel 
Bollinger was in an extraordinary flow of spirits, 
and his cheery oratory excited the smiles and the 
admiration of the people who paused to salute the 
Colonels and receive, perchance, a sort of benedic 
tion in return. Turning a corner rather sharply, 
the Colonels were suddenly precipitated into the 
arms of Mr. Tubbs of Kansas, who had come down 
to the city in the interest of prohibition, of which 
theory he was one of the most earnest apostles. A 
moment of profound embarrassment followed, for 
in the campaign of the previous fall Colonel 
Bollinger had made a few Democratic speeches in 
Tubbs s neighborhood, and in the excitement of 
debate had likened Tubbs to several pleasing 
varieties of the Mephitis Americana, or domestic 
skunk. To which Tubbs had replied with spirit, 
repelling the implied family connection, and stig 
matizing the Colonel as a vampire, a hyena, a 
buzzard, and several other birds and animals with 
carnivorous proclivities. The incident had been 
taken up by the party newspapers, and had led to 
a violent denunciation of Colonel Bollinger, who 
was berated throughout the State of Kansas as an 
ex-rebel brigadier, a guerrilla, and a bushwhacker, 
much to the detriment of his standing as a Colonel. 
Colonel Bollinger first recovered presence of 

114 (.Lionel Bollinger. 

mind. With a sweep of his arm which arrested 
the attention of the passers-by, and with a tone of 
the most engaging sweetness, he said : 

" Ah, this must be Colonel Tubbs, of Kansas. I 
am glad to see you in old Mizzoora, sir. Allow 
me to make you acquainted with Colonel Dunklin, 
one of the old guard, sir." 

And before the still embarrassed Tubbs could 
reply he went on : 

"When we last met, Colonel Tubbs, over in your 
country, sir, we had a passage at arms. Accord 
ing to the brutalities of life we should still be ene 
mies, but I cannot forget, sir, that you are now in 
my territory, and the laws of hospitality forbid. 
I may add that I am glad, sir, that we are so hap 
pily met. My friend Colonel Dunklin and I 
were stepping down for a little refreshment. Will 
you join us ? You must join us." 

Tubbs offered a feeble resistance and surren 
dered. Moreover, it was now high noon, and 
Tubbs was weary and dry. The three gentlemen 
passed down the street, turned one corner, then 
another, and disappeared behind a door which was 
familiar to every Colonel in at least two States. 
They passed unflinchingly by the elegantly pol 
ished counter and into the room beyond. 

The little old gentleman who was expectantly 
taking down three tumblers stared at them in 
astonishment. " I have been in business a good 

Colonel Bollinger. 115 

many years," said he confidentially to his assistant, 
"and I have had considerable experience with the 
Colonels, from whom I derive not a little of my 
princely revenue, but this is the first time that I 
ever saw any of them pass this counter without 

"Colonel Tubbs," said Colonel Bollinger, as the 
gentlemen sat down at the table, "if I am not 
deceived in the habit of you Kansas gentlemen, it 
must be hours since you breakfasted." Then, 
addressing the negro waiter : " George, take the 
gentleman s order." 

Tubbs began to feel a little more at ease. " If 
you don t mind," said he, half apologetically, "I 
think I will try a whitefish. Not that we don t 
have fish in our country," he added, hastily, "for 
our channel cat is considered mighty good eatin , 
but a whitefish, with a little whisky on the side" 
here Tubbs lowered his voice " is my favor-ite 

"Good, very good," replied Colonel Bollinger, 
approvingly. "A whitefish is excellent eating, 
especially with whisky, which destroys its fat and 
deleterious qualities. George, bring a whitefish 
and a whisky no, stop, a whitefish and three 
whiskies, and two plates of bacon and greens, and 
have three more whiskies ready on call." 

All this time Colonel Dunklin sat in silence, 
with his pathetic eyes fastened upon a placard on 

110 Colonel Bollinger. 

the wall, the letters standing out with a clear-cut 
cameo distinctness,, and forming the expressive and 
suggestive sentence : " Lunch without drinks. 20 

"I don t suppose that it is right for me," said 
Colonel Dunklin, dreamily, "to dictate to a man 
how he shall run his business, and I don t think 
that twenty cents is too much for a lunch, if the 
lunch is clean, well cooked and palatable. But 
what bothers me is how anybody in the possession 
of reasoning faculties can want a lunch without 
drinks. " 

"As for that matter," replied Colonel Bellinger, 
"it seems absurd, from a mere financial stand 
point, that a man should pay twenty cents for a 
lunch and a drink when he can get two drinks and 
a lunch thrown in for a quarter. The longer you 
remain with us, Colonel Tubbs, the better you will 
understand these grasping tricks of the trade." 

The whitefish and the Missouri sauce had 
diffused a gentle glow through Tubbs s system, 
and had put him on friendly, almost bold, terms 
with his companions. "1 should like to be a 
Colonel very much indeed," he said, heartily, "but 
the fact is I only got to be a captain in the war "- 

At the word "war" the Colonels turned very 
pale and laid down their knives, shuddering 
violently. But Tnbbs, not perceiving, went on : 

" The question is, if I became a Colonel, as I 

Colonel Bollinycr. 117 

want to, ain t I likely to lose my standin as a 
prohibitionist ? " 

"Our attitude," answered Colonel Bellinger, "is 
easily understood. It is always our intention, so 
long as God gives us the strength, to throw our 
influence against the ravages of prohibition. You 
are undoubtedly conscientious in the stand you 
have taken George, fill up the gentleman s glass 
but we contend that all sumptuary laws are 
calculated to strike a blow at the fundamental 
principles of our system. While the personal 
liberty of speech should be in no sense abridged, 
we cannot, as a body, interfere with the inequal 
ities of the law in other communities, except as 
.pertains to personal welfare and comfort." 

" You should, however, at all times," interrupted 
Colonel Dunklin, " be well fortified against these 

"Of course," said Colonel Bellinger, earnestly, 
" that is understood. And so I would advise you 
to be what we might -call a non-resident Colonel, 
submit as patiently as possible, and continue to pro 
cure inspiration in the facile way now popular in 
Kansas. I admire you, sir ; I admire any man for 
devotion to principle, however mistaken. George, 
bring me three lumps of sugar and a very little 
water. I will show you, sir, how to make an excel 
lent Kentucky toddy." 

As Tubbs sipped the intoxicant the Colonel so 

118 Colonel Bellinger. 

skillfully prepared, lie grew more and more confi 
dential. " I don t mind tellin you," he said, " that 
I m a candidate for a Federal office. Now, if I am 
a Colonel, wouldn t that hurt me ? " 

Colonel Dunklin looked at Colonel Bellinger and 
smiled. Colonel Bollinger carelessly threw a piece 
of lemon peal into the cuspidor and said, with 
dignity : 

" The fact that a man is a Colonel is good and 
sufficient reason why he is eligible for any office 
whatsoever, per se. And if the office does not seek 
him, he is perfectly justified in seeking the office. 
And I hold that if the public service appears so to 
require, he is free at any time to change his polit 
ical views. In accordance with an ancient and 
honorable precedent, if he is not a candidate for 
office, he may drink socially with one who is, but 
he is not to be subsidized, hampered or impeded 
by such courtesy. For example George, bring 
in three more of the same kind, and just a dash of 

Tubbs s hand went down into his pocket, but the 
Colonel waved him off with a gesture full of impe 
rious eloquence. 

" No, sir, not in Mizzoora. You are my guest, 
sir, and shall pay for nothing in my presence. 
George, you will see that the gentleman has what 
ever he wishes, and that he wants for nothing." 

Colonel Bollinger. 119 

George grinned, and Tubbs felt another weight 
added to the burden of his obligation. 

"And now, sir/ says Colonel Bellinger/ rising, 
" I must bid you good day. I hope to see you 
often in Mizzoora, sir, and to welcome you to the 
extent of our poor hospitality." 

Colonel Dunklin likewise stood up and looked at 
Tubbs with his melancholy eyes. And both the 
Colonels bowed with great elegance and dignity, 
and shook Tubbs s hand and promised themselves 
the honor of his society at an early day. And as 
they passed out Tubbs could hear Colonel Bellin 
ger s sonorous voice discoursing on the fineness of 
the day and the glorious outlook for the mint 

"After all," soliloquized Tubbs, as he leaned 
back in his chair and gave himself up to pleasant- 
reflections, "I sometimes wonder if we ain t too 
hard on these Missourians. Of course they re . 
dead wrong, perlitically, and they re all of! on the 
great principles of prohibition. But they re gen 
ial and friendly, and I ain t got a word to say 
agin their hospitality. That whitensh was prime 
and the liquors fust-class." And Tubbs closed his 
^eyes in an ecstasy of recollection. 

From this agreeable reverie he was roused by the 
arrival of George, who respectfully laid a slip of 
paper before him. Tubbs picked it up with a 
slight sinking in the pit of his stomach and read : 


"Whitefish, 60 cents ; cigars, 50 cents ; drink?, 
82.10. Total, $3.20. What s this ? r 

"But I don t owe no bill. This is Colonel Bol- 
lingers matter. Yon heard what he said." 

The negro grinned. " I reckon cle Knnnel done 
fergit. De Kimnel mighty cur us dat way. lie 
fergit a heap o times, when dc odder gcn men 
have to pay." 

Tubbs bowed his head for a full minute. When 
he raised his face it shone with a new light and 
was glorified by wisdom. 

" George," said he, "take a good look at me. I 
am from Kansas, and my name is Tubbs. If ever 
you see me walkin into this robbers roost with a 
Colonel anybody from Missouri, I want you to 
kick me down to the river and into it. Here s 
your three twenty." 

An hour later Tubbs stood on the bluff that 
looks far over into Kansas. In front of him was 
the clear sky, and the fresh air, suggestive of 
sobriety and virtue ; behind him the smoke and 
dirt of the city, typifying deceit and fraud and 
injured innocence. As he climbed into a cable 
car to bear him across the river, another car came 
up the hill, and a familiar voice cried out : 

"Going home, arc you ? A pleasant journey to 

you. Come and see me when you revisit the city." 

Tubbs looked at Colonel Bellinger, who was 

Colonel Bollinrjcr. 1-1 

waving a cordial farewell from the retreating car, 
and almost fell from the grip in his astonishment 
and wrath. 

Well, I am " 

But whatever he was, was lost in the clang of 
the gripman s bell. 

Deaf Qar. 


MR. LITTLEJOIIX JKXKS, in spite of many hours 
of research and patient inquiry in the various 
departments of his family connection, was never 
quite able to discover at what time or in what way 
he acquired a deaf ear. The traditions of the 
household did not point to scarlet fever or measles ; 
as a boy he was not allowed to go to the swim 
ming-hole, that enemy of the organ of hearing, 
and he was not even able to recall that the family 
methods of punishment, while very ingenious and 
numerous and altogether painful, and extending 
over a large area of epidermis, included that 
resounding salute on the side of the head which 
is so undeservedly popular with thoughtless par 
ents. So Mr. Jenks, admitting the unimpeach 
able fact of his hardness of hearing, had all the 
evidence in the world to prove that the affliction 
was in defiance of human precedent and contrary to 
physical laws. From the moment that young Lit- 
tlejohn emerged from the nursery he was made to 
feel that he had been hatched out of the duck egg. 
A blithe, joyous lad. he was fond of his compan 
ions and of his sports, but his was unhappily a 

l^J 77/6 Deaf Ear. 

confidence that was ill-repaid by his playmates, 
who took full advantage of his good nature and 
his infirmity. He recalled in after life the mem 
orable day when old Spanker took charge of the 
district school, and by his marvelous instinct 
detected the boys in a flagrant outrage on scho 
lastic propriety. 

"Who did this ?" queried old Spanker. 

" Littlejohn Jenks," replied the boys, softly. 

"Did you do this, Jenks?" 

Xow Littlejohn had not heard a word of the 
conversation, but a scheming little boy close at 
hand whispered promptingly: 

"Wants to know if yer sorry. 

"Oh, yes, sir, if you please, sir," replied Little 
john, smartly. 

Thereupon old Spanker fell upon him with an 
awful grip and a terrifying strap, and larruped him 
up and down the row of benches, balancing to the 
right and swinging to the left until the dignity of 
the school-room had been fully maintained and 
vindicated. It is due to old Spanker to say that 
when the facts in the case were developed he made a 
handsome apology, which Littlejohn did not hear, 
but which was repeated to him many years after 
by one of his schoolmates on the gladsome occasion 
of old Spanker s funeral. 

Such incidents as this soon gave Littlejohn a 
reserve and a caution beyond his years. His buov- 

Tlic Deaf Ear. 127 

ancv and confidence were replaced by timidity and 
suspicion. He avoided his comrades and shrank 
from his teachers, and as for the girls, he was on 
speaking terms with few and on hearing terms 
with none. He went through college very much 
as a blind man would go through an art 
gallery, and graduated just in time to receive the 
blessing of his departing parents (interpreted to 
him after the funeral), and to come into possession 
of an income large enough to discourage any 
improper appetite for labor. 

As Mr. Littlejohn Jenks increased in years and 
experience he decreased in hearing and confidence. 
While his money and his gentle birth gave to him 
an unquestioned standing in society, he was slow 
to take advantage of its privileges, and slower still 
to trust to the integrity of the encouraging smiles 
that were not infrequently lavished upon him by 
the mothers of marriageable young women. From 
time to time he cherished the delusive hope that 
his infirmity might be cured, and occasionally he 
fell into the hands of specialists, who ran long 
rods up his nostrils and into his ears, and gouged 
his palate, and applied burning and torturesome 
chemicals thereto, until what little nerve he had 
was entirely dissipated. But, beyond the recol 
lection of many hours of agony and the receipt of a 
large and comprehensive bill, there were no 
notable results. So Mr. Jenks at last abandoned 

128 Tit? Denf Ear. 

hope and treatment and gave himself up to his 


That a gentleman of Mr. Jenks s means and per 
sonality, whose greatest charm was a most alluring 
air of settled melancholy, should he allo \vecl to es 
cape entirely the demands of society, was not to he 
entertained. At times he yielded weakly to the 
efforts made for his ensnaring, and those conces 
sions were always the bitterest recollections of his 
life. It was his misfortune to patronize a dining 
over which the Reverend Mr. Pentateuch was re 
quested to say grace. Perhaps from his connec 
tion with the English church, Mr. Pentateuch was 
accustomed to divide his blessings, as it were, into 
first and second lessons. Be this as it may, Mr. 
Jenks, in his anxiety to appear thoroughly at his 
ease, noticed a half-smile on the pretty face of his 
vis-a-vis,. and reciprocated with a look of such in 
nocent ardor that the young woman was thrown 
into blushing confusion. Just at this time Mr. 
Pentateuch, having paused in deference to his long 
established custom, was proceeding with the for 
mula which trusts that "these viands may be 
sanctified to our use," when, to the unspeakable 
horror of the company, Mr. Jenks addressed the 
young woman with the untimely and not altogether 
original observation, " A penny for your thoughts." 
The indignation of the clergyman and the pain of 
the hostess only added to the mirth of the guests, 

The Deaf Ear. 129 

and the rest of the grace was intelligible to the 
Deity alone. 

It was also Mr. Jenks s misfortune to be seated 
invariably next to the visiting young lady, who 
was unaware of his infirmity, and this led to many 
unhappy results. As long as Mr. Jenks could do 
the talking he was reasonably safe, for his conver 
sation dealt exclusively with assertion that involved 
no argument, and never trenched on the province 
of the interrogatory. But Mr. Jenks was not a 
gentleman of fluent speech or surging ideas, and 
it always happened that, despite his most arduous 
endeavors, the monologue soon languished. As 
has been related, Mr. Jenks s engaging air of mel 
ancholy often \\oii for him the confidence of the 
ladies, and perhaps this is why Miss Alsopp, who 
was placed contiguous to the deaf ear, felt irresist 
ibly impelled to communicate to him the harrow 
ing tale of her aunt, who had lost her life in a 
burning vessel at sea. 

"And it is related by Doctor Penfield, one of the 
survivors," went on Miss Alsopp, "that during 
that dreadful scene my aunt did not lose her 
equanimity. Just before she was enveloped by 
the flames she cried out with a loud voice, like the 
martyred Stephen, and went to her rest singing 
one of the sweet songs of the Christian faith." 

Mr. Jenks had heard nothing of this heart-rend 
ing story, but he gathered from the smiles of hi -3 

130 The Deaf Ear. 

neighbor on the right, who was rallying her part 
ner, that the tale had been a sprightly one. So he 
leaned back and laughed heartily, and said : " Good, 
good, very neat ! " The look of horror on Miss 
Alsopp s face soon gave way to indignation. She 
whispered to her neighbor, and in an unduly 
short time it had spread around the table that 
Jenks was uproariously drunk. Not until Mr. 
Jenks was putting on his overcoat in the dressing- 
room did he learn the particulars of his error, and 
by that time the offended lady had demanded the 
protection of a loathsome rival and disappeared. 

This episode so weighed on Mr. Jenks s spirits 
that never thereafter was he known to smile in 
society. As he confessed in his diary, he took no 
chances. In vain the company joined in a general 
burst, in vain the brightest sallies were thrown at 
him fortissimo. "It won t do," he said, with a 
sad shake of the head ; "you see, by the time I 
catch the joke and laugh, the company may be 
talking about religion or death, and I m sure to 
get the worst end of it. It s much better to wait 
and do all my laughing at home." Which showed 
that Jenks possessed the kindest heart and ten- 
derest sensibilities. 

Mr. Jenks s besetting weakness was music. It 
was considered quite a Ion mot to ask Jenks if he 
was going to see the concert. Not content with 
patronizing all the celebrities of the day, Mr. Jenks 

The Deaf Ear. 131 

studied the flute and violin, and sometimes yielded 
to a polite request to play in company. These ex 
hibitions were purely experimental, for Mr. Jenks 
was at constant warfare with his accompanist, both 
as to time and pitch, and produced the most extraor 
dinary effects in his efforts to harmonize instru 
ments a quarter of a tone apart, But as the com 
pany never paid the slightest attention to Jenks s 
performance, except occasionally to execrate it, 
and went on with its conversation, perfectly satis 
fied that the breach of etiquette would be lost on 
the performer, no serious consequences resulted. 

So the years went by, and Mr. Jenks began to 
experience that unsettled feeling, that indefinable 
longing and loneliness that come with protracted 
bachelorhood. His companions had married and 
prospered, as far as prosperity can come with mar 
riage. He had officiated as attendant at weddings 
and as godfather at christenings, until a genuine 
rivalry had sprung up between him and his rector. 

" We esteem you highly in the parish, my dear 
Jenks," said the Reverend Mr. Surplice; "your 
conduct is generally exemplary. But by this life of 
singleness you deprive a girl of a worthy husband, 
you neglect one of God s ordinances, and you 
ahem you rob me of what ought to be a sub 
stantial fee." 

This clerical reproof set Mr. Jenks to thinking. 
He confessed his loneliness and willingness to 

132 The. Deaf Ear. 

embrace matrimony on favorable terms. He ad 
mitted that, while lie scouted the idea so fre 
quently advanced, that two can live as cheaply as 
one, two loving hearts can spend money more 
profitably than one. But where should he apply ? 
He ran over the list of eligible young women of 
his acquaintance, and sighed to think that the lot 
had been carefully sorted and robbed of its chief 
ornaments, ^s o, stop ! Agatha Brown remained. 
He had known Agatha since she was a little blue- 
eyed, waxen-cheeked maiden in pinafores. He had 
followed her with regular remembrances up 
through the candy, peanut, doll stages, beyond 
the valentine period, even to the Easter ilower 
epoch. He had noticed that Agatha was always 
considerate, that she never laughed at his blunders, 
and, come to think of it, he had observed lately a 
disposition on her part to blush and tremble in his 
presence. The more vividly he recalled those 
blushes the more firmly was he convinced that 
Agatha was created for him and he for Agatha. 
Upon these hints, like the swarthy gentleman in 
the play, he spoke. 

"I have brought myself to believe, my dear 
Agatha," said Mr. Jenks, as they sat in the little 
parlor, from which, with rare instinct and acumen,, 
the parents had withdrawn, u that in your heart 
lurks some pity for niy lonely life. I feel, as does 
every man in this trying moment, that, with my 

The Deaf Ear. 133 

natural handicap and my lack of graces, I am 
unworthy the affection of a good and pure woman. 
But at least I am a man of means and am free 
from all large and contaminating vices. I love 
you, and I have taken this opportunity of asking 
you to share my lot and monopolize my time and 
my affections." 

Pending this speech the gentle Agatha blushed 
and trembled more violently than usual, and at its 
close the tears that rose to her blue eyes gave them 
the appearance of violets in a shower. But, like a 
good and pure woman, she regained her compo 
sure with marvelous celerity. 

U I will not disguise from you, dear Littlejohn," 
she answered, " that while I have never looked 
upon you as a future husband, I have always been 
sensible of your goodness, and have envied her who 
might gain the wealth of your affections. And for 
this reason I give myself Lo you with all hope and 
confidence. How I shall endeavor to prove worthy 
of vour great love you may trust in time to know." 
So saying, she modestly turned away her head and 
cast down her eyes. 

Now Mr. Jenks, recognizing too late that he 
had unfortunately placed Agatha in juxtaposition 
to his bad ear, was striving by every means to 
shift his location and to comprehend her reply. 
But, despite his most tactical efforts, he was able 
to catch onlv the last word, "know," which, 

134 The Deaf Ear. 

through the criminally perverse orthoepy .of the 
English language, he construed into a negative, 
an impression greatly heightened by the young 
woman s perceptible air of pity and regret. Mr. 
Jenks was a man of pride, and, stunned as he was, 
it was only for a moment. lie hurst into a cheery 
laugh, and said, with affected jocularity : 

" Don t he downcast, Agatha. I was only joking. 
It s a little way I have. It s all right, even if 
you don t love me." 

Poor Agatha was in despair. " You you don t 
understand," she gasped, and then she stood on 
her toes and screamed " I love you," until it seemed 
as if the entire neighborhood must be cognizant 
of the fact. 

" That s all right all right," replied Mr.. Jenks ; 
"I don t blame you a bit. And the more I think 
it over the more ridiculous the matter strikes me." 

Mr. Jenks by this time was in the hall, putting 
on his overcoat, while Agatha, struggling with 
baffled love and tears and rage, was close behind, 
reiterating her affection with maidenly saving 

"Good night, Agatha," said Mr. Jenks, magnan 
imously ; "forget our little joke and be a sister to 

Twenty-four hours later the blue-eyed maiden, 
in pique and desperation, accepted a proposition 
from a commercial traveler for a grocery house, 

The Deaf Ear. 135 

and after the wedding bells had pealed Mr. Jenks 
heard, with throbs of anguish, the true story of 
his luckless courtship. 

Time soothes all griefs, and Mr. Jenks, albeit he 
had withdrawn from society and its empty pleas 
ures, became reconciled to the mysterious ways of 
Providence. The gentle Agatha, at the sugges 
tion of her husband and in deference to his family 
name and pride, had presented to the commercial 
traveler two little images of herself, and as Mr. 
Jenks saw them playing with their dolls and run 
ning to meet their worthy but unsentimental sire, 
his heart was stirred by strange emotions. " Shall 
I," he reasoned to himself, "because of one bitter 
and terrible mistake, longer endure this wretched 
and monotonous existence ? Shall I not show this 
presumptuous drummer that I too have paternal 
instincts, which may be gratified by the cultivation 
of -a respectful attachment and by the exercise of 
a little patience ?" 

The object of Mr. Jenks s second endeavor was 
a vivacious young lady, in temperament and 
charms very unlike the blue-eyed Agatha. Not 
disinclined to flirt, and seeing in Mr. Jenks a suit 
able mark for her seductive batteries, she led him 
on by feminine arts until one evening, strolling 
sentimentally along the river bank, he repeated to 
her the formula which five years before he had 
tried with such embarrassing results. Notwith- 

136 The Deaf Ear. 

standing her merry words, Miss Daisy she was a 
true Missouri girl had a kind heart, and was 
visibly affected by Mr. Jcnks s earnestness. Her 
agitation increased as she reflected on the conse 
quences of her levity, and, although she assured 
Mr. Jenks that she "could never, never be his 
wife," a sympathetic tear of remorse stole down 
her cheek. According to usage, Mr. Jenks did not 
succeed in catching a word of the pronunciamento 
of rejection, but, remembering his former error 
and seeing her tears and confusion, caught her to 
his breast and imprinted passionate kisses on her 
hair and cheek and mouth, wherever they chanced 
to fall. The frightened girl screamed lustily, and 
a policeman rushing up, and spying a struggling 
maid in the arms of a desperate villain, brought 
Mr. Jenks to the ground by a few well-directed 
blows from his insigne of office. For ten minutes 
there was a commingling of hysterics and 
tions and official skepticism, but at last, the young 
lady interceding, Mr. Jenks was allowed to depart, 
and the heroine was escorted to her home under 
police protection. 

This second contretemps was too much for Mr. 
Jenks s nerves. He withdrew permanently from 
society, engaged a housekeeper of austere visage 
and impregnable and unquestioned morality, and 
gave himself up to the cultivation of flowers and 
the gentle arts. Late at night the youths and 

The Deaf Ear. 137 

maidens, returning from their evening pleasure, 
could hear the melancholy notes of his flute or the 
sad strains of his violin, and why they crossed the 
street at that particular point was always chari 
tably suppressed. But Mr. Jenks s life was not 
the less worthy and beautiful because he was 
deprived, in so sorrowful a measure, of one of the 
most agreeable senses. He delighted in good 
works, helped the poor and the needy, comforted 
the afflicted, and cheerfully accepted all the spon- 
sorial responsibilities which were thrust upon him, 
and they were many. He was "uncle" to half 
the children in the town, and at Christmas time 
the most extraordinary boxes and mysterious pack 
ages \vere smuggled in and out of the house, while 
Mr. Jcnks could be observed running to and fro 
in a state of nervous excitement. 

As his hair whitened and the furrows showed 
more plainly in his face, Mr. Jenks s responsibili 
ties, ex officio, increased. Agatha s two little girls 
had grown up and had two or more little girls of 
their own, and over them the deaf old gentleman, 
with capacious pockets in which confections and 
oranges always lurked, exercised the privileged 
sway of "grandfather." And it was a happy sight 
to see the old man followed by a troop of laughing 
children, pretending to be angry with them for 
"making so much noise," and slily slipping bon 
bons into their hands and dropping peanuts ami 

138 The- Deaf Ear. 

almonds out of his pocket that they might excite 
a scramble and more noise. 

At last Mr. Jenks succumbed to the ravages of 
time, and took to his bed. Disease made rapid in 
roads on his enfeebled constitution, and it was 
mournfully whispered about town that "old Jenks 
had to go." In this emergency the new minister 
perceived his duty, and went to the old man s bed 
side to administer those consolations that are the 
rightful property of the church. As he took his 
station at the left of the bed, Mr. Jenks, failing 
to catch the features of his visitor, conceived him 
to be one of the physicians, for whom, as a class, 
he had the most profound contempt. The new 
minister was saying : 

" In this hour of travail, my departing friend, I 
may hope that you have learned to rely on the 
glorious promises of the Word, and that from the 
precious book you have been drawn to the Great 
Physician, who healeth all our infirmities and 
maketh us well." 

"Makes what well?" snapped Mr. Jenks, who 
had caught only the concluding words. " I took 
the blamed stuff three times yesterday, and I m 
worse to-day." And he turned his face to the 
wall, requesting the nurse to show the man out. 
But the new minister, however shocked by the appa 
rent wickedness of the dying man, lingered on the 
threshold and offered up a fervent petition for the 

The Deaf Ear. 139 

pardon and conversion of the blaspheming infidel. 
And now occurred a most singular and impress 
ive phenomenon. When the doctor came and 
looked at the patient with his experienced eye, he 
said: lie will live three hours. 1 At the end of 
that time there was apparently no change. An 
imprudent friend, putting himself in communica 
tion with the good ear, related what the physician 
had predicted, and congratulated him on the hope 
ful nature of his symptoms in weathering the 
crisis. Mr. Jenks made no reply, but turned over 
and quietly passed away. In an able essay, read 
before the medical society, the physician contended 
that the prolongation of Mr. Jenks s life was due 
entirely to a misunderstanding ; that he had stood 
near the patient s deaf car when he made the diag 
nosis and the prediction, and that to this circum 
stance only must be attributed the temporary fail 
ure of medical science and the reversal of medical 
precedent. Therefore he maintained that a deaf 
ear, while not an infallible preventive of death, is 
often a helpful factor in prolonging human life, 
and is a fit subject for the most careful and ex 
haustive experiments when the patient is appar 
ently in articulo mortis. This essay created a 
great sensation in medical circles. Scientific jour 
nals took it up, foreign academies discussed it, and 
the International Society of Physicians and Sur 
geons sent a complimentary letter to the writer 

140 The Deaf Ear. 

thanking him for his efforts and his discovery in 
the field of science. 

As Mr. Jenks s friends gathered around his bier 
and looked upon his peaceful face, it was suggested, 
not irreverently but with real solicitude, that his 
right ear should be a little elevated, that when 
Gabriel blew the trump the other inhabitants of 
the churchyard might not have an unfair advan 
tage. And when all the others had gone out, 
Agatha, now a widow and a grandmother, with 
little white curls that peeped out of her cap, and 
with eyes that still retained their violet blue, 
lingered a moment, just long enough to give one 
fond look and to whisper, " I love you," as she had 
said it many years before. 

The new minister, still smarting under a recol 
lection of the blasphemous scene in the sick-cham 
ber, delivered a powerful address on the uncer 
tainty of life and the necessity of preparation. 
But when the coffin was lowered into the grave the 
mothers led the children a little nearer, and with 
their infant hands they heaped roses and forget- 
me-nots and immortelles upon the casket, the 
tributes of three generations to the old friend. 
And what they said of the dead he living could 
not have heard without a protesting blush. And 
how they spoke of him and praised him in their 
homes that night must have warmed that deaf ear 
as it lav so cold and still beneath the flowers. 


Dowx in one of the central counties of Missouri., 
in the heart of the great corn-belt, pretty Lucy 
Howard was raised." That she certainly was 
" raised " is not to be disputed, for she is authority 
for the expression, and can, if necessary, bring up 
a formidable array of kinfolk and neighbors to 
prove the assertion. Lucy s father lived in one of 
the older towns of this section of Missouri, which, 
for one reason or another, has escaped the immi 
gration and other contaminating influences which, 
in a measure, have afflicted the border counties. 
Therefore society, despite the ravages of war, is in 
a settled and placid state, and resembles more 
closely the better condition of things in the old 
South. Here the Missourian attains his greatest 
courtliness, and life is characterized by the warm 
est hospitality. And here the girls, rounded and 
rosy-cheeked, develop into the most beautiful 
womanhood, with all the charms and graces and 
soft speech of the Southern clime. 

Colonel Howard was a Southerner by birth, in 
association and in every instinct. lie had been a 
fire-eater, a rebel and a Democrat since early man- 

144 The Confewiou. of a Crime. 

hood, and lie was proud of it. He was also inclined 
to indolence, the result of paternal inheritance, and 
he was not ashamed of that, for your true old- 
school Missouri gentleman has fixed and stern ideas 
concerning the elevating quality of labor. " This 
constant digging and delving," said the Colonel, in 
one of his many leisure moments ; " this perpetual 
striving after money or rushing after a temporary 
gain, makes us a nation of dyspeptic Yankees and 
destroys all the finer and nobler impulses of an old 
and tranquil civilization." 

Lucy, naturally, grew up under languorous con 
ditions, which, however, took nothing from her 
beauty or her amiability and gentleness of charac 
ter. Perhaps the stern tenets of the Christian, or 
Campbellite, Church, to which her family Avas 
attached, had left an impress on her mind in its 
formative period, and had given her that stern 
conscientiousness which so marked her rule of 
life. In early girlhood she had gone to a sec 
tarian college, where the girls wore ridiculous uni 
forms and praised the Lord two or three times a 
day for the pious work of Alexander Campbell, 
and never conversed with a man, save on an occa 
sional Saturday night, under the most distressing 

But nothing could mar Lucy s beauty or destroy 
the contentment of her disposition. And when, 
every Sunday morning, her sweet face peeped out 

The Confession of a Crime. 145 

under the college sun-bonnet,, and her beautiful 
voice rose above all others in the choir chamber, 
the reason of the great outpouring of the young 
men was clear. For everybody in the sanctuary 
turned to look at Lucy, and all the young fellows 
sighed for her day of graduation. Robert Calla- 
way said not a word, for he had taken advantage 
of the summer vacation to gather Lucy unto him 
self, and like two orderly and well-conducted 
young people they reveled discreetly in their 
promises of love, and bided their time. 

So Robert went off to the city to guide and in 
struct the masses from the noble standpoint of a 
journalist. And Lucy retired to her father s 
house and bloomed with the roses in the sum 
mer and the hyacinths in the winter, and culti 
vated and exercised her glorious voice until all the 
mocking-birds were distracted with vexation and 
envy. And she waited very patiently for Robert, 
and calmly rebuked numerous presumptuous ad 
mirers for impertinent offers of marriage. And 
Robert wrote regularly and cheerfully from the 
city, and one day the bird sang in her heart with 
tin unusual caroling, for Robert telegraphed that 
he had obtained a "scoop " on his loathsome con 
temporary, and was in high favor with the gentle 
man whose most painful duty it was, occasionally, 
to raise salaries. 

But an end comes to all periods of waiting, ami 

14G The Confession of a Crime. 

one fine night in late October the Colonel s old 
house was lighted up from cellar to garret, and 
friends and neighbors poured into the great parlor,, 
while the darkies were rushing about in excite 
ment, savory smells issued from the kitchen, and 
the popping of corks was heard in the second 
story back. And in front of the piano stood Lucy, 
looking like a Vestal virgin in her robe of white, 
with a flush on her cheeks, and just the faintest 
twitching of her pretty mouth, and tears of moist 
ure in her blue eyes. And she was telling Robert, 
who clasped her hand, something that has been 
told many times before and will continue to be told 
long after these generations have passed away. 

Back they went to the city, and Robert, who was 
now on confidential and easy terms with that great 
man, the cashier of the Independent, fitted up a 
comfortable home which bespoke much love and 
happiness. And in the main they lived like turtle 
doves, with those occasional honest differences of 
opinion which afflict all good married folk. For 
Robert s journalistic training had led him into devi 
ous w r ays, and had bestowed upon him a proud and 
haughty mind, so that, when Lucy would gently 
prod him as to his religious duties on the holy 
Sabbath morn, he would occasionally rebel and 
flippantly remark that he had "forgotten more 
than Aleck Campbell ever knew." Whereat the 
great tears would well up into Lucy s eyes, and in 

Tlie Confession of a Crime. 147 

the end Robert, who had a kind heart, would be a 
heavy financial sufferer by reason of his irrever 
ence. And at times the domestic would take unto 
herself the wings of the morning, and Lucy would 
be compelled to go into the kitchen. These were 
the sun-spots of their married life, for when Lucy 
did not forget to put the baking-powder in the bis 
cuits, she committed other and more serious indis 
cretions, with the result that her meals, as Robert 
genially expressed it, partook of the nature of 
burnt offerings, as became a Christian household. 
But with all their petty trials, they lived very hap 
pily, and the increased breadth and vigor of the 
tone of the Independent bore witness to Robert s 
enlarged scope. 

Toward the end of the first year of their mar 
ried life, Robert, having been gently reminded by 
the pious Lucy that it was Wednesday evening, 
suddenly remembered that he had a most pressing 
engagement at the office, one that under no cir 
cumstances would admit even an hour s postpone 
ment. The gentle girl sighed as he reached for 
his hat and cane, and believed him implicitly 
when he kissed her and, in respectful language, 
cursed the claims of business that took him away 
from the hour of prayer. But after he had gone, 
and she had heard him madly whistling and 
shouting as he dashed for a doAvn-town car, she 
went to the piano and sang a few holy songs to 

148 The Confession of a Crime. 

put her mind in a calm and religiously receptive 
state. Then she called next door for her neigh 
bor and old girl friend, Mrs. Boone, whose hus 
band had likewise been mysteriously summoned to 
the office, and together those two exemplary 
women journeyed to the house of worship. 

Now it chanced that evening that the Rev. Dr. 
Moniteau delivered his first discourse of a series of 
lectures on the duties of wives. Having buried 
three, this excellent man was abundantly able to 
grasp his subject intelligently and to present it 
with forcefulness. "I ask you, my dear sisters," 
he said ; he started to say brothers and sisters, 
but caught himself, as there were no brothers 
present "I ask you if you have been true to 
your husbands in thought as well as deed. Have 
you given to them the confidence and the love 
that should exist at all times between husband and 
wife ? I think that perhaps I may see before me 
at this moment a wife who has been derelict in this 
precious duty. Perhaps she is young and impul 
sive and thoughtless, and thinks that her little sins 
of omission and commission are too trifling to be 
told to the man whom she has vowed to love, 
honor and obey. Ah, my dear sisters, do not fall 
into this grievous error. Remember that you may 
have no secrets from your husband. Remember 
that he is entitled to know your innermost heart. 
If there rests in your mind to-night, sister, any 

The Confession of a Crime. 149 

little error, however trifling, you may have with 
held from him, go to him, throw yourself upon 
his breast and say : My husband, I come to you 
in love and confidence like a little child to its father. 
I have kept back from you a fault. Let me tell it 
and know that it is not treasured up against me. 
And trust, dear sister, to his great affection and 
forgiving love." 

Poor Lucy occupied a seat directly in front of 
the speaker. It had happened in his godless days, 
before the light slimed round about him, journey 
ing, as it were, to Damascus, that the Rev. Dr. 
Monitean had acquired a glass eye. This eye 
rested on Lucy with such fixed and awful inten 
sity that she fell ail of a tremble, and her little 
heart thumped against her ribs with the anguish 
of an unpuncturcd felon. And at that moment 
the ghost of an unexpected crime rose up before 
her, and the thought was so horrible that she 
almost, screamed out in meeting, and so dread 
ful was the remembrance that she was entirely un 
able to join in the congregational singing which 
the Rev. Dr. Monitean led in particularly strident 

As they walked home together Lucy said, timidly: 

" Gertrude, what do you think of Dr. Moniteau s 
advice ? " 

"Think ?" snapped Mrs. Boone. "I think it s 
all bosh. That s what I think." 

150 The Confession of a Crime. 

"But, Gertrude," interposed Lucy, "oughtn t 
we to tell our husbands everything?" 

Mrs. Boone wheeled around. "Now look here, 
Lucy Callaway, don t you make any mistakes in 
the first year of your married life. Do you sup 
pose your husband tells you all his escapades ? Do 
you suppose I m going to sit up every night for a 
month while John Boone goes over the story of 
his ante-nuptial misdeeds granting that he d be 
fool enough to tell me ? When he reeled off that 
clumsy story about an f engagement to-night, 
didn t I know that it was merely an excuse to get 
out of going to prayer-meeting ? I shall tell him 
so too, to-morrow, but not to-night, for that would 
spoil botli our evenings." 

" I can t answer for Mr. Boone," said Lucy, 
decisively, "but Robbie would never deceive me." 

Mrs. Boone looked at the girl compassionately. 
"You re a good girl, Lucy," she said; "I don t 
know a better. But take my advice and don t 
make a fool of yourself." 

"Nevertheless," answered Lucy, firmly, as the 
ghost rose up again, " I shall examine my heart 
to-night, and if I find any secret there I shall tell 
Robbie at once." 

However, when Robert came home and reported 
the cares and vexations of the office with more 
than his customary fervor, Lucy s courage failed 
her. After all, it would be much better to make 

The Confession of a Crime. 151 

the confession in the morning, when her nerves 
were more composed and when her husband, 
refreshed by slumber, would be in better condition 
to bear up under the revelation. But in the morn 
ing the conditions were even more unfavorable. 
Breakfast was late and Robert was querulous. 
Plainly it was no time to precipitate a crisis, and 
the gentle Lucy confessed a feeling of relief when 
her husband left the house and a stay of execution 
was granted. 

In the evening a social dissipation at a neigh 
bor s interfered. The next day Robert went out 
of town on business, and so the matter ran along 
for a week. When Wednesday night came around 
Robert was caught napping. He had arranged 
with a friend at the office to call for him in great 
haste a little after seven o clock ; but the friend 
had overlooked the appointment, and, as no reason 
able excuse presented, Robert put on the best face 
possible and went to Doctor Moniteau s second lect 
ure. The Doctor emphasized his previous address, 
and his glass eye caught Lucy early in the action, 
and held her fast. The ordeal was even more try 
ing than the first awakening of conscience. And 
to add to the discomfort of the poor girl Robert 
said, with affected solemnity, before they went to 
bed that night : "Lucy, I hope you will profit by 
Brother Moniteau s observations. Remember that 

152- The Confession of a Crime. 

a wife should have no secrets from her husband. 
Repent and confess before it is too late." 

The days that followed were like torture to the 
young wife. A dozen times she was on the point 
of throwing herself on Robert s manly breast, 
but something invariably came up to thwart her. 
In the afternoon, while Robert was down town, 
she would have a sort of rehearsal, the pillow on the 
sofa representing Robbie. But the pillow was so 
obdurate, its wrath so terrible, and its invective so 
relentless, that Lucy was completely annihilated, 
and when her husband came home she was glad 
enough to keep up her life of deception, and to 
welcome the living presence in place of its inani 
mate avenger. 

At the third lecture the malevolence, the ter 
rors, the offended majesty of the glass eye were 
simply beyond endurance. It burned into Lucy s 
soul and seemed to leave a deep opening through 
which all might see her wicked heart. She bowed 
her head in the pew and wept scalding tears of 
shame and remorse. And when she left the 
sanctuary her mind was fully made up ; she would 
confess the next day. 

When morning came she was much comforted to 
find that her resolution was unshaken. "But," 
the devil whispered to her, " there is no sense in 
doing this thing hastily and blunderingly. Tact is 
a woman s best weapon. It is all right to confess. 

The Confession <>f <i Crime. 153 

but proper means of preservation and defense are 
always allowable." fcjo Lucy allowed .Robert to 
escape, and fixed that evening for the revelation 
that might make her a widow or a corpse. 

All day long, in conjunction with the devil, she 
made her preparations to mitigate the horrors of 
the evening. She put deft little artistic touches 
all over the house, placed the new center-piece 
on the dining-room table, and filled the flower-jar 
with roses. Then she tied up a bunch of pansies 
with a love-knot and laid them near Robert s 
plate, for Robert was very partial to pansies. And 
she went into the kitchen and superintended and 
accomplished marvels of cookery : spring chicken 
fried to a turn, with rich cream gravy; such beaten 
biscuits as were never before seen in the city ; 
luscious corn-bread that she had heard him say 
his mother used to make ; the freshest and best 
vegetables in the market ; a strawberry short 
cake that was simply incomparable, and coffee 
that gave out a delicious perfume a block away. 
And she even took ten cents from her private 
funds and bought him a nice cigar at the grocery, 
the groceryinan assuring her that it was good 
enough for the President. And at five o clock she 
went to her room and put on her red China silk, 
which Robert admired so much, and which, cut 
low around the neck, showed off her beautiful 
throat and revealed her exquisite arms. And she 

154 The Confession of a Crime. 

hung around her neck the gold chain and heart 
which Robert had given her when they were lovers 
in the old Missouri town. And, all preparations 
being completed, she plumped down on her knees 
and asked God to give her strength for her task. 

\Vhen Robert came home he was visibly moved 
by the evidences of wifeliness. He complimented 
the appearance of the house, admired the roses, 
and pinned the pansies on his coat. As for the 
dinner, he vowed it was a dream, and when he had 
finished his second piece of shortcake he went 
over. and took Lucy s face in his hands and kissed 
her, and said, feelingly: 

"My dear little wife, how pretty you are to 
night ! " 

And Lucy turned away that he might not notice 
the tears that rose to her eyes, while he took 
advantage of the moment to slip the President s 
cigar into his coat-tail pocket and to substitute 
one of his own in its stead. 

They went into the library, and Robert, being in 
that boastful stage that comes to a man after a 
hearty dinner, complacently read to his wife the 
proof-sheets of his great article on the influence of 
arehaeologic research among the Zunis. And 
although Lucy constantly labored under the im 
pression that Zunis were in some way connected 
with Doctor Kane and Sir John Franklin, she 
listened with devouring interest, and kissed him 

The Confess ion of a Crime. 155 

whenever he looked as if he had made a particu 
larly good point. And as he looked that way 
particularly often she was more or less constantly 
employed. Then she sat down at the piano and 
sang all her prettiest songs, as only she could sing 
them; songs of love and broken hearts and little 
barks on the ocean and little birds in the nests, 
and a hundred other things connected with the 
idealities of a perfectly lovely existence. And 
Robert leaned back in his big arm-chair, and 
looked so happy and so contented that Lucy said 
to herself, in the extremity of her grief : "I can t 
tell him now ! I can t tell him now I " 

At last Robert said: "Let s call it a day/ 
which was his customary way of announcing that 
it was bedtime. So he departed to his chamber, 
whistling a merry air that showed his heart was 
light and his conscience free. But Lucy remained 
behind with her secret and her sorrow, and 
wrestled with herself, for she knew the hour of 
confession was at hand. And presently Robert 
returned, for he had forgotten to look after the 
back windows, put out the gas in the dining-room, 
wind the clock and perform other functions which 
the Zunis fortunately escaped. He was in his 

Now a man in his robe of night is not a pleas 
ing spectacle. The artistic world is a unit on that 
point. Lucy, whose temperament was entirely 

156 The Confession of a Crime. 

artistic, had often deplored the conventionality of 
fashion that shortens a gentleman s sleeping-gar 
ment to a degree bordering on the scandalous, and 
had often threatened to ornament Robert s gowns 
with tucks and frills and other purely feminine 
accessories. But this night she was occupied with 
her grief to the exclusion of all inartistic views. 
She only thought: "How noble, how manly he 
looks ! How can I bring myself to forfeit my 
darling s love!" And Robert was meanwhile 
stubbing his toe on the stairs and writhing with 
pain and an explosion of unprintable language, 
utterly unconscious of these tributes to his manli 
ness, his nobility and his qualifications as a darling. 
It had been Lucy s intention to follow as literally 
as possible the excellent instructions of the Rev. 
Dr. Moniteau. But her preparations were so ex 
haustive, and her second and final petition for 
sustaining strength was so protracted, that Robert 
had traveled at least two-thirds of the distance to 
the land of unconsciousness before she could bring 
herself to the point of claiming his attention. 
And even then she was embarrassed by the dis 
covery that it would be impossible to throw herself 
on his breast as she had contemplated, for he was 
reposing with his face on the outer edge of the 
bed, rendering such proceeding not only ridic 
ulous but impracticable. She found also, to her 
horror, that in her agitation she had entirely for- 

The Confession of a Crime. 157 

gotten the ministerial formula, and was compelled 
to fall back on her own resources to bear her over 
the crisis. She nerved herself, shut her eyes and 
said : 

" Robbie ! " 

A stifled grunt gave the assurance that Robert 
was, in a measure, awake to the importance of the 

"Robbie, I ve been wanting to tell you some 
thing for a long, long time. It has been on my 
mind constantly, but we have been so happy to 
gether that I couldn t bring myself to tell you. I 
knew I was doing wrong, but I didn t know how 
wicked and deceitful it was until I heard Doctor 
Moniteau s lecture on the duties of a wife. And, 
Robbie, you know you told me yourself that a wife 
should have no secrets from her husband, so, if I 
am going to give you pain, dear, it is partly because 
I am obeying your command. You have always 
said that it made you happy to think that you were 
my first sweetheart and you were. Robbie, in 
deed you were. I never cared for any man but 
you, and I know I should never have married any 
body if I had never met you. But of course I 
couldn t help it if some of the boys liked me, and, 
really, Robbie, it wasn t my fault because Tom 
Cooper kept tagging after me and pestering me 
with his silliness. And one night this was long, 
long before I met you, Robbie he was taking me 

158 The Confession of a- (, rinie. 

home, and he he kissed me. I know it was 
perfectly dreadful, Robbie, and I was very angry 
and hurt at the time. I wanted to tell you about 
it when we first became engaged, but I didn t dare. 
And then we were married, and it was harder than 
ever. And I suppose I should have taken it on 
my conscience down to the grave if it hadn t been 
for you and Doctor Moniteau. It isn t too late, 
Robbie, is it?" 

A dreadful silence followed the disclosure. Lucy 
felt her heart beating wildly, and her brain 
throbbed with mad and awful fancies. She saw 
herself standing in the divorce court, telling the 
story of her shame to an unpitying judge and a 
crowd of vulgar and jeering spectators. And 
Robbie sat near with sternly averted face, and her 
old father and mother were bowing their heads in 
humiliation and anguish. 

" You ain t mad, are you, Robbie ? " 
Again that ominous silence. But Lucy thought 
she heard a faint movement of the pillow, and the 
terrible story of Othello and Desdemona rushed 
into her mind. What if this gentle Robbie Avere 
indeed a fiend incarnate when his jealous passions 
were aroused ? What if in his disappointment 
and rage and wounded love he should rise up and 
strangle her or smother her dying cries under the 
soft repository of goose-feathers ! Lucy was chilled 
with fright. Her impulse was to slip out of bed 

The Confession of a Crime. 159 

and steal to a place of safety. But what would 
she gain ? Life ? Was life without Robbie pref 
erable to death ? Was death more to be dreaded 
than that awful scene in the court-room and 
countless years of biting remorse ? No ! If her 
crime merited death it would be sweet to die by 
Kobbie s hand. And she closed her eyes again 
and endeavored to recall a little prayer for the 
dyina; which she had seen in a prayer-book, and 
which had made a marked impression on her 

But still that fearful, agonizing silence. It was 
beginning to be too much for Lucy s nervous sys 
tem. Such misery the victim experiences when he 
is strapped upon the bascule of the guillotine, 
waiting for the knife to fall. The moonlight 
struggled in through the slanting blinds and dis 
closed the injured husband lying on his side, his 
left arm under his head, his right carelessly resting 
on the spread. Lucy raised herself, and, leaning 
on her elbow, peered into his face. 

The brute was fast asleep, 

0ld TVldjor s 


IT was down in the Current River country, and 
at that period of development this was not a coun 
try to conjure by. The villages were small, ragged 
and depressing, with apparently no excuse for 
being, save to break up the monotony of travel* on 
the railway lying between Springfield and Mem 
phis. We had ridden across a dreary waste of 
miles from the fishing-grounds in a conveyance 
the atrocious discomfort of which baffled all com 
parisons, and had missed the train as a finishing 
touch of misery. It needed only this to round oft 
an excursion of pleasure that had been prolific of 
everything except pleasure. The fish, if fish there 
were, had refused to bite, but this deficiency had 
been supplied by a large variety of insects, which 
had welcomed us in a hospitable manner. We had 
feasted on bacon and hominy, hominy and bacon, 
until we had entirely forgotten the taste of all 
other articles of food, and looked upon them as a 
sort of tormenting dream. And the highwayman, 
as we called him, who had all the external signs of 
a Bald-Knobber, and all the natural outcroppings 
of a bandit, and who had consented to convey us 

.104 The Old Major * 

to the train, bad stipulated for a consideration so 
ruinous that the pool was barely able to meet his 
demands. At the same time it was deemed politic 
to submit without a murmur. It is astonishing 
how a few rocks and woods and ravines will make 
cowards of brave men. 

Four of us were in the party the General Pas 
senger and Ticket Agent, who organized it, a 
middle-aged lawyer with a good practice, a young 
doctor with no practice, and the wretched author 
of the tale. It was not at this crisis an agreeable 
party, one that would shed luster on the civiliza 
tion of the nineteenth century. We were tired 
and hungry and cross, and, at the same time, wet 
and dry, a paradox that every fisherman readily 
understands and appreciates. The engine of our 
train had slipped an eccentric forty miles down 
the road, and was bulletined for four o clock in 
the morning. The small hotel was a ghastly 
picture of misery, and seemed so full of terrors 
and unknown horrors that nobody dared go to 
bed, although it was then nine o clock, promising 
a long sleep before train-time. So we sat around 
the miserable office and smoked pipes and tried to 
drink the appalling stuff that the brazen-faced 
hotel-keeper endeavored to palm off upon us, to 
deaden our moral senses and to benumb our facul 
ties. In this condition the meanness of our nature 

The Old Major s Story. 165 

turned upon the unhappy Passenger and Ticket 

"I think/ mused the lawyer, "that the next 
time I go fishing I shall employ a railroad man to 
go along, to show me all the holes and rare places." 

"I have always noticed," said the doctor, "that 
railroad men are thoroughly informed not only as 
to the best fishing-grounds, but as to the season 
when the fish bite most freely." 

"Did you ever observe," asked the lawyer, "that 
a railroad man never takes a private fishing-party 
on his own road ? " 

"And did it ever occur to you," replied the 
doctor, "that when the trip is a failure he remem 
bers that there is a splendid, place on f our road ? " 

In this agreeable strain was the conversation 
continued until the Passenger and Ticket Agent, 
a man of tact and resources, contrived to divert 
our minds and steer the discourse into other 

"Let me see," he began, "it was twenty-five 
thirty thirty-one years ago that I first came 
down into this country, and just thirty years ago 
that I left it in a hurry. I was a mere boy then, 
and I was trying to find rebels. Quite a party of 
us at the time. I remember that General Lyon 
was along, and that we found rebels in considera 
ble quantities. We went back without Lyon, poor 
fellow, but it was mighty lively for awhile." 

166 The OU Major * Wort/. 

This started the conversation into a discussion of 
the battle of Wilson s Creek and the campaign in 
Southwest Missouri. Thence it was easy to drift into 
opinions concerning war in general and the present 
troubles. As was natural enough, those of us who 
had never heard a cannon, save in the way of a 
celebration, and couldn t tell the ping of a minie 
ball from the splutter of a sky-rocket, were dis 
posed to look on war as a cheap and easy way of 
settling all political differences. The lawyer con 
tended that the United States had been too 
lenient with Chile, and the doctor was convinced 
that nothing less than a thrashing would ever 
bring England to a proper appreciation of the 
Behring Sea troubles. 

"Well, I don t know about that/ said the Pass 
enger and Ticket Agent, gravely ; " war may be 
important to settle some questions, but it s my 
opinion that a man who has been through one war 
never cares to see another." 

"And you re right, sir, in that opinion. War, 
in most cases, is a curse to humanity. In all cases 
it brings sorrow and suffering." 

Far over in a corner of the room we had seen, 
when we entered, a man pushed back in a chair, 
with a large, soft black hat pulled over his eves, 
apparently asleep. As he spoke he tilted forward, 
and took off his hat. He seemed to be sixty years 
of age, with iron gray hair and beard, and a face 

The Old Major s Story. 1G7 

of strength and intelligence. A soft, somewhat 
smothered enunciation and the unmistakable cut 
of black clothes revealed the Southerner. We 
were a little embarrassed, for we remembered that 
we had spoken freely of "rebels." But we invited 
the stranger to come forward and have a drink, 
and he did so, taking one of such ample propor 
tions as to convince us that his motives were 

"You were speaking of war," he said, "though 
I reckon you are most of you too young to know 
by experience the meaning of the word. So, if 
you ll allow me to order up another round, I ll tell 
you a story." 

"It s the Ancient Mariner," whispered the 

"In which event there s no use in kicking," 
replied the doctor. 

The liquor having arrived, the stranger tossed off 
another alarming potion with barely a movement 
of the throat, a feat that lighted up the doctor s 
face with admiration, while a covetous look stole 
into his eyes as he thought of the great revelations 
of an autopsy. Then the stranger said, with a tone 
that was charming in its courtliness : 

" Permit me to introduce myself. I am Major 
Fannin, of Texas. Perhaps the title isn t impor 
tant, but down my way everybody calls me Major, 
and this is to be a war story." 

168 The Old Major s Story. 

We assured the Major, with great gravity, that 
in Missouri it was a luxury to address anybody un 
der the rank of colonel, and we begged him to 

" I said, when I so unceremoniously and rudely 
broke in upon you " We protested with much 
waving of hands. " I said that war brings sorrow 
and suffering. I know, for I have had both." 

Strangely enough, we had not noticed until that 
moment that the Major s left sleeve was empty. 
Some men have the remarkable faculty of blinding 
you to their deficiencies, and the Major possessed 
that gift to an eminent degree. 

" I am not going to offend you, gentlemen, by any 
opinions concerning the civil war. I was a rebel, 
as you call it, and one of the last to surrender. 
But I accepted the verdict, and am as firmly 
attached to-day to our common country as any of 
you. We ll drink together, and Fll tell you what 
war did for me, but we ll let the dead issues go. " 

Then, after a pause : "When the war broke out 
I was practicing law in a Texas town, married, and 
the father of three children, the oldest a boy of 
seven, the youngest a baby. The war fever seized 
me as it took every man and woman in the South. 
I m not going to say that I ever sat down seriously 
to discuss principles or issues. It was enough 
for me that my State had decided ; that my people 
were all of one mind and opinion. It was a fever 

The Old Major s Story. 169 

of the most malignant type, and consequences were 
never thought of. In fact, I looked upon the war 
more as a dress parade, and when I hurried off to 
join my regiment I left my wife and family as gayly 
as if I were starting on a business trip. That was 
my first error and the cause of my first grief. How 
could I foresee the storm that raged for four years, 
swept away my kindred, drenched my country with 
blood and brought misery to my home ? 

"Our friend, here, spoke of coming down this 
way to find rebels. I reckon I was one of the 
rebels he found, for I remember Wilson s Creek 
very well, and I remember chasing bluecoats for 
some time after the encounter." 

The laugh was on the Passenger and Ticket 
Agent, which he acknowledged by ordering more 
drinks. And the Major went on : 

" It isn t necessary to the story to go into the 
details of my service. After the Missouri cam 
paign I went into Kentucky and fought at Mill 
Spring. At Shiloh I saw my first great battle, and 
there I was taken prisoner. Then I began to ap 
preciate, for the first time, the magnitude of the 
work we had undertaken and the extent of the 
Federal resources. When I was exchanged I 
joined Jackson s command, fought with him at 
Antietam and was in the great charge at Chancel- 
lorsville, where he met his death. A wonderful 
man that, gentlemen, a soldier and God s noble- 

170 The Old Major s Story. 

man, every inch of him. All this time I had re 
ceived vague and unsatisfactory news from home. 
My wife was as brave a woman as ever sent her 
husband to battle, but I could read between the 
lines a fainting spirit and a cry of despair. For 
the first time in my life I believe I was a coward. 
The night before the battle of Gettysburg I 
dreamed that my family were starving, and the 
shock of the dream unmanned me. Perhaps it 
turned my luck, for the next day I received my 
first wound ; I lost this arm. Then came weeks 
in the hospital, and when I was able to get about 
again they told me, what a thousand arms could 
not replace, my little Jessie was dead. Jessie was 
my second, my favorite child. I left her a healthy 
little blue-eyed tot, just four years old. And the 
day I went to the army she came up and put her 
little arms around my neck, and lisped good-by 
in her baby fashion. I kissed her as if I were go 
ing down to my office, and turned my back on her, 
never to see her again. They told me that she 
died of a slow fever, but I knew better than that, 
for my dream at Gettysburg came back to me. 
Oli, it was hard, gentlemen, it was hard ! " 

The old Major s voice broke and his lips were 
quivering. The doctor was staring uncomfortably 
at the ceiling, and the lawyer played nervously 
with the glass before him. But the railroad man, 
with that sort of comradeship that old soldiers 

The Old Majors Story. 171 

have, that makes the man beholding love his 
fellow-man the more, put his hand on the Major s 
shoulder as if to steady and comfort him. The 
Major recovered himself and went on. 

"Well, the news from home, instead of breaking 
me down, as they feared, put the devil in me. By 
this time we had begun to realize that we were 
righting against terrible odds, and that the Con 
federacy was in a desperate way. Under ordinary 
circumstances I would have been dismissed as 
incapacitated, but the decimation of the army had 
been so terrible that a man with a right arm and 
two good legs was still worth preserving. All 
through the battles of the Wilderness I hung on, 
but Grant was pressing us, our forces were 
dwindling and our supplies were giving out. Day 
after day the cause grew more hopeless, and we 
saw the end coming. It came at Appomattox. 
That is a great and glorious word to you, gentle 
men, but to me it brings up only a picture of 
ragged ness and semi-starvation and misery. 

" The conqueror told us to go home, and it 
seemed to me that there was a touch of irony in 
the word. Through the South I journeyed, the 
beautiful South that I had loved and fought for. 
How pitiable it looked, blackened by war, devastat 
ed by soldiery, the fields neglected, the homes 
going to ruin, the people as poor, as ragged and 
as miserable as myself. This, then, was the fruition 

172 The Old Majors Story. 

of our work, the glory of the soldier s trade ! As 
I went along my heart grew heavier. Kind words 
and sympathy I encountered, indeed, and such 
material assistance as the people could afford. 
And so I traveled until I readied my town, still 
wearing my old gray uniform, dirty and ragged, 
with long hair and beard and plenty of gray in 

"I stopped before my gate, and strangers met 
me. They told me that Mrs. Fannin had moved 
to a little house in the outskirts. Just then a boy 
came by ; it was my son, for I saw his mother in 
his face. lie was going home, and we walked on 
together. Without telling him who I was, I drew 
from him the story of the family trials, how mis 
erably poor they had been, how the little sister 
had died begging that she might see her father, 
and wondering why he had never come back from 
. the office ; how the servants had all run away 
except old Enos and Mancly, and how they had 
worked to keep the missus as Vpectable like as 
Mass Henry would want/ So the boy talked and 
I listened with my heart in my throat until we 
came to the house, and I sent him in to tell his 
mother that a poor soldier would like to get a 
lodging and food. 

" When my wife came to the door and I saw the 
care and sorrow in her face, my knees trembled so 
I could scarcely stand. She didn t recognize me, 

Tlic Old Major * Mori/. 173 

of course ; Avhy should she ? 80 I spoke out and told 
her that I was a discharged Confederate soldier 
without friends, home or money, and I asked for 

" My poor man/ she said, I would give it to 
you gladly, but I have hardly enough for my chil 
dren. My husband, like you, went to the war. 
God knows where he is to-day/ 

" But, madam, at least you can give me a 

" Her eyes were filled with tears. If I could/ 
she answered, I would do it willingly, but where 
can I put you away ? The house is small and 
cramped, and I have no extra bed. I am a 
soldier s wife, and am almost reduced to a soldier s 

" While she was speaking a little dog that had 
been my dead child s favorite came around the 
corner of the house. He sniffed at me suspiciously 
and then began to caper and jump with the live 
liest manifestations of joy. My children had for 
gotten me, my wife did not know me, but the 
little dog could not be deceived. I saw my wife 
start and look eagerly into my face, and I cried 
out : 

" Mary, don t you know me ? 

"And just then old Mandy came to the door 
and threw up both hands and exclaimed : 

" Fo Clod, it s Mass Henry come back ! 

174 TJie Old Major 9 * Story. 

u Well, we all went into the wretched little 
house and sat down and cried for joy. The baby, 
now the image of the little Jessie I had left, came 
bashfully in and caught hold of my empty sleeve, at 
which my wife cried the more. We sat up half 
the night, and she told me all her griefs and 
troubles, though I have always suspected that she 
softened them as much as possible. And she 
brought out a little package and kissed it and put 
it into my hands without a word, I opened it. 
It was a lock of little Jessie s hair." 

The Major paused and studied the floor for a 
moment. Then he said : " It was up-hill work, but 
I have been successful. My sorrow ended with 
that reunion. There isn t a happier home in 
Texas, nor one that looks with greater abhorrence 
upon the curse of war." 

The lawyer whispered to the landlord. As he 
came back with the glasses, the lawyer said : 

" Major, you ve converted me. I ll give yon a 
toast. Peace, enduring peace ! " 

The old Major stood up, and very handsome and 
soldierly he looked. He bowed to us as he said : 

" And the Union ! " 

The railroad man, who had fought at Wilson s 
Creek, reached over and clasped his hand. 



FARMER ROOKS sat on the fence, smoking his 
pipe and looking complacently over his acres, 
which stretched away a mile to the south of the 
important town of Primrose. 

Every student of border history must be famil 
iar with the chronicles of Primrose, its early scenes 
of frontier deviltry, its famous rebellion against 
Kansas State authority and its bloody county-seat 
war with Hellbent, which cost thousands of dollars 
and scores of lives, and was the moving cause of 
one of the most prosperous graveyards between 
Topeka and the Rockies. Farmer Rooks was not 
a farmer in those stirring times. In fact, it would 
be difficult to say precisely what his occupation 
was. He had drifted into Kansas apparently for 
the humor of the thing, and for a year or two 
devoted himself to the liquor interest in the way 
of consumption, and to such ephemeral pleasure as 
can be gathered from association with cowboys in 
their hours of relaxation. When the county was 
organized and the question of a county seat came 
up, young Rooks took the stump for Primrose, his 
natuiul abilities and education giving him the 

178 Sweetheart. 

qualifications for leadership. It was he who first 
pointed out the absurdity and disgrace that would 
attend the selection of a town with the name of 
Hellbent. To counteract the effect of this speech 
the people of Hellbent immediately called a public 
meeting and changed the name to Bcntliell. But 
the reform was not adequate, and a majority of 
voters decided in favor of Primrose. Then the 
bad men of Hellbent organized a raid, and one 
dark and otherwise advantageous night swooped 
down on Primrose and captured the records. 
Eooks immediately called in his friends, the cow 
boys, and returned the raid and the compliment. 
And so the feud ran on for a year, until Hellbent 
was practically depopulated and Rooks was a curi 
osity of perforations. At last an honorable treaty 
of peace was agreed upon, and Primrose was per 
mitted to retain the spoils of conquest. 

Jn return for his efficient services Eooks was 
invited to claim any amount of honors and emolu 
ments. But a man who has been probed in every 
part of his body naturally loses a taste for active 
life and harassing duties. So he compromised on 
a testimonial banquet at the "Delmonico restau 
rant," and went into the business of agriculture 
on the outskirts of the town. His first grace^ 
ful act was to go over to Hellbent and espouse the 
belle of the defeated tribe, thereby completely 
healing the breach and setting an honorable exam,-. 

Sweetheart. 179 

pie to future Montagues and Capulets. As Prim 
rose prospered, so also did Farmer Rooks and his 
charming and thrifty bride, barring the one 
deplorable grasshopper invasion and an occasional 
hot wind that the ingenuity of man is not able 
to circumvent. 

In spite of her arduous duties and the many 
pressing demands upon her time and attention, 
the erstwhile belle of Hellbent found occasion to 
present to her husband the most charming and 
delightful miniature edition of herself. This inci 
dent, though it was by no means unparalleled in 
Primrose, which was beginning to experience a 
steady and reliable increase in population, created 
much local enthusiasm. The entire town jour 
neyed to the Rooks farm, and the men shook 
hands with the happy father, while the ladies made 
minute observations and the most critical exami 
nation, and all agreed that such a baby was a spe 
cial dispensation of Providence and an unprece 
dented manifestation of favor to Primrose. A 
corner lot was immediately voted by the town 
authorities, and called, by way of pleasantry and 
gentle reminder, Rooks s First Addition. 

Now, when it came to the point of naming this 
important young personage, Farmer Rooks and his 
wife had their first falling-out. The mother was 
not too particular, and selected from her family 
stock a large variety of names which Farmer Rooks 

ISO. SweclJieart. 

rejected as being altogether commonplace and un 
worthy. Like a loyal son, he would have remem 
bered his own mother, but Hannah that was too 
much. They lay awake nights quarreling over the 
vexatious point. They sent into town for a dic 
tionary, and went carefully and laboriously over 
the Scripture proper names and the Greek and 
Latin proper names and the Christian names of 
women and the noted names of fiction, and even 
the modern geographical mimes, but with no result. 
The schoolmaster and the minister came to their 
assistance, and the minister prayed very fervently 
that God would aid them in making a decision ; 
but, despite the assurance of assistance, the name 
was as far away as ever. At one time Farmer 
Rooks was favorably inclined to Leda, but the 
schoolmaster, who was a very young man, blushed 
a great deal and hastily convinced the father that 
he was contemplating a great wrong to an innocent 
child. Farmer Rooks admitted that he knew noth 
ing of mythology, and warmly thanked the young 
schoolmaster for extricating him from a grave 

All this time the baby was growing and devel 
oping at a famous rate, and seemed to look with 
reproachful wonder out of its big blue eyes at the 
unhappy parents, who bade fair to send her name 
less through life. When Farmer Rooks went to 
the field, he took the little dictionary with him, 

Sweetheart. 181 

and over and over again the wondering horses 
heard his "Abigail,, Adeline,, Adelaide, Agatha 
git up, there ! Clara, Clarissa, Constance, Cora 
w-h-o-a ! Arethusa, Asteria, Athena, Aurora 
g long, now Ceres, Diana back! whoa!" 
And at night the mother, washing the dishes, 
would take up the sad refrain : " Octavia, Olivia, 
Pauline, Penelope Hiram, did you fetch in the 
wood? Sophia, Sophronia, Stella, Susanna 
there s the baby, Hiram ! " 

One day Farmer Rooks sat in the kitchen on the 
wood-box. It was raining hard, the baby had no 
name, and the world was very black. There came 
a sound as of a falling weight, and a loud squall 
proclaimed that the baby had tumbled out of 
her crib. Then the mother s voice was heard : 
" What s the matter, sweetheart ? Who s been 
hurting mamma s little sweetheart ?" 

Farmer Eooks jumped from the wood-box and 
slapped his leg. "By gad, Nell, found at last! 
You ve struck it this time. We ll call her Sweet 
heart ! " 

Great news always travels quickly, and twenty- 
four hours had not elapsed before the whole town 
knew that the baby had been named. At first some 
carping complaints were heard. The minister s 
wife argued that such a name would not tend to 
the spiritual advancement of the child ; that she 
would grow up in vanity and self-consciousness, 

182 Sweetheart. 

and that her mind would be filled with distracting 
thoughts before her time. A few other mothers 
resented the monopoly implied by the name, and 
hinted that there was likely to be a good deal more 
than one "sweetheart" in the community. But 
Farmer Rooks was obstinate. He maintained 
forcefully that it was his child and he could call 
her whatever he chose. She was u Sweetheart " to 
him and would always be. If other people did not 
like the name they could call her Miss Rooks. 
This appeared to strike the community as a per 
fectly reasonable suggestion, and an exhibition of 
Rooks s usual good, hard sense. 

As Sweetheart grew up all opposition to the 
name, as to its propriety or appropriateness,, melted 
away. It was a sure case of love at first sight, and 
everybody who saw her surrendered on the spot. 
The Rooks farm was on the main road to Benthell 
and High Rock, and nobody in the county thought 
of driving by without pulling up to catch a glimpse 
of Sweetheart. She was the only child, for Mrs. 
Rooks, who was a busy woman, had discovered 
that the demands and cares of maternity were en 
tirely too exacting for a farmer s wife in an undevel 
oped country. Consequently, she was all the more 
precious to the farmer s heart, and lie never 
wearied of repeating her epigrams when he went 
to town, and of exhibiting her accomplishments to 
the stranger within the gates. 

Siveetheart. 183 

Mrs. Rooks, on the other hand, did not share 
in this manner of adoration. She admitted her 
daughter s beauty and many good qualities, but 
was not blind to the little eccentricities which are 
part of a child s nature. Mrs. Rooks had, more 
over, forcible theories of government, and had 
established a set of by-laws which are found in 
every well-regulated household. Consequently, 
Sweetheart s life was not wholly devoid of those 
exciting and purely one-sided or jug-handled 
episodes which befall all children of high animal 
spirits. These interviews Mrs. Rooks described as 
"molding the character," but it was significant 
that Sweetheart s character was never "molded" 
when her father was at home, for he countenanced 
no liberties with Sweetheart s feelings. 

So the years went peacefully by until the early 
afternoon when, as hereinbefore related. Farmer 
Rooks sat on the fence and smoked his pipe and 
looked over his acres. It was the end of an old- 
fashioned winter, and spring had come on with 
one of those lightning changes that are the per 
plexities of agricultural life in Kansas. Farmer 
Rooks was too old a settler to be misled by any 
climatic blandishments, and the mercury that stood 
at 75 on an April afternoon, with a hot wind blow 
ing from the southwest, offered no inducements 
for rash experiments. Near the farmer little Sweet 
heart was disporting with all the enthusiasm of 


her five years and exercising the petty tyrannies that 
a child has in store for a completely subjugated 
father. Farmer Rooks looked at her admiringly, 
and chuckled at the reflection that he had the 
prettiest child, the thriftiest wife, the tidiest home 
and the best farm in the county. "Such a figure 
as that child has/ he laughed to himself; "as 
plump as a prairie chicken and as graceful as a 
colt." In truth, Sweetheart was a pretty picture 
as she romped up and down the yard, her cheeks 
rosy with the color of health, her blue eyes danc 
ing with childish glee, and her flaxen curls blown 
all oyer her head by the force of the wind. But 
it might have been noticed that in her play 
she was particularly careful to see that no acci 
dent befell the new shoes on her little feet, for just 
before the outing Mrs. Hooks had requested an 
interview with Sweetheart, and had told her that 
if anything happened to those shoes something 
would drop. What that something was the child 
had distinct and painful recollection. 

"Fm going into town, mother," said the farmer, 
calling to the busy woman in the kitchen. "You 
keep an eye on Sweetheart, as she s like to blow 
away. If the wind doesn t let up before night we 
may hear from it." 

So Farmer Rooks jumped on his horse and can 
tered off to town, with numerous commissions 
from the infant tyrant, which he gravely jotted 

Sweetheart. 1H5 

down on the back of an old envelope. Sweetheart 
watched him to the end of the potato-patch and 
returned to her sports. She was doubtless playing 
one of those mysterious and intricate games that 
are evolved from a child s process of thought, 
which consist of a great deal of digging in the dirt 
and accumulation of small lumber and other acces 
sories. All the afternoon she devoted to this 
occult scheme of diversion, contemplating a great 
surprise for the farmer, and pausing anon to 
inspect the condition of the new shoes. 

Neither the busy woman in the house nor the 
child at play noticed the change in the atmosphere. 
The wind had died away and the air was hot and 
oppressive. At times the sky seemed to give a 
yellow light ; then almost as quickly it would take 
a greenish tinge, which would as rapidly fade 
away. There was no signal service expert in 
Primrose, and there were no weather prophets to 
guess at probabilities, but the big rooster that 
strutted up and down past the little girl cocked 
his eye occasionally at the heavens as much as to 
say : " I don t like the looks of things, Sweet 
heart ; you and I \1 better get out of this." 

Sweetheart had reached that point in her archi 
tectural pursuits when it became necessary to get 
up and stand off at a little distance and scrutinize 
her work. At that moment there came from the 
distance a low, dull roar, and the big rooster gave 

186 S-wccthcart. 

a quick squawk of alarm and ran to the shed. 
The mother in the kitchen heard it, and came to the 
door, but there stood Sweetheart with her eyes 
upon her castle and her thoughts wrapped up in 
the surprise for her father. Straight from the 
southwest, skirting the edge of the town, and 
coming at an incredible speed, was a huge balloon, 
and Sweetheart, looking up, saw it and clapped her 
hands with joy. One look, however, made the 
mother s heart stand still. She knew too well 
now the meaning of the distant roaring and the 
fate of whatever stood in the path of the monster 
that bounded up and down and swept on in its 
course of death. "Sweetheart!" she screamed, 
and took one step forward. She was too late. 
The cloud was on them with an angry shriek, and 
in a second everything was swept away. The 
house was in ruins ; the sheds were flattened like 
cardboard ; great trees were torn up and twisted, 
and the air was filled with flying timbers and 
household articles. Pinned to the earth, the mother 
lay as one dead. And Sweetheart where was 
Sweetheart ? 

Farmer Rooks sat in the grocery on a nail-box 
with a dozen of his friends about him. -You 
see," said he, "mother and I took Sweetheart over 
to the Higginses to call on Joe s folks. And while 
we were there Joe s wife s baby got hungry and she 
had to nurse it, Sweetheart all the time looking on 

Sweetheart. 187 

with her eyes wide open. And when we were 
going home Sweetheart says : Mamma, I don t 
think that was a nice thing for Mrs. Higgins to do. 
I think it was nasty/ And her mother said : 
1 Why, Sweetheart, you and I used to do that when 
you were a little baby/ And Sweetheart put on a 
look of great disgust, and said : Well, mamma, if 
I did, for heaven s sake don t say anything about 
it ! " 

A great shout greeted this story, and just then 
Bill Harper, the butcher, rushed in and cried out: 
"Boys, there s a cyclone south o town, and it 
looks as if it might strike your place, Hi ! " 

Pell-mell they crowded into the street. Farmer 
Rooks s face was ghastly pale, and he shook like a 
leaf. Away to the northeast they saw that angry, 
bounding balloon, and marked the ruin in its wake. 
Another minute, and Farmer Rooks was in the sad 
dle and off in a dead run, and those who looked on 
his face saw an agony that was indescribable. 

" Boys," said Bill Harper, " it s got Rooks s place, 
sure ; it was right in the line of the cyclone. God 
help him if we can t ; but we ll try." 

Men on horseback and men in wagons followed 
Farmer Rooks, who was now far ahead and riding 
like a demon. Within a quarter of a mile of his 
farm he saw the house was gone. He reeled and 
nearly fell from the saddle. But the horse seemed 
to realize the pressure of his mission, and ran 


madly on through the rain, now falling j n a tor 
rent, evading and clearing the limbs and branches 
of trees that lay across his path. In front of 
where was once the door the animal stopped, and 
Farmer Hooks threw himself from his back, and 
knelt by the side of his wife. 

"Mother! mother!" he cried. "Where is 
Sweetheart ?" 

^ A few minutes later, when the neighbors and 
friends drove up, they found him looking union" 

the ruins and moaning, "Oh, Sweetheart, Sweet 
heart ! " 

It was an easy task to release the farmer s wife, 
and the work of a minute to restore her to con 
sciousness. Her left arm was broken, but she 
couldn t think of that. She saw her husband 
prying among the timbers, and she heard his 
moans of anguish, and knew that Sweetheart was 
gone. She could tell nothing. The storm had 
come like a flash and swept her away from her 

"One thing is sure," said Billy Sedgwick, "the 
child isn t here, and has been carried off by the 
wind. We ll have to foller the path till we find 

They went out very solemnly, for they knew 
they were going after the dead. And those who 
had little girls at home turned awnv their heads so 
that Hi mightn t see the tears in their eves. But 

Sweetheart. 189 

Farmer Jttooks was hurrying along with that deadly 
pallor still on his face, and his wife, forgetful of her 
broken arm, was at his side. Her lips were mov 
ing, and Bill Harper said she was praying. 

Then Bill Sedgwick and Jim Grant and the 
Kingrnan boys, who were in front, set up a shout. 
And here came Sweetheart up the road. Her 
little dress was in tatters, her stockings were down, 
and one shoe was gone. Her flaxen curls were 
torn and dirty, her face was streaked with mud, and, 
withal, she was well plastered from head to foot. 
The mother, in a manner perfectly characteristic 
of her sex, no sooner saw her child alive than she 
gave a shriek and fainted away. The father rushed 
to the little one and grabbed her up and kissed her 
muddy hair and dirty face and little scratched 
arms again and again. 

"I didn t run away, papa," said Sweetheart, 
apologetically. "1 didn t want to go. But when 
the big balloon came along somebody reached 
down and grabbed me up and held me tight so I 
couldn t get away, and he took me off down the 
road with a lot of boards and things and our 
speckled hen and the red chicken-coop. And 
after awhile he got tired and laughed and let 
me down in a mud-puddle and splashed me all 
over ; and and " (here she looked fearfully at 
her mother, who was coming to consciousness) " I - 
I losted one of my shoes," 

190 Street heart. 

But the father took little Sweetheart in his arms 
and pressed her to his breast. And, forgetful of 
his ruined home and blighted farm, he buried his 
face in her tangled curls and sobbed for joy and 
thankfulness. For now he knew that God had 
ridden on the storm. 

Political panderings of Joseph 


THE door of the little back room was carefully 
closed, and the Numidian attendant was instructed 
to see that the company was not disturbed. 

" There is great danger in making a Kentucky 
toddy/ said Colonel Bollinger, as the boys drew 
around the table and surveyed the preparations 
with interest. " You take a lump of sugar, like 
this, put it in a long glass, and pour in a very little 
water, just enough to dissolve the sugar. Then 
you stir with a spoon, and add the whisky. Com 
plete by pouring in more water." 

" But where s the danger, Colonel ? " 

"The danger, sir, is in getting in too much 
water. You may not believe it, but to make a 
toddy as it should be made is one of the most 
puzzling of all the glorious arts of modern times. 
I remember when Joe Macon came down to visit 
me that we sat up together half the night experi 
menting. Joe would never admit that we had 
discovered the secret of exact proportion, and the 
result was that when we started for home, al 
though we had only three blocks to go, we must 


194 The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 

have covered half a mile of territory. And when 
a policeman I happened to know offered to assist 
Joe, lie told him that he didn t require assistance, 
as everybody knew that the longest way round was 
the shortest way home." 

" Who was Joe Macon, Colonel ? " 

" JOJB Macon, sir, was one of the greatest politi 
cians this country has ever known, as cunning as a 
fox, as strong as an ox, and as brave as a lion. If 
one of you gentlemen will ring for the cigars I ll 
tell you a story about him. Thanks a Henry Clay, 
please, rather strong. 

"Well, when the war broke out, Joe was living 
up in Northwest Missouri, a sort of dealer in general 
merchandise, sugar, coffee,, clothing, niggers, and 
the like. Andy Callaway and Joe married sisters, 
daughters of old Squire Benton, who was with 
Price during the troubles in this State. Andy was 
a right smart sort of fellow himself, and what he 
didn t know about a nigger trade couldn t be 
learned. Of course his sympathies were all with 
the South, and at first he promised the squire that 
he d join the army. But the more he got to think 
ing about it the less he liked the idea. You 
see, all of Andy s property was up among the 
Dutch, and if he joined the rebel army it meant 
confiscation and a dead loss. So Andy closed out 
his niggers and went home to think it over." 

The Colonel bit off the end of his cigar and 

The Wandering* of Joseph Macon. 195 

chuckled. " Well, the first thing Joe knew, along 
came the Home Guards one day, and here marched 
Andy with a lot of Dutchmen, dressed up in a 
blue uniform and carrying- the Union flag, with 
the band playing Yankee Doodle, or some other 
odious air. Joe was mad clear way through, and, 
when Andy looked over at him and winked, Joe 
wanted to go and pull him out of the ranks. But 
his wife said : < You let Andy Callaway alone. 
Depend upon it, he knows what he s doing/ That 
night Andy came over to Joe s house, still wearing 
his blue uniform. That made Joe madder than 
ever, and the way he lit into Andy was a caution. 
But Andy just sat and grinned, and when Joe had 
finished he said : 

" Now look here, Joe, you re on the wrong track. 
It s all well enough for us to be talking about our 
sympathies and our rights, but the fact is it s a 
question whether we ll go broke or keep our prop 
erty and our skins. As a choice between tlie 
Dutch and a rope or a bullet, I ll take the Dutch. 
And if you re sensible you ll go with me. 

" Much to Joe s surprise, his wife spoke up and 
warmly seconded Andy. Mrs. Macon was a 
thrifty woman, and as she lived in a border State 
she didn t have much of that impractical sentiment 
that was so popular among the women further 
South. And Andy kept pegging away at him. 
" The thing for you to do, Joe, is to go up to 

196 The Wanderings of Jose-pli Ma con. 

the hall with me to-morrow night and make appli 
cation for membership in the Home Guards/ 

u < What good will that do ? said Joe. Every 
body in the country knows that Fve owned and 
sold niggers, and that I m a rebel. They ll just 
laugh at me and perhaps mob me. 

" No, they won t/ said Andy ; I ll tell you 
exactly what they ll do. When you send in your 
name Jim Cole will be there. lie kicks at every 
thing and everybody. It s more than likely that 
he ll get up and denounce you, and when he gets 
to calling you names you want to go for him right 
off. Knock him down and lick him. That ll 
tickle the Dutch and be a sure proof of your loy 
alty, and they ll take you right in. 

"Well, they talked and argued and wrangled, 
and finally Joe gave in and allowed he d try it, 
anyway. And the more he thought of it the bet 
ter-humored he became. And he tried on Andy s 
coat and strutted up and down the room, and as 
he thought of the wrath of his father-in-law he 
laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks. 

" So the next night Andy came around and got 
Joe, and they went up together to the hall. The 
boys looked mighty curious when they saw Joe 
come in, for you see Joe had talked pretty loud 
about nigger-loving Yankees, and it was generally 
known that he had fitted one fellow out and sent 
him off to Price. But Andy and Joe sat down 

The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 197 

and didn t say a word until it came time to nom 
inate new members. Then Andy got up and made 
a little speech. He said it gave him great pleasure 
to propose his brother-in-law, Joseph Macon, as a 
member of the company. He supposed that it was 
pretty well known to the intelligent and represent 
ative Germans present that Mr. Macon s early 
sympathies, like his own, had been with the Con 
federacy. But since the South had so far forgot 
ten itself as to fire on the flag, that glorious 
emblem of a great and honored union of States, he 
had felt it his duty to rally to its defense. He 
therefore begged the privilege of enrollment among 
the other honorable defenders of the Union. 

"When Andy sat down there was faint applause, 
and, sure enough, Jim Cole, who had been sneer 
ing all through his speech, took the floor. Jim 
was a sarcastic fellow, and he began by saying that 
he highly approved such loyal sentiments coming 
from so authoritative a source. He was glad to hear 
that Mr. Macon had experienced this revulsion of 
feeling, for less than twenty-four hours before he 
had heard the gentleman cursing the Union from 
Abe Lincoln down to the janitor of the Khode 
Island State-house. For his own part he knew 
Mr. Macon to be the all-firedest rebel in Northwest 
Missouri, an unrepentant nigger- trader and a man 
who would cut up a blue uniform for dish-rags. 

" Well, these spirited remarks set up a great 

198 The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 

hubbub among the Dutch, for Jim was an authority 
on the question of loyalty. And Andy nudged 
Joe as a sort of hint that the crisis had come. So 
Joe got up very deliberately and remarked that he 
was greatly pained and outraged by these asper 
sions on his patriotism. He apologized to the 
company for his inability to make a speech, and 
said that, as a man of action and not of words, he 
would detain them only a moment. Then he 
crossed over to Jim Cole and said : Jim, you re 
the durnedest liar in the town, and I can prove it. 
With that he hit him between the eyes and knocked 
him flat, picked him up and threw him over three 
rows of chairs, stood him up again and kicked him 
six or eight times, and finally left him in a heap in 
the corner. Then he turned to the company and 
roared : If there s any other gentleman has any 
thing to say ag in me or the Union, now s his call. 

"Of course nobody had anything to say in the 
face of this argument, and Joe was taken right into 
membership before Jim had fairly come to con 
sciousness. You couldn t have made a Dutchman 
in that room believe that Joe wasn t next thing to 
an abolitionist." 

"Was Joe a good Union man after that, 
Colonel ? " 

" Union man ? " echoed the Colonel, with great 
scorn. " He was one of the best Union men you 
ever saw. He d go clown to the meetings and 

The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 199 

listen to the proceedings, and then ride all night 
to warn one of his Confederate friends who had 
been marked for arrest. He was such a Union 
man that he couldn t bear to think that the Union 
should be put to the trouble and expense of sup 
porting a worthless rebel." 

The Colonel puffed a moment in silence. " Poor 
Andy," he went on, "he didn t have much show 
after all. One day the news came that the rebels 
were in the neighborhood, and the Home Guards 
were called out. In some way, while they were 
dodging back of town, the boys got scattered and 
divided. Two squads came up on one another in 
the brush and got to firing. Before they found out 
their mistake Andy was killed. Joe always claimed 
that it wasn t a mistake at all ; that they killed 
him out of pure malice. They took him back to 
town and gave him a military funeral, and covered 
the coffin with the stars and stripes, and put Dnlce 
est pro patria mori in his obituary. Joe tells me 
that not long ago Andy s wife received a pension 
with back money as a slight testimonial from a 
grateful country." 

What became of Joe ? " 

" Well, Joe settled down to farming after the 
war. But he didn t make much of a success of it. 
He was too great a man. Perhaps you ve noticed 
that a great man is only great between spells of 
farming. Cincinnatus was that kind. His farm- 

200 The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 
ing merely gave him a chance to think tip more 
greatness. Joe was a natural politician. He would 
hang around and find out how things were going, 
and then he d go that way. He used to say that 
he wouldn t trust a man who wasn t open to con 
viction. But somehow Joe was unlucky. When 
he ran as a Republican the county went Demo 
cratic, and when he came out as a Democrat the 
county flopped over and went Republican. If he 
got on the Prohibition ticket the county went wet, 
and he no sooner took the side of the antis than 
every Dutchman voted dry. It was the most curi 
ous thing you ever saw. Yet Joe was a brainy 
man, and one of the best wire-pullers in the State. 
Bu(; he did have such luck. One day he started 
to bring in a lot of section hands, at his own 
expense, on a gravel train. The engine jumped 
the track, and Joe and his brother didn t reach 
town till three hours after the polls closed. Joe 
was beaten by one majority. Another time he 
imported a lot of Irishmen from Kansas and kept 
them for two weeks. On election-day they all got 
drunk and went fishing. There never was any 
thing like it for luck. 

"Naturally, Joe got a little discouraged. His 
farm began to play out, as farms will when they 
are run as political annexes, and his wife and chil 
dren were considerably annoyed by malaria. So 
Joe reckoned he d pull up and quit. It looked a 

The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 201 

little inviting over on the Kansas side, and he 
moved across and purchased a few acres near the 
river. There was plenty of good land cheap a few 
miles back in the country,, but Joe said he was 
tired and didn t like to travel, anyhow, and he 
thought he d try it around the edge, just to see 
how Kansas was going to suit. If he liked it, he 
could dip a little farther in any time. 

" Well, with Joe s record as a Union soldier, and 
on the strength of his fracas with Jim Cole, he 
could have had a good thing in Kansas. But here 
is where his confounded luck came in again. Just 
about this time Cleveland was elected President, 
and Joe took it into his head that he wanted to be 
postmaster. Of course, that killed him with the 
Republicans, and the fight over the office grew so 
hot that the party was disrupted, and two-thirds 
of the Democratic leaders had it in for Joe. To 
crown his sorrows, another fellow got the office, 
and the next year the river rose and washed out 
his farm. Then Joe gave up, and took to drink, 
which he had sort of been taking to pretty natur 
ally for some years. Ilis wife died, and his daugh 
ters married off, and it left him free to do about as 
he pleased. He was such a good-natured fellow 
that everybody liked him, and he was always 
sergeant-at-arms at Democratic conventions on 
account of his great strength and his love of order. 

"Down in Joe s neighborhood the county inva- 

202 The Wandering* of Joseph Macon. 

riably had its final Democratic rally of the cam 
paign. The boys would gather from all quarters, 
build a huge camp-fire and circle around it while 
the speaking was going on. Every man was sup 
posed to bring his own private jug of JefTersonian 
doctrine, and as the meeting never adjourned until 
the doctrine gave out there was a good deal of 
oratory. At such times Joe was in his element, 
and always saw that everything was pleasant and 

"That reminds me," said the Colonel, "that I 
am getting a little parched. Beg pardon. You 
were about to order the drinks when I interrupted 
you. Xo, my boy, not for the world ; you spoke 
first. 1 shall be happy to drink with you." 

When he had measurably refreshed himself, the 
Colonel proceeded : 

" I remember being present at one of these 
rallies. I was invited to address the County 
Democracy on the character of Jefferson. Al 
though I was a stranger to most of the statesmen 
assembled, they honored me with profound atten 
tion, and, I may say with modesty, unstinted 
applause. When we first met together around 
the fire, I noticed with displeasure that there was 
a nigger present, not as a servant, which would 
have been perfectly proper, but as a Democrat and 
a brother. I spoke to two or three gentlemen about 
it, but as they seemed to treat it with indilTer- 

The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 203 

dice, I could not, as a guest, object. For a time the 
greatest harmony prevailed, but as the toasts grew 
more frequent and the good liquor began to cir 
culate, I could observe a marked change in the 
demeanor of the crowd. Occasionally a gentle 
man would look np and catch sight of the nigger, 
and a look of astonishment would come over his 
face, as if he observed him for the first time. 
And by and by the whole crowd began to scrutinize 
the nigger in an aggrieved and injured way, not 
exactly in a hostile manner, but with that air 
which suggests perplexity, annoyance, inability to 
account for the presence of an interloper. 

" As I recall it, Judge Gentry, as grand a Demo 
crat as "ever drew the breath of life, was speaking 
of the comprehensive principles of Democracy. 
The fire had burned low, and we were unable to 
distinguish faces around the circle. The Judge 
had reached an eloquent climax in which he glori 
fied the equality of man as sustained by the Dem 
ocracy, and thanked God that we had met that 
night as brothers in a grand universal brother 
hood, when there came the sound of two quick 
blows, and a man tumbled back into the fire. As 
he fell, the embers, displaced by the body, shot up 
a sudden flame, and we recognized the features of 
the nigger. And, do you know, as a most remark 
able example of spontaneity of thought, every man 
in that circle jumped to his feet and shouted : 

204 The Wanderings of Joseph Macon. 

Hurrah for Joe Macon ! It was one of the 
grandest, most inspiring sights I ever witnessed. 
Judge Gentry told me that, in all his forty years of 
labor for the Democratic party, he had never ob 
served a more thrilling tribute to a party worker." 

" Did they send him to Congress, Colonel ? " 

" No, sir ; poor Joe was too far gone at that 
time to receive any reward, however merited. A 
few months later he was taken into the Soldiers 
Home, that beautiful haven of rest prepared by 
our country for those who have fought her battles. 
I spent a Sunday with him. As I came up the 
walk from the station, here was Joe jabbering with 
a couple of old fellows in blue, and drawing in the 
gravel with his cane. He was saying : Now, it 
was just like this at Bull s Run. Here were the 
rebels over here in the woods, and here was our 
command down by the stream that ran along this 

"When I had him alone I said: Joe, what 
were you talking about, you old rascal? You 
know that you never were at Bull s Run. 

"And Joe looked at me in a doubtful sort of 

way, and said : * Colonel, I ve told that lie so 

many times since I ve been here that I m gettin to 
believe it myself. " 



IT is related in the brief chronicles of the 
adventures of Moses in Egypt that, after the 
law-giver, with Divine assistance, had subjected 
Pharaoh to various annoyances such as murrain 
of beasts, tremendous crops of frogs and flies, pain 
ful boils and blains and a visitation of hail, he 
caused a shower of locusts that not only covered 
the land and ate up every green thing, but super 
induced the bold statement that "before them 
there were no such locusts as they, neither after 
them shall be such." Doubtless, Moses was per 
fectly honest in this opinion, for, prophet as he 
was, he could not foresee the possibilities of the 
great American continent. Indeed, all Christian 
lands have accepted this promise with a security 
that argued well for their faith ; but, in an evil 
moment for Moses, people began to move into 
Kansas. Now Kansas has always prided itself on 
its ability as a record-breaker, and, despite the 
orthodox religious sentiment there prevalent, it is 
doubtful whether it has ever regarded Moses as a 
leader in the same class with John Brown. And 
as for Pharaoh s little experience with the locusts, 

308 The Distribution. 

you can get thousands of affidavits in Kansas any 
day to the effect that a Mosaic locust is to a Kan 
sas grasshopper what a humming-bird is to a spar 
row-hawk. These affidavits are not intended to be 
irreverent or unorthodox, but are merely the out 
growth of patriotism and State pride. 

In fact, the Kansas man, having rallied from the 
plague, is as proud of his grasshopper as a woman 
is of her pet poodle. The Egyptian article sub 
sisted on green things, but the Kansas variety is 
claimed to have devoured cord-wood, kitchen 
utensils and bits of scrap-iron and nails; in truth, 
everything except the mortgage, which thus far 
seems to have escaped even the ingenuity of Provi 
dence. Whoever visits Kansas in these days should 
not fail to ask the inhabitant to tell him about 
the iron pot half-devoured by the ravenous insects, 
or the crowbar into which they burrowed in their 
efforts to make a square meal. These things are 
now among the sacred traditions of the State, and 
will be properly attested before a notary. When 
one sits down to write of them, he cannot avoid 
the conviction that Pharaoh s trouble has been 
very greatly overestimated. 

Nobody contends that the Lord sent the grass 
hopper into Kansas, as previously He showered the 
locusts upon Egypt. If any significance of divine 
motive appears in this visitation, it is that He 
afflicted Kansas as, many centuries before, He vis- 

The Distribution. 209 

itecl sorrow upon Job a test of strength and for 
bearance. At least this is the popular Kansas idea, 
and it is entitled to consideration. 

After all, there is much that is compensatory in 
the workings of Providence, and while the Lord 
sent the grasshoppers as a sort of gentle reminder 
that the Kansas man was putting on more airs 
than the average farmer is entitled to under a high 
protective tariff, he had compromised the blow by 
granting a wheat crop of sufficient yield to prevent 
a disastrous season of infidelity. And then, as this 
concession appeared to be too strong an evidence 
of favor and discrimination against Job, he gave 
the devil permission to supplement the grasshopper 
pest with a drought that ate up the farmers 
patience as neatly as the insects devoured his 
grain. Such was the condition of affairs at Dob 
bins the morning after the grasshopper convention 
and banquet, 

Dobbins had never figured very extensively in 
the political history of Kansas, partly because it 
was a new town and partly because its settlers had 
not had the advantage of previous training in 
Ohio or Indiana. It had never turned out any 
thing more formidable in a political way than a 
candidate for the Legislature, and he had been 
beaten by a combination which Judge Jefferson 
always referred to as "circumstances." 

Judge Thomas Jefferson, or the " Jedge," as he 

210 The Distribution. 

was familiarly called, was the one character in 
Dobbins who, everybody conceded, had been 
strangely and harshly neglected by fate. To the 
simple people among whom he lived he was a mine 
of information and learning, a vast repository of 
facts and figures. To him went all the neighbors 
with questions and problems, and it is due to the 
Judge to say that he answered them promptly 
with great facility. It was largely through the 
Judge s aptness in answering questions off-hand 
that for a time the idea prevailed in certain circles 
of Dobbins that Leviticus was a Roman general. 
And when the minister sought to dispel this illu 
sion the Judge explained, with great impressive- 
ness, that there were two distinct branches of the 
family, the Hebrew and the Eoman, and that he 
had naturally supposed that the question referred 
to the modern representative who had distin 
guished himself by his great gallantry in the 
second Punic war. f Oh, well," said the Judge, in 
the off-hand way that characterizes men of great 
erudition, "if you mean the Hebrew fellow, I sup 
pose the parson s right." And as the Judge pro 
nounced the word with the accent on the first 
syllable the impression grew that Leviticus was an 
old Mosaic humorist. So the Judge emerged 
from the argument with greater prestige than 

The Judge had moved into Kansas from Mis- 

The Distribution. 211 

souri at the close of the civil war, and had settled 
down on Dry Creek, which subsequently marked 
the southern limits of the town of Dobbins. It 
was confidently believed by his fellow-citizens that 
in Missouri he had been a distinguished jurist, and 
that he had been obliged to fly from home on 
account of his loyalty to the Union and for the 
reason that old Caspar s father left Blenheim 
they burnt his dwelling to the ground. This im 
pression the Judge never undertook to correct. 
13ut in Kansas he was content to live on his past 
reputation, and to make ends meet with such little 
manual labor as a small gentleman farmer could 
with dignity allow. 

The early history of Judge Jefferson was a sealed 
book. Indeed, the gentleman himself avoided all 
inquiries tending to lead up to personal matters, 
and at such times bore so unmistakable a look of 
pain that it was admitted by common consent that 
he was the hero of a mystery ; but whether a 
romance or a lynching, it was impossible to tell. 
When he had first appeared on Dry Creek, he had 
been distinguished for his long, luxuriant hair and 
an expansive shirt front. In later years he had 
curtailed his locks, but retained the prestige of 
exposing a wider area of shirt bosom than any man 
in the district. In politics he was, as his name 
would indicate, a Democrat, and while this fact did 
not deprive him of any social pleasures, it proved 

212 The Distribution. 

a barrier to the realization of those hopes that at 
one time or another inflame every voter in Kansas. 
"In this world/ said the Judge, "I am a martyr 
to principle, but in the great and notable day of 
the Lord I shall find my recompense." 

As Dobbins grew the Judge began to branch out. 
He it was who opened the first real estate office, 
organized the first town-lot company, and called 
the attention of Eastern capitalists to the golden 
opportunities that were waiting to be picked up 
along Dry Creek. It was the Judge who presided 
at all the public meetings, made the most stirring 
public-spirited addresses, and cheerfully gave his 
time and his eloquence to offset the cash contribu 
tions of those less gifted and less influential. 

Yet in spite of these exertions and this laudable 
display of public spirit Dobbins remained a village, 
and the Judge showed no evidence of prosperity. 
In fact, the little farm on the creek began to run 
down, and the Judge s shirt bosom, never of im 
maculate whiteness, bore tobacco stains somewhat 
deeper and more numerous than before. Things 
looked squally for the descendant of the great 

One day a letter came saying that the Judge s 
wife had come into possession of a three-hundred- 
dollar legacy through the timely demise of a super 
fluous relative. In honor of this felicitous event, 
the next day being the Sabbath of the Lord, the 

The Distribution. 213 

Judge gave a dinner-party to his daughters and 
sons-in-law, his sons and daughters-in-law, and 
their heirs and assigns of all ages. The older 
members of the family were still sitting at the 
table, and the heirs and assigns were playing in 
the yard, when there came a tap, tap, tap at the 
window pane. The Judge had reached a point in 
his discourse where he was disposing of the last 
hundred dollars of the legacy, and he looked an 
noyed by the interruption. 

"It s only the children," said his wife, sooth 

"As I was saying," went on the Judge, 
mean to take this last portion of the money and 

apply it to " And again came the tap, tap, 

tap. The Judge looked over his spectacles to catch 
the culprits at the window, but they were not in 
sight. " To take this money and apply it to the 
improvement of the " And for the third time, 
and louder than before, came the tap, tap, tap. 

"Bill," said the Judge, "I wish you d go out 
and drive those children away. This money came 
to us lawfully, and it seems as though we might 
have the privilege of disposing of it as we please." 

Bill rose carelessly and went to the door, lie 
opened it and looked out. Then he closed it 
quickly and turned to the old man with his face 

" My God, father, it s grasshoppers ! " 

214 TJie Distribution. 

The company jumped from the table and rushed 
to the door and windows. A cloud of insects 
almost shut out the sky, and thousands had already 
settled down on the trees and ripening grain. 
Even as the startled farmers looked the vegetation 
seemed to disappear, and, as if in a moment, the 
valley was like a prairie swept by tire or a country 
sacked and pillaged by the conquerors in war. The 
Judge looked first at the destroyers and then at his 
sons. " Boys/ said he, " we re busted, by ! " 

A less indomitable spirit than Thomas Jefferson, 
the namesake and descendant of the man who con 
structed the cradle of liberty, would have been 
crushed by this misfortune. But the Judge was 
unconquerable. In fact, he experienced a glow of 
pleasure, as it were, in the reflection that at last 
he was a "sufferer." The old-time Kansun exults 
in "suffering." He esteems it a natural stage 
through which he must pass in order to reach the 
true dignity of life. A life in Kansas without 
some of the cruel tests and disappointments that 
beset a new country is to subject the citizen to 
suspicion and distrust, and to cause him to be 
looked upon as a Sybarite and an enemy to existing 
conditions. So the Judge, with a flutter of pride, 
mounted his horse, which the grasshoppers had 
spared, and rode to town. 

The ruin had been so widespread that the Judge 
soon found himself in the company of the most 

The Distribution. 215 

prosperous farmers of the valley, and it required 
very little argument to convince them that the 
calamity was one that appealed directly to the 
sympathy and charity of the entire nation. 

" As one who has been prostrated by this heavy 
blow," said the Judge, "I shall take the liberty of 
calling a public meeting, to be held in the Method 
ist church to-morrow afternoon, to devise means to 
lay our misfortunes properly before the country. " 

When the Judge called this meeting to order 
the church was filled with sufferers and their 
friends. The Judge began with great dignity. 
He reminded his hearers that their misfortune was 
not unparalleled ; that the Romans, returning from 
the second Punic war, had found their crops devas 
tated by a similar pest. Should the citizens of 
Dobbins be less courageous than the people of 
Rome ? Should they not bear up under their 
affliction, at the same time setting forth the exact 
facts in order that the country might not be 
debarred from the blessed privilege of giving of its 
store ? 

Jim Hodgman demurred. Jim had always 
looked upon the Judge as a Missouri mossback, and 
thwarted him in every possible way. He admitted 
that he didn t know anything about a Punic war, 
or what the Romans did, but when he was in 
Kansas he believed in doing as the Kansans did. 
He had looked around the room, and while there 

216 The Distribution. 

were some honest farmers present, the meeting was 
composed largely of men who couldn t be hurt by 
a dozen grasshopper invasions. For his own part, 
he had raised a good crop of wheat, and was in no 
danger of starving. lie moved the meeting 

The Judge replied with great eloquence and 
fervor. lie submitted to the council of "sturdy 
farmers and their friends " that a cry of distress 
was going up all over Kansas ; that the grout, 
newspapers of the country would be tilled with 
dispatches from every county and town. Could 
Dobbins afford to miss this glorious opportunity to 
advertise itself in the Eastern press ? 

Mr. Ilodgman asked, with a slight shade of sar 
casm, if that was the policy adopted by the suffer 
ing Romans after the second Punic war. 

Judge Jefferson answered with spirit that the 
facilities of the old Romans were somewhat abridged, 
but that they were great hands to take advantage 
of their opportunities. 

Tom Meade thought that Dobbins would acquire 
a better measure of advertising by taking care of 
itself and declining all offers of assistance. This 
opinion created a flutter and great agitation on 
the part of the Jefferson contingent. 

Mr. Hodgraan renewed his motion to adjourn. 

The motion was lost, and a committee was 
appointed to draft resolutions setting forth the 

The Distribution. 217 

calamity that had overtaken the Dry Creek Valley 
and the town of Dobbins, and imploring such 
assistance as a generous nation could grant. At 
his own suggestion Judge Jefferson was selected 
to go to Kansas City to stir up the Board of Trade 
to a realization of the disaster. Thereupon the 
meeting adjourned, subject to the call of the chair 
man of the executive committee. 

That great director of public sentiment, the 
Dobbins Enterprise, forewarned the merchants of 
Kansas City that they would be waited upon by 
the Hon. Thomas Jefferson, a victim of the 
great scourge, and at the same time a man who had 
lost sight of his own troubles in the awful calamity 
that had overtaken his fellow-citizens. It bespoke 
for the advocate a generous welcome and a hearty 
measure of aid, and presented him to the great 
commercial Samaritans as one of the foremost 
men of Kansas, the peer of the brightest and the 
pride of the best. The Judge thoughtfully mailed 
several copies of this formal introduction to the 
newspapers, the banks and the Board of Trade of 
the Southwestern metropolis. Then he brushed 
up his best clothes and started for the city. 

A smaller man than the Judge, a man less self- 
contained, less conscious of the high philanthropy 
of his mission, less impressed with the urgency of 
the cause that drove him from hjs rnial quiet into 
the noise and bustle of the citv. would have been 

218 The Distribution. 

overwhelmed by the reflection that he was seeking 
the ear of strangers and the co-operation of men 
engrossed with their own affairs. But the Judge 
was not easily daunted. In less than six hours 
after his arrival in the city lie had conversed with 
three reporters, and not only painted a harrowing- 
picture of the desolating scenes along Dry Creek, 
but had reviewed in full the parallel circumstances 
of the second Punic war, and had outlined the 
probable policy of the Democratic party in the 
coming campaign. Two papers spoke of him as 
"one of the most distinguished of Democracy s 
chieftains," and a third styled him that "old wheel- 
horse of Democracy." The second day he was on 
Change laboring with the moneyed men, and set 
ting forth, in his most picturesque manner, the 
terrors of the plague that had paralyzed the ener 
gies of Dobbins and clogged the wheels of com 

"Our town, gentlemen," said the Judge, "has 
enjoyed the closest commercial relations with your 
city. It is for this reason, if for no other, that 
we have come at once to you in our distress. I 
would ask, if it were feasible, that you should send 
a committee of your body to see for yourselves the 
extent of our sufferings, but time presses, and 
affliction brooks no delay." 

Not one man in forty had ever heard of Dobbins, 
but the Judge was fertile in resources, and the 

Tlic Distribution. 219 

next morning the newspapers printed diagrams of 
the town and Dry Creek in the very heart of an 
appalling waste of grasshoppers. Board of Trade 
men are notoriously open-handed, and this evi 
dence of suffering touched them. Before the week 
was out a purse of nearly $1,500 had been pre 
sented to the Judge, and a carload of corn-meal 
was ordered shipped to Dobbins without delay. 

Publius Scipio, returning from the second 
Panic war, could not have experienced a greater 
measure of personal satisfaction than was felt by 
the Judge as he took the train for Dobbins. And 
he argued forcibly with himself as he bowled along : 
" It is a principle promulgated by a great statesman 
that to the victors belong the spoils ! Such princi 
ples, however, should be governed by circum 
stances. I will apply only $200 to my own expenses 
out of the $1,450 I have raised by my eloquence 
and efforts." 

An hour later he said : " It would appear that I 
am robbing myself. I will take $100 more for my 
just dues." 

Still a third time the devil tempted him, and he 
communed : " Why conceal from myself the knowl 
edge of my necessities ? Four hundred dollars will 
be a poor reward for my labors." And then, with 
the keen appreciation of a man who enjoys a quiet 
joke, he asked the conductor to lose no time, as 

every hour deprived a suffering community of 
means of relief. 

The return of the Judge to Dobbins was wel 
comed by a joyous outpouring of sufferers!" The 
train that bore the distinguished representative of 
smitten agriculture brought also, from Topeka, a 
relief committee and a carload of donations, princi 
pally in the way of wearing-apparel, warranted 
grasshopper-proof. As the Judge stepped on the 
platform he was met by Jim Hodgrnan, who pro 
pounded a few blithe questions touching the 
present relative condition of the Punic war and 
the Dry Creek invasion. To these ribald taunts 
the Judge replied with dignity, and an adjourn 
ment was taken to 2 p. M. to allow the committee 
to lay out the clothing. 

It must be admitted that gratitude was not one 
of the shining virtues of the Dobbins sufferers. 
As the relief committee cordially invited the vic 
tims to step up and inspect the coats and trousers 
generously provided for their necessities, many 
were the exclamations of disappointment. 

"This here coat is five years old if it s a day," 
said Bill Xixon. 

" Ain t there no watch-pocket in them trousers, 
Bill?" asked Sim Mayfield. 

"What do you want of a watch-pocket?" said 
Ilodgmau. "Next thing you ll be wanting a 

The Distribution. 221 

"Got any white vests?" inquired Joe Morgan. 
Joe was the dude sufferer. 

"What do we want with these old duds, any 
how ? " exclaimed John Tully, with indignation. 
" The corn s all gone, and there ain t no need of 

"There s a reasonable amount of suffer! 11 round 
here," said Bill, "but I m inclined to think, from 
the looks of these offerings, that the calamity has 
been exaggerated." 

Mr. William Ray, the tenor of the Methodist 
choir, stepped up briskly. "There s to be an 
entertainment at the church to-night for the bene 
fit of the sufferers," said he. "If no gentleman 
has any objections, we ll take these things to help 
out the costumes." 

"Take em along, Bill," replied Joe ; "they may 
come in handy after all." 

Mr. Morgan s prediction was verified. The 
costumes were the glittering feature of the enter 
tainment, and the sufferers who came early, paid 
their twenty-five cents each, and occupied the 
front seats, applauded liberally. 

"It s a darned good show," said John Tully, 
approvingly, "and we ought to get some money 
out of it. But I don t see what we d have clone 
without them fixin s." 

Judge Jefferson appeared on the stage and was 
o-reeted with a great round of applause. He 

The Distribution. 

unbuttoned his vest and waved his hand with 

" Fellow-sufferers, I think I may say as much, 
for we are all sufferers in this common cause, I 
have been requested to thank our fellow-citizens 
for getting up this delightful entertainment for 
our benefit, and also to include the relief com 
mittee from Topeka that has assisted so materially 
in our pleasure this evening. Ancl so I pass to 
another agreeable surprise. I have the pleasure 
of informing you that I have returned from Kan 
sas City with a cash contribution of $1,050. I 
have ventured to withhold the modest sum of $50 
for my expenses, and will now turn over the balance 
of $1,000 to your chairman." 

Tremendous enthusiasm followed this announce 
ment. Three cheers were given for the Judge, 
who was surrounded by his fellow-citizens and 
complimented for his industry and generosity. 
Then Jim Hodgman took the stand. 

"If the meeting is agreeable," said Jim, "I 
should like to ask permission of the visiting com 
mittee to use their cars for the purpose of ship 
ping our wheat." 

The committee, somewhat dazed by the turn of 
events, thought the matter could be arranged, and 
the company dispersed with many bright anticipa 
tions for the future. 

Three or four days after the c]istribution. Judge 

The Distribution. 223 

Jefferson, Bill Nixon and two or three more of 
the boys were sitting in Sam Turner s grocery, 
when the Judge said : 

" Boys, there s a load of corn-meal down on the 
side-track which nohody seems to claim. Til 
play you a game of seven-up to see who gets it. " 

"I ll go you," said Bill. 

So the cards were dealt and the game pro 
gressed until everybody had been frozen out save 
Bill and the Judge. It was the last hand. Bill 
lacked one point, the Judge two. 

"I stand right now," said Bill ; "what yer got, 

"King high here." 

" King is good. I stand on tray for low." 

"Deuce here," replied the Judge. 

"Darn such luck !" said Bill; "take the corn- 
meal, Jedge." 

The Judge went out whistling a merry tune. 
As he passed down the street he encountered the 
Rev. Mr. Henry. 

"Good morning, Judge," quoth the dominie. 

"Howdy," replied the Judge. 

"Ah, Judge," said the reverend gentleman, 
earnestly, " I think that Dobbins has much to be 
thankful for, that through the blessing of Provi 
dence it has been enabled to surmount its afflic 
tion and distress. I trust that we all appreciate 
the goodness and loving kindness of the Lord," 

94 The Distribution. 

The Judge hastily thrust a stray card into his 
pocket, patted his old wallet affectionately, rolled 
over his quid with an easy movement of his tongue, 
and replied, solemnly : 

"He doeth all things well." 

That H^wful Miss goulder. 


FEMALE society was all agog. At the lunch 
eons, the teas, the little dinner-parties; at the 
meetings of the literary clubs; in short, wher 
ever the ladies for pleasure or instruction came 
together, the first eager questions were : " Well, 
have you seen her ? " " And pray what is she like ? " 
The unhappy masculine creature who is plumped 
down in a coterie of women at one of those times 
when they are supposed to be enjoying themselves 
may well believe that the world is given over to 
small things. He may deprecate, he may shrug 
his shoulders, he may protest in his puny lordly 
way, but, Heaven defend him, he is of no more 
consequence than my lady s cat, and much less an 
object of interest than my lady s poodle. Perhaps 
this is why the sensible man avoids afternoon 
gatherings when the dog-star rages. 

The cause of the present social agitation was in 
the nature of a remarkable invasion involving 
delicate treatment and the most diplomatic meas 
ures. The first explosion had taken place a month 
before when the omniscient Mrs. Audrain, swollen 
with pride and information, and triumphant in 


That Awful Miss Moulder. 
the blessedness of a piece of gossip, had announced 
that " the Boulders are coming back." And this 
intelligence naturally prompted the younger gen 
eration to ask : " Who are the Boulders ? " 

Major Boulder had lived in Missouri at a time 
when " living " for a Union man was measurably 
precarious and never of unalloyed pleasure. Where 
he came from nobody seemed to know. Connect 
icut, said some ; Ohio, others; others, New York. 
All agreed that he was a Yankee in the loathsome 
significance of the word, and the Major would not 
even take the trouble to deny it. If questioned 
sharply, he would reply that he was a lawyer, and 
would point to his shingle as corroborative evi 
dence, thereby intimating that professional confi 
dence must be remunerated. For, albeit a Yankee, 
it was reluctantly admitted that he was a smart 
Yankee. Hence the feeling against him was 
intensified to a virulent degree. 

When South Carolina committed the indiscre 
tion of firing on Fort Sumter, Boulder he wasn t 
a major then unreservedly declared that it was a 
"damned outrage," and when the State began to 
divide in sentiment he was among the first to join 
the Federal ranks. His military career was brief, 
for in less than nine months he came back with a 
desperate wound. Experience, however, didn t 
change his sentiments or lessen the vigor of his 
expressions, and so violent were his speeches that 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 229 

the gentlemanly and efficient contemporaneous 
regulator, Bill Anderson, marked him for destruc 
tion. One day the Major was missing. No great 
attention would have been paid to this, but, un 
happily, pretty Susie Gentry was missing also. 
Inquiry was made at the Gentry residence. " The 
repo t," said the Colonel, "is cor-rect. But 

have a quick eye to see; 
She hath deceived her father and may thee. " 

The Colonel was a man of wide reading and 
quick and pertinent phrase. 

To make an otherwise unnecessary introduction 
desirably short, let it be remembered that the 
Major fled with his young bride to Colorado, 
speculated in mines, made a. handsome fortune, 
and, after twenty years of good luck and happi 
ness, yielded to the thin air, and died. His wife, 
now possessed of three daughters and a comfort 
able income, found her heart turning back to Mis 
souri and her childhood associations. Behold 
them, then, fairly domesticated in the lower 
breathing-levels as this tale opens. 

The apparently innocent question, "Have you 
seen her ? " did not refer directly to the pretty girl 
who had run away with the Yankee twenty-five 
years before. It was prompted by the revelations 
of the grocer s boy, who, being on oath, testified 
to old % Mrs. Dallas that , while delivering an order at 
the back door, he had seen a mannish-looking girl 

230 That Awful Miss Boulder. 

at the dining-room window, with a cigarette in her 
mouth and her feet on a dead-level with her head. 
This startling report Mrs. Dallas promptly com 
municated to Mrs. Mercer, who in turn repeated it 
to Mrs. Lawrence, from whom Mrs. Crawford re 
ceived it, and so on until the entire community of 
men, women and children knew that the Boulders 
smoked and sat with their feet on the mantel. 

"I can readily believe that story," said Mrs. 
Au drain, "for when my sister, Mrs. Brown, was in 
Paris last summer she met the eldest Miss Boulder 
at one of those horrid French shows where there is 
very little dressing and a good deal of kicking. 
The interest that girl took in the sight actually 
made my sister shudder. At last she went up to 
her and said : Why, my dear Miss Boulder, pray 
what are you doing here? And the girl turned 
around as cool as you please and replied : Pray, 
my dear Mrs. Brown, what are you doing here ? J 
My sister was a good deal surprised, but she said, 
very gently: Why, you know I m married/ 
And this girl just laughed and tossed her head and 
answered : < Well, by the grace of God, I hope to 
be/ Did you ever in your life ?" 

And all the ladies present agreed that they 
never did, and that she must be "perfectly horrid," 
and some remembered that she looked "healthy 
enough," and might be reasonably pretty were it 
not for a "rather cold eye " and a " bad nose." As 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 231 

for her dressing, it was respectable, considering that 
she had " come from the West. " 

This phrase, "from the West," is purely relative, 
after all. The New England man regards Buffalo 
as the confines of the setting sun. The Ohio man 
goes " West " to Illinois. In Chicago they think of 
the country beyond the Missouri River. Kansas 
remembers that it is the geographical center of the 
United States. In the Rocky Mountains they 
remind you that they are 1,200 miles east of the 
Pacific Ocean, and when the traveler reaches San 
Francisco and swears that at last he has run down 
the West, lo ! he finds a kingdom in itself. So the 
pursuit is hopeless. There is no West. 

Miss Boulder was not unconscious of the sensa 
tion she had created. Indeed, she rather enjoyed 
it. "Excuse me," she said, -apologetically, to Mrs. 
Audrain, " if I appear to be a tenderfoot to your 
conventionalities." "And what," said the bewil 
dered lady, in narrating the incident to her friends, 
" is a tenderfoot ? " 

But if to the ladies she was a revelation, to 
the men she was a "stunner," q, "corker," a 
"thoroughbred," anything that in the masculine 
vernacular signifies a high-stepping girl out of the 
ordinary. She knew the latest and the best jokes, 
and some of them were club jokes at that. She 
told a story capitally, and when she laughed she 
gave a hearty, ringing laugh that made society 

232 That Awful Mis* Boulder. 

shiver. In the ball-room she held court in a cor 
ner, and a very full court it was. The women 
turned up their noses and sniffed contemptuously at 
"that girl" with her "brazen manners" and her 
"off-color stories," but every male creature dropped 
around at least twice in an evening to get a bit of 
Kocky Mountain breeze and, perhaps with a little 
malicious incentive, to shock the austere pro 
prieties of Madam Grundy. 

At the dinner-table she always remembered that 
she had heard such a good story that wouldn t 
keep. And to do her justice, it was a story that 
had the evidences of having been kept a little too 
long. The ladies shivered and turned pale and red 
by turns, and fled precipitately at the first oppor 
tunity. All of which was highly diverting to the 
awful Miss Boulder, who followed the gentlemen 
into their smoking-retreat and said : " Xow, fel 
lows, the girls are away; let s enjoy ourselves." 
And the laughter and hilarity that floated back 
into the drawing-room made the mothers of mar 
riageable daughters tremble with indignation and 
send in for their sons on the most trivial pretexts. 

The catch of the season beyond perad venture 
was Willie Worth. Willie was the remaining prop 
of an illustrious house that had exercised good 
judgment during a wild period of real estate specu 
lation. Timely and advantageous deaths in his 
family had left him with a great fortune, no posi- 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 233 

tive habits of evil, and a weak and tremulous 
inclination to do good. Willie was tall and slen 
der, a partial victim to inanition, too weak to work 
if he had the desire, and too rich if he hadn t. So 
he passed his time in a hopeless endeavor to spend 
his income and to avoid the snares of match-mak 
ing mothers and the pitfalls of shrewd and calcu 
lating daughters. 

The advent of the awful Miss Boulder jarred 
Willie from a spell of despondency. Her strong, 
robust figure appealed to his enfeebled sensibili 
ties ; her high animal spirits fascinated him. Her 
laugh went through him like the shock of an elec 
tric battery, and her stories, while they made his 
teeth chatter and his hair rise gently, filled him 
with an indescribable longing for more. At first 
he was content to hang on the outskirts of her 
admirers, but little by little he drew nearer, 
until one evening she asked him, kindly, why he 
never invited her to dance. That completed the 
spell, for Willie s dancing amounted to a positive 
disease, from which the girls shrank as they would 
from a plague. So Willie haunted her with his 
long, trembling figure and melancholy face. He 
even smoked a few cigarettes in order that he 
might be near her after dinner and catch some of 
the ozone which she distributed so lavishly. Per 
ceiving which, the mothers trembled more violently 

234: That Awful Mixs Boulder. 

and wished the more heartily that the "creature" 
had never left her mountain fastnesses. 

In turn, Miss Boulder was attracted by the gen 
tle Willie. It was the kindly law of opposites. 
She was so vigorous, so straight, so full of rich 
arterial blood ; he so frail, so willowy, so bloodless. 
80 she petted him, and smiled on him, and allowed 
him to wait on her. And one night in com 
pany she called him "Billy," a favor which he 
repaid with a look of the most eloquent gratitude. 
But beyond this matters did not progress. She 
had no time for sentiment. 

It was at the third and final summer reception 
of the Prairie Club. Miss Boulder had been in 
unusual spirits, and her jests and sallies had paled 
the electric lights. Very handsome Miss Boulder 
looked, and in marked contrast was her perfect 
physical womanhood to the emaciated form of 
Willie, who was trembling perceptibly with weak 
ness and pleasure. Miss Boulder was taking one 
of a series of ices with Willie in a corner of the 
summer-garden, and a pleasant hush had fallen 
upon the inviting scene. 

"Billy," said the awful Miss Boulder, suddenly, 
"why don t you come down to see my kid ?" 

" Your wh what ? " gasped Willie. 

" My kid, my baby. Don t you know that I 
have a baby ? " 

Willie wiped the cold perspiration from his 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 235 

brow. " I didn t know that is, I hadn t heard - 
you ll pardon me, but I don t believe I exactly 

Miss Boulder gave one of her invigorating 
laughs. "Don t say anything about it, Billy boy, 
for you might get me into trouble and summarily 
ruin my reputation. Come down to-morrow after 
noon, and I ll let you into a secret." 

Willie sat up late that night and smoked a 
cigarette, as was his custom when he was very 
stern and desperate. Plainly he had allowed 
matters to go too far. He had permitted himself 
to think even tenderly of a young woman who not 
only defied cherished conventions, but openly 
flaunted her improprieties in the face of her 
warmest and stanchest friend. It was not too 
late. lie would show this brazen creature that he 
was a man sans sans sans something; he 
couldn t remember exactly what it was. Willie was 
not strong in the modern languages. And he went 
to bed very white from the double effect of emotion 
and cigarette. 

But in the morning the old feeling came back. 
After all, it might be a mistake. Was it not an 
undisputed fact that this girl was a madcap to 
whom nothing was too sacred for a jest ? Of 
course it was a jest, Any fool could see that, and 
Willie was prepared to admit in defense of his 
lady-love that he was very much of a fool. 

236 That An fid Mi** Boulder. 

So, after luncheon, having braced himself with 
such stimulating influence as a soda cocktail affords, 
Willie went down to the Boulder residence. For 
a moment he stood on the porch and admired the 
clematis that climbed up and around the column, 
and he recalled, with a sudden gush of feeling, that 
Miss Boulder had worn a dress of that color at a lawn 
fete. The reminiscence nearly took him oil his 
feet, but he steadied himself and rang the bell. 
Miss Boulder answered the summons. It was 
shockingly unconventional, but Willie rather liked 
it. It made him feel that the young woman w r as 
anxious to see him, and in this event any lapse 
was excusable. There was a serious look in Miss 
Boulder s gray eyes, and almost a sadness in her 
voice as she said, gently : 

" I was afraid that perhaps you would not come. 
Step in, Mr. Worth. It is cooler in the house." 

Willie was greatly troubled. He had nerved, 
himself to be calm, collected ; to exhibit a frigid 
ity bordering even upon hauteur. Had she called 
him Billy he was prepared to stiffen and greet her 
with a chilling and commonplace phrase. But 
"Mr. Worth" was entirely too unexpected for his 
programme. It brought before him a gaping 
abyss. On the other side of a yawning chasm 
stood Miss Boulder, lie gazed at her helplessly 
and shambled into the house, his old weakness re 
turning with alarming rapidity. 

That Awful J//sx Bouldrr. 237 

Miss Boulder preserved her gravity of tone. 
" You seemed so unlike yourself when we parted 
last night ; you were so preoccupied and so silent 
that I was sure I had offended you. And you 
know, Willie" (this with a most engaging air), 
"that I could not bear to have you angry with 

The young man fidgeted nervously in his chair. 
"I presume I was thinking of that baby." 

Miss Boulder s face lighted up, and she laughed 
quietly. " I promised I would let you into a secret. 
Wait a minute, and I will produce the important 

. When she had gone to execute the writ of habeas 
corpus, Willie played with his watch-chain and 
endeavored to bring his shattered intellect to a 
proper realization of the situation. He had not 
untangled his wits when Miss Boulder returned 
with a triumphant flush on her cheeks and a great 
mass of seemingly superfluous clothing in her 

"There," said Miss Boulder, "what do you think 
of my little beauty ? " 

Willie rose irresolutely and poked feebly at the 
bundle with his stick. Then he drew a little 
nearer and clucked once or twice. Feeling the 
necessity of saying something, he remarked : " It s 
a beautiful child, but it seems to have a lot of 
color. Why, it s got its eyes open." 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 

"Of courses" answered Miss Boulder, with sonic 
asperity; "you don t suppose that babies are like 
cats, do you ? " 

"1 didn t know," said Willie, doubtfully; "I 
thought perhaps some of them might be." 

"K"ot until they re grown up," said Miss Boul 
der, reflectively. And she cast a wicked look across 
the street, where old Mrs. Dallas had her habita 

A long silence followed. Then Willie plunged 
in desperately : - It doesn t look a bit like you." 

"Sir I "said Miss Boulder. 

"I suppose it takes after its father. I have 
heard somewhere that girl babies always do take 
after the father, though I don t see why they 
should. I presume it has something to do with 

"On the contrary," said Miss Boulder, coolly, 
"the baby is the perfect picture of the mother." 

Willie stared at the young girl and marveled at 
her extraordinary self -possession. So innocent and 
fair she looked, so seemingly unconscious of the 
great shadow she had thrown on her life. He shut 
his eyes and groaned inwardly. 

"And now," said Miss Boulder, gayly, "now for 
the secret. You know, perhaps, that I do a little 
slumming in a quiet and private way, just for my 
own amusement. Doubtless, you read in the paper 
of the man who was killed by the falling of the 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 239 

elevator, and of the death of his wife from the 
shock two days later. It was my luck or chance 
to drop in at the house, and there I found this lit 
tle baby. It looked so lonesome and so helpless 
that well, I brought it home ; and now that I 
have it, I suppose the whole town will be pulling 
me over the coals." And the awful Miss Boulder 
looked positively distressed. 

Willie had well-nigh collapsed during the recital. 
He shook his feeble legs together and walked to 
the window. When he turned around, his face 
was beaming. 

" Margaret that is to say, Miss Boulder, I think 
I should like to hold it." 

"Take care," said Miss Boulder, anxiously. 
" What are you feeling down there for ? Don t 
you know that babies aren t measured by the 
length of their clothes ? You re hunching her 
dress up around her neck." 

" It s a beautiful baby," cried the radiant Willie, 
"even if it is a little too red and fat." Then, as if 
an inspiration had seized him : " Margaret, you 
come over on the sofa and hold it. I feel as if I 
might drop it." 

So Miss Boulder sat down on the sofa and 
chirped to the baby and talked "goo" talk. And 
the infant clutched at Willie s mustache, which set 
that young gentleman oil in a spasm of admiration. 
And Miss Boulder danced the baby in her arms 

240 That Awful Mis* Jimdder. 

and kissed her, and Willie leaned over and pressed 
liis lips as near the same place as possible, and the 
merry minutes flew by very rapidly to all concerned. 
At last, in a lull of osculation, Willie straightened 
his long, thin legs and said, in a strained voice : 

"Margaret, I have been wanting to say some 
thing to you for a long time." 

"Yes, I know," replied Miss Boulder, without a 
particle of trepidation; "you want to ask me to 
marry you." 

" What a girl you are ! " exclaimed Willie, admir 
ingly. "You ought to have been a mind-reader." 

"Now listen, Willie," said Miss Boulder, ear 
nestly; " I suppose if I were like most girls I should 
blush and simper and say, <0h, Mr. Worth, this is 
so sudden/ It s a foolish way that most girls 
have. They arc trying to deceive you. They can 
tell to the minute when a man is in love with 
them. I have known for weeks that you cared for 
me, and I might have drawn you out two months 
ago. But I wanted to give you time to know your 
own mind thoroughly." 

"Then you do love me," said the fluttering 

" Not so fast, please. I will confess that at first I 
took a little malicious pleasure in getting you away 
from the other girls. It was such fun ; they were 
so awfully jealous. All the old match-makers in 
town were after you, and how they glared when I 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 241 

whirled you up past their corner. And I did it 
pretty often. But after a while I learned to miss 
you when you didn t come around, and to look for 
you. You were always so nice and gentle and 

thoughtful and kind and and " Here the 

awful Miss Boulder fell to kissing the baby raptur 

" Then," said Willie, decidedly, " I don t see why 
we shouldn t get married right off." 

"There s something yet," went on Miss Boulder, 
slowly. "I m an unconventional girl, and I know 
I make awful breaks. I was brought up in the 
West, where I did as I pleased, and cared for no 
body s opinion. I can t say that I care very much 
now, but I m not going to marry any man who is 
ashamed of me." 

"I m unconventional myself," said Willie, 
eagerly. " I hate these forms and ceremonies, this 
solemn sitting in state until a maid comes in and 
breaks the deadly stillness by whispering that din 
ner is served. I like a house where they ring the 
dinner-bell, and people just sort of drop down and 

"But you wouldn t like," said Miss Boulder, 
smilingly, " a wife who has the reputation of being 
loud, of telling men-stories, and" (bitterly) "of 
smoking cigarettes and cocking her feet on the 
mantel like a man." 

" I must admit/ said the truthful Willie, " that 

242 That Awful Mis* Boulder. 

some of your stories are pretty tough, but after we 
are married you might work em off on me in 
private and let me pass on em. As for these 
people here, what do we care for them ? I ve got 
lots of money, and, if things don t go right, the 
country is big, and Europe isn t shut up yet." 

Miss Boulder did not reply. She toyed with the 
baby s chubby hand a moment. Then she looked 
up suddenly, and tears were in her eyes. 

Willie was deeply affected. " Don t cry, Mar 
garet," he said, hastily; "you re too strong and too 
sort of manly to cry. I think it would be better 
to let me do all the crying." 

The girl smiled and said gently : " Come, Willie, 
run away now, there s a good boy. W^e both need 
a little time to think. " Then she added, naively ; 
tf You might come around this evening after the 
baby has gone to bed." 

Willie, who had acquired marvelous strength 
in his legs, and whose face radiated all the happi 
ness of his feelings, moved briskly to the door, A 
thought struck him, and he returned. The awful 
Miss Boulder stood in the middle of the room, 
holding the baby in her arms, kissing it and coo 
ing to it as it laughed in her face. And Willie 
thought he saw in her expression a loveliness, a 
gentleness he had never seen before. The girl 
looked up and blushed. Willie took a step for 
ward and said, awkwardly : 

That Awful Miss Boulder. 243 

" Margaret, I thought I would like that is, if 
you don t object er-r won t you let me kiss 
the baby again ? " 

"Oh/ Willie!" 

"Oh, Margaret!" 

of Qilas gcott. 


TKAGEDY should be short. Tales of sorrow and 
despair must be quickly told. There is so much 
that is bright and beautiful and alluring in life that 
he is abnormally constituted who would linger and 
grieve over the dark places in human existence. It 
is right that the reader should know in advance 
ii little of the misery that is awaiting him. If he 
cannot be forewarned in the actual events of life 
it does not follow that the same rule must apply to 
his literature. lie deserves a measure of consid 
eration from his story-teller, a sort of sign-board 
that may act as a danger-signal. This is a tale with 
a deep coating of umber, and he who reads may 
run, if the paraphrase is permitted. At all events, 
he cannot say that the warning has not been frank 
and timely. 

Far out in Western Kansas stretches a vast coun 
try, a veritable empire, rising gradually to the 
Rocky Mountains, a country to tax human patience, 
human industry, human ingenuity. It is a coun 
try that might have exhausted the possibilities 
of an Arabian night with its capriciousness, its 
kaleidoscopic changes, its splendors, when fickle 

248 The Luck of Silax Xcott. 

Nature is favorable ; its terrors, when she frowns. 
It is a country of which the Government says to 
the long caravan of immigration : " Why delay in 
the poor, sterile land of small things when all this 
may be had for the mere asking ? " So the tide 
ebbs and flows ; they go and come, and they come 
and go, and the great drama of life, with its shifts 
and changes, is acted over and over in the count 
less stories of the wide-stretching plains. 

The voyager adrift in a rowboat on the Atlantic 
has no greater, no more crushing sense of his utter 
loneliness than the traveler who finds himself alone 
on the plains of the AVest. One is land, the other 
water ; otherwise the conditions are the same. 
The sun rises at the dead level of the horizon and 
goes down in the same terrible expanse. In the 
summer it brings its seemingly endless hours of 
heat and torment ; in the winter it only mocks at 
misery and fear. To add to the perplexity of the 
traveler on the plains, Nature herself conspires 
to taunt him. Now he sees a beautiful grove with 
its restful shade and running stream, and quickly 
it vanishes in the cruel disappointment of the 
mirage. And now almost at his hand he welcomes 
a landmark or a haven of refuge, and presses 
eagerly forward, mile after mile, only to see it 
dancing on before him, deluding him with the 
magnifying properties of the atmosphere. If the 
summer has been dry, as the summer usually is, 

The Lurk of Sila* Scott. 240 

the earth is brown and baked, the streams are 
gone, and miles of cheerless sand are the only 
promise of the day passing and the days to come. 
Such pictures as these, and common as they are, 
the traveler cannot exaggerate, 

Silas Scott was a farmer in one of the Eastern 
States, a plain, plodding, hard-working man with 
enough education to keep abreast of the times, and 
enough ambition to desire to better his lot. Silas 
lived in a moving neighborhood. One by one his 
friends and acquaintances dropped out, and word 
came back to Silas that they had all gone West 
and prospered. So Silas in time, for he was a 
slow thinker, felt the Western fever in his blood. 
He was making a living for himself and family, 
but it was a living that came hard and slowly, and 
there he was, tilling a few acres of ground to call 
his own, when the Government was knocking at 
his door, reproaching him for his conservatism, 
and asking him why he didn t go out and take 1GO 
acres of land in the West, just for the claiming. 
Silas thought it out in his ponderous way, and the 
temptation was too strong. He was young, his 
wife was young, his children were strong and 
healthy ; the opportunity was dazzling. So into 
far Kansas came Silas with his family and began a 
new existence on the plains. 

The story of Silas Scott in his pursuit of an easy 
living is the story that has been told a thousand 

250 Tlic Luck of Silas Scott. 

times by those who believe in the hard and doubt 
ful qualities of luck. It was bad luck that led 
Silas to the selection of his quarter section remote 
from those who might have been kind and helpful 
neighbors, and in a spot where only the most 
favorable conditions of weather could assure a 
profitable crop. It was bad luck that the year was 
one of the most disastrous ever known to the 
farmers of Kansas ; that the burning sun and the 
unbroken drought began the work of destruction 
which the fierce,, hot w^nds speedily completed. 
But Silas was a man of character, with a good deal 
of dogged determination. He had gone to work 
to put up his little adobe house not as comforta 
ble as the one he had left, the little frame dwelling 
back East, but good enough for a start, and prom 
ising to lead to better things. He worked early and 
late, studied the conditions of the soil, and made 
all the calculations and allowances that a careful 
man should make. There was no time for pleasure 
or relaxation, and there was no thought of it. 
What mattered one or two years of toil if they led 
to a peaceful future and an abundancy of fortune ? 
So Silas and his wife worked on uncomplainingly, 
and if the wife grew a little thinner, and both were 
careworn and more weary as the weeks passed by, 
neither had time to notice it. 

"It ll be all right, Nancy," said Silas, when the 
spring storms came on with irresistible force and 

The Luck of Silas Scott. 251 

washed away the results of his early labors ; " luck 
is against us at the start, but it will turn." 

"It s all right, Nancy," he repeated at the end of 
the first year, when he sat down to figure up his 
season s profits and found himself far behind his 
original calculations. " A bad beginning makes a 
good ending." 

And when, in the second summer, the long dry 
spell set in, and the grain blistered and cracked in 
the burning sun, his pluck never forsook him, 
and his " It s all right/ was as firm as ever. Then 
the winds came hot and furious, and the earth 
seemed on fire ; the creeks dried up, and vegeta 
tion perished. "It s all right," he muttered, 
less hopefully. 

"Don t cry, Nancy," he said, when the baby, 
born in that atmosphere of despair, gave up the 
struggle and yielded its little life. "Perhaps it s 
for the best. It s all right, or it wouldn t have 
come about." And his own voice quivered. 

But the mother, sitting by the bed and closing 
the baby s eyes, said not a word. She was back 
again in the old home, where the trees were green 
and the brooks were full. The pain in her heart 
was stilled, for memory had carried her away to 
happier times and deluded her with a dream of the 

All that suffocating day Silas sat under the 
shadow of the shed, fashioning the rude coffin for 

252 The Luck of titta* Xr-oti. 

the dead child. The hot winds were still blowing 
with that peculiar, menacing hiss that came as the 
breath of the venomous serpent, but Silas worked 
on, struggling with his rising doubts, and vainly 
endeavoring to solace himself with his favorite 
maxim, "It s all right." In the house the mother 
was preparing for the burial, which was to take 
place when the sun went down. On the baby s 
breast and in his tiny hand she had placed little 
bunches of dried flowers, the only offering that 
Nature could give, and from the trunk she had 
taken a battered prayer-book, that Silas might 
read the service for the dead and give her baby at 
least the semblance of a Christian burial. 

In the evening, as they stood around the little 
grave, the father, the mother and the older chil 
dren, hushed and awed in the first manifestation 
of irremediable affliction, Silas, in his dull, heavy 
way, stumbled through the service his wife had 
marked : 

"I am the resurrection and the life. ... I 
know that my Redeemer liveth. . . . And now, 
Lord, what is my hope ? ... He hcapeth up 
riches and cannot tell who shall gather them. 
. . . We brought nothing into this world, and it 
is certain we can carry nothing out." 

These and many similar passages Silas read and 
did not understand, for he was a dull man, and 
grasped only the tangible things of tho present. 

Tlie Luck of Silas Scott. 

He filled in the grave and followed his wife into 
the house, while the children played about in the 
joyless way that characterized their lives. 

That night, while the children were sleeping and 
Silas sat in his chair pondering over the shaping 
of events, Nancy stood in the doorway and looked 
out across the plains. The moon was full and 
bright,, but to the woman it was not the same 
kindly moon that her girlhood remembered. Far 
away came the wail of the coyote, and Nancy 
shuddered. She had heard that half-human, quer 
ulous cry a thousand times, but never before had 
it come to her with such significance. She shut 
the door hastily, drew close to her husband, and 
sat down beside him. Then she put her hand on 
his arm and said, gently : 

" Silas, why not give up ? We ve done all that 
human beings can do, and we re as far away as 
ever. What good can come from fighting fate ? " 

Silas moved a little uneasily. "Why, it s all 
right, Nancy," he said, soothingly. 

" That s what you ve always said," exclaimed the 
woman, with sudden energy. "It has been all 
right with you when our hearts and our common 
sense told us it was all wrong. Perhaps our baby 
thought it was all right when he came to brighten 
us up a bit. It is all right with him now, and it 
will be all right with us when we go to join him." 

The Luck of tiHas Scutt. 

"I wouldn t talk that way, Nancy," said the 
man, slowly. 

" How else can I talk ? " replied the wife. " We 
have lived this wretched life without a spark of 
hope, a particle of encouragement. Bad luck has 
followed us from the start and has shown us no 
future. We are alone, without friends and with 
out comfort. Every morning the sun comes up 
like a ball of fire and brings fresh misery to this 
desert. You know what that awful sun means, 
Silas. Look in the insane asylum of this State 
and find its victims. What has become of old 
Prouty, a stronger man than you, Silas, who 
defied its power ? A month ago he was carried 
away a hopeless maniac, and we have remained to 
invite his fate. Every night I go to bed thinking 
of old Prouty and listening to the mocking of the 
wind and the howling of the wolf. I can t stand 
it any longer." 

"Fve tried to be as easy on you as I can," said 
the man, by way of blundering apology. 

"I don t find fault with you, Silas, but I m 
hungry for the old home. We were happy there 
if we were poor. We worked hard, but we always 
made a living, and if we got a little tired and 
despondent at times we had our friends, and the 
little farm with the great green shade-trees, and 
the birds singing in them. Here we have nothing 
but a huge plain and a blazing sun. Let s go back, 

The Luck of Silas Scott. 255 

Silas, where at least we can find a little happiness, 
and where there is a God." 

The woman put her head on her husband s 
shoulder. .Then she said, a little more calmly : 
" Did you believe the words you repeated at our 
baby s grave ? Did you really think there was a 
God in this horrible place to hear them ? I am 
the resurrection and the life/ Can a God bring 
comfort to those who mock him by calling to him 
from a desert where their foolish ambitions have 
led them ? Why should we try to heap up riches 
or carry to the grave more than we brought into 
the world ? " 

Silas looked bewildered. The woman s swift 
application of the texts began to penetrate his dull 
reason. He stared helplessly at his wife, and pat 
ted her on the shoulder for an answer. 

" I don t complain for myself, Silas. I don t care 
much what becomes of me, except at times when 
the old home feeling comes back. But I see you 
growing ten years older in a single summer. I see 
the anxious look and the furrows in your face. I 
know you re unhappy and losing heart. And I 
see our children growing up neglected and ignor 
ant. We had opportunities and a fair chance 
when we were young. Oh, Silas, let s go back, if 
only for their sakes." 

The woman broke down. The man, too, felt 
himself strangely stirred. He got up and walked 

25(5 The Luck of Silas Scoff. 

to the door. One glance was enough to show him 
the ruin of the summer and the hopelessness oi the . 
year. He thought in his turn of the little home 
back yonder, and of the pleasant times they had on 
the small profits of their industry. There was the 
little red school-house the same one he went to 
when he was a boy. And the old meeting-house too. 
He found himself wondering whether they had put 
on that fresh coat of paint they were discussing 
when he came away. And the lane that led down 
to the squire s. And the old apple-tree that 
stood right at the left of the bend. And Bill 
Simpson s fishing-hole. And Thompson s grocery, 
where the boys elected a President of the United 
States every Saturday night. Silas felt his eyes 
getting moist. 

On the other hand, what would the boys say if 
he gave up beaten and went back ? Ought he to 
surrender to a little momentary weakness ? Jim 
Higgins had gone away and succeeded, and so had 
Henry Cole, and so had John Grubb, the most 
shiftless man in the county. Could he go back 
and acknowledge that he had been taken in ? 
Could he stand up and hear old Bill Simpson say : 
" Waal, here s Si hum ag in ; jest as I pel-dieted, 
by gum"? 

Silas took a turn around the house and paused 
at the baby s grave. "It wasn t much of a light 
lie made," he muttered. "I guess that s the way 

TJie Luck of Silas Scott. 257 

with all children." And a horrible fear took hold 
of him all at once, as he thought of the little ones 
huddled asleep in a corner of the miserable room. 
So he came back, and, going up to the bed, gazed 
long and intently upon them, then turned to his 
wife, sitting patient and silent where he had left 
her. And he looked into her wan face, and the 
flush came into his own. Stooping down, he kissed 
the tired eyes and said, as if a great load had been 
lifted from his heart : 

"It s all right, Nancy. It s all right, mother. 
Good luck has come at last. We re going back." 

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