In the Midst of Alarms
Part 3 out of 5
placed upside down, the hole was uppermost. It was filled with powder,
and a wooden plug, with a notch cut in it, was pounded in with a sledge
hammer. Powder was sprinkled from the notch over the surface of the
anvil, and then the crowd stood back and held its breath. It was a most
exciting moment. Macdonald would come running out of the shop
bareheaded, holding a long iron bar, the wavering, red-hot end of which
descended on the anvil, while the blacksmith shouted in a terrifying
voice: "Look out, there!" The loose powder hissed and spat for a
moment, then bang went the cannon, and a great cloud of smoke rolled
upward, while the rousing cheers came echoing back from the surrounding
forests. The helper, with the powder-horn, would spring to the anvil
and pour the black explosive into the hole, while another stood ready
with plug and hammer. The delicious scent of burned gunpowder filled
the air, and was inhaled by all the youngsters with satisfaction, for
how they realized what real war was. Thus the salutes were fired, and
thus the royal birthday was fittingly celebrated.
Where two anvils were to be had, the cannonade was much brisker, as
then a plug was not needed. The hole in the lower anvil was filled with
powder, and the other anvil was placed over it. This was much quicker
than pounding in a plug, and had quite as striking and detonating an
effect. The upper anvil gave a heave, like Mark Twain's shot-laden
frog, and fell over on its side. The smoke rolled up as usual, and the
report was equally gratifying.
Yates learned all these things as he sat in the blacksmith's shop, far
they were still in the month of May, and the smoke of the echoing
anvils had hardly yet cleared away. All present were eager to tell him
of the glory of the day. One or two were good enough to express regret
that he had not been there to see. After the disaster which had
overturned Yates things had gone on very smoothly, and he had become
one of the crowd, as it were. The fact that he was originally a
Canadian told in his favor, although he had been contaminated by long
residence in the States.
Macdonald worked hard at the turning of horseshoes from long rods of
iron. Usually an extended line of unfinished shoes bestrode a blackened
scantling, like bodiless horsemen, the scantling crossing the shop
overhead, just under the roof. These were the work of Macdonald's
comparatively leisure days, and they were ready to be fitted to the
hoofs of any horse that came to be shod, but on this occasion there had
been such a run on his stock that it was exhausted, a depletion the
smith seemed to regard as a reproach on himself, for he told Yates
several times that he often had as many as three dozen shoes up aloft
for a rainy day.
When the sledge hammer work was to be done, one of those present
stepped forward and swung the heavy sledge, keeping stroke for stroke
with Macdonald's one-handed hammer, all of which required a nice ear
for time. This assistance was supposed to be rendered by Sandy; but, as
he remarked, he was no hog, and anyone who wished to show his skill was
at liberty to do so. Sandy seemed to spend most of his time at the
bellows, and when he was not echoing the sentiments of the boss, as he
called him, he was commending the expertness of the _pro tem._
amateur, the wielder of the sledge. It was fun to the amateur, and it
was an old thing with Sandy, so he never protested against this
interference with his duty, believing in giving everyone a chance,
especially when it came to swinging a heavy hammer. The whole scene
brought back to Yates the days of his youth, especially when Macdonald,
putting the finishing strokes to his shoe, let his hammer periodically
tinkle with musical clangor on the anvil, ringing forth a
tintinnabulation that chimed melodiously on the ear--a sort of anvil-
chorus accompaniment to his mechanical skill. He was a real sleight-of-
hand man, and the anvil was his orchestra.
Yates soon began to enjoy his visit to the rural club. As the members
thawed out he found them all first-rate fellows, and, what was more,
they were appreciative listeners. His stories were all evidently new to
them, and nothing puts a man into a genial frame of mind so quickly as
an attentive, sympathetic audience. Few men could tell a story better
than Yates, but he needed the responsive touch of interested hearers.
He hated to have to explain the points of his anecdotes, as, indeed,
what story-teller does not? A cold and critical man like the professor
froze the spring of narration at its source. Besides, Renmark had an
objectionable habit of tracing the recital to its origin; it annoyed
Yates to tell a modern yarn, and then discover that Aristophanes, or
some other prehistoric poacher on the good things men were to say, had
forestalled him by a thousand years or so. When a man is quick to see
the point of your stories, and laughs heartily at them, you are apt to
form a high opinion of his good sense, and to value his companionship.
When the horses were shod, and young Bartlett, who was delighted at the
impression Yates had made, was preparing to go, the whole company
protested against the New Yorker's departure. This was real flattery.
"What's your hurry, Bartlett?" asked the whittler. "You can't do
anything this afternoon, if you do go home. It's a poor time this to
mend a bad day's work. If you stay, he'll stay; won't you, Mr. Yates?
Macdonald is going to set tires, and he needs us all to look on and see
that he does it right; don't you, Mac?"
"Yes; I get a lot of help from you while there's a stick to whittle,"
replied the smith.
"Then there's the protracted meeting to-night at the schoolhouse," put
in another, anxious that all the attractions of the place should be
"That's so," said the whittler; "I had forgotten about that. It's the
first night, so we must all be there to encourage old Benderson. You'll
be on hand to-night, won't you, Macdonald?"
The blacksmith made no answer, but turned to Sandy and asked him
savagely what in-and-nation he was standing gawking there for. Why
didn't he go outside and get things ready for the tire setting? What in
thunder was he paying him for, anyhow? Wasn't there enough loafers
round, without him joining the ranks?
Sandy took this rating with equanimity, and, when the smith's back was
turned, he shrugged his shoulders, took a fresh bite of tobacco from
the plug which he drew from his hip pocket, winking at the others as he
did so. He leisurely followed Macdonald out of the shop, saying in a
whisper as he passed the whittler:
"I wouldn't rile the old man, if I were you."
The club then adjourned to the outside, all except those who sat on the
bench. Yates asked:
"What's the matter with Macdonald? Doesn't he like protracted meetings?
And, by the way, what are protracted meetings?"
"They're revival meetings--religious meetings, you know, for converting
"Really?" said Yates. "But why protracted? Are they kept on for a week
"Yes; I suppose that's why, although, to tell the truth, I never knew
the reason for the name. Protracted meetings always stood for just the
same thing ever since I was a boy, and we took it as meaning that one
thing, without thinking why."
"And doesn't Macdonald like them?"
"Well, you see, it's like this: He never wants to go to a protracted
meeting, yet he can't keep away. He's like a drunkard and the corner
tavern. He can't pass it, and he knows if he goes in he will fall.
Macdonald's always the first one to go up to the penitent bench. They
rake him in every time. He has religion real bad for a couple of weeks,
and then he backslides. He doesn't seem able to stand either the
converting or the backsliding. I suppose some time they will gather him
in finally, and he will stick and become a class leader, but he hasn't
stuck up to date."
"Then he doesn't like to hear the subject spoken of?"
"You bet he don't. It isn't safe to twit him about it either. To tell
the truth, I was pleased when I heard him swear at Sandy; then I knew
it was all right, and Sandy can stand it. Macdonald is a bad man to
tackle when he's mad. There's nobody in this district can handle him.
I'd sooner get a blow from a sledge hammer than meet Mac's fist when
his dander is up. But so long as he swears it's all right. Say, you'll
stay down for the meeting, won't you?"
"I think I will. I'll see what young Bartlett intends to do. It isn't
very far to walk, in any case."
"There will be lots of nice girls going your way to-night after the
meeting. I don't know but I'll jog along in that direction myself when
it's over. That's the principal use I have for the meetings, anyhow."
The whittler and Yates got down from the bench, and joined the crowd
outside. Young Bartlett sat on one of the horses, loath to leave while
the tire setting was going on.
"Are you coming, Yates?" he shouted, as his comrade appeared.
"I think I'll stay for the meeting," said Yates, approaching him and
patting the horse. He had no desire for mounting and riding away in the
presence of that critical assemblage.
"All right," said young Bartlett. "I guess I'll be down at the meeting,
too; then I can show you the way home."
"Thanks," said Yates; "I'll be on the lookout for you."
Young Bartlett galloped away, and was soon lost to sight in a cloud of
dust. The others had also departed with their shod horses; but there
were several new arrivals, and the company was augmented rather than
diminished. They sat around on the fence, or on the logs dumped down by
Few smoked, but many chewed tobacco. It was a convenient way of using
the weed, and required no matches, besides being safer for men who had
to frequent inflammable barns.
A circular fire burned in front of the shop, oak bark being the main
fuel used. Iron wagon tires lay hidden in this burning circle.
Macdonald and Sandy bustled about making preparations, their faces,
more hideous in the bright-sunlight than in the comparative obscurity
of the shop, giving them the appearance of two evil spirits about to
attend some incantation scene of which the circular fire was the
visible indication. Crosstrees, of four pieces of squared timber, lay
near the fire, with a tireless wheel placed flat upon them, the hub in
the square hole at the center. Shiftless farmers always resisted having
tires set until they would no longer stay on the wheel. The inevitable
day was postponed, time and again, by a soaking of the wheels,
overnight in some convenient puddle of water; but as the warmer and
dryer weather approached this device, supplemented by wooden wedges, no
longer sufficed, and the tires had to be set for summer work.
Frequently the tire rolled off on the sandy highway, and the farmer was
reluctantly compelled to borrow a rail from the nearest fence, and
place it so as to support the axle; he then put the denuded wheel and
its tire on the wagon, and drove slowly to the nearest blacksmith's
shop, his vehicle "trailing like a wounded duck," the rail leaving a
snake's track behind it on the dusty road.
The blacksmith had previously cut and welded the tire, reducing its
circumference, and when it was hot enough, he and Sandy, each with a
pair of tongs, lifted it from the red-hot circle of fire. It was
pressed and hammered down on the blazing rim of the wheel, and
instantly Sandy and Macdonald, with two pails of water that stood
handy, poured the cold liquid around the red-hot zone, enveloping
themselves in clouds of steam, the quick contraction clamping the iron
on the wood until the joints cracked together. There could be no
loitering; quick work was necessary, or a spoiled wheel was the result.
Macdonald, alternately spluttering through fire and steam, was in his
element. Even Sandy had to be on the keen jump, without a moment to
call his plug of tobacco his own. Macdonald fussed and fussed, but got
through an immense amount of work in an incredibly short space of time,
cursing Sandy pretty much all the while; yet that useful man never
replied in kind, contenting himself with a wink at the crowd when he
got the chance, and saying under his breath:
"The old man's in great fettle to-day."
Thus everybody enjoyed himself: Macdonald, because he was the center
figure in a saturnalia of work; Sandy, because no matter how hard a man
has to work he can chew tobacco all the time; the crowd, because the
spectacle of fire, water, and steam was fine, and they didn't have to
do anything but sit around and look on. The sun got lower and lower as,
one by one, the spectators departed to do their chores, and prepare for
the evening meeting. Yates at the invitation of the whittler went home
with him, and thoroughly relished his evening meal.
Margaret had never met any man but her father who was so fond of books
as Professor Renmark. The young fellows of her acquaintance read
scarcely anything but the weekly papers; they went with some care
through the yellow almanac that was given away free, with the grocer's
name printed on the back. The marvelous cures the almanac recorded were
of little interest, and were chiefly read by the older folk, but the
young men reveled in the jokes to be found at the bottom of every page,
their only drawback being that one could never tell the stories at a
paring-bee or other social gathering, because everyone in the company
had read them. A few of the young men came sheepishly found to get a
book out of the library, but it was evident that their interest was not
so much in the volume as in the librarian, and when that fact became
apparent to the girl, she resented it. Margaret was thought to be cold
and proud by the youth of the neighborhood, or "stuck-up," as they
To such a girl a man like Renmark was a revelation. He could talk of
other things than the weather, live stock, and the prospects for the
crops. The conversation at first did not include Margaret, but she
listened to every word of it with interest. Her father and mother were
anxious to hear about their boy; and from that engrossing subject the
talk soon drifted to university life, and the differences between city
and country. At last the farmer, with a sigh, arose to go. There is
little time for pleasant talk on a farm while daylight lasts. Margaret,
remembering her duties as librarian, began to take in the books from
the wagon to the front room. Renmark, slow in most things, was quick
enough to offer his assistance on this occasion; but he reddened
somewhat as he did so, for he was unused to being a squire of dames.
"I wish you would let me do the porterage," he said. "I would like to
earn the right to look at these books sometimes, even though I may not
have the privilege of borrowing, not being a taxable resident of the
"The librarian," answered Margaret, with a smile, "seems to be at
liberty to use her own discretion in the matter of lending. No one has
authority to look over her accounts, or to censure her if she lends
recklessly. So, if you wish to borrow books, all you have to do is to
ask for them."
"You may be sure I shall avail myself of the permission. But my
conscience will be easier if I am allowed to carry them in."
"You will be permitted to help. I like carrying them. There is no more
delicious armful than books."
As Renmark looked at the lovely girl, her face radiant with enthusiasm,
the disconcerting thought came suddenly that perhaps her statement
might not be accurate. No such thought had ever suggested itself to him
before, and it now filled him with guilty confusion. He met the clear,
honest gaze of her eyes for a moment, then he stammered lamely:
"I--I too am very fond of books."
Together they carried in the several hundred volumes, and then began to
"Have you no catalogue?" he asked.
"No. We never seem to need one. People come and look over the library,
and take out whatever book they fancy."
"Yes, but still every library ought to be catalogued. Cataloguing is an
art in itself. I have paid a good deal of attention to it, and will
show you how it is done, if you care to know."
"Oh, I wish you would."
"How do you keep a record of the volumes that are out?"
"I just write the name of the person, the title, and the date in this
blank book. When the volume is returned, I score out the record."
"I see," said Renmark dubiously.
"That isn't right, is it? Is there a better way?"
"Well, for a small library, that ought to do; but if you were handling
many books, I think confusion might result."
"Do tell me the right way. I should like to know, even if it is a small
"There are several methods, but I am by no means sure your way is not
the simplest, and therefore the best in this instance."
"I'm not going to be put off like that," said Margaret, laughing. "A
collection of books is a collection of books, whether large or small,
and deserves respect and the best of treatment. Now, what method is
used in large libraries?"
"Well, I should suggest a system of cards, though slips of, paper would
do. When any person wants to take out a book, let him make out a card,
giving the date and the name or number of the book; he then must sign
the card, and there you are. He cannot deny having had the book, for
you have his own signature to prove it. The slips are arranged in a box
according to dates, and when a book is returned, you tear up the
"I think that is a very good way, and I will adopt it."
"Then let me send to Toronto and get you a few hundred cards. We'll
have them here in a day or two."
"Oh, I don't want to put you to that trouble."
"It is no trouble at all. Now, that is settled, let us attack the
catalogue. Have you a blank book anywhere about? We will first make an
alphabetical list; then we will arrange them under the heads of
history, biography, fiction, and so on."
Simple as it appeared, the making of a catalogue took a long time. Both
were absorbed in their occupation. Cataloguing in itself is a straight
and narrow path, but in this instance there were so many delightful
side excursions that rapid progress could not be expected. To a reader
the mere mention of a book brings up recollections. Margaret was
reading out the names; Renmark, on slips of paper, each with a letter
on it, was writing them down.
"Oh, have you that book?" he would say, looking up as a title was
mentioned. "Have you ever read it?
"No; for, you see, this part of the library is all new to me. Why, here
is one of which the leaves are not even cut. No one has read it. Is it
"One of the best," Renmark would say, taking the volume. "Yes, I know
this edition. Let me read you one passage."
And Margaret would sit in the rocking while he cut the leaves and found
the place. One extract was sure to suggest another, and time passed
before the title of the book found its way to the proper slip of paper.
These excursions into literature were most interesting to both
excursionists, but they interfered with cataloguing. Renmark read and
read, ever and anon stopping to explain some point, or quote what
someone else had said on the same subject, marking the place in the
book, as he paused, with inserted fore finger. Margaret swayed back and
forth in the comfortable rocking chair, and listened intently, her
large dark eyes fixed upon him so earnestly that now and then, when he
met them, he seemed disconcerted for a moment. But the girl did not
notice this. At the end of one of his dissertations she leaned her
elbow on the arm of the chair, with her cheek resting against her hand,
"How very clear you make everything, Mr. Renmark;"
"Do you think so?" he said with a smile. "It's my business, you know;"
"I think it's a shame that girls are not allowed to go to the
university; don't you?"
"Really, I never gave any thought to the subject, and I am not quite
prepared to say."
"Well, I think it most unfair. The university is supported by the
Government, is it not? Then why should half of the population be shut
but from its advantages?"
"I'm afraid it wouldn't do, you know."
"There are many reasons," he replied evasively.
"What are they? Do you think girls could not learn, or are not as
capable of hard study as well as--"
"It isn't that," he interrupted; "there are plenty of girls' schools in
the country, you know. Some very good ones in Toronto itself, for that
"Yes; but why shouldn't I go to the university with my brother? There
are plenty of boys' schools, too, but the university is the university.
I suppose my father helps to support it. Why, then, should one child be
allowed to attend and the other not? It isn't at all just."
"It wouldn't do," said the professor more firmly, the more he thought
"Would you take that as a satisfying reason from one or your students?"
"The phrase, 'It wouldn't do.'"
"I'm afraid not," he said; "but, then, I'm very exacting in class. Now,
if you want to know, why do you not ask your father?"
"Father and I have discussed the question, often, and he quite agrees
with me in thinking it unfair."
"Oh, does he?" said Renmark, taken aback; although, when he reflected,
he realized that the father doubtless knew as little about the dangers
of the city as the daughter did.
"And what does your mother say?"
"Oh, mother thinks if a girl is a good housekeeper it is all that is
required. So you will have to give me a good reason, if there is one,
for nobody else in this house argues on your side of the question."
"Well," said Renmark in an embarrassed manner, "if you don't know by
the time you are twenty-five, I'll promise to discuss the whole subject
Margaret sighed as she leaned back in her chair.
"Twenty-five?" she cried, adding with the unconscious veracity of
youth: "That will be seven years to wait. Thank you, but I think I'll
find out before that time."
"I think you will," Renmark answered.
They were interrupted by the sudden and unannounced entrance of her
"Hello, you two!" he shouted with the rude familiarity of a boy. "It
seems the library takes a longer time to arrange than usual."
Margaret rose with dignity.
"We are cataloguing," she said severely.
"Oh, that's what you call it, is it? Can I be of any assistance, or is
two company when they're cataloguing? Have you any idea what time it
"I'm afraid I must be off," said the professor, rising. "My companion
in camp won't know what has become of me."
"Oh, he's all right!" said Henry. "He's down at the Corners, and is
going to stay there for the meeting to-night. Young Bartlett passed a
while ago; he was getting the horses shod, and your friend went with
him. I guess Yates can take care of himself, Mr. Renmark. Say, sis,
will you go to the meeting? I'm going. Young Bartlett's going, and so
is Kitty. Won't you come, too, Mr. Renmark? It's great fun."
"Don't talk like that about a religious gathering, Henry," said his
"Well, that's what it is, anyhow."
"Is it a prayer meeting?" asked the professor, looking at the girl.
"You bet it is!" cried Henry enthusiastically, giving no one a chance
to speak but himself. "It's a prayer meeting, and every other kind of
meeting all rolled into one. It's a revival meeting; a protracted
meeting, that's what it is. You had better come with us, Mr. Renmark,
and then you can see what it is like. You can walk home with Yates."
This attractive _denouement_ did not seem to appeal so strongly to
the professor as the boy expected, for he made no answer.
"You will come, sis; won't you?" urged the boy.
"Are you sure Kitty is going?"
"Of course she is. You don't think she'd miss it, do you? They'll soon
be here, too; better go and get ready."
"I'll see what mother says," replied Margaret as she left the room. She
shortly returned, dressed ready for the meeting, and the professor
concluded he would go also.
Anyone passing the Corners that evening would have quickly seen that
something important was on. Vehicles of all kinds lined the roadway,
drawn in toward the fence, to the rails of which the horses were tied,
Some had evidently come from afar, for the fame of the revivalist was
widespread. The women, when they arrived, entered the schoolhouse,
which was brilliantly lighted with oil lamps. The men stood around
outside in groups, while many sat in rows on the fences, all conversing
about every conceivable topic except religion. They apparently acted on
the theory that there would be enough religion to satisfy the most
exacting when they went inside. Yates sat on the top rail of the fence
with the whittler, whose guest he had been. It was getting too dark for
satisfactory whittling, so the man with the jack-knife improved the
time by cutting notches in the rail on which he sat. Even when this
failed, there was always a satisfaction in opening and shutting a knife
that had a powerful spring at the back of it, added to which was the
pleasurable danger of cutting his fingers. They were discussing the
Fenian question, which at that time was occupying the minds of
Canadians to some extent. Yates was telling them what he knew of the
brotherhood in New York, and the strength of it, which his auditors
seemed inclined to underestimate. Nobody believed that the Fenians
would be so foolhardy as to attempt an invasion of Canada; but Yates
held that if they did they would give the Canadians more trouble than
"Oh, we'll turn old Bartlett on them, if they come over here. They'll
be glad enough to get back if he tackles them."
"With his tongue," added another.
"By the way," said the whittler, "did young Bartlett say he was coming
to-night? I hope he'll bring his sister if he does. Didn't any of you
fellows ask him to bring her? He'd never think of it if he wasn't told.
He has no consideration for the rest of us."
"Why didn't you ask him? I hear you have taken to going in that
"Who? Me?" asked the whittler, quite unconcerned. "I have no chance in
that quarter, especially when the old man's around."
There was a sound of singing from the schoolhouse. The double doors
were wide open, and as the light streamed out the people began to
"Where's Macdonald?" asked Yates.
"Oh, I guess he's taken to the woods. He washes his face, and then he
hides. He has the sense to wash his face first, for he knows he will
have to come. You'll see him back before they start the second hymn."
"Well, boys!" said one, getting down from the fence and stretching his
arms above his head with a yawn, "I guess, if we're going in, it's
One after another they got down from the fence, the whittler shutting
his knife with a reluctant snap, and putting it in his pocket with
evident regret. The schoolhouse, large as it was, was filled to its
utmost capacity--women on one side of the room, and men on the other;
although near the door there was no such division, all the occupants of
the back benches being men and boys. The congregation was standing,
singing: a hymn, when Yates and his comrades entered, so their quiet
incoming was not noticed. The teacher's desk had been moved from the
platform on which it usually stood, and now occupied a corner on the
men's side of the house. It was used as a seat by two or three, who
wished to be near the front, and at the same time keep an eye on the
rest of the assemblage. The local preacher stood on the edge of the
platform, beating time gently with his hymn book, but not singing, as
he had neither voice nor ear for music, and happily recognized the
fact. The singing was led by a man to the middle of the room.
At the back of the platform, near the wall, were two chairs, on one of
which sat the Rev. Mr. Benderson, who was to conduct the revival. He
was a stout, powerful-looking man, but Yates could not see his face,
for it was buried in his hands, his head being bowed in silent prayer.
It was generally understood that he had spent a youth of fearful
wickedness, and he always referred to himself as a brand snatched from
the burning. It was even hinted that at one time he had been a card
player, but no one knew this for a fact. Many of the local preachers
had not the power of exhortation, therefore a man like the Rev. Mr.
Benderson, who had that gift abnormally developed, was too valuable to
be localized; so he spent the year going from place to place, sweeping,
driving, coaxing, or frightening into the fold those stray sheep that
hovered on the outskirts; once they were within the religious ring-
fence the local minister was supposed to keep them there. The latter,
who had given out the hymn, was a man of very different caliber. He was
tall, pale, and thin, and his long black coat hung on him as if it were
on a post. When the hymn was finished; and everyone sat down, Yates,
and those with him, found seats as best they could at the end near the
door. This was the portion of the hall where the scoffers assembled,
but it was also the portion which yielded most fruit, if the revival
happened to be a successful one. Yates, seeing the place so full, and
noticing two empty benches up at the front, asked the whittler why they
were not occupied.
"They'll be occupied pretty soon."
"Who are they being kept for?"
"Perhaps you, perhaps me, perhaps both of us. You never can tell.
That's the penitents' bench."
The local preacher knelt on the platform, and offered up a prayer. He
asked the Lord to bless the efforts of the brother who was with them
there that night, and to crown his labors with success; through his
instrumentality to call many wandering sinners home. There were cries
of "Amen" and "Bless the Lord" from different parts of the hall as the
prayer was being made. On rising, another hymn was given out:
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King."
The leader of the singing started it too low. The tune began high, and
ran down to the bottom of the scale by the time it reached the end of
the first line. When the congregation had got two-thirds of the way
down, they found they could go no farther, not even those who sang
bass. The leader, in some confusion, had to pitch the tune higher, and
his miscalculation was looked upon as exceedingly funny by the reckless
spirits at the back of the hall. The door opened quietly; and they all
turned expecting to see Macdonald, but it was only Sandy. He had washed
his face with but indifferent success, and the bulge in his cheek, like
a wen, showed that he had not abandoned tobacco on entering the
schoolhouse. He tiptoed to a place beside his friends.
"The old man's outside," he whispered to the youth who sat nearest him,
holding his hand to the side of his mouth so that the sound would not
travel. Catching sight of Yates, he winked at him in a friendly sort of
The hymn gathered volume and spirit as it went on, gradually recovering
from the misadventure at starting. When it was finished, the preacher
sat down beside the revivalist. His part of the work was done, as there
was no formal introduction of speaker to audience to be gone through.
The other remained as he was with bowed head, for what appeared to be a
A deep silence fell on all present. Even the whisperings among the
At last Mr. Benderson slowly raised his head, arose, and came to the
front of the platform. He had a strong, masterful, clean-shaven face,
with the heavy jaw of a stubborn man--a man not easily beaten. "Open
the door," he said in a quiet voice.
In the last few meetings he had held he had found this an effective
beginning. It was new to his present audience. Usually a knot of people
stood outside, and if they were there, he made an appeal to them,
through the open door, to enter. If no one was there, he had a lesson
to impart, based on the silence and the darkness. In this instance it
was hard to say which was the more surprised, the revivalist or the
congregation. Sandy, being on his feet, stepped to the door, and threw
it open. He was so astonished at what he saw that he slid behind the
open door out of sight. Macdonald stood there, against the darkness
beyond, in a crouching attitude, as if about to spring. He had
evidently been trying to see what was going on through the keyhole;
and, being taken unawares by the sudden opening of the door, had not
had time to recover himself. No retreat was now possible. He stood up
with haggard face, like a man who has been on a spree, and, without a
word, walked in. Those on the I bench in front of Yates moved together
a little I closer, and the blacksmith sat down on the vacant space left
at the outside. In his confusion he drew his hand across his brow, and
snapped his fingers loudly in the silence. A few faces at the back wore
a grin, and would have laughed had not Sandy, closing the door quietly,
given them one menacing look which quelled their merriment. He was not
going to have the "old man" made fun of in his extremity; and they all
had respect enough for Sandy's fist not to run the risk of encountering
it after the meeting was over. Macdonald himself was more to be dreaded
in a fight; but the chances were that for the next two or three weeks,
if the revival were a success, there would be no danger from that
quarter. Sandy, however, was permanently among the unconverted, and
therefore to be feared, as being always ready to stand up for his
employer, either with voice or blow. The unexpected incident Mr.
Benderson had witnessed suggested no remarks at the time, so, being a
wise man, he said nothing. The congregation wondered how he had known
Macdonald was at the door, and none more than Macdonald himself. It
seemed to many that the revivalist had a gift of divination denied to
themselves, and this belief left them in a frame of mind more than ever
ready to profit by the discourse they were about to hear.
Mr. Benderson began in a low monotone, that nevertheless penetrated to
every part of the room. He had a voice of peculiar quality, as sweet as
the tones of a tenor, and as pleasant to hear as music; now and then
there was a manly ring in it which thrilled his listeners. "A week ago
to-night," he said, "at this very hour, I stood by the deathbed of one
who is now among the blessed. It is four years since he found
salvation, by the mercy of God, through the humble instrumentality of
the least of his servants. It was my blessed privilege to see that
young man--that boy almost--pledge his soul to Jesus. He was less than
twenty when he gave himself to Christ, and his hopes of a long life
were as strong as the hopes of the youngest here to-night. Yet he was
struck down in the early flush of manhood--struck down almost without
warning. When I heard of his brief illness, although knowing nothing of
its seriousness, something urged me to go to him, and at once. When I
reached the house, they told me that he had asked to see me, and that
they had just sent a messenger to the telegraph office with a dispatch
for me. I said: 'God telegraphed to me.' They took me to the bedside of
my young friend, whom I had last seen as hearty and strong as anyone
Mr. Benderson then, in a voice quivering with emotion, told the story
of the deathbed scene. His language was simple and touching, and it was
evident to the most callous auditor that he spoke from the heart,
describing in pathetic words the scene he had witnessed. His unadorned
eloquence went straight home to every listener, and many an eye dimmed
as he put before them a graphic picture of the serenity attending the
end of a well-spent life.
"As I came through among you to-night," he continued, "as you stood
together in groups outside this building, I caught a chance expression
that one of you uttered. A man was speaking of some neighbor who, at
this busy season of the year, had been unable to get help. I think the
one to whom this man was speaking had asked if the busy man were here,
and the answer was: 'No; he has not a minute to call his own.' The
phrase has haunted me since I heard it, less than an hour ago. 'Not a
minute to call his own!' I thought of it as I sat before you. I thought
of it as I rose to address you. I think of it now. Who has a minute to
call his own?" The soft tones of the preacher's voice had given place
to a ringing cry that echoed from the roof down on their heads. "Have
you? Have I? Has any king, any prince, any president, any ruler over
men, a minute or a moment he can call his own? Not one. Not one of all
the teeming millions on this earth. The minutes that are past are
yours. What use have you made of them? All your efforts, all your
prayers, will not change the deeds done in any one of those minutes
that are past, and those only are yours. The chiseled stone is not more
fixed than are the deeds of the minutes that are past. Their record is
for you or against you. But where now are those minutes of the future--
those minutes that, from this time onward, you will be able to call
your own when they are spent? They are in the hand of God--in his hand
to give or to withhold. And who can count them in the hand of God? Not
you, not I, not the wisest man upon the earth. Man may number the miles
from here to the farthest visible star; but he cannot tell you,--
_you_; I don't mean your neighbor, I mean _you_,--he cannot
tell YOU whether your minutes are to be one or a thousand. They are
doled out to you, and you are responsible for them. But there will come
a moment,--it may be to-night, it may be a year hence,--when the hand
of God will close, and you will have had your sum. Then time will end
for you, and eternity begin. Are you prepared for that awful moment--
that moment when the last is given you, and the next withheld? What if
it came now? Are you prepared for it? Are you ready to welcome it, as
did our brother who died at this hour one short week ago? His was not
the only deathbed I have attended. Some scenes have been so seared into
my brain that I can never forget them. A year ago I was called to the
bedside of a dying man, old in years and old in sin. Often had he been
called, but he put Christ away from him, saying: 'At a more convenient
season.' He knew the path, but he walked not therein. And when at last
God's patience ended, and this man was stricken down, he, foolish to
the last, called for me, the servant, instead of to God, the Master.
When I reached his side, the stamp of death was on his face. The biting
finger of agony had drawn lines upon his haggard brow. A great fear was
upon him, and he gripped my hand with the cold grasp of death itself.
In that darkened room it seemed to me I saw the angel of peace standing
by the bed, but it stood aloof, as one often offended. It seemed to me
at the head of the bed the demon of eternal darkness bent over,
whispering to him: 'It is too late! it is too late!' The dying man
looked at me--oh, such a look! May you never be called upon to witness
its like. He gasped: 'I have lived--I have lived a sinful life. Is it
too late?' 'No,' I said, trembling. 'Say you believe.' His lips moved,
but no sound came. He died as he had lived. The one necessary minute
was withheld. Do you hear? _It--was--withheld!_ He had not the
minute to call his own. Not that minute in which to turn from
everlasting damnation. He--went--down--into--_hell_, dying as he
The preacher's voice rose until it sounded like a trumpet blast. His
eyes shone, and his face flushed with the fervor of his theme. Then
followed, as rapidly as words could utter, a lurid, awful picture of
hell and the day of judgment. Sobs and groans were heard in every part
of the room. "Come--now--_now!_" he cried, "Now is the appointed
time, now is the day of salvation. Come now; and as you rise pray God
that in his mercy he may spare you strength and life to reach the
Suddenly the preacher ceased talking. Stretching out his hands, he
broke forth, with his splendid tenor voice, into the rousing hymn, with
its spirited marching time:
Come ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you.
Full of pity, love, and power.]
The whole congregation joined him. Everyone knew the words and the
tune. It seemed a relief to the pent-up feelings to sing at the top of
the voice. The chorus rose like a triumphal march:
Turn to the Lord, and seek salvation,
Sound the praise of His dear name;
Glory, honour, and salvation,
Christ the Lord has come to reign.]
As the congregation sang the preacher in stentorian tones urged sinners
to seek the Lord while he was yet to be found.
Yates felt the electric thrill in the air, and he tugged at his collar,
as if he were choking. He could not understand the strange exaltation
that had come over him. It seemed as if he must cry aloud. All those
around him were much moved. There were now no scoffers at the back of
the room. Most of them seamed frightened, and sat looking one at the
other. It only needed a beginning, and the penitent bench would be
crowded. Many eyes were turned on Macdonald. His face was livid, and
great beads of perspiration stood on his brow. His strong hand clutched
the back of the seat before him, and the muscles stood out on the
portion of his arm that was bare. He stared like a hypnotized man at
the preacher. His teeth were set, and he breathed hard, as would a man
engaged in a struggle. At last the hand of the preacher seemed to be
pointed directly at him. He rose tremblingly to his feet and staggered
down the aisle, flinging himself on his knees, with his head on his
arms, beside the penitent bench, groaning aloud.
"Bless the Lord!" cried the preacher.
It was the starting of the avalanche. Up the aisle, with pale faces,
many with tears streaming from their eyes, walked the young men and the
old. Mothers, with joy in their hearts and a prayer on their lips, saw
their sons fall prostrate before the penitent bench. Soon the contrite
had to kneel wherever they could. The ringing salvation march filled
the air, mingled with cries of joy and devout ejaculations.
"God!" cried Yates, tearing off his collar, "what is the matter with
me? I never felt like this before. I must get into the open air."
He made for the door, and escaped unnoticed in the excitement of the
moment. He stood for a time by the fence outside, breathing deeply of
the cool, sweet air. The sound of the hymn came faintly to him. He
clutched the fence, fearing he was about to faint. Partially recovering
himself at last, he ran with all his might up the road, while there
rang in his ears the marching words:
Turn to the Lord, and seek salvation,
Sound the praise of His dear Name.
Glory, honour and salvation,
Christ the Lord has come to reign.]
When people are thrown together, especially when they are young, the
mutual relationship existing between them rarely remains stationary. It
drifts toward like or dislike; and cases have been known where it
progressed into love or hatred.
Stillson Renmark and Margaret Howard became at least very firm friends.
Each of them would have been ready to admit this much. These two had a
good foundation on which to build up an acquaintance in the fact that
Margaret's brother was a student in the university of which the
professor was a worthy member. They had also a subject of difference,
which, if it leads not to heated argument, but is soberly discussed,
lends itself even more to the building of friendship than subjects of
agreement. Margaret held, as has been indicated in a previous chapter,
that the university was wrong in closing its doors to women. Renmark,
up to the time of their first conversation on the subject, had given
the matter but little thought; yet he developed an opinion contrary to
that of Margaret, and was too honest a man, or too little of a
diplomatist, to conceal it. On one occasion Yates had been present, and
he threw himself, with the energy that distinguished him, into the
woman side of the question--cordially agreeing with Margaret, citing
instances, and holding those who were against the admission of women up
to ridicule, taunting them with fear of feminine competition. Margaret
became silent as the champion of her cause waxed the more eloquent; but
whether she liked Richard Yates the better for his championship who
that is not versed in the ways of women can say? As the hope of winning
her regard was the sole basis of Yates' uncompromising views on the
subject, it is likely that he was successful, for his experiences with
the sex were large and varied. Margaret was certainly attracted toward
Renmark, whose deep scholarship even his excessive self-depreciation
could not entirely conceal; and he, in turn, had naturally a
schoolmaster's enthusiasm over a pupil who so earnestly desired
advancement in knowledge. Had he described his feelings to Yates, who
was an expert in many matters, he would perhaps have learned that he
was in love; but Renmark was a reticent man, not much given either to
introspection or to being lavish with his confidences. As to Margaret,
who can plummet the depth of a young girl's regard until she herself
gives some indication? All that one is able to record is that she was
kinder to Yates than she had been at the beginning.
Miss Kitty Bartlett probably would not have denied that she had a
sincere liking for the conceited young man from New York. Renmark fell
into the error of thinking Miss Kitty a frivolous young person, whereas
she was merely a girl who had an inexhaustible fund of high spirits,
and one who took a most deplorable pleasure in shocking a serious man.
Even Yates made a slight mistake regarding her on one occasion, when
they were having an evening walk together, with that freedom from
chaperonage which is the birthright of every American girl, whether she
belongs to a farmhouse or to the palace of a millionaire.
In describing the incident afterward to Renmark, (for Yates had nothing
of his comrade's reserve in these matters) he said:
"She left a diagram of her four fingers on my cheek that felt like one
of those raised maps of Switzerland. I have before now felt the tap of
a lady's fan in admonition, but never in my life have I met a gentle
reproof that felt so much like a censure from the paw of our friend Tom
Renmark said with some severity that he hoped Yates would not forget
that he was, in a measure, a guest of his neighbors.
"Oh, _that's_ all right," said Yates. "If you have any spare
sympathy to bestow, keep it for me. My neighbors are amply able, and
more than willing, to take care of themselves."
And now as to Richard Yates himself. One would imagine that here, at
least, a conscientious relater of events would have an easy task. Alas!
such is far from being the fact. The case of Yates was by all odds the
most complex and bewildering of the four. He was deeply and truly in
love with both of the girls. Instances of this kind are not so rare as
a young man newly engaged to an innocent girl tries to make her
believe. Cases have been known where chance meeting with one girl, and
not with another, has settled who was to be a young man's companion
during a long life. Yates felt that in multitude of counsel there is
wisdom, and made no secret of his perplexity to his friend. He
complained sometimes that he got little help toward the solution of the
problem, but generally he was quite content to sit under the trees with
Renmark and weigh the different advantages of each of the girls. He
sometimes appealed to his friend, as a man with a mathematical turn of
mind, possessing an education that extended far into conic sections and
algebraic formulae, to balance up the lists, and give him a candid and
statistical opinion as to which of the two he should favor with serious
proposals. When these appeals for help were coldly received, he accused
his friend of lack of sympathy with his dilemma, said that he was a
soulless man, and that if he had a heart it had become incrusted with
the useless _debris_ of a higher education, and swore to confide
in him no more. He would search for a friend, he said, who had
something human about him. The search for the sympathetic friend,
however, seemed to be unsuccessful; for Yates always returned to
Renmark, to have, as he remarked, ice water dashed upon his duplex-
It was a lovely afternoon in the latter part of May, 1866, and Yates
was swinging idly in the hammock, with his hands clasped under his
head, gazing dreamily up at the patches of blue sky seen through the
green branches of the trees overhead, while his industrious friend was
unromantically peeling potatoes near the door of the tent.
"The human heart, Renny," said the man in the hammock reflectively, "is
a remarkable organ, when you come to think of it. I presume, from your
lack of interest, that you haven't given the subject much study,
except, perhaps, in a physiological way. At the present moment it is to
me the only theme worthy of a man's entire attention. Perhaps that is
the result of spring, as the poet says; but, anyhow, it presents new
aspects to me each hour. Now, I have made this important discovery:
that the girl I am with last seems to me the most desirable. That is
contrary to the observation of philosophers of bygone days. Absence
makes the heart grow fonder, _they_ say. I don't find it so.
Presence is what plays the very deuce with me. Now, how do you account
for it, Stilly?"
The professor did not attempt to account for it, but silently attended
to the business in hand, Yates withdrew his eyes from the sky, and
fixed them on the professor, waiting for the answer that did not come.
"Mr. Renmark," he drawled at last, "I am convinced that your treatment
of the potato is a mistake. I think potatoes should not be peeled the
day before, and left to soak in cold water until to-morrow's dinner. Of
course I admire the industry that gets work well over before its
Jesuits are called for. Nothing is more annoying than work left
untouched until the last moment, and then hurriedly done. Still, virtue
may be carried to excess, and a man may be too previous."
"Well, I am quite willing to relinquish the work into your hands. You
may perhaps remember that for two days I have been doing your share as
well as my own."
"Oh, I am not complaining about _that_, at all," said the hammock
magnanimously. "You are acquiring practical knowledge, Renny, that will
be of more use to you than all the learning taught at the schools. My
only desire is that your education should be as complete as possible,
and to this end I am willing to subordinate my own yearning desire for
scullery work. I should suggest that, instead of going to the trouble
of entirely removing the covering of the potato in that laborious way,
you should merely peel a belt around its greatest circumference. Then,
rather than cook the potatoes in the slow and soggy manner that seems
to delight you, you should boil them quickly, with some salt placed in
the water. The remaining coat would then curl outward, and the
resulting potato would be white and dry and mealy, instead of being the
condition of a wet sponge."
"The beauty of a precept, Yates, is the illustrating of it. If you are
not satisfied with my way of boiling potatoes, give me a practical
The man in the hammock sighed reproachfully.
"Of course an unimaginative person like you, Renmark, cannot realize
the cruelty of suggesting that a man as deeply in love as I am should
demean himself by attending to the prosaic details of household
affairs. I am doubly in love, and much more, therefore, as that old
bore Euclid used to say, is your suggestion unkind and uncalled for."
"All right, then; don't criticise."
"Yes, there is a certain sweet reasonableness in your curt suggestion.
A man who is unable, or unwilling, to work in the vineyard should not
find fault with the pickers. And now, Renny, for the hundredth time of
asking, add to the many obligations already conferred, and tell me,
like the good fellow you are, what you would do if you were in my
place. To which of those two charming, but totally unlike, girls would
you give the preference?"
"Damn!" said the professor quietly.
"Hello, Renny!" cried Yates, raising his head. "Have you cut your
finger? I should have warned you about using too sharp a knife."
But the professor had not cut his finger. His use of the word given
above is not to be defended; still, as it was spoken by him, it seemed
to lose all relationship with swearing. He said it quietly, mildly,
and, in a certain sense, innocently. He was astonished at himself for
using it, but there had been moments during the past few days when the
ordinary expletives used in the learned volumes of higher mathematics
did not fit the occasion.
Before anything more could be said there was a shout from the roadway
"Is Richard Yates there?" hailed the voice.
"Yes. Who wants him?" cried Yates, springing out of the hammock.
"I do," said a young fellow on horseback. He threw himself off a tired
horse, tied the animal to a sapling,--which, judging by the horse's
condition, was an entirely unnecessary operation,--jumped over the rail
fence, and approached through the woods. The young men saw, coming
toward them, a tall lad in the uniform of the telegraph service.
"I'm Yates. What is it?"
"Well," said the lad, "I've had a hunt and a half for you. Here's a
"How in the world did you find out where I was? Nobody has my address."
"That's just the trouble. It would have saved somebody in New York a
pile of money if you had left it. No man ought to go to the woods
without leaving his address at a telegraph office, anyhow." The young
man looked at the world from a telegraph point of view. People were
good or bad according to the trouble they gave a telegraph messenger.
Yates took the yellow envelope, addressed in lead pencil, but, without
opening it, repeated his question:
"But how on earth did you find me?"
"Well, it wasn't easy;" said the boy. "My horse is about done out. I'm
from Buffalo. They telegraphed from New York that we were to spare no
expense; and we haven't. There are seven other fellows scouring the
country on horseback with duplicates of that dispatch, and some more
have gone along the lake shore on the American side. Say, no other
messenger has been here before me, has he?" asked the boy with a touch
of anxiety in his voice.
"No; you are the first."
"I'm glad of that. I've been 'most all over Canada. I got on your trail
about two hours ago, and the folks at the farmhouse down below said you
were up here. Is there any answer?"
Yates tore open the envelope. The dispatch was long, and he read it
with a deepening frown. It was to this effect:
"Fenians crossing into Canada at Buffalo. You are near the spot; get
there as quick as possible. Five of our men leave for Buffalo to-night.
General O'Neill is in command of Fenian army. He will give you every
facility when you tell him who you are. When five arrive, they will
report to you. Place one or two with Canadian troops. Get one to hold
the telegraph wire, and send over all the stuff the wire will carry.
Draw on us for cash you need; and don't spare expense."
When Yates finished the reading of this, he broke forth into a line of
language that astonished Renmark, and drew forth the envious admiration
of the Buffalo telegraph boy.
"Heavens and earth and the lower regions! I'm here on my vacation. I'm
not going to jump into work for all the papers in New York. Why
couldn't those fools of Fenians stay at home? The idiots don't know
when they're well off. The Fenians be hanged!"
"Guess that's what they will be," said the telegraph boy. "Any answer,
"No. Tell 'em you couldn't find me."
"Don't expect the boy to tell lie," said the professor, speaking for
the first time.
"Oh, I don't mind a lie!" exclaimed the boy, "but not that one. No,
sir. I've had too much trouble finding you. I'm not going to pretend
I'm no good. I started out for to find you, and I have. But I'll tell
any other lie you like, Mr. Yates, if it will oblige you."
Yates recognized in the boy the same emulous desire to outstrip his
fellows that had influenced himself when he was a young reporter, and
he at once admitted the injustice of attempting to deprive him of the
fruits of his enterprise.
"No," he said, "that won't do. No; you have found me, and you're a
young fellow who will be president of the telegraph company some day,
or perhaps hold the less important office of the United States
presidency. Who knows? Have you a telegraph blank?"
"Of course," said the boy, fishing out a bundle from the leathern
wallet by his side. Yates took the paper, and flung himself down under
"Here's a pencil," said the messenger.
"A newspaper man is never without a pencil, thank you," replied Yates,
taking one out of his inside pocket. "Now, Renmark, I'm not going to
tell a lie on this occasion," he continued.
"I think the truth is better on all occasions."
"Right you are. So here goes for the solid truth."
Yates, as he lay on the ground, wrote rapidly on the telegraph blank.
Suddenly he looked up and said to the professor: "Say, Renmark, are you
"Of laws," replied his friend.
"Oh, that will do just as well." And he finished his writing.
"How is this?" he cried, holding the paper at arm's length:
"L. F. SPENCER,
"_Managing Editor 'Argus,' New York:_
"I'm flat on my back. Haven't done a hand's turn for a week. Am under
the constant care, night and day, of one of the most eminent doctors in
Canada, who even prepares my food for me. Since leaving New York
trouble of the heart has complicated matters, and at present baffles
the doctor. Consultations daily. It is impossible for me to move from
here until present complications have yielded to treatment.
"Simson would be a good man to take charge in my absence."
"There," said Yates, with a tone of satisfaction, when he had finished
the reading. "What do you think of that?"
The professor frowned, but did not answer. The boy, who partly saw
through it, but not quite, grinned, and said: "Is it true?"
"Of course it's true!" cried Yates, indignant at the unjust suspicion.
"It is a great deal more true than you have any idea of. Ask the
doctor, there, if it isn't true. Now, my boy, will you give this in
when you get back to the office? Tell 'em to rush it through to New
York. I would mark it 'rush' only that never does any good, and always
makes the operator mad."
The boy took the paper, and put it in his wallet.
"It's to be paid for at the other end," continued Yates.
"Oh, that's all right," answered the messenger with a certain
condescension, as if he were giving credit on behalf of the company.
"Well, so long," he added. "I hope you'll soon be better, Mr. Yates."
Yates sprang to his feet with a laugh, and followed him to the fence.
"Now, youngster, you are up to snuff, I can see that. They'll perhaps
question you when you get back. What will you say?"
"Oh, I'll tell 'em what a hard job I had to find you, and let 'em know
nobody else could 'a' done it, and I'll say you're a pretty sick man. I
won't tell 'em you gave me a dollar!"
"Right you are, sonny; _you'll_ get along. Here's five dollars,
all in one bill. If you meet any other of the messengers, take them
back with you. There's no use of their wasting valuable time in this
little neck of the woods."
The boy stuffed the bill into his vest pocket as carelessly as if it
represented cents instead of dollars, mounted his tired horse, and
waved his hand in farewell to the newspaper man. Yates turned and
walked slowly back to the tent. He threw himself once more into the
hammock. As he expected, the professor was more taciturn than ever,
and, although he had been prepared for silence, the silence irritated
him. He felt ill used at having so unsympathetic a companion.
"Look here, Renmark; why don't you say something?"
"There is nothing to say."
"Oh, yes, there is. You don't approve of me, do you?"
"I don't suppose it makes any difference whether I approve or not."
"Oh, yes, it does. A man likes to have the approval of even the
humblest of his fellow-creatures. Say, what will you take in cash to
approve of me? People talk of the tortures of conscience, but you are
more uncomfortable than the most cast-iron conscience any man ever had.
One's own conscience one can deal with, but a conscience in the person
of another man is beyond one's control. Now, it is like this: I am here
for quiet and rest. I have earned both, and I think I am justified
"Now, Mr. Yates, please spare me any cheap philosophy on the question.
I am tired of it."
"And of me, too, I suppose?"
"Well, yes, rather--if you want to know."
Yates sprang out of the hammock. For the first time since the encounter
with Bartlett on the road Renmark saw that he was thoroughly angry. The
reporter stood with clenched fists and flashing eyes, hesitating. The
other, his heavy brows drawn, while not in an aggressive attitude, was
plainly ready for an attack. Yates concluded to speak, and not to
strike. This was not because he was afraid, for he was not a coward.
The reporter realized that he had forced the conversation, and
remembered he had invited Renmark to accompany him. Although this
recollection stayed his hand, it had no effect on his tongue.
"I believe," he said slowly, "that it would do you good for once to
hear a straight, square, unbiased opinion of yourself. You have
associated so long with pupils, to whom your word is law, that it may
interest you to know what a man of the world thinks of you. A few years
of schoolmastering is enough to spoil an archangel. Now, I think, of
The sentence was interrupted by a cry from the fence:
"Say, do you gentlemen know where a fellow named Yates lives?"
The reporter's hand dropped to his side. A look of dismay came over his
face, and his truculent manner changed with a suddenness that forced a
smile even to the stern lips of Renmark.
Yates backed toward the hammock like a man who had received an
"I say, Renny," he wailed, "it's another of those cursed telegraph
messengers. Go, like a good fellow, and sign for the dispatch. Sign it
'Dr. Renmark, for R. Yates.' That will give it a sort of official,
medical-bulletin look. I wish I had thought of that when the other boy
was here. Tell him I'm lying down." He flung himself into the hammock,
and Renmark, after a moment's hesitation, walked toward the boy at the
fence, who had repeated his question in a louder voice. In a short time
he returned with the yellow envelope, which he tossed to the man in the
hammock. Yates seized it savagely, tore it into a score of pieces, and
scattered the fluttering bits around him on the ground. The professor
stood there for a few moments in silence.
"Perhaps," he said at last, "you'll be good enough to go on with your
"I was merely going to say," answered Yates wearily, "that you are a
mighty good fellow, Renny. People who camp out always have rows. That
is our first; suppose we let it be the last. Camping out is something
like married life, I guess, and requires some forbearance on both
sides. That philosophy may be cheap, but I think it is accurate. I am
really very much worried about this newspaper business. I ought, of
course, to fling myself into the chasm like that Roman fellow; but,
hang it! I've been flinging myself into chasms for fifteen years, and
what good has it done? There's always a crisis in a daily newspaper
office. I want them to understand in the _Argus_ office that I am
on my vacation."
"They will be more apt to understand from the telegram that you're on
Yates laughed. "That's so," he said; "but, you see, Renny, we New
Yorkers live in such an atmosphere of exaggeration that if I did not
put it strongly it wouldn't have any effect. You've got to give a big
dose to a man who has been taking poison all his life. They will take
off ninety per cent. from any statement I make, anyhow; so, you see, I
have to pile it up pretty high before the remaining ten per cent.
amounts to anything."
The conversation was interrupted by the crackling of the dry twigs
behind them, and Yates, who had been keeping his eye nervously on the
fence, turned round. Young Bartlett pushed his way through the
underbrush. His face was red; he had evidently been running.
"Two telegrams for you, Mr. Yates," he panted. "The fellows that
brought 'em said they were important; so I ran out with them myself,
for fear they wouldn't find you. One of them's from Port Colborne, the
other's from Buffalo."
Telegrams were rare on the farm, and young Bartlett looked on the
receipt of one as an event in a man's life. He was astonished to see
Yates receive the double event with a listlessness that he could not
help thinking was merely assumed for effect. Yates held them in his
hand, and did not tear them up at once out of consideration for the
feelings of the young man, who had had a race to deliver them.
"Here's two books they wanted you to sign. They're tired out, and
mother's giving them something to eat."
"Professor, you sign for me, won't you?" said Yates.
Bartlett lingered a moment, hoping that he would hear something of the
contents of the important messages; but Yates did not even open the
envelopes, although he thanked the young man heartily for bringing
"Stuck-up cuss!" muttered young Bartlett to himself, as he shoved the
signed books into his pocket and pushed his way through the underbrush
again. Yates slowly and methodically tore the envelopes and their
contents into little pieces, and scattered them as before.
"Begins to look like autumn," he said, "with the yellow leaves strewing
Before night three more telegraph boys found Yates, and three more
telegrams in sections helped to carpet the floor of the forest. The
usually high spirits of the newspaper man went down and down under the
repeated visitations. At last he did not even swear, which, in the case
of Yates, always indicated extreme depression. As night drew on he
feebly remarked to the professor that he was more tired than he had
ever been in going through an election campaign. He went to his tent
bunk early, in a state of such utter dejection that Renmark felt sorry
for him, and tried ineffectually to cheer him up.
"If they would all come together," said Yates bitterly, "so that one
comprehensive effort of malediction would include the lot and have it
over, it wouldn't be so bad; but this constant dribbling in of
messengers would wear put the patience of a saint."
As he sat in his shirt sleeves on the edge of his bunk Renmark said
that things would look brighter in the morning--which was a safe remark
to make, for the night was dark.
Yates sat silently, with his head in his hands, for some moments. At
last he said slowly: "There is no one so obtuse as the thoroughly good
man. It is not the messenger I am afraid of, after all. He is but the
outward symptom of the inward trouble. What you are seeing is an
example of the workings of conscience where you thought conscience was
absent. The trouble with me is that I know the newspaper depends on me,
and that it will be the first time I have failed. It is the newspaper
man's instinct to be in the center of the fray. He yearns to scoop the
opposition press. I will get a night's sleep if I can, and to-morrow, I
know, I shall capitulate. I will hunt out General O'Neill, and
interview him on the field of slaughter. I will telegraph pages. I will
refurbish my military vocabulary, and speak of deploying and massing
and throwing out advance guards, and that sort of thing. I will move
detachments and advance brigades, and invent strategy. We will have
desperate fighting in the columns of the _Argus_, whatever there
is on the fields of Canada. But to a man who has seen real war this
_opera-bouffe_ masquerade of fighting----I don't want to say
anything harsh, but to me it is offensive."
He looked up with a wan smile at his partner, sitting on the bottom of
an upturned pail, as he said this. Then he reached for his hip pocket
and drew out a revolver, which he handed, butt-end forward, to the
professor, who, not knowing his friend carried such an instrument,
instinctively shrank from it.
"Here, Renny, take this weapon of devastation and soak it with the
potatoes. If another messenger comes in on me to-night, I know I shall
riddle him if I have this handy. My better judgment tells me he is
innocent, and I don't want to shed the only blood that will be spilled
during this awful campaign."
How long they had been asleep they did not know, as the ghost-stories
have it, but both were suddenly awakened by a commotion outside. It was
intensely dark inside the tent, but as the two sat up they noticed a
faint moving blur of light, which made itself just visible through the
"It's another of those fiendish messengers," whispered Yates. "Gi' me
"Hush!" said the other below his breath. "There's about a dozen men out
there, judging by the footfalls. I heard them coming."
"Let's fire into the tent and be done with it," said a voice outside.
"No, no," cried another; "no man shoot. It makes too much noise, and
there must be others about. Have ye all got yer bayonets fixed?"
There was a murmur, apparently in the affirmative.
"Very well, then. Murphy and O'Rourick, come round to this side. You
three stay where you are. Tim, you go to that end; and, Doolin, come
"The Fenian army, by all the gods!" whispered Yates, groping for his
clothes. "Renny, give me that revolver, and I'll show you more fun than
"No, no. They're at least three to our one. We're in a trap here, and
"Oh, just let me jump out among 'em and begin the fireworks. Those I
didn't shoot would die of fright. Imagine scouts scouring the woods
with a lantern--with a _lantern_, Renny! Think of that! Oh, this
is pie! Let me at 'em."
"Hush! Keep quiet! They'll hear you."
"Tim, bring the lantern round to this side." The blur of light moved
along the canvas. "There's a man with his back, against the wall of the
tent. Just touch him up with your bayonet, Murphy, and let him know
"There may be twenty in the tent," said Murphy cautiously.
"Do what I tell you," answered the man in command.
Murphy progged his bayonet through the canvas, and sunk the deadly
point of the instrument into the bag of potatoes.
"Faith, he sleeps sound," said Murphy with a tremor of fear in his
voice, as there was no demonstration on the part of the bag.
The voice of Yates rang out from the interior of the tent:
"What the old Harry do you fellows think you're doing, anyhow? What's
the matter with you? What do you want?"
There was a moment's silence, broken only by a nervous scuffling of
feet and the clicking of gun-locks.
"How many are there of you in there?" said the stern voice of the
"Two, if you want to know, both unarmed, and one ready to fight the lot
of you if you are anxious for a scrimmage."
"Come out one by one," was the next command.
"We'll come out one by one," said Yates, emerging in his shirt sleeves,
"but you can't expect us to keep it up long, as there are only two of
The professor next appeared, with his coat on. The situation certainly
did not look inviting. The lantern on the ground threw up a pallid glow
on the severe face of the commander, as the footlights might illuminate
the figure of a brigand in a wood on the stage. The face of the officer
showed that he was greatly impressed with the importance and danger of
his position. Yates glanced about him with a smile, all his recent
dejection gone now that he was in the midst of a row.
"Which is Murphy," he said, "and which is Doolin? Hello, alderman!" he
cried, as his eyes rested on one tall, strapping, red-haired man who
held his bayonet ready to charge, with a fierce determination in his
face that might have made an opponent quail. "When did you leave New
York? and who's running the city now that you're gone?"
The men had evidently a sense of humor, in spite of their bloodthirsty
business, for a smile flickered on their faces in the lantern light,
and several bayonets were unconsciously lowered. But the hard face of
the commander did not relax.
"You are doing yourself no good by your talk," he said solemnly. "What
you say will be used against you."
"Yes, and what you do will be used against _you_; and don't forget
that fact. It's you who are in danger--not I. You are, at this moment,
making about the biggest ass of yourself there is in Canada."
"Pinion these men!" cried the captain gruffly.
"Pinion nothing!" shouted Yates, shaking off the grasp of a man who had
sprung to his side. But both Yates and Renmark were speedily
overpowered; and then an unseen difficulty presented itself! Murphy
pathetically remarked that they had no rope. The captain was a man of
"Cut enough rope from the tent to tie them."
"And when you're at it, Murphy," said Yates, "cut off enough more to
hang yourself with. You'll need it before long. And remember that any
damage you do to that tent you'll have to pay for. It's hired."
Yates gave them all the trouble he could while they tied his elbows and
wrists together, offering sardonic suggestions and cursing their
clumsiness. Renmark submitted quietly. When the operation was finished,
the professor said with the calm confidence of one who has an empire
behind him and knows it:
"I warn you, sir, that this outrage is committed on British soil; and
that I, on whom it is committed, am a British subject."
"Heavens and earth, Renmark, if you find it impossible to keep your
mouth shut, do not use the word 'subject' but 'citizen.'"
"I am satisfied with the word, and with the protection given to those
who use it."
"Look here, Renmark; you had better let me do the talking. You will
only put your foot in it. I know the kind of men I have to deal with;
you evidently don't."
In tying the professor they came upon the pistol in his coat pocket.
Murphy held it up to the light.
"I thought you said you were unarmed?" remarked the captain severely,
taking the revolver in his hand.
"I was unarmed. The revolver is mine, but the professor would not let
me use it. If he had, all of you would be running for dear life through
"You admit that you are a British subject?" said the captain to
Renmark, ignoring Yates.
"He doesn't admit it, he brags of it," said the latter before Renmark
could speak. "You can't scare him; so quit this fooling, and let us
know how long we are to stand here trussed up like this."
"I propose, captain," said the red-headed man, "that we shoot these men
where they stand, and report to the general. They are spies. They are
armed, and they denied it. It's according to the rules of war,
"Rules of war? What do you know of the rules of war, you red-headed
Senegambian? Rules of Hoyle! Your line is digging sewers, I imagine.
Come, captain, undo these ropes, and make up your mind quickly. Trot us
along to General O'Neill just as fast as you can. The sooner you get us
there the more time you will have for being sorry over what you have
The captain still hesitated, and looked from one to the other of his
men, as if to make up his mind whether they would obey him if he went
to extremities. Yates' quick eye noted that the two prisoners had
nothing to hope for, even from the men who smiled. The shooting of two
unarmed and bound men seemed to them about the correct way of beginning
a great struggle for freedom.
"Well," said the captain at length, "we must do it in proper form, so I
suppose we should have a court-martial. Are you agreed?"
They were unanimously agreed.
"Look here," cried Yates, and there was a certain impressiveness in his
voice in spite of his former levity; "this farce has gone just as far
as it is going. Go inside the tent, there, and in my coat pocket you
will find a telegram, the first of a dozen or two received by me within
the last twenty-four hours. Then you will see whom you propose to
The telegram was found, and the captain read it, while Tim held the
lantern. He looked from under his knitted brows at the newspaper man.
"Then you are one of the _Argus_ staff."
"I am chief of the _Argus_ staff. As you see, five of my men will
be with General O'Neill to-morrow. The first question they will ask him
will be: 'Where is Yates?' The next thing that will happen will be that
you will be hanged for your stupidity, not by Canada nor by the State
of New York, but by your general, who will curse your memory ever
after. You are fooling not with a subject this time, but with a
citizen; and your general is not such an idiot as to monkey with the
United States Government; and, what is a blamed sight worse, with the
great American press. Come, captain, we've had enough of this. Cut
these cords just as quickly as you can, and take us to the general. We
were going to see him in the morning, anyhow."
"But this man says he is a Canadian."
"That's all right. My friend is _me_. If you touch him, you touch
me. Now, hurry up, climb down from your perch. I shall have enough
trouble now, getting the general to forgive all the blunders you have
made to-night, without your adding insult to injury. Tell your men to
untie us, and throw the ropes back into the tent. It will soon be
daylight. Hustle, and let us be off."
"Untie them," said the captain, with a sigh.
Yates shook himself when his arms regained their freedom.
"Now, Tim," he said, "run into that tent and bring out my coat. It's
Tim did instantly as requested, and helped Yates on with the coat.
"Good boy!" said, Yates. "You've evidently been porter in a hotel."
"I think," said Yates meditatively, "that if I you look under the
right-hand bunk, Tim, you will find a jug. It belongs to the professor,
although he has hidden it under my bed to divert suspicion from
himself. Just fish it out and bring it here. It is not as full as it
was, but there's enough to go round, if the professor does not take
more than his share."
The gallant troop smacked their lips in anticipation, and Renmark
looked astonished to see the jar brought forth. "You first, professor,"
said Yates; and Tim innocently offered him the vessel. The learned man
shook his head. Yates laughed, and took it himself.
"Well, here's to you, boys," he said. "And may you all get back as
safely to New York as I will." The jar passed down along the line,
until Tim finished its contents.
"Now, then, for the camp of the Fenian army," cried Yates, taking
Renmark's arm; and they began their march through the woods. "Great
Caesar! Stilly," he continued to his friend, "this is rest and quiet
with a vengeance, isn't it?"
The Fenians, feeling that they had to put their best foot foremost in
the presence of their prisoners, tried at first to maintain something
like military order in marching through the woods. They soon found,
however, that this was a difficult thing to do. Canadian forests are
not as trimly kept as English parks. Tim walked on ahead with the
lantern, but three times he tumbled over some obstruction, and
disappeared suddenly from view, uttering maledictions. His final effort
in this line was a triumph. He fell over the lantern and smashed it.
When all attempts at reconstruction failed, the party tramped on in go-
as-you-please fashion, and found they did better without the light than
with it. In fact, although it was not yet four o'clock, daybreak was
already filtering through the trees, and the woods were perceptibly
"We must be getting near the camp," said the captain.
"Will I shout, sir?" asked Murphy.
"No, no; we can't miss it. Keep on as you are doing."
They were nearer the camp than they suspected. As they blundered on
among the crackling underbrush and dry twigs the sharp report of a
rifle echoed through the forest, and a bullet whistled above their
"Fat the divil are you foiring at, Mike Lynch?" cried the alderman, who
recognized the shooter, now rapidly falling back.
"Oh, it's you, is it?" said the sentry, stopping in his flight. The
captain strode angrily toward him.
"What do you mean by firing like that? Don't you know enough to ask for
the counter-sign before shooting?"
"Sure, I forgot about it, captain, entirely. But, then, ye see, I never
can hit anything; so it's little difference it makes."
The shot had roused the camp, and there was now wild commotion,
everybody thinking the Canadians were upon them.
A strange sight met the eye of Yates and Renmark. Both were astonished
to see the number of men that O'Neill had under his command. They found
a motley crowd. Some tattered United States uniforms were among them,
but the greater number were dressed as ordinary individuals, although a
few had trimmings of green braid on their clothes. Sleeping out for a
couple of nights had given the gathering the unkempt appearance of a
great company of tramps. The officers were indistinguishable from the
men at first, but afterward Yates noticed that they, mostly in plain
clothes and slouch hats, had sword belts buckled around them; and one
or two had swords that had evidently seen service in the United States
"It's all right, boys," cried the captain to the excited mob. "It was
only that fool Lynch who fired at us. There's nobody hurt. Where's the
"Here he comes," said half a dozen voices at once, and the crowd made
way for him.
General O'Neill was dressed in ordinary citizen's costume, and did not
wear even a sword belt. On his head of light hair was a black soft felt
hat. His face was pale, and covered with freckles. He looked more like
a clerk from a grocery store than the commander of an army. He was
evidently somewhere between thirty-five and forty years of age.
"Oh, it's you, is it?" he said. "Why are you back? Any news?"
The captain saluted, military fashion, and replied:
"We took two prisoners, sir. They were encamped in a tent in the woods.
One of them says he is an American citizen, and says he knows you, so I
brought them in."
"I wish you had brought in the tent, too," said the general with a wan
smile. "It would be an improvement on sleeping in the open air. Are
these the prisoners? I don't know either of them."
"The captain makes a mistake in saying that I claimed a personal
acquaintance with you, general. What I said was that you would
recognize, somewhat quicker than he did, who I was, and the
desirability of treating me with reasonable decency. Just show the
general that telegram you took from my coat pocket, captain."
The paper was produced, and O'Neill read it over once or twice.
"You are on the New York _Argus_, then?"
"Very much so, general."
"I hope you have not been roughly used?"
"Oh, no; merely tied up in a hard knot, and threatened with shooting--
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Still, you must make some allowance at a
time like this. If you will come with me, I will write you a pass which
will prevent any similar mistake happening in the future." The general
led the way to a smoldering camp fire, where, out of a valise, he took
writing materials and, using the valise as a desk, began to write.
After he had written "Headquarters of the Grand Army of the Irish
Republic" he looked up, and asked Yates his Christian name. Being
answered, he inquired the name of his friend.
"I want nothing from you," interposed Renmark. "Don't put my name on
"Oh, that's all right," said Yates. "Never mind him, general. He's a
learned man who doesn't know when to talk and when not to. As you march
up to our tent, general, you will see an empty jug, which will explain
everything. Renmark's drunk, not to put too fine a point upon it; and
he imagines himself a British subject."
The Fenian general looked up at the professor.
"Are you a Canadian?" he asked.
"Certainly I am."
"Well, in that case, if I let you leave camp, you must give me your
word that, should you fall in with the enemy, you will give no
information to them of our position, numbers, or of anything else you
may have seen while with us."
"I shall not give my word. On the contrary, if I should fall in with
the Canadian troops, I will tell them where you are, that you are from
eight hundred to one thousand strong, and the worst looking set of
vagabonds I have ever seen out of jail."
General O'Neill frowned, and looked from one to the other.
"Do you realize that you confess to being a spy, and that it becomes my
duty to have you taken out and shot?"
"In real war, yes. But this is mere idiotic fooling. All of you that
don't escape will be either in jail or shot before twenty-four hours."
"Well, by the gods, it won't help _you_ any. I'll have you shot
inside of ten minutes, instead of twenty-four hours."
"Hold on, general, hold on!" cried Yates, as the angry man rose and
confronted the two. "I admit that he richly deserves shooting, if you
were the fool killer, which you are not. But it won't do, I will be
responsible for him. Just finish that pass for me, and I will take care
of the professor. Shoot me if you like, but don't touch him. He hasn't
any sense, as you can see; but I am not to blame for that, nor are you.
If you take to shooting everybody who is an ass, general, you won't
have any ammunition left with which to conquer Canada."
The general smiled in spite of himself, and resumed the writing of the
pass. "There," he said, handing the paper to Yates. "You see, we always
like to oblige the press. I will risk your belligerent friend, and I
hope you will exercise more control over him, if you meet the
Canadians, than you were able to exert here. Don't you think, on the
whole, you had better stay with us? We are going to march in a couple
of hours, when the men have had a little rest." He added in a lower
voice, so that the professor could not hear: "You didn't see anything
of the Canadians, I suppose?"
"Not a sign. No, I don't think I'll stay. There will be five of our
fellows here some time to-day, I expect, and that will be more than
enough. I'm really here on a vacation. Been ordered rest and quiet. I'm
beginning to think I have made a mistake in location."
Yates bade good-by to the commander, and walked with his friend out of
the camp. They threaded their way among sleeping men and groups of
stacked guns. On the top of one of the bayonets was hung a tall silk
hat, which looked most incongruous in such a place.
"I think," said Yates, "that we will make for the Ridge Road, which
must lie somewhere in this direction. It will be easier walking than
through the woods; and, besides, I want to stop at one of the
farmhouses and get some breakfast. I'm as hungry as a bear after
tramping so long."
"Very well," answered the professor shortly.
The two stumbled along until they reached the edge of the wood; then,
crossing some open fields, they came presently upon the road, near the
spot where the fist fight had taken place between Yates and Bartlett.
The comrades, now with greater comfort, walked silently along the road
toward the west, with the reddening east behind them. The whole scene
was strangely quiet and peaceful, and the recollection of the weird
camp they had left in the woods seemed merely a bad dream. The morning
air was sweet, and the birds were beginning to sing. Yates had intended
to give the professor a piece of his mind regarding the lack of tact
and common sense displayed by Renmark in the camp, but, somehow, the
scarcely awakened day did not lend itself to controversy, and the
serene stillness soothed his spirit. He began to whistle softly that
popular war song, "Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching," and
then broke in with the question:
"Say, Renny, did you notice that plug hat on the bayonet?"
"Yes," answered the professor; "and I saw five others scattered around
"Jingo! you were observant. I can imagine nothing quite so ridiculous
as a man going to war in a tall silk hat."
The professor made no reply, and Yates changed his whistling to "Rally
round the flag."
"I presume," he said at length, "there is little use in attempting to
improve the morning hour by trying to show you, Renmark, what a fool
you made of yourself in the camp? Your natural diplomacy seemed to be
slightly off the center."
"I do not hold diplomatic relations with thieves and vagabonds."
"They may be vagabonds; but so am I, for that matter. They may also be
well-meaning, mistaken men; but I do not think they are thieves."
"While you were talking with the so-called general, one party came in
with several horses that had been stolen from the neighboring farmers,
and another party started out to get some more."
"Oh, that isn't stealing, Renmark; that's requisitioning. You mustn't
use such reckless language. I imagine the second party has been
successful; for here are three of them all mounted."
The three horsemen referred to stopped their steeds at the sight of the
two men coming round the bend of the road, and awaited their approach.
Like so many of the others, they wore no uniform, but two of them held
revolvers in their hands ready for action. The one who had no visible
revolver moved his horse up the middle of the road toward the
pedestrians, the other two taking positions on each side of the wagon
"Who are you? Where do you come from, and where are you going?" cried
the foremost horseman, as the two walkers came within talking distance.
"It's all right, commodore," said Yates jauntily, "and the top of the
morning to you. We are hungry pedestrians. We have just come from the
camp, and we are going to get something to eat."
"I must have a more satisfactory answer than that."
"Well, here you have it, then," answered Yates, pulling out his folded
pass, and handing it up to the horseman. The man read it carefully.
"You find that all right, I expect?"
"Right enough to cause your immediate arrest."
"But the general said we were not to be molested further. That is in
his own handwriting."
"I presume it is, and all the worse for you. His handwriting does not
run quite as far as the queen's writ in this country yet. I arrest you
in the name of the queen. Cover these men with your revolvers, and
shoot them down if they make any resistance." So saying, the rider
slipped from his horse, whipped out of his pocket a pair of handcuffs
joined by a short, stout steel chain, and, leaving his horse standing,
grasped Renmark's wrist.
"I'm a Canadian," said the professor, wrenching his wrist away. "You
mustn't put handcuffs on me."
"You are in very bad company, then. I am a constable of this county; if
you are what you say, you will not resist arrest."
"I will go with you, but you mustn't handcuff me."
"Oh, mustn't I?" And, with a quick movement indicative of long practice
with resisting criminals, the constable deftly slipped on one of the
clasps, which closed with a sharp click and stuck like a burr.
Renmark became deadly pale, and there was a dangerous glitter in his
eyes. He drew back his clinched fist, in spite of the fact that the
cocked revolver was edging closer and closer to him, and the constable
held his struggling manacled hand with grim determination.
"Hold on!" cried Yates, preventing the professor from striking the
representative of the law. "Don't shoot," he shouted to the man on
horseback; "it is all a little mistake that will be quickly put right.
You are three armed and mounted men, and we are only two, unarmed and
on foot. There is no need of any revolver practice. Now, Renmark, you
are more of a rebel at the present moment than O'Neill. He owes no
allegiance, and you do. Have you no respect for the forms of law and
order? You are an anarchist at heart, for all your professions. You
_would_ sing 'God save the Queen!' in the wrong place a while ago,
so now be satisfied that you have got her, or, rather, that she has got
you. Now, constable, do you want to hitch the other end of that
arrangement on my wrist? or have you another pair for my own special
"I'll take your wrist, if you please."
"All right; here you are." Yates drew back his coat sleeve, and
presented his wrist. The dangling cuff was speedily clamped upon it.
The constable mounted the patient horse that stood waiting for him,
watching him all the while with intelligent eye. The two prisoners,
handcuffed together, took the middle of the road, with a horseman on
each side of them, the constable bringing up the rear; thus they
marched on, the professor gloomy from the indignity put upon them, and
the newspaper man as joyous as the now thoroughly awakened birds. The
scouts concluded to go no farther toward the enemy, but to return to
the Canadian forces with their prisoners. They marched down the road,
all silent except Yates, who enlivened the morning air with the singing
of "John Brown."
"Keep quiet," said the constable curtly.
"All right, I will. But look here; we shall pass shortly the house of a
friend. We want to go and get something to eat."
"You will get nothing to eat until I deliver you up to the officers of
"And where, may I ask, are they?"
"You may ask, but I will not answer."
"Now, Renmark," said Yates to his companion, "the tough part of this
episode is that we shall have to pass Bartlett's house, and feast
merely on the remembrance of the good things which Mrs. Bartlett is
always glad to bestow on the wayfarer. I call that refined cruelty."
As they neared the Bartlett homestead they caught sight of Miss Kitty
on the veranda, shading her eyes from the rising sun, and gazing
earnestly at the approaching squad. As soon as she recognized the group
she disappeared, with a cry, into the house. Presently there came out
Mrs. Bartlett, followed by her son, and more slowly by the old man
They all came down to the gate and waited.
"Hello, Mrs. Bartlett!" cried Yates cheerily. "You see, the professor
has got his desserts at last; and I, being in bad company, share his
fate, like the good dog Tray."
"What's all this about?" cried Mrs. Bartlett.
The constable, who knew both the farmer and his wife, nodded familiarly
to them. "They're Fenian prisoners," he said.
"Nonsense!" cried Mrs. Bartlett--the old man, as usual, keeping his
mouth grimly shut when his wife was present to do the talking--"they're
not Fenians. They've been camping on our farm for a week or more."
"That may be," said the constable firmly, "but I have the best of
evidence against them; and, if I'm not very much mistaken, they'll hang
Miss Kitty, who had been partly visible through the door, gave a cry of
anguish at this remark, and disappeared again.
"We have just escaped being hanged by the Fenians themselves, Mrs.
Bartlett, and I hope the same fate awaits us at the hands of the
"No, no; just escaping. Not that I object to being hanged,--I hope I am
not so pernickety as all that,--but, Mrs. Bartlett, you will sympathize
with me when I tell you that the torture I am suffering from at this
moment is the remembrance of the good things to eat which I have had in
your house. I am simply starved to death, Mrs. Bartlett, and this hard-
hearted constable refuses to allow me to ask you for anything."
Mrs. Bartlett came out through the gate to the road in a visible state
"Stoliker," she exclaimed, "I'm ashamed of you! You may hang a man if
you like, but you have no right to starve him. Come straight in with
me," she said to the prisoners.
"Madam," said Stoliker severely, "you must not interfere with the
course of the law."
"The course of stuff, and nonsense!" cried the angry woman. "Do you
think I am afraid of you, Sam Stoliker? Haven't I chased you out of
this very orchard when you were a boy trying to steal my apples? Yes,
and boxed your ears, too, when I caught you, and then was fool enough
to fill your pockets with the best apples on the place, after giving
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